Ruminations of idle rants and ramblings of a code monkey

Houston TechFest

Code Sample | Community | Events
Wow … another year, another Houston TechFest is over. It was absolutely awesome, once again … Mike Steinberg has really built this into one heck of an event. It was good to see such a HUGE turnout of techies for a great day of learning and networking. It was especially exciting to talk with some of the kids … future programmers … who were also in attendance! Here’s the links to my sessions: Introducing StreamInsight 2.1. Back to Basics: .NET Essentials Thanks to everyone who came and especially those that showed up at my sessions to hear me ramble.

SQL Saturday Baton Rouge Presentations

Code Sample | Community | Events
It was absolutely awesome to be back in Baton Rouge for Sql Saturday. I do miss going out there … used to be I was out there regularly but now – well, not so much. I did already post them on the Sql Saturday site but for anyone else that’s interested, I’m posting them here. The first is not a new one but always a popular one … Back to Basics: .NET Essentials That You May Have Forgotten. I’ll also be doing this one at Houston TechFest in September. The other one is new: StreamInsight In Action: Real-Time Web Monitoring. This was inspired by a project that I was recently on where we were doing performance analysis and testing. Here was the challenge … we needed to know exactly which pages were executing (and what some of the form post parameters were) when we had spikes in various performance counters. Unfortunately, load testing tools won’t give you this level of detail. And trying to synchronize web logs and perfmon logs is an exercise in futility. And that’s where StreamInsight comes in … since we can take multiple sources of data and synchronize them in time, it’s actually pretty easy to do something like this in StreamInsight. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; once you start, there’s a lot of other things that you can do as well. For example, if you are analyzing web farm performance, you can get early warning if one of the servers in the farm is starting to “go off the reservation”. Or if your servers are starting to perform poorly or are just beginning to get over-capacity. It’s all about enabling you to be more proactive in managing and operating your web site(s) rather than waiting for uncomfortable emails or calls. This also has a little WinForms/Grid sink so you can see (exactly) the different events as they are output.

Baton Rouge SQL Saturday/Tech Day 2013

Community | Events
Once again, I’ll be presenting in Baton Rouge for their Tech Day so I’m busting my butt (actually, keyboard) building the demos and preparing. I’ll be doing two presentations: Back to Basics: .NET Essentials You May Have Forgotten: I’ve done this one before and it’s been pretty popular and well received. I review a lot of the fundamentals of .NET, the CLR and how it all works … you know, the icky plumbing stuff. It goes over the type system, threading, disposal and a whole bunch more. I built this after doing a lot of tech screens of relatively experienced folks but who didn’t have a good grasp of these fundamentals. When talking about this to other folks, I found that I wasn’t the only one that was running across this. While it’s a testament to the maturity and solidity of the .NET platform that developers can do a lot of really great work without really knowing all of the plumbing, I still (strongly) believe that understanding the underpinnings is vital. Microsoft – and most others – are focused on the new, cool shiny things that are coming out on .NET and no one’s really talking about reviewing the fundamentals very much these days. StreamInsight in Action: Monitoring Website Performance in Real Time: Yeah, you had to know that StreamInsight would be in there. This is a brand-new presentation that I’m currently building using the StreamInsight.Foundation stuff that’s been published on this blog – so it’ll be my first presentation based on this work. In the process, I’ve found some warts (and fixed them) that will be rolled back in and discussed on the blog after I get done with the presentation. I’ll be focusing on different StreamInsight queries and techniques that allow you to get real-time analytics of site performance, slow pages, navigational analysis and more. By the end of it, I’ll also be integrating performance counter data into the analytics so you can also determine what pages were running when, say, requests queued or CPU utilization spiked.

Baton Rouge Sql Saturday Content

Code Sample | Community | Events | StreamInsight
I’ve just posted this to the SQL Saturday web site. All of the content that was presented is there, including the PowerPoint and the code. There’s quite a bit of stuff in the code that we simply didn’t have time to show. There are two text files in there with several different query patterns that you can copy and paste into place. This sample does require StreamInsight 1.2, so make sure that you have at least the evaluation version installed.

Houston TechFest 2010 Sessions

Community | Events | TFS 2010 | User Groups
It’s almost time for TechFest again … it’s amazing how quickly the time flies! It’s seems like only yesterday that I told Michael what my sessions would be, thinking, of course, that I’d have plenty of time to do them. No, it wasn’t yesterday either – it was a few months ago. But … I’m just now starting to do the presentations. While there is a blurb about the sessions on the TechFest site, I also wanted to post them here – with some more information. Customizing TFS Process Template – Level 300 Or maybe it’s level 400. This is not going to be your every day talk about customizing process templates; there is plenty of that out there. While I may mention (and even, very briefly, show) the TFS Process Template Editor Power Tool, that’s not what I’m going to focus on. I’ll be digging into the core of what makes these templates work and how they are configured behind the scenes. This means that we’ll be playing in the XML behind the templates. We will look – deeply – at how the templates are constructed and where all of the pieces are. I’ll also share some code utilities that I’ve developed to help create process templates from an existing Team Project; specifically, I’ll show code to export work items and work item queries. I’ll also mention how to do custom plugins for the Project Creation Wizard, allowing you to really “kick it up a notch!” Team Foundation Build 2010 With Team Foundation Server 2010 Build Server, the build services got a complete redesign, moving away from an MSBuild-based build process to a more flexible and extensible build process based on Windows Workflow Foundation 4.0. I will talk about TFS build, the architecture and how to configure build controllers and agents. From there, I’ll be digging into the Build Process Templates, how to customize and extend them with out-of-the-box activities as well as custom activities, as well as some tips and tricks about how to manage extensions and your build environment. Finally, I’ll talk about the upgrade path from TFS 2005/2008 builds (yes, there is one) and some of the gotchas that you may experience on the way. I’ve not yet decided which activity to use as an example, but I’m leaning towards using the one that I wrote to change the build workspace as a part of the process. Or the zip activity. Or both? We’ll see. Keep in mind … this is the kind of stuff that I do all day, every day, day in and day out. Those of you who know me also know that I’m not one to settle for touching on the surface but get deep into the technical aspects … these sessions will be no different. They will not be your typical TFS sessions. There will be code - and a goodly chunk of it - that works with the mysterious and very poorly documented TFS APIs.

.NET Dojo: Windows Azure

Community | Events
Here’s the info on the next .NET Dojo. Did you think it’d be gone? Well, I hope not and I’m working with Zain to transition the program over to him. That said, I will be doing my very first Dojo! The topic is Windows Azure (duh!) and it promises to be a good time for all.  Event Overview Windows Azure is the cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting, and service management environment for the Azure Services Platform. Windows Azure provides you on-demand compute & storage to host, scale, and manage Web applications and services on the Internet in Microsoft data centers. In this Dojo, we'll dig into how to work with Windows Azure to build applications that run in the cloud ... using the skills you have and the tools that you are familiar with. We'll introduce the key concepts in lecture and then immediately apply those concepts in hands on labs. At the end of the Dojo, you'll be able to create applications to leverage this platform and its functionality, including tables, blobs, queues and, of course, web sites. Attendees will be expected to bring their own laptops with the prerequisites (below) to participate in the hands-on labs. Prerequisites: · Windows Vista SP1 or Windows Server 2008 SP1 · IIS 7.0 (with ASP.NET, WCF HTTP Activation and optionally CGI) · Visual Studio 2008 Professional  (Trial OK) · Visual Studio 2008 SP1 · Sql Server Express (2005 or 2008) · Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio March 2009 CTP · KB967631: Update for Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Debugger Dates, Locations and Registration: Houston: June 19, 2009 1PM-5PM @ the Houston Microsoft Office Austin: June 26, 2009 1PM-5PM @ the Austin Microsoft Office   Hope to see you there!!

.NET Dojo: Silverlight!

.NET Stuff | Community | Events
We’ve got the next .NET Dojos scheduled - Todd Anglin will be presenting Silverlight! There will be a dojo in Austin as well as Houston. Here are the details: Overview: Microsoft officially released Silverlight 2.0 in October 2008 as a platform for .NET developers to build rich internet applications (RIAs) that run cross-browser and cross-platform. Silverlight 2.0 introduces a whole new way of developing .NET applications. It is blurring the lines between what it means to develop for the web and the desktop, enabling .NET developers to rethink how they build and distribute applications. Topics covered include: Silverlight tools, Silverlight controls, Silverlight APIs, data access, and some security. What you will learn: Todd Anglin will guide you through a combination of lecture and hands-on labs where you will learn everything you need to know to get started with Silverlight 2.0. Specifically, you’ll learn how to work with Silverlight in Visual Studio and Expression Blend, how to use Silverlight controls, how to interact with the HTML DOM, how to access and manipulate data, how to use isolated storage, and secure your Silverlight applications. We’ll go from Silverlight 101 to 301 in about 4 hours and you’ll leave with all the essential tools you need to start building real applications with Silverlight today. Prerequisites: To fully participate in this workshop, attendees will need a laptop with the following: ·        Visual Studio 2008 Professional or higher (trial is okay) with Service Pack 1 installed ·        Expression Blend 2.0 or higher (trial is okay) with Service Pack 1 installed ·        Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 SP1 installed (free) ·        Deep Zoom Composer installed (free) ·        Silverlight Toolkit December 2008 or higher (available on CodePlex) Times, dates and registration links: Austin (Microsoft Office): March 9, 2009 1:00 – 5:00 PM. Register now. Houston (Microsoft Office): March 13, 2009 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Register now.

Presentation content posted!

Community | Events
Finally getting caught up on getting my presentation content posted. First, there’s the “Building your First Cloud Service” that I delivered at the Aggieland .NET User Group and the North Houston .NET User Group. Next, there are 2 presentations from Houston TechFest: The OWASP Top Ten Review and the ASP.NET Url Routing demo. Enjoy!

TechFest Sessions

Community | Events | User Groups
Sessions, that is, that I’m doing or participating in. :-) First, I’ll be participating in Zain’s session on VIrtual Worlds and Virtual World Evangelism. I’ll only be showing a bit of stuff for a few minutes … really just to showcase some of the things that can be done in Second Life. Next … the one that I signed up for originally … the OWASP Top Ten. This will review the vulnerabilities on the OWASP Top 10 (duh!), explaining each one and explaining how the .NET (and ASP.NET) platform can help you mitigate these vulnerabilities. It’s been very well received when I’ve done it on other occasions and it’s security … something that I’m pretty passionate about. Finally … this just in and HOT off the presses (as in, I just finished writing the demo!) … I’ll be doing a session on add Url Routing (from Fx 3.5 SP1) to existing applications. It’s already the magic goo behind MVC and Dynamic Data … but there’s no reason that you can’t use it for your current apps to provide clean, purty Urls in your applications. I’ll start at the very beginning with an ASP.NET app with all kinds of ugly Urls - they grew organically, so there’s no consistency in the names which, of course never happens in the Real World(tm). Then I’ll add routing in step by step by step … culminating in adding in a configurable (as in, from the web.config), reusable routing component for adding to these types of applications. Should be pretty cool. I’ll post the code for this when I’m done and I’m certainly using this in CSK. So … with that, I’m outta here and I’ll see (some of) you tomorrow at TechFest!!

New Houston User Group: Houston D2Sig (Silverlight/WPF)

Events | User Groups
Hello Houston … we have a new user group in town. After some delay due to an unwelcome visitor whose name begins with “I”, the Houston Developer 2 Designer (D2) SIG is holding its inaugural meeting this Thursday. Regular meetings will be on the first Tuesday of the month, but this first one was moved to Thursday so that it didn’t prevent anyone from voting (which you are doing, right???). Inaugural Houston-Area D2 SIG Meeting for Silverlight & WPF Designers and Developers Announced (Free) When: First Tuesday of Each Month 6:00 – 8:00 PM (First meeting is Thursday, November 6, due to Election Day) Where: Microsoft-Houston Offices (2000 West Sam Houston Parkway) This special interest group (SIG) is a community effort open to all interested participants. Each month, a different presenter from various organizations will present to interested attendees. The group is dedicated to exploring modern user experiences (UX) which are part computer programming and part artistic design. While traditionally there has been little overlap in the two disciplines, users now expect a good experience with a professional look. Covered topics will range from development in Silverlight, WPF and related technologies such as Microsoft Surface to design of rich interactive experience for graphical designers. The group strives to provide a good balance of content that appeals to both developers and designers. The inaugural meeting, to be held on Nov. 6th, 2008 introduces the SIG and the covered topics and technologies in general, before proceeding into this month’s presentation delivered by industry renowned expert, author, speaker, MVP, President of EPS Software Corp., and Publisher of CoDe Magazine, Markus Egger. Markus’ presentation will include the following topics: Introduction to Silverlight ans WPF (Windows) Creating a Silverlight Application Silverlight and WPF news from PDC! A first look at Microsoft Surface RSVP Requested Attendance of the SIG meetings is free. To allow us to plan the meetings better and to judge interest ahead of time, we ask people to RSVP here. (Signup through VPF Conversion is temporary and will be replaced in the future with