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GitHub Universe & SVCC Trip Reports

Last weekend I had the opportunity to (wo)man the Microsoft booth at GitHub Universe as well as speak at the largest code camp in North America, Silicon Valley Code Camp. Both were great experiences in very different ways.


  • GitHub Universe felt like a rave. The industrial space catered very well to the demographic.
  • GitHub gave Microsoft some really nice placement and a large lounge area (with power) that had a good flow of traffic.
  • As I was projecting this (and selected Linux) a dude with dreadlocks looked up and yelled “.NET is cross-platform!? WTF!?”
  • People seemed genuinely interested in the why we’re open sourcing .NET. I wasn’t trying to sell .NET, I was showing how we’re working in the open on a cross-platform .NET and that seemed to resonate. Maybe they’ll take a look. 🙂
  • The more I talk with developers on other stacks, the more I realize we all have the same struggles with the whole development process, we just have different solutions.
  • Current .NET devs are hungry for .NET Core & ASP.NET 5 content and are looking for migration guidance.
  • SVCC’s new venue was awesome and Peter Kellner, head organizer and ASP.NET MVP, landed on the Channel 2 news for the first time in 10 years.
  • This is really cool. Package managers visualization, including NuGet.
  • BTW, you can order your own .NET stickers and .NET T-Shirts!

GitHub Universe

FIRST, THE VENUE. This was one of the strangest venues I think I have been to in a long time. Held at Pier 70 in San Francisco, it’s not a bad part of town but it’s not a good one either. I have not been down here since my 20s when I used to go to raves, seriously. To get there I took BART to Embarcadero and then the Muni T-line past AT&T park to 20th. I get off and start walking toward the piers through the very under construction warehouses and roads. Both sidewalks are closed so I’m trying to stay as close to the fence as possible so not to get run over by heavy machinery. I’m starting to worry I’m heading the wrong way when I see a “GitHub Universe this way” sign. WHEW. So I keep walking. And walking. This is weird, I’m just seeing more and more run-down warehouses. Then I spot someone, no two, big dudes in black suits with walkie-talkies. Oh good, I found the bouncers. Where the hell am I? I hope the DJ is good.

When I get to the front entrance it’s a huge industrial warehouse like all the rest I’ve seen, but it’s transformed into a really awesome display. It catered to the demographic very well. Outside they have bike storage along with the coat check. They have wedding-style tents for the catering with a nice outdoor patio. The bathrooms were nice motorhome-style trailers. I register and get a really cool wooden badge. Neat! The keynote is going on in a large space and breakouts (3 or 4) are held in adjacent rooms. I’d say there were about 1000 people here. Predominantly young men, but there were a good amount of women and 40-somthings there as well.


THE MICROSOFT “BOOTH”: We didn’t have a booth per-se, we had a huge space with chairs, couches and power tables. We had a few banners with some of Microsoft’s open source repos listed (yes corefx, coreclr and Roslyn were all there). We had one large demo TV screen. When I arrived we had the Microsoft logo on the screen because it wasn’t really apparent that the space was sponsored by us. Of course, I did plenty of demos as the day went on. The great thing about the space was it was really big and there was plenty of people sucking power from the tables between sessions so we had a pretty good flow of traffic. I didn’t notice any other vendors there in the area so I think we had some really nice treatment from GitHub.


INTERACTIONS: We didn’t have any set scripts or demos, so I often projected our .NET core site and flipped through our repos, showing GitHub :heart: Microsoft and vice versa. Then I started playing with some core console apps and VS Code, deployed to a Linux VM, ran some hello worlds. Jeremy Foster (your local Pac Northwest Developer Evangelist – get to know him!), was showing off some really cool stuff as well like this thing that visualizes package stores, including NuGet, into a mini universe. People would look up from their Macs and stare once in a while, stop talking and smile sometimes. As I was projecting this (and selected Linux) a dude with dreadlocks looked up and yelled “.NET is cross-platform!? WTF!?”. He said the words not the abbreviation J as he almost fell off his chair. At this point a couple people came up and wanted a demo, and the hello world started over. That was fun. People seemed genuinely interested in the why we’re doing this. I wasn’t trying to sell .NET in any way, I was showing how we’re working in the open on a cross-plat .NET and that seemed to resonate. It was really a no-pressure, cool vibe going on all day.



  • “.NET is cross-platform and open source? WTF?!”
  • “Does Windows Server support package managers yet? I went to Linux because it was so easy to install and manage.”
  • “Is that the new Edge browser? It looks pretty cool.”
  • “I’m looking at Azure but I need to store really large music and video files, which storage options are available?”
  • “Is that Windows 10? What does the start menu look like?”

I met a lot of great developers from Dropbox, GitHub, InterWorks, and many small startups doing all sorts of great things and even chartable causes. I met a 25-year old teacher from Ghana that was teaching JavaScript programming, business and marketing there. You could tell he really loved what he was doing there. I met many different developers working on many different technologies. It was great exposure to the wide world of open source. Mike Bartlett, a PM on Gitter, also came up to thank the .NET team for embracing open source and GitHub. He even asked me for feedback to improve Gitter!

I also met Matthew Reily, a .NET developer who came up to me and asked for a picture. Not only is he a .NET developer, he’s also runs a .NET User Group in Oklahoma so we chatted for a while about community. He asked how he could help us. I showed him how to get started with our repos, our contribution guides, as well as gave him my content from my SVCC talk on Intro to .NET Core so he could spread the love. THANKS MATT!


Silicon Valley Code Camp

Silicon Valley Code Camp is the largest code camp in North America typically drawing 3000 attendees. It’s celebrating its 10th year – I have spoken at 9 of them. This year SVCC took place at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. A new venue and it was awesome. Peter Kellner, head organizer and ASP.NET MVP, landed on the Channel 2 news for the first time! I could tell he was really excited. No, really, that’s Peter REALLY excited. 🙂

There are a lot great sessions taught by experts in the community on a variety of subjects and technologies. This year we also had 4 tracks with heavy Microsoft technology influence. It was great to see a lot of Microsoft technologies here this year and the local MS developer relations team, led by Joe Shirey, were all there presenting sessions as well. We also had a large booth with Surface’s, tons of book giveaways and lots of .NET stickers from yours truly and the .NET Foundation.

BTW, you can order your own .NET stickers and .NET T-Shirts! GET ON IT.

I zipped in and out on Sunday for my 10:45AM session: Introduction to .NET Core and ASP.NET 5. The room was full, probably held about 60 people so there was definite interest in this topic which was great. When I asked who were .NET developers, everyone but one person raised their hand (he was an Android/Java developer). So I geared the talk appropriately. Most of the session is me on the command line and in VS Code, but I did show Visual Studio the last 15 minutes or so. What really resonated for this audience were a couple of things:

  • Explaining the “magic” behind Visual Studio: Show the command line steps to build a simple hello world
  • Take some time to explain package managers, project.json, dnu restore, and the deployment options. No GAC & app local deploy was welcomed
  • Take time to explain the ASP.NET in-memory compilation where we’re not building to disk anymore so you can edit C# code, save, and just refresh the browser
  • Build an app on Windows and deploy it to Linux. This got applause. We’re opening a lot of doors for folks.
  • Explain that we’re trying to build an open ecosystem for .NET and support the community for building libraries and components that fill gaps. This is the mission of the .NET Foundation.

Afterwards I did have a couple questions on how to approach a migration from webforms app to ASP.NET 5 as well as their libraries. Migration guidance is important, particularly for porting libraries to core. We’ll get there as we build out our documentation as we head to release. Remember we’re still building this thing! 🙂 I will be happy to take this show on the road and expand upon the basics of ASP.NET 5 development for the new developers and our current ones.

You can download the deck and demo script I used here:



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