Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

Calling all VBUG Members - VBUG Needs You!

July 17, 2007 01:44 by Andrew Westgarth

This month sees the VBUG Elections for VBUG Chair and Vice Chair. The term of office of 2 years for our current Chair and Vice Chair has passed and VBUG Members are now voting on who will be the next Chairman and Vice Chairman of VBUG. Current Chairman Mark Anderson was recently elected to Bournemouth Council in the Local Elections and as such is not standing for relection.

I am standing for the role of Chairman and I encourage all VBUG Members to register their one vote for VBUG Chairman and VBUG Vice Chairman. Also to all of our corporate members remember you have at least five memberships so have five pairs of votes. Please use them, this is your chance to influence the path in which VBUG grows over the coming months and years. I have put the details of the election and the manifestos of those standing up for all to view - Please vote and influence your group.

Categories: VBUG | UK Community
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VBUG - Ruby On Rails with Dave Verwer

July 17, 2007 01:43 by Andrew Westgarth

Last Wednesday we had an excellent session in Newcastle presented by Dave Verwer and hosted kindly by Northern Rock. The subject was Ruby On Rails and I really enjoyed the session and the feedback from the attendees indicate that they felt the same. This was a very informative and interesting session. I knew very little about Ruby or Rails and have now learned enough to get going - time permitting. The main thing I took away from the concept is that the structure makes it very simple to do things write, i.e. basic structures for Unit Tests etc are created so there's no excuse really for not implementing them.

To get the slides and to find out more about Dave visit his site -

I have some pictures of the event and will upload them to Flickr and put up a link soon.

Guy Smith-Ferrier Is an MVP!

July 17, 2007 01:10 by Andrew Westgarth

Great news, Guy has been recognised as an MVP -

This is great news and recognises the excellent work that Guy does in the Community. I am currently working with Guy and other Community Leaders to try and arrange for Guy to speak in the North of England, watch this space for more news. We are all very pleased to have the opportunity to have Guy visit our user groups and I recommend you to keep an eye out for registration details for events later this year!

NxtGenUG Podcasts - How To and DDD5

July 17, 2007 01:06 by Andrew Westgarth

Recently Richard Costall and Dave McMahon gave a presentation at Community Leaders Day - an event for Community Leaders at Microsoft TVP, UK - on the subject of Podcasting. Indeed they even recorded a Podcast, showed us how to publish it and edit it Live in the session. They have made the podcast available to all and if it's something you are interested in I recommend a listen -

While at DDD5 Dave McMahon caught up with me for an interview on IIS7 and my experiences of starting to speak on the circuit at national and local events. This podcast also contains interviews with attendees, speakers and organisers of DDD5, excellent work once again - to listen to the DDD5 podcast use this link - also why you're there why not check out their other podcasts

No Power!

July 17, 2007 00:41 by Andrew Westgarth

The reason why it's been so long since I posted on my blog, and why there are so many posts together is that I left my Power Pack at MS UK after delivering my session at DDD5. We haven't been located and so I've had to replace it :-(. After driving 300 miles home on the Saturday I didn't realise I didn't have it till I went to charge my laptop on the Sunday morning! It was like having my right arm cut off. I managed to do some work at home, but I desperately need to tidy up my office (My loft) so I can get some work done up there too! I've managed to get one now and I'm back up and running!

New Dell Powerpack

DDD5 - A Great Day, A Surge and an Outage

July 17, 2007 00:30 by Andrew Westgarth

You may look at the title of this post and wonder what on earth I'm on about! Well this is my first post since DDD5 and there's a story behind why.

DDD5 was a great day and had been eagerly awaited by many including me, as this was biggest speaking engagement so far! I woke up early on the Saturday morning, raring to go only to find that the lady who was due to cook breakfast at the B&B Dave McMahon, Fellow Speaker, and I were staying at, had not turned in (we later found she was not well). So we headed off to DDD to get prepared and briefed. I was on first in Chicago 2! When I first saw the agenda about eight weeks ago, I was surprised to see my session was so popular. This was both very pleasing but daunting too.

I had a good attendance in my session on IIS7 for ASP.Net Developers. The topic seemed well received, some swag, namely the famous Microsoft socks, was distributed to quite an interactive crowd, for 9:30 on a Saturday morning. Lee Dale has a post on his experience in the session and during DDD5 - and Guy Smith Ferrier also passed on his compliments about my session - I got a major buzz from speaking at DDD and there in lies the surge behind the title. I didn't realise the adrenalin buzz I got from delivering my session, I was totally wired. I realised this when my body went in to shutdown during Richard Fennell's session on Visual Studio Team System. This was a great session and reminded me of the great features available for project and code management in TFS, this is the first time I'd seen a session on VSTS since the VS2005 launch events. My sincere apologies to Richard if it looked as though I was dropping off on the front row in his session, I was just consumed by a complete drain of energy after my session. Richard your session was great and I really enjoyed it.

The rest of the day was very enjoyable as ever and these events are definitely a must attend ever more evident by the speed in which registration is filled. This year less than 5 days!! I went to a very light and thought provoking session by Dave Sussman on CSS and it was good to see I had been having the same issues as many others but that my knowledge was also better than I thought! I also managed to see an interesting and light session on the SDK that BT have released - a session entitled How to make a Phone Ring with one line of code! - For more details on the SDK visit the BT site -

I also managed to see Barry Dorrans' session on Information Card - This was the first time I've managed to catch this session, and it was very interesting and great to learn more about an area I knew very little about. Barry's sessions are always very informative and he manages to strike a good balance between content and humour and keeps audiences enthralled throughout.

On the Friday before DDD5 myself and numerous other Community Leaders met with Microsoft DPE to discuss the community needs, how we could all work together and learn from each other. These are very useful days and it is worth noting the massive support we are given by the team at Microsoft and indeed throughout the UK Community. By working together we hope to be able to service the needs of developers nationwide.

The slides and demos for my session - IIS 7 for ASP.Net Developers can be downloaded using the following links:

MIX UK! - September 11th & 12th 2007

June 24, 2007 23:43 by Andrew Westgarth

MIX:07 UK Logo

Last week Microsoft announced the forthcoming MIX:07 2 day conference in the UK. This is lined up to be a UK based event based on the MIX event held in Las Vegas in April, however the content will be updated to reflect developments since then.

Registration is not open yet, however to register your interest in the event and to get all the info as soon as it's available visit the MIX:07 UK website -

Dinis Cruz Security Training - Two New Courses!

June 5, 2007 10:37 by Andrew Westgarth

Dave McMahon has just sent me an email this morning to tell me of some new Security Training from Dinis Cruz. The first is a course that Dinis is running with Ounce Labs and the second is a course with NextGenUG. Here are the details of both courses:

Dinis Cruz is running a Source Code Security Training Course with Ounce Labs on the 12th and 13th June 2007, in London at the Thistle Marble Arch. The course covers topics such as Performing Source Code Reviews, Identifying Vulnerabilities in Code and Writing Exploits. This course is aimed at Security Consultants and Senior Developers and full details are at, it looks pretty good!

NextGenUG are running a Security Training For ASP.Net Developers course with Dinis Cruz on the 17th and 18th July 2007 in Leamington Spa, full details are at This course is similar to a successful one run by NextGenUG in March 2007, but this has more of an accent on Code Scanning. NextGenUG had some great feedback from the attendees, and one of the attendees, Andy Jacks, has written a review of the course which you can read at Dave says this course is definitely great!

I haven't attended any of Dinis' training although from hearing him speak and seeing the enthusiasm and knowledge he has, and want to pass on to developers, he is certainly a guy to be listened to and indeed learn from. The amount myself and other developers learned in just one of his DDD sessions is immense so just think of how much you could learn by working with him for two whole days!

DDD5 Agenda Up and Registration Open

June 1, 2007 00:05 by Andrew Westgarth

The agenda for DDD5 on Saturday 30th June has now bee published and registration is now open for further details go to

I will be delivering my IIS7 for ASP.Net Developers session, thanks to those who voted for me, looking forward to the event.

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!


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