Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

Speaking at Tech Ed Europe 2014–This Week

October 27, 2014 16:25 by Andrew Westgarth

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I’m currently in Barcelona and will be speaking at Tech Ed Europe 2014.  I’m presenting:

DEV-B341 Running a Global Massively Scalable Web Application on Microsoft Azure Web Sites

Friday, October 31 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM Room: Hall 8.0 Room B1

Track: Developer Platform and Tools

Session Type: Breakout

Topic: Microsoft Azure

I’ll also be on hand to answer questions on our Azure Websites stand in the TechExpo, along with being around the event all week at the Welcome Reception, Happy Hour, Ask The Experts session and Country Drinks.  Looking forward to talking to lots of people about Azure Websites!

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Winners of the 2012 Imagine Cup UK Final are from the North East!

April 25, 2012 12:38 by Andrew Westgarth

Yes that’s right, today when I was at Microsoft UK Headquarters attending a day full of content on Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server 11, the results of the 2012 Imagine Cup UK Finals were announced!  I heard the results were being streamed live at 4pm so when the time cam I hooked up to the broadcast and watched with bated breath for the results.  I’m delighted that both of the finalists from the Imagine Cup North East finals finished in the top two places, a fantastic achievement in the first year that the North East Colleges and Universities have been involved!

Teeside 0x32 came a very, very close second with their Cloud Doctor idea, a method of linking medical expertise around the world to provide help and assistance to those who don’t have access to medical treatment.  I remember seeing this idea presented impeccably at the Imagine Cup North East final a couple of weeks ago and I was blown away at how polished and ready the Web Application, Architecture and Windows Phone application was!  Well done to the guys for their fantastic idea, effort and hard work and I know that the judges had a very hard job in picking a winner because the ideas from both of the winners of the Imagine Cup North East finals were awesome!

The 2012 Imagine Cup UK Final winner is Team EyeWorks and they have created a combination of hardware and software to provide a Mobile Intelligent Retinal Analysis solution.  Combining Neural Nets, Windows Phones, Custom Lenses and Windows Azure they have come up with a fantastic idea to help with the early detection of diseases which cause loss of sight!  Again this is another fantastic idea and if you attended the NEBytes event in March you will have seen the team present their idea.  I honestly don’t know how the judges chose between the two because both ideas are fantastic!  Well done to everyone involved in Team EyeWorks and wish you all the very best at the 2012 Imagine Cup World Finals in Sydney later this year, do the North East and the UK Proud!!!

Three Great Events in The North East in April!!

March 24, 2010 13:50 by Andrew Westgarth

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As part of the Microsoft Tech Days UK 2010, a week of free events for Developers and IT Professionals, there are three great events of note running in the North East.  The Sharepoint User Group are hosting a great night at the Cinema in Stockton, and then NEBytes are pleased to welcome Jesse Liberty for a special evening of Silverlight in addition to the Monthly meeting covering Office 2010 and Preventing SQL Injection Attacks.  Best of all- all three events are FREE!!!!

Monday 13th April 2010 – SUGUK – Sharepoint 2010 and Free Screening of Clash Of the Titans at Stockton-on-Tees Showcase Cinema

sugukMicrosoft and Combined Knowledge have funded a great evening to celebrate the launch of Microsoft Office Sharepoint 2010.  Join the Sharepoint User Group at the Showcase Cinema in Stockton-on-Tees to see a short presentation on the new features in Office and Sharepoint 2010, followed by an Open Mic “Ask the Experts” session on general SharePoint topics such as business adoption, Sharepoint designer, VS 2010 and Office focussed development in general, before settling down with Popcorn to watch a free screening of the new blockbuster – Clash Of The Titans!

For more information and to register - http://suguk.org/forums/thread/23041.aspx

Friday 16th April 2010 – NEBytes – Jesse Liberty – Silverlight Geek – Newcastle-upon-Tyne

nebytes-logo-final On Friday 16th April 2010, NEBytes are pleased to welcome Jesse Liberty, the self styled Silverlight Geek and a Senior Program Manager in the Silverlight Development Team at Microsoft, to Newcastle as he makes his way round the UK as part of his UK Tour .  Jesse will be delivering the following session:

Building A Highly Extensible, Decoupled Silverlight Open Source Application with MEF and RIA Services using Lean, Test Driven Development, An International Team of Volunteer Programmers,  and lots of Advil.

This talk will use the Silverlight HyperVideo Platform open-source project on CodePlex as a case study in building highly extensible Silverlight applications. Among the topics we will focus on are:

  • New features in Silverlight 4 and how they made life easier
  • The Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) added to Silverlight 4
  • WCF RIA Services for connection to a back-end db
  • Handling inter-module communication when the requirements are that modules cannot assume which other modules will be created, there can be no dependencies on order-of creation and unanticipated modules must be able to communicate with existing modules.
  • Using Markers, Injected Markers and polling to trigger events while viewing a video.
  • A Quick introduction to Lean, TDD and Kanban.

NEBytes are also looking at putting on a Geek Dinner afterwards, so if you’d be interested in attending let us know when you register for the NEBytes – Jesse Liberty – Silverlight Geek Event

Wednesday 21st April 2010 – NEBytes -  “Office 2010” and “Preventing SQL Injection Attacks” – Newcastle-upon-Tyne

nebytes-logo-finalOn Wednesday 21st April 2010 NEBytes will be holding their regular monthly event and will be covering the topics of Office 2010 and Preventing SQL Injection Attacks.  We are pleased to welcome Colin Mackay to cover Preventing SQL Injection attacks and we are very pleased to have NEByte’s very own Jonathan Noble and Ben Lee covering Office 2010 at the event:

Office 2010 - Ben Lee and Jonathan Noble

This summer Microsoft will release Office 2010. While this is more of an evolution from Office 2007 rather than the revolutionary jump from Office 2003 into the world of the Ribbon UI, there are still a number of new features in the desktop applications that make this release interesting. In addition, 2010 sees Office head into the cloud with the all-new Office Web Apps. In this session, NEBytes' own Ben Lee (@Bibbleq) and Jonathan Noble (@jonoble) will highlight their favourite new features across the whole suite and also demonstrate how to manage, secure and deploy Office 2010 to the desktop, including delivery using App-V.

SQL Injection Attacks and Tips on How To Prevent Them - Colin Angus Mackay

In light of some recent events, such as the man who was convicted of stealing 130 million credit card details through a SQL Injection attack, it is imperative that developers understand what a SQL Injection Attack is, how they are carried out, and most importantly, how to defend your code against attack.

In this talk Colin Mackay will demonstrate a SQL Injection Attack on an application in a controlled environment*. He’ll show you where the vulnerable code lies and what you can do to harden it.

Although this talk uses C# as the application language and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 as the database engine many of the concepts and prevention mechanisms will apply to any application that accesses a database through SQL.

* Demonstrating an attack on a system without the owner’s consent is a breach of the 1990 Misuse of Computers Act, hence the controlled environment.

Colin Angus Mackay is a Software Developer living in Glasgow. He has been programming since the age of 9 starting with a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. He became a professional software developer in 1994, using a Smalltalk based language called Magik. In 1996 he started using C++ commercially and in 2002 migrated to the emerging language of C#.

Colin has received a number of awards including Code Project MVP (for 5 years) and Microsoft MVP (for 3 years). He is a member of the British Computer Society and a Member of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers. He is currently the chairman of Scottish Developers and has organised the last two Developer Day Scotland conferences (with a third in the works).

You can find out more on his blog at: http://blog.colinmackay.net.

Go to the NEBytes April Event Registration Page and sign up now!

24 Hours of Firsts

February 28, 2009 20:45 by Andrew Westgarth
The 24 hours I'm currently writing this post in are all about firsts. First I've just got back from my first ever live gig, and first ever experience of Metallica live! I've been to the Sheffield Arena for the latest leg of Metallica's Death Magnetic tour, it was f***ing AWESOME!!!! Can't wait to do it again! Note to self - why has it taken 28 years for this to happen???? WTF!!

Secondly I'm currently sitting in the departure lounge at Newcastle Airport waiting for my flight to Amsterdam and then onto Seattle for my first MVP Summit! Looking forward to catching up with old friends and making new ones in what looks to be a packed week ahead!!

RemixUK - Ready Steady Speak Competition! - Win an XBOX 360!

September 1, 2008 03:22 by Andrew Westgarth

Ready Steady Speak is back for the RemixUK Event in Brighton on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th of September 2008.  Are you a budding speaker? A Designer with a passion for what you do who would like to educate us Developers in how it's done or some other aspect of design which we really don't get?  Are you a Developer who wants to get his message across to designers about just how cool the latest features in Web Development Technologies are or do you just want to share your knowledge with your fellow designers and developers?  If so then Ready Steady Speak at RemixUK could be the ideal opportunity!

RemixUK is all about the conversation and the opportunity for Web Developers and Web Designers to mix and discuss their roles and technologies and work together to shape the future of the Web!.  Ready Steady Speak is a unique way for you to have a go at delivering a short presentation to a very receptive audience of like minded people, and hopefully once you get a taste you'll go on to deliver full presentations or more nugget style presentations at local usergroup events, Barcamps etc around the country!  I've presented at a number of events and conferences now and the Buzz is amazing - so I very much encourage you to have a go!  If you have any questions or doubts email me - using the contact form on this blog and I'll do everything I can to help you!

The full details of the RemixUK Ready Steady Speak Competition are:

Contestants will present a 5 min session on a subject of their choice relating to Web Development or Web Design.  They will present in front of the REMIX audience and in front of a panel of judges.  If there are more than a  certain number of contestants (TBD), there will be ‘heats’ earlier in the day with the winners of the heats in a ‘speak-off’ in the evening session.  The ‘speak-off’ will take place as stated in the evening of the first day of MIX and the first prize is an XBox 360 + Goodies! 

Prerequisites:

Mandatory

· Speakers must NOT have previously presented ‘full sessions’ at DDD, TechEd, DevWeek, SDN, SQLBITS, VBUG Conference, NxtGenUG FEST or any similar such conferences.

· Speakers must create a new session of their own with new material which can be based on existing material but cannot be a simple copy of it.

· Speakers must limit their session to as close to 5 mins as possible( overrunning time will cause the speaker to be marked down.)

· Speakers must not have previously won Speaker Idol or “Ready Steady Speak” UK Launch

· Speakers must state their desire to enter the competition by no later than COP Monday 15th September 2008 by email.

Desirable

· Speakers should provide if at all possible their own laptop, but one can be provided if necessary.  The speaker should notify the organisers of any software prerequisites.

· Speakers should have spoken previously at a User Group meeting even if only for a 10 min mini-session or ‘nugget’.  This is NOT mandatory.

 

So come on and have go it'll be a great and very rewarding experience!!!  I'm really looking forward to making the very long trip down to Brighton and look forward to meeting lots of new great people!

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MSDN and TechNet UK Events

August 11, 2008 04:11 by Andrew Westgarth

Here are a list of forthcoming MSDN and TechNet events this autumn in the UK, unfortunately there aren't any in the North East this time as yet.

MSDN Events

TechNet Events

MSDN Roadshow Newcastle - Review

May 19, 2008 09:43 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!

Play Your Part in Swaggily Fortunes at Next Weeks Launch Event

March 11, 2008 03:07 by Andrew Westgarth

Next week is the UK Launch event for Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 in Birmingham and as part of the many, many community activities going on the NxtGenUG Boyz, will be running more rounds of their legendary gameshow - Swaggily Fortunes and they've sent a mail asking for some help from all of you out there - even if you can't attend the actual event!

Wednesday March 19th 2008 is of course the UK 2008 Launch Event.  As part of the event, those NxtGenUG Boyz http://www.nxtgenug.net are running one of their gameshows, which will take place about 6.00pm during the evening drinks and nibbles.  "Swaggily" Fortunes is a take on the well known TV Quiz show in which teams of contestants are asked, for example, "We asked 100 Developers ... To Name a .NET Language".  Those teams that guess correctly what the answers were get to win some fantastic "swag" -- after a few rounds of mayhem!

You can help be part of this 'great' occasion by going to http://www.nxtgenug.net/2008launch/swagfortunes.aspx and answering 8 short questions.  Your answers will go towards making up the choices which the teams have to guess.  The NxtGenUG lads have run this several times in the past always to great reviews, and it makes for a fun, relaxed way to wind down from the days sessions.

MSDN and TechNet Roadshow Dates Announced

February 26, 2008 02:31 by Andrew Westgarth

The dates and venues for the MSDN and TechNet Roadshows for 2008 have been announced.  So register soon to avoid disappointment.

MSDN Roadshow Dates and Venues

TechNet Roadshow Dates and Venues

I'm registered and will be attending the Newcastle MSDN Roadshow so I hope to see some of you there!

Tech Ed Developers 2007 - Day 1 and 2 - Catch Up

November 7, 2007 02:30 by Andrew Westgarth

I've finally managed to take a few minutes and sit in the community lounge and write up some notes from the first two days of Tech Ed Developers 2007.  We've had a couple of very busy days so far and the pace is most definitely not slowing.  On Monday morning a large group of like minded community individuals from all over EMEA went along at a MS Influencers event where various topics and issues that the community face were discussed, such as how to increase numbers, get funding and sponsorship, increase engagement and how to take the benefits of online technologies, such as Live Meeting as we at VBUG use for online meetings.

Soma Somasegar Monday afternoon was the Keynote from Soma Somasegar, Microsoft VP of Developer Division, this was by far a better keynote presentation than we received last year, it was vibrant and upbeat.  Plus although it had an element of marketing to it the key message was that Soma and Microsoft are very, very focussed on involving the Community and enabling everyone to benefit from the power which the community has behind it.  This is a great message to be hearing as a UK Community Leader and reinforces all that I believe in and it's a great boost to hear a senior VP have such passion that myself and the many other great leaders in the UK do.  There were a number of announcements in Soma's keynote, but what I really liked about the way he handled the announcements, was that yes they are important (some very), they were not the reason he was delivering Tech Ed - his other announcements and content was more important to him, it was an excellent way to handle the announcements.

Announcements in Soma's Keynote:

  • Visual Studio 2008 will be available for download by MSDN Subscribers by the end of November 2007 with full retail launch February 27th 2008;
  • Consequently .Net Framework 3.5 will be available for download by the end of November 2007
  • Microsoft Sync Framework CTP -
  • Software and Services Blueprints (The first in a series of blueprints for developing S&S)
  • Changes to Partner Program
    • New open license terms for extending the VS IDE to support any platform
    • VS Premier Partners get access to VS IDE Source Code
  • Popfly - 100K downloads since public beta was opened on October 17th!
  • Popfly explorer plug in for VS released!

Dick Lantim Read Soma's blog post about his Keynote - TechEd Developer in Europe.  Following Soma's keynote I attended a session on Developers and Designers working together delivered by Dick Lantim and Aude Moussett. Aude Moussett I was looking forward to seeing the interoperability between the process flow from Designer and Developer however I was very disappointed with this session.  There seemed to have been very little preparation put in and the speakers seemed extremely nervous and uncomfortable with the language.  I didn't get as much as I'd hoped from this session.  I will review the session on video when the Tech Ed DVDs arrive but I was very disappointed.

Roy Osherove From a disappointing session came a great one.  Next I saw Roy Osherove deliver - Agile Development with Team System.  Roy is a great speaker and I remember hearing about his infamous songs last year on the NxtGenUG podcasts.  Indeed Roy finished his session with a version of The Police's Every Breath You Take - this was amazing and as a Police fan I really enjoyed it.  Roy covered Agile Development, Scrum and TDD and I found this whole session development and whilst Roy showed how we can use Team System for elements of the Agile Process he actually covered the methodology more and explained what it is all about which was great and brought a lot of clarity to Agile Development for me.

Monday finished with the Exhibition Hall Welcome which was a great way of meeting people and socialising with exhibitors and the community.  Also it was the start of the community activities including Speaker Idol and Swaggily Fortunes, we have some pictures on the Tech Ed Facebook group - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2713709966&ref=mf  and they can also be found on my skydrive account for those who don't have a Facebook login - http://cid-f697bcd4bd5a1c5a.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/Tech%20Ed%202007/

Francois Ajenstat Tuesday was another great action packed day and I saw a great session on SQL Server 2008 and the Entity Framework, from Francois Ajenstat.  This was a great introductory session covering elements such as Resource  Francois Ajenstat - Co PresenterGovernance, Intellisense, no longer having a requirement for IIS for Reporting Services and Multi Server Management.  The release date was also cleared up in that there are expected to be at least two more CTPs before a full release in Q2 2008.

Ben Robb Following this session I went to Ben Robb's session on Building Accessible Web Sites using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the Accessibility Toolkit for MOSS.  I am currently involved in a large project with MOSS for content managed sites and as I am very interested in Accessibility, and have been for a number of years, this was a must see session.  I'm going to cover this topic better when I get back home and can install the Accessibility Toolkit and have a full look at it and write up my thoughts and experiences.  In the meantime you can find out more about the Accessibility Toolkit at http://aks.hisoftware.com

Shanku Niyogi The Final session I am going to cover from Tuesday (as the last one I saw was part one of a two parter due to finish on Wednesday morning) was Shanku Niyogi covering Developing Data Driven Applications using the New Dynamic Data Controls in ASP.Net.  I was quite intrigued by this session but I was disappointed by the delivery and therefore will follow up on this session also on my return to the UK.  Overall the first two days have been great and full of information, I think I could do with a pensieve though so I can save my thoughts, free some room up and add them back in at the end of the week!



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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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