Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    “Is Your App on Windows Phone?” – Ends December 31st


    imageThinking of jumping in and writing a Windows Phone application (or maybe you already have)? 

    Take a look at the “Is your app on Windows Phone?” promotion, running through December 31st:

    Is your app on Windows Phone?

    When you’re ready to develop, head to the App Hub to get the (free) tools to create your masterpiece.

    Have fun developing!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Congratulations to Jesse Liberty


    Not sure how I missed this news until now, but Joe Stagner mentions that Jesse Liberty, noted author, speaker, and technologist, has joined Microsoft!  Jesse is now a Senior Program Manager on the Silverlight development team.

    It turns out Jesse announced this a few weeks ago on his blog:

    "As part of my job, I will be creating new avenues of communication about Silverlight, both here, and of course through sites and portals and who-knows-what-else at Microsoft. Stay tuned… much to come very quickly, I suspect."

    Jesse has always been well respected for his excellent books, but he has also been a great contributor to the New England development community - frequently speaking at user group meetings and other events.  That passion for community will be a great asset in his new role.

    Welcome aboard, Jesse!  Looking forward to what you'll be helping to drive with Silverlight.


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  • 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 England Code Camp 10 Update



    We're just two weeks from New England Code Camp 10, the free, community-driven weekend for developers taking place in Waltham, MA on September 20th and 21st!

    Already, there are 45 sessions, 29 speakers, and 250 registrants - and growing

    Register today at:

    Food Contributors - Thanks!

    I'd like to thank two area companies who have recently stepped up to provide the attendee lunches for Code Camp weekend, Syrinx Consulting Corporation and Magenic Technologies!

    Syrinx    Magenic

    With the high number of attendees Code Camp gets, this isn't an inexpensive proposition, so I hope you'll return their favor of support by clicking through to each company to discover more about them.  Thanks!

    Call for Speakers Closing 9/9

    We're still accepting new session submissions (submission instructions are in my previous CC10 post), but in order to assemble the final schedule, we're closing the call for speakers after Tuesday, September 9th. 

    There's still a little more room for additional sessions, so if you've been thinking about giving it a try, we'd love to have you speak.

    Schedule Coming Next Week

    Chris Pels and I will be sorting through the chaos to assemble the final schedule.  Look for it in about a week.  In the meantime, we currently have 45 sessions (and I know of more still coming) by 29 different speakers on a wide variety of topics:

    • .NET Framework
    • Greg Howe Rocks Code Camp 9 AJAX
    • C++/CLI
    • C#
    • IronRuby
    • LINQ
    • Mobile Development
    • RESTful Programming
    • SharePoint
    • Silverlight
    • Software Engineering Practices
    • Team System
    • WCF
    • XNA
    • ...and many others!

    This is shaping up to be another great Code Camp, but it needs you, the developer community.  Sign up and add your voice to the mix!


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    The Roadshow Comes to New Hampshire on 12/18!


    Roadshow Breaking news!  We've been able to arrange a visit to New Hampshire for the Winter Northeast Roadshow!  We'll be spending the day at Daniel Webster College on December 18th, talking about jQuery & ASP.NET, Workflow, WPF, Silverlight, WCF, and a bunch more:

    Register here!

    Northeast Roadshow, December 18th

    Daniel Webster College
    Collings Auditorium
    20 University Place
    Nashua, NH 03063

    Jim and I ask that if you're switching to NH from another location, please cancel your other registration (via the My Events page).  Thanks!

    Many thanks to Genevieve Baudin and Daniel Webster College for arranging to host us!  We're looking forward to adding New Hampshire into the Roadshow tour!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston XNA Developer Group Wednesday



    Just a  reminder that the Boston XNA Developer Group will be having a meeting at its usual day/time (fourth Wednesday of the month), tomorrow, May 28th at 6:00 at the Microsoft office in Waltham, MA.

    Michael Cummings will be presenting.  The content level is still introductory, so if you're new to XNA, please do stop by!

    Head to the group's site for resources and information.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    C# Day Goes Virtual on December 8th in Second Life


    Why should we keep all the fun for ourselves here in New England?  Michael de la Maza is taking his successful C# Day series to the virtual world of Second Life!

    I've blogged about Microsoft and Second Life before, but now we'll have one of our own northeast volunteers running an event in association with the Second Life .NET Users Group on Visual Studio Island.

    Full details are at, and the event runs from 9:00 - 4:00 (SLT = Second Life Time = Pacific Standard Time = PST) on the lower level of Visual Studio Island.  Here's the agenda:

    9:00am - 9:30am - Ice breakers
    9:30am - 10:00am - C# Language Discovery
    10:00am - 11:00am - C# Language Cocktail Party
    11:00am - 11:30am - Knowledge organization and self-reflection
    11:30am - 12:00pm - Starting a new project in Visual Studio/C# Express
    12:00pm - 1:00pm - Lunch
    1:00pm - 1:45pm - C# Program Discovery
    1:45pm - 2:45pm - C# Program Cocktail Party
    2:45pm - 3:15pm - Knowledge organization and self-reflection
    3:15pm - 4:00pm - InnerWorkings

    The great part is you don't have to travel to participate in this C# Day.  Just install the software (check the event site for details) and log in.  Nobody has to know you're in your PJs.

    You can get to Visual Studio Island by searching for "Visual Studio Island" in-world.

    If the virtual world isn't to your liking, Michael will be running the next "real world" C# Day in January of February.  Keep your eye on this blog or the C# Day site for details.

    See you in Second Life!


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  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston XNA Developers Group June 24 Meeting – XNA Game Studio 3.1


    bostonxna Tonight’s meeting of the Boston XNA Developers Group (6:00 in Waltham) will feature Michael Cummings speaking on what’s in the newly-released XNA Game Studio 3.1.  XNA Game Studio helps you create games that can run on PCs, XBox 360, and Zune, all on top of the .NET Framework.

    Some of the new features in 3.1 include:

    • cco_home_gameStudio31_feature_bannerFINALAvatar Support
    • Xbox LIVE Party Support
    • Video Playback
    • Audio API
    • Content Pipeline Enhancements
    • XACT3 Support


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    2nd Dynamics CRM Incubation Week – Waltham, MA


    Dynamics Incubation Week After a very successful first CRM Incubation Week, there is now another opportunity to participate coming to Waltham, MA on April 20th to the 24th.

    Details from Sanjay Jain’s event post:


    The current economic downturn is putting many entrepreneurs under increasing pressure, making it critical to find new resources and ways to reduce costs and inefficiencies. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Incubation Week is designed to offer following assistance to entrepreneurs.

    1.       Learning and building next generation business solution on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Platform (a rapid application development platform to reduce the cost and Go-To-Market time) with help of on-site advisors (Microsoft Dynamics CRM experts).

    2.       Getting entrepreneurs coaching from a panel of industry experts (academic and angel investors)

    3.       Generating marketing buzz for their ideas


    The 2nd CRM Incubation Week is being held at Microsoft Technology Center, Waltham, MA from Mon 4/20/2009 to Fri 4/24/2009. This event consists of ½ day of training, 3 ½ days of active prototype/development time, and a final day for packaging/finishing and reporting out to a panel of judges for various prizes.

    There’s still time to nominate your team to attend, so see Sanjay’s post for details and instructions.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Roadshow Update - Portland and Manchester


    Two more stops made and one more to go on the first tour of Bob & Chris' MSDN Roadshow! 

    Portland, ME

    We visited the Portland, ME area and had a great audience brave the should-never-get-this-cold cold to come to the MESDA facility in Westbrook.

    [Again, thanks to Bob for being Mr. Photographer!]

    We're returning with the Roadshow in May, but I'll be back in the area on April 5th at 1:30 to speak with the Maine Developer Network user group in Augusta on WCF and again on April 12th to speak with the Maine Bytes User Group on WPF in Portland.

    Manchester, NH

    Two days later we were in Manchester, NH.  First of all, we had an amazing turnout.  The turnout was so amazing that we couldn't fit in the room!  If you weren't there, you missed out on Bob and I performing what we're now calling the ol' "Manchester Swap".  We had an overflow room where we each took turns repeating our sessions from the main room.

    [Our Manchester Zune winner, Jason Hull!]

    Rest assured that we won't be in the same facility for our next visit to New Hampshire.  Knowing how many of you are interested in attending, we'll find another place with plenty of room.

    Thank you all for being good sports about the unusual logistics!

    Session Follow-up

    Some additional details from the week's questions and discussions:

    Roadshow Content

    We're still working on a permanent home for the Roadshow materials and information, but we've gathered our content from the current tour and you can now download the presentations as a ZIP from the site.

    Next Stop

    We'll be visiting the Microsoft Offices in Farmington, CT on Tuesday (3/20) for our last stop until May.  Registration is actually "sold out" for the event and have been taking waitlist registrations!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Special Multi User Group Event with David Chappell


    David Chappell I'm excited to announce that we've organized a special evening event for developers and architects featuring David Chappell.  David (bio below) is an industry veteran, well-respected for his ability to consistently convey technical content and insights in an engaging manner.

    He'll be speaking on "Understanding Software + Services":

    The move to service-orientation is well underway, both inside enterprises and on the Internet. What role does traditional software play in a world of on-line services? In particular, how is Microsoft approaching the combination of software plus services? This presentation provides an overview of this area, giving an introduction to and a perspective on this emerging combination.

    The event is January 31st from 6-8 PM at the 201 Jones Road Microsoft office in Waltham, MA.  This unique event is a combined group effort for the following user groups:

    I hope you're able to take advantage of this rare opportunity!


    P.S.  Here is David's Bio:

    David Chappell is Principal of Chappell & Associates in San Francisco, California. Through his speaking, writing, and consulting, he helps IT professionals around the world understand, use, and make better decisions about enterprise software.

    David has been the keynote speaker for dozens of conferences and events in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America. His popular seminars have been attended by tens of thousands of developers, architects, and decision makers in forty countries. He has also spoken at many universities, including the National University of Singapore, Moscow State University, and Sweden's Uppsala University.

    David's books have been published in ten languages and used regularly in courses at MIT, ETH Zurich, and other educational institutions. He is Series Editor for Addison-Wesley's award-winning Independent Technology Guides, and he's been a columnist for several publications. In his consulting practice, David has helped clients such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Stanford University, and Target Corporation adopt new technologies, market new products, train their sales staffs, and create business plans.

    David's comments have appeared in The New York Times,, and many other publications. Earlier in his career, he wrote software for supercomputers, chaired a U.S. national standardization working group, and played keyboards with the Peabody-award-winning Children's Radio Theater. David holds a B.S. in Economics and an M.S. in Computer Science, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.You can reach him at:

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    The New Hampshire .NET User Group is Back!


    Pat Tormey, who runs the New Hampshire .NET User Group, just sent word that the group has a new site and new plans:

    We're Re-Grouping New Hamphire DotNet User Group at our new site and we could use some advice from you.

    Could you drop in at and tell us where you'd like to meet, what evening works best for you, and what technology piques your interest these days.

    Then please register at for New Hamphire DotNet User Group. And stay tuned for our Grand Launch of VS 2008, SQL 2008 and Windows 2008.

    So check out the group's site and cast your vote to help determine the direction the group will take!


    P.S.  Pat also mentioned that he's created a series of Smart Client videos:

    I've also posted a whole series of SmartClient Videos at

    These videos were developed for and there are dozens more free video training session with both VB and C# source code there.

    And if you want to hear more on this from Pat in person, check out his "WinForms and Smart Client Development" talk at Code Camp!

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Get Your Hands on a Surface at the Sheraton Boston


    surfacelogo If you're in or passing through the Boston area and have yet to see a Microsoft Surface machine in action, you can swing by the Boston Sheraton hotel for a chance to interact with one.  Boston is one of five Sheratons to feature a Surface as a guide to the local area.

    I had a chance to play with research the capabilities of one while at Mix08 this spring and can say that the cool factor is extremely high with these. You can interact via touching the table top, putting objects on top of it (that it then recognizes and responds to), and it can communicate wirelessly with devices that support that (such as phones, cameras, etc.) 

    P3070023In the picture at right, you can see a picture someone took of our group at MIX that was transferred to the Surface by placing the camera on the table top and selecting the picture from the camera with a flick of a finger.

    Of course, the Surface team has plenty to say on the matter:

    P3070021The Surface machine is in the lobby of:

        The Sheraton Boston Hotel
        39 Dalton St.
        Boston, MA
        [One-click directions]

    I haven't made it out to the Sheraton just yet, but if you go, please let me know what you think!


    P.S.  This has been getting plenty of attention in the media.  Here's a sampling of what I found:

  • Travel and Tourism News
  • HotelChatter
  • Mobility Site
  • MediaPost Marketing Daily
  • SeattlePI
  • ZDNet - Mary-Jo Foley

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Giving Two User Group Talks on XNA This Week!


    XNA Some coincidental scheduling has given me a chance to speak with both the Boston .NET and Beantown .NET user groups this week, both on XNA!

    You'll have two chances to get up to speed on how to create games easily for Windows, XBox 360, and the Zune using XNA and .NET.

    The Boston .NET meeting is on Wednesday (7/9) in Waltham and the Beantown .NET meeting is on Thursday (7/10) on State St. in Boston, both are from 6-8 PM. 

    If you're interested in the Beantown .NET meeting, send an RSVP email as indicated on the group's site.  (I expect we'll also head across the street for a beer after that meeting.)

    Here's the description for both sessions:

    "Introduction to Game Development with XNA"

    Summer is upon us, so what better excuse to break away from the norm and discuss games? This meeting is for people who enjoy games, and have always wanted to know more about how they’re made… and maybe how to make their own.

    XNA is a game development platform based on the .NET Framework that helps to make it easy to develop games for Windows, Xbox, and now the Zune as well.  Using the free XNA Game Studio, you can use those same C# skills that pay the bills by day for creating your own games by night (or really whenever you'd like.)

    We'll introduce XNA, show you around the XNA world, then create a simple 2D game from scratch to give you a feel for game mechanics and the architecture of XNA.

    This session requires no game development experience, only a passion for coding and for games!

    I encourage students to attend and also parents to bring sons and daughters who are interested in gaming and programming.

    Hope to see you one of these evenings!


    P.S.  If you're unable to make these meetings or are already up to speed on XNA, you can come to the next meeting of the Boston XNA Developers Group on July 23rd in Waltham.

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    XAMLFest Boston 5/27 – 5/28… and Online


    xamlfest_thumb XAMLFest events are a great (and free) way to learn about Silverlight and WPF through a combination of presentations and instructor-led hands-on lab work. 

    XAMLFest Boston is coming to the NERD facility (One Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA) on May 27th & 28th, and will be the last XAMLFest in the northeast this fiscal year.

    John Pelak has the full details via the ISV Developer Community Blog:

    This event, like past ones, is already filling up and will reach capacity, so act quickly if you know you can attend!

    XAMLFest Online

    Because this event series has been so popular, filling up each time, the team is taking XAMLFests to the web to help reach more designers and developers.

    XAMLFest Online will be held June 1-5, featuring a syllabus with two live sessions each day supplemented with recorded content.

    Bruce Kyle has the details at:

    Enjoy becoming XAMLized!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Bob & Chris' MSDN Roadshow: Code Camp Edition


    While considering the schedule for this weekend's Code Camp 7, it occurred to me that Bob is going to be covering his Bob & Chris' MSDN Roadshow topics, so why shouldn't I cover my Roadshow topics as well and put them back-to-back in the same room?

    Well, that's just what we're going to do.

    So, those of you who had wanted the Roadshow to swing through Massachusetts now have access at Code Camp to the same .NET 3.0 Framework (WCF, CardSpace, WF, and WPF) content we've delivered in Rochester, Burlington, Portland, Manchester and Farmington!

    Keep an eye on my blog for the final Code Camp schedule, but unless something drastic occurs, we'll run the Roadshow sessions on the second day of Camp on April 1st.


    [Update - The schedule has been published and we're running these sessions all day on Sunday in MPR B.]

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    January Boston XNA Meeting Postponed


    bostonxnaDue to the threat of significant snow this Wednesday, the January 28th Boston XNA Developer Group meeting has been moved out one week to February 4th at 6:00 (in MPR-B).

    The Boston XNA Developer Group normally meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month at he Microsoft office in Waltham, MA.  It is open to anyone interested in learning about creating games for the PC, XBox 360 and/or Zune with .NET and the XNA Framework.  All skill levels are welcome!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Imagine Cup 2009 US Finals in Boston!



    Students from all over the United States are gathering to compete in the US finals of this year’s Imagine Cup, hoping for a chance to join the best of the best from around the globe in the world finals in Cairo, Egypt.


    The Imagine Cup is a yearly technology-based problem solving competition bringing students together to face challenges and open new doors.

    Want to see more?  There’s a great video showing the amazing excitement this competition offers.

    Want to see more in person?  The US Finals are happening this weekend, right here in Cambridge, MA, and you can join in the fun by coming to the US Imagine Cup Community Showcase on May 4th.  Here’s how:

    Now in its seventh year, Microsoft Imagine Cup is a global student technology competition that inspires students to use technology to make the world a better place by addressing its toughest challenges as defined by the UN Millennium GoalsMicrosoft is pleased to host the 2009 US Imagine Cup final competitions in Cambridge, MA.  15 student teams will be coming from universities across the county to experience a week in the innovation capital of the world – Cambridge.  While here, students will attend an innovation and entrepreneurship workshops, present their projects to a judging panel of local technology luminaries, and showcase their ideas to the local technology community.

    The US Imagine Cup team invites you to join us for the

    US Imagine Cup Community Showcase
    May 4, 2009 at 6:00 PM
    One Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02142 – 1st Floor
    Light refreshments will be served!
    Driving Directions

    The Community Showcase welcomes members of the Boston community to come into New England Research and Development and to spend an evening interacting with students, and witness firsthand the passion for technology and inspiration for solving tough problems that the students exhibit.


    This event is the highlight of the student experience of the Imagine Cup, come and see what the future of technology holds!

    ImagineCupLogoFor a glimpse into the impact this has had on students, take a look at Journeys and Success Stories, showing just a few the many teams (and dreams) involved in the competition.

    See you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 8 - Summary and Thank You



    Fritz Onion working session magic[From the "Better Late than Never Department"]

    It's been a very busy couple of weeks after Code Camp, with ReMIX and working on the home stretch of "Essential WCF", but I didn't want to forget to post a summary for our fantastic New England Code Camp 8!

    The weekend before last saw over 40 sessions by 25 presenters, all volunteering their weekend time to an engaged audience of people who also volunteered their weekend time to attend!

    Judging by the surveys we received, this was one of our best Camps yet, with both the session ratings and overall event rating extremely high.   


    I wanted to point out Samantha Milowsky's great summary of the event!  Thanks for taking capturing the event in words and photos!

    More magazines than you can read!Thanks also to Dave Burke for his kind words in his Code Camp wrap-up

    Session Materials

    We'll be hounding the speakers to get links to their presentations up on TheDevCommunity site.  Some speakers already have their content available through their blogs:

    Log in to for links to the materials for each session (you need to be logged in to see the presentations.)

    Thanks to Our Speakers

    The saturday night geek event Please join me in thanking our speakers for volunteering their time and effort!  Without you, Code Camp would be... well, a lot of people just sitting around eating pizza.  :)

    • Andy Beaulieu
    • Chris Bowen
    • Dave Burke
    • Allan da Costa Pinto
    • Michael Cummings
    • Ben Day
    • David Edson
    • Bob Familiar
    • Bruce Ganek
    • Robert Hurlbut
    • Julie Lerman
    • Jesse Liberty
    • Anthony Lombardo
    • Mark Mullin amazes Adam Machanic
    • Todd Mancini
    • Michael de la Maza
    • Mark Mullin
    • Tim Ng
    • Andy Novick
    • Fritz Onion
    • Chris Pels
    • Richard Hale Shaw
    • Steve Simon
    • Paul Swider
    • Max Weber


    Giveaways aplenty A special thank you to our contributors for supporting this Code Camp!

    These companies contributed either funds for food or giveaways for attendees, with no expectations of the the usual sponsorship perks like logos in lights, banners on the walls, and expo hall receptions.  Please join us in thanking them for supporting the .NET community.

    Code Camp v.Next!

    What actually happened during the SCRUM session?If you thought this Code Camp was packed with information, keep in mind we have a the launch of a certain trio of products coming, so things are going to be very interesting for Code Camp 9 in the spring!

    Last, but absolutely not least, THANK YOU to every attendee who exchanged precious weekend time to come out and share, learn, and drive the buzz that makes the New England .NET community one of the best in the world!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    MIX08 Registration Open and Site Updated


    blings_9_25_b[1]Thanks to a heads-up from Brad, I took a look at the newly updated MIX08 website.  I like the site design - simple and easy to navigate, but with some nice effects.

    MIX08 will be at The Venetian in Las Vegas on March 5-7 and registration is now open.  Keynotes from Ballmer and Guthrie, solid sessions, party at Tao, and of course Vegas itself == good conference.

    It's usually a pretty tough event for Microsoft staff to attend, but I'll keep my fingers crossed...


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