Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

PDC 07 - Los Angeles October 2nd - 5th 2007

December 13, 2006 01:55 by Andrew Westgarth

Whilst waiting for Visual Studio 2005 to publish my updates to my Blog, I noticed a thread on Channel 9 about PDC and lo and behold on the PDC website the dates for next years conference. From what I've been told by people who have been to a PDC, it is well worth going to if you get the opportunity, and you will be amazed by the sheer scale of the event. For further information and to keep up to date with the announcements visit the site and subscribe to the PDC RSS Feed.


December 13, 2006 01:19 by Andrew Westgarth

I welcome comments on my blog, and unfortunately they appear to have not been working up until now. Thanks to Guy for letting me know. I have also added a new link to comments at the bottom of each post and this also indicates how many comments have been placed against an individual post, click this link to go through to add comments on that particular post.

VBUG North East EVO Launch (Exchange, Office & Vista) - Newcastle January 30th 2007

December 11, 2006 21:19 by Andrew Westgarth

Great News! The next VBUG Meeting in the North East will be the VBUG EVO Launch event. This will be on a much smaller scale than the Microsoft Event being held in TVP on 19th & 20th January 2007. In approximately two hours, myself and Gary Rowntree, Leeds VBUG Regional Coordinator, will be giving all attendees an insight into the EVO products, primarily Vista, Office and .Net 3.0.

We'll try to cover as much as we can but obviously won't be able to cover everything, but hopefully it'll be a fun and informative evening for all. So for more information see the VBUG website for more information and details of how to register for the event. Currently the details of the Venue is to be confirmed. Keep an eye on the VBUG website and this blog as confirmed details will be posted as soon as they're confirmed!

Code Snippets

December 11, 2006 21:13 by Andrew Westgarth

I was talking to a colleague the other day and introduced him to Code Snippets. This is one of many features which are in Visual Studio 2005 and I'm sure that there are many other I don't know about but would find useful. My colleague was amazed at the simplicity but also the potential of this feature. I have developed my own snippets and they are very easy to do. To use code snippets, from within VS2005, go to Edit -> Intellisense -> Insert Snippet and this displays the snippet manager for you to select a snippet from. Snippets are great for removing the repetitiveness of entering the same structures many times, i.e. property constructs, if statements and try catch loops. Take a look at them and let me know what you think.

Also let me know your favourite tip/treat for Visual Studio 2005.

CSS Control Adapters Released

December 11, 2006 21:11 by Andrew Westgarth

This release has really slipped past my radar. This is a set of adapters which allow ASP.Net developers to use the Menu, GridView, DetailsView, TreeView, DataList and Membership server controls in ASP.Net 2.0 but output code using CSS as opposed to tables. THis is great for anyone who is aiming to be compliant and to aim for accessibility ratings. Indeed I use them on this blog and they are also used on Brainbugs Tutors, a website I developed for a tutor in Yorkshire, UK. I also use them in projects at work. Now they have been fully released it is time to update any code that used the Beta releases. The CSS Control Adapters can be found at along with documentation and samples.

Categories: ASP.Net | Microsoft
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Windows Vista and Office 2007 UK Developer Launch - 19th & 20th January 2007

December 8, 2006 15:15 by Andrew Westgarth

There is to be a two day Vista and Office 2007 Developer Launch event at the Microsoft UK Campus in Thames Valley Park, Reading on Friday 19th January 2007 and Saturday 20th January 2007. The two days enable developers to see the new features in the Vista and Office and on the Saturday, there will be an opportunity to gain some hands on experience developing applications for both.

Day One (Friday) will include sessions detailing various new features of each platform and how to take advantage of the new products, and the keynote will be delivered by Sanjay Parthasarathy, Vice President of the Developer and Platform Evangelism Group at Microsoft. Day Two (Saturday) is a day in which delegates will have an opportunity to write some practical code against the products, Vista in the morning, and Office 2007 in the afternoon.

For more information and to register see the following link -

For those who cannot make it to Reading for the in person launch there is also going to be a very extensive online launch. You do not need to register for the online event just go to the above URL and you will be able to view the sessions online.

VBUG North East - December Drinks

December 7, 2006 00:57 by Andrew Westgarth

As many of you will know, I am the North East Regional Coordinator for VBUG, and last night we had a get together in Newcastle to discuss the year ahead. A small group of us met to discuss the developments expected in the next year, new events, new developments but primarily we had a very fruitful discussion about topics which members would like to see covered in the support meetings next year.

From such a small group (There were seven of us), we managed to come up with enough topics to cover a meeting a month where possible. This is something I am actively working on and I am planning next year's events now.

The topics that were discussed were

Phew! Thats quite a lot of interest and sessions to plan, I'm going to have a busy few weeks!

If you are a VBUG member and attend the Support Meetings, and have any requests for topics, contact either me directly or VBUG and let them know and I'll do my best to source a speaker and see if we can fulfill the request. Also if you've never been to a Support Meeting, Member or Non Member keep an eye out for the next event in your region on the VBUG website and register and come along.

Microsoft Expression Products

December 7, 2006 00:38 by Andrew Westgarth

Yesterday Microsoft announced that Expression Web has started shipping. This is the first in a collection of products with the aim of helping integrate Designers into the full development team. The aim of the Expression products is to enable Designers to work on the same solution as Developers, use Source Control etc, all the while enabling the designer to do their bit then the developer can do their work and remove the need for Designers to have to rework their designs once the development work has been done. The ultimate goal is have seamless integration of this role in the whol SDLC.

Expression Web is the first of five products - Expression Web, Expression Blend (Formerly Interactive Designer), Expression Design (Formerly Graphic Designer) and Expression Media which is a new tool which aids asset management and aids workflow across the suite. There is also an Expression Studio planned and this will include all of the collection.

Expression Web is shipping now and the other products in the collection are due to ship in Q2 2007. Check out the Microsoft Expression website for more information.

This is an exciting set of tools and will give Teams more cohesion and should aid production environments immensely

Podcasts - 4 Chaps from Blighty and NextGenUG

December 6, 2006 00:51 by Andrew Westgarth

The Four Chaps From Blighty have started publishing a Podcast. The Four Chaps in question are Guy Smith-Ferrier, Steve Scott, Brian Long and Steve Tudor. They are the latest to produce a Podcast and very entertaining it is too. Their first Podcast covers how to give great presentations and in the latest one they discuss the recent Developer Day.

Another great series of Podcasts are produced by Richard Costall and Dave McMahon of NxtGenUG. Their Podcasts usually include a number of interviews and views on all that is happening in the community. The series has become compelling listening and well worth a listen, I have even had the pleasure in receiving a number of mentions and have been interviewed on a couple of occasions too.

Go and look them both up!


December 4, 2006 21:30 by Andrew Westgarth

At DDD4 on Saturday it was announced that there is to be a Web Developer Day held at Microsoft UK, Reading on Saturday 3rd February! This is going to be a days event for all Web Developers and Designers and will cover topics such as CSS, AJAX and User Experience. This should be a great event and I am really looking forward to it! As a web devloper personally, I'm really looking forward to mixing with the community and learning from their new experiences. Phil Winstanley is organising it and from what he's told me it is really shaping up to be great. More news will be released and I'll post the registration details as soon as I hear about them. In the meantime why not subscribe to the rss feed - to keep up to date with announcements.


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