Last week I had the pleasure of attending a two-day MSDN event in Harrogate focusing on the upcoming Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 releases. It was one of the better and more enjoyable MSDN roadshows I've been on, partly because there's so much cool stuff due to be released at the end of this year, but also because this stuff is no longer so much of a mystery to me! I remember attending the .NET 1.0 release event in London in December 2001 and practically every session blew my mind, as everything I was hearing about seemed so different to the relatively simplistic ASP / VB paradigms with which I'd been working up to that point. .NET was a wonderful and empowering toolset, but for me it came with a steep learning curve which made my head hurt for much of 2002 and 2003. But now I've put in that hard work back then I find myself in a much better position for understanding the 2.0 enhancements, most of which are things I'm keen to get using straight away. I can't wait.
Eager for more of the same, Eric Nelson drew my attention to another MSDN event next week in London - a technical briefing on Extreme programming in .NET. Having read a couple of books on XP / TDD in the last year but failed to really put in into practice in the working environment, this sounds like a potentially interesting and useful session, so I've registered to attend. Maybe I'll see you there..