Canadian PDC Bloggers.

Bill Simser is a Sharepoint MVP in Calgary Alberta. I just stumbled on his blog today while checking out things at PDCBloggers. He's down at PDC and is blogging a lot about what's going on.

My fellow Canadian RD's Kate Gregory, Derek Hatchard, Richard Campbell, Guy Barrette, Joel Semeniuk.

Co-ObjectSharpie's Rob Windsor, and previously mentioned Dave Lloyd are also blogging about their trips to PDC.

Mark Relph from Microsoft is also blogging about his trip to PDC.

Another Canadian MVP Mario Cardinal is also down at PDC. I'm sure he'll be doing some French podcasting, and he also did a Birds of a Feather session on “Unifying Object-First and Data-First design” last night. I wish I was there for that one.

Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005 Canadian Launch Dates Announced

Check out the dates for the Canadian Launch Events for Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005. Don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed to learn more about when registration opens. I can almost guarantee that these events will be sold out. Did I mention you'll receive a free copy of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 just for showing up?

Visual Studio Team Suite 2005 - Release Candidate Now Available

The VS Team Suite Release Candidate is now available on MSDN Subscriber Downloads. I'm downloading now - I'm assuming you'll also need the Sql Server 2005 September CTP which was also released today. Happy downloading.


Metro Toronto .NET User Group Meeting September 8th: Managed Code in Sql Server 2005

On September 8th I'll be speaking at the .NET User Group here in Toronto. I'll be talking about how developers can take advantage of Sql Server 2005's ability to host managed code. Full abstract and registration details are here.

VSTS Beta 3 and Go Live News

There is good news and bad news with Somasegar's blog today (

The bad news is that VSTS team foundation server is not going to be released on November 7th with the rest of Visual Studio 2005. We could have speculated that much so that should not be news to too many people. Instead, we'll have to wait for the first quarter of 2006.

The good news is that in September, we are going to be seeing Release Candidates for the rest of Visual Studio 2005 and a Beta 3 of Team Foundation Server. The really good news is that sounds like the quality is going to take a huge leap - so much so that MS is going to be offerring a Go Live License and support to premier customers who want to start using VSTS for their development efforts.

Document Outline for Windows forms

Many of you may be familiar with the Document Outline feature in word. Did you know Visual Studio also has a Document Outline. It's there in VS 2003 for Web Forms, in 2005 MS has made it useful to windows developers also.

To open the Document Outline window goto View | Other Windows | Document Outline or Ctrl-Alt-T.

Some things you can do with the Document Outline Window.

  • See a list of all your controls
    • This is not just a list though, it's a nested view of your form via treeview. Showing what container each control is in. This is a useful way to view a complex form. Any windows developer will tell you sometimes a form gets complicated and it's difficult to get a good picture of what is going on with splitters, panels, tabs etc.

  • Select controls to change their properties
    • We have all done it; clicked on a control on a form and inadvertantly moved it. With the Document Outline you can select a control so that you can use the property explorer without actually touching the form. You can also do this in the property browser itself using the list box at the top but it's easier to select the control from the Document Outline Window, because you can see all of them at once. If anyone from MS is reading this I would like to be able to multi select controls from this window.
  • Move controls from one container to another
    • One very cool feature is being able to move control from one container to another using the Document Outline. for example; you can drag a control from one side of your Split Container to the other or from a panel to the form, right in the Document Outline window. This can be very useful on a complicated form with many controls.

I'm not sure how much I will use this window once developing on a regular basis with it. But I can think of a few projects it would have come in handy.

Building Outlook Add-ins with .NET Managed Code

Why would you want to do that you ask? Well for developers, probably the main reason would be to rewrite or wrap up some ugly lotus notes application (or all of lotus notes for that matter) and expose it in outlook. But seriously, there is a good chance your end user might spend more time in Outlook then any other application they have installed. And then of course, outlook has some context that might be helpful. Maybe, just maybe, when a user wants to talk to a customer, they open up their contact details in outlook first. Nothing worst than having to then alt-tab to another application and lookup the same contact in another system, perhaps to lookup their order history, etc. Or maybe you'd just like to rip through the information in outlook (contacts, appointments, emails) and integrate that data with some other application.

The outlook support for VSTO 2005 was a well kept secret until yesterday at TechEd when this was demonstrated at the keynote. How long are you going to have to wait before you can get your hands on this? How fast is your internet connection?

Release Date for Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, BizTalk 2006

At TechEd today, Paul Flessner announced that these products will be released the week of November 7th. Also of interest is that SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services will be available in the express edition. Report Builder will also be pushed down into Standard, Workgroup and up.

Anybody else think it's funny that MS is releasing products touted with “2005” and “2006” labels during the same week?

DevTeach Conference in Montreal

I'm going to be heading out in a couple of weeks to DevTeach in Montreal. In addition to my regular session talk on Datasets, I'll also be participating in an architecture panel discussion as part of Groupe d’usagers Visual Studio Montréal, Software Architecture Special Interest Group's Special Software Architecture Meeting. The meeting is open to conference attendees, members of the user group, and anybody else for $5. Here's the details....

Speaker: Joel Semeniuk, Microsoft Regional Director, Winnipeg

Subject: Software architecture from the trenches


Architecture is the soul of our software. Software Architecture truly helps to define our success since if our architecture fails us, our software fails us. However, what makes a good architecture? What truly drives architectural decisions? Is one architecture better than another? In this session we will explore and discuss some of these questions while taking a close look at a few real-world examples. In each real-world scenario we will explore the resulting architecture and review the constraints the project faced both during design and during production and maintenance phases. We will also look retrospectively at each architecture presented and discuss ways that it could be improved upon with Microsoft .NET 2.0.


Joel Semeniuk is a founder and VP of Software Development at ImagiNET Resources Corp, a Manitoba based Microsoft Gold Partner in Ecommerce and Enterprise Systems. Joel is also the Microsoft Regional Director for Winnipeg, Manitoba. With a degree in Computer Science from the University of Manitoba, Joel has spent the last twelve years providing educational, development and infrastructure consulting services to clients throughout North America. Joel is the author of "Exchange and Outlook: Constructing Collaborative Solutions", from New Riders Publishing and contributing author of "Microsoft Visual Basic.NET 2003 KickStart" from SAMS. Joel has also acted as a technical reviewer on many other books and regularly writes articles for .NET Magazine and Exchange and Outlook Magazine on a variety of infrastructure and development related topics. Reach Joel by email at


Followed by a software architecture expert panel:

Beth Massi, Software Architecture MVP

Joel Semeniuk, Software Architecture MVP, Microsoft Regional Director Winnipeg

Barry Gervin, Software Architecture MVP, Microsoft Regional Director Toronto

Mario Cardinal, Software Architecture MVP

Carol Roy, Microsoft Canada .NET architecture specialist for the public sector


Well known Nick Landry (MVP .NET Compact Framework) will act as the moderator.


Come hear these experts talk about software architecture hot topics.  You'll also have the chance to ask questions and talk to the panelists.


Monday June 20th, 5:30PM to 9:30PM

Location: Sheraton Centre, 1201 Boulevard Rene-Levesque West

Cost: free for all the DevTeach attendees and the Groupe d’usagers Visual Studio Montréal members.  $5 for non members or non DevTeach attendees.

Note: this session will be held in English

More info: or


SQL Server/Visual Studio/Biztalk Developer Competition - $50K 1st prize

The stakes are getting seriously high on these competitions. How about $50,000 USD?

There are lots of prizes - not just the grand prize. There are many categories to develop in so I think there is something here for every microsoft developer, from SQL Reporting Services, to SQL CLR, to video gaming.

I'd love to see a fellow Canadian win this.