Microsoft Webcamps

Last weekend I went to Microsoft Webcamps London: a two day event mainly about ASP.NET MVC and a little bit about the Entity Framework. It was a two day event mainly aimed at Microsoft developers who'd not used .NET MVC before. I've done a few MVC projects now, but there's always more to learn and it's always good to meet other people doing similar stuff to you.

The first day was a series of talks by Jon Galloway and Christian Wenz. The talks were excellent and even though they covered a lot of things I already knew, I still found out lots I didn't and made lots of notes.

The second day was going to be more challenging. At the end of the first day some people pitched ideas for simple one day web projects. As a group we then chose our favourites and formed into small teams to implement them. As a freelancer I don't often get to work in teams so I was looking forward to this. I was a bit worried though about what we'd be able to get done in a day, particularly as I was the only one in my team who had used .NET MVC before.

Our project idea came from Jasmin. We were going to create Stuff Exchange, a simple site for listing items you wanted to give away. A bit like Freegle or Freecycle. This was a nice project and it suited our range of skills. One of the nice and slightly unique features of our website was using the Smug Mug API to show photo libraries with each item. This was Doug's idea. One of the nice things about this was Smug Mug dealt with all the image resizing. What we managed to do with this in a day was pretty good, but given a little bit more time we could have done something really impressive with it.

Screenshot of Stuff Exchange

As the time to present our project approached we realised we'd need to add some things to our site we wanted to give away. As we were in Microsoft's plush London offices the obvious thing was to try and give away their furniture and anything else that wasn't nailed down, including Jon Galloway.

Typical stuff exchange advert offering unwanted old programmers

We should have been first to present, but as Chistian came to collect us disaster struck. We'd just combined everyone's last set of changes and it wouldn't build. Christian kindly pretended not to be able to find us, so we got a chance to fix everything. Unfortunatley we missed several other group's presentations, including this one about transport pooling when ash clouds are about.

After everyone had presented Jon and Christian sauntered off to judge our efforts. We must have done something right as we came joint first with this group who had an excellent idea about swapping food. We all got very nice bags as a prize. I'm also wondering if I can now call myself a prize winning Microsoft developer. Surely it's just one step away from being a MVP.

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