ProgressNEXT 2019 – A Developer’s Perspective

Last month (May 7th – 9th 2019), I had the opportunity to attend ProgressNEXT in Orlando, FL. The opportunity to attend was presented to me by my good friend Sam Basu (@samidip), Developer Advocate at Progress Software (@ProgressSW). For a long time, my experience with Progress Software has been focused on the user interface developer tools offered under the Telerik brand name. After some additional research, I learned that Progress Software has a broad range of tools and platforms that, from a developer perspective, present additional opportunities to deliver solutions to our end users and customers.


The team at Progress Software is awesome. I was fortunate to meet Courtney Ferrucci and Danielle Sutherby who help me with the logistics of getting to ProgressNEXT. Their attention to detail is impressive especially given the fact that they were key participants in planning ProgressNEXT for over 500 attendees. They truly made me feel welcomed the entire time of the event and were wonderful hosts.


Upon arriving, I was greeted by the excellent team operating the registration desk. Registration was flawless. My registration was located, badge printed, and swag bag presented in what felt like under a minute. Once registration was completed, I strolled over to the evening reception where attendees were presented with a wonderful selection of food and drinks. There was also a live band playing great music which was perfect for the evening and a live alligator welcoming us to Florida.


The first day of ProgressNEXT began with a great opening session. Loren Jarrett (@LorenJarrett), Chief Marketing Officer, welcomed all of the attendees and built up our excitement for all of the value we were about to receive from the additional session speakers and other conference sessions.


The next speaker was the CEO of Progress, Yogesh Gupta. He gave a wonderful presentation on Modern Application/Systems Architecture and very eloquently demonstrated how various tools from Progress can provide value when considering/designing these types of solutions.


Once the general session ended, it was time to get into the details of the various technologies that were either a part of or could be leveraged within the Progress ecosystem.


The first technical session for me was titled “Getting Started with NativeScript”. Having a background in web development, you would think that I would have naturally transitioned from Angular/Typescript to NativeScript for mobile development but that was not my chosen path. So I decided to attend this session to get a better understanding of what NativeScript was all about. Rob Lauer (@RobLauer) was the presenter and he did a wonderful job sharing with us the basics of NativeScript and how it matched up with other similar frameworks. We also built a simple NativeScript app and learned how NativeScript fits into the Kinvey Platform.


So what is this Kinvey Platform? Well, I heard Kinvey mentioned in the couple of sessions I attended already and did not know anything about it so I thought it would be a great idea if I attended the “Getting Started with Kinvey” session. Tara Manicsic (@tzmanics) was the presenter and she did a wonderful job introducing the Kinvey Platform and how, as developers, we can leverage features such as storage, authentication, and serverless functions. The platform provides those core functions that just about every modern application requires. It was pretty easy to use and I will definitely try it out on some future projects to acquire some hands on experience. Building on my initial introduction to Kinvey, I attended a session led by Ignacio Fuentes (@ignacioafuentes), Progress Sales Engineer, that covered how to improve mobile app offline experience using Kinvey. It was a great session and demonstrated how to leverage Kinvey’s technology to provide offline data storage and synchronization.


If you know me, then you are aware that one of my many technology passions is Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms. ProgressNEXT hit a home run by having Sam Basu (@samidip), Progress Developer Advocate, deliver a presentation on Xamarin.Forms. He touched on the standard target platforms: iOS, Android, and UWP but also cover other options for utilizing Xamarin.Forms: MacOS, Tizen, and web. Sam, as always, did a great job covering the latest features and opportunities for leveraging Xamarin.Forms to create cross platform applications.



Following the Xamarin.Forms presentation, I attended a session led by Carl Bergenhem (@carlbergenhem), Product Manager, Web Components @KendoUI and @KendoReact, that covered what’s coming in R2 2019 of Telerik and KendoUI. There is a lot of great things in this release which is now available and you can check out here: From my perspective, the most exciting updates were for UI for Xamarin (of course) and UI for Blazor. It is amazing how the Progress team is rapidly evolving the toolset, especially giving that Blazor is not a generally available product (at the time this was published) and UI for Blazor is available.



After seeing all the “goodness” planned for KendoUI, I was fortunate to attend a session led by T.J. VanToll (@tjvantooll), Principal Developer Advocate at Progress. His session was titled “One Project, One Language, Three Apps.”. In this session, he focused on NativeScript and React Native and how they both can be used to build web, native iOS, and native Android applications. The demos were great, and he also covered when and when not to use each tool.



The final ProgressNEXT technical session I attended was led by Carl Bergenhem (@carlbergenhem), Product Manager, Web Components @KendoUI and @KendoReact. In this session, Carl covered Blazor, the client-side .NET framework that runs on any browser. (Yes, c# executing in the browser!) Blazor utilizes the Mono .NET runtime implemented in WebAssembly that executes normal .NET assemblies in a browser. Carl did an awesome job introducing Blazor and how a .NET developer can leverage the technology in building applications.



I had a great time at my first ProgressNEXT conference. The Progress team did a wonderful job with all aspects of this event. The venue, food, entertainment, scheduling, general and technical sessions were excellent. As a developer who was only familiar with the UI/UX tools Progress creates, attending ProgressNEXT has greatly expanded my perspective and understanding of the Progress ecosystem. I highly recommend attending ProgressNEXT and hope to see you at ProgressNEXT20, June 14-17, 2020 in Boston, MA.


CodeStock 2015 Recap

Once again, I had the privilege of attending CodeStock in Knoxville, TN. last weekend.  The CodeStock team really knows how to put on a great conference.  In 2014, there were about 450 attendees.  This year, 900 attendees!  Yes, doubled in one year!  That should give you a good indication of the popularity and the quality of the conference.  Also, the conference relocated to the Knoxville Convention Center and I must say, the facilities were great.

This year it was our pleasure as attendees to hear from keynote speaker Scott Hanselman, @shanselman. (  If you haven’t had the please of hearing Scott live, add it to your bucket list.  It was an absolute treat and he is hilarious.  I have a little something extra to say about Scott but I will save that for later.

CodeStock’s sessions were broken down into five categories: Design, Development, Entrepreneur, IT Pro, and other.  I mainly work on Web projects, so I focused on the Design and Development categories. (Although, I did attend a couple of Entrepreneur sessions given by some folks I respect.)  Day one for me consisted of talks on Dependency Injection by James Bender, @JamesBender, AngularJs by Dave Baskin, @dfbaskin, ASP.NET vnext by Sam Basu, @samidip , and An Honest Look at a Successfully Software Consultant by Jim Christopher, @beefarino .  All great talks by some of the best presenters out there. Day two was more of the same, Diving into Angular 2.0 by Josh Carroll, @jwcarroll , Deep Dive into ASP.NET 5, Jeff Fritz, @csharpfritz , and Web Application Security by Steve Brownell.  Again all great presentations!

CodeStock is a jewel of a conference.  Great talks, great attendees, great team, great value, and great price!  I have attended this conference for the past three years and it has only improved year after year.  The CodeStock team has earned my respect and support and I plan to continue to attend.  If you are looking for a great return on your conference dollars, CodeStock is a conference you should have on your list.

One last thing.  I was sitting in one of the conference rooms waiting for the next talk, actually looking down at my laptop, and Scott Hanselman stopped by and said hello.  Of course, I was a quite surprised when he said “hey, we follow each other on twitter, right?”  I don’t send 100 tweets per day, barely 10 per week but he recognized me out of his 130k+ followers.  I thought that was incredible given his popularity and just the number of people he comes in contact with.  He and I shared a 10 min conversation.  During our chat, he asked me what I was working on and even offered some advice. (invaluable advice)  I’m writing this because I have “mad” (great) respect for someone of his caliber that is genuinely attentive to the community.  As I said earlier, if you haven’t heard Scott @shanselman ( speak live, add it to your bucket list.  It will be a real treat.