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.

  • 5
    No chance of a central location (like New Orleans)?
    – Cade Roux
    Apr 20, 2011 at 21:06
  • 3
    I was definitely holding out for another Canadian stop, but I guess the guys down under luck in this time. Apr 20, 2011 at 21:42
  • 4
    Just one thing - will it be available as Live webcast ? I'm outside US or AU :( Apr 20, 2011 at 21:58
  • 3
    And one more thing will Jon Skeet and his Tony the Pony will be there this time too.... (I miss tony a lot ;) Apr 20, 2011 at 22:01
  • 14
    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 Apr 20, 2011 at 22:32
  • 4
    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!!!) Apr 21, 2011 at 1:09
  • 3
    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. Apr 21, 2011 at 3:27
  • 3
    Why not just create a question for each venue and allow session submissions in the answers. Highest voted submissions get in. Simple as. Apr 21, 2011 at 10:43
  • 2
    @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. Apr 21, 2011 at 14:43
  • 1
    @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.
    – Pollyanna
    May 4, 2011 at 13:44
  • 1
    @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, 2011 at 15:23
  • @Tim That makes sense.
    – Pollyanna
    May 10, 2011 at 17:18
  • 2
    @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, 2011 at 14:16
  • Still trying to learn this site. Can anyone explain how this question is on topic for this site?
    – user136460
    Aug 24, 2011 at 22:46

74 Answers 74


Entity Framework

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



When I noticed that two of the smartest developers I knew were (independently) running around converting all of their existing, perfectly functional JavaScript to CoffeeScript I realized this was the Next Big Thing.


Leveraging NuGet

My fantasy is that you can create a new solution, slap in a bunch of packages via NuGet, and have a fully functioning application that does everything you need, without writing a single line of code.

I'd like to see how close to reality this is.



Scala is a general purpose programming language designed to express common programming patterns in a concise, elegant, and type-safe way. It smoothly integrates features of object-oriented and functional languages, enabling Java and other programmers to be more productive. Code sizes are typically reduced by a factor of two to three when compared to an equivalent Java application.


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.



It's funny how almost no other answers here have touched the good old desktop app. Though it does seem like a dying breed this day and age, I think there's still a niche for that, and WPF brings a lot of potential to the interface side. It would be interesting to find out more about it.

  • And MVVM, of course.
    – sergiol
    May 11, 2011 at 17:40

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.


Game development

It's no fun to spend all day talking about boring business apps and webpages (ok, so maybe it is... but still). Let's have some entertainment geek-style. A lecture about game development would be nice, especially with examples and tips on starting your own game. Technologies like XNA and Flash could be represented.


You can't ever go wrong with

Miguel De Icaza

  • 6
    Try asking Attachmate about that...
    – Oded
    May 4, 2011 at 20:55

Knockout js

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


Windows Phone 7 Development

Possible topics:

  • Silverlight
  • XNA game development
  • Service integration with OAuth

Google Closure Compiler & Library

  • Developing reusable UI components
  • Nested UI controls
  • How to mix with legacy code (especially homegrown code, not just jQuery and Prototype)
  • Real-world case studies
  • Tips, tricks and best practices

JavaScript MVC Frameworks

For example:



and other web technologies.

  • 18
    Wow, do I know how to pick them or what? Apr 20, 2011 at 5:26
  • I don't know much about AJAX so I'd be interested to know, why the downvotes? Apr 20, 2011 at 21:29
  • @War, yeah, I don't know much about it either which is why I brought it up. Apr 20, 2011 at 21:34
  • 1
    You can be much more specific than AJAX. Is there a specific library or thing that you are interested in doing with AJAX? Just posting the term is not good enough in this case because AJAX is an established technology. With some more context you'll probably fair better. This is a problem with a lot of the items posted here to be honest. Apr 21, 2011 at 14:46
  • @BrianLy, I agree with you specific is better, but since I don't know anything about it, I can only ask for the general case. Apr 21, 2011 at 15:15
  • You could join up with the javascript one above... maybe add jQuery to the mix as well.
    – fretje
    Apr 21, 2011 at 18:35


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.



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.


Coding on GPU's

Choices, benefits, examples, etc.


The latest from Rob Conery.

Now it's WebMatrix and "writing SQL is cool again", by the time of the conference, it'll be "Hibernate, big frameworks, big tools, with CVS is the only way".

  • ha, it would definitely be fun ; )
    – TJB
    May 9, 2011 at 18:41


Scala web framework.

  • +1 This and Scala need more votes!
    – Plumenator
    Jun 28, 2011 at 9:14

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.


Debugging UserScripts

UserScript usage is increasing and debugging them is a real challenge.

  • what is UserScript? Greasemonkey scripts? Apr 21, 2011 at 6:32
  • @Peter: Yes, UserScripts and Greasemonkey scripts are virtually identical. Apr 21, 2011 at 6:36

Manos de Mono and scalable web service development for .NET without ASP.NET/IIS/Apache.

  • I'd love maybe a whirlwind tour of open source / alternative .net web servers (e.g. Nancy + Manos + i think there's some others)
    – TJB
    May 9, 2011 at 18:41


Cover what's new in Drupal 7.

How to deploy sites quick, maintain and customize content, develop new functionality using modules and themes, etc.


It's an app app app app world!

A talk that goes through the industry shift to the large app stores. Developed by the phone industry, co-opted and made popular by Apple, and now moving to PCs via the Mac and upcoming Windows stores.

  • What does this mean for developers?
  • Review of existing and upcoming stores:
    • Process
    • Policy
    • Pricing
  • How can developers leverage this change to their advantage?
  • ...?
  • 1
    There are answers requesting android and iOS development on the top of this list.
    – Moshe
    May 4, 2011 at 15:49
  • @Moshe This would be less about a specific platform, and more about an industry trend. I don't think programmers really understand how this really changes the industry. It's akin to the change from procedural programming to object oriented programming. While you can still operate as you normally do, I suspect there's some value to trying to understand where the industry is headed in order to take advantage of it.
    – Pollyanna
    May 4, 2011 at 17:59

Internet of things

The Internet of things is coming on strong with what seems like every device on the planet getting an IP address. How do we plan for and develop for this new world?


jQuery Ajax best practices

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


Artificial Intelligence

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


Right tool for the right job

(I'm bringing Java in here since this is my day-to-day language but maybe this can be expanded to other languages/platforms) This is a discussion around all the Java technologies and JVM languages really -- the idea behind it being to create a set of standard questions/answers one needs to answer before deciding which of the Java frameworks and languages to use when starting a project. For instance:

  • if quick prototyping is needed and it consists of a lot of front end screens -- should something like Grails be considered first?
  • Groovy vs Scala vs Java -- when and where to use one versus the other?
  • why choose Spring MVC over Struts -- and maybe performance hits recorded for each?
  • should the throughput of data/transaction influence such a decision and if so how?
  • "Standard" ways of scaling out applications with each of the above

I guess the list can grow quite a lot -- this is obviously just a first "go" at this...


Overview of the current industry as those familiar with its breadth see it. And where they see it in five or ten years.

The audience for this event are experienced developers. A lot of developers, though, have deep knowledge in certain areas and may not be familiar with the larger community.

My suggestion, then, is a survey of the modern programming languages and frameworks, leveraging a compare and contrast model, and their uses in the current marketplace.

Any developer can, of course, google this question and find myriad responses, but I feel the speakers at this conference will have a unique and interesting perspective on what is, and what may be in the future.

Note: I want to see data and curves here.


The role of code reviews and security models (and other process-related issues) in startups and small companies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .