Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston XNA Meeting Resources



    Thanks to everyone who came to the first meeting of the Boston XNA Developers Group!  It was a casual evening to talk games and down Pop Rocks.  We introduced the concepts behind XNA and Game Studio, took in some of the news from GDC, and had a look at some of the games that you can create with XNA.

    Michael and I will get things up on the group site, but in the meantime, I wanted to share links to the things we discussed and watched:

    If you missed the meeting, don't worry, we didn't get into the how-to's of XNA just yet.  The next meeting will feature a straightforward 2D game that we'll create from scratch in Game Studio using everything you can download for free.

    (The next meeting will likely be March 26th, but keep an eye on the group site for details.)


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Free SkyDrive Online Storage now 5 Gigs!


    [via Channel 10 (Sarah) via the SkyDrive team blog]


    If you follow my blog, you know I've been using Windows Live SkyDrive to host my files and presentations for public download.  It used to be cool that it gave you 1GB of free space for you stuff, but now it's flat out great that you get 5GB!

    There are now 38 supported countries/regions.  Check the team post for details.

    It's free to use, and you can create private, friend-shared, and public directories, so I'd definitely recommend you take a look.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    "Essential WCF" on the Shelves!


    On The Shelf!

    I popped in to my local bookstore (and ended up grabbing a copy of "LINQ in Action", which I've heard great things about) and what to my wondering eyes did appear, but hot-off-the-press copies of my latest authoring journey... "Essential Windows Communication Foundation"!

    Essential Windows Communication Foundation

    It's a great feeling to have all the research, coding, and long nights of writing actually take material shape on a shelf in a bookstore.

    Bowen Books(Being a proud pop, I couldn't resist a side-by-side pic with my previous book, "Professional Visual Studio 2005 Team System".)

    The InformIT Interview


    We were recently contacted by informIT for an interview about the book, which you can read here - "So, What is This WCF Anyway?"

    More about Essential WCF

    Since we'd specifically timed the book to include details of .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008, we're among the first to cover some new WCF topics. 

    Here's a glance at what's inside:

    • Foreword xxv
    • Preface xxvii
    • Chapter 1: Basics 1
    • Chapter 2: Contracts 33
    • Chapter 3: Channels 91
    • Chapter 4: Bindings 111
    • Chapter 5: Behaviors 181
    • Chapter 6: Serialization and Encoding 241
    • Chapter 7: Hosting 287
    • Chapter 8: Security 315
    • Chapter 9: Diagnostics 375
    • Chapter 10: Exception Handling 403
    • Chapter 11: Workflow Services 423
    • Chapter 12: Peer Networking 459
    • Chapter 13: Programmable Web 503
    • Appendix: Advanced Topics 537
    • Index 553

    I've already heard from a number of you who are delving into Essential WCF.  Let me know if you have any feedback about the book. 


    I encourage you to take a moment to check out my coauthors' blogs:

    Thanks Abound

    Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible - my coauthors in "unbounded awesomeness"* - Steve and Rich, the great team at Addison-Wesley who kept the wheels turning well and in the right direction, and our technical reviewers who did a great job helping to ensure we were spot-on:

    Special thanks to Steve Maine, who not only provided great support during creation, but who also took the time to pen the book's forward.

    And of course, thanks to you in the community for your support!


    * Note to Steve Toub, yes, that's the awesomeness' UBound() we're talking about.  :)

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston XNA Developers Group Meeting Wednesday 2/27


    bostonxna A reminder that the first meeting of the shiny new Boston XNA Developers Group ( will be this Wednesday, February 27th, from 6-8 PM at the Microsoft offices at 201 Jones Road (6th Floor) in Waltham, MA.

    The group is open to everyone and no background in game development is required - just a passion for games and coding.

    The first meeting will center on a broad introduction to game development with XNA for Windows and Xbox 360.  We'll also have plenty of hot-off-the-press XNA news to discuss, straight from the Game Developers Conference.

    I look forward to seeing you there!


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    Huge XNA News at GDC '08


    XNA_3The XNA team made two very big announcements at the Game Developers' Conference

    Cutting right to the chase, the biggest news is that the wait will be over for community XNA games on Xbox LIVE!  Coming this holiday season, people will be able to share, peer review, and play user-created games!

    From the announcement on the XNA Team Blog:

    The Xbox LIVE community games brings to life the community-driven gaming vision we have talked about in the past.  This offering gives the opportunity to share, peer review, download and play games created by the community, for the community.  Starting with the beta launch of the service later this Spring, XNA Creators Club subscribers will be able to submit their own game creations for self-publishing through to Xbox LIVE Marketplace. 

    Read the post for the full details, and here for more, but another important note is that yes, this will lead to the ability to make money by writing XNA games for XBOX Live (details still to come)!

    The second announcement is of one of the first new features coming with Game Studio v3.0 - the ability to create games for the Zune!

    [...] This will let you write one game and deploy it to all three platforms that XNA Game Studio 3.0 will support: the Xbox 360, Windows, and now the Zune. [...]  That means that XNA Game Studio 3.0 integration includes discoverability/access to the user's music - allowing the user to customize background soundtracks or create real-time visualizations at their discretion. 


    In addition, the XNA Community Games Platform team has announced the ability to have multiple Zunes wirelessly engage in an ad-hoc gaming experience (think of the possibilities!)

    Boston XNA Developers Group

    Now, what better place to discuss these announcements than at the new Boston XNA Developers Group?  The first meeting is on Wednesday of next week, February 27th at 6:00 in the Waltham Microsoft office.  No game development experience required.

    Details are on the Boston XNA Developers Group site.

    See you there!



  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Briefing in Waltham for Microsoft ProDev Partners


    There will be a half-day partner briefing event at the Microsoft Waltham office on April 14th for Microsoft Partners with a competency in building custom development solutions, or those with an interest in expanding their practice in that direction.

    The Field Evangelism Group will share with you the inner workings of their organization, the initiatives and big bets they are making this year - business and technology - and how they align with the greater worldwide Microsoft and Partner ecosystem.  


    • 8:30am - 9:00am: Registration and Breakfast
    • 9:00am - 9:15am: Welcome and Introductions
    • 9:15am - 10:00am: General Session: Navigating MSDN Field Evangelism Organization & Understanding Our Mission
    • 10:00am - 10:30am: Business Session: Big Bets for Success-Part 1: Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)
    • 10:30am - 10:45am: Break
    • 10:45am - 11:15am: Business Session: Big Bets for Success- Part 2: Software Plus Services (S+S)
    • 11:15am - 11:45am: Business Session: Big Bets for Success- Part 3: Web 2.0
    • 11:45am - 1:00pm: Networking Lunch


    Not in the New England area?  This briefing is being held at other locations in the eastern U.S. as well.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Second Life's Second C# Day This Saturday (2/16)


    sl_color_horiz_152x63 Michael de la Maza is again assuming avatar form and appearing in Second Life to run a virtual world C# Day event on Saturday, February 16th!  C# Day is a fantastic, non lecture-based way to learn C# programming with no previous programming experience required. 

    Details are at

    Check out the work that my colleague Zain Naboulsi and others have been doing to deck out Visual Studio Island for the C# Day event:


    Great stuff!  I encourage you to walk/swm/fly in for a look.  Enjoy!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing the Boston XNA Developers Group



    Like games?  Interested in creating your own using C#?

    I'm excited to announce that we have a new user group in the Boston area, focused on game development with the XNA Framework!

    Join the Boston XNA Developers Group's inaugural meeting on February 27th at 6:00 at the Microsoft offices (201 Jones Road, 6th floor) in Waltham, MA.  The meeting will introduce XNA and XNA Game Studio (available for free) and will have some discussion around plans and goals for the group.

    No prior game development experience is required, just a passion for gaming and coding.

    Thanks to Michael Cummings for stepping up to take on leadership of the group!

    Head to for more information.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New Microsoft Research Center in Cambridge, MA


    Some exciting news for New England.  Microsoft Research has just announced that the One Memorial Drive, Cambridge offices (that I introduced earlier) will be the location of our newest Research Center!

    The center, opening in July, will be the 6th such center in the world, the 3rd in the US, and the first on the east coast.  It also marks the first center to be led by a woman, Managing Director Jennifer Tour Chayes.

    Research will initially be conducted in the areas of computer science and social science theory, including ways to bridge the two fields.  The center will begin with 10-15 researchers, but plans are to grow to at least 50.

    Coverage of the news can be found here:

    Welcome, Microsoft Research New England!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 9 - Registration and Call for Speakers Open!



    Register Today!

    All systems are GO for New England Code Camp 9!  CC9 will be on the weekend of April 5th and 6th - registration at 8:30, sessions at 9:00 - at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA.

    Register now (for free) at  (CC8 had nearly 450 registrants, can we top that for CC9?)

    Thanks to Chris Pels for setting up the registration and call for speakers!

    What is Code Camp?

    201 Jones Road, Waltham New England Code Camp, one of the largest community-based developer events in the region, is a free event held twice yearly at the Microsoft offices at 201 Jones Road (6th floor) in Waltham, MA. 

    Code Camps (now hosted around the world,) follow a manifesto, created for the very first Code Camp held right here in New England in 2004. 

    Like all Code Camps, CC9 features a high signal to noise ratio (i.e. "no marketing fluff, just stuff".)  Sessions are entirely proposed and delivered by the developer community, with the focus on developer content, practices, and code - no marketing.  (See below if you're interested in speaking!)

    It's free and requires only an investment of your time, so come to learn and share with hundreds of fellow New England area developers.  And if that's not enough, you'll probably walk away with some swag as well!

    The Name

    Ending days of intense speculation and Las Vegas oddsmakers weighing probabilities of the outcome, the community has settled on the next in our series of Camp names that have ranged from the humorous to the downright puzzling.

    j0405272This camp will be...

    Code Camp 9:  "I Came, I Saw, I Coded"

    Or, in the words of Julius Caesar, "Veni, Vidi, Vibi".  Thanks to Carl Franklin for the original idea and Latin punnery!

    Call for Speakers

    Code Camp would just be a lot of people standing around if it weren't for volunteer speakers.  We rely on YOU to give sessions on... well, whatever you're interested in! 

    New to giving technical talks?  Speaking at Code Camp is a great way to get into speaking.  Want a small room for a focused topic?  No problem.  Want to get the word to the masses?  No problem, we have large rooms, too.

    So, ready to share your know-how?  Here's the process:

    1. Sign in to an existing account or create a new one at site.
    2. Complete a Speaker Registry profile (if you don't already have one.)
    3. Go to the Code Camps home page.
    4. Next to the CC9 entry, you should see a "Submit a Session" link.
    5. Submit as many sessions as you'd like.
    6. Please ensure that you also register as an attendee.

    Submissions must be received by Monday, March 24th.  However, we recommend you get them in earlier so we don't discover last-minute overlaps in topics.

    Code Camp can't happen without you, our speakers, so thank you!

    Call for Contributors

    Especially in New England with our two-day format, Code Camps rely on contributors to donate giveaways and funding for food to help make the event happen.  Please let me know if your company is interested in becoming a contributor for Code Camp 9.

    I look forward to seeing you all at Code Camp 9!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Mutli-Group Meeting - Thank You, David Chappell!


    I wanted to extend my gratitude to David Chappell for visiting our special multi-user group event last night in Waltham.  It was an inspiring, informative, and interactive talk, bringing context and an understanding of the importance of world of Software + Services. 

    David shared his insights, formed through his many years of industry experience, and answered the question "As a technology professional, how will this new world of S+S and SaaS affect me?"

    The meeting was very well attended!  I didn't count, but it's safe to say we had around 100 people present.  Thank you to everyone who was able to attend.

    David was kind enough to share further insights over dinner and in our car rides between venues that evening.  Particularly intersesting was our discussion of the art of public speaking.  Thanks again, David.

    I wanted to list the resources from the evening in case you either could not attend or didn't have a chance to jot them down:

    I hope you all found the evening equally worthwhile!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Essential WCF to the Printer!


    EssentialWCFCoverIn the rush of the past week, I forgot to post that "Essential Windows Communication Foundation" has gone to the printer and will be shipping soon! 

    I joined up with fellow New England area Microsoft guys Steve Resnick and Rich Crane (whose post reminded me to write this) to create this book and I'm very excited by the results.

    One of our goals was to incorporate the new WCF features of the .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008.  So, in addition to the core WCF topics, you'll also see coverage of areas such as RSS/ATOM syndication, peer networking, REST, Workflow integration, and new tools/integration with VS 2008. 

    Another goal was to have the book on shelves in time for the worldwide 2008 launch events (BTW, I'll be speaking at most of the ones in the northeast), and it seems that's going to happen!

    For those of you who pick up a copy, you have our thanks!  We hope it helps you along your way to creating fantastic WCF applications with .NET 3.x.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 9 - Save the Dates!



    "One, Two,... Nine, Sir!"

    Can you believe we're on Code Camp Nine?!  Code Camps began in New England in 2004, and here we are, with Code Camps now happening all around the world!  A great testament to the motivation and strength of our global .NET developer community.

    I'm happy to say we're officially a lock for April 5th and 6th for Code Camp 9 at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA.

    Got Name?

    Our dedicated team of community leaders are working hard to find the perfect (read "good enough") subtitle for this one, but if you've got an idea, let me know

    For reference, here are the prior eight, from the timely to the downright puzzling:

    1. [Eponymous]
    2. The Return
    3. The Madness
    4. Developers Gone Wild
    5. Code Frenzy
    6. Devs on a Plane
    7. Deer in Headlights
    8. Rise of the Silverlight Surfer
    9. ???

    Got Logo?

    Have some, well ANY artistic talent?  Can you create a new Code Camp logo?  Really, as you can see above, it won't take much to do better than mine. 

    Come up with one that we use and I'll lavish you with fame (okay, a thank you on my blog) and fortune (we can negotiate something out of my DE prize closet.)

    See You There!

    Save the dates, think of sessions you'd like to give (we can't have a camp without volunteer presenters), and we'll see you then!

    Keep an eye on this blog for more details, registration, and the Call for Speakers.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Icons and Images for Your Apps in VS 2008


    [File this under Cool Tips That Are News to Me]

    vs2008imagesb Thanks to Julie Lerman for pointing out a nifty little feature of the Visual Studio 2008 distribution that includes a library of image and icon files that you can use when creating your own applications.

    Get the details in her post.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    MSDN/Architecture Journal Readers and the Reader SDK


    MSDN Reader BannerSome very cool news if you're a fan of the WPF-based New York Times reader or Seattle P-I reader.  We've just released the Reader SDK which you can use to quickly create similar rich applications for your own purposes.

    In addition, the MSDN Magazine Reader sample application (featuring full source code) is now available, as is the Architecture Journal Reader.

    Architecture JournalHead over to for information on the Reader SDK and links to the MSDN Reader sample.  The MSDN Reader lives under the name "Syndicated Client Experiences Starter Kit" or SCE.  Head to the Architecture Journal site for more on that application [download here].

    Here's a quick tour, focusing on the MSDN Reader (most of the features are shared with the Architecture Journal Reader.)  As you can see, it's basically like have a magazine or newspaper right on your machine:

    MSDN Reader Arch Journal

    See an article and presto - read away!

    MSDN Reader Article

    But this goes well beyond the capabilities of mere paper.  You can zoom in or out without loss of fidelity and you can add your own annotations, but I think the most important feature is search:

     MSDN Reader Search

    If you're anything like me, you come across lots of articles that you'd like to note for later reading... when you have that elusive "free time"...   That's easy to do with the Readers' "Reading List" feature.  First send stories to the Reading List (right-click to get the menu):

    MSDN Reader Send to Reading List

    Then, open the Reading List, (by default, docked on the right-hand side) and click through to read each article (they're automatically grayed out as you view them):

    MSDN Reader Reading List

    And of course, the Readers both support automatic synchronization of content to support offline reading.  The MSDN Reader uses the new Subscription Center beta to manage it's subscription:

    Subscription Center

    The MSDN Reader and Architecture Journal Reader applications are definitely worth a look.  If you have your own data/content source that you'd like to make available for display, I encourage you to take a look at the MSDN Reader code and the SCE/Reader SDK as well.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Congratulations to our New and Continuing Northeastern MVPs


    Microsoft_MVP_logo_1I'd like to pass along congratulations to our new and re-awarded MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) in New England and upstate New York for the first quarter of 2008:

    • Ho Yin Au: Windows - PC Games
    • Mark Blomsma: Visual Developer - Visual C#
    • Peter Blum: Visual Developer - ASP/ASP.NET
    • John D. Carrona: Windows - Networking
    • SB Chatterjee: Microsoft Office Groove
    • Richard Hale Shaw: Visual Developer - Visual C#
    • Roy Harvey: Windows Server System - SQL Server
    • Scot Hillier: Windows Server - Windows SharePoint Services
    • Robert Hurlbut: Visual Developer - Security
    • Patrick Hynds: Visual Developer - Security
    • Duane Laflotte: Visual Developer - Security
    • Tony Northrup: Windows - Networking
    • Fritz Onion: Visual Developer - ASP/ASP.NET
    • Chris Pels: Windows Server System - XML
    • Dave Porter: Windows - Security
    • John M. Raymond: Windows - Shell/User
    • Michael Ruminer: Visual Developer - Team System
    • Don Sorcinelli: Windows - Mobile Devices
    • C David Tobie: Windows - Printing/Imaging
    • Billy Wang: Windows - PC Games
    • Robert E. Zaret: Windows - Windows Embedded

    These people have demonstrated technical knowledge and an ongoing commitment to the overall Microsoft community, online and/or in person, in their respective specialities and beyond.

    Great job, everyone!  Keep up the fantastic community work!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    .NET Framework Source Now Available


    Scott Guthrie has just posted the excellent news that everything is now in place for people to access the source code for the .NET Framework!

    You can now configure Visual Studio 2008 to step through your code and directly into the source for classes in the following libraries:

    • .NET Base Class Libraries (including System, System.CodeDom, System.Collections, System.ComponentModel, System.Diagnostics, System.Drawing, System.Globalization, System.IO, System.Net, System.Reflection, System.Runtime, System.Security, System.Text, System.Threading, etc).
    • ASP.NET (System.Web, System.Web.Extensions)
    • Windows Forms (System.Windows.Forms)
    • Windows Presentation Foundation (System.Windows)
    • ADO.NET and XML (System.Data and System.Xml)

    The real how-to details are on Shawn Burke's blog, including the "get me running quickly" and "I want to know even more" versions of the story.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Volunteers Needed for Connecticut .NET UG


    SB Chatterjee of the Connecticut .NET User Group just sent the following across the wire:

    CTDOTNET is expanding - more events & more attendees need more organization.  Volunteer! 


    We need:

    • Treasurer - Keep track of donations & sponsorship payments & costs)
    • Event Management - New speakers, Sponsorships, Event Notifications, etc.
    • Survey Management - Feedback surveys from events.
    • Web-Master/Web-Goddess - Manage our website

    Drop us a line at (ctdotnet @at@ gmail .dot. com) if any of the above interests you.

    A great way to get involved, give back to the developer community, and make some great contacts along the way.  Believe me, I know of what I speak!



  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Silverlight 1.0 Fire Starter Now Online



    Silverlight Fire Starter was a one-day event held in Redmond late last year to cover a wide range of Silverlight topics.  Now you can access the same content for the hard-to-argue-with price of free:


    There are eight sessions available:

    You can watch the sessions via the site or download them for offline viewing/listening (as WMV, WMA, or MP3).


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New User Group in Maine!


    BAND I'm happy to say that Maine will be getting a brand new user group in Bangor! 

    The well-named BAND (Bangor Area .Net Developers) will meet (for "gigs") monthly to talk about current developer topics with a focus on current technology that's ready for practical use.

    Check out their website at

    This month's gig:

    Tuesday, Jan 22, 6:00-8:00 pm

    Hampton Inn, Bangor (directions)

    Summary of the Bob and Chris Roadshow from December - Jeff Hall

    Did you miss the "Bob & Chris' MSDN Roadshow" event held in Westbrook on December 11?  Jeff Hall, a fellow Bangor-area .NET developer, will be giving a summary of the event that talked about:

    • "Visual Studio 2008: The Accelerated AP/Honors Class"
    • "The Multi-Tenant Data Architecture"
    • "'You Are The Strongest LINQ!': Effective Language Integrated Query"
    • "Expression Studio for the Designer-Wannabe"

    Jeff is a developer for Occupational Health Research in Skowhegan, with experience including ASP.NET, WinForms, unit testing and deployment.  Come meet other area .NET developers and check out the latest .NET development concepts and tools.  Plus enter the random drawing for your own copy of Microsoft Expression Web, among other cool door prizes!

    6:00-6:30 Warm-ups - Pizza, soda and casual discussion

    6:30-6:45 MC Introduction - User group update

    6:45-7:45 Main Event - Summary of the Bob and Chris Roadshow from December

    7:45-8:00 Last Call - Q&A, Prize Drawing, Closing, Cleanup

    Register Online

    I'm planning to speak with the group in the March/April timeframe.  Maybe I can swing by Steven King's house for some author-to-author talk?  ;)


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