Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • 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

    Boston XNA July 23rd Meeting on 2D Role Playing Game Development



    The Boston XNA Developers Group is an open user group for anyone interested in learning about game development with the .NET-based XNA framework.  Attendance is open and everyone is welcome, including students and parents with their programming-interested children.

    RPG Starter KitTomorrow night (July 23rd at 6:00 in Waltham), we're kicking off a multiple month look at the 2D Role Playing Game starter kit that's freely available from the XNA Creators Club site.  We'll look at some of the approaches and practices used by the initial version of the game, then walk through adding a few new extensions to the game.

    We'll keep this topic going as all or part of each meeting going forward, encouraging anyone in the group to add new features and to give an informal show-and-tell of the new feature and how it was done.

    Who knows what kind of magic we'll have created after a few months?


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    ASP.NET MVC Preview 3 Released


    Great news from the team that's working on bringing Model View Controller to ASP.NET - the Preview 3 release is now available, along with the source code on CodePlex.  Scott Guthrie has the details on his blog.

    Some interesting new features and refinements in this release:

    • Controller Action method changes
    • Improved HTML Helper methods
    • URL Routing improvements

    Related posts:

    Be sure to look through the Preview 3 readme file as well - it describes what's new in the API and how to convert code from prior versions to Preview 3.

    Finally, If you're in the northeastern U.S., you can learn more about ASP.NET MVC by coming to one of our Northeast Roadshow events, where I'm running a session on that very topic!


  • 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

    XamlFest Boston: Come As You Are, Leave Xamlized


    WPF Are you excited about the WPF but concerned about the learning curve?  Have you seen Silverlight but don’t know where to get started?  Or are you curious about how tools like Visual Studio and Expression Blend help designers and developers work together to deliver great user experiences? If so, join us at XamlFest!

    XamlFest is a two day interactive event where you’ll learn about the platforms the tools and processes used to deliver differentiated user experiences. It’s a chance for you to mingle with UX minded Microsoft folks as well as industry leading design integrators.  It’s also an opportunity to pick up a free copy of Visual Studio 2008 and Expression Studio 2 for you attendance.

    Each XamlFest day will start with interactive sessions by Microsoft and our design partners, followed by a free lunch and a chance to network, have some fun and win prizes. Each afternoon will be geared toward assisted development with instructor-led walkthroughs, or, better yet, come with your own project in mind and we’ll help kick start your very own proof of concept!

    PLEASE NOTE:  Each attendee will need a laptop to take part in the assisted development sessions.


    Thursday & Friday December 11th and 12th.


    Microsoft Technology Center

    890 Winter Street Suite 100

    Waltham, MA 02451



    Date Time Topic
    Thursday, 12/11 9:00 AM Introduction to WPF, Xaml, Expression Blend
      10:30 AM Break
      10:45 AM Building Visually Rich Applications: The role of the Integrator in building designable applications
      12:00 PM Lunch, Mingle, Prizes
      1:00 PM Instructor-led WPF walkthrough and assisted development
      3:00 PM Assisted Development
      5:00 PM End of Day 1
    Friday, 12/12 9:00 AM Introduction to Silverlight, Data Binding, LINQ
      10:30 AM Break
      10:45 AM

    Platform Centric Design Best Practices: Creating WPF and Silverlight XAML for Web and Local Client Solutions

      12:00 Lunch, Mingle, Prizes
      1:00 Instructor-led Silverlight walkthrough and assisted development
      3:00 Assisted development
      5:00 XamlFest Ends

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. What if I don’t have Visual Studio?

    A. No problem, every attendee leaves with Visual Studio 2008 Pro!

    Q. What if I don’t have Expression Blend?

    A. Again, no problem! Everyone leaves with Expression Studio 2.

    Q. What if I don’t have an idea for a starter project?

    A. We’d like you to leave with something personal, but if nothing comes to mind that’s OK too. It’s the main reason we’re planning a few guided sessions where you can fallow along with us. These sessions should take no more than two hours, so if something sparks your interest you’ll still have time left for assisted development.

    Q. What if I don’t have a laptop?

    A. You can still participate in the training in the mornings and lunch, but assisted development in the afternoon is a harder problem to solve. We have no problem with people pairing up, so you might want to check with friends or co-workers to see if they’re interested.

    Q. Can I just come for the training and skip assisted development?

    A. XamlFest is about empowering designers and developers to deliver great user experiences and we believe a key component is hands-on assisted development. If you are unable to participate in the afternoon sessions please wait until the day before the event to register. This will give others the opportunity to sign up first, and if there’s still space available you’re welcome to join us.

    XamlFest -- Come as you are, leave Xamlized.


    Space is extremely limited, so we ask that you please register only if you fully expect to be able to attend.  Register by contacting

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Reminder for Saturday’s New England Data Camp v2.0


    SQLSaturday34With 27 sessions and over 450 people registered (and a bit of room left for more), this Saturday’s free New England Data Camp v2 / SQL Saturday #34 is shaping up to be an event not to be missed.

        New England Data Camp v2.0 / SQL Saturday #34 
          Saturday, January 30, 2010
          8:15 AM – 5:00 PM 
       Microsoft New England
          201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA

    NEDC2 is a free, community-driven event for all things data.  The schedule features sessions from Business Intelligence to Data Development, Administration, and Performance Tuning.

    It’s not too late to register, and I hope to see you there!


    P.S.  The tag for the event is #nedc2.

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    The Digital Dorm Room Tour Has Arrived!


    DDR My colleague Edwin Guarin, who focuses on academia here in the northeast, has just kicked off the northeastern leg of the Digital Dorm Room Tour, packing a customized RV with some very cool technology and motoring across the northeast!  Edwin blogged about the tour, the idea, goals, tech, goodies for giveaways, and what's on the RV.

    The RV (and hopefully Edwin too) are heading to a bunch of colleges and universities over the coming month.  Here's the schedule.

    Who knows, you might even find yours truly hopping on board for the ride (despite the fact that I've been driven by Edwin before!) and hitting a campus or two!

    Check out the Digital Dorm Room site for the latest details.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Speaking on ASP.NET MVC 1.0 – August 19, Waltham, MA


    MVC I’ll be diving into ASP.NET MVC 1.0 with the New England ASP.NET Professionals User Group this Wednesday in Waltham, MA:

    When: August 19th, 2009 at 6:15PM

    Where: Microsoft Offices - Waltham

    Speaker: Chris Bowen of Microsoft


    ASP.NET Model View Controller (MVC)

    Released earlier this year, ASP.NET MVC 1.0 presents a new option for developing web applications. Bringing to ASP.NET the benefits of the Model View Controller pattern, ASP.NET MVC builds on core ASP.NET services to support control over HTML and URLs, clean separation of concerns, testability, flexibility, and more. In this session, we'll take a brief look at the main concepts behind MVC, but focus primarily on diving into code and looking at ways to implement various concepts using ASP.NET MVC 1.0 and Visual Studio.

    All are welcome.


    BTW, If you attended one of my Roadshow sessions on MVC, we’ll have more time at this meeting, so I plan to delve more deeply into the coding side.



  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New Group! The Upstate NY PowerShell Users Group


    PowerShell Good news for those of you who like to express yourselves in concise, yet powerful ways…

    The Upstate NY PowerShell Users Group has just been formed for the Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse areas and focuses on ways to learn and utilize Windows PowerShell for administration and development.

    Join organizers (and PowerShell MVPs) Joel Bennett and Jeffery Hicks for the group’s first meeting (from the event’s flyer):

    Upstate NY PowerShell Users Group
    September 9, 6:00 PM

    New Horizons
    50 Methodist Hill Drive, Suite 50
    Rochester, NY 14623

    Please join us as we kick off the Upstate NY PowerShell Users Group, serving IT Professionals from Central and Upstate New York interested in learning more about PowerShell . Meetings will likely be held in Rochester and Syracuse but please help us figure it all out by attending our first meeting.

    Please RSVP to

    For those of you in the area, it should be a great way to connect and learn about making life easier by using PowerShell!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    C# Day Returns on September 13th


    Michael de la Maza is returning to Waltham, MA to run a 3rd "C# Day" event.  Previous C# Days have been great opportunities for attendees to become familiar with the C# language using an approach quite different from standard lecture-focused events.

    Here's a description from the C# Day home page:

    "Join us for a relaxed, no cost introduction to C# programming. By engaging in participatory activities, you will learn some of the most common and powerful features of the C# language. This day is not lecture-based. There will be fewer than 60 minutes of lecture material -- almost all of the time will be spent on participant-guided activities. Everyone who attends will learn what interests them at their own pace in a relaxed, tension-free environment with an experienced C# developer and trainer available to answer questions."
    Here's a summary post from the first C# Day event in June.

    RSVPs are required, so please head to for more details and to register.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Hartford Code Camp 2 on June 13 – Call for Speakers/Sponsors


    CTDOTNET-New After a very successful first Hartford Code Camp last year, SB Chatterjee (MVP for Groove) and the CT .NET User Group are bringing another Camp to the Hartford, CT area!

    Join CT area developers for Hartford Code Camp 2 on June 13 from 9AM-5PM

    Hold the date as registration will be coming later, but the Calls for Speakers and Sponsors are open, so consider helping to make this a great event!

    CTDOTNET Second CodeCamp - Hartford CT (Saturday June 13th 9AM-5PM)

    To be held at New Horizons Computer Learning Center (Bloomfield CT).

    A code camp is a FREE, community-driven, all-day event for developers. Speakers are local or regional developers. Topics are based on community interest. Sessions are original and feature a heavy technical focus (no marketing fluff). We will follow the Spirit of the Codecamp Manifesto as described here -

    We are seeking talented .NET developers to make a presentation or two at the Second Hartford CodeCamp on June 13th (Saturday). If you have ever wanted fame (& perhaps fortune) - this is your opportunity! We are giving away prizes for presenters (judged by evals from attendees).

    Each session should be about 90mins in duration and the content should be on developer topics that would be of interest to attending developers. Just about anything in .NET and other Microsoft technologies!

    Choose a .NET topic of interest and send a brief abstract or outline, your developer experience, expected audience level, etc or any other questions to

    We will be following a similar format as our First CodeCamp.

    Our thanks to New Horizons Computer Learning Center for sponsoring our event.

    Thanks to SB and the CT .NET User Group!  Looking forward to another great Camp.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Speaking on Enterprise Library at Beantown .NET UG on 10/4


    I'll be in Boston tomorrow night (10/4), giving a talk about the Patterns & Practices group and Enterprise Library for the Beantown .NET User Group.  If you're in the Boston area and are interested in learning about how Enterprise Library can help with your development efforts, drop by for a listen!

    The meeting runs from 6-8:00 PM.

    More details and directions are at

    See you there!


    Technorati tags: , , ,
  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Virtual TechDays 2009 "Defy All Challenges" Event



    Our old New England friend Thom Robbins has announced that the Virtual TechDays 2009 "Defy All Challenges" event is coming on April 1st, taking community and knowledge sharing into the online world.

    With a target of over 90 sessions in 5 tracks delivered over 24 hours, this should be great fun for both the presenters and attendees.

    Your chance to get involved, the Call for Content, is open through February 13th, and submissions from everyone and in any language are welcome.

    Are you interested in sharing your knowledge with your peers around the world?

    We are looking for passionate speakers to submit topics that developers would be interested in learning about. 

    This is an open call for sessions so please feel free to refer other industry experts to this site.

    Please note that if you submit a session for consideration, this does not guarantee that your session will be accepted for this event.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Free Resources and Training on


    msdev-homeThough specifically geared toward developers at ISVs*, the newly updated site has great content useful for any developer and is worth checking out.

    From the ISV Developer Community blog announcement:

    You will find web seminars, virtual events, live events on .NET Framework, business development, cloud computing, Exchange, Expression, high performance computing, Hyper-V, Internet Explorer, IIS, Dynamics, Office System, VSTO, SharePoint, Next Web, Web UI, Silverlight, SQL Server, Azure, Windows, Visual Studio, and much more.

    msdevlogoYou'll find unfettered, friction free access to rich media learning content for Microsoft-based solution developers and non-Microsoft based developers.  In additon, the site provides developer training focused on value added partners (VAPs).

    The phrase “friction free” is key, there’s no need to log in to view resources (though you can if you wish) – just easy access to the content you need.

    Start with a search and take a look.


    * Independent Software Vendors

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing Microsoft's BizSpark Program for Startups



    Some great news for the startup and entrepreneurial community - we've formally launched a new program, called BizSpark, designed to offer tools, mentorship, and support to early stage startups, with no upfront costs to enroll.

    Think DreamSpark (tools and platform software for students) but for startups, and you won't be far off.

    Program Details

    BS_Sunburst There are plenty of details on the Microsoft Startup Zone site, but in summary, the program connects startups with Network Partners, organizations in the software community who can provide assistance and guidance to the startups.  Microsoft provides the BizSpark startups with:

    Software - Lots of it, along with production licenses.  From the Startup Zone site:

  • All the software included in the Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System Team Suite (VSTS) with MSDN® Premium subscription
  • Expression® Studio Version 2
  • VSTS Team Foundation Server (standard edition)
  • Production use rights to host a “software as a service” solution (developed during participation in the BizSpark Program, on any platform) over the Internet, with regard to products including:
    • Microsoft Windows Server® (all versions up to and including Enterprise)
    • Microsoft SQL Server® (all versions)
    • Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server
    • Microsoft System Center
    • Microsoft BizTalk® Server
    • Microsoft Dynamics® CRM (coming soon)
  • In addition to the core program offering, BizSpark startups will be eligible for other Microsoft offerings, such as:
    • Microsoft Azure Services Platform

    Support - Software support from MSDN (groups, incidents, concierge, etc.), BizSpark program support, and guidance through Network Partners (incubators, investors, advisors, agencies, hosters, etc.

    Visibility - Through the program and the BizSpark DB, increased exposure to the potential investors, partners, and customers.

    What Does it Cost?

    From the BizSpark FAQ:

    As part of Microsoft’s commitment to Startup success, there is no upfront cost to enroll in the program. Startups will be responsible for a USD$100 program offering fee when they exit the program

    Who Qualifies?

    How are startups eligible? [excepted from source]:

    Your startup must be:

    • Actively engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of its current or intended business
    • Privately held
    • In business for less than 3 years
    • Generating less than USD $1 million in annual revenue

    To be eligible to use the software for production and deployment of hosted solutions, startups must also be developing a new "software as a service" solution (on any platform) to be delivered over the Internet.

    BTW, if you're an ISV, but don't qualify for BizSpark, take a look at Empower for ISVs, which may be another way to get additional support from Microsoft.

    What Next?

    I'm excited that we're offering this program!  If you're a startup, read through the program details on the Microsoft Startup Zone, then find a Network Partner, who can help connect you with the BizSpark program.

    If you're in the Northeast, and think your organization could be potential Network Partner, drop me a line and I'll be glad to chat with you.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Expression Web and Blend Available to MSDN Subscribers


    A common question I receive when discussing the Expression products is whether there are plans for availability to MSDN subscribers.  I'm glad to pass along word of Soma's announcement that Expression Web is available (and Expression Blend will be available) to all MSDN Premium subscribers:

    "Based on this feedback, I am pleased to say that we will be making Expression Web available starting today to all MSDN Premium subscribers.  We will also make Expression Blend available to MSDN Premium subscribers shortly after the Expression Studio release later in Q2 2007.   Expression Blend and Expression Web are intended to help creative professionals collaborate with developers to create rich user experiences for the Web, Windows Vista applications and beyond, which means we need to make sure both tools are readily available to our developer community."

    Scott Guthrie has posted further details about this announcement as well.

    Keep that feedback coming.  As you can see, it can make a difference!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Albany Geek Gathering on September 24th


    Attendees of the developer track of the "Heroes Happen Here" launch event in Albany know that Bob, Jim, and I discovered the Albany Pump Station on our visit and decided we must return again - soon.

    AlbanyPumpStationWell, since we've added a stop in the Albany area to our Fall Northeast Roadshow, what better way to celebrate than to gather there after the Roadshow?

    • Albany Geek Gathering - Roadshow Edition
    • 9/24/2008 - 5:00 PM till whenever...
    • Albany Pump Station
    • 19 Quackenbush Square, Albany, NY
    • [1-Click Directions]

    Nothing formal - Jim and I will be there grabbing some food and maybe a wee dram o' beer.

    Swing by if you can!


  • 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!


  • 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...


    Technorati tags: ,


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Waltham Geek Gathering on Monday (12/15)


    PIC-0031 We'll be descending upon Watch City Brewing in Waltham, MA on Monday (after running the 200+ reg. Northeast Roadshow developer event).  Just an informal chance to gather to chat with fellow developers and enjoy a brew.

    • When?  Monday, 12/15, starting around 4:30 until 6:30+
    • Where?  Watch City Brewing, 256 Moody Street, Waltham, MA [1-click directions]
    • Who?  Tech folks of all types are welcome.  Feel free to drop by, exchange thoughts, grab a beer, and network.

    We'll probably end up at the high tables in the back on the left-hand side when you come in.  Look for geeks, that'll be us.


    P.S.  Here's their current tap list.

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