Continuing on my discussion of what I learned at HDC...
The Web - Take 2 Keynote
I have to admit, I didn't take notes during this session. Unfortunately, this means I don't recall much of the specifics from this session, except that the speaker suggested that despite the turmoil in the markets this week, we can expect a lot of new and exciting things in technology.
Pragmatic XML Services
One practical thing I took away from this session was that with web services, loose coupling is critical to changing your service without forcing all your partners to change their applications too. Also, the notion of "one true schema" is a myth, and can be a trap. Finally, I liked the suggestion to write unit tests in a completely different language (like with the Java toolkit). That way, you will more quickly find problems that will only surface with non-.NET consumers of the service.
Space is Data Too
This session focused on the business problem of showing store locations that are close to a provided address or zip code. Since I've solved this problem before, I was curious if there were better approaches to cracking this nut. As it turns out, my approach was dead-on for SQL 2000 (which happened to be the database I used), but there are other approaches for SQL 2005 and the new SQL 2008. The key with SQL 2008 is the addition of several data types that represent spatial data. The session covered how to use these new datatypes for various scenarios. I hope I get an opportunity to take advantage of this - I think this work is quite interesting.
Overall - it was a great conference! It sounds like they intend to come back next year, and I expect it will be just as good. It is a great alternative to high priced conferences like VSLive and TechEd, especially if you are in the Twin Cities.