Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

Students! - Web 2.0 Competition

October 24, 2007 15:04 by Andrew Westgarth

Sarah Blow, organiser of the Girl Geek Dinners has a great competition running, but time is running out to enter as the prize is two conference tickets for the Web 2.0 Expo in Germany from the 5th to the 8th November.  This competition is open to Female University Students in the UK.  This is an excellent opportunity and this looks to be an excellent conference with a great line up of speakers including Tim O'Reilly and Kathy Sierra.  For more information and to enter go to the Girly Geekdom Blog -

DDD6 - Registration Now Open!!

October 24, 2007 04:58 by Andrew Westgarth

Craig Murphy just alerted me via his Twitter feed that Registration has opened for Developer Developer Day 6 on Saturday 24th November 2007 at Microsoft Campus in Reading, UK.  Make sure you register fast for this excellent event - last time registrations filled within four days!!!

I'm registered so go to - and register now - I'll see you there!!

VBUG Newcastle: Developing on the Windows Live Platform with Martin Parry - 1st November 2007

October 23, 2007 15:34 by Andrew Westgarth

MartinParryOur next VBUG event is fast approaching and I am very pleased to announced that we have Martin Parry, from Microsoft's Developer and Platform Evangelism team, speaking about developing on the Windows Live Platform on Thursday 1st November.  We will once again be using a room provided by BT.  We meet from 18:30 and Martin's session will start at 19:00 and finish at 21:00 with a refreshment break half way through.  We will head to a local pub after the meeting to discuss the contents and discuss topics which you would like to see covered in 2008.

The details of the meeting are:

Topic: VBUG: Developing on the Windows Live Platform with Martin Parry

Windows Live defines a set of services and components that can be used in your web applications, whether or not you use Microsoft's server platform. In this session we look at a selection of Windows Live services and build them into an application. We'll look at the Windows Live Contacts API - really useful for social networking functionality but also a great example of what's possible using the Windows Live Data service. We'll build maps into an application using the Virtual Earth map control. We'll let our users browse their photos using the Windows Live Spaces Photos control, we'll enable authentication in our app using Windows Live ID and we'll show how you can leverage the Windows Live Search functionality too.

If time permits, we'll also look at Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live. We'll take a simple Silverlight application and encode some media content, then host it all with Windows Live.

Location: BT, Unit 7, Room 3, Innovation Place, Delta Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE11 9DJ

Price: FREE

To register go to :

Categories: Events | Microsoft | VBUG
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DDD6 - Session Voting Now Open

October 12, 2007 09:47 by Andrew Westgarth

Session voting is now open for DDD6, go to the website now and select up to 10 sessions that you would like to see on the agenda for DDD6 -

DDD6 - Final Call for Speakers

October 8, 2007 13:06 by Andrew Westgarth

DDD6 will be held on Saturday 24th November 2007 and currently the comittee are accepting session submissions from Speakers.  The deadline for submissions has been extended but will end at 18:00 on Thursday 11th November 2007, yes this Thursday!!!  If you are interested in submitting a session for DDD6 please fill in the form on the DDD website -

I delivered a session on IIS7 at the last DDD and it was a very enjoyable and rewarding experience, to be stood in Chicago 1 delivering content to my peers and community colleagues was a tremendous buzz.  Unfortunately I haven't had time due to other commitments to prepare anything but DDD6 but plan to for DDD7 next year.  DDD is a great way for aspiring speakers to try it with an understanding and appreciative audience, the key thing about DDD events is Community.  These events are run by the Community for the Community

VBUG/SUGUK September with Spencer Harbar - Meeting Slides and Resources

September 20, 2007 16:05 by Andrew Westgarth

Spencer Harbar has now uploaded the slides and materials from the VBUG/SUGUK Meeting held in Newcastle on 10th September 2007.

Spencer has also posted a link on the SUGUK website to the end user materials and these can be found at customizable-everyday-productivity-education-epe-content-developed-by-microsoft-it-for-end-user-

Developer Developer Developer 6 - Date Announced

September 19, 2007 00:06 by Andrew Westgarth

Yes that's right folks, there's a load of new content on my blog, and plenty more coming.  One of the most important dates for your diary is the next Developer Developer Developer Day conference which has been announced for Saturday 24th November 2007 at the usual venue of Microsoft TVP in Reading, UK.  I've been looking forward to this event since the last event in June.  Make sure you put the date into your diaries and keep an eye on the Developer Day site for more news.

VBUG Conference 17th & 18th October 2007

September 19, 2007 00:05 by Administrator

The details and agenda for the forthcoming VBUG Conference, at Microsoft TVP Reading, have been published and the brochure can be viewed at  There is an excellent line up scheduled for this our 10th Annual Conference, the speaker list is great and includes great UK Speakers such as Mike Taulty, Dave McMahon, Alex Homer, Guy Smith-Ferrier, Barry Dorrans and Gary Short.  Oh! and I'll be doing a session, but please don't let that put you off.  There are an excellent range of topics covering new technology, current technology, introductory and best practice sessions.  Something for all and of relevance to many.

There is currently an Early Bird rate available of ?199 + VAT for VBUG Members and ?299 + VAT for Non Members, representing excellent value for money for a two day conference.  Register now to avoid disappointment -

This is the first conference for Tim and I as Vice Chairman and Chairman and we look forward to meeting many of you and catching up with as many of you as we can.  We hope to see you soon.

Categories: Events | IIS | VBUG
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VBUG Newcastle 1st October: Guy Smith-Ferrier - 4 User Groups in 4 Days

September 19, 2007 00:05 by Andrew Westgarth

On Monday 1st October 2007 we have the pleasure of Guy Smith-Ferrier, author of .Net Internationalization: The Developer's Guide to Building Global Windows & Web Applications, and One very nice Chap from Blighty, who will be speaking to the VBUG Newcastle User Group as part of his 4 User Groups In 4 Days tour.

Guy will be visiting VBUG Newcastlethe North East Scotland .Net User Group in Dundee, Scottish Developers in Glasgow, and finally VBUG Manchester.  Guy is an excellent speaker and has been on the speaker circuit for a number of years and will also be speaking at the forthcoming VBUG Conference and also at TechEd Developers in Barcelona in November.  I am very pleased to be able to have Guy visit VBUG in Newcastle as I know he is based in the South West of England as as such for him to be able to be this far north is rare.  All of the Community Leaders he is visiting are very excited about the sessions.

Guy will be covering Microsoft Codename "Astoria" and VS2005 Tips and Tricks.  I use VS2005 daily so I am looking forward to picking up more tips on how to increase my productivity.  I know nothing about Astoria and am really keen to find out more.

Here are Guy's session abstracts for the two sessions:

Microsoft Codename "Astoria" -

The emergence of Web 2.0 technologies has brought new opportunities and caused us to solve old problems in new ways. AJAX and SilverLight applications need read/write access to data and business objects without performing full page refreshes and without dumbing down the data so much we are just left with primitives. Microsoft?s answer to this problem is Microsoft Codename "Astoria". In short "Astoria" is a data access layer for client-size technologies such as AJAX and SilverLight. This session shows how it works, how you can write "Astoria" data servers and how you can customize "Astoria" to your applications requirements.

Visual Studio 2005 IDE Tips and Tricks -

Visual Studio is a treasure trove of functionality and productivity. The problem is that many developers don?t know what's there. In this session we will cover some simple and not so simple tips and tricks and improve your productivity and enjoyment of Visual Studio 2005.

The meeting in Newcastle is being kindly hosted by BT at their offices.  The address is BT, Unit 7, Room 3, Innovation Place, Delta Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE11 9DJ - map link - -v=2&sp=Point.t4t652gvtvyw_NE11%209DJ%20(postcode)%2C%20United%20Kingdom___&encType=1  To register for the event please go to the VBUG website -

VBUG and SUGUK Newcastle Meeting

September 12, 2007 00:00 by Andrew Westgarth

Last night saw the first SUGUK meeting in Newcastle and the first cooperative event between VBUG and SUGUK in the North East of England.  The attendance for the event was great we had in the region of 35+ attendees and the meeting went down very well.  We had the pleasure of having Spencer Harbar, MOSS MVP,  present two topics - MOSS Server Farm Architecture and Design; Top 10 Tips for your SharePoint Development Environment.  Both topics were extremely interesting and provoked some interesting discussions both at the refreshment break and after the meeting.  Indeed my colleagues are looking already to use many of the 10 tips as we develop on MOSS for our latest project.  We also had an impromptu, quickfire chalk and talk session from John Timney, ASP.Net MVP, and his colleagues on how BT were implementing MOSS at an Enterprise Level.  This sparked lots of questions and discussion during the break also.

Here are a few pictures from the event.  Hopefully there will be more similar events in Newcastle in the future - keep an eye on the VBUG and SUGUK Web sites for more info.


Picture from VBUG and SUGUK MeetingPicture from VBUG and SUGUK Meeting

Picture from VBUG and SUGUK Meeting Picture from VBUG and SUGUK Meeting

Picture from VBUG and SUGUK Meeting Picture from VBUG and SUGUK Meeting


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