Easy(er) ASP.NET Workflow Forms with the WSS 3.0 Workflow Tools

[via Wouter Van Vugt]

WSS3 Workflow Tools helps developers create better WSS 3.0 workflows by providing a development framework and by integrating into the Visual Studio development environment. The primary focus for this first release is on making it easier to create ASP.NET workflow forms.

The first release consists of:

  • Base classes for all workflow form types
  • UserControl framework, quite similar to what InfoPath is providing in MOSS
  • Visual designers for InputForm, InputFormSection, InputFormControl and ButtonSection
  • Visual Studio templates for VS2005 / VS2008, for all forms and controls
  • Easy to use installer

Check it out at http://www.codeplex.com/wss3workflow.

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Two Great Sites for ASP.NET Developers Who Want to Learn SharePoint 2007

MSDN RampUp - SharePoint for Developers and mssharepointdeveloper.com
Both these sites have articles, webcasts and hands-on labs designed to help .NET developers to learn the key points of SharePoint development. A variety of materials with different learning styles help you get started doing SharePoint 2007 development.

The Great SharePoint Adventure - WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 for Developers
If you want more than the quick boost provided by the resources above, you can get a broader and deeper picture by taking our five-day course. It's about 70% instructor demos and labs and you get to take all the code back to the office with you for reference.

Staying Sane in Today’s Software Development World with Billy Hollis

I'm a big fan of Billy Hollis. He just seems to really get what's going on in the .NET development world and the issues that today's developers are facing. I just finished listening to a Deep Fried Bytes podcast where Billy spoke with hosts Keith Elder and Chris Woodruff about the flood of new technology coming from Microsoft and how developers are dealing with it. It's definitely worth a listen.

http://deepfriedbytes.com/podcast/episode-13-staying-sane-in-today-rsquo-s-software-development-world-with-billy-hollis/

TechEd Developer EMEA 2008

I found out a few days ago that I've been selected to speak at TechEd EMEA in Barcelona. I'm really excited as this is not only my first time speaking outside of North America, it's my first trip to continental Europe. My session is on using ASP.NET AJAX with SharePoint 2007.

Integrating ASP.NET AJAX with SharePoint.
SharePoint provides a great infrastructure for quickly building intranet and Internet applications. ASP.NET AJAX provides a foundation for creating highly productive Web interfaces. Combined they are two great tastes that taste great together! In this session we will cover the basics of working with ASP.NET AJAX inside of SharePoint 2007. We will take a look at how to prepare a Web Application for ASP.NET AJAX and how to use various ASP.NET AJAX tools such as the JavaScript libraries, JSON-enabled Web services and UpdatePanels to build add rich interactivity to your SharePoint sites.

If you're attending the conference and find the session interesting the please feel free to go to the session list and rate it. I don't know for sure but I think that your rating and the number of people who give a rating have an effect on the scheduling of the session. I'm positive that the number of ratings you receive helps determine if your session will repeat.

I'm not going to be able to attend the PDC this year (this event and the PDC were too close together) so I'm glad there's a PDC track at TechEd. From all reports PDC is going to rock so at least I'll be able to get a taste of the content.

I'll be Twittering (http://twitter.com/rob_windsor) and hopefully blogging from the conference. If you're there feel free to look me up or better yet drop by my session.

Tech Days or DevTeach - Which Should I Choose?

A colleague of mine was considering attending a conference this fall and, knowing that I'm pretty connected with the community, asked if he should go to TechDays or DevTeach. I thought other people may be wondering the same thing so I decided to put together a comparison chart to assist in making an informed decision.

  Tech Days Canada DevTeach
Web Site http://www.microsoft.com/canada/techdays http://www.devteach.com
Where and When Toronto (Oct 29 and 30)
Montreal (Nov 6 and 7)
Ottawa (Nov 27)
For other locations and dates see the Tech Days site
Montreal (Dec 1 to 5)
Length One or two days of breakout session depending on location Three days of breakout sessions plus pre and post conference sessions
Sessions Two Day: 40 sessions in five tracks (16 Developer and 24 IT Pro)
One Day: 30 sessions in five tracks (12 Developer and 18 IT Pro)
136 sessions in eight tracks (119 Developer and 17 IT Pro)
Note: Some of the sessions will be delivered in French
Speakers Microsoft Canada Developer and IT Pro Advisors
Local Community Members

You see speakers like those you would see at your local user group or code camp
Microsoft Redmond Product Team Members
Canadian and International Speakers

You'll see speakers like those you would see at the largest conferences (e.g. TechEd) mixed with speakers from the Canadian Developer/IT Pro community
Cost Two Day Early Bird: $299.99  Two Day Full: $499.99
One Day Early Bird: $129.99  One Day Full: $249.99
Early Bird: $949.00  Full: $1,249.00
You can get $50.00 off the prices noted above through your local user group or selected Microsoft Partners
Atmosphere Community oriented
Easy access to speakers/community experts
Community oriented
Easy access to speakers/community experts

So, I guess the choice comes down to what you're looking for. While DevTeach is more expensive, it offers more that three times the number of sessions and covers a much wider range of topics. Both are more than worth the cost to attend - just make sure you check out the session lineups before deciding where to spend your conference dollars to ensure you get the experience you are looking for.

DevLounge Goes Live

ObjectSharp has always been very community focused. Our consultants run user groups; we speak at user groups, code camps and conferences; we man the experts areas at big Microsoft events; and we run our own community events like Visual Studio 2008 at the Movies. To extend our contribution to the community, we've added the DevLounge to our website. This is an area where we will post videos, articles, code, and tools so they are available on demand when you need them.

As a special kick off to the DevLounge, we are featuring a video taken at the recent Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Summit in Seattle. At the behest of ObjectSharp's Barry Gervin, Steve Ballmer donned a Team Canada hockey jersey to show Canadian developers some love.

Barry Gervin at the MVP Summit

Talking WCF on Devcasting

While I was in Vegas for Un-Mix 08, I sat down with Derek Hatchard to record a show for Devcasting. About a week later Derek decided to repave his machine but unfortunately, he forgot to backup the recording of the interview. We got together over Skype to re-record a couple weeks ago. What started out as an interview on WCF turned into a 90 minute conversation on all things geek.

Derek's done some editing and has extracted the WCF interview part into a show which you can check out at the link below. Stay tuned for part two where we talk about Mix, WPF, and more.

http://devcasting.com/index.php/2008/04/10/devcasting-10-wcf-with-rob-windsor/

Happy listening.

TechEd BOF Session: Strategies for Moving Your Microsoft Visual Basic 6 Investments to .NET

If you're not familiar with the concept, a Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) session is an open discussion lead by a moderator who is not a Microsoft employee. The sessions are not presentations, there are no projectors. Unlike the Keynotes and Breakout sessions which are mostly one to many communication, Birds-of-a-Feather sessions are many to many communication and don't necessarily focus on Microsoft products or technology.  They are about people talking with people - connecting, sharing, networking, and creating community.

This year I'm doing a BOF session at TechEd Developer. From my expereince with the community at user groups and conferences it's pretty clear that there are lots of developers who still work with classic VB code at least part of the time. Many are still questioning what to do with this legacy code and how to move it forward or integrate it with .NET.

Strategies for Moving Your Microsoft Visual Basic 6 Investments to .NET: For years Visual Basic 6 (VB 6) was used by organizations world-wide to build key line-of-business applications and components. Now they have thousands to millions of lines of code representing a significant organizational investment. Many have struggled in the past trying to move this legacy code base to .NET, many are just starting that journey. The path from VB 6 to .NET has not always been clear - there are options but there is no one size fits all approach. One option is to rewrite your applications so you can re-architect and take advantage of all the features .NET has to offer. Another is to migrate the applications so automated tools like the Code Advisor and the Migration Wizard can assist you. Finally, you can use COM Interop and the Interop Forms Toolkit to continue leveraging existing working assets while phasing in new features built on the .NET Framework. In this session we will discuss all three options and explore the pros and cons of each. The goal is raise awareness of the choices and the tools available so you will be able to pick the best strategy for your organization going forward.

Webcast: Migrating Your Visual Basic 6 Investments to .NET

I recorded my first webcast a couple weeks ago. I teamed with Beth Massi on VB 6.0 to .NET integration and migration.

Visual Basic (VB) 6 was used by millions of developers world-wide to build applications ranging from thousands to millions of lines of code representing significant organizational investments. The path from VB 6 to .NET has not always been clear, there is no one size fits all approach. We’ll cut to the chase, exploring the pros and cons of each option using real world examples. You will leave this webcast with the framework and tools to develop the right strategy for your organization to leverage your existing investments while taking advantage of the power and productivity the .NET Framework provides.

http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032371436&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US

"How Do I" Videos on the VB Developer Center

The VB Team has added about 50 "How Do I" videos to the VB Developer Center. The topics include Forms over Data, Windows Development, Office Development, Security, and so on. Most of the videos are 20 minutes or less so there a great way to get up to speed on a topic really quickly.

You can check them out at:

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/vbasic/bb466226.aspx