Friday, 14 October 2011

TechDays 2011 Review

muligheter_techdaysOn the 6th of September I travelled to Oslo to attend the first day of TechDays 2011, the new brand for the TechNet and MSDN Live events. It was held in the Clarion Hotel in Gardemoen which made it very handy to get in an out the same day. There was a mixture of tracks covering subjects like Web, BI, Cloud, and Client.

It was a really interesting day and I got to the following sessions

  • Intro to JavaScript/jQuery with Gøran Hansen
  • Advanced analytics with Excel and SQL Server 2008 R2 Data Mining with Rafal Lukawiecki
  • Collaborative Business Intelligence with Rafal Lukawiecki
  • DDD and the presentation layer with Gøran Hansen

Arif Shafique a developer evangelist with Microsoft stepped in and did a session on HTML5 and Windows Phone 7 due to a last minute schedule change.

Gøran’s first session was an intro session which for me was a bit low, but I like hearing what Gøran has to say and he does talk a lot of sense, which is also why I went to his DDD session. I also bumped into Alex York who did a session the following day as well as Fredrik Kalseth who was also speaking that day on making the enterprise ready for HTML5 apps.

I enjoyed Rafal’s sessions quite a lot as Rafal is very well prepared, speaks with an enormous amount of enthusiasm for his subject and also presents in a very clear and understandable way. If you want to learn more about data mining and SQL Server, Rafal has launched his new Project Botticelli website where he will have videos and training available.

I attended as part of NNUG and later in the day I was interviewed by Petri Wilhelmsen about the role of community in a developer’s learning and also about the Norwegian .NET User Group.

Thanks to Petri and Anders Borchsenius for the invite up and for combing MSDN and TechNet Live into a good event. Hopefully this will be one again next year

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


MVP_FullColor_ForScreenTime for the obligatory MVP post.

On the 1st of October this year, I was waiting for notification of whether or not I was going to be renewed as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional. The process is simple. If you make the grade you get a nice congratulatory email and if you don’t, well you don’t get any email.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit apprehensive about it and at around 16h00 I was checking mail on my phone a bit too often. By about 16h30 there was still no sign and I started to see on Twitter that folks had been receiving their MVP mail so I took it that I probably didn’t make the cut this time around. At the time I was down in Egersund with my wife and her parents and we were due to head back to Stavanger around then.

Once I got home around 18h00 I logged back into twitter and noticed some people saying to check their spam filters as the mail seemingly had got caught by GMail’s spam filters this time around. And low and behold, there was a mail from 16h00 saying “Congratulations 2011 Microsoft MVP!”. In the vein of Wrath of Khan “Spam Filtersssssss”. It was a happy moment there. Thanks to my MVP Lead William Jansen for all his work last year and here’s hopefully to another MVP summit in Seattle next year.

And to complete the Khan metaphor, here is the famous scene! Complete with echo in space :P

Monday, 10 October 2011

DDD North Wrapup

logoOn the 8th of October 2011 the Developer Developer Developer (DDD) brand of conferences came to Sunderland in the form of DDD North. The University of Sunderland was invaded by attendees and speakers all ready for a solidly packed day of talks and discussions around all aspects of software development and management. The topics for the day included Behavior Driven Design, Android Development, Continuous Delivery in software and NodeJS.

The DDD brand is a growing brand of software conferences that strives to bring a top class conference event for a low low price (actually the cost of admission to the attendees is free!). Speakers are asked to submit their sessions online and then the community votes for what sessions they would like to see. This is a great concept as this means that it is down to the community to decide what sessions they would like to have at their conference.

The man behind DDD North is Andrew Westgarth one of only two IIS MVPs in Europe. Andrew did a fantastic job of organizing the event and had a great team of support and helpers to ensure a very smooth running event. Thanks to all involved for making from a speakers side of things, a conference that was very easy to speak at.

My session on Defensive Programming 101 was picked up for this event (thanks to those of you that voted for it) and I had the pre-lunch slot.Original credit Ian Battersby

Original photo credit Martin CunninghamThis can be a difficult one because its usually when the attendees are hungry and wanting to get out early. So I shortened my session by five minutes so that they could be first in line for their lunch and also I bribed them with sweets to ensure that they stayed awake.  It was a fairly full session with good audience participation so thanks to all who came to it. Original picture credit for the photo on the right to Ian Battersby and for the photo on the left to Martin Cunningham.

The lunch was surprisingly good. A good quality sandwich, a choice of drink, some fruit and a chocolate bar. I am always glad when event organizers put fruit in the lunch menus because its too easy to put just junk and nothing healthy in the packs. It aint just the mind that you are feeding on a day like this so kudos for that.

During lunch there were some Grok Talks, which to the uninitiated are short talks about a subject. They tend to be about 10 minutes long and don’t, contrary to popular opinion have to be on something technical. If you are trying to get into public speaking these types of talk are a great intro on that.

One of the things I love about conferences is the interaction, networking and discussions between sessions. During the lunch break I got to talk to a lot of people including Peter Shaw of LIDNUG and later there was a spirited discussion between some speakers and delegates about the way certain products were going.

After lunch, I caught Paul Stack’s talk on CI/CD. It was a highly enlightening talk delivered by a great speaker. Paul answered questions, opened it up to the floor and gave some very inspiring advice on how to enter into the world of Continuous Delivery and why it will save you time, money and heartache. He made some very compelling arguments on why you should be doing this.

The post DDD North dinner was generously sponsored by those nice folks at DevExpress. They very kindly treated a lot of hungry developers to a proper English dinner of roast beef and pork. The chefs at the Stadium of Light did this traditional fare justice and it was a great end to a solid day of learning and inspiration.

A word of thanks again to Andrew Westgarth for a fantastically organized and well run event. I hope that DDD North runs again. The general buzz from the community was that it was beyond expectations and will become a fixture on the northern developers event calendar.  There are plenty of pictures from the event from Craig Murphy, Martin Cunningham and Ian Battersby.

To follow up on my session here are the links for the different security tools, websites etc.

UPDATE: 11-October - Code samples from my presentation can be downloaded from here

And my presentation on SlideShare

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

70-515 Essentials – Exam Topics Hot List

This post comes from a comment on one my earlier posts that the 70-515 prep guide was a little too much for the average person who is revising for the exam. It was a very valid comment and the poster also suggested maybe doing a “hot” or “must read” list for this exam and I have to say it was a very good idea.

So here is that list. A quick note on how I compiled this list. I took what I know from previous exams and what are considered the hot topics in ASP.NET 4 and what also has changed from ASP.NET 3.5 to 4. This is not an insiders guide, it is just one guys attempt to predict what may or may not be on the exam. If you are already certified on .NET 3.5 this will give you an idea of what you need to look over.

If you are so inclined check out he the change lists at ASP.NET 4 and Visual Studio 2010 Web Development Overview

Now the caveat:  This guide is for use at your own discretion and the author accepts NO liability in relation to incorrect or missing information. Also note that using this guide to study does not imply you will pass the exam

Now with that out of the way, here goes nothing. With each topic and part that I have placed on this list, I give an explanation where possible as to why its there.

Developing Web Forms Pages (19%)

Developing and Using Web Forms Controls (18%)
Implementing Client-Side Scripting and AJAX (16%)
Configuring and Extending a Web Application (15%)
Displaying and Manipulating Data (19%)

Developing a Web Application by Using ASP.NET MVC 2 (13%) – Depending on your knowledge of MVC2 this will be a make or break.

I will probably update this list with some more information when I think a bit longer about but for the moment this is the hot list for the MCTS 70-515 Web Applications Development with Microsoft.NET Framework 4.

Thanks to the original comment poster for the idea.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Resources from DDD Scotland 2011

On Saturday 7th of May 2011,  I presented Defensive Programming 101 at DDD Scotland 2011 in Glasgow. This was the second time I have presented at DDD Scotland and I was thankful to be invited back.  Like last year, it was the same presentation.

I was lucky in my presentation that most of the audience was awake and didn’t mind me asking them questions. Or maybe they did and just didn’t complain! The session went smoothly enough and I would like to say sorry for the human failure in the middle when I mixed up my demo a bit.

Thanks again to the organizers, who did a fantastic job in making sure the day went smoothly.

Based on last years feedback I changed the slides, to remove most of the wordy slides which in turn, made my presentation into a collection of pictures. However at the end I had a lot of resource links and I am publishing them here for those who wanted a copy of them.

Resources Slide 1

Resources Slide 2

The demo bits are available from here and here (they are done as separate posts)

Finally the copy of my presentation on SlideShare

Monday, 10 January 2011

MCTS ADO.NET 70-516 – Objectives List Part 1

Another new year, another set of posts to help you study for an exam. This series focuses on the objectives for the exam 70-516: MCTS Accessing data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4.

Disclaimer: This guide is for use at your own discretion and the author accepts NO liability in relation to incorrect or missing information. Also note that using this guide to study does not imply you will pass the exam.

Modeling Data (20%)