Impressions of the DevTeach Conference

DevTeach Montréal 2016

Last week, Montreal was host to the DevTeach conference. DevTeach has historically been a conference for Microsoft developers, but last week’s edition branched out a bit by including a mobile training module and a JavaScript training module, dubbed “Front-end” for the purposes of the conference.

The event was held right downtown, at the Omni Mont-Royal hotel. The event rooms were well laid-out and access was easy; the overall management of the event was excellent. The organizers decided not to set up a dining room for meals; after helping ourselves to the buffet, we were encouraged to spread out throughout the lounging and exhibit areas, presumably to facilitate networking. It was an interesting idea, but unfortunately it didn’t really work.

DevTeach Montréal 2016

Opening Presentation

The conference started with a bang, with the keynote address given by Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell, of the popular .NET Rocks site. Carl and Richard provided an overview of the history of software development over the last twenty years, and concluded with their vision for the future. The entire presentation was delivered in a humorous tone, which totally worked, and ended with thought-provoking observations on the future of IT and software development.

The Conference

We participated in the conference in three capacities: sponsor/exhibitor, presenter and visitor.

As exhibitors, we found it difficult to ensure visibility and accessibility, especially the first day, but the organizing team was extremely cooperative and made every effort to facilitate contacts and discussions. In the end, we made some great connections.

As presenters, our teammate Joel Lord was treated like a lord. The hosting of presenters is definitely DevTeach’s strong suit. However, we did end up concluding that the JavaScript/Front-end training module that we had positioned ourselves in was not the biggest draw for visitors.


DevTeach had an impressive array of presentations. Besides the “Front-end” module, there was:

  • A “back-end” trail, basically everything having to do with ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core;
  • A “software architecture” trail, with high-level discussions on development practices;
  • A “cloud” trail, i.e. Azure;
  • A “big data” trail, geared towards SQL Server.

In total, there were some 85 sessions. Since it would be too long to talk about each session, here are the trends noted during the three days of the conference:


Sessions on the “new kid on the block” were varied: platform, language, tools. The sessions were geared toward the beginner level, but the subjects covered were very topical.

.NET :

Plain old .NET — the framework — is passé; now, it’s all about integration (Azure, OpenID, services). Also mentioned was ASP.NET Core, which should soon be ready for production. In short, the choice of subjects was a reflection of .NET’s level of maturity. The quality of the presentations was consistently high.


DDevOps, DevOps and more DevOps. The latest fad was front and centre at DevTeach, and it soon became apparent that Azure and Visual Studio Team Services are jumping on the bandwagon. As for .NET subjects, Azure presentations reflected the maturity of Azure, and the quality of the presentations was even. That said, the so-called “cloud” training module was in fact just Azure, as no other supplier/platform was covered.

Architecture and Practices

High-level subjects were varied and mostly well presented. The best presentations often adopted a “food for thought” angle. Those presenters who attempted to dive deeper had mitigated success. The DevOps and Microservices trends were the focus of all the key presentations.

Overall, our DevTeach experience was very satisfactory. The inclusion of sessions on front-end technologies seemed to work, and we hope to see a deepening of this approach in future years. Because we’re definitely going back!

DevTeach Montréal 2016