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  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    TechEd EMEA: Visual Studio 2010 in the keynote and lots of Belgians

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    Back from Tech-Ed EMEA developers, running from 10 to 14 November 2008 in Barcelona. It was a very interesting week in turns of content but also in terms of meeting up with lots of interesting people. And proud to be a Belgian at this conference: besides Hans Verbeeck as the business owner we had a Belgian winner at the Speaker’s Idol: Kurt Claeys.

    Congratulations to Kurt, looking forward to his first session at TechEd next year in Berlin!

    100_0780 100_0803

    This year it was my first time at the Silverlight “Ask the Experts” booth where I had the pleasure to meet with some peers of mine, and MVPs that were ready to answer questions from attendants.
    Having booth duty did not prevent me from following some of the sessions. I especially enjoyed getting even more PDC content like Angus Logan’s session on Mesh enabled web apps, Windows 7, and David Chappell’s session on Geneva (codename for Microsoft’s identity and claims based framework). Non-PDC content like Bob Beauchemin’s sessions on SQL Server 2008 or Stephen Forte’s interactive session on data access were some of the other sessions I followed.

    Visual Studio 2010 main topic during keynote

    Opening keynote was presented by Pierre Liautaud, Vice-president Western Europe for Microsoft and Jason Zander was the overall keynote speaker.

    Taking place just one week after the Professional Developer’s Conference (PDC) in L.A., it’s not an easy task to bring more new stuff to the event. However, without leaving behind the importance of PDC the keynote did present us with quite some new information on VS2010.

    Jason Zander did a great overview of some of the new things to be found in Visual Studio 2010, and included lots of demos which is really what any developer wants to see!

    Visual Studio 2010 highlights:

    • Architecture explorer: Visual assembly and class explorer
    • Lots of WPF integration into the IDE, only goodness :-)
    • Generation of UML 2.1.1 Sequence diagrams
    • New testing - Test & recording?
    • Team System 2010: with the Lab Management feature where you can provision your virtual test environments.
    • Tools for SharePoint development integrated into the IDE. No more installing separate extensions as is now the case. Having done my share of SharePoint development in the past I know this one is really welcome.
    • C++ and MFC improvements

    Check it out: download the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 CTP here.

    In addition to VS2010 goodness, PDC content was not forgotten. The event had a special PDC Highlights track bringing the best of PDC to Barcelona. I thought this was a very useful decision to bring the PDC content to TechEd. Waiting one year would create too large a knowledge gap. This track included sessions on Windows Azure, Oslo, Live Framework and Windows 7.

    Finally, having the possibility to meet up with a lot of Belgian developers and exchanging views and ideas was another highlight for me. Thanks all for joining the conference and hope to see you around at another event in Belgium or at TechEd in Berlin next year!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Links for Azure, Visual Studio and other experiences from PDC 2008

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    After a jetlag, a few days of e-mail immersion and inbox cleaning, finally some time to get into the real stuff and get you a summary of the event.
    For some non-technical experiences about the event, scroll to the bottom.

    First things first, getting into the PDC information is really easy: you can follow ALL sessions online on Microsoft PDC site: https://sessions.microsoftpdc.com/public/timeline.aspx. There are downloads to the PPT presentations, some have mp4 downloads and all of them can be watched online on Channel9. This is an extremely good resource to keep close.

    Tip: Greg Duncan has put together the list of all sessions on a single page, with links to each of the video formats and PPT. All in one page, really handy! Thanks Daniel for this tip.

    A second tip for a more Belgian insight into the conference is to check out the blogs of Gregory Renard (French) and Gill Cleeren (English), both Regional Directors. They were blogging quite a lot before, during and after the conference.

    Hereunder you can find the links to the most important downloads and info pages related to PDC 2008.

    Azure Services Platform

    The Azure Services Platform was announced during the opening keynote, this is Microsoft’s cloud computing and services platform. Now announced as a CTP you can already download the SDKs and play with the technology locally on your own computer. At this stage the number of developer accounts is restricted though. Sign-up at the Azure site and you might get lucky.

    Downloads:

    • SDKs for Windows Azure, .NET services, SQL Data Services (SDS), Tools for Visual Studio, all can be found on the Azure Developer SDKs page.
    • Live Framework SDK and tools – the Live Framework CTP is limited at this stage. So I’m afraid that even to play with it you will need to register and get lucky…
      You need the Live Framework SDK in order to be able to play with the Live Services SDK and Mesh applications.
    • Get your hands on the Live Mesh client, the beta program has been extended with now support for Mobile and Mac.

    If you are using Java or Ruby you can also start experimenting with Azure as we have released alpha versions for:

    On a funny note, I know people are wondering how to pronounce Azure. Even after watching this I still don’t know :-)

    Windows 7

    Windows 7 has been unveiled at PDC, however this does not mean it’s available for end-users. This is a first preview and at this stage pre-beta bits were given to the PDC attendees.
    Windows 7 Developer Guide available at MSDN Code Gallery

    Surface

    We saw Surface tables all over the conference. I think this was the first “coming out” of the Surface team as they are preparing for wider commercial launch. The SDK is currently not widely available. In the meantime, check out there two sessions:

    Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 CTP

    CTP for the next version of Visual Studio and the .NET Framework was also announced.

    And lots of other releases

    • WPF Toolkit, October release - WPF DataGrid, DatePicker/Calendar, preview of VisualStateManager (VSM)
    • CCR and DDS Toolkit, Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR) and Decentralized Software Services (DSS) were originally released as part of Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio.
    • Silverlight Toolkit – new controls and themes for Silverlight
    • Microsoft “Geneva” Framework roadmap and beta bits: documentation on MSDN and download from the connect site.
    • XNA Game Studio 3.0

    And I’m forgetting lots of other stuff that was released during the PDC week… should update this post as I see them.

    People and fun at PDC

    On a non-technical level, I had the pleasure to meet with lots of people during PDC, many of them Belgian. We had a drink at the Hard Rock Café with about 30 Belgians at PDC. I would like to thank U2U for sponsoring this drink together with us. It was a perfect time to meet Belgian peers at the also at the conference.

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    The party at Universal Studios on Tuesday was also lots of fun. The whole park was reserved for the PDC attendees, so no lines anywhere! I had lots of fun in the Simpsons ride (don’t remember the actual name of the ride).

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    And of course, weather in Los Angeles was just wonderful: 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Almost too hot but as we didn’t see much of the daylight just great for a few moments outside between sessions.

    See you next year for PDC 2009.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    PDC 2008 – Regional Directors share their thoughts (Dutch)

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    Peter Himschoot and Gill Cleeren, Regional Directors, both share their thoughts on what PDC 2008 is for them: from the main announcement around the new cloud platform to Windows 7 to new features in C# and .NET 4.0.

    Watch the video we shot on location during the PDC conference and learn what you should be doing today to be up to date with the latest developments on the Microsoft platform.

    Be sure to check out their blogs: Peter Himschoot, and Gill Cleeren who has basically all the information you need to get synced on all the PDC stuff.

    Note: this video is in Dutch.

    image

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    PDC 2008 – Gregory Renard shares his thoughts (French)

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    After a very exciting week in Los Angeles to attend PDC where Microsoft has announced its new Software + Services Platform, Windows 7 pre-beta, Live Framework and much more, I’ve uploaded a video with Regional Director Gregory Renard.

    Want to know why Gregory thinks this PDC is his best PDC ever? Tune in to the Chopsticks video interview where Gregory shares his passion for the announcement and how he thinks this will impact you in the future as a developer. Let me tell you, it’s all good!

    Note: The recording is availalbe in French.

    image

    Also check out Gregory’s posts on PDC 2008, he has a ton of very interesting information on the whole event.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    PDC 2008 Day 2 Keynote – Windows 7, Live Framework, VS2010, Office 14 and more!

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    While in the keynote of day 1 we saw the light of Windows Azure Platform, the Microsoft Software + Services platform, on day 2 we actually had two keynotes: a lot of stuff!

    Keynote 1: Ray Ozzie, Steve Sinofsky, Scott Guthrie, David Treadwell – on Windows 7, WPF, .NET 4.0, VS2010, Live Framework, Mesh, Office 14
    Keynote 2: Chris Anderson and Don Box – A lap around Azure Services platform

    As yesterday, I really appreciated the speech by Ray Ozzie, he started out by pointing us to the importance of client user interfaces and how the web can actually improve the value of the PC. By overlapping from PC / Web / phone, the use of these together is more value than just the sum of their parts.

    As there were a lot of announcements and demos, I’m listing things I wrote down during the keynote. A lot of them I will come back to later in a more detailed post but this should give an overview of what we saw.

    • Windows 7 and Windows Live wave 3, presented by Steve Sinofsky. With a first demo of Windows 7 capabilities by Julie Larso-Green Vice President Windows Experience. I liked Homegroup, libraries and of course multi-touch. 
    • Windows Live Essentials with rich client applications in combination with Windows Live Services
    • Scott Guthrie:
      • Silverlight Toolkit CTP (graphs, DockPanel, WrapPanel, Themes, etc)
      • Visual Studio 2010 CTP this week. Did you know Visual Studio is built on WPF? Scott did an nice demo of the extensibility capabilities and taking advantage of WPF to transform the standard display of code comments to something very informative.
    • Dave Treadwel – Live Services part of the Azure Services platform.
      Live Mesh > bridging a user’s devices with synchronization, this is only a tip of the iceberg. This week we start talking about Mesh as a key component of Live Services. Connecting data, devices, people and applications. Integrating client and cloud capabilitties all based on synchronization.
    • Live Operating Environment / Programming Model > consistent environment with a proramming model that consistently works on any device, pc, phone, web.
    • Ori Amiga did a demo of a photo application that uses synchronized data on multiple computers and a phone, using Mesh API.
    • We got a demo by Anthony Rose, Head Online Media BBC. They showed us the BBC iPlayer that is coming in the near future where the application can run the Silverlight client offline (by synchronizing the data using Mesh I assume), and on the device.
    • Get the Live Framework CTP at www.azure.com
    • Office 14 Preview – we got an amazing demo of OneNote, Word and Excel running both on the client as well as online (Office Web apps), and synchronizing all that information by sharing and collaborating with several users through Office Live Workspace.
      The amazing thing here for me is that you get a fully working Word/OneNote/Excel on the browser using the power of Silverlight.

    And now I would like to get a few of the CTPs. Will do that after taking the chance to follow a few sessions still today.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    PDC 2008 Day 1 Keynote – the Windows Azure Platform

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    I arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday, with a warm and beatiful day welcoming me in California. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to L.A., being the first US city I visited it represents the typical America. But enough about this, let’s get to the PDC stuff.

    We have just had the keynote with Ray Ozzie announcing the Windows Azure, with interventions by Amitabh Srivastava, Bob Muglia and David Thompson.

    Windows Azure Platform announcement during keynote

    clip_image001Azure Platform

    Azure is the name for Microsoft’s Software + Services platform. With this announcement today we are talking about a platform that includes the following:

    Windows Azure: operating system in the cloud providing services for hosting, management, scalable storage with support for simple blobs, tables, and queues, as well as a management infrastructure for provisioning and geo-distribution of cloud-based services, and a development platform for the Azure Services layer. Today already Live Mesh and Live Meeting are already using Windows Azure.

    Azure Services Platform, developer services with support for familiar tools, languages, frameworks, such as ASP.NET, C#, LINQ, WCF, WF:

    • SQL Services for relational data storage, querying and reporting services
    • .NET Services for cloud-based access control, federated directory, service-connectivity, workflow, and messaging services
    • Live Services for application extension of the Windows Live platform (Windows Live ID, Live Mesh, Virtual Earth, etc)
    • SharePoint Services which provide extensibility for SharePoint Server (future)
    • Dynamics CRM Services which provide extensibility for Dynamics CRM (future)

    On top of that there is the finished services layer, with Windows Live, Office Live, SharePoint Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. All of these hosted in the cloud and commercially available today. We saw a few demos of these services with CRM and SharePoint online.

    Now ready for my first session “A Lap Around Cloud Services Part 1”, and tomorrow we’ll have yet more announcements!

    Watch tomorrow’s keynote that will be streamed live at www.microsoftpdc.com.

     

    Update: you can download the Windows Azure SDK from www.azure.com, play with it and test locally on your own machine. Access to the online hosted version is currently limited to PDC attendees but will probably be extended later this year.

  • Windows Azure SDK
  • Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Microsoft .NET Services SDK
  • Microsoft SQL Data Services SDK
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  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Getting ready for PDC 2008

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    PDC2008 is just a few days away, I’m leaving tomorrow very early for a flight through London Heathrow.

    Making session choices
    It’s hard with so many sessions at the same time, I have about 4 sessions checked per time slot… that doesn’t look good. At least I won’t miss any of the keynotes since no other sessions go on at that time :-)

    Some sessions I hope not to miss:
    https://sessions.microsoftpdc.com/public/timeline.aspx

    • Sessions around “Developing your first Cloud Service”, A Lap Around Cloud Services, A Day in the Life of a Cloud Service Developer
    • The Future of C#, Anders Hejlsberg – need I say more?
    • A Lap Around ‘Oslo”, “Oslo”, the Language… and more of that (WF 4.0)
    • Developing for Microsoft Surface, Brad Carpenter, Robert Levy. When can I get my hands on one of the big tables?
    • Microsoft .NET Framework: Overview and Applications for Babies, Scott Hanselman. Funny title but I think it’s going to be a very interesting session on building applications with the newest technologies for client (WPF) and a front-end site using ADO.NET Data Services, MVC, and dynamic data. And of course Scott is a wonderful speaker. Actually have quite high expectations from this one.
    • Luca Bolognese on F# – I saw Luca give a LINQ session last year at Tech Ed Barcelona, fantastic speaker!
    • “Live Services: A Lap around the Live Framework and Mesh Services”, with Ori Amiga. If you have seen the Channel9 video with Ori you will not want to miss this session.
      In addition to this, there are quite a few other Live & Mesh related sessions I want to attend: Live Services: Mesh Services Architecture and Concepts, Live Services: FeedSync and Mesh Synchronization Services, etc. And not to forget the “Live Services: Making your Application More Social” session by Angus Logan, what can I say, I’m a fan
    • Inside the Olympics: An Architecture and Development Review, Eric Schmidt, Jason Suess. Because I want to learn more on how the NBC Olympics site was implemented.
    • And so much more!

    Download the full sessions schedule here, check out the latest buzz on www.microsoftpdc.com and don’t feel left behind if you are not going: keynotes will be streamed live. Yes, that’s right!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Working at Microsoft Belgium

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    Ever wondered how we work here at MS BeLux? Check out these two videos and you might feel the itch to joins us :)

    Video presented at our Q1 Company meeting, created by the new MACH hires. They did a very nice job there. Posted by my colleague Miel: http://micromiel.com/2008/10/20/life-at-microsoft/

    Second is a video of the opening of our new offices last month. This video is available on our Chopsticks video platform: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/nl/chopsticks/
    default.aspx?id=610
    (Dutch only).

    Enjoy!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Bart De Smet on Channel9: LINQ-to-Anything

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    Don’t miss the 100th episode of Going Deep on Channel9, this episode stars Bart De Smet. In case you don’t know Bart, he is a Belgian genius that is now working at Microsoft Redmond on the WPF team after being an MVP for four years.

    In this episode Bart De Smet is interviewed by expert Erik Meijer, co-creator of LINQ!

    Bart has done incredible things on LINQ, including LINQ-to-SharePoint, LINQ-to-MSI and more (humm like the Simpsons?)… check out his blog for all the goodies.

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  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Silverlight 2 RTW – all the links you need to get started

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    After the RC0 a few weeks ago we a, Silverlight 2 RTW (Release to Web) is here, it’s official!

    This is great news as for a lot of people, where putting something in production on a non-release version was out of the question. Now that we are out of beta, I created a list of links and resources to get you through migration, installing updates and running Silverlight 2.

    Getting started with Silverlight 2 RTW

    All the links to get you on RTW speed:

    Migrating from Beta 2 to RTW

    As a developer you will need to update your tools and SDK to be using the RTW version. Take into account that applications targeting Beta 2 will now break. For a lot of applications recompiling and changint the MIME type will be enough.
    Be sure to keep the Breaking changes document handy for migrating your applications.

    From RC0 to RTW
    If you have already migrated your application to RC0, you will still need to recompile your application using the updated RTW Tools and SDK. Not because there are breaking changes between these two but because EULA prevents you from going live on RC0.

    End-user upgrade
    For a user that has installed Silverlight 2 Beta 2 (or beta 1), Microsoft Update will start to roll out updates. If the user still has a pre-RTW version installed when visiting an application in RTW, a message will be shown and the user can click to upgrade.

    MIME Type

    The <object> tag to instantiate a RTW object is application/x-silverlight-2.

    <object id="SilverlightControl"
      type="application/x-silverlight-2"
      width="100%" height="100%">
      <param name="source"
        value="ClientBin/MyApp.xap" />
    </object>

    A plug-in for Eclipse

    Microsoft is also investing in the development of a plug-in for the popular Eclipse IDE: Eclipse Tools for Microsoft Silverlight. This will allow Java developers to create Silverlight applications and integrate more easily with Java web services using REST, JSON, SOAP, etc. The plugin will include a XAML editor with code hinting, preview mode, compiler for packaging the Silverlight application.

    These projects created in Eclipse will also be compatible with Visual Studio and Expression Blend.
    Download the preview bits from http://www.eclipse4sl.org, expect a candidate release somewhere in Sprig 09.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Update: Belgians at PDC get-together, we have a sponsor!

    • 1 Comments

    If you are planning to attend PDC 2008 you will not regret the investment. Check out all the Pre-PDC buzz here.

    Now, related to this: good news if you were planning to join the Belgians at PDC drink on Monday 27th of October: U2U has kindly offered to buy us all a drink at the Hard Rock Café in Hollywood. Quite some of the U2U consultants and teachers will be present at PDC, they must know what is coming :-)

    As proposed by U2U, meet us at the Hard Rock Café.
    Time: 9PM, October 27 2008
    Where: Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood
    1000 Universal Studios Blvd.
    Universal City, CA 91608
    See details here: http://www.hardrock.com/locations/cafes3/cafe.aspx?LocationID=63&MIBEnumID=3

    Driving directions to café here (click to open):

    image

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    XNA: book, interview, event and a new CTP

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    First of all, what is XNA? If you haven’t read upon this, XNA is a framework and a set of tools that allow you to create games on Windows and even Xbox 360. Check out these resources to get started:
    XNA Developer center on MSDN: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/xna/default.aspx
    Community site at http://creators.xna.com

    Official release is now XNA 2.0 but recently the Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0 CTP was announced. This version has several updates that allow you to more seamlessly integrate and deploy games for the Zune family. Now, I know this product is not on sale in Belgium but if you can get your hands on one you can do really cool stuff with XNA on it.

    Interview with MVP and author Riemer Grootjans

    Last month I sat down with MVP and author Riemer Grootjans to talk about his new book on XNA. “XNA 2.0: Game Programming Recipes”, by Apress was released in July 2008 so it was about time we interviewed Riemer. Check out the video on Chopsticks, there are some very nice demos from the book in there as well.

    image

    By the way, did you know there are four other videos on XNA from an event done last year in Belgium. Check it out: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/nl/chopsticks/default.aspx?list=tag&id=20

    XNA-BUG – User Group event

    In addition to Riemer, we have a second XNA MVP in Belgium: Brecht Kets. Together they started up the XNA Belgian User Group.  I already announced it on this blog previously but in case you haven’t registered: XNA-BUG is doing a launch event for the user group on November 6th in Ghent. Register here and find out about XNA here in Belgium: www.xnabug.net

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Congratulations to new MVP Kurt Claeys

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    Kurt Claeys (http://www.devitect.net) has just been awarded the MVP award in the category “Connected System Developer”. Congratulations Kurt, you deserve to get this recognition!

    Kurt is also a certified trainer and has participated as a technical learning guide at the Tech Ed US labs zone. He is also very active in the Belgian community: VISUG presentations, schools, a very active blog, and more.

    Go meet Kurt at the Ask The Experts booth at Tech Ed EMEA in Barcelona on November 10th to 14th this year.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    MSDN Road Show: Rich Client Experiences with Silverlight 2 and WPF coming to a city near you

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    Are you looking for more technical information on creating RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) and RDAs (Rich Desktop Applications)? MSDN BeLux is organizing a road show around these technologies. This is your chance to learn about Silverlight, new ASP.NET Ajax features and learn about the .NET Client Profile with WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation).

    Hereunder you can find the description of the event, please note that sessions are in different languages: 1 session in English, 2 in Dutch and 2 in French. All sessions take place in October so be quick to register in time.

    Français: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/fr/events/msdnroadshow/default.aspx
    Nederlands: http://www.microsoft.com/belux/msdn/nl/events/msdnroadshow/default.aspx

     Web_banner_3

    MSDN Road Show: Build Rich Client Experiences with Silverlight 2 and WPF
    Delivering rich client experiences to users is becoming an important aspect of new applications.
    Join us for the MSDN Road Show to keep in touch with the latest innovations. Learn how you can develop rich applications that deploy to the web and go beyond what you can typically do inside of a browser based application.
    We will cover 3 main topics:

    • New features in ASP.NET AJAX
    • Building a Silverlight 2 application that uses remote services, data binding, templating and styling, both with Visual Studio 2008 and Expression Blend 2.5
    • Windows Presentation Foundation and the .NET Client Profile

    See you there!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Launch event for XNA Belgian User Group and Belgian Silverlight User Group

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    Yes, we have two new user groups with a launch event on November 6th, 2008 in Ghent! Register at http://www.xnabug.net or http://www.besug.be.

    I’m very happy to see the XNA Belgian User Group (XNABUG) doing their launch event together with our very first Belgian Silverlight User Group (BESUG). The launch event will have a demo session by both user groups, and a great chance to meet people doing XNA or Silverlight. No knowledge of either technology is required to attend this event.

    XNA BUG has been online with a website and a contest since last year, being led by two XNA MVPs: Brecht Kets and Riemer Grootjans.

    The Belgian Silverlight User Group has Frederik Duchi as its driving force. Frederik is a teacher at the PIH in Kortrijk as has worked hard over the Summer to get the site up and all contacts for getting the user group and event going.

    I’m looking forward to meeting you all at the event, get it in your agendas and register.

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