Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New Hampshire .NET UG Returns on May 15th!


    MCj01896110000[1]As I mentioned in an earlier post, Pat Tormey has been hard at work revitalizing the New Hampshire .NET User Group.  I'm happy to pass along word that the group has great new meeting location at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH and will be having it's first meeting on May 15th!

    The meeting will feature an "Overview of the AJAX Control Toolkit", given by Phil Denoncourt:

    AJAX is an way to make websites more interactive and  responsive. It's powerful and easy to use.  The AJAX control toolkit is a set of controls that use AJAX and wrap common UI scenarios.  Cascading dropdowns, Auto completing textboxes, in-page popups, hovering menus and dynamically populated textboxes are some of the controls we'll go over.
    No AJAX experience is required.

    There will also be a session on "What's new and important in VS 2008" given by none other than Pat himself:

    First Look at the Table Adapter Manager and possibly a little WPF with MS Expression Blend

    The NHDN site has the details and a mailing list for group updates.

    Should be a great meeting!


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    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!


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    BarCampManchester 4 on September 26


    BarCampManchester For tech folks in and near New Hampshire, this weekend’s BarCampManchester 4 will be a great opportunity to learn, share, and network.

    BarCamp will be Saturday, September 26th from 9:30 – 4:30 at UNH Manchester and registration is free.

    Like other BarCamps, it will be an “unconference”, with an attendee- participant-driven experience that encourages everyone to share insights and interests.  (See also “Rules” of BarCamp, and tips on what to expect.)

    See you there!


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    What's It Like to Be a Developer Evangelist?


    Becoming an Evangelist The "Evangelist" title has come into more common use within the technology industry and many larger companies now have some forms of evangelism roles.  Want to get an idea of what's involved with the role of Developer Evangelist (DE) at Microsoft?  Watch this Channel 9 video with DEs Lynn Langit and Asli Bilgin for some insights.

    As Lynn and Asli mention, the role varies by geography, industry focus, and even personal passion and experience, but many of the driving principles are the same (as are the characteristics of what it takes to be a successful DE.)


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    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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    New England Data Camp v1.0 - Schedule Posted


    Adam Machanic has posted the session schedule from next Saturday's New England Data Camp v1.0.  Registration is quite strong and Adam adds:

    I'm really happy with how the schedule has turned out.  We have four tracks: BI, DB Dev, DBA, and Data-Driven App Dev; 14 speakers; and a total of 18 sessions on a really diverse set of topics.  This should be a fantastic event.

    201 Jones Road, Waltham, MAThis is a free community-driven event for anyone interested in learning more about working with data.  It will run from 8:15-5:30 on January 24th, held at the Microsoft's Waltham, MA office at 201 Jones Road (6th floor) [one-click directions].

    Check out the schedule and if you haven't already, register here as soon as possible.

    See you at Data Camp!

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    New User Group in Maine!


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

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

    Check out their website at

    This month's gig:

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

    Hampton Inn, Bangor (directions)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Register Online

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


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    Photosynth is Live - Take it for a Spin


    Logo_Photosynth The Microsoft Live Labs project Photosynth has just gone live, letting you create your own synths. 

    What's a synth?  Consider taking a whole bunch of your pictures of a certain place, dropping them in Photosynth, and getting a 3D representation of the spatial relationships between those pictures that you can then navigate around. 

    Or... just think of using tape to join your pictures together.  In 3D.

    Well, I suppose it's easier to just look at one than to describe it!


    Some related stores:



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    New Expression Web Community-Based Wiki


    An MVP based here in the northeast, Kathleen Anderson has announced on her blog that there is a new Expression Web Wiki.  It features resources for learning and working with Expression Web, links to related blogs and sites, and more.


    As with other Wikis, it's open for editing by the community and I'm sure will become an even more valuable resource over time.

    Nice job, Kathleen!


    P.S.  If you're interested in keeping updated on Expression-related news, you can subscribe to the Expression Newsletter.

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Beantown .NET Special Event – Rocky Lhotka on UI Design Patterns - April 29th


    rockylhotkaRocky Lhotka (blog), the respected author, Regional Director, MVP, and technologist from Magenic, will be visiting with the Beantown .NET User Group on April 29th at 6 PM. Rocky will be covering UI design patterns in a session titled “CSLA .NET as the 'M' in MVC/MVP/MVVM”.

    BeantownDotNetThe Beantown .NET User Group has recently moved to Microsoft’s Cambridge, MA facility (aka “NERD”) and is run by Benjamin Day (also an MVP!) 

    RSVP and view the session details on Ben’s blog.

    Rocky is a natural speaker and very knowledgeable, so don’t miss this opportunity to hear from one of the best!


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    VB Day on May 27th (Waltham, MA)


    There are still a few more seats available for the VB.NET Day event coming up on May 27th in Waltham, MA, from 9:00 to 3:30.  Following on the success of his C# Day series (both in person and in Second Life), Michael de la Maza is offering a VB-focused version of this day-long, participatory learning experience. 

    The description from Michael's site:

    Join us for a relaxed, no cost introduction to VB.NET programming. By engaging in participatory activities, you will learn some of the most common and powerful features of the VB.NET 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 VB.NET developer and trainer available to answer questions.

    RSVPs are required and details are here.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp Hartford - Call for Speakers Open


    MCj01895870000[1]As I mentioned earlier, Code Camp Hartford (the first for the area!) is coming on August 16th.  It will be held from 9 AM-5 PM at the New Horizons facility at 340 West Newberry Rd. in Bloomfield, CT.

    The Call for Speakers is now open!  As I always say, Code Camps are a fantastic way for aspiring speakers to try their hands at a presentation in a lower-stress, high-enthusiasm event.  Been thinking about giving it a try?  Go for it!

    Details from the CT .NET group site:

    We are seeking talented .NET developers to make a presentation or two at the First Hartford CodeCamp on August 16th (Saturday). If you have ever wanted fame (& perhaps fortune) - this is your opportunity! We are giving away one MSDN Premium subscription and other 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

    More details and announcements will be coming, so keep an eye on the CT .NET User Group site.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    John Papa Speaking with Tech Valley and New Hampshire User Groups This Week


    John PapaJohn Papa (MSDN columnist, MVP, and INETA speaker) will be visiting the Northeast area and speaking on Silverlight with the Tech Valley .NET and New Hampshire .NET user groups:

    Session Description:

    Silverlight enables developers to use their .NET and XAML skills to develop Rich Internet Applications and to build data driven Silverlight applications that communicate with multi-tier architectures.

    This session will show how to build Silverlight 2 applications that communicate with and consume REST services and use LINQ to XML to manage XML content, show the various data binding techniques, and show how to use WCF to talk to various middle tier services including custom entity models and the Entity Framework.

    Two good opportunities to catch a great speaker!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Fall Northeast Roadshow Update



    Rochester Public Library (left) at Night After driving approximately 975 miles and downing 1.28 gazillion gallons of coffee (probably each) since Monday, Jim and I made it back from the first leg of the Falll Northeast Roadshow.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to join us for our first three stops! 

    Special thanks to our Florida-based teammate Brian Johnson, who was able to join us for the Troy and Rochester stops to share his experience with Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio!

    Jim Fueling UpThanks to KnowledgeWave in South Burlington, VT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and the Rochester (NY) Public Library for hosting us!  Each of these locations was a new venue for us, and we were very pleased with each.

    We'll be posting our content toward the end of the Roadshow.  And speaking of which - our remaining stops:

    We're "sold out" in Connecticut, and there are very few seats left for the Waltham event.

    The Rochester ShowWe're looking forward to completing the Fall Roadshow in the coming weeks and hope you'll be able to join us!

    As always, please Let me know if you have any Roadshow suggestions (content, locations, logistics, etc.).


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Hartford Code Camp Registration Open


    The Hartford area's first Code Camp is coming up quickly (on August 16th) and registration is now open:

    A CodeCamp 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). This event is to be held at New Horizons Computer Learning Center (Bloomfield CT).

    We have over 24 speakers already! For list of speakers and topics being presented - please see

    To register for this event - (register to count for refreshments, raffle prizes, giveaways, etc).

    Questions? drop an email to

    Our thanks to New Horizons Computer Learning Center (Hartford CT) for sponsoring our event venue.  This event is also sponsored by Tallan, TekSystems, Travelers and ArrowPoint KeyTech.

    I'll see you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Essential WCF Featured on ARCast.TV


    Essential WCF 3.5 Thanks to some great work by my colleague Bob Familiar, there's a new ARCast.TV episode featuring interviews with Steve Resnick, Rich Crane, and me. 

    In this episode, Bob interviews us about WCF and our new book "Essential Windows Communication Foundation for .NET Framework 3.5".


    ARCast.TV - Essential WCF


    Check it out on Channel 9!


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    New Cape Cod XNA Group – First Meeting Friday 10/23


    CapeCodXNA The new Cape Cod XNA user group will offer a chance to learn and share knowledge about creating games with XNA (which builds on .NET to make games for the PC, XBox 360, and Zune.)

    The group’s first meeting is this Friday, October 23rd, at Venture in Hyannis:

          Cape Cod XNA
          October 23, 6:30 PM
          Suite 14, 540 Main St, Hyannis, MA [map]

    If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at making a game, then drop by and put those .NET programming skills to work (er, play)!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Free SQL Server 2008 Event in Boston on November 12th


    SQL Server 2008Looking for the latest on SQL Server 2008?  Join Adam Machanic for a free event on November 12th in Boston where he'll spend the morning (8-12) sharing many details of SQL Server 2008:

    Learn more about SQL Server 2008 and the new enhanced capabilities of the product.  We’ll be exploring security and database management, how to best manage your data, and what’s new in business intelligence with SQL Server 2008.  Don’t miss this half day event that will give you a better understanding of what SQL 2008 has to offer and how you can best put it to use at your company.

    Adam is a recognized leader in the SQL Server community, helping with user groups, speaking at conferences, and running an informative blog.  This looks to be a worthwhile event!

    Register here


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Special "Meet the Authors" Event Next Week


    A free event has been arranged for next week to celebrate the release of three books featuring work by local Microsoft staff (including yours truly).

    Accelerated SQL Server 2008Sharepoint 2007Essential WCF

    Microsoft’s own Scott Jamison, Steve Resnick, Richard Crane, Chris Bowen, and Rob Walters, along with Vitale Caturano’s Mauro Cardarelli, will be on-hand to meet, chat, and sign their books.

    Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
    Microsoft Technology Center
    890 Winter Street, Waltham, MA
    4:00 – 7:00 PM



    Featured Books Include:

    • Essential SharePoint 2007 by Scott Jamison, Mauro Cardarelli, and Susan Hanley.
    • Essential Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) For .NET Framework 3.5 by Steve Resnick, Richard Crane, and Chris Bowen.
    • Accelerated SQL Server 2008 by Rob Walters, Michael Coles, Robin Dewson, and Fabio Claudio Ferracchiati.

    Click Here to Register

    Sponsored By:



    See you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    May Roadshow Content Available


    We've collected the slides and content from our most recent Roadshow and have made them available at:

    Covered sessions are:

    1. XML and the Database
    2. What's New from the Patterns & Practices Group?
    3. Silverlight
    4. ASP.NET AJAX - Going Deeper

    I'm on the road at the moment, but keep an eye out for follow-up posts with resources relating to questions I received during the various days.


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