Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    The March 2009 Northeast Roadshow


    Roadshow.png It’s time again to pack the car with our laptops, giveaways, staggeringly unhealthy travel snacks, and dangerous quantities of coffee as we set off across the northeast for the March 2009 Northeast Roadshow

    The Roadshow is a series of free, full day events where we deeply focus on topics for developers and architects, sprinkled with our “unbelievable” senses of humor, demos that usually work, and plenty of giveaways to keep unruly audiences at bay in case they don’t.

    Crossing from VT to NYIn welcome news - after a brief Roadshow hiatus to focus on the MSDN Developer Conference series, Bob Familiar will again be joining Jim O’Neil and me as we sweep through these cities, on this our eighth series:

    Bob in ActionJoin us as we cover Windows Azure, .NET Debugging, Programming with F#, Game Development with XNA, SQL Server for Developers, and Effective .NET Practices.  Click the above registration links to read the full agenda.

    Sincere thanks to the companies and organizations who make the Roadshow possible by hosting us in various cities, including KnowledgeWave, Autotask, Rochester Institute of Technology, The Hartford, and the State of Maine Government Offices.

    Register today, and we’ll see you on the road!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    HTML5 Game Camp Series Coming Soon


    Update:  Slides and links from the events are now available.

    HTML5 Logo by the World Wide Web Consortium ( to learn HTML5?  Enjoy games, too? 

    Join in the HTML5 Game Camps, free events offering a chance to learn about the next wave of web standards including HTML5, CSS3, Canvas, SVG, and more.  And while you gain practical knowledge about HTML5 and JavaScript techniques, it’s all joined together by the fun of creating games!

    Web CampsThese are part of the Microsoft Web Camps series and feature a half day of sessions followed by hands-on game creation time.  Get up to speed with HTML5 and game dev concepts in the sessions, then turn your ideas into reality as we leave the slides behind.  Design and develop creations of your own, with plenty of guidance and help for your questions.

    The Schedule

    Here’s where the HTML5 Game Camps are heading, with links to details and registration:

    • Atlanta, GA – November 10 – Georgia Tech – Registration
    • Cambridge, MA – November 17 – Microsoft NERD – Registration
    • New York, NY – December 9 – Columbia University – Registration
    • University Park, PA – December 14 – Penn State – Registration

    (Note some of these events are morning through afternoon, and others are afternoon to evening.)

    Don’t forget to read the prep steps at the bottom of the event pages.  To get ready for coding, consider installing WebMatrix (it’s free) and other tools via the Web Platform Installer.  Also, consider attending with a friend and tackling the game creation as a team!

    Bonus Points for Rochester, NY

    For those of you in the Rochester, NY area, there’s a special RIT Game Camp the weekend of December 2nd-4th.  It’s all about game development, and features multiple ways to learn about and create games:

    • RIT Game JamHTML5 Camp (Saturday, 12/3)
    • Game Jam (all weekend)
    • XNA in a Day (Saturday)
    • Windows Phone Camp (Saturday)

    It’s free, hosted on the campus of RIT, and open to everyone.  So, choose what you’d like to participate in, and enjoy!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Friends, Books, and Roadshows


    n_east_roadshow_120x120_Blog Button With three cities done, Jim and I have four more stops remaining on our “Don’t Fear the Coder” Northeast MSDN Roadshow:

  • December 3 - Farmington, CT
  • December 8 - Waltham, MA
  • December 9 - Providence, RI
  • December 15 - Augusta, ME
  • In an attempt to maximize the amount of stuff we need to carry from place to place, we’re testing out a new idea, “Bring a friend, get a book”

    IntroducingSilverlight3For any of these remaining events, if you bring along a friend to the Roadshow, we’ll give you both a copy of Introducing Microsoft Silverlight 3.

    How?  When registering online (with the above links), you’ll be asked for a Referral Code…


    Just enter the name of your attending friend (or they can list you if you’ve already registered), and you’ll each get copies of the book when you both sign in at the event.

    Can it be that easy?  Pretty much, but here are The Official Rules:

    • Government employees are not eligible for promotion
    • Both parties must be present to win
    • If onsite supply runs out, books will be mailed to recipients

    See you on the road!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Winter Northeast Roadshow Update



    Jim and I are on the home stretch for the 2008 Winter Northeast Roadshow!  After four stops over the prior two weeks, we're heading into a three-event week at the following locations:

    We're going to have a blast with these remaining stops - with some of our biggest audiences yet.  (And, after Thursday, I'm looking forward to a little vacation time as well!)

    Look for the slides, demos, and resources from our presentations to be posted on our blogs by the end of this week.

    See you on the road,

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing the Summer 2009 Northeast MSDN Roadshow!



    The Roadshow returns for tour #9 in June!  The full agenda is below, but in summary, these are free, full-day events for developers and architects, covering Windows 7, ASP.NET MVC, WPF, Silverlight 2 & 3, Developing for IE8, and Data Access Guidance.

    RoadshowOur (late Spring slash early) Summer Tour will feature stops in five cities in June:

    Okay, so maybe we went a little overboard with the theme (you’ll see what I mean) this time, but we enjoy doing these so much, it’s easy to get carried away.

    Also, you can check out the Northeast Channel 9 home and Northeast Code Gallery for resources from past Roadshows and more.

    Register with the above links and we’ll see you on the road!


    MPj03992750000[1] The Summer 2009
    Northeast MSDN Roadshow:
    “Technology Blockbuster Tour”

    Coming this June to a city near you…

    In a world where technology changes can be quick and dramatic, developers need reliable sources of knowledge, and the Roadshow Guys are here to answer the call, featuring a style and wit the critics call “unique”.  Join us (Chris Bowen, Jim O’Neil, and Bob Familiar – three amigos who just love a theme) as we travel by planes, trains, and automobiles to cross the northeast to bring you a full day of deep content for developers and architects, all with the amazing ticket price of zero.

    Register today and join us for our 9th series of these free, relaxed days where we'll dive into the latest technology, tools, and practices for developers and architects.

    3-D glasses are optional, but as you’ll discover, we’re frighteningly real enough.
    [Rated PG – “Practical Guidance”] 

    The Agenda – Jim, Bob, and Chris in “Client Side Story”:
    Tales of Browser, OS, and Application Technologies

    8:00 – Bypass the ticket booth, grab a coffee and a seat (but of course you’ll only need the edge…)

    8:30 – Windows 7: A “Dev Story”
    True Love“Windows 7 means never having to say you’re sorry…”  There’s a lot to love in Windows 7, and in this session we’ll take a look at the foundation of any enduring relationship – compatibility.  As you move on from your days with Vista, you may be surprised at how comfortable Windows 7 is; you don’t have to completely reinvent yourself (or your applications) just to get along.   Of course, the newest OS on the block also brings with it the allure and excitement of new features – multi-touch, jump lists, and the scenic ribbon – and who doesn’t want to show that off!  Leave your tissues at home, we promise a happy ending to this one.

    9:50 – “Desperately Seeking Silverlight” – Developing with Silverlight, Today and Tomorrow
    Stylish SpecsSearching the newspapers for something new to spice up the day-to-day life of your applications?  Silverlight is that cool jacket your applications can wear to attract a new world of interest. In this session, we’ll take a brief look at what you can accomplish in today’s world with Silverlight 2 development using .NET and XAML for a great client experience.  Then, it’s time for a sneak preview of the coming attractions of Silverlight 3, including out-of-browser support, new graphics to video options, productivity and performance improvements.  We’ll also take a look at the very cool features coming in Expression Blend 3.  Answer your customers’ want ads with Silverlight, and get ready for a mob of new followers! 

    11:10 – “Data Quest” – Pinning Down Approaches to Data Access
    Westling a VictoryYour applications are growing up, and it’s time to graduate from DataReaders and DataSets.  Want to get your applications in shape, but wrestling with the concepts of multiple data access options like ADO.NET, LINQ to SQL, and Entity Framework?  This match session will pull you back from the lunatic fringe by going to the mat with these data technologies and helping focus a vision for your application’s data requirements

    12:00 – “Nightmare on IE Street” – Adding IE8 Web Slices and Accelerators to Your Web Site
    Scary MonstersThe reality is that supporting multiple browsers can be a nightmare. In this session, we will review how to handle browser compatibility and how to take advantage of IE8 Web Slices and Accelerators. A Web Slice enables users to subscribe to content directly within a Web page, without requiring a separate RSS feed file.  Accelerators are contextual menu options that can quickly access applications or Web services from any Web page.  Not all slicing needs to be the stuff of terror, and understanding IE8 will make your web pages a dream for your users, while striking fear into your competition. 

    1:00 – “20,000 Leagues under the MVC” – Diving into ASP.NET MVC
    Perilous SeasSetting sail on the web can be an uncertain proposition.  Tales of peril abound of sites that have sunk and never been seen since.  ASP.NET with WebForms has always been a trusty vessel, worthy of the voyage, but a new design has just left dry dock.  Now officially released, ASP.NET MVC 1.0 is a new option for creating web applications that makes it easy to have fine-grained control over how pages in your web application are generated, encourages separation of concerns, and fosters testability.  In this session, we’ll focus on learning to build a new site with ASP.NET MVC, while sharing advice to help you decide when to choose MVC or WebForms.  MVC’s fine-grained control and implementation flexibility can be keys to navigating what can be a turbulent sea of changing requirements and market demands.  Captain a site with ASP.NET MVC, and you may find that it’s not monsters under the surface, but hidden treasure instead.

    2:10 – “The Coding of WPF 1 2 3” – Ribbons, Grids, Threads, and More
    Train 1 2 3When the stakes are high, you don’t need to be held hostage by the old ways of doing things.  Jump on the WPF train and break free of those UI bonds.  In this code-heavy session, we will demonstrate the power of WPF with the new Office/Windows 7 Ribbon Control, the new WPF Grid Control, and how to leverage background threads to make your user interface scream.  When having the richest client experience is a non-negotiable requirement, you can be the hero, saving the day with WPF.

    3:30 – Wrap-up, giveaways, and the mad dash for the exits!

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing the Fall 2008 Northeast Roadshow!


    The Northeast Roadshow

    We’re fueling up the car, stocking up on munchies, packing in a bunch of giveaways, and heading out on the open roads for our sixth Roadshow! It’s also our biggest one yet, as we'll pile on the miles heading to six cities across the northeast:

    [Please note that, in addition to adding Albany, we have new venues in Burlington, Rochester, and Augusta.  Details are in the event registration pages, plus a few notes at the bottom of this post.]

    Join my fellow road and code warrior, Jim O'Neil and me for a free, relaxed day of deep content for developers and architects.  Somewhere Between VT and NY(Roadshow partner Bob Familiar can’t make it this time around – he’s working on a secret hush-hush type of project – but he’ll be back when we return to the roads this winter!)

    We’re trying out a different kind of session plan this time. We’ve added a few extra sessions to this series, including topics that fit more comfortably into a smaller amount of time. These “turbo sessions” are a great way to bring a more diverse agenda to you, while staying deep with others.  Speaking of the agenda...


    8:30 – Registration
    9:00 – Understanding the ADO.NET Entity Framework

    Abstraction is frequently used to create difficult-to-appreciate artwork, but when applied to software, abstractions can improve flexibility, independence, and the ability to compose higher-level concepts. ADO.NET Entity Framework, now shipping as part of Visual Studio 2008 & .NET 3.5 Service Pack 1, helps you create models of your data that enable a familiar object-oriented programming experience. Entities map flexibly to data sources while providing insulation from schema changes at the same time. LINQ makes an appearance as well, using the familiar syntax we’ve seen with LINQ to Objects, SQL, and XML to query entities. You’ve got the picture, so get out there and model some works of art!

    10:30 – Discovering Dynamic Data

    Hartford Roadshow

    ASP.NET Dynamic Data, introduced with the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 release, breathes immediate (i.e., code-less) life into LINQ To SQL and Entity Framework data models by providing a customizable, template-driven, scaffolding framework. Put on your wizard hat, you now have dynamic power at your fingertips.

    11:15 - Exploring Internet Explorer 8

    Ahoy, developers! The release of Internet Explorer 8 is just around the bend. Of course, we’ll pull out the spyglass and take a look over the sea of new consumer features, but what does this next version mean for you as developer, and what should you do to navigate to glory? You’ll see how treasures like accelerators and web slices can be a differentiator for your company, see the new wave of compatibility features and options, and unearth the tools available for developers to make for smooth sailing on the sometimes turbulent web development waters. 

    12:00 – RoboLunch

    Grab a lunch and join in as we delve into the world of robotics programming with Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio. Think robotics is mostly for manufacturing systems, toys, and those cool little floor cleaning bots? You may be surprised at how the things we cover may come to affect your professional development life! Perhaps you’ll find yourself saying, “Thank you very luncho, Mr. Roboto!”

    1:00 - UI, UX, U Confused?

    One thing not missing from Microsoft’s development offerings is a choice of options. In this session, we’ll compare and contrast the various .NET technologies available for building client experiences (Windows Forms, WPF, XBAP, ASP.NET, Silverlight, and Windows Mobile) to give you some insight in to making the best choices for reaching your applications’ target audience. 

    1:45 - A RESTed Development

    Blizzards Can't Stop the Roadshow

    REST (Representational State Transfer) is what all the cool developers are using these days to communicate among distributed resources and services.  So that you’re not left standing idly by on the sidelines, we’ll look at the rationales of the approach, why it’s cleaner than SOAP, and how Microsoft has adopted REST in technologies such as WCF and ADO.NET Data Services.

    3:15 - Befriending Unit Testing

    Unit testing could be your new best friend, and we’re here to help make the proper introductions. A practice that ultimately results in reduced overall efforts, unit testing is a focus on crafting test code that verifies your application code isn’t misbehaving. In this session, we’ll focus on what unit testing is, how it can be done, and some of the proven and effective practices you can employ to help your unit tests pay dividends over time. If Humphrey Bogart were a developer, he would have agreed, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    4:00 – Wrapup, Giveways, and Bon Voyage! 


    Thanks very much to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for donating use of the Bruggeman Auditorium to enable us to add the Albany area to our list of stops.  Waltham RoadshowSincere thanks as well to KnowledgeWave in Burlington, VT and The Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, ME for donating space in their facilities so we could return to those areas!

    We unfortunately couldn't make a visit to our friends at the Rochester Institute of Technology work for this series (though they very helpfully tried), so we're working with the Rochester Public Library for this visit (and not just because they're ridiculously close to Dinosaur BBQ!)

    Jim and I can't wait to get out there since we always have a blast with the Roadshows!  We’ll see you soon!

    -Chris and Jim

  • 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

    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

    Bob & Chris' MSDN Roadshow - September Edition!





    We're at it again!  My colleague Bob and I are heading out for round three of our Roadshow.  It (and we) will run from September 10th through the 20th, sweeping through the following cities, leaving a wake of toppled water glasses and technical enlightenment in its path:

    • Burlington, VT
    • Rochester, NY
    • Hartford, CT
    • Portland, ME
    • Waltham, MA

    (Note that we've changed the Nashua, NH stop to Waltham, MA.)


    Our Roadshow is a series of free full-day events featuring thoroughly technical content about both current and cutting edge technology in a location near* you (*assuming you live/work near one of the cities we're visiting.)  We consider each of the four sessions to be "300-level" depth and strive to give you the "why and why not" in addition to the "how".  Plus, we get to throw things at you.  No, really.


    Registration is required and for some cities has been known to fill up.  See below for the full session descriptions and registration links.


    See you on the road!



    IntroducingLINQ UPDATE (8/23) - I can't promise anything at this point, but we're in the process of ordering a large quantity of the MS Press title "Introducing Microsoft LINQ" and expect to be able to give every attendee of our roadshow a copy. 

    [The usual yada yada applies - we might run out, we might not get them in time, our backs might give out and we can't carry them, etc.]





    Bob Familiar and Chris Bowen are two guys who love to write code and can’t stop talking about it. Now they’re back on the road, taking their long-winded rants and questionable demos to a city near you.  Join them for a day of deep technology, code aplenty, and the best humor they can manage.



    A Tasteful Blend of Satisfying Technology
    8:30 – 9:00 

    Arrive, check in, grab some coffee and a seat

    9:00 - 9:05 Announcements and Introduction
    9:05 – 10:25

    Coding in a Dynamic World

    Clinging to static ways?  Relax your grip a little and take a look into the world of dynamic languages.  There’s been a lot of talk, but what are they, and most importantly, what do they mean for you and your development efforts today?  In this session, we’ll introduce the concepts behind dynamic languages and the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR).  You’ll see how features such as dynamic types, method dispatch, and code generation in current dynamic languages like IronPython and future ones such as IronRuby and VBx offer effective new options for your designs and implementations.

    10:25 – 10:35 

    Take a break and show your dynamic personality to fellow attendees

    10:35 – 12:00  Practical Silverlight

    Silverlight is cool but why would I use it and how does it fit into my existing web applications?  How do you setup a Silverlight development environment?  Can designers and developers really collaborate using Blend and Visual Studio?  What impact will Silverlight have on my production environment?  How can I build applications using Silverlight that invoke web services?  These questions will be answered in another session.  This one is about COM+.  Just kidding.

    12:00 – 12:45

    You’ve seen the (silver) light, now see about some lunch

    12:45 – 2:10

    Developer Productivity Tips and Tricks for Visual Studio 2005 and 2008

    You might be spending hours each day working with Visual Studio, tragically only a few keystrokes or menu options away from better ways of doing the same work.  This session will help you become a more productive developer and architect with Visual Studio.  We'll focus on tips, tricks, and hidden gems that are available in both the 2005 and 2008 versions of Visual Studio, but of course you just know we'll throw in a few 2008-only teasers as well…


    2:10 – 2:25 Enjoy an efficient break
    2:25 – 3:45

    Software as a Service, Software + Services, Service with a Smile, Can I Get Some Service, Where is the Waiter?

    This session will introduce the concepts behind Software + Services, and what that means in a practical sense as you architect and develop new systems.  We’ll talk about leveraging web services, either your own or third-party ones such as, to create compelling service-enabled systems and mashups leveraging assets such as maps, photos, rich media, contacts, search and other services.

    3:45 – 4:00 Wrap Up, Evals, and Free Books



    Location Date Time Registration 
    Sheraton Burlington Hotel Sept. 10th, 2007 8:30-4:00 Register! 
    870 Williston Road  
    Burlington, Vermont Event ID:
    RIT INN & Conference Center Sept. 12th, 2007 8:30-4:00 Register! 
    5257 West Henrietta Road  
    W. Henrietta, New York Event ID:
    Sheraton Hartford Hotel  Sept. 17th, 2007 8:30-4:00 Register! 
    100 East River Drive  
    Hartford, Connecticut Event ID:
    MESDA Sept. 18th, 2007 8:30-4:00 Register!
    506 Main Street   
    Westbrook, Maine Event ID:
    Microsoft Corporation Sept. 20th, 2007 8:30-4:00 Register! 
    201 Jones Road, 6th Floor  
    Waltham, Massachusetts Event ID:


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 8: The Schedule!


    We're closing in on another great New England Code Camp this very weekend!  We have 27 presenters giving over 40 sessions on a wide variety of subjects!

    Note that I recently posted a Code Camp update with details about the speakers, contributors, and a special Sunday LINQ workshop.

    When?  Where?  How?

    • Saturday, September 29th:
      • 8:30 -- Registration
      • 9:00 - 6:15 -- Sessions
      • 7:00 (ish) - Late -- Geek Event
    • Sunday, September 30th:
      • 8:30 -- Registration
      • 9:00 - 4:30 -- Sessions

    Microsoft Offices, 201 Jones Road, 6th Floor, Waltham, MA

    It's not too late to Register!

    The Schedule

    Sessions and rooms for both days are below.  We'll have copies of the schedule available at Camp during registration.

    You can also see the schedule at TheDevCommunity site.

    Don't forget there's also the traditional Saturday evening social gathering over at the Waltham Westin's lobby bar.  So after the sessions end, head over there to unwind and enjoy some good company.

    A reminder to speakers - as with last Code Camp, we've blocked off the Providence Room for use by speakers (only) as a green/ready room for your talks.


    Day 1, September 29th
    MPR A MPR B MPR C Executive Briefing Center Rhode Island Room
    8:30-9:00 Registration/Welcome (Coffee/Tea in Kitchen)
    9:00-10:30 LINQ from the ground up - Timothy Ng A Lap Around IIS7 for Developers - Allan da Costa Pinto An Overview of Enterprise Library 3.0 - Mark Mullin Advanced Testing with Visual Studio Team System - Todd Mancini  
    10:30-10:45 Break
    10:45-12:15 LINQ to XML: Powerful and Easy XML Programming - Chris Pels Building a scalable Web Application – Advanced Tips for ASP.NET Developers - Anthony Lombardo SQL Server 2005: Authorization, Privilege, and Access Control - Adam Machanic Mashups, Pipes, and Popfly, oh my! - Bruce Ganek SharePoint API and development in ASP.NET Application - Paul Swider
    12:15 -1:15 Lunch (Kitchen)
    1:15 – 2:45 LINQ-ing your data - Timothy Ng Penetration Testing of Web Applications - Robert Hurlbut Errors and Exceptions in SQL Server 2005 - Adam Machanic Understanding and Optimizing ADO.Net 2.0's SQL - Andy Novick Advanced SharePoint Designer - Paul Swider
    2:45 – 3:00 Break
    3:00 – 4:30 Building Silverlight 1.0 Applications With Visual Studio 2008 and Javascript - Jesse Liberty Tips, Tricks, and Hidden Gems in Visual Studio 2005 - Chris Bowen ASP.NET Databinding with LINQ - Julie Lerman Everyday CodeSmith - Dave Burke Business Intelligence Using SharePoint, Data Cubes and Business Data Catalog - Paul Swider
    4:30 – 4:45 Break
    4:45 – 6:15 Silverlight for ASP.NET Developers - Fritz Onion Secure Code Reviews: What are the ingredients? - Robert Hurlbut Team Foundation Server: A Look Under the Hood - Benjamin Day Dynamic SOA Services in WCF - Mark Mullin  
    6:15 End of Day 1 (Head over to the Waltham Westin!)
    Day 2, September 30th
    MPR A MPR B MPR C Executive Briefing Center Rhode Island Room
    8:30-9:00 Registration/Welcome (Coffee/Tea in Kitchen)
    9:00-10:30 Dynamic Refactoring for LINQ (and DLINQ and XLINQ) Part I - Richard Hale Shaw Access RESTful Data Services in the Cloud with Astoria - Julie Lerman Silverlight in 3D - Michael Cummings Games and Enterprise Applications – Continuations, and 3D Animation as Workflow - Mark Mullin  
    10:30-10:45 Break
    10:45-12:15 Dynamic Refactoring for LINQ (and DLINQ and XLINQ) Part II - Richard Hale Shaw Automating Data Visualization with the Visio 2007 Object Model - David Edson Silverlight: Advanced Animation and Input Techniques - Andy Beaulieu I am a .NET programmer, why do I care about the database? - Charles Hyman Community Server Theming with Chameleon - Dave Burke
    12:15 -12:30 Lunch (Kitchen)
    12:30 - 1:00 Bring Me Your LINQ Queries – A LINQ Query Contest and Workshop - Richard Hale Shaw Lunch (Kitchen)
    1:00 - 1:15 Lunch (Kitchen)
    1:15 – 2:45 A Sightseeing Tour of Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 - Chris Bowen Real World Entity Framework - Julie Lerman Software + Services - Bob Familiar Scrum: An Agile Development Process - Michael de la Maza  
    2:45 – 3:00 Break
    3:00 – 4:30 - A Code Walkthrough - Bob Familiar Using CLR Assemblies with SQL Server Stored Procedures - Steve Simon Office Business Applications with SharePoint - Max Weber    
    4:30 End of Camp - Thanks for Attending!


    See you at Camp!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Packing Up Camp - Code Camp 7 Summary


    Camping in Waltham

    Thanks to everyone who attended this weekend's New England Code Camp 7 - "Deer in Headlights!"  We had a fantastic time at the Microsoft offices in Waltham and had an estimated crowd (people kept coming in through the day) of 250 on Saturday and 220 on Sunday.

    Thanks to Cedric and Yvonne for staffing the registration and helping to field the random "things" that always come up at a Code Camp. 

    Surprisingly, very few shenanigans occurred on Sunday (April Fools Day) save my lame posting of fake sessions outside one of the chat rooms.  Unfortunately, that was just too subtle for anyone to notice.  Next time we just happen to hold Code Camp on April 1st, I'll take full advantage!

    Thank You!

    First of all, thanks to Chris Pels for helping to coordinate the Code Camp and for developing site, which we used for registration and presentation tracking.

    I'd like to extend very large thanks to our speakers - volunteers of time and skills without whom community events like Code Camps would not be possible:

    • Andy Novick
    • Bob Goodearl
    • Bob Familiar
    • Brian Berry
    • Dan Krhla
    • Dave Burke
    • Desmond Nolan
    • Don Sorcinelli
    • Igor Moochnick
    • Jason Haley
    • Judy Carten
    • Julie Lerman
    • Mark Mullin
    • Max Weber
    • Nabil Benchekroun
    • Phil Denoncourt
    • Richard Hale Shaw
    • Rob Daigneau
    • Robert Holmes
    • Robert Hope
    • Robert Hurlbut
    • Steve St. Jean
    • Todd Mancini
    • William Aboujaoude

    Giving the over 40 sessions, we had a number of first-time speakers mixed in with the veterans of many events and conferences.  I think Steve St. Jean was the most-prepared first-time speaker I've ever seen.  Well done, everyone!

    Session Materials

    We're collecting links to all of the presentations which our speakers are able to host.  Keep an eye on site for links over the next week or so.

    Slides from my talks (and Bob Familiar's) can be found here.


    Thanks also to the Code Camp's giveaways contributors:

    We had tons of magazines out for the taking, along with bags, pens, and discount vouchers.  For raffles, we had contributed software, clothing, and a bunch of books, hats, and mugs I pulled from my "DE Treasure Trove".  The end results of which were happy attendees and a happy wife who has fewer boxes of stuff to deal with at our home.

    The Food

    I'd like to call out special thanks to two people who contributed food and drink beyond what I was able to provide. 

    First, thanks to Jason Haley (pictured at left) for coordinating a campaign to raise funds from various user groups for coffee and doughnuts on Saturday morning (including my favorite, the french cruller.)  Along with the food, Jason produced a summary list of the region's user groups, their sites and meeting times.  We put copies of these lists next to the coffee & doughnuts to help raise awareness. 

    Jason also wins the award for traveling farthest for Camp (from Seattle!)

    Second, a thank you to the Richard Hale Shaw Group for the humorous (and tasty) contribution of Kool-Aid for each day's consumption!  At right is a picture of us raising a sugary toast together.  Richard also volunteered his expertise to run three well-attended sessions on Sunday.

    Add in a heck of a lot of pizza, rolls, and soda and you've got.. well a ton to clean up afterward (see picture at left)...

    I probably gained a few pounds from Saturday alone.


    Saturday Night Geek Event

    A group of speakers and attendees meandered over to the Waltham Westin hotel's lounge for some pretty good food and drink.  Final Four basketball was on the televisions, but nobody seemed interested as the outrageous stories flew.

    Pop Quiz!  Do you know who was wearing the shirt featured in the (highly-cropped) picture at right?

    Todd Mancini piqued my curiosity by ordering a Campari and soda.  Having never heard of this Campari thing (which looks like the Kool-Aid we had earlier in the day,) I made the mistake of actually ordering one.  Not to be repeated.

    Dave Burke (of the "Vermont Contingent") has a nice writeup with some rather kind words about the Camp and the evening's gathering.  I think he cut me some slack since I'm a former Vermonter. :)

    Summary and Next Time...

    We received lots of great feedback about the event and it seems people were pleased with the weekend.  I'm still going through the evaluations, but it looks like the speakers did a fantastic job of satisfying the audience and I've received some interesting new ideas to make the next Camp even better.

    So stay tuned later over the summer for the dates of Code Camp 8!  We're going to need a new subtitle, so get thinking...

    Thanks again to everyone!

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Bob & Chris' MSDN Roadshow - Back for More!


    We're back in the saddle again, gearing up for another five-city tour to bring deep technical content to a projection screen near you!

    Dates, locations, and registration links are at the bottom of this post.

    Note that we've changed venues from Farmington to Hartford, CT and Manchester to Nashua, NH.

    See you on the road!



    Bob Familiar and Chris Bowen are two guys who love to write code and can’t stop talking about it. And now they’ve decided to take their long winded rants and questionable demos to a city near you. And if you were at our last event, you know the line about questionable demos is no joke!

    AGENDA: AJAX, Extensible Scrubbing Bubbles and that Cross Browser Cleansing Motion
    8:30am Arrive, check in, grab a nosh and a seat
    9:00 – 10:15 XML and the Database
    SQL Server 2005 offers architects and developers a slew of great features for creating data driven solutions. For this session we will focus on the XML features including XML Indexes, XQuery, the XML Datatype, the FOR XML clause and validating XML within the database using XSD. The use cases for these XML capabilities will also be discussed.  
    10:15 – 10:30 <Break />
    10:30 – 12:00 What’s New From The Patterns & Practices Group?
    Like doing things the hard way?  Well, unfortunately for you this session is all about making your life as a developer or architect easier.  The Patterns & Practices group keeps churning out great tools, reference code, and guidance to show you Microsoft's recommendations for designing, developing and deploying great applications.  We'll cover Enterprise Library 3.0, various Software Factories, the Guidance Automation Toolkit and more, explaining how they could fit in with your development efforts.  If you suddenly find the hard way less thrilling, don't say we didn't warn you!
    12:00-1:00 Grab a lunch and search for patterns in the carpet
    1:00 – 2:15 Microsoft Silverlight (aka Windows Presentation Foundation / Everywhere)
    At our last meeting, we dug into the Windows Presentation Foundation, a .Net Framework development library that sits overtop of DirectX allowing one to create the next generation of Windows user interfaces using advanced graphics, animation, rich documents and multimedia along with traditional UI controls. Windows Silverlight is a subset of the capabilities of WPF that can be used within browser based applications on the PC and the Mac. This session will discuss the architecture of Microsoft Silverlight and demonstrate how integrate XAML into your browser-based applications.
    2:15-2:30 Take a break and animate
    2:30 – 3:45 ASP.NET AJAX – Going Deeper
    If you're developing applications for the web, you've likely heard about AJAX and how it can improve the usability and functionality of your site.  In this session, we'll quickly introduce the main concepts of ASP.NET AJAX and then we'll roll up our sleeves for other details that will help you when you're in the trenches with AJAX.  We'll talk about the client side library, Silverlight (formerly codenamed WPF/E) integration, enabling and invoking server methods and web services, debugging, best practices and more.    
    3:45 – 4:00 Zune Giveaway


    Location Date Time Registration 
    Sheraton Burlington Hotel May 8th, 2007 8:30am-4:00pm Register! 
    870 Williston Road  
    Burlington Vermont Event ID:
    RIT INN & Conference Center May 10th, 2007 8:30am-4:00pm Register! 
    5257 Henrietta Road  
    W. Henrietta New York Event ID:
    Sheraton Hartford Hotel  May 14th, 2007 8:30am-4:00pm Register! 
    100 East River Drive  
    Hartford Connecticut Event ID:
    MESDA May 15th, 2007 8:30am-4:00pm Register!
     506 Main Street   
    Westbrook, ME 04092 Event ID:
    Sheraton Nashua Hotel May 17th, 2007 8:30am-4:00pm Register! 
    11 Tara Boulevard  
    Nashua New Hampshire Event ID:

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    XBox 360 News

    Plenty of news has been coming out recently about the XBox 360.  Here's a brief summary:
      Which Console for You?
    • The XBox 360 Elite has been officially announced:
      • "Xbox 360 Elite is the newest addition to the Xbox family that includes a huge 120GB hard drive (the largest available for any gaming console), a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) cable, and a premium black finish. The Xbox 360 Elite also includes a black wireless controller and black Xbox Live® headset."
    • Halo 3 News:
      • The Halo 3 Beta period has been announced as May 16th - June 6th.
      • A few weeks old, but Halo 3 packaging was unveiled as well - Standard, Limited, and Legendary.  Paul Thurrott has some good pictures.
    • Major Nelson (IRL Larry Hryb) posted word of:
      • The next dashboard update (with Windows Live chat integration) and...
      • A QWERTY keyboard input device coming this summer.  The best part is that it will plug directly into the bottom of existing XBox 360 controllers.
      • [Full details of both]

    Personally, I'm counting down to my coming birthday when I hope (nudge, nudge) that somebody drops a copy of Guitar Hero II into my greedy mitts...


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    C# Day Report


    C# Day - ClassroomThis Saturday (6/23), we gathered at the Microsoft offices in Waltham for the first "C# Day" event.  Thanks to Michael de la Maza for volunteering his time and effort to run the session!

    There was a great turnout - so good in fact that the room filled up and unfortunately couldn't offer table space for one or two latecomers.  The good news is Michael is planning to run this event again, so keep an eye on this blog or on the Learn2LearnProgram site for announcements.

    The day was quite different from traditional (lecture/lab) technology education events.  Michael's approach is very social, encouraging people to interact to share what they've discovered and to work with different lab partners throughout the day.  Michael gave an introduction to the material, then encouraged C# Day - Cocktail Partyparticipants to "become" one of the C# language constructs.  Everyone specialized in a language feature, researched and worked with that feature, and then attended a "cocktail party" in the next room where people socialized by exchanging details about what their function was.  Introductions took the form of "Hello, my name is <C# function> and I..."

    Michael received plenty of good feedback from attendees and is already planning some new ideas and approaches for the next event.

    Considering coming to the next C# Day?  So your expectations are inline with the event, be certain to read Michael's description on his site.  Also, Michael arranged to capture parts of the event on video.  The video should be on soon, the idea being that a video can demonstrate the format and style of the event more effectively than textual descriptions.

    Thanks to everyone who participated and again to Michael for running the event!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Call for Speakers Open - Code Camp 7


    Veteran speaker with something to share?  Looking to try public speaking for the first time? 

    We have just opened the Call for Speakers for Code Camp 7 - "Deer in Headlights!" in Waltham, MA on March 31st and April 1st.

    Code Camps are about .NET communities coming forward and sharing the latest in technology, practices, and experiences.  You can submit a session on any topic and any level you'd like.  If you want to talk about it, we'll give you a room for it!

    Here's how to submit a session:

    1. Create an account at
    2. Log into your account
    3. If you haven't already created a Speaker Profile, go to the Speaker Profile area and create one.
    4. Go to the Code Camps page
    5. (If you're logged in) you'll see a "Submit a Presentation" link under the Code Camp 7 entry.
    6. Submit the session details and you're on your way to fame and fortune

    Don't forget to register for the Code Camp itself!

    Many thanks to Chris Pels for his great work on site!


    [Update 3/21 - Added missing step to create a Speaker Profile before submitting a session.]


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 8: The Rise of the Silverlight Surfer



    The fall is rapidly approaching, and with that comes another fantastic weekend of code, technology, and developer community called Code Camp.  Save the dates of September 29th and 30th for Code Camp 8: "The Rise of the Silverlight Surfer" (thanks to Andy Beaulieu for the name!)  As always, CC will be held at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA.

    For now, just save the dates, but Registration and Call for Speakers will be coming soon!

    With the incredible amount of new technology emerging, this is clearly going to be an excellent Code Camp!  If you haven't been to a one before, check out the Code Camp Manifesto as well as the summary of Code Camp 7.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Summary of MIX '08 Highlights


    vectormark It's been a busy week (getting ready for the 2008 Launch event in Boston next week), but I have a moment to share details from my trip to MIX '08 last week.

    The Crew on a Surface machineIt was my first MIX, and incredibly, my first visit to Las Vegas!  Not a lot of free time to absorb the city, but it was great.

    Didn't get to go (or went but somehow couldn't be everywhere at once)?  All content was recorded and is freely available at:

    First, the featured products and tools:

    And the Demos:

    And finally, to describe the pictures on the right:

    1. The top one is a picture of a Surface machine to which a picture of our group was sent from a wireless camera and enlarged right on the table.  (Left to right - Me, Brian Hitney, Glen Gordon, Joe Stagner, Zain Naboulsi, Rob Bagby.)   Very cool.
    2. Coming Soon to Vermont?My colleague in the southeast, Doug Turnure, gazes longingly at the Surface machine being demoed.  Surface, you had us at hello. 
    3. Really, I have no idea who these guys playing Rock Band are, but they were having a great time.  There was a pretty impressive setup - wonder if I can replicate it in my basement?
    4. Finally, though I did eat here and had a nice meal, I'm only including this picture of the David Burke restaurant at the Venetian in honor of the incomparable Vermont-based Dave Burke.  Who knew you had a restaurant, Dave?

    Hoping I get to go next year!






  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 10: The Schedule!


    CodeCamp10We're under a week from New England's Code Camp 10: "Dev InTENsity!" (what is Code Camp?), a free weekend filled with technology sessions given by the local developer community.  Code Camp 10 will be held on September 20th & 21st at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA.

    Registration is at over 315 345 385 people and still open at:

    Sessions and Schedules

    But the real story is that there's been a fantastic show of support from volunteers giving their time and expertise to speak.

    CC10 will feature about 50 sessions by 30 speakers, all for free!  The grids are below, here are the session descriptions, and we'll have printouts of the grids and descriptions waiting for you at registration.

    Register today, plan out your weekend with the schedule below, and we'll see you at Camp!

    P4050052Saturday Evening Geek Gathering

    A Code Camp tradition for several years, we're informally gathering over at the Waltham Westin's lobby bar for a chance to unwind on Saturday night.  Drop by after sessions are over to relax, chat, and network with fellow New England devs!


    P.S.  There's also a Code Camp Facebook page, which is another way to connect with others in the northeast community.

    Saturday, September 20th

    MPR A MPR B MPR C EBC Rhode Island Providence
    8:30 Registration (Coffee/Tea in Kitchen)
    8:45 Camp Welcome Session  
    9:00 Break
    9:10 May the Source Stay with You The Agile Revolution - Introducing Scrum 'Clean' Web Development with AJAX and SQL Server 2005 When .NET Isn't Enough - An Intro to C++/CLI
    10:25 Break
    10:35 Intro to Functional and Concurrent Programming in F#

    Getting Started with the Web DataGrid

    Creating Custom WCF Behaviors Using MMC 3.0 and .NET to Write Custom Admin Tools

    Lunch (Food in Kitchen & MPR A + B)

    Thanks to Magenic Technologies!

    12:35 The How's and Why's of Unit Testing and TDD ASP.NET Model View Controller (MVC) .NET Basics - Basic Tools Visual studio 2008 and Office Creating Terrain in XNA
    1:50 Break
    2:00 IronRuby: Ruby for .NET, Silverlight, and Mono Using XML to Store Hierarchical Data Have it Your Way - REST and SOAP in WCF Solutions Forms Services and Workflow - So Happy Together
    3:15 Break
    3:25 Silverlight 2 Animation Techniques .NET OOP Demystified Getting to Know Team Foundation Server 2008

    Code Generation with the Visual Studio 2008 SDK

    Adding Speech Recog. to Your Apps
    4:40 Break
    4:50 .NET Basics - The Architect's Toolchest Charts and Gauges with Reporting Services 2008 Build a SharePoint Dashboard Using SharePoint Designer Custom My-Sites in MOSS - "Have it Your Way!" Associate Wanted to Bring Project into Mainstream
    6:05 End of Day 1


    Sunday, September 21st

    MPR A MPR B MPR C EBC Rhode Island Providence
    8:30 Registration/Welcome (Coffee/Tea in Kitchen)
    9:00 New Features in C# 3.0 Toolbox for Agile Projects and Devs: Intro Silverlight as a Front End to Excel Services on SharePoint Digital Imaging and Image Processing with .NET
    10:15 Break
    10:30 LINQ to Objects, Method Syntax, and Enumerable Class A-Z Deploying SharePoint Apps Beginning Mobile Dev with Compact Fx and SQLCE Custom SharePoint Development with Examples

    Lunch (Food in Kitchen & MPR A + B)

    Thanks to Syrinx Consulting!

    12:30 LINQ to SQL and Object Relational Designer Introducing MSBuild Toolbox for Agile Projects and Devs: Mocking and IOC/DI Self-Healing Apps That Integrate with CRM SharePoint Site Columns, Content Types and Features: Oh My! Applied Generics: The Radix Sort
    1:45 Break
    1:55 Intro to Silverlight 2.0 TDD with nUnit and Test Driven .NET SharePoint Branding Toolbox for Agile: It All Began in Java - Unit Testing, Mocking, IOC/DI
    3:10 Break
    3:20 Integrating Silverlight into SharePoint Building Extensible .NET Applications with Mono Addins Operations Manager 2007 for the DBA
    4:35 End of Camp - Thanks for Attending!

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Beantown .NET Moves to NERD on April 2nd



    Some breaking news for .NET developers in the greater Boston area - the Beantown .NET User Group, organized by MVP Ben Day, is moving across the Charles to Microsoft’s New England Research & Development Center (NERD) in Cambridge!

    This will give NERD it’s first .NET-focused user group and gives Beantown .NET plenty of room to grow.

    OMD AerialThe first meeting at NERD is on April 2nd from 6:00-8:00 (directions) and should be a fun chance to hear plenty of views and practices:

    The Unit Testing Throwdown


    Oddly, there seems to be almost no consensus about unit testing.  Lots of developers think that unit testing is dumb.  Plenty are ambivalent.  Some love it.  Even among those devs who are already sold on unit testing, there’s no consensus.  Sure, we might agree about some of the helpful things to do like using the Repository pattern, interface-driven design, and mocking frameworks but ask 10 developers how they’d unit test something and you’ll get 30 different answers.


    Well, enough with the armchair quarterbacking.  It’s on!  You don’t like how I write my tests?  I want to know why.  Come show me how you do it.  Don’t like unit tests at all?  Come tell us why.  Got some killer technique?  Got an opinion about how much logic you put in each test method?  Tonight’s the night to bring out The Awesome.


    The plan is to show code samples, gather around the whiteboard, and by the end (hopefully) sort out some Real-Life Best Practices for unit testing.


    BTW, if you have unit testing topics that you think we should put on the agenda, email them to

    See you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing New England Code Camp 11!


    CC11: “Developer Stimulus Package”

    CodeCampChris Pels and I are excited to announce that the 11th edition of the venerable New England Code Camp series will be held on March 28th in Waltham, MA!

         New England Code Camp 11: ”Developer Stimulus Package”
         Saturday, March 28th, 8:30 AM – 7 PM+
         Microsoft, 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA

    Richard Hale ShawCode Camps (started in 2004 with New England Code Camp 1), are free events organized by and for the developer community.  A fantastic chance to share knowledge without marketing noise getting in the way.  Check out the Code Camp Manifesto for the guiding principles.

    Register Now!

    Registration is free at The Dev Community site!

    Update 3/23 – Schedule Now Live

    The (always subject to change) schedule is now available, featuring over 40 sessions!

    Mega Saturday Format

    Michael CummingsIn recognition and support of the growth of other Code Camps in the northeast (including NH, CT, and NY), this time we’re packing everything and everyone into a single Mega Saturday.  Needless to say, this is going to be an intense day, so come to Camp well rested!

    Call for Speakers

    Code Camp is driven by volunteer speakers, and simply put, we need you

    Chris LoveNobody expects each speaker to be a veteran of national conferences (though we do have some!)  Code Camps are great because we hear from many perspectives – we want to hear yours!

    So, have something to share?  Submit a session today:

    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 CC11 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.

    Call for Contributors

    Feeding FrenzyUpdate 3/23 – Sincere thanks to Infragistics who have stepped up to provide lunch for Code Camp!  Thanks also to Infragistics’ own Tony Lombardo who is making the trip from NYC to speak as well.

    Code Camps rely on contributors to donate giveaways and funding for food to help make the event happen.

    You’ll have a highly-targeted audience appreciating your support of the developer community, so please let me know if your company is interested in contributing.


    See you all there!

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