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Brainstorming a new presentation

Published to Blog on 23 Jul 2007

I mentioned in a previous post that I was dreaming up a new presentation.

I had a great time at CodeMash last year and really enjoyed doing my first presentation at a conference along with Joe. The CodeMash organizers will be taking submissions for presentations soon and I recently learned that a November date has been set for the Cincinnati Dayton Code Camp. I would really like to follow up last year’s success with my first solo venture. I need to put something together now, though, if I want to be ready.

While I could try to jump into something new, learn as much about it as I can and put together a presentation based on that, I would rather not do so. I’m not all that comfortable with learning something directly for the purpose of being able to present it. I’m afraid that I’ll learn just enough to be able to talk about it but not really dig into the details. I would much rather present something that I know, something that I really like, and something that I do on a daily basis more-or-less. So a few nights ago I began thinking “what am I good at”:

While the validity of those points could be debated (whether or not I’m actually “good” at any or all of them), that is not the point of this post. I’ve built sites and I’ve used CodeSmith and .netTiers so for today we’ll say that is sufficient. 

I would like to do some Community Server presentations, but I think that right now I want to focus on doing something with CodeSmith and .netTiers. Because CodeMash is a fairly platform agnostic conference, I think the basic premise of code generation will be a good topic.

My last venture with CodeSmith and .netTiers involved building the WhatIWantMost site and blogging about it every step of the way. Instead of just doing a “this is how CodeSmith/.netTiers works” presentation, I began wondering if I could somehow parlay that experience into a presentation for CodeMash. Maybe I could build a site from scratch using the tools for the presentation. That would be really cool. I saw Scott Cate do a presentation recently where he started with a blank slate and it was impressive as well as informative. Doing so would really show the ease of use and display the power of the tools. But build a site from scratch in an hour? Of course I could have most of it pre-built and then just press a couple of buttons to finish it off, but that would kind of defeat the purpose.

I’ve been tossing this idea around in my head the last couple of days and I really think I can do this. Of course the site would have to be fairly simple (or at least whatever I planned to do in that hour would have to be simple), but some baked-in ASP.NET goodies will really help. Creating and adding membership/logins will be easy enough. Navigation and site structure can be handled with the sitemap. Master pages make a consistent UI much easier. I think that I can probably start with a site skeleton (like I would any other project) and go from there. In fact, I think what I will start with is a site that is mocked up in HTML just like a developer would tend to get from a designer or HTML producer.

I have an idea for the site, too - a social networking site (of course) with an interesting twist (don’t they all). How about a teaser? The domain name will be! I was hoping for a couple of others first, but some good ones were already taken: MyDogLog, DogSpace, DogBook.

I ran this idea by a couple of colleagues today: Joe, Ken and Chad. They seemed to like the idea and said I should go for it. That seals it then.

I better get started - I need to figure out what I can and can’t do in an hour.

PS - Plan B: I do have some connections. I might be able to score some freebies to hand out after the presentation. So even if it totally bombs it still might be worth sitting through!

Dan Hounshell
Web geek, nerd, amateur maker. Likes: apis, node, motorcycles, sports, chickens, watches, food, Nashville, Savannah, Cincinnati and family.
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  • On 24 Jul 2007 "Jason Haley"" said:
    Sounds like an interesting presentation. One of the questions I am sure I would have after it would be, what do I need to do/buy/setup to be that productive with code smith/.net tiers. Sometimes the magic of presentation time coding seems to hide a lot of work - i think you'll have to do some convincing that it really is that easy. Any chance you are going to post the presentation on your site after? I've been looking to get back to code smith for a couple of years not ... but just no time.
  • On 24 Jul 2007 """ said:
    Jason, thanks for the feedback. I agree, too much cutting and pasting can lead to the "it can't be that easy" effect. That is one of the things that I'm going to have to determine. How much can I have pre-staged so that the presentation is effective - actually shows something useful? I don't want to spend all the allotted time setting up master pages and ASP.NET membership, but I don't want it to end up looking too "canned". I'm sure you know that CodeSmith is easy to use, but there is a bit of a learning curve. Same goes for .netTiers. While creating the framework for the site will be easy for me, it is actually founded on hours (and hours) spent examining every option, reading through the documentation, following along with examples, etc. So truthfully someone cannot just start from scratch and be able to replicate what I could do in that same hour. However, if a dummy like me can learn to do the stuff then really anyone can! I will have my presentation material posted on my site. I may even post it as soon as I have something put together. Interestingly, they tried videotaping presentations at CodeMash last year and were successful with a few, but ran into some technical difficulties. If they get it all ironed out this year then it should be available. That would be really cool.
  • On 24 Jul 2007 "TrackBack"" said: