AzureFest Follow-Up Links & Videos

Cory Fowler stands beside the big screen in Microsoft Canada's MPR roomThis past Saturday December 11th, Microsoft and ObjectSharp hosted AzureFest, a community event to raise interest and learn a little bit about Microsoft’s cloud platform, Windows Azure.

My colleague Cory Fowler gave an introductory run down on the Azure platform and pricing, and then demonstrated for those in attendance how to go about Creating an Account and Deploying an Azure Application.

The best part, is that our good friends at Microsoft Canada offered $25 in User Group Funding for each person in attendance that followed along on their laptop to activate an azure account and deploy the sample application.

Now Held Over!

The even better part, is that MS Canada is extending the offer until December 31st online for anybody that goes through this process to activate and deploy a sample application online. We’ve got the instructions for you here and it will take you approximately 15 minutes to go through the videos and deploy the sample.

  1. Download the application package that you’ll need for the deployment here.
  2. Create an Azure Introductory Account (5 minutes). You’ll need
    • a Windows Live id. (if you don’t have one, click here for instructions)
    • a Valid Credit Card (don’t worry, in step 4 we’ll show you how to shut down your instance before you get charged).
    • navigate to and follow along with these instructions
      Signing up for Windows Azure
  3. Deploy the Nerd Dinner Application (8 minutes)
    • follow along with these instructions
      Deploying the Nerd Dinner Package to Azure
    • email a screenshot of your deployed application showing the URL and the name of your user group to
    • Specify TVBug, Metro Toronto .NET UG, CTTDNUG, Architecture UG, East of Toronto .NET UG, Markham .NET UG, etc.
  4. Tear down to the application to avoid any further charges (2 minutes)
    • Tearing down a Windows Azure Service

Here are the slides from Azure Fest

Stay tuned here for the next part of our video blogs where we will review:

  • Deploying a SQL Database to Azure
  • Installing the Azure Tools for Visual Studio and SDK
  • Deploying ASP.NET Applications from within Visual Studio

Windows Phone 7 App Challenge: TFS Mobile Client

I have an MSDN Ultimate Subscription to give away to the winner of this challenge! The winner will have successfully built a showcase TFS Client for Windows Phone 7. I will accept entries until November 30th.

There are boundless opportunities for features and functionality. Creativity counts here, but to get you started, here are some ideas:

    • Build Server Status
      Would love to see the status of a given build type, the latest build, success/fail, the offending people who checked in code on a broken build. Would be nice to kick off a QA or Production build (or any type for that matter) from my phone once I’ve got the all clear from QA.
    • Iteration Dashboard
      What’s the status of the current build? What exit items are still open? What’s our current velocity? What’s the burn down look like?
    • Work Items
      Would love to edit a work item, reassign it to somebody else, close it, reactivate it, etc. Log a bug perhaps?
    • Opportunities with the Phone
      Being able to look up a work item owner, or build breaker in my address book and phone or email them seems obvious.


Remember the highlights of this challenge:

  • Entries due by Nov 30th. Email me some code including a link to video demonstration ideally.
  • Let me know if you are planning on entering. I’d be excited to provide some coaching and guidance along the way.
  • On the line is 1 year MSDN Ultimate Subscription. I think that is worth like a million dollars or something Smile
  • I’m sure you will also win a free date with a MS Developer Evangelist and be featured on the CDN Dev Blog.
  • I’m pretty sure you aren’t allowed to win if you live in Quebec or work for Microsoft or the Chinese government, but please don’t let that stop you from submitting an entry!

Gentlecoders, start your engines! Best of luck.


A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at the Canadian Technology Triangle .NET Users Group.

We had a great crowd of over 60 people eager to learn more about ASP.NET MVC. I was able to do a mix of Visual Studio 2008 and 2010 demos, as well as showcase a production application,  a crowd-sourced translation dictionary for First Nation Languages, currently supporting Maliseet and Mi’kmaw languages (

A question came up in the talk about content management systems and ASP.NET MVC. There was one in particular that intrigued me, but I couldn’t remember the name. After doing some digging it was The interesting angle of N2 is that it is very lightweight, and not meant to be the shell of your entire site, but rather works within your application to serve up content where appropriate. I hope to use this on a future project.

Make sure to check out these other valuable resources as you learn ASP.NET MVC:

Toronto Code Camp 2010: Blendability Follow Up

This past weekend I gave a talk on “Blendability”; The ability to maintain and leverage blend design time compatibility with your WPF and Silverlight projects. Thanks to everybody who came out to the talk, we had some good discussions despite the oppressive heat in the room. You’ll find my slides above. As some of you have requested, here you can find my demos including the MVVM template that was used in the Blend 4 previews that demonstrates the behavior technique for calling methods on your view models.

Toronto Code Camp 2010: Ultimate Architecture Experience Follow Up

This is just a quick follow up post from my demo at the Toronto Code Camp last weekend. Thanks for everybody who came out.

In addition to my slides, here ere are a few resources that will help you learn more about the architecture tools in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Edition:

  • The .NET Pet Shop that I used as a sample is available for download.
  • Walkthrough: MSDN How-To’s on Modeling in 2010
  • Blogs: Cameron Skinner, Peter Provost and last but not least Chris Lovett who has some most awesome video demos and tips for dealing with large diagrams. He also provides some samples for those that are interested in learning more about Directed Graph Markup Language for creating their own diagram generators.
  • The Patterns and Practices Team has released a set of templated layered diagrams for various references architectures.

Toronto Code Camp 2010 Keynote: Building the Right Software

Opening Keynote by Joey DeVilla.

I had the privilege to open up the 2010 Toronto Code Camp last week. It’s hard to know what to talk about to such a broad audience getting ready to kick off a great event with so many different sessions and tracks. A topic that is near and dear to my heart is about trying to figure out what makes software relevant. Ultimately it is about knowing your customer, very intimately so you can build the best experience for them.

With that said, I decided to step outside the world of software development to compare to successful invention/design stories and how they differed in their approach to “knowing their customer”.

Ron Popeil the famous pitchman and inventor of the Infomercial. Malcom Gladwell wrote an interesting article/biography Ron and his fellow pitchman. There is a lot to learn about Ron’s successes, but specifically how he focused on the audience that he knew. Himself. The chef, the entertainer, and the balding guy.

The contrasting story of Deborah Adler and her thesis turned Target product for a revolutionary redesign of the common pill bottle, is no less inspiring. You can watch/hear Deborah tell her own story from the Mix 09 keynote. Unlike Popeil, Deborah inspires her design efforts by forming such an intimate understanding of her customers that she refers to it as a “Love Affair”.

These two approaches are so simple and common sense that it’s hard to ignore them when compared to the way most of us build software and disconnect ourselves from our users through layers of requirement and specification documents.

The rest of the conference was a tremendous pleasure and wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of the numerous volunteers, speakers and most importantly Chris Dufour who has the thankless job of herding this motley crew of geeks :) Thanks to all who made a contribution to this worthwhile event.

Architecture with Visual Studio 2010 At The Movies

This is just a quick follow up post from my demo at Visual Studio 2010 At The Movies last week. Thanks for everybody who came out, especially those from out of town.

I didn’t use any slides but I thought about recording my demo here. I may still get to that, but in the meantime, here are a few resources that will help you learn more about the architecture tools in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Edition:

  • The .NET Pet Shop that I used as a sample is available for download.
  • Walkthrough: MSDN How-To’s on Modeling in 2010
  • Blogs: Cameron Skinner, Peter Provost and last but not least Chris Lovett who has some most awesome video demos and tips for dealing with large diagrams. He also provides some samples for those that are interested in learning more about Directed Graph Markup Language for creating their own diagram generators.
  • The Patterns and Practices Team has released a set of templated layered diagrams for various references architectures.

VSTS Load Testing Deal of the Day: Why you need to buy a VS 2008 Load Agent before April 12th, 2010

There are important licensing changes happening imminently with VSTS as part of the transition from 2008 to 2010:

  • The current VSTS 2008 Test Edition can load test up to the limit of your machine. On a good day, this is 1000 users. That satisfies a lot of the cases where people need to do load testing. If it’s not, and you have multiple testers, you always all run load from your own machines, however you don’t get the same unified collection of statistics – that’s what the Load Agent & Controller software is for. It’s not a huge deal, and that is why most people don’t buy Load Agents.
  • If you did need centralized collection of statistics, you’d want to buy a number of load agents, one for each CPU, at least in the 2008 SKU. If you wanted to test 10K users, you’d probably want 10 licenses (at least).  But that is changing.
  • In 2010, load testing licensing is no longer done by the CPU, it’s done by the virtual users!
  • When you upgrade to VS 2010 Ultimate come April, your load testing ability changes to only 250 users from your workstation copy of Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate. If you want to test more, you’ll want load agents. The 2010 Load Agent SKU will give you 1000 virtual users. If your hardware is not up to snuff, or your web tests are intensive, you can install a single 2010 SKU on any number boxes, but you’re limited to a total of 1000 users per SKU that you purchase.

This all sounds rather terrible, but as part of the transition, MS is offering this:

If you have purchased a 2008 Load Agent with Software Assurance, as part of the upgrade to 2010, they will give you 5x1000 Virtual Users in the 2010 Load Agent SKU. Wow!

For your benefit of pricing, that means if you buy a 2008 Load Agent with SA today, for about $8,000 you will get 5000 users in 2010. That’s a very good deal. If you wait until after April 12th, you will no longer be able to buy the 2008 SKU and you’ll have to buy the 2010 SKU. At about $8,000 per 1000 users. So if you wanted to test 5000 users come April 12th and you didn’t take advantage to get in on this deal, it will cost you 5x$8000 = $40,000! I’d say that an 80% discount is pretty good – snap it up today.

If you need help purchasing a license prior to April 12th, drop me a note at bgervin @ and I can hook you up.

Join ObjectSharp for Silverlight on the Silver Screen – July 9 – Scotiabank Theatre Toronto

Silverlight 3 will soon be released.  And to properly celebrate the excitement of its release, ObjectSharp is teaming up with Microsoft to present an action-packed first look at the UX3 platform, live from the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto. 

As one of the first companies to be featured on Microsoft’s Silverlight gallery, our consultants will share with you their deep knowledge of the next generation of tools.  Whether you are a designer, developer, or purely a marketing geek, you will not want to miss this blockbuster event.  You will see feature-rich demonstrations of Silverlight, Expression Blend, SketchFlow, and  Windows 7 touch technology.  You will also see how these tools can be used to dazzle your customers and gain attention for your brand.







For Developers and Designers:

  • See in-depth demonstrations of Silverlight 3, Expression Blend, and Windows 7 touch technology.
  • Learn how to quickly design user interactions with Microsoft SketchFlow
  • Take Designer/Developer work flow to the next level with Visual Studio Team System
  • Learn how to cut off your bosses head off and paste it on other people’s bodies with Expression Studio


For CTOs and Marketing Managers

  • Understand the benefits of creating line-of-business applications with Silverlight and .NET RIA Services
  • Learn how to integrate Rich Media and Advertising with the Microsoft Platform
  • See Touch technology and natural user interfaces bring kiosk applications to life with Windows 7 and WPF

Technologies You Will See:

  • Silverlight 3 featuring WPF & XAML
  • Expression Blend 3 featuring SketchFlow
  • Windows 7 featuring Touch
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint System 2007 (MOSS) for external facing web sites
  • Visual Studio 2010 Team System

Register Online   |   Watch the Movie Trailer

DevTeach Montreal December 1-5, 2008 – Coupon Enclosed

DevTeach Montreal is less than a month away but it’s not too late to register. This is a great conference with sessions covering .NET FX, Future, SQL Server, VSTS/Team System, Silverlight, Agile Development, Software Architecture, ASP.NET.

Aside from the great content, build up your professional network by rubbing shoulders with the speakers in an intimate conference. The list of speakers is particularly impressive this year. From MS you’ll get to see Elisa Flasko and Carl Perry from the Data Programmability Team, Beth Massi and Yair Alan Griver. Of course .NET Rockers Carl Franklin & Richard Campbell will also be there with fellow MS Regional Directors Tim Huckaby, Joel Semeniuk, Stephen Forte, Jim Duffy, Guy Barrette and yours truly.

But wait, there’s more. Each attendee will get Visual Studio 2008 Pro and Expression Web 2.0 full copies along with the entire DVD set covering all sessions from TechEd 2008 Developers conference from Orlando this year. It’s Shamwow!

If you attended TechDays, your included coupon is now worth $350 off the price of DevTeach. If you didn’t, you can use this code:TO000OBJSHARP good for 50$ off. Sign up here.