Welcome to Marcie Robillard (a.k.a. Datagrid Girl)

I've had the pleasure of getting to know Marcie over the past 53 days. It's great to be working with her and I look forward to winforms enlightenment :)



TechEd (Day -1): MCT Day Breakdown

I attended the MCT meetings today. It was nice warm up to the rest of TechEd, although I felt a little out of place as a Developer trainer.....most of the room was IT Pro (MCSE) types, a fun crowd....geeky in a different way.

Anyway, lots of cool things in store for MCT's coming Oct 1 (beginning of the 2005 program). Most of that is at the doghouse.

I got to meet Paul Adare whom for the longest time has been the moderator on the MCT newsgroups. It's funny that I have to fly all the way to San Diego to meet a guy who live about 15 minutes from my house in Oakville. I'm not a big poster in the MCT newsgroups so I was surprised that he knew my name and said he reads this blog. “Hi Paul - say you need a blog so I can point people to it”.

I also had a chance to run over our new “Best Practice“ curriculum with David Lowe who is the Content Development and Delivery Training and Certification Manager at Microsoft. It would seems that we are not the only ones seeing demand from our customers for this new level of training above and beyond the simple how & why, but more of the when & where of how a technology or development practices applies in a developers day.

The final session was with Richard Klees. He does most if not all of the speaker training & coaching for Microsoft employee's and partners speeking at their events. I learned lots of interesting techniques for really maximizing the experience for the audience. I had a nice conversation with him afterwards and he offerred to do a 1-1 review with me later this week. I think I'll settle on trying to get him out to dinner (we share a mexican food grok) to get his thoughts on speaking into your computer/conducting web casts.

All in all, a great warm up to TechEd.

TechEd (Day -1): ObjectSpaces = Longhorn, 3rd time charm?

It was bumped from The initial 1.0 release, and then as of last PDC slated for Whidbey. Now it looks like we'll have to wait until Longhorn.

It's not all bad news however. ObjectSpaces is being re-orged into the WinFs file system. When you think about there is an awful lot of correlation to those technologies. I'm sure it's not terribly unrelated to the fact that the Microsoft Business Framework(MBF) that was to build on ObjectSpaces was also pushed off to Longhorn/Orcas. MBF is also to rely on an orchestration engine (Biztalk light?) features going into Longhorn so it all makes sense.

Some people will be disappointed - but this is a good rationalization of the way too many data access/storage visions within Microsoft. Both of these technologies have a common thread about objects/applications and data and breaking down the wall. Sure, MS could have released ObjectSpaces first, but do we really need that legacy and all the effort attached to YADAA (yet another data access api.

Microsoft has taken a lot of criticism (including from me) about the seemingly constant churn of all things data. So this is a good sign that MS is not going to do things, just be cause they can, but do them right. Just ask a Java developer what they think of EJB's. It's important to get it right


TechEd (Day -1): Packing Tips

Bring your photo ID. You'll need it for registration.

Bring a single socket power splitter. I brought one of those double socket splitters than turn a 2 port outlet into 6...but guess what, there is almost always at least 1 important thing plugged into every outlet at the convention centre - important like a big computer/tv for displaying schedule updates.

Don't bring a knapsack. Bring your laptop, but you're going to get another one half full of crap so if you don't want to carry two around on the first day - just bring one.

Bring an electric golf cart or a donkey if you don't like walking around.

TechEd (Day -1): Pieces of ADO.NET 2.0 not going to make Whidbey

Highlights in this exchange of newsgroup posts...

  • Paging is cut
  • Server cursors cut (SqlResultSet class)
  • Async Open is cut, but not excute
  • SqlDataTable class cut (Good - that was a bad design pattern to propogate)
  • Command sets are cut, but you can still do batch DataAdapter updates,


More to come, stay tuned.

Arrived in San Diego @ TechEd

One Uneventful pair of connecting flights, a car rental pickup and a check in at the hotel. It's the calm before the storm....you know, the calm associated with hotel internet access actually working. You know it's a computer conference when you can see 5 wireless access points from various people's hotel rooms, and I'm on the corner of the hotel!

I kind of drove in the back way and haven't been near the convention centre yet to check out the buzz, but I will tomorrow. The MCT day starts at 7:30am at the Marriott next door. I better get to bed.

There is a bit of a buzz on email right now - stuff I'm not allowed to talk about until Monday - but it's one of my speculations. More about that on Monday. There will be a lot of announcements on Monday. Stay tuned.

ObjectSharpees at TechEd

I am lucky enough to have two of my ObjectSharp colleagues running two separate Birds of a Feather sessions.  Barry Gervin is hosting “Integrating Unit Testing tools and practices into the Software Development LifeCycle” on Sunday at 8:00 pm.  Barry has been waist deep in unit testing design and implemention for quite a while now.  Trust me that his knowledge is based on nicks, cuts and scars rather than book lernin'.

Also, Marcie Robillard (that's Datagrid Girl to the rest of the world) is hosting a BOF session on Wednesday.  The topic is basically whatever her fertile mind dreams up.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

If you're attending TechEd, make sure you stop in and see what they have to say.

You Know Blogging Has Arrived When...

A quote from Bill Gates' keynote at the Microsoft-hosted CEO Summit.

“Another new phenomenon that connects into this [collaboration] is one that started outside of the business space, more in the corporate or technical enthusiast space, a thing called blogging. And a standard around that that notifies you that something has changed called RSS.”

I guess we can all sleep easier now that our life's work has been validated. ;)

Actually, the most interesting thing about Bill's comments is that he pitches it as being, in some ways, superior to email as a communications medium.  Less intrusive and less prone to CC-spamming (that's when some CC's everyone and their mother on an email to ensure that no one feels left out). And when you're talking about blogging to Warren Buffet, Barry Diller, et al. odds are pretty good that the level of corporate interest in RSS will increase over the next six months. 



TechEd BOF Session on Integrating Unit Testing Tools and Practices into the Software Development Life Cycle.

This session which was originally scheduled for Tuesday night is now moved to Sunday night at 8pm. This should allow people who were interested in the Peter Provost's hosted Continous Integration Testing BOF to attend both of these sessions.
BOF36  Integrating Unit Testing Tools and Practices Into the Software Development LifeCycle
Sunday , May 23 8:00 PM- 9:00 PM, Location TBA
Speaker(s): Barry Gervin
Automated Unit Testing tools and practices are finding their way into the dev life cycle of more and more IT shops each day. Some people simply use NUnit to demonstrate a bug and prove that's fixed. Others use NUnit to demonstrate a % goal for code coverage. Others go as far as to use Test Driven Development to drive the design of their applications. People are using Unit testing harnesses for Design, Functional Testing, Performance and Security Testing. In this discussion we will raise awareness of the current tools and practices that people are using today and how best to address the more holistic needs with future tools and practices.
And if you happen to be going to TechEd Amsterdam, James Newkirk is going to repeat this session there.

NUnit 2.2 beta released


Things I like:

  • Assert.AreEquals support to compare arrays of the same length, type and values.
  • You can now put a Category attribute on your fixtures AND methods....and then use that as a filter when you go to run tests. Thoughts on categories? Functional Tests,  Performance Tests
  • On a similar note, there is an explicit attribute that will cause a fixture or method not to run unless explicitly selected by the user. You can now put check boxes on the tree to select multiple fixtures/methods.
  • They fixed a problem with background threads that when they raise exceptions, they weren't showing up as a problem in NUnit. Seems they've done some refactoring of how things are loaded in the AppDomain. I'm hopeful that this fixes some issues I've seen when own dynamic loading and Fusion get's lost...but only during the NUnit tests, not the production execution.

Looks exciting.