Thursday, September 25, 2008

Code Camp 2008.2

UPDATE v 2.0 - The scheduling conflicts never ended, and we have postponed the TVCC to early next year. Date and venue are TBA.

UPDATE:Due to a scheduling conflict, the next Tech Valley Code Camp (2008.2) has been moved to November 22nd.

Andy Badera and myself sat down for a bit at yesterday's Roadshow event (more on that later), and we've ironed out the date for Code Camp 2008.2.

Per Andy's blog:

"Announcing: Tech Valley Code Camp 2008.2 - November 22nd, 2008
It's official -- per conversations at yesterday's Microsoft Northeast Roadshow, we're going to make Tech Valley Code Camp 2008.2 happen. We've even moved the date up a bit -- we're now looking at November 8th, in order to avoid conflicting with a Western NY camp.

Presenters needed! We're working on getting a registration site up ASAP. Doors are open to non-Microsoft-specific tech, but we'd definitely like to see a healthy dose of Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, .NET 3.5, WPF, Silverlight, etc.

We have a few sponsors already, I'll followup with a post thanking our first several sponsors. Additional sponsorship, however, is of course quite welcome, and certainly needed.

Tech Valley Code Camp 2008(.1) was awesome! Now let's make TVCC 2008.2 an even bigger, better experience!

If you're interested in presenting or sponsorship, feel free to email either Andy or myself (or both of us). I'd prefer if you include the words Tech Valley Code Camp in the subject of the email. The venue is still TBD, but I'll hopefully have some news on that by the end of next week.

Monday, September 22, 2008

TVUG Logo Submission Guidelines

We now have some guidelines for Logo Submissions next month, courtesy of Chris Miller:

TVUG website Logo Submission Guidelines

  • The logo should reflect on TVUG and its mission - Things to think about when brainstorming your design:
    • .NET Related
    • The sharing of technology and ideas with your peers - community!
  • Tips for creating a logo - Make sure your design communicates the Conference theme
    • Use simple shapes and text
    • Do not use photographs
    • Use a distinct color scheme (2-3 colors max)
    • Make sure your logo is in a vector format (Adobe Illustrator), or is created at very high resolution (3600px by 3600 px). This will make sure the logo can be enlarged to huge proportions (signs, banners, etc.)
    • Be creative!
  • Artwork MUST be original
    • You are welcome to get ideas from the Internet, but do not use another designer's work.
    • No clip art please!
  • File specifications
    • Submissions must be one of the following formats:
      • Adobe Illustrator (.ai)
      • Encapsulated PostScript (.eps)
      • Adobe Photoshop (.psd) or Paint .NET (.pdn)
        • NOTE: Bitmap submissions must be at least 3600px wide/tall.
    • Please send us your ORIGNIAL document with the layers intact. Do not merge your work layers.
    • If you use any special fonts, please include the font names in your submission e-mail.
    • Name your file using your first and last name (example: If you submit more than one file, follow the same guidelines and add a number at the end. (example:,, etc.).

By sending in a submission, you are granting the TVUG User Group a license to use the artwork on the TVUG website and other media documents.

More on our speaker once it's solidified.

I'm also currently working on T4 templates, as well as putting some enhancements into the 2D/3D XNA Engine that I built for some presentations last year. Per-pixel collisions and rotation is now handled in the 2D engine, and I'm looking at either including some pre-built physics functionality in there or putting some basic stuff in there. My hope is to create a simple GUI 2D game builder that will allow kids and adults alike to build games for the 360, PC, or Zune. I'll be putting something together on this soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TVUG Logo Contest

So, last night's presentation on the Entity Framework went well: I'll be posting the presentation and code samples to the TVUG site shortly. 

One of the biggest announcements last night was the announcement of the TVUG Logo Contest! 
We're accepting logo/site design submissions up until Tuesday, October 7th, 2008. You're not limited to color or design choices for our site, so stretch your imagination. The winner of the contest will receive a "goodie bag" of current release software (the contents of the kit are TBA, but I'm pretty sure we'll at least have a copy of VS 2008 to give away), and another portfolio piece when the new site rolls out. 

To join, you need to be a registered member of TVUG (simply go to the website and register). The top 3 designs will be chosen by board members, and the winner will be chosen by the group in our October presentation (October 14th, 2008, topic TBA), and the plans for the site design will be implemented shortly after.

Good luck to all of you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fall 2008 Northeast Roadshow

The Northeast Roadshow

Join Microsoft's Chris Bowen and Jim O'Neil for a "free, relaxed day of deep content for developers and architects". Groovy!

The agenda is as follows:

8:30 Registration
Understanding the ADO.NET Entity Framework

Abstraction is frequently used to create difficult-to-appreciate artwork, but when applied to software, abstractions can improve flexibility, independence, and the ability to compose higher-level concepts. ADO.NET Entity Framework, now shipping as part of Visual Studio 2008 & .NET 3.5 Service Pack 1, helps you create models of your data that enable a familiar object-oriented programming experience. Entities map flexibly to data sources while providing insulation from schema changes at the same time. LINQ makes an appearance as well, using the familiar syntax we’ve seen with LINQ to Objects, SQL, and XML to query entities. You’ve got the picture, so get out there and model some works of art!

Discovering Dynamic Data

ASP.NET Dynamic Data, introduced with the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 release, breathes immediate (i.e., code-less) life into LINQ To SQL and Entity Framework data models by providing a customizable, template-driven, scaffolding framework. Put on your wizard hat, you now have dynamic power at your fingertips.

Exploring Internet Explorer 8

Ahoy, developers! The release of Internet Explorer 8 is just around the bend. Of course, we’ll pull out the spyglass and take a look over the sea of new consumer features, but what does this next version mean for you as developer, and what should you do to navigate to glory? You’ll see how treasures like accelerators and web slices can be a differentiator for your company, see the new wave of compatibility features and options, and unearth the tools available for developers to make for smooth sailing on the sometimes turbulent web development waters.


Grab a lunch and join in as we delve into the world of robotics programming with Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio. Think robotics is mostly for manufacturing systems, toys, and those cool little floor cleaning bots? You may be surprised at how the things we cover may come to affect your professional development life! Perhaps you’ll find yourself saying, "Thank you very luncho, Mr. Roboto!"

UI, UX, U Confused?

One thing not missing from Microsoft’s development offerings is a choice of options. In this session, we’ll compare and contrast the various .NET technologies available for building client experiences (Windows Forms, WPF, XBAP, ASP.NET, Silverlight, and Windows Mobile) to give you some insight in to making the best choices for reaching your applications’ target audience.

A RESTed Development

REST (Representational State Transfer) is what all the cool developers are using these days to communicate among distributed resources and services. So that you’re not left standing idly by on the sidelines, we’ll look at the rationales of the approach, why it’s cleaner than SOAP, and how Microsoft has adopted REST in technologies such as WCF and ADO.NET Data Services.

Befriending Unit Testing

Unit testing could be your new best friend, and we’re here to help make the proper introductions. A practice that ultimately results in reduced overall efforts, unit testing is a focus on crafting test code that verifies your application code isn’t misbehaving. In this session, we’ll focus on what unit testing is, how it can be done, and some of the proven and effective practices you can employ to help your unit tests pay dividends over time. If Humphrey Bogart were a developer, he would have agreed, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

4:00 Wrapup, Giveways, and Bon Voyage!

More details here and here

TVUG Presentation - September 9th

Using the Entity Framework in .Net 3.5 SP1

Speaker: Griffith Townsend, MCP.Net, MCSE
When: Tuesday September 9th, 2008 - 6:30-9PM
Where: VersaTrans Solutions, Latham, NY

When developing multi-tiered applications, it’s not uncommon that to encounter code and architectural “noise” where a developer is forced to shift languages between the business logic layer and the data layer. The preference of many developers is the use of tools (typically Object Relational Mapping solutions) to abstract the database-specific aspects of the data layer into objects usable by the upper layers by object-oriented programming languages.

Microsoft’s long awaited Entity Framework (EF) is one approach to raise the level of abstraction in complex applications, separating the logical object schema from the underlying data store. EF allows developers a lot of flexibility in creating and mapping database entities, relationships, functions, and procedures into either direct class translations or custom business entities.

In this presentation, Griff Townsend introduces us to the Entity Framework as of its initial release in SP1, providing an architectural overview of EF, while also extending it into a working Data Layer. The presentation will also cover:

  • Building your first EF model
  • Using Stored Procedures and customizing business objects in the EF model
  • Extending the Framework to support more robust data access
  • LINQ to EF vs. LINQ to SQL
  • Sharing Entities between layers