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Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey


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.

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.

Upcoming VBUG North East Meetings

March 23, 2007 14:54 by Andrew Westgarth

We have a number of events planned for VBUG in the North East of England over the coming months, indeed we have a meeting a week on Tuesday. Here are the details of the forthcoming events. For the events in May, July and beyond further information will be available soon.

Tuesday April 3rd 2007 - Creating Rich User Experiences with Expression, WPF and "WPF/E" with Mark Johnston

Mark Johnston, Developer & Platform at Microsoft UK, will introduce ?WPF/E? and Expression. ?WPF/E? is the codename for a new rich internet technology that allows developers & designers to create very rich applications that are delivered cross-browser & cross-platform. He will introduce the technology, show some sample apps & create an app using Expression & Visual Studio tools. Expression is a range of tools aimed at designers wanting to create rich user experiences on the desktop & on the web.

Venue: - Northumbria University, Ellison Place, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 8ST - Virtual Earth Map

Time: 18:30 - 21:00 (19:00 Start)

To book email or call 01753 649680

Thursday May 31st 2007 - IIS 7 For ASP.Net Developers with me, Andy Westgarth!

With the launch of Windows Vista came Internet Information Server 7.0. IIS7 is the latest release of Microsofts Web Server which will form part of the forthcoming Windows Longhorn Server. With this release comes a new extensibility model which gives us more options than ever before. During the session we will investigate the new model, look at extending IIS7, configuring IIS 7, develop new modules for IIS and take a look at the new UI for managing IIS7.

Venue: - Newcastle Full details to be confirmed

Time: 18:30 - 21:00 (19:00 Start)

To book email or call 01753 649680

Wednesday July 11th 2007 - Ruby On Rails with Dave Verwer

This session gives a first look at Ruby on Rails as both a language (Ruby) & a web development framework (Rails). With all of the buzz & hype around this new technology, this session will give a view of it from the perspective of somone familiar with Microsoft .NET development tools and technologies. It will cover some of the basics of Ruby as a language & will then show some of what can be done with Ruby on Rails.

Venue: - Newcastle Full details to be confirmed

Time: 18:30 - 21:00 (19:00 Start)

To book email or call 01753 649680

For information all events running across the country at various venues go to the VBUG Events Page and take a look, or why not subscribe to the VBUG Events RSS feed?

Hope to see you at an event soon!

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.

Podcasts from MVP Summit 2007

March 13, 2007 00:59 by Andrew Westgarth

Dave McMahon and Richard Costall of NxtGenUG are currently attending the MVP Summit in Seattle and are delivering Podcasts daily this week from the summit. Richard Costall is an ASP.Net MVP and Dave McMahon is a Connected Systems Developer MVP. The MVP Summit is held every 18 months and MVPs from all around the globe meet together.

Why not add the Podcast RSS Feed to your aggregator -

For more information on the MVP Program visit the MVP Homepage.

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.

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.

Cruz Control Podcast

February 12, 2007 00:17 by Andrew Westgarth

I've previously mentioned the great podcasts produced by Dave and Rich at NxtGenUg and there recent one is another gem. They have started a series of podcasts with Dinis Cruz. Dinis is a security specialist and is part of OWASP, he is a great speaker and if you get chance to see him speak I seriously recommend attending. I saw his session at DDD2 and along with the rest of the audience, was copletely blown away with the exploits and methods of identifying them that Dinis outlined. Not just SQL Injection and cross site scripting. You can download the video of his session, which is well worth watching, from the Developer Developer Day Website.

In this podcast is the start of a series of sessions with Dinis and he discusses his work and that of OWASP. You can listen to this podcast and more from the , also check out my post on the security courses Dinis and NxtGenUg are running in March and April.

WebDD - Review

February 4, 2007 21:07 by Andrew Westgarth

Yesterday I attended the first WebDD event at Microsoft Campus, Reading, UK. Once again this involved a 600 mile plus, roundtrip from my home in the North East of England. Was it worth it?

Oh Yes! This was another great event and big pat on the back must go to Phil, Dave and the rest of the team for organising such a great day!. Big quodos for getting Scott Guthrie to attend and speek on so many interesting topics. He was a big pull and I haven't seen crowds like there were, pushing to get into his sessions, I likened it to crowds at a footie match to one delegate! Unfortunately for the speakers in the other two rooms they had a hard time of it from what I hear as unfortunately some of their attendees only attended some sessions because they couldn't get into Scott's. That said seeing as the sessions in Chicago One were being recorded all day, I took the opportunity to see a session by Bruce Lawson who covered "Web Accessibility: What, Why, How and Who Cares?"

Bruce gave a very interesting a humourous session discussing an area which I feel very passionate about and one which I do try to work towards. I have been interested in Web Accessibility since the final year of my degree, indeed I covered Web Accessibility for a research chapter in my degree, and also have an interest in Human Computer Interaction since being introduced to the concept in my first year of Uni. Bruce outlined reasons for having accessible web sites and even provided a couple of examples of where it has yielded results for businesses by enabling all users to use a company's site and also the legal requirements of a company to provide an accessible site. This was an excellent session and gives me more knowledge for my work. Thanks Bruce!

I attended a session by Hristo Deshev, of Telerik, after lunch on Developing ASP.Net AJAX Components. This looked to be a very interesting session and compelling viewing, however Hristo was clearly nervous talking to such a larger audience, I think Chicago 1 was pretty much full, and as English was clearly not his first language his presentation, which was highly technical, was very hard to follow. That said as the session was being recorded I am looking forward to reviewing the session again when I can download the video, and indeed working through the example. This is a very interesting area and one which I would like to experiment with and use in my applications. Hristo works for Telerik and they provide a very extensive series of ASP.Net controls which I have been using for years very successfully.

Of Scott's sessions I attended the first part of End to End Web Sites, Sneak Peek at "Orcas" and WPF/e. I only attended the first session of End To End Web Sites as I saw a similar session at Tech Ed Europe last November so I chose to use the second session to see Bruce's session. Scott's session was great, however I will look at the slides when he posts them on his blog, so I can pick up the new things added which are different to the version given by Matt Gibbs. I enjoyed the session on "Orcas" and I am really excited to see the new tools in Visual Studio "Orcas" and will be looking to cover this more in the coming months. A public beta is expected in the Spring! With a release of sometime later this year. The last session of the day which I saw was on WPF/e, the essential idea behind this is the hosting of WPF content in the browser by ustilising a player downloaded once by the client, an idea which is often compared to Flash. This looks to be a very exciting area and expect to see a WPF/e version of my Code Monkey appearing here very soon.

The mix of clientele was again very different however there were a lot of familiar faces at the event and it was great to mix with designers and have a little insight into their interests, especially as a lot of us work alongside them day by day. Microsoft Event staff did a great job once again. Sausage/Bacon/Egg sarnies as soon as we got there brought massive brownie points, they went down very well with all attendees, along with the rest of the support staff who helped make this a great event.

Overall this was an excellent day and I'm looking forward to the next one already! Now we have two great community events in the form of WebDD and DDD. Make sure you keep an eye on those feeds to keep up to date with what's happening! It was also great to spot quite a few attendees who made the trip down from the North East, I recognised a lot from VBUG. Let me know what you thought of the event too.

WebDD a great event and big thanks to Phil and Dave!


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