A short report with my impressions of the conference I attended last week, the first Italian edition of the BASTA! conference, focused on .NET technologies.

I attended only the first day of the conference, so this is just a limited report (I had hoped to send it earlier, but the last few days have been very busy, while preparing my trip to the US for the Delphi Developer Days event).

Anyway, BASTA! Italia was a rather small event, as it was the first time for this confernece and it was held in Rome, which usually attracts smaller tech crowds than Milan. Next year they'll apparently run it in Northern Italy. It was also in a location well outside of Rome, close to the airport and nice for car travellers, but very far from the railway station. On the other hand the people of Software & Support Verlag set up a very nice event, and were very kind with speakers (the speaker dinner was great, the special dinner on the previous evening even better!)

What about the content? The event was good for me to get in touch with developer and speakers of the .NET community (Italian and international). Among the talks I attended, I heard Dino Esposito in his opening session, touching on the coming .NET 4.0. he focused on C#, mentioning contractual programming (already available in Delphi Prism), dynamic typing (almost already available in Delphi Win32) and parallel programming (something everyone is trying to get right). He enphasized the switch to MVC architectures in ASP.NET, the increasing adoption of jQuery, and the new data binding approaches.

There were several sessions on Entity Framework, but the impression I got from talking with some of the speakers is that those who used NHibernate would prefer to remain on it rather than switching to EF, although it was mentioned that version 2.0 will solve some of the current problems. It was also mentioned that the current EF is really tuned to MS SQL Server.

I don't know these technologies well enough to judge, but the impression one could get was that Object Relational Mapping was the big thing of this year, while outside of the Micrsoft world it was new and trendy ten years ago. Odd. Moreover, even if I used OR/M for different tasks over the years, I'm not convinced that for server side web applications they are they way to go, quite the opposite. But this is another story.

I attended also a keynote by Ted Neward, with whom I talked over the two dinners mentioned earlier. He gave a nice talk on evolution of programming languages, covering functional languages (he's currently working on F#) and domain specific languages. The driving forces are (in his view) virtualization, better tools, and improved linguistics. He claimed (and I fully agree) the object-oriented approach is not the only way to build software. In private talks he also pointed me towards Scala.

What else? I saw some long time friends like Hadi Hariri and Oliver Sturm, plus many Italian fellow speakers, starting with Dino Esposito. I gave a vendor session for Advantage Database and my own talk on REST vs. SOAP. While researching for it I looked into the Azure platform, and I'm now convinced that even Microsoft has jumped to the REST camp. As I title the last chapter of my Web Services paper for Delphi Developer Days, "The war is over, and REST won."