Coming Back From the First Alt.NET Conference in Germany (Aka .NET Open Spaces Leipzig)

Over the last weekend I participated in the first German Open Space conference. The .NET Open Space was inspired by the recent ALT.NET conferences in London and Seattle. The basic idea behind Open Space is that the attendees decide the actual topics of the sessions. No separation between speakers, attendees and the organizing team exits and every participant is responsible for making the best of the conference. I was a bit skeptical at first whether the whole concept of Open Spaces could be easily done in Germany. It had been done with a lot of success several times all around the globe before, but I somehow had the feeling that the whole concept of self-organization doesn’t really play out well in Germany with its mostly full-organized conference formats. Looking back now, I’ve to admit that I was totally wrong about this. I guess that relates to the fact that I never participated in such a format in the past. Imho the .NET Open Space conference in Leipzig was a huge success on all fronts. The last two days where filled with lots of amazing conversations with passionate people from Germany, Austria and Switzerland about software design, software architecture, all the xDD stuff (MDSD, BDD, TDD, DDD, FDD), agile software development, tooling, etc. To give you an idea about the content, here are some of the sessions I was involved in during the conference.

  • TDD and BDD A fishbowl discussion about unit testing, TDD, BDD and the problem of how to introduce / integrate such concepts into a development team.
  • xDD: Demystifying the buzzwords A fishbowl discussion about xDD buzzwords which started with an introduction of each xDD concept and ended with a discussion about software quality. A bit unfocussed, so to say :-(
  • NHibernate A discussion about when and how to use NHibernate in .NET projects.
  • Doing BDD with pair programming Together with Gabriel Schenker I did some live coding in order to demonstrate BDD and pair programming. Gabriel coded the specifications while I implemented them. I did this with JP Boodhoo several weeks ago at the .NET user group in Bonn. Luckily this time I wasn’t so nervous. Seems that I’m getting accustomed to live coding in front of a large audience. :-)
  • A detailed look at Model View Presenter I gave a little talk about my experience with MVP which started with a short introduction of the Passive View and the Supervising Controller pattern, then introduced the variation of MVP which I currently favor (a variation of Passive View) and ended in a really nice discussion how others approach MVP.
  • .NET Enterprise ArchitecturesAn interesting session where several participants presented their current application architecture of choice for developing large scale enterprise applications. “What can we learn from Enterprise Java Architectures?” was also a very hot topic that day.
  • The use of messaging in distributed and non-distributed applications I gave a little introduction to the concepts implemented in the Aurora Application Framework. This is a framework for developing message based composite applications with .NET which is currently under development at ICW, my current employer.
  • Several other smaller topics like
    • An introduction to xUnit.BDDExtensions
    • A discussion about IoC-Containers
    • How to introduce code reviews, guidelines etc. into the development process of a company.

Some final words: A big thank you to the people responsible for the whole organization, namely Alexander Groß, Torsten Weber and Stefan Lieser. You guys did an awesome job making this event happen. Also a big thank you to all the other guys for having such wonderful conversations and being so passionate about software development….

The only sad thing is that I’ll have to wait for a year now until the next .NET Open Spaces conference (in Germany) . . .