Fourth "Guathon" goes down a storm

Scott Guthrie, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for the .NET Developer Platform, came to London last Friday to present at the fourth “Guathon” event, created by the team behind the UK-based .NET developer conferences DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper (DDD).

"The Guathon events started back in September last year when we held the first one in Manchester. Since then we’ve held them in Glasgow, Birmingham and London" explains Phil Winstanley, one of the organisers of the DDD and Guathon events. "They spawned out of a chat with Scott and myself whereby we said it would be cool for him to utilise his idle time in the UK when he’s travelling the world to come give talks to the UK community. Scott loves to speak to the developers of the UK and so jumped at the chance."

“I actually don’t travel quite as much as people think”, Scott said talking to Developer Fusion recently. “I love the UK - which is one reason I come back so often! The developer community in the UK is fantastic and very active, and the work people are doing is superb.”

Once again the event sold out in minutes, bringing the registration server to its knees. “I think this is because my talks have a reputation for being “no fluff” technical talks - that developers really enjoy - and because the .NET community in the UK is so active and healthy”, said Scott of his continuing massive popularity in the UK developer community. But it’s not all down to him; “The events couldn’t have happened without the great work from Phil, Dave [Sussman, another DDD organiser] and others outside Microsoft who organized and promoted it.”

The most recent Guathon last week featured a stack of presentations from Scott and Mike Ormond, developer evangelist at Microsoft UK. They covered everything from Visual Studio 2010, ASP .NET 4 and ASP.NET MVC to the next iteration of web technology from Microsoft and Windows Phone 7.

Scott started off the day going in-depth about Visual Studio, ASP.NET 4 and MVC 2. Scott knows these technologies inside out, and he gave some excellent tips on working efficiently with hidden features of Visual Studio (such as the ability to switch Intellisense into consume mode for help with test-driven development).

Mike Ormond commenced the afternoon's presentations, with a guide to building applications for Windows Phone 7, which by all accounts was an excellent introduction to the platform. It also started off quite a discussion in the blog and tweet backchannels about the platform in general. Scott rounded off the day by introducing the latest Microsoft tools for web developers, including the Razor templating engine, IIS Express and more.

All of the DDD and Guathon events are free to attend. "Microsoft kindly cover all of the expenses which we keep low so that additional money can be passed back to other community events", continues Phil. "In terms of organising it’s relatively simple, as we have the infrastructure in place to support the DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper events we leverage that infrastructure."

"All we need to do is find a venue and show up."

Asked about why the events are so successful, Phil says the answer is simple: "It's real honest sessions, no marketing, clean code, honest answers and with a superstar developer who knows the .NET stack inside out. Scott’s approachability makes him the ideal speaker and his interactive nature with audiences means that the events aren’t just useful; they’re engaging and unique in their approach. Where else can you hang out and have a beer with a Vice President of Microsoft and argue about C# syntax?"

"The two main things that makes the Guathons a success are firstly the strength and breadth of the UK developer community, which is one of the strongest in the world, and the passion and drive of Scott who loves to share his passion with people who use the tools his teams produce!"

No videos have yet emerged of the event, but Scott’s blog points to this previous video of a similar presentation he did in May. We’ll update the DeveloperFusion Twitter account if those become available.

There are also several community blog posts about the events, by Ian Walker, Paul Stack, Jon Skeet and Nathan Gloyn. Phil also uploaded a stack of photos from the day.

As for the next event? “I’m not sure just yet - but likely early next year” Scott suggested. “My wife and I are expecting our second child in a few weeks, so my travel schedule the rest of this year is going to be minimal.”

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