If there’s one impression that Austin left on me, besides the one that
Rudy’s “extra moist” barbecue left on my gut, is that it’s a developer
This past week I spent three days in Austin meeting with all sorts of
developers and had many great conversations about technology. I met with
companies and people with a passion for technology that couldn’t be
Meeting with Dell
The reason I was in town was to give a couple of presentations at a
mini-conference for Dell employees. On my first day in Austin, the day
before the conference, I met with a team working on the next generation
of Dell.com. The site is undergoing a
large scale rearchitecture based heavily on ASP.NET MVC 2.
I fielded some questions on ASP.NET MVC and its future and was given a
presentation on their new architecture. It was clear that they spent a
lot of time with ASP.NET MVC as I even received an obscure question
asking why Routing uses the
ReaderWriterLock rather than
ReaderWriterLockSlim? (The answer, in case you’re interested in that
sort of trivia, is that
ReaderWriterLockSlim didn’t work in medium
trust in ASP.NET 3.5 SP1, but that’s been fixed in ASP.NET 4 and Routing
now uses that).
I should mention that Dell is hiring in a big way. Many of these
positions will involve a lot of ASP.NET MVC development.
We’re looking for senior level folks that have extensive e-commerce
experience, are experts in Microsoft technologies (MVC knowledge a big
plus), and have worked on some very large sites. We’re looking for
architects, dev leads, business analysts and project managers. We
have positions open in Round Rock, Tx (just north of Austin) as well
as Bangalore, India. Visit www.dell.com and
click on Careers at the bottom of the page.
Austin .NET User group
After meeting with Dell, I was whisked over to the Austin .NET User
Group meeting (ADNUG) where I
gave a presentation on what’s new in ASP.NET MVC 2. The room was packed
and the attendees were engaged with the talk. They had to be as my demos
were failing left and right and I needed the help from the audience to
catch my mistakes several times. Thank you ADNUG!
Afterwards I went with several user group attendees and was treated to
Rudy’s Country Store and
Bar-B-Q which is a gas station,
convenience store, and Bar-B-Q shack. I would soon learn that Austin is
full of these multi-function restaurants. I ordered the “Extra Moist”
and some cream corn which was oh so delicious!
Back at Dell
After Rudy’s I spent the evening working on digestion and my demos. The
next morning I spent the day at a small conference center presenting two
talks to Dell employees, the intro talk I mentioned earlier and an
ASP.NET MVC 2 Tips and Tricks talk.
This time, both talks went much more smoothly and I now feel much more
prepared for the upcoming Mix 10.
After my talks at Dell, Jonathan
Carter and I headed
over to the WhipIn to meet up with the
quiet and always subdued Scott
Bellware. The WhipIn
is a convenience store, bar, and Indian food restaurant with a slogan of
“Namaste Y’all!”” Remember that thing I said earlier about
My last day in Austin was spent visiting two companies full of very
talented software developers doing extensive work with ASP.NET and
I spent the morning at
which employs many well known members of the .NET community as they’re
involved in blogging,
Jeffrey Palermo, Eric
Matt Hinze, amongst others (sorry, I
don’t know your URLs).
One of the first things I noticed when walking into their office was a
big screen TV displaying the statuses of several different builds from
their Continuous Integration (CI) server. I watched as a Watin run
provided a “ghost in the machine” demonstration of their automated
functional test suite.
They walked me through their current project showing how they’re using
and customizing ASP.NET MVC and we discussed potential improvements to
ASP.NET MVC. One thing they’ve done as they’ve gained experience
building ASP.NET MVC applications is to embed many of the lessons
they’ve learned into the open source CodeCampServer
It may be overkill for what it is, a code camp management website, but
the point of the site is to demonstrate practices they use on much
After meeting with Headspring, I headed over to meet the
guys for lunch. Unfortunately, we didn’t go to Torchy’s since we were
short on time and didn’t want to wait. Not only that, I had a sangria
margarita for lunch and was carded. Those Austin-ites are sticklers for
We spent lunch discussing a wide range of topics on the .NET community,
technology, etc. After lunch we headed over to their office where once
again I saw a monitor with the status of their continuous integration
server displayed on a monitor. Seems all these Austin developers see the
value in continuous integration.
We settled in and Jeremy
et all walked me through what they’ve done with
FubuMVC. I really
liked several of the ideas they’ve put in their framework, some of which
may show up in ASP.NET MVC in the future as is typical of technical
After the meeting at Dovetail, I took a cab to the Austin airport to
catch a flight home. Looking back, I wished I had been able to spend
more time in Austin. Known as the live music capital of the world, I
didn’t get a chance to hit the heart of the city.
Even so, I really enjoyed my visit there. The weather was nice and the
local tech community seemed to be quite involved and vibrant. It’s
definitely a place I want to visit again.