Decompiling Codemash 2015

Brett Berliner, Lead Developer

One of the largest software conferences in the Midwest recently wrapped up as Codemash 2015 returned to Sandusky, Ohio. The 8th annual event took place the first week of January and brought together over 2500 attendees and 200 speakers to share knowledge, discuss trends and demo new software and frameworks.

Strategically scheduled in early January, the conference gives developers an opportunity to refocus their goals and direction for the coming year. Mindstream was there – here's what we took away.

.NET dominates conversation

Most CodeMash attendees are .NET developers who want to write better code and find new strategies and patterns to help them do their job. As a result, many of the most popular speakers and events are focused around the Microsoft stack. This year was no different, as three of the most well-known speakers – Jon Skeet of Google and Microsoft's Dustin Campbell and Kevin Pilch-Bisson – presented to packed session rooms. Their talks were focused on what's next for .NET with the upcoming releases of C# 6, Visual Studio 2015 and Roslyn, the new .NET compiler platform.

We are anticipating, in particular, the introduction of C# 6 and we're excited to take advantage of its many subtle upgrades. The next version of the language is better optimized syntactically, featuring many shortcuts to aid in writing clean and efficient code. One constant challenge every developer faces is figuring out ways to check for invalid or incomplete data. Noting this, the C# development team has focused on creating reusable patterns that encourage error handling that is both simple and succinct. Utilizing these new features will both boost code quality and cut down on development time.

Roslyn poised to improve page performance

The biggest buzz of the week came from the sessions on Roslyn, the .NET compiler platform. In particular, the exciting announcement that the .NET compiler platform would be moving to GitHub. The platform's compiler APIs, which are exposed as services, have also been rewritten in C# and VB to align with the languages they are compiling.

Roslyn will help address a major challenge our development team faces on a daily basis – performance impacted by exponential growth in web traffic quantity and request size. In the past, the best way to examine speed was tracking after traffic had occurred. Now that our developers will have more information about the compilation and execution speed of their code, these issues will be easier to identify before they happen. We will be able to run through more scenarios and get more data during development than ever before.

Front end becomes a focus

As an organization, we're constantly optimizing our front-end processes, which also improves overall software quality. Boosting development speed and integrating more smoothly with our back-end code tend to be constant topics of conversation. This year's CodeMash featured the largest amount of front-end developers yet, and we were excited to trade knowledge with other industry leaders.

Most of the front-end sessions centered on several new frameworks and software that we have successfully infused into our workflow over the past few months. Integrating build processes like Gulp and modularized CSS using Sass, have resulted immediately in better software for our clients. The fact that these systems are gaining market share rapidly and providing similar impact to other organizations is extremely exciting.

Closing thoughts

CodeMash always brings expansive knowledge and unrivaled passion, and 2015 was no different. Our team will take that infusion of energy and run with it – incorporating new technologies and strategies to become better developers every day. And, there's a great chance we'll be back in 2016 for even more.




Brett Berliner

Brett Berliner Lead Developer