Visual Studio, SQL Server, and Windows Server 2008 Launch Events in Toronto


On February 27 in Toronto, MS Canada is hosting the official launch of the above mentioned products. The event will be all day long and in addition to a keynote from COO Kevin Turner, there will be some great breakout tracks running in parallel for IT Professionals, Developers, IT Managers, and Architects.

The event will be held at the Direct Energy Centre downtown. Of course ObjectSharp will have a booth there with some great offers for both our Training and Professional Services along with some awesome prize raffles so please stop by.

Also make sure to stop by the expert's area where several MVP's and speakers will be able to answer your individual questions including many of the MVP's from ObjectSharp.

You can also register for this event here along with all of the other cities and their events happening across Canada.

And don't forget, we're also doing a 1/2 day briefing for developers & architects on VS 2008 at the Paramount in Toronto on February 7th. You can view the details here.

TSPUG Presentation: Using Visual Studio 2008 for Developing SharePoint Workflows (and other stuff)

Last night I gave a presentation to the Toronto SharePoint Users Group on using Visual Studio 2008 to build SharePoint Workflows. I also covered a little bit on LINQ to SharePoint and WCF/WF integration at the end. Attached are my slides. Enjoy.

Robust Error Handling for BizTalk Solutions Presentation

I presented at the Microsoft SOA and Business Process Conference last week in Redmond. The title of the presentation was:

Robust Error Handling for BizTalk Solutions.

I did the presentation once on Thurs Nov 1 and again on Friday Nov 2. A number of people who attended the
presentation were asking for the demo code and powerpoint. The zipped code is here and the powerpoint from the presentation is here. Hopefully when I have more time, I will try to write a more formal blog entry describing some of the techniques for error handling in BizTalk. Also for anybody who attended the conference and missed my presentation, you can catch the recorded presentation on a post conference DVD, that should be mailed out to all attendees in the next month or so.

Visual Studio 2008 to ship by end of month!

In case you didn't catch this S. Somasegar announced today during his TechEd Developers Keynote in Barcelona that Visual Studio 2008 will ship by the end of this month (November!). Yeah! Most people were counting on this before the end of the year which mean December or early January so this comes as a nice surprise.

We're talking about some cool technology:

  • Visual Studio 2008 (all editions)
  • Team Foundation Server 2008
  • .NET Framework 3.5
  • Language Integrated Query (LINQ)

Now of course the best feature in Visual Studio 2008 is multi-targeting. This features allows you to continue to develop .NET 2.0 or 3.0 applications without migrating to 3.5. There are lots of great features if Visual Studio 2008 - even if you don't move to .NET 3.5:

And if you are a Team System User

  • SharePoint 2007/WSS 3.0 or MOSS support
  • Simplified Installation
  • Better Offline Support
  • A bunch of other stuff including Power Tool Rollups.

And don't worry - you can install VS 2008 side by side with VS 2005.

Don't let your VS2008 Beta2 VPC turn into a Pumpkin on Halloween at Midnight

Jeff Beehler blogs here and here that the Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 VPCs are prematurely expiring on November 1st. If you're using your VPC for demos - you'll be limited to 2 hours before you have to shut down. If you're using it for real work - that will be annoying - especially if you are using it for your TFS server Follow Jeff's links to instructions on backing that up and moving it. Look for new VPCs next week - hopefully we'll see a Release Candidate shortly.

Update: Jeff has posted a link to updated VPCs here.

Building Composite Applications at Toronto SharePoint Camp

This past Saturday, I gave a talk at the Toronto SharePoint Camp on building composite applications. I started talking in general requirements terms of why composite applications are useful, what they are, and what are the platform requirements - it naturally came down to a SharePoint demo - it's a great platform for building web based composite applications. The nice thing about SharePoint is that much of that work can be done in an ad hoc fashion. This means less plumbing code for us developers and we get to focus on solving business problems.

Some of the things I demonstrated are all available with Windows SharePoint Services (free). For example, Document Libraries and Custom lists, along with the excellent Outlook integration (including offline support) not to mention version control. Then we got into Workflow and integration with enterprise data with the Business Data Catalog of which requires the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server or MOSS 2007 which is not free (approx $5000), but a totally worthwhile investment. You can easily save the license fees several times over in reduced development effort. I also used SharePoint Designer which is about $200-300.

My slides and demo files are attached. Let me know if you have any questions. I've also included some demo script notes in the slide notes for those who asked.

Also, check out Rob Windsor's Pictures on Flickr of the event

Toronto Architect Forum, this Thursday

This coming Thursday, Microsoft is hosting the annual Toronto Architect Forum at their offices in Mississauga. The target audience is architects that are *not* in the financial service industry. Here's the agenda:

8:00 - 8:30 am Breakfast and Registration
8:30 - 9:00 am Welcome by Mark Relph
9:00 - 9:30 am Architectural Agility as Business Value, Dave Remmer
9:30 - 10:30 am Office Business Applications, Mike Walker
10:30 - 10:45 am Break
10:45 - 12:00 pm Visual Studio 2008 “All Up”, Adam Gallant
12:00 - 1:00 pm Networking lunch
1:00 - 2:15 pm Architectural Implications of LINQ, Barry Gervin
2:15 - 2:30 pm Break
2:30 - 3:00 pm Project Experiences using AJAX, Amalan Ponnampalam
3:00 - 4:15 pm How to be an Effective Architect, Mohammad Akif
4:15 - 4:30 pm Wrap-up and Prize Draw

As you can, I've secured the ever so popular "right after lunch" time slot. I don't know if there are detailed abstracts online for each session, but here is mine:

LINQ: Architectural Implications

Support for Language Integrated Query in the .NET 3.5 Framework promises to simplify and unify querying operations across object collections, relational data, DataSets and XML. The opportunity to simplify or even eliminate the notion  of a data access layer is one many architects are considering. During this session we will quickly introduce the capabilities of LINQ, LINQ to SQL and the upcoming Entity Framework, and then discuss how this may affect the design of our data access logic moving forward.

Registration is still open - here.

Update - the event is for Architects not in the financial services industry (my mistake).

Toronto SharePoint Camp

image Come to camp on Saturday October 20th, 2007 in downtown Toronto. We'll do paper mache, cook marshmallows over a fire, and learn how to rapidly build collaborative portal solutions. You can visit the site and register here, and they are still looking for speakers.

I hope to be speaking about something in the Architect Track, but haven't quite decided on what I'd like to talk about yet. What would you like to hear? Drop me a line.

Congratulations to Tony Cavaliere, Gadget Guru and Agenda Junkie

Congratulations are in order for Tony Cavaliere, a fellow ObjectSharp Consultant. 

Tony is a self confessed addict of the TVO show The Agenda and when Microsoft Canada announced the competition for building Vista sidebar gadgets, Tony jumped on the chance to show off his sidebar gadget building skills while building something useful for fans of the show.

Tony finished third in the competition, but more importantly is now up to date on all the happenings with the show without having to leave his desktop.

IT Business Canada featured Tony's work in a recent article that the discusses the merits of building vista gadgets to deliver a powerful marketing punch.

You can download Tony's gadget on his blog.

GetType on a Dynamically Loaded Assembly

The application on which I'm working has the opportunity to dynamically load and assembly. Later in the application, one of the types from the loaded assembly need be retrieved using GetType. More specifically, the GetType was performed using a fully qualified type name (including the name of the assembly). But the GetType failed. Naturally, this begged the question of why GetType didn't find the type in the dynamically loaded assembly.

Ultimately, it comes down to how GetType operations. If you provide a string of the form "A,C" (for assembly,class), then GetType operates as if it were performing Assembly.Load(A).GetType(C).

Notice the Load method that is in there. If A exists in the default probing path, then there is not problem. But A doesn't include a fully qualified path. And if the assembly was originally loaded from a location other then the executable's directory, GetType will fail.

There are a couple of solutions to the problem.

1 - Put the assembly in the GAC. Then Load will find the assembly and GetType will work

2 - Add a codebase element to the config file. This element can be used to control the probing path, but you cannot probe outside of the executable's directories and subdirectories. The codebase element (which has to be created for each DLL) allows you to specify the full path to the assembly.