Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

MSDN Roadshow Newcastle - Review

May 19, 2008 17:43 by Andrew Westgarth

On Friday 16th May 2008, Newcastle hosted the MSDN Roadshow event - www.msdnroadshow.co.uk.  This was the last Roadshow event of 2008 and if the other locations were anything as packed as the Newcastle one then I reckon they must have been great successes.  I was on hand as ever representing the UK Community showcasing VBUG, Developer Day events and the rest of the great work done by other user groups throughout the UK.  I got to speak to a lot of new faces and plenty of information was picked up from the UK Community Area where I was.  I hopefully will see a lot more of those new faces at local events and even hopefully national ones :).

Once again the DPE Team put on an excellent day of Technical Sessions and fed all the attendees well with a selection of pastries, ice creams, sandwiches and drinks throughout the day.  The concept of hosting the events in cinemas is one which I am familiar with having presented in a cinema when over at IMTC in Dublin last month.  For a presenter this format is great as we get to use massive displays and have a comfortable position in which to talk to a large audience.  From the other side attendees get to see presentations on a great screen, in comfortable surroundings.  The only downsides of facilities such as cinemas, are the time it can take to fill and empty the screen, the lack of an actual breakout area (we used the Cinema Foyer - which worked well) and the darkness of some cinemas.  I very much like the venue as an option and wouldn't be surprised to see similar being used again.

The technical content and delivery by Mike Taulty, Daniel Moth and Neil Kidd was as usual a very high standard.  With some very refreshing humour added, particularly by Neil - who wasn't afraid to point out some of Microsoft failings :).  All in all this was another excellent day.  Well done to the DPE team and all those who played a part in putting the Roadshow together as it was another enjoyable and useful event and we hope to see the team back in Newcastle again!

IIS 7 and FrontPage Server Extensions

May 9, 2008 10:48 by Andrew Westgarth

I've been taking a look at the web stats from my blog over the past few days and have noticed a lot of hits on a previous post - FrontPage Server Extensions for IIS7 and thought I would follow that up with a link to a great series of blog posts which Robert McMurray has been writing recently about Life after FrontPage Server Extensions  Hope this post helps anyone searching for info on IIS 7 and FPSE and the ways forward.

Categories: IIS
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Expression Suite 2.0 has been Released - Really! Without Source Control!! Yes Still!!!

May 9, 2008 09:00 by Andrew Westgarth

Yes it's true Microsoft's Expression Suite 2.0 has released.  Expression Suite 2.0 actually launched last Thursday, 1st May 2008, and to be honest I almost missed the fact if I hadn't seen it in The Coffee House forum on Channel 9!  I have been waiting with baited breath for the next release of the Expression Suite of tools - Expression Blend, Expression Web, Expression Design, Expression Media and Expression Encoder, primarily to see if the true developer and designer working together successfully dream that Microsoft has been feeding us for the last two years really was about to come true!  I currently work in an organisation where we are trying to use Microsoft's Team Foundation Server for source control and are trying very hard to get our team of designers to use source control, like a lot of other organisations I would imagine.  As soon as I heard that the suite had been released I immediately went to download a trial version of Expression Web 2.0 to see if there were any major differences between the release version and the beta version I'd downloaded a few weeks beforehand.

I digress a little, what I was really looking to find out was whether or not Source Control integration had finally made it into the final release of the Expression suite of products.  And do you know the answer?  Yep it's a big fat NO!  This is really annoying and is a deal breaker for myself and a lot of other people I've spoken too about this problem.  Apparently the Expression Teams are well aware of the need for Source Control integration but it did was not felt that it was a priority for this release, taking Expression Web 2.0 for example, the priorities were deemed to be SilverLight and PHP support into the IDE and closer integration with the Adobe Toolset.  Excuse me, Microsoft, but how about some closer integration with your own toolset - i.e. TFS and SourceSafe for example.  How can we preach to designers that they should be using the Expression Suite when we still need to install, for example, Visual Studio with TFS Explorer to allow them to check out files seperately from their workflow and then work on them in Expression Design.  This story is no different to what they already have to do to work with Dreamweaver and other Web Design IDEs,  To find there is no Source Control integration across the entire suite is crazy and a massive oversight by Microsoft.  I believe they are discounting existing customers in preference for gaining new customer base - i.e. PHP users in the case of Expression Web as opposed to listening to elements which were identified as major issues in Expression Suite 1.

This major and glaring omission is a deal breaker for myself and others.  Also this is not making the integration of the great Designers and Developers working together seamlessly with Visual Studio and Expression, be it Blend, Web or whatever other part of the suite.  Until there is clear integration with at a minimum Microsoft's own Source Control Products how can this vision be a reality.  At present the indications are that we'll have to wait for version 3 for this massive feature, which I'm guessing will be released sometime after the Mix Conference next year!!!  Another year we'll have to wait!!

For the record - I've calmed down a bit since last Friday when I was first going to write this post :o.  As soon as I hear any responses on this issue - I will blog them and hopefully we'll eventually get there.

Categories: Microsoft
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VBUG Newcastle - Web Client Software Factory with Gary Short

May 8, 2008 23:50 by Andrew Westgarth

On Wednesday 21st May VBUG Newcastle welcomes Gary Short, who will be delivering a session on the Web Client Software factory.  Gary is a Technical Evangelist for Developer Express and he is also a C# MVP.  He also helps to run the North East Scotland .Net User Group.  We're very pleased to have Gary presenting and look forward to seeing him in Newcastle.  Gary describes his session as:

Architects and developers can use the Web Client Software Factory to quickly incorporate many of the proven practices and patterns of building Web client applications. These practices and patterns have been identified during the development of many Web client applications and their components.

The Web Client Software Factory provides an integrated set of guidance that assists architects and developers in creating composite Web applications and page flow client applications.

In this talk I will introduce you to the software factory and then I will demonstrate the power of the factory by building a line of business application in real time

We are once again at the excellent Castle Gate facility on Melbourne Street in Newcastle.  For more details and to register go to the VBUG Events page for this event - http://www.vbug.com/Events/May-2008/VBUG-Newcastle-The-Web-Client-Software-Factory-with-Gary-Short.aspx

Categories: Events | VBUG
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Internet Information Services Resources Page

May 8, 2008 23:50 by Andrew Westgarth

After announcing I would do this shortly after my session at IMTC, unfortunately I have only just managed to get round to actually completing the page and putting it live.  I have written a page and added it to my blog listing all of the blogs and IIS Resources I use to research and keep up with developments on IIS - IIS 7 Resources.  I hope you find this useful and I'll keep adding to it as I find new and interesting ways and resources in my quest to stay up to date.  One thing I must stress is that the first point of call should always be the excellent IIS community site - www.iis.net.

www.iis.net - The IIS Community Site

Categories: IIS
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Back to training for the Great North Run!

May 8, 2008 23:49 by Andrew Westgarth

Bupa Great North Run Yep I got back into my training at the weekend.  Managed to get myself going and got out in the beautiful weather we've been having in the North East, and completed a little over 3 mile run on Saturday morning with no problems.  I'd previously not managed to get out over the previous weeks after not being at home very much and having very little time to get out.  I'm now in the process of keeping up the training and setting up a charity donation collection page.  More details will follow soon.  For now I'm just pleased I've managed to get training again, and I'm very much looking forward to keeping it up and getting out and experiencing the great places in the North East where I can run, for example the excellent seaside we have in the North East.

IIS 7 PowerShell Provider featured on PowerShell Podcast

May 8, 2008 23:49 by Andrew Westgarth

Recently I blogged about the new IIS7 PowerShell Provider, and this was picked up by the people behind the PowerScripting Podcast - who commented on the post to say they would be included in the next PowerScripting podcast.  Well that podcast has now been released - Episode 23 - IIS7 Special and includes a great interview with Thomas Deml, Senior Program Manager on the IIS Team, who goes into more detail on the roadmap and features for the IIS 7 PowerShell Provider.  Check it out now it's a great listen and if you're interested in PowerShell as a whole, why not subscribe to the podcast?

Categories: IIS
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VBUG Newcastle - Heroes Happen Here Launch Event - Review

May 8, 2008 22:48 by Andrew Westgarth

Rik Hepworth Covering Windows Server 2008 Last Wednesday, the 30th April 2008, we held the VBUG Newcastle Heroes Happen Here Community Launch Event.  We were very pleased to have speaking for us, Richard Fennell and Rik Hepworth from Black Iain Angus Covering SQL Server 2008Marble and Iain Angus from Agilisys.  The evening was full packed, information overloaded and a full compliment of swag was on hand.  Rik started first and covered Windows Server 2008,  ably followed by Iain who covered SQL Server 2008 and Richard rounded off the sessions with Visual Studio 2008.  Each had only 45 minutes to cram in as much information and very well they did it too!  Its extremely difficult to get so much information into such a short time and still manage to stress the focus on the most salient points.  Pizza was on hand to provide sustenance to the whole crowd and the evening ended with a veritable delight of swag.  On the night we gave away five launch packs (including licenses for VS08 Standard, SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008), two copies of Vista Ultimate with SP1, three TechNet Pro subscriptions, and each attendee left with at least an exam voucher and a Channel 9 Guy!!  Many wondered what Channel 9 is and were duly informed!

Richard Fennell Covering Visual Studio 2008All had a good night, saw some excellent content and left with swag.  Big thanks to our new venue hosts - The Castle Gate - this venue is held in an old Power Building from the old Newcastle Tram System and  they have some great sized rooms, including a large hall capable of seating 550 ish people.  If you're looking for a reasonably priced venue in the centre of Newcastle, check them out!  We hope to be back there soon!  

To view the slides from the event go to - http://www.blackmarble.co.uk/SectionDisplay.aspx?name=Publications&subsection=Conference%20Papers

Categories: Events | VBUG
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Post VBUG Mini Conference in Birmingham

May 8, 2008 07:27 by Andrew Westgarth

On Thursday 24th April 2008, VBUG held a mini conference in Birmingham, covering VS08, WPF, WF, MOSS and SilverLight.   This was a great day and delegate feedback was good.  Big thanks to our speakers - Mark Quirk, Dave McMahon, Gary Short (who stepped in at very short notice), Oliver Sturm and Richard Costall.  During the day amongst the great sessions delivered, I also delivered a very, very brief opening keynote and a lunchtime nugget on Developing Apps with Virtual Earth - all of the slides and samples from the keynote and nugget can be found on my Slides and Resources page.  Any questions please contact me and I'll do my best to answer them as quickly as possible.

Categories: Events | VBUG
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PowerShell Provider for IIS7

April 16, 2008 13:28 by Andrew Westgarth

Last night when I was reviewing my blog feeds, I noticed an interesting post by Thomas Deml - http://blogs.iis.net/thomad/archive/2008/04/14/iis-7-0-powershell-provider-tech-preview-1.aspx on the use of PowerShell with IIS7.  I have been intriqued by PowerShell for a while and have seen a couple of great sessions at recent Developer Day events.  The IIS Team are currently working on a PowerShell Provider with which you can administer IIS and you can get hold of the first Tech Preview now - .  I particularly like command line utilities as it reminds me of sitting in DOS and other command Shells.  I love the appcmd command-line utility which can be used to administer IIS7.  I like the new UI for managing IIS7 too but sometimes I just like to get a little geeky and sit and work in a command shell window :).

This morning I was sat in the garage, waiting for my Car to have it's MOT test, and I had downloaded the PowerShell snap-in walkthroughs (http://learn.iis.net/page.aspx/447/managing-iis-with-the-iis-70-powershell-provider/) last night and sat and worked through them in the garage waiting area.  There are nine walkthroughs so far and they guide through Administering Sites/Apps/VDirs/AppPools etc.  If you are comfortable using PowerShell, I haven't done a lot of work with it but picked the syntax up quickly, then this is definitely worth a look.  I haven't decided yet which I prefer but the fact that we are now getting so much development, new features and so many new tools for IIS7 can only be great news.

Categories: IIS
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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.

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