Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

DDD5 Voting - Last Week!

May 14, 2007 14:59 by Andrew Westgarth

Developer Day 5 session voting is into it's last week. The voting closes on the 19th May 2007, so the next few days are your last chance to vote for the sessions you want to see at Developer Day 5 on Saturday 30th June 2007. The agenda is due to be published on 26th May 2007 and then registration is set to be opened on 28th May 2007!


May 8, 2007 00:19 by Andrew Westgarth

Just a reminder that FEST07 ( the one-day Developer event organised by those NxtGen Boyz : Rich, Dave and John, is just around the corner. It's on May 23rd at Microsoft UK in Reading and the headline speaker is the outstanding Rafal Lukawiecki who has topped the polls at TechEd for the last 7 years. He's speaking twice and will be talking about Vista Security and Future Trends in Software Architecture. The other speakers are look pretty good too, with Oliver Sturm, Mike Taulty and Daniel Moth being joined by Lorna Brown of Microsoft Research which should be a really interesting session. The Boyz are also going to do one of their 'gameshows' as a finale in which I understand large amounts of 'swag' will be handed out. They?re also giving away an XBox 360 with games check out -

If you are a member of NxtGenUG its a free event. If you're not a member its a measly ?59.99 for a day of information, fun, food and of course 'swag'. It's not a Microsoft funded event, and the guys have to cover some costs of speakers and incidentals. To register just go the NxtGenUG site, its all pretty simple. Any probs drop them a line at

This looks like it's going to be special and different event, best get along ...

Oh there is also a Geek Dinner the night before is Zi Makki's Wiki, and you can go to this even if your'e not attending the event itself.

EVO Launch Scotland - Slides, Answers, Links and Samples

March 31, 2007 00:09 by Andrew Westgarth

On Tuesday, 27th March, I delivered the EVO (Exchange, Vista and Office) Launch event at the Microsoft Offices in Edinburgh for VBUG Scotland. In this packed session I attempted to cover as many of the new features for Developers to be aware of in the new products Vista and Office 2007. Unfortunately the session overran and thanks to those who stayed that extra bit longer to hear some more. The slides are linked below, if you wish to take a look at them and if you have any questions please email me using the contact form and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

I enjoyed coming up to Scotland and enjoyed delivering the event, gained more experience and had some interesting conversations with delegates, listening to opinions on the new software and their experiences with Vista and Office. Questions were plentiful and interesting and a couple which I had to do some further research on are detailed below.

  • Network Access Protection - How is it configured and how is it managed in infrastructure - is it a Vista only feature?
  • Manifest files in UAC aware applications, are the elevation rights defined for application or process?

To tackle Network Access Protection, this is a feature which enforces policies on networks as to requirements for clients to connect to the network, this is achieved by checking computers against a defined security policy. The infrastructure involved primarily includes servers running Windows Server "Longhorn" and a Network Policy Server (NPS) which enables centralised policy configurationa and evaluation of the client health state. There is also a Network Access Protection Client currently in beta testing for Windows XP Clients. For more information see the Technet Network Access Protection pages.

Manifest files in UAC aware applications are used in applications to inform the Operating System of what the application needs, this will become a mandatory requirement for applications as Operating Systems evolve even further. The manifest schema is used to allow developers to set attributes to detail the requested execution level - for more information see the "Developer Best Practives and Guidelines for Applications in a Least Privileged Environment Documents on MSDN.

Resources, Slides and Code Samples from the session

Daniel Moth's Blog - A great source for lots of Vista examples, Daniel covers UAC, Sidebar, Sideshow. Indeed the samples I used were created with the help of his MSDN Nuggets

Check out Channel9's coverage of Windows Vista, plenty of Videos and Screencasts to take a look at

Windows Vista Developer Centre on MSDN and go and download the Windows SDK (warning this is a very big file!).

For more resources see the slides from the session. The slides are available in both Office 2007 - pptx format and Office 97-2003 ppt format:

Hello World SideBar Gadget Sample

Top Answer! People in our survey said..... NextGenUG Fest07

March 30, 2007 18:11 by Andrew Westgarth

Last month I posted details of the NxtGenUG Fest07 event being held on 23rd May 2007 at Microsoft's Offices in Reading, UK. This is NxtGenUG's first conference and the agenda is looking great, they have Rafal Lukawiecki (Voted top Tech Ed Speaker for last 7 years running!) speaking on Vista Security! Other speakers include Dave and Rich, Daniel Moth and Mike Taulty, Oliver Sturm, Lorna Brown and the day finishes off with what's bound to be a fun end to the day as, NextGen's very own Les Dennis and Vernon Kaye - Dave and Rich play Swaggily Fortunes! For full details of the agenda see the Fest 07 section on the NxtGenUG Site.

Special Note: The early bird price for non NxtGenUG members of ?54.99 expires on 31st March 2007 so if you're interested register soon to take advantage of the special price.

New User Group for the Bristol Area

March 23, 2007 14:39 by Andrew Westgarth

Guy Smith-Ferrier, one of the Four Chaps From Blighty, emailed this week to tell me of a new user group for the Bristol Area. Here's the information Guy sent through:

The UK has a new user group, The .NET Developer Network ( The .NET Developer Network is a free user group based in Bristol (England) that serves .NET developers in the South West of England. The aim is to develop and promote the .NET developers, architects and IT pros of Bristol and the South West. Through monthly meetings we expect to generate a lively community and act as a focal point for the professionals of this area.

The first meeting is on Monday 23rd April 2007 (St. George's Day) and features a whole evening with Mike Taulty (Microsoft Developer Evangelist) giving two sessions on LINQ:-

  • Introduction to Language Integrated Query ? Language Changes in C# 3.0 and VB9 that facilitate LINQ
  • LINQ and Advances for Data Access

More details available here. To attend you need to be a member (it's free, just register) and then sign up for the meeting (see the details on the site).

Come down to the first ever .NET Developer Network meeting and be able to tell people that you were there at the very beginning.

NextGenUG EVO Launch Event

March 8, 2007 01:55 by Andrew Westgarth

A lot of the community groups are holding EVO Launch events at the moment and NxtGenUG recently held their event in Coventry and from the article on their site it looked to be a complete hoot! Of particular interest is Dave McMahon's show stealing ReadyBoost song, check out the article and watch the video, hosted on Soapbox, of Dave's ReadyBoost Song.

DevWeek 2007 - Days 2 And 3 (27th/28th Feb 2007)

March 8, 2007 01:54 by Andrew Westgarth

Apologies for the delay in writing this post things have been extremely manic since my return from DevWeek. As intimated in my previous post I had the pleasure of attending the first three days of DevWeek 2007. Day 1 is covered in my blog post entitled DevWeek 2007. I was attending and representing VBUG during my breaks and spare time, we had a stand at DevWeek, and we were on hand to sign up new members, offer support and answer any questions delegates had about VBUG and the UK Community.

Day 2 - 27th February 2007

My second day at Devweek, the first day of the conference proper, started with a keynote from Jeff Prosise who took a lighthearted, informative and very enjoyable (albeit in a very hot auditorium) look at the development of Web Applications over the last decade, ranging from pre ASP apps, using ISAPI filters and VB applications through to the current ASP.Net and AJAX enabled applications. Jeff also highlighted the emergence of WPF/E. I then attended a session by Keith Brown on Securing ASP.Net 2.0 Applications. This covered standard exploits such as filtering input, sql injection, cross site scripting and methods for abaiting the issues with these problems. Keith also highlighted the resources from Microsoft Patterns and Practices, these can be found under the following guide from MSDN - Improving Web Application Security: Threats and Countermeasures.

In the afternoon I attended two sessions from Jeff Prosise - one on development of Custom Providers for ASP.Net 2.0 and the other on Asynchronous ASP.Net Programming. These were both extremely interesting sessions and in the first session Jeff spoke about how the Provider model which exists within ASP.Net 2.0 can be extended and that you can write your own providers quite easily, for example if you already have a membership database and do not want to port this to say the SQLMemberShipProvider Default store, for example, then you could quite easily write your own provider to communicate with your Membership data store. For further guidance and example code download the Provider Toolkit from the ASP.Net Section on MSDN.

In the early evening there was a drinks reception for all delegates to chat to other delegates and to chat to all the exhibitors and to take part in the prize trail. The prize trail required delegates to answer questions about each of the exhibitors and in return their answers were entered into a prize draw to win a number of prizes. This was a great element of the conference and I met and spoke to some very interesting people from various locations within EMEA who were attending DevWeek.

Day 3 - 28th February 2007

Day 3, my final day at the conference, as exhibitors were only exhibiting on the 27th and 28th. I attended sessions by Dino Esposito, Dominick Baier, Keith Brown and ritz Onion.

Session One was Dino Esposito's Architecture session on building Real World Business and Data Layers using Design Patterns. In this session Dino covered the terminology involved, defined a BL and DAL and gave clear indicators on how each should be architected and how pattens can be used to produce desire goals, he also relayed that information on to how it is used in practice to give delegates clear ideas on how to move forward with their solutions.

Session two was the turn of Dominick Baier to cover IIS7 for ASP.Net Developers. This was a session I had been eagerly awaiting and it was clear by the numbers crammed into a very small room that this was a topic which provoked lots of interest. As previously mentioned on this blog, IIS7 is something which has captured a lot of my interest of the past few months and will command a lot of my time and research over the coming months as I prepare my sessions for VBUG North East and VBUG Leeds which are being delivered at the end of May and early June. Dominick highlighted new areas which I hadn't seen covered at Tech Ed and increased my knowledge and gave me new areas to investigate. The new architecture of IIS7 was covered in detail and especially the integration of ASP.Net within IIS7, Dominick also covered a number of security aspects and also Windows Activation Services, which enables the hosting of WCF within IIS7. This was a great session and you can expect to see more blog posts about IIS7 in the coming weeks and months.

Session three saw Keith Brown cover Migrating ASMX and COM+ to WCF. This session covered the migration process to move existing Web Services and COM+ services to WCF services. Keith demonstrated the interoperability and integration arguments and possibilities. Essentially standard ASMX can be integrated and migrated fairly easily, the recommend ed guide for handling ASMX with WSE 2.0 is to upgrade to WSE 3.0 and then migrate or integrate.

At session four I saw Fritz Onion cover CSS Control Adapters for ASP.Net 2.0. These are a set of Control Adapters which have been developed to enable the built in controls within ASP.Net 2.0 such as Menu, TreeView, GridView and Datalist to output CSS Compliant code replacing, for example with the Menu Control, table structures with Unorder Lists (UL) and ListItems (LI) enabling more compliant and accessible code, and these enable the separation of styling from the code. Fritz also covered the development of browser files and developing controls to take advantage of the adapters.


All in all my attendance at DevWeek was a worthwhile experience as it allowed me to meet with a new section of the community and to cover topics which I haven't had chance to cover on a detailed basis. However I am unsure as to it's value compared to my attendance at Tech Ed last November. In DevWeek's favour it is the only week long Microsoft based conference in the UK and for developers who do not have the opportunity to travel and get to events such as Tech Ed then it represents a good investment in their time. Speaking to other delegates however, it seems there has been some overlap of sessions from last year, which is disappointing. I would also recommend that the sessions are cut to one hour long as I believe ninety minute sessions are too long and along with comments from other delegates felt myself switching off after 60 minutes. I think this length of sessions has been prved to work at DDD, WebDD and the VBUG Conference. I would also recommend more cutting edge sessions which focus on new and emerging technologies, whilst it is good to have a balance, it is also useful to be exposed to new technology and developments, especially if delegates don't have much chance to see these in their day to day lives. I would also suggest that the layout of the exhibition hall with all the tables and chairs isn't great for encouraging delegates to mingle and communicate with each other.

DevWeek 2007

February 26, 2007 19:00 by Andrew Westgarth

This week I am attending DevWeek 2007 at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. This is the first time that I've attended DevWeek and I have the pleasure of attending the first day's preconference seminars and the first two days of the main conference. DevWeek is in it's 10th year and is organised by Nick Payne of Bearpark Publishing.

VBUG are exhibiting at the conference and during the session breaks and during the lunch hour I will be on the VBUG stand available to answer queries about what VBUG and the UK developer community can offer delegates, if you are attending DevWeek and would like to talk about VBUG or anything else to do with the UK developer community come and find me on the stand. If you're not attending but have questions please contact me using the contact form.

Today (Monday) I have spent the day in a preconference seminar delivered by Dino Esposito. The topic of this seminar was "Windows Workflow Foundation - a developer's walkthrough". Although I have known of and have attended sessions on Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) over the course of the past year but I have not had the opportunity to actually use the framework in any of my projects. WF has many uses in many applications although it must be stressed that it is only a framework for developers to use to add Workflow features to applications, it is not a fully product. WF is now used in many of Microsoft's latest products, indeed I am currently involved in a project which requires the use of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS2007) to publish content managed websites and the evidence of WF being used in this product is extensive and whilst there are a number of workflows available out of the box it is also possible to create your own workflows to be used with MOSS2007.

The preconference session was a great way to see how the developers can use the provided activities, develop custom activities and use the facets of WF to provide Workflow for applications. Although this was a very intensive session, four concurrent one and a half hour sessions, this was a very useful session and I have a better idea of how WF can be used in a number of applications both personally and professionally.

Currently to develop Windows Workflow Foundation Applications with Visual Studio 2005 you will need to install .Net Framework 3.0 (If you are running Windows Vista it is already installed as part of Vista), Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for .Net 3.0 and Visual Studio Extendions for WF. Expect to see even more integration of WF in the new IDE we are expecting in Visual Studio 'Orcas', scheduled for release later this year.

The rest of the DevWeek Conference is made up of seven tracks, three .Net, one ASP.Net/AJAX, one Architecture and two SQL DevCon. There is a wide range of topics on the schedule, ranging from Windows Presentation Foundation and Windows Commmunication Foundation, to SQL Server Reporting Services and Practical Patterns in .Net development. I am looking forward to seeing a sessions on ASP.Net Security, Asynchronous ASP.Net and more on IIS7 for developers. I'll try to blog about my experiences in each session throughout the week where possible.

Developer Developer Developer Day 5 - Date Announced

February 15, 2007 01:06 by Andrew Westgarth

The date's been announced for Developer Developer Day 5. Craig Murphy announced that the planned date for DDD5 is Saturday 30th June 2007. I will post more details about this eagerly anticipated and very popular event as and when they become available. If you are considering speaking or doing a GrokTalk, start thinking about your topic and what you would like to cover as the Call For Speakers is hopefully going to be announced on the 24th March 2007.

To keep up to date with DDD information why not subscribe to the RSS Feed.

NxtGenUg Fest 07

February 15, 2007 01:05 by Andrew Westgarth

Hot on the heels of their latest mini series of podcasts with Dinis Cruz part one, in NxtGenUg's latest podcast Dave and Rich have announced their first conference at Microsoft Campus, UK on 23rd May 2007. Costs are £54.99 for non members (Early bird offer till 1st March 2007) and free to NxtGenUg Members. Speakers already lined up are Rafal Lukawiecki (Top Tech Ed speaker for past seven years!), Daniel Moth, Lorna Brown, Richard Costall and Dave McMahon. For more information see the NxtGenUG Website.


Post calendar

<<  June 2020  >>


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

© Copyright 2020