Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    ASP.NET Web Platform Firestarter Series



    A new set of free Firestarter events covering the ASP.NET Web Platform will be running from late September to December along the east coast.  (Part of the series of Firestarters mentioned in an earlier post.)

    imageFirestarter events focus on a particular topic area and progress from introductory through intermediate topics, helping you to quickly ramp up in that area, in this case the Microsoft Web Platform.  You’ll get up to speed on the latest in web development, from ASP.NET Web Forms and ASP.NET MVC, to WebMatrix, and tools and techniques for creating effective web applications with CSS, jQuery, and AJAX.

    I’ll be helping to deliver a bunch of these along with teammates Rachel Appel and G. Andrew Duthie, so I hope to see you there!

    Registration is now open, so reserve your seat today: 

    City Date Link
    Iselin, NJ 9/30 Registration
    New York, NY 10/26 Registration
    Farmington, CT 11/2 Registration
    Waltham, MA 11/4 Registration
    Chevy Chase, MD 11/9 Registration
    Malvern, PA 11/16 Registration
    Tampa, FL 11/30 Registration
    Orlando, FL 12/2 Registration
    Atlanta, GA 12/9 Registration
    Raleigh, NC 12/10 Registration

    The Agenda

    • 8:30 – Registration
    • 9:00 – To the Web with ASP.NET 4 Web Forms
      • The tried-and-true approach for creating effective and robust websites, ASP.NET 4 Web Forms offers powerful abstractions and rapid application development features. Add in recent advances in ASP.NET 4 and Visual Studio 2010 and you’ll be crafting amazing sites in no time.
    • 10:30 – Looking at ASP.NET MVC
      • ASP.NET MVC (Model View Controller) is a relatively new option, offering a variety of potential benefits such as separation of concerns, flexibility, control, and testability. In this session, you’ll learn the essentials, along with the latest advances, so you can get started right away.
    • 12:00 – The Web Platform Smorgasbord
      • Grab a bite to eat and join us for this relaxed but rapid-fire lunchtime look at a variety of web topics, including tools and tech that you’ll surely find appetizing.
    • 12:45 – Introducing WebMatrix
      • WebMatrix is a new option that provides a simple but powerful way to create web applications. You can create sites based on existing open-source applications, or dive right in and create from scratch. From code and testing to data and deployment, we’ll introduce WebMatrix and show you how it can make your life easier.
    • 1:40 – Evaluating Your Web Options
      • You’re up to speed with the latest in ASP.NET MVC, Web Forms, and WebMatrix, but you may be wondering how and when to choose between them. The great news is you don’t always have to choose just one. In this session we’ll talk about factors to consider, options for adoption/migration, and ways to combine ASP.NET Web Forms and MVC in the same web application.
    • 2:40 – Creating Effective Websites with ASP.NET
      • Knowing how to create websites with ASP.NET is important, but making them effective is the key. This final session dives into additional options and techniques that apply to both Web Forms and ASP.NET MVC applications. From scripting with jQuery and AJAX, design with CSS, markup and validation techniques, and tools for testing, you’ll learn how to set your sites (and skills) apart from the rest.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 8 Registration and Call for Speakers Open!



    We're live and ready (thanks, Chris Pels!)  Attendee registration and the Call for Speakers are both now open for Code Camp 8: Rise of the Silverlight Surfer!

    The Details

    JonesRoad Code Camp 8: Rise of the Silverlight Surfer will be held at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA on the weekend of September 29th and 30th.  Registration at 8:30 AM, sessions start at 9:00.  As always, it's a completely free event (and you'll probably walk away with some swag as well.)

    What's a Code Camp?  They are learning and networking events driven by and for the local developer community.  There's no set agenda for what kind of sessions can be submitted (despite the attempt at humor with the Silverlight subtitle) - you and your fellow developers and architects define the content.  See the Code Camp Manifesto for more and scan the summary of Code Camp 7 for an idea of what you might see at CC8.

    Register to Attend

    Registration is required, so head to and click the "Register" link for Code Camp 8.  We recommend you first create an account or login to your existing one, which will give you access to site resources, including downloads of presentation materials.

    Call for Speakers

    Speakers are the life blood of Code Camps and Code Camps are one of the best ways to break into the speaking circuit.  There's no stodgy selection committee for reviewing session submissions - if you have an idea and are willing to talk about it, you'll get a room!

    For an idea of what kind of sessions a Code Camp may have, look at the list from Code Camp 7.  (Note that if you're signed in, you can download presentation materials as well.)

    So, want to help out by speaking?  Here's how to make it happen:

    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. Head to the Code Camps home page.
    4. Next to the CC8 entry, you should see a "Submit a Session" link.
    5. Fill out the form and submit.  As many sessions as you'd like.
    6. Please ensure that you also register as an attendee.

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

    Call for Contributors

    Especially in New England with our two-day format, Code Camps rely on contributors to donate giveaways and funding for food to help make the event happen.  Please let me know if your company is interested in becoming a contributor for Code Camp 8.

    Code Camp Organization and Planning

    Want to help?  We'd appreciate it!  Send me a note using the Contact form on this blog.

    Looking forward to another great event!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston MSDN Developer Conference Update



    The MDC Arrives on Thursday

    The MSDN Developer Conference (MDC) is coming to the Sheraton Boston this Thursday, January 22nd, with a full day of cutting edge content for developers, modeled after the Professional Developers Conference (PDC).

    Sold Out!

    There's been an amazing response to the event, but unfortunately we've hit the limit of how many attendees we can accommodate! Registration is currently closed, but I'll update this post if we're able to expand it later.

    The Schedule

    We have a great lineup of speakers for the event, with a keynote and twelve sessions in three tracks.  The Boston event page has the details on the speakers and times, and here's the session grid:


    WomenBuild at the Boston MDC

    womenbuild The Boston MDC will feature two Lego SeriousPlay WomenBuild workshops (at 12:30 and 2:00).  The focus is on diversity in tech, featuring a combination of workshops and talks.  This is an industry-wide issue, and all attendees, men and women, are welcome to participate.

    This workshop has been well received at other events.  Some quotes:

    • “This was the best session I have ever attended at a conference”
    • “That was the fastest hour and a half!”
    • "This seminar is an eye-opening experience.  I feel it’s of great value to women in technology."

    Since the event is only 90 minutes, you'll have plenty of time to catch most of the day's other content as well.

    Video and Audio on MDC

    Want to catch a glimpse of what's in store for you?  Andy Erickson put together this great video:

    Also, Jeff Brand has published a podcast episode featuring interviews with speakers at the Minneapolis MSDN DevCon event.


    See you in Boston!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New England Code Camp 16 – Registration and More


    CodeCamp34New England Code Camp 16, a major community event for developers, is coming to Waltham, MA on October 29th! 

    Registration (free!) is now open, as are the Calls for Speakers, Volunteers, and Contributors (details below).

        New England Code Camp 16
        Saturday, October 29, 2011
        8:30 AM – 6 PM + post-event Geek Gathering
        Microsoft, 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA

    Code Camps are free events, held outside of regular work hours, organized by and for the developer community, and offer a chance to learn, share, and network.  What kind of stuff might you see?  It varies significantly camp to camp, but take a look at the previous camp’s schedule to get an idea.

    Register today and join hundreds of your fellow developers!

    Bryan TuttleSession in MPR CA Session in the Rhode Island Room

    Call for Speakers

    A Session in the EBCFrom first-time presenters to veterans of national conferences, Code Camps are made great because we hear from many perspectives – including yours.  Have something to share, the community wants to hear from you.

    How? Just see the registration page for details (speakers only need to register as a speaker, not as an attendee.)  Proposals can be for any technology topic and sessions will be 75 minutes long.

    The Call for Speakers will close at the end of Friday, October 21st.

    Have a question about speaking?  Send a note to

    Call for Contributors

    Food Time!Contributors are a critical part of each Code Camp, relied upon to provide the essentials for the Code Camp experience, like:

    • Morning coffee (& doughnuts when possible)
    • Lunch
    • Giveaways – items to be given out by speakers in sessions
    • SWAG - items like pens, pads, and bags – branded or unbranded – it’s all welcome!

    You’ll have a highly-targeted audience thanking your company for its support of the developer community, so please send a note to if your company can help make Code Camp 16 a success!

    Call for Volunteers

    Want to help before or at the event?  Great, and thank you!  Just drop a line to

    Call for Thanks!

    Richard Hale ShawSpecial thanks to Patrick Hynds, Chris Pels, and Robert Goodearl for the care and feeding of this event, to the contributing companies, and of course to the many speakers who volunteer their time and expertise!

    See you at New England Code Camp 16!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Visual Studio 2008 InstallFests in the Northeast!


    VS08-pro_h_rgb_thumb Visual Studio 2008 has now been released to manufacturing, and as a "thank you" to the community, we're collaborating with area user groups to host a series of Visual Studio InstallFests. 

    I'm happy to announce that we'll have four InstallFests in the Northeast over the coming two weeks!

    • 12/4 - Rochester, NY
    • 12/6 - Burlington, VT
    • 12/10 - Hartford, CT
    • 12/12 - Waltham, MA

    Partnering with area user groups, we're offering attendees a chance to install the release version Visual Studio 2008, enjoy some food, conversation, and gaming!  Since the packaged product hasn't been released yet, here's what will happen:

    • Bring your laptops (or heck, a desktop!) and your festive selves
    • Grab a DVD with the Visual Studio 2008 Pro Trial Edition bits
    • Install and be happy
    • Play some Halo 3 or Guitar Hero, munch on some food, chat with people
    • Go home and enjoy VS2008
    • ...wait...
    • When the packaged product ships, you'll get a copy of Visual Studio 2008 Professional in the mail!  (Which will *not* require a reinstall of the trial version.)

    zune-8gb-thumb As an added incentive to get VS2008 installed that evening, we're giving away T-shirts and raffling off a new 8GB Zune among the people who get VS2008 on their machines!

    "Free Sounds Good!  So, Where?  When?  How Do I Sign Up?"

    You may notice that the events are generally on our MSDN Roadshow days (except for Waltham, where the Roadshow will be the following day.)  That's of course no coincidence, we'd like to take advantage of our passing through various areas in the northeast to run these special events. 

    Each event has its own timing, registration, and logistics, detailed below.

    As you can guess, we have limited quantities of giveaways (and "free" always draws a crowd) so we can't guarantee everyone will walk away with something.


    Rochester, NY
    December 4th, 4:30 to 6:30 PM
    RIT, Building 70, Room 1400,
    20 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY
    In partnership with Visual Developers of Upstate New York (VDUNY)
    and the NJ/NY Microsoft Developers Group

    Right after the Roadshow ends, we'll jump into the InstallFest, staying in the same room on the RIT campus we're using for the Roadshow.  The event will run from about 4:30 to 6:30 (at which time we encourage you to head downtown and check out Digital Rochester's Festivus!)

    Priority for giveaways will be given to everyone who attends (not just registers for) the Rochester Roadshow event.  Remaining materials are available, while they last, to any walk-ins.

    Burlington (Williston), VT
    December 6th, 4:15 to 6:00 PM
    Vermont Technical College, 201 Lawrence Place, Room 401, Williston, VT
    In partnership with the Vermont .NET User Group

    Like Rochester, we're running this InstallFest in the same room as the Roadshow event that day.  Stay with us from 4:15 until 6:00 and enjoy some food, camaraderie, and gaming.

    Priority for giveaways will be given to everyone who attends (not just registers for) the Burlington Roadshow event.  Remaining materials are available, while they last, to any walk-ins.

    Hartford (Farmington), CT
    December 10th, 6:00 to 8:00 PM
    Microsoft, 74 Batterson Park Road, Farmington, CT
    In partnership with the Connecticut .NET User Group

    Though there's a Roadshow event that day at UConn in Hartford, we're holding the InstallFest down the road at the Farmington Microsoft office.

    You must register by sending a note to [CTDOTNET [at] gmail [dot] com].  Remaining materials will be available while they last to people who have not RSVPed.

    Waltham, MA
    December 12th, 5:30 - 8:00 PM
    Microsoft, 201 Jones Road, 6th Floor, Waltham, MA
    In partnership with the Boston .NET User Group

    The InstallFest is being held as the traditional holiday pot luck social event for the Boston .NET User Group. 

    So, remember to bring food or drink to share with others!

    Registration is required and will be available soon is available now via the Boston .NET User Group web site

    The event is now on waitlist registration.  You can still register, but copies of VS2008 will be made available to waitlisted people at 7:00 if some of the first 150 people are no-shows.

    "I Have a Question..."

    No problem, ask away (in the comments or directly to me,) but first check out my Texas-based colleague Chris Koenig's great summary of the events for that area.  Many of the same details apply to our events.

    See you at the Roadshows and InstallFests!



  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Join Us for The Winter Northeast MSDN Roadshow!



    Somewhere in Scenic Vermont

    [UPDATE 11/19 - We've added New Hampshire to our tour for December 18th!]

    We just couldn't take not being out on the road, talking about tech, so we're heading back out again in December for the Winter Northeast Roadshow! 

    This, our seventh Roadshow, will feature a ton of great stuff like jQuery and ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX, WPF, WF, Silverlight and WCF/REST, and even some interesting things from Microsoft Research!

    Join my fellow road and code warrior, Jim O'Neil and me for a relaxed day of deep content for developers and architects.  Oh, and it's free.

    We're heading to six cities in December:

    Most of our stops for the Fall Northeast Roadshow filled up, so if you're interested, register early.


    [Times are for all events except Rochester, NY, which starts 30 minutes earlier.]

    Roadshow at RIT 8:30 – Register, Grab Some Coffee, and Pull Up A Chair

    9:00 - Morning TechUpdate

    Before we dive into the sessions, we’ll take some time to update you on the latest news, tools and technology from the developer world.

    9:15 - Turbo Boosting for Web Developers: Using jQuery and ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX

    Like things that help you go faster? Of course! That’s why we’re focusing this session on the powerful set of features that jQuery and ASP.NET 3.5 offer web developers. We’ll get up to speed with jQuery, a popular open source JavaScript library with powerful features, a concise syntax with chained commands, but at the same time is fully extensible via a plugin-based architecture. Microsoft will be distributing jQuery (as-is) with Visual Studio going forward, and offers IntelliSense support for jQuery as well. We’ll complement that with a look at the latest in ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX with Visual Studio 2008 to provide extra code-writing acceleration along the way. Like hitting “Boost” in your favorite racing game, jQuery and ASP.NET 3.5 AJAX will have you speeding toward great rich internet applications in no time!

    10:45 - Workflow Foundation (WF) Steals the Show

    As Shakespeare put it, “All the world’s a stage”, and WPF and WCF love to bask in the limelight, but now it’s time for their cousin, Windows Workflow Foundation, to assume the leading role.  We’ll go beyond the usual introductory demos to show that, despite lacking a third letter in its acronym, WF is a very powerful environment for building robust and scalable applications that capture complex and real-world business processes.  From dashing good looks (a visual designer which you can even host in your own applications) to dazzling abilities such as new options for integration with WCF (both as a service provider and consumer), resumable programmable activities as building blocks, and built-in services for persistence, transactions, scheduling and tracking, WF is a standout performer for any application.  We’ll have Hamlet saying, “The Workflow’s the thing!”

    In the Car on Lake Champlain 12:00 - Lunch in the Lab: A Look at Tools & Tech from Microsoft Research

    Grab some lunch, get out your Bunsen burners and microscopes, and join us as we don lab coats and take a tour of the latest and greatest tools and technology from Microsoft Research. From developer tools that you can use today like CHESS and Pex, future tech like DryadLINQ, to the just plain cool of AutoCollage, Boku, and SecondLight, there’s a lot for us to experiment on. We promise not to set anything on fire in this lab, well, unless you ask nicely…

    1:00 - Deeper into Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)

    Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) has a rich set of features to create visually appealing, high-performance applications on the .NET Framework with declarative markup. And perhaps you’ve seen the “hello world” demos and get the general idea. But you say “Great! What else can I do with it?” Funny you should ask, because that’s exactly what this session is about. After a brief introduction to WPF, we’ll dive into the host of new features that .NET 3.5 Service Pack 1 has brought – enhanced 3D capabilities, Visual Studio designer improvements, and more. We’ll cover important WPF topics such as interoperability with WinForms and achieving reuse via resources, templates, and user controls. Finally, we’ll round out the talk by showing the new WPF Toolkit, including new WPF controls like Calendar, DatePicker, and DataGrid. Now, aren’t you glad you asked?

    2:30 - Adventures in Data with Silverlight, WCF REST, and ADO.NET Data Services

    You’ve heard that REST is the talk of the town (well, the really geeky part of town) these days, but what does it mean to you, someone who needs to get work DONE? Get ready to improve your Silverlight skills, because this session features a practical, code-based focus on the use of the new WCF REST Starter Kit, ADO.NET Data Services (formerly Astoria), and databinding techniques to tap the power of RESTful services.  A from-scratch implementation will be created, using Silverlight to build a data-centric application covering concepts such as the WebClient and HTTPWebRequest objects, syndication formats, cross domain policy, and data binding in XAML. 

    3:50 – Wrapup, Evals, and Giveaways

    Geek Gatherings

    Albany Pump Station

    It's always nice to unwind after a Roadshow, and we'd love to chat with other developers in the community, we're looking at our options for informal gatherings at local brewpubs and the like after each event (except Rochester, which will need to be the night before on 12/1).

    Let us know if you have the "perfect place" to be social (and my personal preference, has good beer) in your city and we'll help get the word out! 


    A huge thanks goes to the companies and organizations who volunteer their space for the Roadshow visits!

    This time, we return to two venues that have been great hosts for previous Roadshows.  In Rochester, NY, we again descend upon Rochester Institute of Technology's Golisano Auditorium.  In Burlington, VT (well, Williston, actually), we return to Vermont Technical College.

    In the Albany, NY area, Autotask has graciously offered their meeting facilities for the event. 

    Last, but by no means least, thanks to great support by the developer community in Maine (and a 100% packed room last time!), we're running the Roadshow in the much larger Florian Auditorium at the Central Maine Commerce Center.

    Every Roadshow we do quite honestly is a blast for us (well, once we're ready and out on the road,) and we hope you'll enjoy it too. 

    We’ll see you soon!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Code Camp 9 Update


    Code Camp 9 Things are moving along well for Code Camp 9, coming on April 5th and 6th at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA.

    With a little over three weeks to go, we're already over 30 sessions and nearing 250 registrations.  Keep them coming!

    Register (Code Camp is free!) today at

    If you're interested in speaking, it's as simple as registering a session and we'll give you a room/session.  Check the bottom of this post for details on how to submit a session.

    New CC9 Logo!

    First, and most obvious in this post, is that we have a new Code Camp 9 logo!  Many thanks to Bryan Phillips for volunteering to create it.  (Just a bit better than my previous logo, eh?) 

    Thanks Bryan!!

    "Introductions" Track

    New at this Code Camp is the dedication of one room solely to introductory sessions on foundational topics.  Are you or your company just getting into technology X?  The Introductions Track is your chance to come up to speed on a variety of developer topics.

    We still have speaker slots to fill for the introductions track, so if you'd like to help get people up to speed on existing technologies, please volunteer your time!

    See you in April!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Silverlight Browser Add-In for Reflector


    Lutz Roeder's Reflector keeps getting more useful.  There's now a Silverlight-related add-in for Reflector called "Silverlight Browser".

    Silverlight Browser is very handy for "how'd they do that?" developer use.  Open Reflector, choose File->Open Silverlight URL and point to a 1.0 or 1.1 Silverlight application endpoint. 

    For 1.0 applications, Reflector parses the component Javascript and XAML files, displaying them as tabs in the main window.  The real power is evident when loading a 1.1 Silverlight application...

    SilverlightReflectorFor 1.1 applications, the files are also parsed into tabs, but that also includes (approximate) source .NET code as well as reflected information in the left-hand pane for the .NET assemblies included with the Silverlight application.

    In the screenshot, I've loaded the 1.1 Silverlight Airlines demo application into Reflector.  You can see the display screen, tabbed listings of relevant files (.js, .xaml, and .cs) as well as the SilverlightAirlines assembly information and decompiled information on the Flights class.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    GameDev Day '07 Boston - XNA, Gaming, and Game Development


    XNA Like games?  Wonder how they're made?  Want to know how to make them yourself?

    Emerson Hall, HarvardCome to GameDev Day '07, a free event being hosted at Harvard University on December 1st, sponsored by Microsoft in association with the Harvard Interactive Media Group (HIMG).

    The Details

    What:  GameDev Day '07 Boston
    Who:  ANYONE - students, professionals, enthusiasts - interested in learning about how games are made and the gaming industry
    When:  Saturday, December 1st, 10 AM - 4 PM
    Where:  Harvard University [directions],
    Emerson Hall [map], Room 105 (Note that we moved from Sever Hall)
    Cost:  Free
    Registration:  None, but if you're on Facebook, add yourself to the event's page!

    Game Development Sessions

    • Presentations on game development topics
    • Second Life Learn about virtual worlds like Second Life (from the company that created it!) and their effect on the real world
    • Learn to create games for the XBOX 360 and PCs with (the free) XNA Game Studio Express 

    Gaming Industry Experts

    • halo3Open Q&A Panel
    • Advice on getting to game development
    • Careers in the Boston area

    Open Gaming

    • Play Halo 3 and Guitar Hero on XBOX Elites

    Pizza and Giveaways

    • Halo 3
    • Project Gotham Racing 4
    • Gears of War
    • Flight Simulator X Deluxe [PC]

    The Agenda

    10:15 - Welcome and Announcements (Edwin Guarin and Chris Bowen)
    10:25 - Introduction to XNA (Edwin and Chris)
    10:50 - Creating Your First XNA Game (Michael Cummings)
    12:00 - Pizza & Gaming
    12:50 - Creating Games - What *Really* Goes on Under the Covers (Mark Mullin and Dan Scherlis)
    2:00 - Blurring the Boundaries: CSI, Second Life and You (Kent Quirk and John Lester, Linden Lab)
    3:00 - Gaming Industry Q&A Panel (Dan Scherlis, Mark Mullin, Michael Cummings, Kent Quirk, Darius Kazemi)

    We're going to have a great time!  See you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    MSDN/Architecture Journal Readers and the Reader SDK


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

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

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

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

    MSDN Reader Arch Journal

    See an article and presto - read away!

    MSDN Reader Article

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

     MSDN Reader Search

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

    MSDN Reader Send to Reading List

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

    MSDN Reader Reading List

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

    Subscription Center

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


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing the New England Silverlight Guild


    imageIn October, a new group will be joining the New England developer and designer community!  The New England Silverlight Guild will hold meetings in Cambridge, MA and Farmington, CT on the 3rd Monday of each month. 

    The group’s goal is to “promote and encourage designers, developers, and innovators of all skill levels to share, laugh and grow our skills and knowledge around Silverlight, Expression Blend and Windows Phone 7”.

    The first meeting, on October 18th, will be a linked MA & CT meeting, with none other than Jesse Liberty as the guest speaker:

    New England Silverlight Guild
    “Silverlight as a Transmedia Platform” - Jesse Liberty
    October 18, 2010
    6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Venues (note there are different registration links by city):

    Group Organizers

    Please join me in thanking Gary Chin and Dennis Perlot for creating and co-leading this new group!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Embedding Active XAML in PowerPoint


    [File under "Cool Presenter Tricks"]

    Simon Guest posted about a nice little trick for embedding XAML in a PowerPoint slide.  What makes it all happen is finding an add-in for PowerPoint to display web pages from a slide. 

    xamlpptSimon points us to Shyam Pillai's "LiveWeb" add-in.  Run the setup there and PowerPoint will offer a web page embedding feature.

    I must say I'm impressed, and already thinking of ways I can spice up my own presentations.  With the add in, you can link to local or remote web pages and have them display as they would in a browser, within a PowerPoint show.  You can event scroll the pages and click on the elements.

    Of course, the main point of Simon's post was to mention that you can link to XAML pages (such as .xbap and .xaml), but the fact that I can include local or live web pages in my presentations is very cool all by itself.

    In the above screenshot, I've (quickly) wired up a slide to point to Charles Petzold's "Teapot" .xaml example.  Though as Simon mentions, there's room for extensions/options, I'm happy to say it otherwise "just works".


  • 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

    More Microsoft HTML5 Web Camps Coming Soon!


    Microsoft Web CampsThe Microsoft HTML5 Web Camps are free, full-day events to help you get up to speed with HTML5 and related web standards. 

    After the popular events in Massachusetts & NYC in June, Rachel Appel, G. Andrew Duthie and I will be running six more Web Camps in August and September:

    They’re all listed on the MSDN Events site and will soon be on the Microsoft Web Camps site as well.

    What’s Being Covered?

    Over the course of four sessions, we’ll introduce you to the next wave of web standards including HTML5, CSS3, ECMAScript5, SVG, and more:

    • HTML5
      • Semantic Markup, Audio, Video, Canvas, Geolocation, and more
    • Cascading Style Sheets, Level 3 (CSS3)
    • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
    • ECMAScript5 and scripting techniques
    • Internet Explorer 9
      • Standards support and testing
      • Performance
    • Present and future of web standards
      • Internet Explorer 10
      • Emerging standards (e.g. WebSockets, IndexedDB, etc.)
    • Developer options and tools
      • Libraries
      • IE9 Developer Tools
      • Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Web 4

    We’ll also show you techniques and frameworks to help you get started today while still offering good experiences for non-modern browsers.

    Hope to see you at the Web Camps!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New SQL Server Group in Hartford, CT


    image There is a new SQL Server user group forming that will meet quarterly in the Hartford, CT area.  The first meeting is April 7th (note that it’s during the day, with lunch included):

        Hartford SQL Server User’s Group
        April 7, 12-4 PM
        Microsoft Offices at 74 Batterson Park Rd, Farmington, CT

        Topic: Cloud Computing with SQL Azure”
    Thomas LaRock & Robert Walters

    Visit the Hartford SQL Server UG site ( for details including the agenda and LiveMeeting. 

    Thanks to group leaders Thomas LaRock and Rob Walters for bringing this to the Hartford area!


    P.S.  Other related groups in the area:

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing Bob and Chris' MSDN Roadshow!


    Bob Familiar and I are busting out of our home bases in Massachusetts and taking our long-winded rants and questionable demos on the roads across the Northeast!  In the coming weeks, we'll be bringing the latest in developer- and architect-focused content to a town near you.

    Join us for a full day of no-fluff deep technical content, plenty of code, 100% guaranteed-to-run demos*, and of course giveaways throughout with a chance to win a Zune at day's end!  [* We'll define "run" as we go.]

    Roadshow Schedule and Registration

    Rochester, NY

    February 27th, 2007


    Click Here to Register!

    Burlington, VT

    March 1st, 2007


    Click Here to Register!

    Portland, ME

    March 6th, 2007


    Click Here to Register!

    Manchester, NH

    March 8th, 2007


    Click Here to Register!

    Farmington, CT

    March 20th, 2007


    Click Here to Register!


    Event Agenda

    For this tour, we're focusing on all things .Net Framework 3.0.  Here's the agenda:

    08:30am – Arrive, check in, grab a nosh and a seat


    09:00 – 10:15 – Windows Communication Foundation

    Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is Microsoft's unified framework for building secure, reliable, transacted, and interoperable distributed applications. Learn how to leverage the new features in Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) to make a smooth transition to a service-orientation.  The capabilities exposed through this new addition to the .NET framework will enable the core building blocks of connected systems such as data & service contracts, security, reliability, administration, and management   


    10:15 – 10:30 – Take a break and communicate


    10:30 – 12:00 – Windows CardSpaces

    Windows CardSpace enables users to provide their digital identities in a familiar, secure and easy way. In the physical world we use business cards, credit cards and membership cards. Online with CardSpace we use a variety of virtual cards to identify ourselves, each retrieving data from an identity provider. Don't struggle with usernames and passwords, just choose an information card! This session will delve into the architecture and implementation of CardSpaces.

    12:00-01:00 – Grab a lunch and ponder your identity

    01:00 – 02:15 –Workflow Foundation

    Workflow Foundation (WF), a component of the .NET Framework 3.0, enables you to quickly and reliably implement workflows and business rules in your applications.  WF provides a framework for constructing sequential and state-machine based workflows for any .NET application or service and includes tools to effectively manage and modify those workflows.  In this session, we'll introduce the major concepts and purpose of WF, demonstrate the creation and maintenance of workflows with Visual Studio 2005, and show the potential uses of workflows within your applications. 

    02:15-02:30 – Take a break and go with the flow

    02:30 – 03:45 – Windows Presentation Foundation

    Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is Microsoft’s new strategic User Interface technology designed to provide richer, high-fidelity, applications using an optimized developer/designer workflow.  Learn how to leverage the new features in WPF such as XAML to create visually stunning interfaces to enhance capabilities and user experience of your applications. 


    03:45 – 04:00 – Zune Giveaway

    Register using the links in the schedule above.  Looking forward to seeing you out on the road!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Microsoft Certification Second Shot Program Makes a Return


    If you’re a developer or IT pro interested in earning certifications to advance your career, but have been worried about not passing, take a look at the Second Shot program, which offers a free exam retake, and is making a return now through June:

    image Whether you are currently unemployed, looking for a promotion, or trying to become indispensable in your existing role, Microsoft Certifications can validate that you have the skills needed to work in the top IT professional and developer jobs in the industry.

    Take advantage of our Second Shot offer and get a free retake if you do not pass an IT professional or developer Microsoft Certification exam the first time. You must take both the first and (if necessary) the retake exam before June 30, 2010.

    Details on registering and getting a voucher code are on the Microsoft Learning site.

    Boston .NET Certification Group

    Also, the Boston .NET Certification Group meets regularly at Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) in Cambridge, MA. 

    This user/study group is a fantastic way to work with others for motivation and support to earn developer certifications.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    "Essential WCF" on the Shelves!


    On The Shelf!

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

    Essential Windows Communication Foundation

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

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

    The InformIT Interview


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

    More about Essential WCF

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

    Here's a glance at what's inside:

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

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


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

    Thanks Abound

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

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

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


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

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Announcing New England Code Camp 13!


    Code Camp 13 All systems are go for New England Code Camp 13, a major community event for developers coming to Waltham, MA on March 27th!

    Registration (free), the Call for Speakers, and Call for Sponsors are all now open.

        New England Code Camp 13
        “Spring Back into Code”
        Saturday, March 27th
        8:30 AM – 6 PM+ (and post-event Geek Gathering)
        Microsoft, 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA

    Update 3/20 - The schedule has been posted!

    For social media fans, the tag will be #necc13.

    Code What?

    Code Camps (started in 2004 with New England Code Camp 1), are free events, held outside of normal work hours, organized by and for the developer community.  They’re a great opportunity to network and to share knowledge without marketing noise getting in the way. 

    Session in MPR CBryan TuttleSWAG

    Code Camp has something for every developer - a blend of the technical to the practical, established to new, and beginner to advanced. 

    Check out the Code Camp Manifesto for the guiding principles.

    Register Now

    It’s a free event, so register today.

    With the strong interest in all of the new technologies recently available and soon to be released, I won’t be surprised if we reach capacity for this Camp.

    A Session in the Rhode Island RoomRichard Hale Shaw

    Speakers Wanted!

    A Session in the EBCCode Camp is driven by speakers who volunteer their time and expertise. From first-time presenters to veterans of national conferences, 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 CC13 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

    Topics are open and sessions are normally scheduled for 75 minutes.

    Call for Sponsors/Contributors

    Food Time!Code Camps rely on contributors to donate giveaways and funding for food to help make the event happen. Needed:

    • Morning coffee (and doughnuts are always appreciated, too)
    • Lunch
    • Giveaways – items to be given out by speakers in sessions
    • SWAG - items like pens, pads, and bags – branded or unbranded – it’s all welcome!

    You’ll have a highly-targeted audience thanking your company for its support of the developer community, so please let me know if your company is interested in helping to made Code Camp 13 a success.


    Thanks to Chris Pels for his continuing help organizing these events and thanks also to Bryan Phillips for creating the Code Camp 13 logo (and logos for several previous Camps)!

    See you at Code Camp 13!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New England Code Camp 15 – Registration and Call for Speakers Open!


    CodeCamp3Things are now set for New England Code Camp 15, a major community event for developers coming to Waltham, MA on May 7th!  Registration (free), the Call for Speakers, and Call for Contributors (details below) are now open.

        New England Code Camp 15:
        “Developers in the Streets!”
        Saturday, May 7th 
        8:30 AM – 6 PM + post-event Geek Gathering
        Microsoft, 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA 
        Registration -
        Other details -
        Tag: #necc15

    It all began 14 camps ago in 2004 – Code Camps are free events outside of regular work hours, organized by and for the developer community, offering a chance to learn, share, and network. Register today and join hundreds of your fellow developers!

    Bryan TuttleSession in MPR CA Session in the Rhode Island Room

    Call for Speakers (Now Easier!)

    A Session in the EBCCode Camps are driven by speakers who volunteer their time and expertise. From first-time presenters to veterans of national conferences, Code Camps are great because we hear from many perspectives – including yours.

    How?  It’s even easier this time around.  Just head to and email the session proposal form.  Proposals can be for any technology topic and sessions will be 75 minutes long.

    The site will be updated periodically to list submissions as they’re received.

    Call for Contributors

    Food Time!Contributors are a critical part of each Code Camp, relied upon to provide the essentials for the Code Camp experience, like:

    • Morning coffee (& doughnuts when possible)
    • Lunch
    • Giveaways – items to be given out by speakers in sessions
    • SWAG - items like pens, pads, and bags – branded or unbranded – it’s all welcome!

    You’ll have a highly-targeted audience thanking your company for its support of the developer community, so please send a note to if your company can help make Code Camp 15 a success!


    Richard Hale ShawSpecial thanks to Patrick Hynds and Chris Pels for their ongoing work to organize these events, to the contributing companies, and of course to the many speakers who volunteer their time and expertise!

    See you at New England Code Camp 15!


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