Alabama Code Camp - January 17th

4. January 2009 07:49

It's that time again.  The next Alabama Code Camp has been scheduled for Saturday, January 17th in Montgomery, AL at the Auburn University campus.  The call for speakers is now open.  Please stay tuned to the web site for additional information.  The event is barely two weeks away.  So, registration will probably open soon.

This should be a good opportunity to learn some new things and meet some new people.  I hope to see you at the event.

MSDN Developer Conference

18. November 2008 15:31

For those of you that haven’t heard, Microsoft has recently announced the MSDN Developer Conference, which is a one day event that delivers that core content from the PDC.  So, if you didn’t get to make it out to Los Angeles for PDC 2008, this will be your chance to get to see some of the primary content.  The event will be held at several cities across the U.S. over the next couple of months.  The fee is $99, which is quite reasonable.

On Tuesday, December 16th, I will be speaking at the Atlanta event.  I will be co-presenting with Chad Brooks for the “Lap Around Windows Azure and the Azure Service Platform” session.  Glen Gordon recently blogged about several perks for attending the conference including a lot of nice giveaways.  If you are interested in keeping up with the future of the Microsoft .NET platform and peripheral technologies, you should make time to attend.

I hope to see you at the event.

Thoughts on PDC 2008 Keynote

27. October 2008 17:52

Microsoft formally kicked off the PDC event this week with Ray Ozzie delivering the keynote address.  I was fortunate enough to land a seat on the front row.  As expected, some new initiatives were finally unveiled: Windows Azure.  Azure is the new cloud services platform, which has an extremely compelling story.  Essentially, this is an effort to push the hosting of application from inside the enterprise to the cloud.  Don't be fooled into thinking that this is only referring to web applications.  Azure expands well beyond the scope of mere web applications.  It will offer a platform for inexpensively hosting applications, databases, and more.

Based on what has been shown so far, it appears to be a very simple and seamless development experience.  Developers are still capable of locally developing and debugging applications on their desktop.  After the solution is ready to be deployed, you merely have to go to the Azure portal to create an application environment and upload the solution as a package. 

Where all of this stuff starts to get interesting is the scalability aspect.  So, you need to scale your application up for an increased number of users?  No problem.  All you need to do is modify your configuration to specify a higher number of nodes.  Azure takes care of all of the dirty work behind the scenes.  It will be interesting to see whether all of this works as well as advertised.  If it pans out, I can see this as being overwhelmingly compelling for small companies all the way to large enterprises.  Imagine not only the cost savings, but the how much easier it would be to avoid the headaches of setting up your own major infrastructure in house.

However, I still think trust is going to be a major factor.  There are many businesses that are understandably reluctant to let someone else house their data.  It will take some time to build up trust and convince many organizations that this is a viable option.  However, I am starting to believe that the cost savings could be a compelling argument to give it a try.  Nevertheless, security will be a concern at the forefront of this platform.  I am anxious to hear more about the security aspects of the platform later this week.  More importantly,I am incredibly eager to get my hands on the CTP and give it a test drive.

What do you think?  I'd love to hear the comments of others.

Next TechMixer Scheduled for Nov 13th

21. October 2008 06:01

For those technology professionals in Birmingham and surrounding areas, take note that the next TechMixer has been scheduled for Thursday, November 13th.  It will be held at the Innovation Depot from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

In case you aren't familiar with it, this is one of the area's largest technical networking events.  There will be booths  to represent all of the area user groups as well as several technical companies.  Each iteration of the event has turned out a larger and larger crowd.  There is usually free finger foods as well as a cash bar.  So, load up on business cards and come on out to meet some new people.

Be sure to visit the registration site and RSVP.

PDC 2008 Is Approaching

20. October 2008 22:14

It is getting close to time for PDC, and I have been giving some thought to the sessions that I want to attend.  There are too many scheduling conflicts to make all of the ones that interest me.  So, I have tried to strike a balance between my focus areas and some things a little outside of my comfort zone.  Given the breadth of the technologies that will be presented, I wanted to get a broad mix to try and understand the vision of where things are going over the next year or two.  Considering all of the pending announcements, it is certainly promising to be a very exciting week.

For those that are interested, I will be blogging and using twitter quite a bit for the duration of the event.  If you want to meet up and talk tech for a while, feel free to ping me.  Here is my tentative schedule of sessions that I plan to attend, but it is certainly subject to change.

Sunday, October 26
Sunday Evening Party with Palermo

Monday, October 27
8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Under the Hood: Advances in the .NET Type System
12:45 PM - 1:30 PM
Microsoft Expression Blend: Tips & Tricks
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
Microsoft Visual Studio: Bringing out the Best in Multicore Systems
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
ASP.NET MVC: A New Framework for Building Web Applications
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM
WF 4.0: A First Look

Tuesday, October 28
8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
12:45 PM - 1:30 PM
WCF: Zen of Performance and Scale
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
SQL Server 2008: Beyond Relational
3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Microsoft Silverlight Futures: Building Business Focused Applications
5:15 PM - 6:30 PM
Entity Framework Futures

Wednesday, October 29
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
WCF 4.0: Building WCF Services with WF in Microsoft .NET 4.0
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM
Improving Code Quality with Code Analysis
1:15 PM - 2:30 PM
Modeling Data for Efficient Access at Scale
3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
The Future of C#
4:45 PM - 6:00 PM
WF 4.0: Extending with Custom Activities

Thursday, October 30
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Parallel Symposium: Addressing the Hard Problems with Concurrency
8:30 AM - 9:45 AM
10:15 AM - 11:30 AM
Microsoft .NET Framework: CLR Futures
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
"Oslo": Building Textual DSLs
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
An Introduction to Microsoft F#


1. October 2008 15:58

I was just informed that I have been awarded again as an MVP for 2009 in Connected Systems.  This is something that I certainly regard as an honor considering the extent of distinguished talent in the ranks of the MVP program.

It is going to be an exciting year for Connected Systems with Oslo around the corner among many other advancements in areas such as BizTalk, WCF, and WF.  Even outside of Connected Systems, there is a plethora of interesting topics: Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4.0, F#, Parallel LINQ, Iron Ruby, Iron Python, etc.

It is an exciting time to be a developer on the Microsoft platform, and I am honored to be in a privileged position where I can leverage additional resources to engage and assist the community. 

EntLib 4.0 Presentation Materials

25. September 2008 10:15

It took me a lot longer than expected to post this material.  I am beyond overloaded between work and personal stuff that is going on right now.  At any rate, the presentation slides and code can be downloaded here.

Keep in mind that the code requires Enterprise Library 4.0 to be installed, which can be downloaded from CodePlex at the following link:  Be sure to look at the QuickStart sample projects that are installed with the library.  A couple of them are the ones we looked at during the presentation.  These are a great guide to getting started and learning more about the features.

You should also check out the community project:

Presenting for BSDA on Thu Sept 11

9. September 2008 03:10

I meant to blog about this last month, and it completely slipped my mind.  On Thursday, September 11, I will be presented for the Birmingham Software Developer Association.  The meeting will convene at 6:30 PM at New Horizons.  I will be delivering a presentation that provides an overview of the major features in Enterprise Library 4.0.  Obviously, due to the breadth of functionality, this will be a high level survey that only gives a teaser of what Enterprise Library has to offer.

Here is the abstract:

Enterprise Library is a collection of application blocks provided by the Microsoft Patterns & Practice Team.  These application blocks are essentially "infrastructure modules" that can be used "as is", extended, or modified to assist with solving common development challenges such as database access, logging, validation, and more.  In this presentation, we will survey the major features that Enterprise Library has to offer by taking a look at both pros and cons of the most commonly used application blocks.

TechMixer University WCF Presentation Material

20. August 2008 11:41

Yesterday, the first ever TechMixer University was held at the BJCC.  Hats off to the organizers of the event.  It seemed to be very well planned and coordinated.  Everyone that I spoke with was enjoying themselves.  I hope there will be more of these events in the future.  They are great for building the overall technical community in the Birmingham area.

Right after lunch, I gave a presentation entitled "Hit the Ground Running with WCF Services."  It was an introduction to some of the core concepts in WCF.  Based on a rough estimate, I would say about 40 or so were in the session.  I greatly appreciate the feedback that I received from several attendees.  Hopefully, it will ease the learning curve for some of you.

As promised, I have posted the slides and code for my presentation.  You can download it here.  If you have any questions, feel free to ping me at jeff _ at_

Sara Ford Presenting in Birmingham on 8/25

11. August 2008 22:04

There will be a special presentation by Sara Ford on Monday, August 25th about Visual Studio IDE Tips and Tricks.  For those of you that don’t know, Sara Ford maintains the popular blog Visual Studio Tip of the Day and works on the CodePlex team.  She will be passing through the Birmingham, AL area after the DevLink event and has graciously agreed to drop by and give a talk to the area.  It will be held at the Southern Living Auditorium on the Southern Progress Campus located at 2100 Lakeshore Drive.  Here is a link to the event registration with complete details:

Those of you that know me are already aware how I am a big advocate of time savers in the IDE.  This will be a great opportunity to learn a few things to add to your bag of tricks for getting things done in Visual Studio.  I hope to see you there!

Here is the abstract for the presentation:

Performance improvements begin by speeding up the simple task you do every minute of every hour of every day you use Visual Studio.  Just like a coin jar where you place your spare change,  you’ll see the time you save add up into the days, weeks, and into the months.  This talk provides the best of the best, 21 tips that can be used in any language, which stretched across your 3 primary activities in the IDE: coding, customizing, and debugging.

Sara Ford is the program manager for CodePlex, Microsoft’s open source project hosting site. Prior to CodePlex, she worked on the Visual Studio team for six years, where she continues to run the Visual Studio Tip of the Day on her blog. Her life-long goal is to become a 97 year old weightlifter, so she can be featured on the local news.

About Me

I'm a passionate software developer and advocate of the Microsoft .NET platform.  In my opinion, software development is a craft that necessitates a conscious effort to continually improve your skills rather than falling into the trap of complacency.  I was also awarded as a Microsoft MVP in Connected Systems in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

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Anything you read or see on this site is solely based on my own thoughts.  The material on this site does not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or anyone else.  In other words, I don't speak for anyone other than myself.  So, don't assume I am the official spokesperson for anyone.