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Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

An Code Monkey goes to Tech Ed 2006 - Day Two - Sessions 1 & 2

November 8, 2006 14:27 by Andrew Westgarth

This morning I have attended the following:

Both of these sessions were very intriguing, indeed I decided to attend the ADO.NET session rather than Bradley Millington's session on LINQ as I felt this would be of more relevance to my professional work.

Jackie spoke on a number of topics and produced a large number of demoes to illustrate his points. He spoke about using the DataSet Designer within Visual Studio and indeed highlighted this as an under utilised tool in Visual Studio. Jackie also covered using DataViews, handling mutliple table updates and controlling XML Data. What I found really intriguing was the power of performing asynchronous data access, therefore enabling your page ui or forms ui to build whilst the data access is occurring in the background, this is something I will look into further. Another topic of interest was Batch Updating, instructing the DataAdapter to update the data in use in batches as opposed to per row a database call. This has serious performance issues when working with large amounts of data.

Danny Thorpe, on the other hand, gave a presentation on the Windows Live Developer platform. Many of you may be aware of, Live Messenger, Hotmail and the Live identification service (formerly Passport). These are applications that we use already in our daily live and touch hundreds of millions of users everyday. This is a massive potential audience. Danny introduced us to the SDKs that are available for the Live Platform - you can download them from These include SDKs for Virtual Earth and Messenger to just name two. This is an area of expansion for Microsoft and is all about taking the burden from the server side and using the vast array of power available at Client Side to shoulder the burden of the request and build of various elements in the application. I have already used Microsoft Gadgets, which is a site whereby third parties post details of their gadgets - small applications which provide a function, such as weather forecasts, share monitoring, and clocks to name just a few. These are extremely powerful and very portable, they can be hosted in, Windows Vista Sidebar. Check them out they are really cool!

Virtual Earth is a web based implementation of a mapping facility which can be overlayed with data and functionality which is suitable for your organisation or purpose. We were shown a demo of how a Real Estate Agent in the states has utilised Virtual Earth to provide a very rich User Experience. Also recently released, Virtual Earth 3D, allows 3D renderings of buildings within the maps and full terrain imagery! I can certainly see some avenues which I want to explore in the use of Virtual Earth as an alternative to MapPoint. A question raised was how do these two relate and the answer is unclear, there is no definition as yet as how far this could go although they have distinct audience markets. I can see a use for Virtual Earth in some work I have done and am planning to do. I'll let you know how I get on with the SDK, and if any of you try it let me know how you get on!

An Code Monkey Goes to Tech Ed 2006 - Day One - Sessions

November 8, 2006 00:30 by Andrew Westgarth

Today I attended, along with the keynote, the following sessions:

  • Developing Rich Web Applications with AJAX - Shanku Niyogi
  • Developer and Designer AJAX Bliss with Visual Studio and Expression - Brad Abrams
  • Triple XXX - XML, XPath and Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT) - David McMahon and Richard Costall
  • A Lap Around the New Enhancements for Web Developers in Visual Studio 'Orcas' - Bradley Millington

All of todays sessions were great and very interesting. In Shanku's session he talked about the Beta 2 release of AJAX and the advancement of the control toolkit, plus he illustrated the intended roadmap. I've spent the last 11 months hearing about ATLAS/Ajax and have to say I had been tending to switch off, but this session has reignited my passion for AJAX and rejuvenated my fervour for investigating further.

Brad Abram's session focussed on splitting the work of the Designer and the Developer over two products Expression Web Designer and Visual Studio. But maintaining the fact that both could work on the same project, but work seamlessly to bring their own expertise to the fore.

Triple XXX - Dave and Richard presented a highly interesting, easy to understand an appreciate session. I have been using XSL/T on a website, which I inherited from a former colleague,, and have had to pick it up fairly quickly and this session helped me to learn more and reinforce the work I've been doing so far.

Final session of the day, for me, was a lap around 'Orcas' by Bradley Millington. This session gave an insight into what is coming next in the next version of Visual Studio. A lot of powerful additions have come from user feedback such as improved performance, better designer support - indeed Orcas has a new implementation of the designer which includes such things as split view (code and UX). Also added is full support for AJAX integration, better CSS support, LINQ and JScript Intellisense and debugging to name just a few. Certainly, Orcas seems feature packed and is something I expect to see/hear/blog more about in the coming months!


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