Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

Post VBUG Mini Conference in Birmingham

May 7, 2008 23:27 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 05:28 by Andrew Westgarth

Last night when I was reviewing my blog feeds, I noticed an interesting post by Thomas Deml - 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 ( 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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VBUG Newcastle - VS2008/SQL2008/Win 2008 Launch Event - 30th April 2008

April 16, 2008 05:25 by Andrew Westgarth


Following Microsoft's launch event for Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 we are having our own 'launch' event in Newcastle with a strong Developer bias.  We are very pleased to welcome from Black Marble, Richard Fennell and Rik Hepworth, who will be joined by Iain Angus.

This evening will be content and swag packed so please arrive between 18:00 and 18:30 for a prompt 18:30 start.  The event agenda is as follows:

18:30 Start - Windows Server 2008 - Rik Hepworth

What’s new in Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008--in addition to incorporating new capabilities and enhancements to existing features--includes a number of improvements in the core OS that enhance the Operating System’s capabilities; such as features aimed at increasing the ability of Windows Server 2008 to support highly critical workloads by improving operational reliability, reducing system failures, and easing management. We will also discuss improvements in other related elements of the platform that help Windows based systems and services move an organization's IT Department forward.

Virtualisation and infrastructure

The new Windows Server Virtualisation technology, Hyper-V, and Presentation Virtualisation technologies like Terminal Services RemoteApp are core features in Windows Server 2008. This session will provide you with an overview of virtualisation in Windows Server 2008: the scenarios, features, and benefits that make server virtualisation important. Virtualisation management is becoming a critical tool for improving overall manageability for the IT environment; join us in this session to learn how Hyper-V and our management technologies build a strong flexible platform and improve overall manageability.

Securing your IT infrastructure with Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 offers rich capabilities for securing your IT Infrastructure and proving tools to ease with compliance mandates. This session will discuss the Windows security and compliance features such as Network Access Protection, Right Management Services, Active Directory Federation Service subsystem, why auditing is important and how to configure an audit policy in the updated Windows Server 2008 event subsystem.

19:15 Break

19:20 SQL Server 2008 - Your Data, Anytime, Any Place - Iain Angus

The new version of SQL Server offers a host of new features and enhancements that promise to improve performance, increase security, and make life easier and more straightforward for database administrators and developers. This talk will give an overview of the new manageability improvements in SQL Server 2008 that enable you to administer, monitor and maintain your data platform infrastructure while reducing the time and cost of management, as well as covering the TSQL enhancements and reporting features in SQL Server 2008.

20:05 Break and Refreshments

20:20 Visual Studio 2008 - Richard Fennell

Visual Studio 2008 enables developers and IT operators to dramatically reduce the amount of time, effort and code required to develop and deploy real-world Web applications. ASP.NET 3.5, Visual Studio 2008 and IIS 7 each provide much improved administration and management support, on top of dramatically improved performance. Also covered are support for ASP.NET AJAX, JavaScript enhancements, rich support for CSS standards and rapid development of data-bound Web pages.

  • Utilize data from any data source more smoothly with LINQ, a set of language extensions to VB and C#
    Craft Web applications more easily with an improved design surface
  • Ensure application correctness more easily with integrated unit testing
  • Develop rich Web experiences with Visual Studio, ASP.NET AJAX and Silverlight
  • Create stunning new user experiences incorporating media and vector graphics using Windows Presentation Foundation.
  • Build Office Business Applications that are reliable, scalable and easy to maintain.
  • Develop Windows Mobile applications with a great developer and end user experience.
  • Connect applications, users and processes more easily with Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation
  • Collaborate and communicate more effectively across the team, ensure software quality and to provide visibility into the development process with Visual Studio Team System.

21:05 Swag Giveaway!!!
21:10 Close

Location: The Castlegate, Melbourne Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2JQ -

To register visit -

IMTC 2008 Review - IIS7 For ASP.Net Developers - Slides, Demos and Feedback

April 16, 2008 04:59 by Andrew Westgarth

Irish Microsoft Technology Conference 2008 A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend and speak at the Irish Microsoft Technology Conference in Dublin.  This was and enjoyable experience and further lessons were learned and experience gained in the delivery of my session. I have forwarded my slide deck and demos onto the organisers at IrishDev but if you would like to get to them now, please find them listed on my Slides and Resources Page on this blog.  There you can find the slide deck and an archive file of the extensibility example which I demoed.  One warning with the example however is that there are a couple of practices employed in the handler and module which are no longer considered best practice.  For this reason, due to feedback received in regards to the demos and in light of the fact that I was far from happy with the deliverance of my demos I do intend to screen cast this element of my session at a later date - hopefully sooner rather than later :). - the new IIS Community Portal

I also mentioned in my session that I would be starting a page on my Blog dedicated to IIS resources - as the list of resources on my slides could have been about six slides long at a minimum.  Essentially the best resource and one stop shop will continue to be the IIS Community Site - but I will also be listing any articles which I feel are of particular relevance and also a listing of the blogs which I read on IIS and IIS7 in particular, this is made up of IIS Team members and MVPs.

Finally I would like to thank the delegates and organisers of IMTC 2008 for the opportunity to attend and speak at the conference, it was great to meet you all and spend some time with you.  I hope to see you at other events in the future.

Categories: Events | IIS
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Developer Day Ireland - Saturday 3rd May 2008

April 15, 2008 09:38 by Andrew Westgarth

Developer Event? Ah go on, go on, go on.


DDD Ireland


Check it out at

Microsoft TechNet DesignIT Competition - Vote Now

April 8, 2008 14:37 by Andrew Westgarth

Yesterday I received an email from the Microsoft TechNet DesignIt Competition team, asking me to review the five finalists entries and to vote for the one which I thought should win.  Then I noticed that VBUG's very own Peterborough Coordinator, Jyoti Majithia, was one of the finalists.  We have posted an article about the competition on the VBUG Website -

DesignIT 2008 - An Innovative Way to Make a Difference

Voting is now open and will close at 5pm on Friday 11th April 2008 with the winner being announced on Monday 15th April.  The winning contestant will see their design implemented for the charity of their choice to the sum of £15,000.

 View the five finalists' entries and Vote Now  Good Luck Jyoti!

Categories: Microsoft | VBUG
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IMTC 2008 - IIS 7 for ASP.Net Developers Teaser

April 2, 2008 08:11 by Andrew Westgarth

Here is a brief introduction to my session IIS 7 for Developers which I will be presenting at IMTC 2008 in Dublin on Friday 4th April 2008 at 11:30.

Categories: ASP.Net | Events | IIS
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My Xbox 360 Doesn't Understand Me!

April 2, 2008 01:48 by Andrew Westgarth

Shortly before Tech Ed Developers 2007 I bought myself an Xbox 360.  I'd resisted buying a new games console for many years, my previous machine being a Sega Master System :-o.  My reasoning behind not buying one was that I don't get enough chance to play games as I'm usually busy with plenty other things, i.e. community events, preparing sessions, research, going to and playing football, going out etc, etc.  I succumbed though because I was able to get hold of an Xbox 360 through an excellent deal on the High Street.  I still don't have many games but I can see the possibilities and when I do get chance to play the odd game, usually enjoy it especially over Xbox Live. Logo I recalled a post by Richard Costall - What's your Xbox 360 Saying? whereby there is a service offered called 360Voice and this enables your Xbox 360 to write it's own blog - so you get to hear what your Xbox is thinking.  I thought it would be quite funny to see what my Xbox 360 would say about my gaming activity, especially as I am not a very heavy gamer.

It would appear my Xbox is not very happy with me, as I have not been on my Xbox for over 31 days now and it's decided to refuse to blog :).  Check out what it's been saying over the last few weeks at I guess it just doesn't understand that it's not the only thing of importance in my life, it also has to battle with VBUG, Community, Speaking Events, Sunderland AFC, Facebook, Twitter.....

What is VBUG All About? With Added Silverlight Goodness

April 1, 2008 15:00 by Andrew Westgarth

Recently VBUG Vice Chairman Tim Leung, prepared a brief video about the work we do at VBUG and the support we give developers in aiming to achieve our goal of Developing the Developer!, for the Microsoft VS08/SQL08/Server 08 Launch Event in Birmingham.  We didn't want to waste all of Tim's hard work and not use the video for anything other than the launch event, so last night I took a look into how we could stream the video using Silverlight and was surprised to see how easy it is :).

First I was concerned with bandwidth usage, yes it's a small video but still I didn't have any idea of how many view it would receive, but then I remembered that Microsoft are offering Silverlight hosting as part of the initiative to get developers working with the technology.  They provide 10GB of storage for videos and applications with an aggregated 5TB of Bandwidth per user account per month.  All you need to get an account is a Windows Live ID.  So off I headed to and setup an account :). 

Next I uploaded our video.  From here you can choose to create an application for your content.  I didn't have time for this and to be honest I haven't had chance to do a great deal with Silverlight yet.  So then I was stumped at how to embed our video on our pages at but then whilst managing my uploaded video I noticed that it offered a code snippet with details of how to insert an iFrame into any web page, so off I went and copied this snippet into our VBUG home page and voila we now have streaming video content on our web site. 

I've also put the video here at the bottom of this post, to demonstrate how easy it is and to answer a few questions about what VBUG is and does.  Let me know what you think :).

Categories: ASP.Net | VBUG
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VBUG Spring Developer Conference - Thursday 24th April 2008

March 31, 2008 03:47 by Andrew Westgarth

On Thursday 24th April 2008, in Birmingham, VBUG will be holding a 1 day Spring Developer Conference.  We have a great collection of speakers lined up for the day and the agenda is of a high quality with some excellent content.

Sessions and Speakers:

  1. Visual Studio 2008 - Mark Quirk
  2. Workflow Foundation 101 - Maurice De Beijer
  3. WPF Business Apps (2 Parts) - Oliver Sturm
  4. Silverlight Showcase - Richard Costall
  5. Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007 - Dave McMahon

The fee for the conference is £119.00 ex VAT for VBUG Members and £149.99 ex VAT for non VBUG Members - for more details and to book see

Categories: Events | VBUG
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