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January, 2008 - Katrien's MSDN Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
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    Preview of the Belgian TechDays 2008 agenda


    We've been working hard to finalize the agenda for the TechDays event next March 11th and 12th. Here's a preview (subject to change) on the sessions we're bringing this year. Check out the sessions and leave your comments!

    We've got some great international and national speakers coming to Belgium: Alex Turner, Bart De Smet, Dave Webster, Matt Gibbs, Nikhil Kothari, Patrick Tisseghem, Peter Himschoot, Roy Osherove to name a few. Others still need confirmation so stay tuned for new names being added soon.

    Session topics, in no particular order:

    Deep Reflection (Roy Osherove)
    In this 400 level session Roy Osherove digs deep into the heart of some of the new features in Reflection 2.0 such as runtime code generation using DynamicMethod (Lightweight Code Generation - LCG), parsing IL at runtime, generics in reflection, debugging runtime generated code, understanding Reflection.Emit, ReflectionOnly Context's for security and using Code gen to improve performance. Put your thinking cap on.

    The ABC of building services with WCF (Peter Himschoot)
    In today’s highly connected world being able to communicate is very important, especially for your applications. But how? Web Services? Remoting? Enterprise Services? WCF is Microsoft’s unified framework for building communication into your application, ready for the future. In this session we will look at building services with WCF, getting our hands dirty through building a service live, in front of your eyes. After this session you should have a clear understanding of the development life-cycle for WCF, the advantages of using WCF and how to proceed with it yourself.

    Architecture and Databinding in WPF (Dave Webster)
    Now that we have had some time to get used to XAML and WPF and seen the shiny new UIs we can build, it’s time to get serious about architecture and understand the power of databinding.  In this talk we will discuss advanced topics in databinding, the use of MVC architecture patterns and we will stretch Expression Blend version 2.0 to its limits.

    We’ve been hacked!  Web security for developers (Dave Webster)
    This is a demo driven session showing the actual hack of a web site.  You will learn how to write your web sites securely, and what your IT department will need from you. Bring your laptop and join in!

    Introduction to the new ASP.NET Model View Controller (MVC) Framework (Matt Gibbs)
    A benefit of the MVC architectural pattern is that it promotes a clean separation between the models, views and controllers within an application. In the near future, ASP.NET will include support for developing web applications using an MVC based architecture.
    The ASP.NET MVC Framework is designed to support building applications that exhibit the following traits:
    - Testability – Red/Green test driven development.
    - Maintainability –clear separation of concerns
    - Extensibility – interfaces allowing custom implementation at all levels.
    - Web Standards and clean URLs – with routing and giving developers tight control over the resulting HTML.
    Join us for a dive into the new MVC Framework and learn how to leverage this new alterative in your own applications.

    AJAX Patterns (Nikhil Kothari)
    This session takes a deep look at the Ajax paradigm by discussing useful development patterns, common problems and associated solutions. Patterns covered range from development approaches such as unobtrusive script attachment, to fundamentals such as search optimization to user interface and usability patterns such as intuitive navigation and visual notifications. While the demonstrations are illustrated through basic scenarios, like any pattern, the concepts can be applied to your own applications. In the course of demonstrating the patterns, this talk will also cover various aspects of ASP.NET AJAX including the latest features.

    Unit testing tips and tricks (Roy Osherove)
    In this talk we'll explore techniques for dealing with various unit testing scenarios. From testing events, to testing databases to testing LINQ queries and anonymous types, we'll see many small scenarios and discuss the unit testing patterns that can help test them.

    The .NET Language Integrated Query (LINQ) Framework (Alex Turner)
    Modern applications operate on data in several different forms: Relational tables, XML documents, and in-memory objects. Each of these domains can have profound differences in semantics, data types, and capabilities, and much of the complexity in today's applications is the result of these mismatches. Alex Turner, C# Compiler Program Manager, explains how Visual Studio 2008 aims to unify the programming models through LINQ capabilities in Microsoft Visual C# and Visual Basic, a strongly typed data access framework, and an innovative Application Programming Interface (API) for manipulating and querying XML.

    LINQ Under the Covers: An In-Depth Look at LINQ (Alex Turner)
    Want to know what really happens when you execute your favorite LINQ queries? Join us as we peek behind the curtain in Reflector to see how the C# compiler translates LINQ query expressions into standard query operators, while digging into the iterators that make LINQ to Objects tick. Learn exactly when query evaluation is deferred, and see how lambda expressions and closures work together to enable LINQ's elegant syntax. Then we'll explore how nearly identical LINQ to Objects and LINQ to SQL queries will result in radically different translations as we dig into the details of IQueryable and expression trees. Finally, we follow our IQueryable objects across the language barrier to investigate the unique features VB brings to LINQ, including XML literals. It is suggested that you attend the session "The .NET Language Integrated Query (LINQ) Framework" before attending this session.

    Creating Custom LINQ Providers – LINQ to Anything (Bart De Smet)
    LINQ is all about unifying data access in a natural language integrated way. But there’s more than just LINQ to Objects, LINQ to SQL and LINQ to XML. In this session, we put ourselves on the other side of the curtain and explore the wonderful world of LINQ providers. You’ll learn how to create a fully functional LINQ query provider allowing users to target your favorite query language using familiar LINQ syntax in C# 3.0 and VB 9.0: LINQ to AD, LINQ to SharePoint, LINQ to AD, LINQ to Outlook, you name it! This is your chance to get to know the inner workings of LINQ.

    Building internet web sites using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (Joris Poelmans)
    Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides the necessary framework components to build an Internet web sites using master pages, page layouts and WCM specific functionality. In this session we will take an in-depth look at how to use these components and which are the best practices  for developing an internet web site while leveraging the MOSS platform. This session will conclude with a look at the Accessibility Kit for SharePoint as well as at the migration story for MCMS customers.

    Building RIAs for WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 (Patrick Tisseghem)
    In this session you’ll learn how to leverage Web 2.0 technologies to deliver a rich and interactive end-user experience for SharePoint sites and content. Topics that will be covered are: building ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 enabled Web Parts; creating and consuming SharePoint Web Services that are AJAX-enabled; Web Parts hosting Silverlight 1.0 and 2.0 applications; techniques to have the Silverlight applications communicated back and forth with SharePoint content such as items in lists and libraries, user profile information and search results; samples of how publishing portals can be enriched with Silverlight navigation controls and enhanced page layouts; demos on how to build Vista Gadgets that display SharePoint content using traditional UI techniques as well as using Silverlight.

    Building Rich Web Experience with Silverlight using Expression Blend and Visual Studio (Wim Verhaegen)
    Silverlight is a cross-platform technology that brings new user interface capabilities such as vector graphics, media, animations and XAML to the browser.
    Learn about building Silverlight applications using JavaScript, and see how Silverlight fits naturally into the AJAX development model.
    This session provides developers the in-depth knowledge they need to start building Silverlight 1.0 applications today using Visual Studio and Microsoft Expression Blend.

    IIS7 End-to-End Extensibility for Developers (Brian Delahunty)
    In IIS7 the server exposes a brand new, powerful extensibility model for building server features that can be used to extend its functionality, or replace any of the default features.  With the Integrated Pipeline architecture, managed modules become virtually as powerful as native modules. In part I of this two part session, we will illustrate extending the server in an end to end scenario, building a managed module to extend the runtime and replace existing functionality.  We will then extend IIS7 diagnostics to instrument our module with custom trace events.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    TechDays 2008: new sessions added


    Here's an update on yet more sessions that will be added to the final agenda of this year's TechDays (March 12-13 2008). You can already register and take the opportunity to witness the Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 launch event which is held on the 11th of March.

    I thought it might interest some people to get the information as it comes available, but please note that this might still be subject to change. As you can see, some great speakers have been added.

    Check out my previous post for first preview.

    WCF and WF: Integrating two key technologies of .NET 3.5 (Ingo Rammer)
    Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation are two cornerstones of .NET 3.5. In this session, you will learn about different ways to combine them to workflow-enable your WCF applications.

    Advanced Debugging with Visual Studio (Ingo Rammer)
    Basically every .NET developer knows the Visual Studio debugger, but only few know its little secrets. In this session, Ingo shows you what you can achieve with this tool beyond the setting of simple breakpoints. You will learn how advanced breakpoints, debugger macros and visualizers, interactive breakpoints, tracepoints and interactive object instantiation at development time can support your hunt for bugs in your applications.

    Using Visual Studio 2008 as a RAD tool to build a distributed application (Jay Schmelzer)
    In this demo intensive session we’ll take a look at improved support in Visual Studio 2008 for building distributed business applications.  We will focus on Visual Studio’s support for building and consuming WCF services, sharing business validation rules between client and server, implementing local caching of read-only data on the client, sharing common application services like authentication and authorization between Windows and Web client applications and much more.  Next we will turn our attention to web and see how Visual Studio 2008 allows us to easily incorporate rich experiences into our existing ASP.NET web sites using ASP.NET AJAX, the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit and take advantage of improved HTML designer, CSS editor and JavaScript intellisense and debugging.  Visual Studio 2005 raised the productivity bar for business application developers.  Visual Studio 2008 builds on that foundation bringing unmatched productivity gains to distributed business application developers.

    Visual Studio 2008: Building applications with Office 2007 (Jay Schmelzer)
    This session provides an overview of the tools and technologies that enable developers to leverage the new Visual Studio 2008 and Office platform tools and technologies to build new and exciting Office Business Applications. You’ll learn a number of key technologies in this session, including the creation of Office smart clients, development of custom SharePoint workflow, and extension of Outlook to integrate key business data into one of our most popular productivity tools.

    Visual Basic: Tips and Tricks for the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 (Jay Schmelzer)
    In this session, we combine some tips for existing Visual Studio features, and tricks for leveraging new Visual Studio 2008 features. We look at a variety of existing features including operator overloading, refactoring, creating your own snippets, some tips for using frameworks classes (and generics), and leveraging application settings. Then we look at new features including some LINQ Do’s and Don’ts, My Extensibility, and taking control of unit testing in Visual Studio. All of these tips are aimed at giving you a more productive, fun programming experience.

    Office: Office Open XML Formats (Chad Hower)
    Office 2007 now stores its documents in XML. This makes manipulation and creation of documents easy to do, even without Office installed. The Office Open XML format is also an ECMA standard and has backwards compatibility with older versions of Office as well as some capabilities on Linux and Macintosh, as well as Java. Surprised? Learn about these features and more in this session.

    Architecture: Dude, where's my business logic? (Chad Hower)
    Over the years we have moved from desktop, to client server, to 3-tier, to n-tier, to service orientation. In the process though many things have changed, but many habits have remained. This session discusses what we are doing wrong, and solutions.

    .NET 3.0: WinForms and WPF (Chad Hower)
    With two options for building forms, which is better to use? For the near future the answer often is both. In this session we will cover the strengths and weaknesses of each, and how to use them effectively together.

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  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Get the latest content on Microsoft’s web technologies at MIX08


    Next March, MIX08 is taking place in Las Vegas (March 5th to 7th 2008).

    So, what is it?
    MIX is THE conference to attend to learn about the new web and UX technologies by Microsoft.

    Keynote speakers
    Keynote speakers include Steve Ballmer, Guy Kawasaki and Scott Guthrie

    Sessions, content and speakers
    Take a look at the list of sessions on Silverlight 2.0, Expression tools, ASP.NET Extensions (ASP.NET MVC Framework, Dynamic Data Controls),  Windows Live, SharePoint and much more.

    Other than the keynote speaker I noticed a few familiar names in the session list: Scott Hanselman, Angus Logan, Miguel de Icaza, Joe Stegman, …

    Who should attend?
    MIX is a conference geared towards business strategists, developers and designers.  There are enough sessions focused on each public. It’s also a great opportunity to network with your peers in the web industry.

    Want to go but you’re short on cash (or can’t convince your boss)?

    There are still a few ways to win your free entry to the conference and even a free stay at the Venetian.

    1. MIX ReStyle: if you are a CSS wiz this is for you. Participate by creating a new design for the MIX site using your own CSS and images. At the time of writing only one (1!) person submitted an entry. Take your chance!
    2. 1st European Silverlight contest: one a few days left to submit your entry. They are giving away a few tickets to MIX to the winners.

    I must admit I’m very happy that I will be attending the conference myself. I’m looking forward to the great sessions that have been announced and the opportunity to meet with other Belgian folks that will be present.

    If you book before the 31st of January 2008 you still get the special early bird price.

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  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Visual Studio 2008 Launch and TechDays 2008 Belgium: registration is open


    This year we are hosting our developer's conference on 12 and 13 March 2008, in the ICC in Ghent. This year is a special event because we have a pre-day on the 11th that is dedicated to the official launch for Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008.

    As you know Visual Studio 2008 is already available for download for MSDN subscribers, however the official launch and availability in stored will be after a big event in Los Angeles, California. The date to keep in mind is 27th of February 2008.
    The Belgian launch event will take place on the 11th of March 2008 and is a free event in which the three products will be presented. Don't miss this event, register today at the Heroes Happen {Here} site.

    The TechDays will give you a track specific for developers and another targeted to IT-Pros. I will be blogging about the developer sessions later this month as they will become more definitive. Needless to say most of the content will be focused around Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 but we will also have some sessions around new features in SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 (mainly IIS7) with interest to developers.

    You can already register for this event as well, so save the dates in your calendar!

    Register here for the two events:

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Silverlight 1.0 Fire Starter video now available through MIX University


    MIX University, a section of MIX Online website the has got a new addition: Silverlight 1.0 Fire Starter site.

    On November 29th 2007 a full day event was organized around Silverlight 1.0. This event was recorded and you can now view all the sessions online or download them in .wmv, .wma or .mp3 format.
    Eight sessions going from development in Silverligh 1.0, Expression Blend and the designer - developer workflow, XAML, Media and Popfly to a look at the future of Silverlight are available.

    Good news is also that if you like the interface of the video site itself, which is made in Silverlight, you can grab the source code through Adam Kinney's blog!

    No reason why not to get started with Silverlight today...

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    BIWUG presentation on OpenXML now available


    In November 2007 during a meeting of the Belux Information Worker User Group (BIWUG), Wouter van Vugt did a session on OpenXML standards.

    Joris Poelmans' blog now contains a link to the of the presentation: Introduction to OpenXML standards.
    You can download the powerpoint presentation from the Joris' blog.


  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    New WPF Starter Kit and SDK released: Syndicated Client Experiences Start Kit & Reader SDK


    Ever wanted to build a rich client application with syndicated multimedia content?

    The SCE Starter Kit has just been announced over at the WindowsClient.NET site and Tim Sneath’s blog. This starter kit gives you a jump start to integrating a rich content experience on the desktop with branding, skinning and custom interface elements.

    The starter kit delivers a base to build upon for creating client multimedia applications with rich syndicated content, from documents and photos to videos and podcasts, that is searchable and automatically synchronized with new content and application updates, enable user annotations, keep track of bookmarks/favorites, and a lot more.

    To get started, have a look at these two applications:

    Next, review the documentation, video walkthroughs (great stuff here!) and hands on labs on the “Get Started Building Your Own Syndicated Client Experiences Application” page.


  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Channel9 interview: "Scott Guthrie: What's Coming for Mix, Part 1: IIS7 for Developers"


    Watch part 1 of the interview with Scott Guthrie where he talks about the new features for developers in IIS7. He explains the extensibility model (creating your own modules in C# or VB.NET), exception logging, configuration setup based on the config settings we use in ASP.NET, scalability, and more.

    Scott will be doing the keynote at MIX 2008 in March, this interview gives you a hint at what will be demoed at the conference.


    Keep an eye on Scott's blog for more on the IIS7 features and on Channel9 for part 2 of the interview.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Silverlight Tools and Resources


    Last updated: October 8, 2009

    While it is impossible to create an extensive list of all resources available out there for creating Silverlight applications, this page gives you links to the most interesting resources I have come across.

    Getting started with Silverlight 3 development

    Silverlight Getting started page on, here are the main links to the development tools.

    1. Developer: Visual Studio 2008 SP1- if you don't have the full version you can still develop Silverlight 2 using the free Visual Web Developer Express edition.
    2. Developer: Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 SP1- this are the tools to enable Silverlight project development on VS.
    3. Designer/Integrator: Install Microsoft Expression Blend 3 + SketchFlow RC
    4. Download Silverlight Toolkit
    5. Optional:
      1. Deep Zoom Composer - RC: free tool to generate Deep Zoom collections. This tool also creates the basic Silverlight project if you choose to do so.
      2. .NET RIA Services

    Silverlight 2 development

    1. Developer: Visual Studio 2008 SP1- if you don't have the full version you can still develop Silverlight 2 using the free Visual Web Developer Express edition.
    2. Developer: Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 SP1- this are the tools to enable Silverlight project development on VS.
    3. Designer/Integrator: Expression Blend 2 - trial version here
      To design your Silverlight 2 applications you will need to download and apply SP1 to Expression Blend. Download here. Expression Blend is a commercial product that you need to install before applying Service Pack 1. SP1 for Blend is itself a free update.
    4. Optional:
      1. Deep Zoom Composer: free tool to generate Deep Zoom collections. This tool also creates the basic Silverlight project if you choose to do so.
      2. Expression Design 2: you will need this product to import Illustrator work, and create new designs for Silverlight.

    Resources for designers/integrators

    For a designer/integrator profile these are some of the resources I recommend:

    Project "Rosetta Stone" Tutorials

    From Flash to Silverlight.
    Project Rosetta Stone got an upgrade in Sept 2009 with new tutorials and a tour of Blend. It's new home is now at the site: 

    Archive at
    This website is part of Channel9 and offers a set of tutorials on design/development in Silverlight, mainly coming from a Flash background. Tutorials include Procedural Animation , Masking & Clipping, Image Sequencing , etc.

    Silverzine - Resources for Designers

    This site focuses on delivering articles and great resources specifically for designers.

    Developer/designer workflow

    Microsoft has focused a lot on easing the workflow between designers/integrators and developers working on web projects, and more specifically Silverlight projects. Proof of this are the Expression Studio and Visual Studio suites each targeted towards a specific role. Project Rosetta also contains a great document  detailing this new workflow entitled The New Iteration.

    Nibbles Tutorials
    Created by Celso Gomez this website contains step-by-step tutorials on creating Silverlight 2 and Silverlight 3 applications as well as some amazing samples. Also includes some WPF samples.

    Expression Community Site
    Microsoft's Community site around Expression products, with forums and lots of articles around Silverlight and web development and design.

    Great designer/integrator blogs:

    Toolkits, open source projects to jumpstart your development

    Silverlight Toolkit - on CodePlex -

    This toolkit contains an extensive set of controls that you can use in your Silverlight applications:

    • Treeview, WrapPanel, DockPanel, etc
    • Charting controls
    • Themes

    Blacklight - Silverlight and WPF controls for designers -

    Set of skinned controls for Silverlight and WPF.

    Jellyfish Deep Zoom -

    Framework for creating Deep Zoom applications like Hard Rock Memorabilia.

    Developer Tools

    Kaxaml -

    Kaxaml is a lightweight XAML editor that gives you a "split view" so you can see both your XAML and your rendered content, developed by Robby Ingebretsen as a hobby but really a must.

    XAML Power Toys  -

    From the site: XAML Power Toys is a Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Multi-AppDomain Add-In that empowers WPF & Silverlight developers while working in the XAML editor.  Its Line of Business form generation tools, Grid tools,  DataGrid and ListView generation really shorten the XAML page layout time.

    Illustrator to XAML Plug-in

    Mike Swanson has updated his Illustrator to XAML export tool to support WPF and Silverlight.


    Express Yourself Newsletter (Belgium), English only -

    Expression Newsletter (US) - English only -


  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    MSDN Code Gallery - your one-stop shop for code snippets and samples


    The MSDN Code Gallery has just been released: a community site where Microsoft and the community post code snippets and small sample projects on a myriad of technologies.

    I think this is really a great new resource and something we developers all love. A simple code snippet can sometimes say more than thousand words, well maybe I'm exaggerating here but we all find it very helpful.

    Content is browsable by tag and via keyword search.
    Every sample can have its own discussion similar to what you find also in the CodePlex projects.

    You might see a resemblance with the CodePlex project site but there are some very clear differences:

    • Code Gallery is a storage site for code samples projects and code snippets
    • Code Gallery does not have a project management capabilities
    • CodePlex is an open source project hosting site
    • CodePlex allows you to collaborate on projects, and gives you source control


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January, 2008