I gave a presentation on Thursday evening at the Gold Coast .NET SIG on code generation in .NET. The presentation went reasonably well. It was good that it even happened at all - I left at 4:00 PM for what (under normal traffic conditions) should have been a 1 hr drive, the presentation was supposed to start at 6:30. At 5:15 I had progressed perhaps 1/10th of the journey in traffic conditions that at best could be described as abysmal. The 3 lanes in the direction I was going were totally gridlocked. My favourite moment of the whole trip was when after the gridlock had passed the car directly in front of me slowed, and finally stopped. The driver then put on the hazard lights and proceeded to get out and push the car from the centre lane into the narrow verge between the lane and a concrete wall while traffic whizzed past him. Poor guy. If I had not been insanely late I would have helped. I finally arrived at 6:20~ish and raced around like a mad-man until I found the room I was presenting in. The presentation seemed to go OK, all my demos worked and I even squeezed in an ad-hoc code demo based on a question from the audience.
I’m still struggling a little when it comes to presenting larger code samples, I think the best thing to do is what Dominic did in his recent generics presentation - Don’t do big pre-written code samples, do it all on the fly, however while you can do this to demonstrate language features it can be hard to do in other instances. One pattern that I have seen from watching other presenters is that some run the demo before they show the code. This is presumably to give the audience some idea of what to expect when they “walk through” the code (which they do after the code is run). It seems to work as a presentation techinque, but I still struggle in the “walk through” - how much detail is too much?
In other news I now officially have GMail envy. Somebody I know has GMail. They have described it in some detail to me, using prases like “the best web application I have ever seen” and “I hate to use the word ‘perfect’ but I can’t think of a better way to describe it” and “It feels local” and “It’s rich, but lite!”. Wow. I want it. I also want to know all about the back end technology.