Chris Bowen's Blog

Development Practices, Tools, Technology, and Community

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Going Global


    I recently received a small package from Wiley.  I opened it to find a copy of my book (Professional Visual Studio 2005 Team System.)  Only this copy seemed... different.  Why is Anaya Multimedia also listed on the cover?  Why is "Professional" spelled "Profesional"?

    It turns out our friends at Anaya in Madrid have been at work translating the book into a Spanish language edition.  Very cool!

    Everything from the chapter content, screenshots, and code comments, to the bios and acknowledgements have been translated.  Need a chapter on unit testing?  Try "Preuebas unitarias con el framework de pruebas unitarias"!  Test case management?  "Administracion de un caso de prueba".

    It's a strange yet interesting thing to see your words when they aren't your words.

    Hasta leugo! 


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Save the Dates: Code Camp 7 - Deer in Headlights


    [Update - Attendee registration and call for speakers are now open!]

    I'm happy to announce we've finalized the dates for the next round of the Code Camp that started it all! 

    New England's Code Camp 7 - "Deer In Headlights" will be held the weekend of March 31st and April 1st at Microsoft's Waltham, MA office.  Look for some changes to "the usual" this time around!

    Haven't been to a Code Camp before?  They're free events, held outside of work hours, that are a chance for regional .NET communities to gather and to learn from each other.  High signal, low marketing.  Code aplenty, slides afew.  Check out the Code Camp Manifesto for the brief list of the Code Camp guiding principles.

    The relaxed atmosphere of Code Camps is also a great way to break into practice of public speaking.  If you've been considering giving it a try, this will be the perfect opportunity. 

    Mark your calendars and stay tuned for event registration and speaker submission details!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    My Turn for the 5 Things Tagging Meme


    Okay, I'm the last of Andy Beaulieu's group of 5 tagees to blog five things that people probably didn't know about me.  So, to curtail any further guilt (and to replace it with shame?), here we go:

    1. I'm a very big fan of craft beer.  I love checking out the latest offerings from Dogfish Head, Avery, AleSmith, Rogue, Stone, etc.  In fact, if you're in the Boston area, check out the Extreme Beer Fest.  I'll be there on 2/10 and sleeping on 2/11.
    2. My older daughter (age 7) and I are reading through the Harry Potter series together.  Of course, when you read in 15-20 minute chunks at bedtime, it takes a while.  Halfway through book 4...  Go Gryffindor!
    3. Unusual skill that I'm not particularly good at - glassblowing.  I have a collection of misshapen cups and random whatchamicallits to prove it.
    4. I started programming as a wee lad in 1979.  "101 Basic Games" was one of the first books that sped me on the way.  Ah, the fun of Boxing and hunting the Wumpus in full text-based glory.
    5. I can bend my left thumb back so it is parallel with my index finger - pointing the other way.  Good for entertaining audiences when my demos fail.  Used frequently.

    Well there you have it.  I'll try to find time later to come back and tag five other people who haven't been tagged yet, but I wanted to get this post up now to complete Andy's group.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007 Launch Event - 1/24/07


    Boston is one of the key launch cities for the upcoming Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007 launch series.  The launch will be held at the Boston Convention Center on January 24th.

    Some highlights:

    • Attendees will get a free copy of Office 2007 Professional and Office Groove 2007
    • Breakout sessions for developers, IT pros, and technology decision makers
    • Keynote with Ron Markezich (VP, Microsoft Managed Solutions)
    • Expo hall with Ask the Experts and Microsoft and Partner Paviliions
    • Opportunity to test drive the new products
    • Bumping into your friendly local Developer Evangelist  :)

    Full agenda

    Registration is required - Developer or IT Professional | Technology Decision Maker

    If you can't attend the Boston launch, there will be a number of regional launch events as well.  Northeast events are:

    • South Portland, ME - 2/13
    • Rochester, NY - 2/13
    • Nashua, NH - 2/15
    • Albany, NY - 2/15
    • Comwell, CT - 2/22

    You can find details on these events here.


    P.S.  Keep in mind this is the new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (if you attended the Visual Studio 2005 launch event - same place) and not the Hynes CC.

  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Speaking on WF at Rhode Island .NET User Group - 1/3/2007


    I will be giving a session on Windows Workflow Foundation for the Rhode Island .NET User Group tomorrow night, January 3rd, from 6-8 PM at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI.  There is also a social hour from 5-6 with soda and pizza.

    Here is the abstract:

    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. 

    The group requests an RSVP if you plan to attend.  Hope to see you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Visual Studio Windows PowerShell Templates


    I've written a few PowerShell CmdLets over the past year or so and, while it isn't difficult, there is a fair amount of boilerplate work that needs to be done - adding references, implementing PSCmdLet and PSCustomSnapIn, etc.

    So, Channel 9 to the rescue, where David Aiken posts word of Windows PowerShell templates available for Visual Studio 2005:

    This Visual Studio template adds a C# and/or VB.NET project template for building Windows PowerShell Cmdlets and item templates in both languages to build CmdLet derived and PSCmdLet derived Windows PowerShell Cmdlets.

    Thanks to Don Jones for pointing out the link in his post on CmdLet creation.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Enterprise Library 3.0 CTP Released


    Hot off the press, the Patterns & Practices team's Tom Hollander has announced the availability of the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Enterprise Library v3.0!

    Download it from the new CodePlex site at

    Some highlights from Tom's post:


    • Source Code installer
    • Partial Trust Support
    • Strong-Named Binary Assemblies

    Validation Application Block

    • Core validation API
    • Minimal Validator Library
    • Attaching validators to objects via attributes
    • Attaching validators to objects via configuration
    • Not included yet (but in the works): Configuration tool support, complete validator library, integration with ASP.NET, Windows Forms, WCF etc.

    Data Access Application Block

    • SQL Server Compact Edition Support
    • New Database.UpdateDatabase overload with updateBatchSize parameter

    Configuration Tool

    • Visual Studio IDE integration
    • AppSettings support
    • Encryption support

    Application Block Software Factory

    • Templates and recipes for creating application blocks and provider libraries
    • Preliminary documentation

    Strong Naming Guidance Package

    • Recipes to assist in strong-naming and updating [InternalsVisibleTo] across multiple projects

    Don't forget to be among the first to provide feedback for the team via the CodePlex forums.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Team System Public User Group Meeting - Dec. 21st


    The Boston area's newest user group, the Team System Public User Group, will be having its first meeting at the Microsoft Office at 201 Jones Road, Waltham this Thursday (12/21) from 5:30-7:30.

    Agenda from the site:

    This meeting will kick off the user group as a whole and a presentation and discussion:

    "The State of Team System"
    A discussion and exposure of various Visual Studio Team System initiatives inside and outside of Microsoft. Expect discussion of SP1 which is imminent in its release. A lot of focus will be placed on an inventory of “Collaborative Community Source” projects and commercial third party applications as well.

    For more information about the group and meeting, see Michael Ruminer's post on the new group.  From Michael's post:

    This months meeting will focus on a meet and greet and then a presentation/discussion of existing initiatives around VSTS/TFS both inside and outside Microsoft and both third party commercial and collaborative source projects that exist out there. Are you involved in any? Do you know of any? Do you have a special project you'd like to start up? If so bring that info along so that if my inventory misses it you can fill us all in.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Now Available


    Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 (SP1) has emerged from beta and is now available at

    Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 continues Microsoft’s investment in market leading development tools. Service Pack 1 addresses issues that were found through a combination of customers and partner feedback, as well as internal testing.  The issues addressed range in severity from places where the syntax coloring was incorrect to customer reported crashes in various scenarios. In some areas, more than 50% of the bugs addressed were reported by customers through the MSDN Product Feedback Center and Microsoft Connect. Overall, Service Pack 1 offers custo

    Through further advancement and feedback, Service Pack 1 also provides over 70 improvements for common development scenarios including:

    • New processor support (e.g., Core Duo) for code generation and profiling
    • Performance and scale improvements in Team Foundation Server
    • Team Foundation Server integration with Excel 2007 and Project 2007
    • Tool support for occasionally connected devices and SQL Server Compact Edition
    • Additional support for project file based Web applications
    • Windows Embedded 6.0 platform and tools support mers improvements in responsiveness, stability and performance for Visual Studio 2005.

    Note also that if you're a Windows Vista user, work is continuing on the Visual Studio 2005 SP1 Vista Refresh Beta:

    For developers using Visual Studio 2005 on Windows Vista, Microsoft is in current development on an update to Service Pack 1 called the ‘Visual Studio 2005 SP1 Vista Refresh Beta’. This update builds on the improvements made in SP1 and delivers a first class experience for developers wanting to take advantages of the new features in Windows Vista. The Visual Studio 2005 SP1 Update for Windows Vista is expected to ship after the consumer availability of Windows Vista in Q1 of 2007 and is now available in beta.

    Keep an eye on the above page for its release.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Microsoft New England Job Opening - Developer Support Consultant


    There is currently an opening for a Developer Support Consultant within Microsoft's the New England district.  Here is the job description: 

    Developer Support Consultant (ADC)

    The purpose of the ADC position is to provide our customers with a technically competent advocate with access to all the resources at Microsoft, to advise and consult on the use of Microsoft technology in their particular product or application. Tasks performed in this role include helping with technology assessments, workshops, prototyping, conducting application design reviews, performance benchmarks, code reviews, porting/migration assistance, configuration management and general development consulting. Key to the success of this role is the ability to develop and maintain strong trust/working relationships with assigned ISV/SD accounts and constantly expanding the working knowledge of current and pre-release Microsoft systems, products, and platforms.

    Responsibilities: The ADC is responsible for understanding the customer's environment, its technical requirements and fit to Microsoft technologies. The ADC serves as the customer's persistent Microsoft point of contact throughout the customer's product development lifecycle, which is a role that is heavily reliant on the ADC possessing excellent customer service skills. The ADC is required to assist the team with quick and efficient resolution of customer's reactive support needs. The ADC will deliver prescriptive consulting guidance in the form of workshops, reviews, prototypes, white papers, and conclusive test results while setting realistic expectations regarding the capabilities and delivery timeframes of Microsoft technologies. It is vital that the ADC work constantly on keeping up-to-date on new Microsoft technologies relevant to the customer's particular needs and developing relationships with key Microsoft product group resources. The ADC is expected to maintain a collaborative role with customers. The ADC is expected to provide consulting assistance to peers as project workloads allows. The ADC maintains relationships with Microsoft product managers providing feedback on product requirements and drive Microsoft product feature and functionality requests on behalf of Premier clients.

    Contacts: This position will have regular contact with: Premier - Other Application Development Consultants and Technical Account Managers - required for establishing support and maintaining persistent account contact point. PSS - Support Engineers - required for establishing and receiving product support. MCS - Consultants - required in the event Microsoft in contracted to perform actual software development services. Microsoft Product Groups - Program and product management / some direct contact with developers - required to drive feature set issues and resolve software bugs in early-beta releases. This position has frequent contact with all levels of Microsoft managers and employees and frequent contact with vendors and customers.

    Qualifications: BS in Computer Science or equivalent experience. 5+ years of high-end software development experience building business transaction systems. Database application and transaction system design. Strong development skills with VB, C/C++/C#, ActiveX, COD/DCOM, XML highly desired. Strong business background in Fortune 500 and/or experience with systems technology consulting firm desired.

    Location within New England is flexible as long as you're able to travel the area to visit customer sites.  If you're interested, feel free to contact me via this blog.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Boston .NET User Group - Annual Social


    This Wednesday (12/13) evening will be the annual social event for the Boston .NET User Group:

    "Come join our annual holiday potluck gathering this Wednesday 12/13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the usual location, Microsoft's Waltham office (lunch room).

    This is an informal event focused on netowrking and just hanging out with fellow members. Each person is asked to bring a food or beverage to share with the group. Please don't all bring desserts this year as we are still recovering from sugar overload :-).

    This is a great opportunity to just hang out with your fellow developers. Hope to see you there and have a great holiday season!"

    Hope to see you there!


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Microsoft Architecture Journal #9 Now Available


    The latest issue of the Architecture Journal is now available (PDF version here).

    Software Factories are the focus of this issue:

    • Bare Naked Languages or What Not to Model
    • Domain-Specific Modeling
    • Measuring Success with Software Factories
    • A Foundation for the Pillars of Software Factories
    • A GSI's Perspective of Software Factories
    • The Perspective-Based Architecture Method

    You can subscribe to the Architecture Journal here.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    VPC Enabling IE7 and IE6 on the Same Machine


    Pete LePage posts that there is a new Virtual PC image preloaded with Windows XP SP2, IE6 and the IE7 Readiness Kit:

    Now you can install IE7 on your main machine for development, and get all the advantages of IE7, like the RSS platform, native XMLHTTP stack, and improved security, while still running IE6 simultaneously in the VPC on the same computer. Most importantly, you don’t even have to buy an additional Windows license. The VPC image runs in a virtual machine that offers all of the functionality of a full IE6 installation without giving it any access to its host machine’s hard drive, registry, etc. You can make as many modifications as you want to the virtual machine without affecting your host installation at all. 

    See Pete's post for details, or download the VPC image here.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    New England Visual Basic Professionals Group - Special Event


    The New England Visual Basic Professionals Group will be featuring two excellent speakers at their upcoming meeting on December 7th:  

    5:30 - Jim Miller - Microsoft .NET: What is It and What’s Next
    CLR: Internals and Future Direction
    Earlier this year, Microsoft released version 2.0 of .Net.  Jim Miller will talk about the implementation of some of the new technology (generics, for example). Then he’ll talk about future directions for the CLR. But I’ll leave most of the time for discussion purposes. What would you like to see in the next version of the CLR? What have you always wanted to know about how the CLR evolves over time? What technologies do you think should become part of a future CLR?”

    Jim Miller is a senior architect on Microsoft's Common Language Runtime (CLR) team.

    6:30 - Pizza

    6:45 - Joe Stagner - Microsoft's Web 2.0 / AJAX strategy
    ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX
    Learn what Microsoft is doing to help Web Developers Improve the User Interface experience of their web applications and minimize the impact of their rapidly evolving technology set.

    Joe Stagner is a Program Manager in Microsoft's Developer Tools & Platform Group.

    The meeting will be at the Microsoft offices at 201 Jones Road, Waltham, MA.  For details and directions, see


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Launch Event for Team System Edition for Database Professionals


    The New England launch event for Visual Studio Team System's new Database Professionals role is coming to the Boston area (Waltham) on December 14th from 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM.


    This new Team System role complements the existing Architect, Tester, and Developer roles, providing many new features for working with databases:

    • The new Visual Studio Database Project allows you to import your database schema and place it under source control. When the time comes to deploy schema changes the new project system allows you to quickly build update scripts and then provides a mechanism to deploy them to the database of your choice
    • Rename Refactoring allows you to easily rename any object in your database and be assured that all references to that object will be renamed to correspond to the change
    • A New T-SQL editor allows you to be more productive when writing T-SQL code from within Visual Studio including support for parallel execution of queries and viewing of execution plans
    • SchemaCompare allows you to quickly compare the schema of two databases (or your source controlled project and a database) and script updates to bring the database schemas into sync
    • DataCompare allows you to quickly compare two databases and script updates to bring the data in these databases into sync
    • The Database Unit Testing infrastructure allows you to create database unit tests using T-SQL or managed code
    • DataGenerator lets you create data generation plans that produce repeatable sets of meaningful data based upon your existing production databases that can be deployed to a database prior to running unit tests thus ensuring consistent test results

    You can read more about these features here.


    Full details of the launch event are attached below.  Register for the Boston/Waltham event or visit for other cities and more information.


    Hope to see you there!




    Keeping competitive means leveraging your data to provide your people with the tools they need to drive sales, efficiencies, and customer satisfaction. Visual Studio Team 2005 Edition for Database Professionals delivers a market-shifting database development product designed to manage database change, improve software quality through database testing, and bring the benefits of Visual Studio Team System and life cycle development to the database professional.

    Join us at one of 23 cities to learn how Visual Studio 2005 for Database Professionals can help your SQL DBAs and Visual Studio developers.

    Register today at to avoid disappointment.

    SQL development teams, developer teams writing against databases

    Events are held in 23 cities across the United States.

    Atlanta GA 11/30
    Boston MA 12/14
    Chicago IL 12/12
    Cincinnati OH 12/07
    Dallas TX  12/13
    Denver CO 12/13

    Detroit MI 12/05
    Ft. Lauderdale FL 12/12
    Houston TX 12/14
    Los Angeles CA 12/07
    Milwaukee WI 12/06
    Minneapolis MN 11/29

    Mountain View CA 12/5
    New York City NY 12/12
    Philadelphia PA 11/30
    Phoenix AZ 12/12
    Pittsburgh PA 11/28
    Raleigh NC 12/14

    Seattle WA 12/14
    San Diego CA 12/6
    St. Louis MO 11/30
    Tampa FL 12/5
    Washington DC12/5

      7:45 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast
      8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Joining Forces: Assimilating Data Experts into the Development Team
      9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Taking Control of Database Change
    10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Break
    10:45 a.m. - 11:45 p.m. Automate Database Testing to Improve Quality
    11:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Lunch
    12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Panel Discussion


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    ArcStream Announcement


    Bob Familiar, my Architect Evangelist counterpart in New England, has posted details of upcoming events related to the arcStream initiative:  

    • December 11th - arcCouncil meeting on "Composite Application Architecture and User Experience"
    • January 11th - arcLab session: "Take a lap around .NET 3.0"
    • There are also many arcCasts on a variety of subjects coming up as well.

    More details and registration can be found at the site.


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Upcoming Northeast Developer Events


    Here are some upcoming events for the New England and upstate New York areas.  If you are a user group leader or volunteer, please contact me (using the Email link above) and let me know about your upcoming events!



    November 13, 6 – 8:30 PM
    Vermont .NET User Group
    “Microsoft AJAX – What’s it all about?” - Joe Stagner
    Vermont Tech, Williston, Admin Building, Room 215

    November 13, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
    Boston .NET Certification Study Group
    Microsoft Offices, 201 Jones Road, 6th Floor, Waltham

    November 15, 1 – 8:30 PM
    Boston Area Access Users Group
    “Access Day” – Various Topics/Speakers
    Microsoft Offices, 201 Jones Road, 6th Floor, Waltham

    November 15, 6 – 8 PM
    .NET Architecture Study Group
    Topic TBA
    Microsoft Offices, 201 Jones Road, 6th Floor, Waltham

    November 28, 6:30 PM
    C# User Group of Greater Boston
    “.Net 2.0 Membership, if only...” – Patrick Hynds

    November 30, 1 – 5 PM
    MSDN Event, Tyngsborough, MA

    ·         “Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals”

    ·         “Windows Workflow Foundation Exposed”

    ·         “Creating Cutting-Edge Web Designs with Expression Web”

    [Also in Syracuse, NY on December 5th and Buffalo, NY on December 7]

    December 5, 6:00 PM
    Western Mass .NET User Group
    “Building Web Parts for Sharepoint with Visual Studio 2005” – Mauro Cardarelli
    Atalasoft Offices, Easthampton, MA

    December 6, 7:00 PM
    New Hampshire SQL Server Users Group
    “SQL Server Integration Services” - Mike Bishop
    New Horizons, 460 Amherst Street, Nashua, NH

    December 7, 6:15 – 8:30 PM
    New England Visual Basic Professionals
    “Microsoft Web 2.0 / AJAX strategy and the ASP.NET 2.0 ATLAS initiative” – Joe Stagner
    Microsoft Offices, 201 Jones Road, 6th Floor, Waltham

    December 11
    Vermont .NET User Group
    VTDotNet Holiday Party
    Vermont Tech, Williston, Admin Building, Room 215

    December 13, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
    Boston .NET User Group
    Annual Holiday Potluck Party
    Microsoft Offices, 201 Jones Road, 6th Floor, Waltham

    December 14, 8:30 – 1:00 PM
    Launch Event - Visual Studio 2005 Edition for Database Professionals
    Various Speakers & Sessions - Boston Event Registration
    Microsoft Offices, 201 Jones Road, 6th Floor, Waltham


  • Chris Bowen's Blog

    Post #0 - Introduction


    Welcome to my new blog on MSDN!  My name is Chris Bowen and, as of Monday, I'm a Developer Evangelist for Microsoft, covering the New England district.  Developer Evangelists focus on technology, community, customers, and information, so here's what to expect from this blog:

    • What's going on at Microsoft
    • Details of new tools and technologies
    • My experiences working with new things
    • Announcements of user group meetings, events, and conferences
    • New England developer community news
    • Anything else I find useful or cool!

    However, my role is definitely more than sending one-way communications.  I'm here to ensure you're getting the resources, information, and help you need as developers and Microsoft customers.  If you have any feedback (positive or negative), questions, or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me via the Email link above.  I'm happy to get your feedback to the product teams and track down answers to your questions.

    If you're curious, I've posted a short bio in the About Me section of this blog.


    P.S.  My previous blog (which I'll mirror for some time) can be found at

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