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Here's a very brief summary of how Stack Overflow DevDays 2011 will go down:

  1. It'll be two days long.

  2. It'll be sometime in September or October.

  3. There will be FOUR independent, separate events to choose from in different cities: London, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Sydney.

  4. There will be a single track, so you never have to worry about choosing between two equally cool topics.

When we did DevDays 2009, the idea was to do some intensive, one hour programming tutorials on the kinds of topics that we thought a lot of programmers really wanted to learn, but didn't have a chance yet to use at work. Two years ago, the topics we tried to cover were jQuery, Python, iPhone development, ASP.NET MVC, Google App Engine, etc.

This year, we've got two days, so there'll be time for even more sessions. We'll also have time for deeper, more big-picture talks in between the tutorials.

What topics would you like to learn about at DevDays 2011? One topic per answer, please, and vote up all the ones you like.

UPDATE (April 21st) Thanks for all the feedback, ideas, and votes so far. Keep it coming! We are working on nailing down dates and venues. Soon, we will line up committees for each city responsible for lining up speakers and fleshing out the schedule: they'll use this input as guidance to set up an awesome program in each of the four venues.

In the meantime if you have other questions about DevDays or other discussion, please ask it as a separate question tagged devdays-2011, don't just leave a random fly-by comment in the comments.

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closed as too localized by kiamlaluno, random Nov 24 '11 at 5:50

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

No chance of a central location (like New Orleans)? – Cade Roux Apr 20 '11 at 21:06
I was definitely holding out for another Canadian stop, but I guess the guys down under luck in this time. – mistagrooves Apr 20 '11 at 21:42
Just one thing - will it be available as Live webcast ? I'm outside US or AU :( – Shekhar_Pro Apr 20 '11 at 21:58
And one more thing will Jon Skeet and his Tony the Pony will be there this time too.... (I miss tony a lot ;) – Shekhar_Pro Apr 20 '11 at 22:01
if only there were a q&a site, where you could ask questions, and get answers... and people could, you know, vote on those answers, and... OH WAIT! THERE IS! Plz 2 ask all follow-up q's using the ASK QUESTION button and then typing. kthx – Joel Spolsky Apr 20 '11 at 22:32
Can you guys push it later? I'm kind of getting married in September ;-) Unless I can convince my future wife to honeymoon at DevDays ... (just kidding!!!) – Pandincus Apr 21 '11 at 1:09
Any chance of some open space sessions at these events? The best parts of the last conference were the discussions between sessions and afterwards. The topics at the DC event were hit and miss. If you want info/advice on running these talk to the PyCon folks like Bruce Eckel as they run them really well, compared to those I've seen at .NET events. – Brian Lyttle Apr 21 '11 at 3:27
Why not just create a question for each venue and allow session submissions in the answers. Highest voted submissions get in. Simple as. – PhilPursglove Apr 21 '11 at 10:43
@PhilPursglove I'm not sure I'd bother going to the conference if that was the case. I can understand why DVCS is leading below, but I don't think that it necessarily makes for the best presentation or conference content. It would need to cover material above and beyond the likes of the hg init tutorial. – Brian Lyttle Apr 21 '11 at 14:43
@BrianLy "The topics at the DC event were hit and miss" This is likely the biggest reason they are 1) holding fewer events and 2) forming committees to determine the topics and speakers. – Adam Davis May 4 '11 at 13:44
@adam - the reason there are fewer events is because of the tremendous amount of time and energy it takes to do a venue/event. They are delegating the work and looking for an easier way to find/determine topics. It has nothing to do with "hit and miss" – tim May 10 '11 at 15:23
@Cade Are you based in the US by any chance? A central location based on London, US East Coast, US West Coast, and Australia would be near the Earth's core. It might present practical difficulties. – MarkJ May 19 '11 at 14:16

74 Answers 74

up vote 90 down vote accepted


Node.js and other uses of JavaScript on the server.

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Object Normalization

"Everybody" knows about database normalization, but how about Object Normalization?

I've studied it for years, have some insights, and have decided that it's better to share them than take them to the grave. I can demonstrate much of the theory in a practical way by refactoring a really awful PHP script live. Sounds thrilling, I know, but it can give one a SOLID GRASP of object-oriented principles in a unifying framework - and the theory/practice has some surprisingly powerful implications.

It's probably too late to propose this for 2011. But what the heck. Dev Days DC is still months away!

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Ruby on Rails Best Practices

The framework has been out in the wild for a long time. Best practices that top developers in the field follow to make their apps.

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Writing applications that can make, recieve and interact with phone calls using Python, C#, etc

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Less software

It would be interesting to see how developers would give up their lust on building a solution with the most sophisticated and new and cool stack around, and build it with the pure minimum that gets the job done.

Less layers, less of a concept, less code*, less CPU, less technology. This would probably look like the 20% that do the most of the work without the 80% of bells and whistles.

Less code doesn't necessary means using shorter method/variable names or minification of some sort, it is closer to the "less of a concept" thing.

The idea is to challenge us to think a little in the opposite direction of the inertia to Web 3.0, clouds and stuff like that.

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The best ways to ensure your team isn't writing insecure code

When deadlines are tight or you have junior developers often security concerns don't get the attention they deserve. Also some security holes are obscure and even experienced developers don't always notice they are creating them. What processes can be put in place to ensure that software is as secure as it can be.

The latest fiasco with Sony's PlayStation Network show that even multinational corporations still can't get this right.

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Windows Phone 7 Development

Possible topics:

  • Silverlight
  • XNA game development
  • Service integration with OAuth
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Knockout js

Knockout js: Declarative bindings, automatic UI refresh, dependency tracking, templating.

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You can't ever go wrong with

Miguel De Icaza

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Try asking Attachmate about that... – Oded May 4 '11 at 20:55

Scalability and Performance Optimization

Some kind of a practical case study of a bunch of things done to improve the scalability of a successful application.

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GWT and WindowBuilder

Google Web Toolkit can be used with or without Google's App Engine. It allows you to create the client-code in java that it underneath compiled into javascript.

WindowBuilder is a user interface builder tool that closely integrates with GWT, but also with desktop application level UI libraries like Swing and SWT.

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Coding on GPU's

Choices, benefits, examples, etc.

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Artificial Intelligence

A talk covering current AI trends, or the basics of GAs, neural networks, search, etc.

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Would love to see some stuff on this.

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Here you go ;-) – fretje Apr 21 '11 at 18:21

Entity Framework

Entity Framework and in particular the new code-first bits.

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This seems to be the clear winner for document oriented databases.

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NoSQL, Sass, SproutCore, and Node.js.

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should be separate answers... – An̲̳̳drew Jun 27 '11 at 18:59

Automating JavaScript unit testing and performance profiling

Workflow patterns to manage JavaScript testing and performance in large scale web applications. As more and more applications are leveraging JavaScript to build rich UIs, it becomes increasingly important to treat JavaScript testing as equally important as the server side code testing you are (hopefully) doing.

I was thinking along the lines of:

Automated testing - using Selenium, WatiN/Watir and TestSwarm to execute JavaScript unit tests and capture results

Performance profiling tools - e.g. JSLitmus, dynaTrace, etc. again, perhaps using Selenium/WatiN/Watir to execute and capture performance results..

Code quality tools - e.g. JSLint, jQueryLint, etc.

Unit testing and Acceptance Testing frameworks e.g. QUnit, JsUnit, RhinoUnit, JSSpec, Jasmine etc.

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Erlang's actor model is of particular interest, as are the constraint of immutable data and the error detection among processes. The ease of handling binary messages is a bonus. Though Scala also supplies the Actor model, it would be more motivating to learn about this high profile, battle tested solution. Erlang is used by many high profile companies, such as Amazon, Yahoo, Facebook, T-Mobile, Motorola, and, of course, Ericsson.

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One of the more challenging situations we encounter (in our very small shop) is deploying new versions of software smoothly. I hear a lot about one-click deployment, build automation, and continuous integration, but I'd like to learn more.

Perhaps one or more of the following topics could be discussed:

  • Package management (OK, maybe the NuGet answer covers this)
  • Build servers/build automation
  • Configuration file/connection string management
  • One-click deployment/'Continuous Deployment'
  • Database versioning/upgrading to newer schema/downgrading to older schema
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WIX! I would love to see some love for WIX! – Jeff Yates May 9 '11 at 12:36


Haskell has been getting a lot of attention in the programming language community for a while now. Its pure nature makes it decent at concurrent tasks, and its threading model is faster than Erlang and Go while being evented in a fashion not unlike Node.js. Especially recently there have been a lot of Haskell web frameworks popping up. It would be very interesting for the community at large to get a better perspective on this "emerging" technology.

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Massive, Dapper, and MicroORMs

Breakout topic, since Rob Conery probably can't speak at every event. Probably.

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jQuery Ajax best practices

jQuery Ajax best practices, if possible, for .NET.

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Google App Engine

More please....

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Impact of touch screen and small hand-held computers on programming

  1. What IDE do I need for programming on my driod / assembling and deploying?
  2. How to use my hand-held to develop more stuff on it
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(Formerly known as C++0x)

I want to know about the new features and changes/additions to the standard library.

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Practical cross-platform development

Possible topics:

  • Virtualization for testing, builds, development
  • Licensing/copy protection across multiple platforms
  • Continuous integration while building for multiple platforms
  • Best practices and best tools (e.g. useful debugging and profiling tools for each platform)
  • UI frameworks for cross platform development
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The role of code reviews and security models (and other process-related issues) in startups and small companies.

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