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Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

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 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

SharePoint User Group and VBUG North East Meeting - September 10th 2007!! - Updated

September 3, 2007 16:53 by Andrew Westgarth

Yes, thats right the next VBUG meeting in Newcastle, is a joint venture by both VBUG and the SharePoint User Group and is being held on Monday the 10th September 2007.  We are very pleased to be having Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 MVP - Spencer Harbar - presenting two topics for us.  The topics Spencer will be covering are:

  • Server Farm Architecture and Design (Key Influencers, models etc) Update: This session introduces the fundamentals of MOSS Farm design including server roles, topology constraints and design goals which are paramount for delivery of a secure, available and scalable MOSS hosting platform. Each server roles? unique characteristics will be covered with their associated trade-offs. In addition, three common models will be presented with a discussion of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Top 10 Tips for a SharePoint Development Environment (Tools, Utilities, etc) Updated: This session will present 10 essential tips, tricks, tweaks or utilities for making your SharePoint Development easier and quicker. All tips can be used equally in a Virtual Machine or on a ?real? server. Many of the tips are also useful for systems administrators working with SharePoint 2007

The meeting is being held at the BT offices, Unit 7, Room 3, Innovation Place, Delta Bank, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE11 9DJ - for a map go to

To register for the event please go to the VBUG website - SUGUK & VBUG- 'Sharepoint' with Spencer Harbar

If you are a SharePoint Administrator, Developer or just want to find out more about MOSS, please come along all are welcome.

SQL Bits! - DDD Eye for the SQL Guy

September 3, 2007 16:45 by Andrew Westgarth

The SQL Community are having their first Community conference on Saturday 6th October 2007 at Microsoft's Reading Campus.  There will be 20 sessions in 4 tracks (BI, DBA, Development and Katmai) all at a cost of £0.00 - yes thats right, nothing - it's FREE!!  Registration is open now however registration is filling quickly and there's only room for 350 people.

Register on the SQL Bits site and then select 10 sessions you would most like to see, Tim Leung, VBUG Vice Chairman has a session proposed - "Getting Started with SQL Server Reporting Services".  There are many great sessions there so if SQL is your bag, get yourself registered and get along to what looks to be a great event.  By voting you are helping to shape the conference agenda.  After voting you will receive the conference registration URL.  To register go to

VBUG Election Results

August 13, 2007 01:45 by Andrew Westgarth

About 10 days ago, the VBUG elections results were announced and I am delighted to announce that I have been elected Chairman, and Tim Leung has been elected Vice Chairman.  Both myself and Tim are very, very excited about the next two years in our roles.  We have some great ideas and plans for the way in which VBUG can move forward over that time, initially we are addressing the first 6-12 months but will also be looking to plan for the following year too.  We will be working hard with the team in the VBUG office and our excellent Regional Coordinators to provide VBUG Members and the community with the best level of support we can offer.

Tim's comments on his appointment:

I am delighted to have been elected Vice Chair and wish to thank all of those who voted for me. I would also like to thank Mark and George for the hard work that they have put into the group over the last 2 years.

Both Andy and I are enthusiastic about the challenges that we face and we look forward to bringing some positive improvement to VBUG. I hope that this fresh change in leadership will revitalise the group and I shall work hard to achieve the goals that we have set ourselves.

My comments on my appointment:

First and foremost, I would like to issue a huge thank you to all who have voted for me in this year?s election. I am very, very pleased to have been elected Chairman and I am very much looking forward to the next two years in the role. I would like to echo Tim's sentiments and issue my thanks also to Mark and George for their sterling work that they put into VBUG as Chairman and Vice Chairman over the past two years.

As was evident by the thoughts of both Tim and myself in the run up to the election, we have a number of ideas of where we'd like to see VBUG develop and how to do that. I am looking forward, very much, to working with Tim to deliver on our thoughts for the VBUG membership.

We are in a very rapidly developing community and indeed industry, and because of this, both myself and Tim will be looking to start planning how we will deliver on our aims for VBUG, initially over the next 6-12 months and then onto the following 12. We both look forward to meeting and talking to all of our members as we visit the various regional groups over the coming two years, at the Annual conference, and please come up and say hello if you see us at any of the many developer community events around the country.

Once again, thanks for your support, and I hope to meet and talk with many of you soon

Categories: VBUG | UK Community
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Win a ticket to TechEd Developers with NxtGenUG and Microsoft.

August 6, 2007 10:16 by Andrew Westgarth

NxtGenUG is offering one lucky winner a ticket to Microsoft?s premier European developer conference : TechEd Developers in Barcelona : November 5th - 9th 2007. To be in with a chance to win the ticket register on the NxtGenUG site and enter the TechEd ticket treasure hunt. [Terms and conditions apply]. Visit the NxtGenUG TechEd home page for more details...

MIX:07 UK! - Registration Open Now!!

July 27, 2007 14:30 by Andrew Westgarth

MIX:07 UK Logo

Registration opened this week for MIX:07 UK. There is an early bird price on offer at present of £199 which is only available till 10th August. There is a great line up planned and this looks to be a great event. To register to the MIX:07 UK website -

Squadron Scramble!!! Bandits Heading 120 Make Angels 20!

July 20, 2007 01:22 by Andrew Westgarth

I got in tonight and had an email from Richard Costall, telling  me the latest NxtGenUG Podcast - Number 37 - The One the Makes Your Ears Bleed! - was available for download.

This is a completely different type of podcast from a user group - it has no technical content.  The recording was made at the recent Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.  This is an amazing event for all Air Enthusiasts and features historic and world leading aircraft with everything from Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancaster (My Favourite!) to the latest Typhoon (Eurofighter)!

In the Podcast Dave and rich talk to the organisers, ground crew (erks), Air Cadets, hear about the Vulcan to the Sky Trust (A Charity set up to get an Avro Vulcan flying again!) and Dave commentates on an F-18 Display.  The sound effects are amazing!  Go and listen to it now it really perked me up and I've now dug out from the video collection (yes I still have some!) the Battle of Britain!!

On the subject of Airshows, next Saturday and Sunday (28th & 29th July 2007) sees the return of the Sunderland Airshow - The largest free Airshow in Europe.  This is something I look forward to every year and can't wait once again to attend both days - hopefully with the use of my new Camera I'll be able to post some excellent photos to my flickr account.

Tally Ho!


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