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December, 2009 - Katrien's MSDN Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
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    New update of Windows Azure Platform Training Kit (December)


    Just in time to make it for a Christmas present, the Windows Azure team has released a new version of the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit. This one merges the October and November kits and contains updated content.

    The 122MB download contains a wealth of training material:

    • 14 Hands on labs (Windows Azure, SQL Azure, Dallas, .NET Service Bus, .NET Access Control Service)
    • 15 Videos
    • 21 Demos
    • 7 Presentations
    • Resources and tools like the Windows Azure MMC

    > Download the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit

    Also worth pointing out is the set of recorded sessions from PDC 2009, all around Windows Azure. All session links can be found in this blog post on the Windows Azure team blog.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    The SketchFlow Conversations– Overview and Intro


    In this Expression Blend SketchFlow series of posts I will be addressing different aspects of creating interactive prototypes and move to a production project.

    The idea to do a blog post on this subject came after discussing with some folks at a Silverlight training and events we held in Belgium in October and November 2009. It was not the first time the questions arose around how one can move prototype elements to a production environment. I think there are several elements that can be reused but a lot depends on the extent of the prototype, the amount of reusable elements implemented and so forth.

    Different ideas of what to address in the post came also after my tweet on the subject, so my thanks to @LBugnion, @martharotter, @RichGee for giving some feedback on the idea. A few things came out of these tweets:

    • Most people tend to do a prototype and start over fresh for a production application
    • As @RichGee mentioned, many prototypes lead to a POC, not all POCs lead to a production project
    • Moving from prototype to Proof of Concept (POC) to production (or not)
    • What to reuse from a prototype
      • If you’re using the SketchStyles you will probably not reuse styles (but there is no technical blocker)
      • Reusing styles – not if you have been creating custom styling for a SketchFlow project
      • Reusing the full prototype – removing the standalone SketchFlow player.
    • @LBugnion notes that are a lot of questions around the whole reuse thing, and what about round tripping, i.e. how to efficiently update the prototype during the development

    This, as well as the in person discussions I had with folks at different events led me start working on some posts. One discussion for example was around a case in which SketchFlow is used in a enterprise environment in order to create views very quickly, discuss these with the business and then re-use quite a lot in the actual screens. At this stage I’m thinking about these sorts of posts in the coming weeks:

    • Overview of SketchFlow functionality (this post)
    • Anatomy of a SketchFlow project
    • Moving to production: removing the SketchFlow player
    • Keeping a prototype up to date with a production project
    • Reusing styles from a prototype
    • Working with Views from a SketchFlow project in a MVVM approach
    • Others? … Your input is welcome!

    Overview of SketchFlow functionality

    If you want one resource to get started I would suggest the PDC session Christian Schormann did ‘SkechtFlow to the rescue’. You can watch the session online or download it to watch offline.
    Another good session is Arturo Toledo’s ‘Prototyping UX with SketchFlow’ session from Belgium’s REMIX event.

    You might also want to take a look at this series of 3 minute videos I did some time back:

    In order to write this post I also did some research on the web around what is available as to experiences from other people or guidance. Here are a set of great resources:

    Disclaimer: I do not work for the Expression Blend product team so although I work for Microsoft I’m not directly involved with the evolution of the product. So, these are my views, experiences and ideas on how to (re)use SketchFlow prototypes. Not an official guidance from the product team.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    TechDays Belgium 2010 – First update


    Next year on March 30th/31st and April 1st 2010 we will be hosting TechDays 2010 Belgium. Like last year, the event is taking place at the Kinepolis in Antwerp.

    300x250While the full agenda is not yet published we are getting closer to confirming about 80% of the speaker before the end of the year. To give you an idea, here’s a grab out of the confirmed speakers: Vittorio Bertocci, Laurent Bugnion, Gill Cleeren, Bart De Smet, John Durant, Scott Hanselman, Anders Hejlsberg, Peter Himschoot, Giorgio Sardo, Mike Taulty, Jan Tielens... Adding to that, three speakers from Pluralsight we just confirmed today: Aaron Skonnard, Matt Milner and Fritz Onion!

    What can you expect?

    March 30th 2010 - This year we have two pre-conferences which you can choose from:

    • .NET 4 Overview – full day of content introducing you to the new features in the .NET Framework 4.
    • SharePoint 2010 for developers – get up to speed with the new release of SharePoint 2010.

    March 31st and April 1st 2010 – 2 conference days

    Opening developer keynote will be presented by none the less than Anders Hejlsberg himself! Anders will kick of the conference with “Trends and Future Directions in Programming Languages”. After the keynote you will have the choice between three developer tracks as well as three IT-professional tracks. Developer tracks have sessions grouped in the following setup: Tools & Languages, Servers and Services and Web & UX.
    Scott Hanselman will also be doing an ‘UnKeynote’ session with lots of demos on the last day, Hanselman-style!

    You can expect quite some sessions on .NET 4 and the new features in Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010. We are also making sure Azure and SQL Server is covered, and Vittorio Bertocci is joining us to talk about Identity Foundation.

    I’m managing the Web and User Experience track myself, for which we are foreseeing quite some content on Silverlight (4), ASP.NET 4, ASP.NET 4 and ASP.NET MVC 2, and WPF 4.

    We’ll keep you posted on speakers and sessions confirmations, you might want to check out short update on Twitter (@aralves, @hansver and @katriendg) and give us feedback there. You can also add the Facebook event.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    BeLux Silverlight Contest winners


    Our BeLux Silverlight contest ended on December 12th 2009, and we are now happy to announce the winners. As you will see, these are quite different types of applications but they shows some interesting facets of Silverlight.

    1st Prize: Jobs Application submitted by DigiPoint. We love the full application feature and design.
    2nd Prize: L2 application submitted by François Vanderseypen. Play with it here.
    3rd Prize: Silverlight Drag Drop Manager by Kevin Dockx.

    Congratulations to the winners!


  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Links for my intervention at Le Podcast High Tech – with Drupal user community Belgium


    Last month I joined the folks behind Le Podcast High Tech to talk about Microsoft’s support for running PHP applications on Windows, and other areas focusing on interoperability. I was invited by Gilles Bailleux, from the community who was interested in giving us some ‘air-time’ during his Drupal focused podcast.

    You can listen to the podcast here: Episode 13 – Spécial Microsoft (in French).
    Are are some links to what is mentioned in the podcast.

    The Web Platform Installer

    The Microsoft Web Platform Installer is a tool that provides an installer for developer tools, (IIS) web server extensions, SQL Server database, PHP, and more on a Windows machine. So instead of having to download extensions, SDKs, tools and more from different locations and install them one by one this tool will take care of that for you.

    Download the Web Platform Installer – and read more about the features here:

    Web App Gallery

    Next to installing tools and extensions, the Web Platform Installer also offers the choice of installing open source applications through the Web App Gallery. These are either ASP.NET or PHP open source applications. The tool will download and install all pre-requisites as well as the application itself. It’s the easiest way to install an open source web app. You will find applications in there like Acquia Drupal, Joomla, and Wordpress in PHP but also a bunch of ASP.NET apps like Umbraco and DotNetNuke.

    Also mentioned during the podcast

    • Windows Azure Platform: the Microsoft cloud platform with support for PHP as well –
    • Interoperability bridges: allowing you to interact with Microsoft hosted services in a standard way. A good resource with demos and sample code can be found at the Interop Bridges site:

    I would like to thank Gilles Bailleux for inviting me, and Michel Godart for hosting the podcast and all others present for joining the conversation!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Scott Guthrie in Belgium – event write up and links


    Last Friday December 4th we had the pleasure to have Scott Guthrie visit Belgium after a few other European countries. For this visit we setup a full afternoon event together with the Visual Studio User Group (VISUG) at a Brussels movie theater. In this post I’m giving you an overview of the events and some resources that might be helpful if you want to go further. The sessions were not recorded.

    Setting up an event registration just a few weeks beforehand is not always feasible, however in the case of the session with Scott Guthrie we were fully booked even a week before the event date! Hopefully not too many people got left behind.

    The red polo shirts

    We need to say something about the red polo shirts. For the occasion we had foreseen red polo's for all attendees as a gig since Scott is quite known for wearing a red polo shirt when presenting. I think this was well received by the audience, we could see smiles all over :-)

    Scott AutoCollage_1

    Luc Van de Velde kicked off the sessions and showed the video made for MIX09 which also is all about the red polo. Check out the video for yourself: Channel9, how Scott Guthrie prepares for MIX09 keynote.
    I think Scott Guthrie was pretty surprised to see a full red room but nicely surprised we hope!

    Check out all the pictures of the event on the Live Gallery - Scott Guthrie in Belgium - 4 December 2009.
    The VISUG guys also recorded some interviews with attendees so keep an eye on their site.

    Session 1: Visual Studio 2010 and ASP.NET 4.0 Web Development

    In this session Scott did an overview of the newest features in the Visual Studio 2010 Beta IDE, web development settings and overview of ASP.NET 4. This includes improvements in ViewState, CSS rendering, URL Rewriting for WebForms and more. You can download the PowerPoint presentation as well as the demos from Scott Guthries blog.

    What next?

    To get started with Visual Studio 2010 yourself there’s quite some material online.

    1. Start by installing Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2. There is a full version as well as an Express edition.
    2. Follow the hands-on labs and video tutorials on Channel9’s ASP.NET 4 Training Course.
    3. Check out the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Beta 2 Walkthroughs on MSDN.
    4. Read Scott’s blog post series on VS 2010 and .NET 4.

    Session 2: Silverlight 4

    Silverlight 4 Beta was announced during PDC keynote last November. Scott talked us through the major improvements in Silverlight 4 and showed us some very cool demos including the webcam with effects and a Facebook client in Silverlight Out-of-Browser mode. Download the PowerPoint presentation from Scott Guthries blog.
    Webcam demo 
    You can have a look at most of the demos by watching the PDC Day 2 Keynote online – check as from 0:53 for Scott’s part.

    What next?

    1. Download and install Silverlight 4 developer runtime and Tools for Visual Studio, as well as Expression Blend 4 Preview. You can find all the links here.
    2. Read Tim Heuer’s overview post on Silverlight 4
    3. Watch up to 18 videos on the different Silverlight 4 functionalities
    4. Read Gill Cleeren’s Silverlight 4 Advent calendar – a post a day!

    Session 3: ASP.NET MVC

    In this session Scott started to introduce ASP.NET MVC by going through the process of creating a new ASP.NET MVC application and then moving on to what is new in ASP.NET MVC 2.
    ASP.NET MCV lets you develop without using WebForms but still leaning on the capabilities of ASP.NET Core framework (for example Membership & authentication). It’s a different approach following the Model View Controller pattern in which you have higher testability, a clearer separation of concerns and basically much more direct access to the HTML. WebForms sometimes abstracts part of that.
    Download the PowerPoint presentation and a walkthrough from Scott Guthries blog.

    What next?

    1. Download ASP.NET MVC directly. It is also part of the Visual Studio 2010 Beta install.
    2. Start with learning how to use ASP.NET MVC by reading the tutorials or watching videos on ASP.NET MVC Learning center
    3. A good read are the posts by Belgian MVP Maarten Balliauw who also wrote a book on the subject.
    4. Phil Haack’s blog is also a great resource to check out.

    To conclude, I really had a great time following Scott’s sessions and I’m pretty positive everyone present at the event did the same. Now let’s all dive into it!

    Be sure to follow ScottGu’s latest tweets on Twitter.

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December, 2009