Andrew's Blog

Random Thoughts of an ASP.Net Code Monkey

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.

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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July 27, 2007 14:33 by Andrew Westgarth

Facebook Logo 

I've recently got into the social network phenomenon which is Facebook, primarily it is a way for me to keep in touch with a very special friend who is travelling at the moment. But also this is a great way to catch up with people you haven't seen for ages, don't see regulary and meet new people.

Within Facebook there are numerous groups and so I've set up a group for VBUG, when you login to Facebook search in groups for VBUG and join, it's that simple.

There is also a great developer story behind Facebook and I hope to take a look at that soon, I'll let you know how I get on when I get time to look at it.

Categories: Facebook | VBUG
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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.

Reading Coordinator and Vice Chair Nominee, Tim Leung, has a Blog

July 17, 2007 01:43 by Andrew Westgarth

Tim Leung, VBUG Reading Coordinator and Vice Chair Nominee has started blogging - I encourage you to add his feed to your list and keep an eye on his posts.

FrontPage Server Extensions for IIS7

June 12, 2007 15:14 by Andrew Westgarth

A query I had at the VBUG Leeds meeting last Wednesday was on the subject of FrontPage Server Extensions(FPSE) for IIS7. There is a beta of these available currently and they will work with Windows Vista and Longhorn Server Beta 3 (or should that now be Windows Server 2008 Beta 3?). To download them use this link:

For further information on the reason why FPSE were not included with Windows Vista and Longhorn Server Beta 3 see Robert McMurray's Blog where he has two detailed posts about the FPSE for IIS7:

Bill Staples also has the details on his Blog, which is another blog worth reading for information on IIS7
Categories: ASP.Net | Events | How To | IIS | VBUG
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Slides and Demos from IIS 7 Talks in Newcastle and Leeds

June 12, 2007 14:54 by Andrew Westgarth

First off, my sincere apologies to both groups for not having posted these earlier, things have been a bit manic and I've had major issues with an update I made to the Blog on Sunday which forced me to rollback :-(.

On Thursday 31st May I presented this topic, IIS7 for ASP.Net Developers, at VBUG Newcastle. This was my first experience of presenting a non-launch event on my own. This was daunting and requires lots of hard work - more than even I imagined! The presentation went well, I thought, although I had a lot of issues with my demos, thanks to all who attended for being so understanding.

Last Wednesday, I ventured down to Leeds, to deliver the same session for VBUG Leeds. After driving down to Leeds after work, a couple of phonecalls and wishing I still had Sat NAV in my car I managed to arrive at the venue! The session went well with lots of questions, interaction and feedback from all attendees. I tried a new method of structuring my Demos and this went a lot better than in Newcastle. My thanks to Andy Marshall, VBUG Leeds Coordinator and his group for an enjoyable evening.

This has been a great learning experience for me and very rewarding and is helping me to shape the talk as I receive feedback and learn from my experiences. Thanks to all attendees for listening to me and thanks for your feedback, this is a very useful feature of the meetings and one I actively encourage as a coordinator and even more so now as a speaker.

The slides are available as a pdf and the demos are available in a zip file format, any questions please let me know.


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