Visual Studio 2010 / .NET 4 Events For Maine-Based Developers

On Monday, Microsoft set its Internet volume knob to 11, announcing the official release of Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET 4 framework. If you haven’t seen it, take a look at Scott Hanselman’s comprehensive rundown of where to get the tools (including free Express editions) and what those new tools have waiting for you. (Oh, and some guy named Scott Guthrie mentioned it in passing, too. {lulz})

Of course, no major Microsoft product release is complete without scads of in-person events to show them off, a trade show / seminar / reception for Partners to upsell you goods or services, and a little swag. In the case of Maine, we get two bites of the apple, as it were — that is, if you consider a day trip to Boston something that’s local to Maine (and trust me, you should.)

These events are free but do require registration.

On April 29, Microsoft conducts a day-long launch event at the Westin Copley Place hotel in Boston. (As of this writing, registration was still open for the Boston event. However, I would recommend acting yesterday if you want to attend; once word spreads, these events fill up quickly).

Labeled “Launch 2010 Technical Readiness Series,” the developer track of this event (there are IT professional and manager tracks, too) is actually more an overview of the new technologies. SharePoint / Office programming; Windows; ASP.NET (Web); Azure (cloud); and Windows 7 Phone (mobile) platforms development each get a one-hour overview, and Microsoft kicks in a free continental breakfast and box lunch.

While Microsoft is coy about the “giveaways” being offered at the end of the event, when I went to the Visual Studio 2008 / Windows Vista launch back in 2007, I received free, fully functional copies of VS 2008 Standard and Vista Ultimate, plus copies of the developer editions of Windows Server 2008 and and SQL Server 2008. I can’t be sure that such high-class swag will be offered this time around, but even if Microsoft sends me home empty-handed, I can’t miss this opportunity to shake hands and kiss babies.

On May 11, Jim O’Neil and Chris Bowen return to the Central Maine Commerce Center in Augusta for the MSDN Northeast Roadshow, with a half-day presentation on VS 2010 / .NET 4.

(They are preceded by a half-day TechNet event on the same thing. The TechNet event starts at 9 am; the MDSN event at 1 pm. For those unfamiliar with the difference, TechNet is aimed at the systems / networking / help desk crowd, while MSDN is aimed at programmers.)

If you haven’t been to a Roadshow in the past, it’s basically a chance to hear about Microsoft technologies (and, by implication, to understand what Microsoft thinks is important / wants you to hear) and to ask questions of two people who know the answers. A Roadshow isn’t for a complete programming noob; you need at least a basic understanding of programming with  Microsoft technologies, and of object-oriented programming jargon, if you don’t want to wind up hopelessly lost (if you’re not that person, strongly consider the TechNet event).

Jim and Chris run the Roadshow in a loose format, where questions are welcome (and rewarded) at any point. This can cause the event to run off-schedule (and yes, I and my questions are a leading cause of that problem) but you’re a fool if you don’t take any opportunity available to pick their brains. I have probably learned more useful information about Microsoft technologies and techniques from Jim and Chris than from any other source.

Oh, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that I learned all this from the MSDN Northeast Roadshow Facebook group. If you’re on Facebook, consider joining. (And remember, you have to actively monitor Facebook groups; unlike pages and profiles, Wall posts on a group don’t appear in your News streams.)

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