Austin Texas The Techie Town, mvc, code, personal 0 comments suggest edit

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 friendly town.

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 suppressed.

Photo from

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 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 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 multi-function restaurants?

Visiting Headspring

My last day in Austin was spent visiting two companies full of very talented software developers doing extensive work with ASP.NET and ASP.NET MVC.

I spent the morning at Headspring which employs many well known members of the .NET community as they’re involved in blogging, C4MVC, MvcContrib, etc. Jeffrey Palermo, Eric Hexter, Jimmy Bogard, 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 project.

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 larger projects.

Visiting Dovetail

After meeting with Headspring, I headed over to meet the DoveTail 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 checking IDs.

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 Miller, Chad Myers, Joshua Flanagan, 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 cross-pollination.

Heading Home

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.

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17 responses

  1. Avatar for Shaun
    Shaun February 28th, 2010

    WOW! Really a good visiting. I was wondering will you visit China in the future there are a lot of MVC geeks and your fans.

  2. Avatar for Bret Ferrier
    Bret Ferrier February 28th, 2010

    Just curious do you typically make visits like this or did Dell pay some good money.

  3. Avatar for Jeffrey Palermo
    Jeffrey Palermo February 28th, 2010

    Glad to see you again, and I'm glad you had a good time all around.

  4. Avatar for Karthik Hariharan
    Karthik Hariharan February 28th, 2010

    I agree, Austin is very developer friendly. Glad you had a great time there. Wish you could have stuck around for Pablos Fiesta and met even more of us that came down for it.

  5. Avatar for Dan
    Dan February 28th, 2010

    Sounds like a great community there!
    Interesting that Dell is hiring so many positions. I am curious about what it's like to work there. Are there any bloggers who work at Dell?

  6. Avatar for Tom
    Tom March 1st, 2010

    Tech stuff is cool and all, but lets keep talking food. You have to go to Torchy's or El Chilito next time. Also, get out to Lockhart or Dripping Springs for BBQ.

  7. Avatar for Matt Hinze
    Matt Hinze March 1st, 2010

    Was great to meet you Phil.. and really cool to hear about the way your team works. Thanks for taking the time to hang with us.

  8. Avatar for Siraj
    Siraj March 1st, 2010

    I want to move Austin Texas
    May be someone help me.

  9. Avatar for Ricardo
    Ricardo March 1st, 2010

    I attended the ADNUG meeting last Wednesday and enjoyed your presentation. Thanks for taking the time to meet with us (Austin developers) and I hope you come back to our city soon.

  10. Avatar for Jack
    Jack March 1st, 2010

    The photo is quite nice~

  11. Avatar for Mahendra Mavani
    Mahendra Mavani March 2nd, 2010

    Thanks Phil for sharing your time with us and patiently listening our feedbacks
    -Mahendra Mavani
    (One of the guy you missed in your Headspring list:) )

  12. Avatar for haacked
    haacked March 2nd, 2010

    BTW, I didn't take the photo. If you mouse over it, you can see it was borrowed from

  13. Avatar for Josh
    Josh March 2nd, 2010

    Anyone know how to contact MHinze? I get an homage to Middle Eastern Hackers ("Kosova Elite Hackers") when I visit, and it looks like all his blog posts have been removed.

  14. Avatar for Jonathan
    Jonathan March 2nd, 2010

    "Known as the live music capital of the world" - hmmmm, I'm not so sure. Of THEEE WORLD. Or the American world? As if they are different
    I love you yanks

  15. Avatar for Sanjeev Agarwal
    Sanjeev Agarwal March 2nd, 2010

    Please post the ppt/code of ASP.NET MVC 2 Tips and Tricks talk.

  16. Avatar for Dave Schinkel
    Dave Schinkel March 3rd, 2010

    This is a great post Phil. I had a really good friend (excellent graphic designer) just move from Chicago to Austin for just work for Dell. In fact he just started this week.
    Austin is very attractive for many reasons. Would like to get my family to move there as well as myself but that's a whole other challenge.

  17. Avatar for MikeC
    MikeC March 4th, 2010

    I attended both of your MVC2 sessions for Dell. We've already started employing some of your suggestions as best practices on our team.
    For those asking about working at Dell, check out I just started here as a contractor about a month ago. Moved here from NH to take the position. I can say that the folks on my team treat contractors very well, including letting us spend a day listening to Microsoft.
    Thanks again for coming to Round Rock!