April, 2010

  • DaveDev

    The local Microsoft .Net Community and why you SHOULD attend a CodeCamp


    What is a Code Camp?

    The idea behind a Code Camp started a few years back from inside the community itself.  The principal is simple – get a bunch of people together on the weekend and learn from each other.  The events are usually free (or charge a nominal fee to cover food/logistics) and offer a way for people from the local area to meet, network and discuss all things .NET related

    It is one thing for Microsoft to release new technologies and tools but quite something else to see people gather together, passionately, and in their own spare time no less, to talk about those technologies and a pride in bettering their own skills. 

    Dave's Philly.Net CodeCamp Collage

    As a company – you couldn’t feel more humbled and respected by your customers.  Thank You!  

    Philly.NET Code Camp

    There are a ton of usergroups in the local Philadelphia area – you need only go check out Meetup.com or the list off my own blog to see the topics and locations.  Philly.net happens to be one of the biggest usergroups in the area and it also hosts a Code Camp twice a year.

     Philly.NET Code Camp Speaker Polos

    What the Community does continues to amaze me.  With very minimal help from Microsoft (we show up, we connect the dots, and we help with some sponsor money) the Community comes together and throws an event that has an upward of 800 plus people registered on a Saturday afternoon!

    Here is just some of the amazing stats that go into a community run event like this:

    • 60 speakers
    • 10 sessions being recording live over the Internet
    • 30-40 vendors at 9 tables
    • 260 bagels
    • 1700 hoagie slices
    • 400 bags chips
    • 1000 beverages
    • 400 cups coffee
    • 300 soft pretzels
    • 200 bags popcorn
    • Xbox360m Zune 32 Gig, and 4 Acer Netbooks for prizes!

    Wow! So what exactly does 500 developers waiting for some Netbooks look like?  Well wonder no more and check out the quick video I took yesterday below.  I am just glad that Andy didn’t throw the Netbooks. 



    Community Code Camp Photos

    I took a bunch of photos during the day you can check out on my Flickr account here.  From the Philly Pretzels, Subs and Popcorn to the Silverlight and jQuery debates it was an event to remember.  Beginning developers, independent consultants, partners, large enterprises, and small mom and pop shops all came together in one place to network with fellow peers and celebrate just being a developer!  This is a place where you walk down the hall and hear everything form dependency injection to why Visual Basic still rocks.  Being a geek never felt so good!

    Charity Philly Pretzels

    Throwing T-Shirts!

    Matt rocking the Silverlight Code! 60 sessions - 60 speakers!

    Mark Magliocco also has a great collection of pictures up on Flickr he took!  Be sure to check it out as well.

    Popcorn  The Crew  Big Crowd


    Introduction to Windows Azure for Developers

    Azure changes things for Developers

    For this weekends codecamp I covered one of the more exciting things to come out for developers in a while – Microsoft Azure.  My session covered the evolution of hosted computing, how we got to the cloud, what Microsoft’s offering is all about, how Dallas and oData really change the landscape for data (“there’s a feed for that!”), and why you should care as a .Net Developer.  One of the questions I love asking during an Azure session is about how long you have waited to have a server set up?  I had more than a few in my session who were over a few months (yes I gave that person a T-Shirt!)  I remember when I first started out as a developer I thought the process ended at me compiling my code and being full tested but that was just the beginning.

    Soon I found myself learning everything I didn’t want to know about load balancers, DNS, server hardware, and fiber channel arbitrated loop switches.  Because hardware was a capital cost in the enterprise I had to wait for things to be ordered, go through a procurement process, and then get fully setup/configured (for the record the longest I have waited for a web server was 6 months). 

    Azure changes all of that for us.  It is now possible to spin up a fully load-balanced website that is available publically on the internet (DNS registered and all) in about 15-20 minutes.  Not only that, if you decide later you don’t need that kind of hardware you can shut it all down and no longer be charged.  Of if you become tremendously successful and need to scale up for more requests you can do that too without having to pick up the phone and order more hardware.

    Downloading the Presentation

    DaveDev - Intro to Windows Azure

    My content included a lot of stuff I did for the Azure Launch Events and recent roadshows as well as some of my own experiences and areas are think are important.  Please feel free to grab them and use them in your own discussions as well as sending me any feedback with questions you might have.

    Azure Training Kit Cloud Cover Show

    I would also want to mention the work Channel 9 has been doing in creating content around all the latest Microsoft technologies.  Be sure to check out the Windows Azure Training Kit for hands on labs, training and code.  If you’ve got a spare 15 minutes or so a week you can also subscribe to the Cloud Cover Show and hear first hand about all things Azure related.

    Live Streaming of Community Events

    One of the things I am pretty passionate about is getting content to you even if you can not make it in person.  When I look back at my career most of the really impactful things I have learned were either on the job or from my fellow peers.  But how can we learn from one another when sometimes we’re miles, if not oceans, apart?  That is where I think the recording of events comes into play.

    All of the big Microsoft Conferences ( like PDC09 and MIX10) currently allow you to watch the sessions online after the conference.  Why not take the great community content that is available and bring that to you live during the conference as well as available for future reference after the event.

    LiveStreaming EntDevCon

    My first attempt (not to mention the first website I had hand coded in quite a while) was during the Enterprise Developers Conference last May.  Back then I was able to partner with iStreamPlanet and bring you numerous sessions of content streamed live via Silverlight.  But how do you bring that to the community?  Especially with a budget that is about the tenth of the size.

    Thanks to Worktank Online Events Services (and some Microsoft funding) streaming live community content became a reality this weekend.  We started out small (10 sessions) and made sure we had a group of folks who were ok with being recorded.  We also have made them available online for offline viewing (which you can access below).  Please keep in mind you will need to install the Microsoft Live Meeting client to view them but this way you will get the presenter walking through the slides instead of just a deck.


    TRACK 1

    Getting Started in Visual Studio - Judy Calla

    Building Features in SharePoint 2010 - Michael Mukalian

    Real World Entity Framework - Dane Morgridge

    SharePoint 2010 Developer Roadmap - Bill Wolff

    Moving From the DataSet to Data Services - Don Demsak

    TRACK 2

    What's New in .NET 4.0 - Jess Chadwick

    WCF & jQuery:  A Perfect Couple - Chris Love

    Integrating Search:  An Adventure Into Dependency Injection - Miguel Castro

    Introduction to LINQ - Andy Schwam

    Step into the New Decade with C# 4.0 - Steve Michelotti

    If you find this is something valuable to you please send me feedback.  This took a lot of work to pull off (including time by community volunteers) but we all think it is worth doing.  If the streaming of community events is something you find valuable please make sure we know.  Whether that is to me directly or on the CodeCamp Feedback Evaluations the more we hear from you the sooner it can happen again.  My hope is that in the future we will have all of our usergroup and codecamp community content available on demand and for everyone.   Be sure to check the MSDN Live Events website and the local MSDN Flash Newsletter I will be posting details there as soon as things are finalized.


    Alex’s Lemonade Stand – local developers getting behind a really important cause

    I wanted to mention one last thing that happened at Philly.NET Code Camp yesterday.  Thanks to Nick Berardi Philly.Net partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand and was able to donate $500 to the organization to help fight the battle against Childhood Cancer.


    Watch the video below for a short description of how many children die from childhood cancers each day.  I was so proud to see the local .NET Developer community come together and donate for such a great cause.

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  • DaveDev

    Visual Studio 2010 and Silverlight 4 are here! Check out a local launch event near you.


    The Launches

    Visual Studio 2010


    Wow – what a week it has been for .NET Developers!  On Monday April 12th, Visual Studio 2010 officially launched at the DevConnections conference in Las Vegas.  For those that missed it you can watch the entire Launch Event here.  Right after the event Visual Studio 2010 immediately became available the bits became available for download.  You can grab them now via MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

    There are a ton of great posts out there already that cover what you need to know about this newest release of Visual Studio.

    Three must-see sites I think you should check out would be:

    Express Versions

    Just like prior releases of Visual Studio you can also download completely free versions of VS2010 on the Express site.  Don’t be fooled by the price, these versions are far from being watered down and in fact are all you need today to begin Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 development!


    Silverlight 4


    The following day was all about Silverlight 4 and included a list of impressive demos and features.  If you missed it you can watch the entire launch again as well as the Channel9 interviews.  A few days later on Thursday, April 15th, the Silverlight 4 bits went live and are now available for download as well.  Be sure to grab the updated versions of both the Silverlight ToolKit and the Silverlight Facebook Client too.


    Any Gotchas?

    Silverlight 4 Developers Tools are RC

    The Silverlight 4 runtime is final the developer tools themselves are listed as RC.  They will work fine however and are fully supported by Microsoft.  You can read more details about this on Tim’s blog here.

    Visual Studio 2010 RTM will not work with Windows Phone 7 Emulator

    The emulator is being updated so for those of you who are writing Windows Phone 7 applications you should hold off on upgrading to the RTM release for a bit.  You can get full details about this on Charlie’s blog here and also sign up to be notified of when the tools are ready.


    Upcoming Local Launch Events

    I am also happy to announce we are going to have four launch events in our very own Mid-Atlantic States region starting in May!


    The May locations are considered the Official 2010 Launches and will cover all the new 2010 product releases, not just Visual Studio.  The June events will be recaps of the Launch and focus specifically on Visual Studio 2010, Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight 4.

    You can visit the registration links and get more details here:

    City Date Type Register
    Washington, DC May 18, 2010 2010 Launch  Register
    Philadelphia, PA May 27, 2010 2010 Launch  Register
    Pittsburgh, PA June 2, 2010 Roadshow  Register
    Baltimore, MD June 4, 2010 Roadshow  Register

    I have been fortunate enough that I will be at all four events in the coming weeks.  So if we haven’t met in person yet let’s use this time to get introduced.  See you on the road!


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  • DaveDev

    Another reason to attend your local Microsoft Usergroup – getting to meet the Visual Studio Product Team!



    Visual Studio Product Tour comes to Philly

    As part of the recent launch for Visual Studio 2010 the Visual Studio Team is going out on tour to visit local usergroups and customers.  We were lucky enough to have Scott Wiltamuth, Product Unit Manager for Visual Studio Languages, visit Philly.NET Monday night to give an overview of what is new in Visual Studio 2010.  He also took open Q&A from an audience of over 120.  You can check out photos from the event here.

    It is so exciting as a developer when you get to meet people who wrote the product you use everyday.  Scott runs a team of around 100 developers and has had a long history with Microsoft coming into his 17th year.  His team is currently responsible for the .NET programming languages: VB, C#, F#, IronPython and IronRuby. 


    Scott was also gracious enough to do an hour long Q&A and shared insight into his career at Microsoft.  Starting all the way back in the QBasic days, though what it was like being on the Visual Basic 1.0 team and creating VBScript/JScript.  

    Having started my professional career on Visual Basic 5 and ASP it was awesome to get a behind the scenes point of view of those early days of the Internet and the way design decisions were made.  Thank you Scott!

    The best swag ever?


    In a rare opportunity Scott also offered to have both himself and Anders Hejlsberg sign their latest C# Programming book.  Four lucky winners took home this prize and will be getting their signed books in the following weeks!


    More Visual Studio Team coming


    Did you miss Monday night?  No worries!  In June two members of Scott’s team will also be visiting Philly.NET again and covering both C# and VB.NET.  Stay tuned to the Philly.Net website and my Twitter feed for updates of when registration will open.

    You can also sign up for the official Visual Studio Launches coming to our area I mentioned here.


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