# Thursday, 05 June 2008

Community-People In my first post I covered the Why? of community and ended up with this mission statement, "The Danish .NET community is an open platform through which developers meet as equals to share experiences and inspire each other through enthusiasm".

With the Why? in place I followed up with What? and came up with my personal idea for the Danish .NET community, "The Danish .NET community is about face to face meetings where people participate on equal terms and secondarily about online activities to make up for the intervening periods.".

How?

And now for my favorite part of the series: The practical aspect. The how!

How do we go about creating an open platform through which developers meet to share experiences? In many way I already feel we've made good inroads on that one. Naturally I'm a little bit colored here due to my involvement in ANUG but I honestly feel that the the user groups out there are the very best vehicle for getting developers together. Especially with user groups popping up in major cities across Denmark and the possibility of cooperation between them.

That's why I'm taking the initiative to bring the core groups of the Danish .NET User Groups together on a regular basis to knit the enclaves of .NET community better together.

The NUGs will create a nice platform from which to create the informal gatherings which are the geek dinners. I like the idea of geek dinners and I feel that the informal nature of such gatherings help people let their guard down a bit and talk more freely about whatever challenges they're facing day to day.

Microsoft of course is playing their part in this with the TechTalks which I feel are much better than the Meet Microsoft events of yesteryear due to their clearer focus. Although I feel that Jutland is left out in the cold a bit.

Microsoft is very keen to help out and I've wracked my brain to come up with ideas for places where they can help out because basically the .NET community seen with my eyes is better than ever.

One way to help out the NUGs is by helping us put together large scale shared events, maybe full day events with specific themes and who knows, maybe in the long term we can go even bigger and create a yearly .NET conference? Microsoft has experience with this kind of stuff with the Meet Microsoft events and I feel it could work even better with the special sauce that the NUGs bring to the table.

Also I'd like to see large scale events based on the open space principle. Simply bring together a bunch of enthusiastic and opinionated people and have them go at it. We've discussed doing this within ANUG but we feel that the scale is too small to do it without any sort of structure. But imagine gathering people from across the country for a day of open space discussion; I see some magic happening there.

We need to take a long hard look at what's already out there and not try and create new initiatives. Basically what will happen is that we'll water down the community until relevant information is scattered across the ruins of the community useless to all. In that vain I propose that we start using some of the prominent .NET sites out there to share information like DotNetForum.dk. More specifically I'd like Microsoft to not try and invent the wheel by creating their own platform for sharing content. Use what's out there, use DotNetForum.dk, ActiveDeveloper.dk, or whatever else. Please don't try and do something completely new. Just get the content out there and back the existing efforts by doing so.

I was surprised to find that people place an enormous value on web casts and specifically on web casts created here in Denmark. I partially agree that they are a good vehicle for information but only for some information. I've given Daniel a though time in the past but he has proven that web casts are the way to go for personal interviews with people in the community. His unique position with Microsoft along with his outgoing personality makes him perfect to go out there and do just that.

These are some of my opinions and ideas on how we can make the .NET community even better. In short we need to create more opportunities for us to meet face to face and use the existing platforms to promote new content.

I'd like Morten Jokumsen's opinion on where he sees DotNetForum.dk, I'd like to hear from Daniel Mellgaard Frost and Bo Drejer whether we can establish a strategy based on some of this stuff, I'd like to hear from the powers that be at ONUG Jesper Blad Jensen, Joachim Lykke Nielsen, and Kasper Bo Larsen what their opinions on this are, and the same thing goes the KNUG guys Jakob T. Andersen and Mads Kristensen.

posted on Thursday, 05 June 2008 19:48:20 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback

Community-People This is my second post in the series Do! Community! Why? What? How?. In this post I'll try to address the What based on the mission statement from the previous post, "the Danish .NET community is an open platform through which developers meet as equals to share experiences and inspire each other through enthusiasm".

What?

What makes a community? I guess that's it different for each individual. For me it's all about meeting people and doing so continually. I first started feeling part of a community with my involvement in Århus .NET User Group and Danish Forum for .NET Architects.

Meeting the same people again and again, getting a sense of what they're about, and why they care about the things that they do, that's what community is for me.

Blogs, web casts, online articles, never really did it for me. To me it's very impersonal although once I've met a person I usually follow their blog religiously.

Everything should have the chance to participate in this on the level he or she desires be it as an attendee at a meeting, as a speaker, posting to a blog, whatever, and everybody should have even opportunity to do so.

The Danish .NET community is about face to face meetings where people participate on equal terms and secondarily about online activities to make up for the intervening periods.

Read part 3 Do! Community! How?

posted on Thursday, 05 June 2008 19:47:18 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Community-People In my last post I was pretty harsh in my statements about Microsoft and Daniel in particular but I felt it necessary to get out there in order to spark a debate or at least get the right people thinking about what's going on.

Now that said I also feel that whenever someone puts forth criticism it's vital to back it up with something substantial to address the situation. That's what I intend to do with my next couple of posts.

First I'd like to address why we should care about the community at all. The why of it. Second what can we do about it. The what. And finally I'll talk about ways to get where I'd like to see the community go. The how.

Background

I never felt as part of any community in my years working with Microsoft technology, not when I spent a lot of time answering questions on news groups, not when I spent time on Eksperten.dk, and not even when I attended the Meet Microsoft events regularly when they were still running.

During the last year though that started to change. Along with the other members of the core group I've busied myself with getting Aarhus .NET  User Group off the group. Right around the launch of ANUG I was invited to be part of the Danish Forum for Danish .NET Architects. Both initiatives have brought change to the way I think about the Danish community. With that in mind I'll try to explain why we should care or at least why I care.

Why?

To me community is inspiration, participation, enthusiasm. At the core of each of these words are people. Interaction with people, knowing people, sharing experiences with others.

I care about the community because I care about people. I care about creating something which benefits others, not just myself. That's why I blog, that's why I spend my spare time helping out with ANUG, that's why I take the time to answer every comment and e-mail I receive.

Simply put you should care about the community because it provides developers a great way of inspiring each other, of sharing the enthusiasm that most of us feel every day when we go to work, and finally because community knits together competency centers across the country which otherwise wouldn't benefit from each other.

In short I feel that we should care about the community because the Danish .NET community is an open platform through which developers meet as equals to share experiences and inspire each other through enthusiasm.

Read part 2 Do! Community! What?

posted on Thursday, 05 June 2008 19:46:35 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 13 May 2008

aspnet During my ANUG talk about the ASP.NET MVC Framework a question came up regarding what the landscape of ASP.NET land would look like with ASP.NET MVC being open source. Would we start to see lots of different branches floating around out there?

The answer to this is a resounding no as the license model of ASP.NET MVC only allows for you to download the code off of CodePlex, make changes, but not redistribute those changes.

What this means that you'll be able to take the code make tweaks here and there if you're not satisfied with how a particular aspect of ASP.NET MVC works.

The Gu has the word.

posted on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 09:23:26 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [4] Trackback
# Sunday, 04 May 2008

anug_logo_200x85 Our eleventh meeting is over with and I'm particularly relieved as I was doing the talking the entire evening this time around. Before I tell you more about it first let me take you through the user group news.

2008 Booked

I'm happy to announce that we've booked speakers for the rest of 2008 which means that we'll be able to take a breather until 2009 :) Getting people to present is just half the battle; we need a place to hold the meetings as well and we're not completely set on that front.

So which topics are we going to cover in the meetings to come? By popular request here's the complete list:

  • May, Windows Communication Foundation, Klaus Hebsgaard
  • June 20th, Geek Dinner
  • June, Test Driven Development, Mark Seemann
  • July, Open Space: Pro Tools
  • August, Subsonic, Lasse Eskildsen
  • September, F#, Christian Holm Nielsen
  • October, Usability, Søren Skovsbøll
  • November, BlogEngine.NET, Mads Kristensen
  • December 12th, Geek Christmas Dinner, *.*

I'm very happy about this list I'll tell you that :)

New Web Site

We talked about this forever and now, thanks to Peter, our new web site is a reality. Peter did a bang up job with the new web site and I sincerely hope that it becomes the hub of information on ANUG in the future instead. LinkedIn will still be the way to gain membership and Facebook will still drive sign ups for the meetings but anug.dk will bind the information together for us.

To keep non-Facebook users up to date with new meetings we hope to integrate the new web site with the ANUG backend system: Google Docs :) We keep information about upcoming events and ideas in a Google Docs spreadsheet which I created some code to access via the Google API. Peter is integrating my code into the web site as I type this :)

In a related note anug.dk was hacked due to a security issue in BlogEngine.NET. Kudos to Peter for updating with the security patch literally within minutes of learning of the hack. Everything is back in full operation as of writing this. If you're running a BlogEngine.NET site be sure to check out official response to the security issue.

Mile Stone Reached

ANUG reached a significant milestone during April: Our 100th member. Actually we're up to 107 members right now a number I'm very pleased with. What does this mean for ANUG?

It means two things: First we're doing something right here which is nice to know :) and second we're suffering from our own success as finding place to hold our meetings is becoming increasingly difficult with more and more people attending our meetings.

A positive problem to be sure but something we have to deal with nonetheless so I'd like to take this opportunity to call for help from companies with ample space to house 30 - 40 .NET devs talking tech. Please e-mail me if you're able to house us for a meeting or two.

Vertica, Kristelig fagbevægelse, Ditmer, Scanvaegt, Systematic, Up-Site are all examples of companies which are supporting Aarhus .NET User Group and by extension the .NET community. A few new companies are lined up to help in the future including iPaper, Suzlon, and Vesta.

ASP.NET MVC Framework Presentation

aspnet It was with some trepidation that I looked at the number of people signed up for the ASP.NET MVC Framework presentation. For one thing I wasn't sure that we'd be able to fit everybody in the Up-Site offices and secondly I was giving the presentation :)

As it turned out we were able to fit everybody; barely. We had to highest turnout ever with approximately 35 people in attendance. I was particularly please with the fact that a number of new companies were represented at the meeting including Mjolner Informatics and Vola. The Nordic Company-guys even made the trip all the way from Copenhagen to Aarhus to attend for the second time.

I'm very pleased with the way my presentation went. From the very start we had good interaction with lots of questions and remarks about the new web framework from Microsoft. Even my demos went off without a hitch, incredible! :) My Poor-Mans-Update-Panel seemed to come across particularly well.

Thanks to everybody there I had a good time presenting this stuff. Oh yeah I thought I'd better link to the most popular slide of the evening (You probably had to be there to get it though) :)

Tour de Up-Site

Up-Site-logo Up-Site is an interesting company I'd never heard of before we started ANUG. Actually Morten Bock, a developer with Up-Site, was one of the very first people I shook hands with at the very first user group meeting. Morten was kind enough to facilitate some nice surroundings for our April meeting.

Now what is that makes Up-Site so interesting? For starters they have a very clear idea of their business model and it seems that that was the case from the very beginning. As the CEO Lars Henrik Larsen told us Up-Site specializes in helping  companies select the right content management system; very competently I might add. Up-Site specializes in no less that five different CMS'es ranging from the high-end right down to the free and open source.

Their offices are among the nicest I've visited yet. I could really tell that the guys at Up-Site have attention for detail with nothing being left to chances decor-wise. Very nice and definitely not something you see everyday as developers tend towards the functional and not much else :)

A nice touch is their wall of fame which holds a little plaque for each of their delivered solutions. A pretty comprehensive wall of fame too.

posted on Sunday, 04 May 2008 22:50:29 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 04 April 2008

anug_logo_200x85 My good friend at Scanvaegt Henrik Kristensen has talked about Windows Workflow Foundation ever since I first met him so naturally we had to invite him to give a talk on it for ANUG.  We were fortunately enough that he accepted and even provided a nice cantina for the ANUG boys to use for the duration.

User Group News

The March meeting opened up as usually with myself giving everybody a quick rundown on what's going on with ANUG; mainly focusing on meetings to come. We been fortunately enough to be able to stay ahead of the curb on planning meeting and I'd like it to stay that way so we're planning the next batch of meeting for April, May, June, and we've even got January 2009 booked so stay tuned :)

Future topics include ASP.NET MVC which I'll do a little song and dance about, Windows Communication Foundation which Klaus Hebsgaard has been good enough to agree doing a talk on, and finally a talk on TDD which Mark Seemann agreed to do.

The not so set in stone topics that we'd like to see presentations on include WPF to kind of come full circle on .NET 3.0, Pro Tools where we discuss the various tools and utilities that devs use in the day to day work to get the job done, Subsonic the darling of the ORM world, and a bunch of others topics. We'd like to bring in more open source tools and topics like DotNetNuke and NHibernate so don be shy, please contact me with your ideas.

The meeting marks the second showing of our new format. We noticed that we got quite a good buzz among people for the first break of the evening but not so much so with the second so we decided to break up the main presentation in two pieces to allow people more time to talk with each other and get to know each other. Like the previous time at Systematic it worked out nicely with people clustering around and discussing a number of different subjects. The new format is definitely a keeper.

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Download my slides

Windows Workflow Foundation w. Henrik Kristensen

The main event of the evening was of course Windows Workflow Foundation a tool that I myself didn't know a lot about. Mostly high level stuff but I definitely see the potential there.

Henrik made a good show case on WF, the rules engine and the workflow engine. He even brought out his LEGO Mindstorms robot the demo how you could do a workflow to actually control it. The little bugger has other ideas though as it cruised along and right over the edge of the table. In spite of the rebellious little robot ("is this how is begins?", he asked  with the killer Mindstorm robot fast approaching) the point was made very clear with the showing.

Pitfalls in WF were highlighted neatly by way of the robot. For example WF has a notion of a parallel activity which at first look might persuade you to think that you get some kind of multi threading for free. Unfortunately the only we get is a kind of pseudo parallelism where the parallel activities are execute in order.

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In all Henrik did a great job of highlighting why we should care about WF. Basically every LOB application today has some kind of workflow built in be it by way of statuses, custom state machines, whatever. The rules engine in particular was interesting to me as I've lacked such a thing a number of times in the past. What I've done before is basically forego the better solution for something simpler to implement because I didn't want the hassle of building a rules engine myself. No more, the next time such a need arises I'll definitely have a go at using the WF rules engine. The configurability alone is worth it.

For the workflow engine I noticed an interesting thing which is the fact that inherently it will make you thing in components. Basically a workflow is built from a number of activities which are stand alone tasks that can manipulate the data flow in some manner. Pretty much we're dealing with a components here and the model makes you go into a certain mode where you naturally try to decouple the activities from each making for much better reusability.

Workflow Foundation may not be the sexiest of the four pillars of .NET 3.0 but it does provide some real value to the developer toolbox.

Download Windows Workflow slides by Henrik Kristensen

Scanvaegt International Redux

Like the last time we were fortunate enough to be able to use the Scanvaegt offices Henrik also gave us a rundown of Scanvaegt. We both figured that the audience would have changed a bit so it was safe to to the presentation once more. Last time around he brought a great video of a machine sorting chicken (yes, I know it sounds lame, but you have to see this thing in action :)). This time he brought a different one showing a machine 3D scanning salmon and cutting it in equal sizes in seconds. This time around you can even check it out yourself as Henrik provided me with the video to share with you guys.

Interesting stuff has happened at Scanvaegt since the last time we were there. Last year they'd pretty much just been bought by a competing company by the name Marell. Since then they've worked on sorting out their product lines as a lot of overlap has been going. Among other things this means that Henrik is non associated with their Icelandic development department and he's even had the pleasure of going to Iceland a couple times. He briefly outlined some of the unique challenged in working in a very distributed environment. Interesting stuff for sure.

Download Scanvaegt International slides by Henrik Kristensen

posted on Friday, 04 April 2008 12:39:15 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Saturday, 15 March 2008

anug_logo_200x85 Saturday 15th marks the date for the first ever code camp held by Aarhus .NET user group. We went with ASP.NET for beginners as the theme building a small blog application with Visual Studio 2008 and ASP.NET 3.5. Due to space constraints we'd set the upper limit for attendees to 12 and I'm happy to report that we had a full house. The skills levels of the attendees varied from people who'd never opened Visual Studio before to people with some knowledge about ASP.NET.

Brian put together a nice program which took the attendees through creating various new features for the blog application like adding comments and membership support for login. To get the attendees coding some of the interesting parts of the application Brian provided a nice starting point for the code camp with a blog application laid out nicely in a Visual Studio solution along with a database. Due to differences in how we usually work with the stuff we encountered some interesting problems with getting the database up and running in SQL Server Express. Turns out that the SQL Server engine is prohibited from accessing user folders on the machine it's running on.

Coaches were in place to help out with questions the attendees might have, Søren Lauritsen who signed up to help at the last minute provided valuable help during the day, as did Brian himself between the short tech briefings, and myself. Every single attendee came well prepared and had all the prerequisites installed before showing for the code camp, thank you all for being so well-prepared.

 

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During the day we had nice discussions on various aspects of ASP.NET, .NET in general, and we provided a number of tips and tricks like looking at compiled assemblies with Reflector and taking that a bit further with TestDriven.NET which enables you to simply right-click on a referenced assembly in Visual Studio and open it up in Reflector; no more digging around the file system to find that pesky assembly.

URLRewriting.NET was discussed along with ASP.NET MVC for creating friendly URLs. And I should mention that I'm doing a presentation on ASP.NET MVC in April If you want to know more about that in general. I'll post more information about that meeting once I know more about the particulars. As always the date and time is set so make sure to mark your calendar for April 30th 18:00 if you wish to attend.

Thanks to all who attended the code camp my impressions are of a successful day during which the attendees learned a lot. With that I'll leave you with some more pictures from the day. As you can see people were deeply focused but still very eager to help each other out. Nice work everybody!

Be sure and grab Brian's source code and presentations. Also you can check out all the pictures taken at the meeting.

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posted on Saturday, 15 March 2008 12:35:50 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 10 March 2008

aspnet A quick note to let you know that this Saturday we open the doors for the first code camp in the history of Aarhus .NET user group. The fun starts at 9:00 and we're digging into ASP.NET and building a blog application, just because we can :) The goal of this code camp is to give you a sense of what's available in ASP.NET and how to use some of it.

During the day you'll be able to ask the experts for help and meet some of your fellow aspiring ASP.NET developers.

Please note that the number of attendees is capped at 12 as we can't seat any more than that.

Read more and sign up.

posted on Monday, 10 March 2008 21:35:43 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 18 February 2008

Microsoft_Team_System_Logo I'm proud to announce a very exiting meeting for Februar: The guys at Systematic are going to tell us all about their experience with Team System. Topics for the meeting include:

  • General introduction
  • Configuration management
  • Continuous integration

Following that we'll some insight into the world of software engineering at Systematic working with CMMI level 5 and agile processes like SCRUM.

The meeting will take place February 27th 18:00 at:

Systematic Software Engineering A/S
Søren Frichs Vej 39
8000 Århus C.

Signup and more information

posted on Monday, 18 February 2008 11:15:49 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 06 February 2008

anug_logo_200x85 With the release of Visual Studio 2008, C# 3.0, and VB 9 in November last year we felt that it would be nice to get some information out there on what to expect of the new language features available in the new versions.

As always I started out the meeting by summing up what the core group has done since the last time around; we've been quite busy too. I'm very proud to announce that we've booked meetings at various companies around Aarhus until May. We do have a gap in April but I expect to put on a little song and dance about the MVC framework for ASP.NET.

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Future Meetings

So what have we got planned for you guys to enjoy? February will bring us a talk from the guys at Systematic where they'll tell us all about their experience with working with Team System with CMMI and SCRUM. Personally I'm looking forward to this one quite a bit as we're using Team System internally at Vertica as well; I know that many of you guys are too so I expect that a lot of very useful information will come from this one.

March brings us not one but two events: First there's our code camp for people who want to know more about ASP.NET where we'll continue building our blog application. I expect that we can accommodate approximately ten people and those attending will have to bring their own laptop. we'll do a full Saturday better our hands dirty in the code. More information on this will follow shortly so stay tuned.

Later in March we'll head back out to Scanvaegt where Henrik Kristensen will give a talk on his works with Workflow Foundation. He's been doing a number of POC applications and is very eager to share his experiences with the rest of us.

ASP.NET MVC Framework has garnered a lot of attention lately, but what is it and why should you care? I'll try and explain this with my talk on it in April. I'm doing an internal talk at Vertica this Friday and I figured that you guys would find it interesting as well. There are certainly some nifty techniques at play in the framework that I'm looking forward to sharing with you.

Finally Klaus Hebsgaard from Kristelig fagbevægelse will head up the April meeting with his talk about WCF. He's doing some very interesting work with WCF in conjunction with a large SOA project at KF and I know for certain that he'll have a lot to say about the topic.

Facebook

As an experiment we decided to do sign up for the meeting via Facebook. While it's been quite a success there are a couple of flies in the ointment: 1) Some people really dislike Facebook and outright refuses to use it. 2) Some companies actively block Facebook in their firewalls.

In the light of this information we'll not do exclusive sign ups on Facebook in future. Carrying forward we'll do Facebook sign ups primarily but also allow e-mail sign up as to allow everyone full access to the user group. Additionally we'll make sure that all relevant information will be available from the anug.dk web site.

Jobs

Interestingly we were contacted by a company owner who wanted to make our members aware of a job opening at his particular company. Our stance on this is that we won't advertise job openings in the interest of keeping our purpose clear and keeping a neutral position with respect to the companies kind enough to let us use their offices for the meetings.

Meetings Outside Aarhus

We've discussed the idea of holding meetings outside of Aarhus as a number of interesting companies exist in the vicinity. When asked though the members of the group indicated to me tat they weren't willing to travel too far outside of the city to attend our meetings. So we'll try and keep the meetings local as to not impose too much of a travel burden on the attendees.

Language Features in C# 3.0 and VB 9, Henrik Lykke Nielsen, Captator

The main attraction of the evening was of course .Henrik, Microsoft's RD for Denmark, and part owner of Captator.  I asked Henrik to give this particular talk because I know he's very fond of VB and I really wanted to see even attention given to both languages. It turned out though that when asked the attendees were interesting in C# 3.0 only so VB was mentioned in passing but the upshot of course was the fact that Henrik able to gauge the interest of the attendees and adapt his talk accordingly. Tip of the hat for that.

Henrik gave a very detailed talk on C# 3.0 and we even got into some IL discussions along the way which was a nice twist on the evening. I must say that I'm impressed with Henrik's deep knowledge on the subject having given a similar talk myself internally at Vertica I figured that I knew most of what he was going to say still I got a couple of nuggets of gold to take home from the meeting.

To understand many of the new features of C# 3.0 you need to understand what's already put in place in previous versions of the languages and again Henrik did an admirable job of getting everyone up to speed before moving on to the new features.

Slides are forthcoming as I'm still waiting to receive them from Henrik. While you're waiting for those why not head on over and take a look at his blog?

posted on Wednesday, 06 February 2008 21:32:18 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Friday, 30 November 2007

anug_logo_200x85 We know that the attendees at each meeting span vastly different levels of experience in .NET and our past topics such as Pragmatic SOA, BizTalk and ESB, LINQ and ORM have been pretty hard core so this time around we wanted to do something for the beginner.

I discussed the idea of doing a talk for beginners with Brian a couple of months back and fortunately he was keen to do so. What came from our talk wildly exceeded what I had had in mind at the time :)

Initially I was a bit worried whether we'd misjudged the interest in a meeting centered on the beginner because we had a pretty poor number of sign-ups but that took off the final week before the meeting and we ended up with around twenty people attending this one.

But before I get into the actually topic of our meeting let me first start out by summarizing what the core group has been doing since last time.

2007-11-28-Aarhus-NET-User-Group-1 2007-11-28-Aarhus-NET-User-Group-2 2007-11-28-Aarhus-NET-User-Group-3

Core Group One Person Down

Our core group and thus responsible people for running ANUG consists of Brian Holmgård Kristensen, Lars Buch-Jepsen, Peter Loft Jensen, and of course myself. You might notice that the list is shorter than it used to be. Morten Vadstrup sadly had to leave the core group because of time constraints. We're debating whether to bring on a fifth person again as we're pretty much covered with the people we have now.

Speakers and Meeting Places

As always we're looking for new speakers and places to hold the meetings. We've been very fortunate thus far to have very good support from the local companies but we're definitely starting to put more work into finding new place to hold the meetings.

As always I encourage you to ping me if the company you work in would be interested in holding a meeting at their offices. Getting a visit from ANUG is a great opportunity to market your company to just the right people if you're looking for talent. As a rule the company holding the meeting gets 30 min. to talk about their culture, development cycle, etc. in the interest of both giving something back to the company gracious enough to provide for us and also to give the attendees a better idea of the kind of companies that exist in the area.

Should you be interested in giving a talk on a particular topic please don't hesitate in contacting me. We're always looking for speakers. We're seeing tremendous interest in topics like Silverlight, Powershell, dynamic languages in .NET, even ASP.NET, basically most .NET related topics have come up during our discussions of what to bring up next so don't hold back :) Contact me today.

Schedule Meetings on Facebook

We looked into the various offerings out there to see what would support our needs when it comes to announcing the meetings in a structured fashion as it's quickly become clear that we need more than just the blog. With the blog it's simply not possible to schedule to far in the future as the post itself would get lost in the noise from the other posts.

We took a look at Facebook which is a site that I hadn't tried myself, luckily Jacob Saaby Nielsen took the initiative to form a Facebook group for ANUG. It turns out that Facebook provides just what we need to schedule our meetings so we've decided to go ahead and use Facebook for scheduling meetings and for signing up.

I realize that you need a Facebook account to get going and that that presents additional effort to get people to attend but in the long run I firmly believe that this way of doing things offers the best options for us as we need to leverage all the help we can get.

If you wish to attend a meeting I encourage you to sign up on Facebook as the companies giving us shelter usually are kind enough to also provide food and drink so be courteous to them and let them know that you're coming so they can order the right amount for us.

To make it easy to get to the group we've created an alias which is easy to remember. Just use www.anug.dk/Facebook

Become a Member of ANUG: Join LinkedIn

LinkedIn is now the official way of becoming a member of ANUG, we decided to stick with LinkedIn because of the professional aspects of the site. We really want our members to benefit from participating in the meetings and one way of doing just that is to expand the network of the attendees which LinkedIn is perfect for. Also we'll use the member list on the LinkedIn site to send out newsletters to keep you abreast of new meetings, updates on the group, and so forth.

As with the Facebook group we've created an easy to remember alias to get to the invitation to the ANUG group on LinkedIn. Just just www.anug.dk/LinkedIn

Upcoming Meetings

Our meeting schedule is booked until March which makes me very happy as my job is much more relaxed that way :) Coming this December we've got the Christmas dinner although it's too late to sign up now. Sorry about that.

January will bring a talk about C# 3.0 and VB 9 to be given by Henrik Lykke Nielsen, MS Regional Director for Denmark. The meeting will be held at the Vertica offices.

February brings us a talk on Team System and CMMI from Systematic, the meeting is to be held there as well. Details are still not completely in place for this one but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless.

March will be very interesting as it will bring us both our long awaiting Code Camp for .NET Beginners as a follow-up to this meeting. We haven't decided on a date yet but expect it to be sometime in the middle of March.

It's a two for one month in March so we'll give you a talk on Workflow Foundation by Henrik Kristensen from Scanvaegt International A/S as well.

More information will follow on Facebook.

New Concept for Meetings: Open Space

We've been playing around with the idea of expanding the social aspects of the user group for a while now and the way we intend to do is to employ the Open Space idea where the attendees themselves set the agenda and everybody participate in the discussion. What we see at the meetings is that people don't get nearly enough time to interact with each other as a consequence we'll do entire meetings which are about that and only that. I have high hopes for the concept and the attendees at the meeting did so too so that'll definitely be something to look forward to.

Suggestions

We got a suggestion at the meeting to snap more pictures at future meetings. We'll definitely try and do something about that. Everybody are welcome to bring a camera are fire away though :)

Professional .NET for Beginners, Brian Holmgård Kristensen

The main event of the evening was my colleague Brian who gave a very nice talk on .NET for beginners. The premise for the talk was to create a blog web application and in the process giving the attendees a look into some of the tools and techniques that go into creating such a thing.

Brian had a limited number of slides and instead chose to let the code speak for him. It's always an interesting proposition to do a lot of code on screen as a lot can go wrong when you choose to do so. We did get a first hand example of this as Visual Studio refused to play nice after only a couple of minutes of presentation. Ultimately it turned out that using beta versions of released software for a presentation is a bit too overconfident :) A break and a restart of Visual Studio made everything right and Brian could continue on with no further incidents to report.

One thing that is ultra important when doing a lot of code on screen is to run at a low resolution with nice big fonts which unfortunately Brian did choose to do. It's a technicality but it's shame that such a small thing deducts from an otherwise great presentation, and it was a great presentation. I was especially impressed by the level of interactivity, it was right up there with the LINQ presentation that Søren Skovsbøll did the last time around. People were very eager to know more about various ASP.NET 3.5 technologies such as Master pages and even the details of coding in the .NET Framework itself.

Brian paid great attention to detail and didn't leave anything hanging, every time he introduced a new concept he thoroughly explained it as to not confuse anybody. At times the attention to detail became also too much but with the fact in mind that the presentation wasn't intended for people like me I don't believe that that was a actual problem for anyone also but me :)

All in all Brian did a very good job in engaging the attendees and he covered nicely when Visual Studio started acting up. He'd made an entire story line to follow in which he started out with a static HTML page and gradually made it data driven; in truth a very compelling way of getting his points across.

The data driven web application is a demo that the Microsoft people are very fond of. You've probably seen it done numerous times but as always we try and do thing differently for the ANUG meetings. What sets Brian's presentation apart from the others is the fact that he actually did a properly n-tiered architecture, he even provided facilities to demonstrate the importance of encapsulation. No drag and drop of data source to be found anywhere, everything was done by hand. This part of the presentation is my very favorite because it not only sets what we do with ANUG apart from the Microsoft events which is our stated goal it also shows that doing a data driven demo app in the proper way is not only feasible but absolutely possible in the very short amount of time usually available to these kinds of presentations.

The guys present seemed very keen on getting their hands on the source code so we're providing it for download along with his slides.

Tour de Scanvaegt

Due to the many questions Brian's presentation did drag on a bit but luckily Henrik Kristensen was unfazed by this fact and gave some interesting insight into Scanvaegt which hosted the meeting. Scanvaegt is actually an old company which harkens back to 1932. I had no idea that they'd actually been around so long.

He went on to tell us about their way of developing the software supporting the huge and complicated machinery that they create. They've had a couple of bouts with agile methodologies and even tried to do a big bang implementation of XP as a process which was unsuccessful. They're father down the agile path agile now by adopting a slower pace and working with mindset instead of tools and techniques, something I wholeheartedly agree with as that's the way we're making it happen inside Vertica as well. We pick and choosing the pieces which make sense to us and implement them one at a time, it looks like we're pretty much on the same page there.

The highlight to me was when Henrik showed a video of one of the sorting machines which sorted chicken fillets into plastic trays, the fascinating part of this was that it placed the fillets facing the same way every single time it place a new on in tray.

He also told us about a cool sounding machine that's able to decide how large a particular piece of meat is by way of 3D photography. With a 3D model of the piece meat built up it'll then proceed to calculating how thick it must make each steak to get the desired number of steaks. Incredible. The videos really hammer home the coolness of this so I'm trying to get Henrik to put a couple on YouTube if possible.

Open Forum

We never got around to doing open forum this time around.

posted on Friday, 30 November 2007 20:30:53 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 15 November 2007

anug_logo_200x85 Jacob initiated a Facebook group for ANUG a couple of weeks back. An initiative of which I scoffed initially but I've come to realize my mistake after I took another look at Facebook.

My initial reaction was that I didn't want the hassle of maintaining another social network but I have to admit that Facebook brings a lot of interesting stuff to the table especially for a group like ours.

We run everything with volunteers, presenters, "infrastructure", places to hold the meetings, everything so naturally a site that offers everything we need to keep track of members and announce our events in a more structured manner is a very welcome addition to our toolbox.

As a result we're messing around with the group, getting people signed up, and we've created a couple of events already so check it out and please let me know what you think about it. Other than giving us some nice opportunities for the events Facebook brings support for uploading pictures to the group page, creating discussions, and posting comments.

Check out Aarhus .NET User Group Facebook Group

And why not join the ANUG LinkedIn group while you're at it to bolster your professional network?

BTW we've made really easy to remember URLS for Facebook and LinkedIn. Just go ANUG.dk/Facebook or ANUG.dk/LinkedIn, there's really no excuse not to spread the word ;)

Oh yeah, you can check out my personal profile as well if you can stand it :)

posted on Thursday, 15 November 2007 21:53:55 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 07 November 2007

anug_logo_200x85 For the November meeting in Aarhus .NET Usergroup we're changing gears a little bit in that we're focusing on the inexperienced developer who wants to know how to go about creating .NET applications in a correct and maintainable fashion. At the meeting you'll see how to implement a blog engine in ASP.NET using various out of box capabilities of the platform.

We've been playing around with the time for the meeting but have finally settled on 18:00. We might entertain the idea of starting even earlier but for now it's 18:00.

Please note that there are two Scanvaegts in Aarhus; the Scanvaegt you need to go to is the one called Scanvaegt International and NOT Scanvaegt Nordic.

Please leave a comment to sign up

Practical Information

The meeting will be held:

Wednesday 28/11 18:00

at:

Scanvaegt International A/S

P. O. Pedersens Vej 18

8200 Århus N

Map

Agenda

Usergroup News

As always we'll update you on the stuff that's going on with the usergroup. This time around we'll focus on our Geek Christmas Dinner and the Code Camp specifically.

Professional .NET for Beginners, Brian Holmgård Kristensen, Vertica A/S

A taste of implementing an n-tier blog engine application in ASP.NET. The presentation will act as a brief introduction to the contents of the Code Camp coming in March 2008. Brian will during the presentation build a simple ASP.NET application from ground up utilizing the capabilities found in ASP.NET 2.0 with focus on good object oriented principles and architectural ideas should as the n-tier model.

In his whirlwind tour of ASP.NET and friends he'll dive into the various tools needed to get the job done such as Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server Express 2005, ASP.NET Master pages, ASP.NET Themes.

For specific topics and questions you'd like covered you can get in touch with Brian and he'll try and work it into his presentation.

Please leave a comment to sign up for this meeting

Break

Tour de Scanvaegt

As always we'll take some time to get some information from our gratious hosts: This time around Henrik Kristensen will tell us about Scanvaegt as a company and some of the challenges they're facing in the everyday life. Henrik is the cheif architect at Scanvaegt International so expect some good technical content from him :)

Open Forum

We'll close the evening off with open forum where you get to ask your questions or pose topics for discussion. Got something on your mind that you'd like us to discuss please bring it up. You're sure to get an opinion on the matter.

Please leave a comment to sign up

posted on Wednesday, 07 November 2007 16:32:03 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [17] Trackback
# Monday, 29 October 2007

My favorite part of the usergroup is probably the social aspects. To provide further support for this we decided to throw a geek Christmas dinner in December. We've already booked a table at Bryggeriet in Aarhus for fifteen people, but we can probably extend the number if we get a lot of interest but be sure to sign up now to secure a place.

The Geek Christmas Dinner is scheduled for Friday 14/12 at 18:00, the reason for choosing Friday was to allow people to grab a couple of beers instead of having to rush home :)

Please note that this event will NOT be free, you'll have to pay for your own food and drink. We expect that the price will range between kr. 200 - 300,- (beverages not included).

Please note that Bryggeriet needs to know how many people will attend so you have to commit to the date once you sign up. You need to RSVP no later than 23/11.

Practical Information

Geek Christmas Dinner will be held:

Friday 14/12 18:00

(Sign up before 23/11)

at:

Bryggeriet

Kannikegade 10 - 12

8000 Århus C

Map

Price kr. 200 - 300,-

As always please leave a comment to sign up.

Also remember to sign up before 23/11 so we know how many will attend. Keep in mind that we can seat only fifteen people, be quick.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

posted on Monday, 29 October 2007 21:38:33 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [11] Trackback
# Thursday, 25 October 2007

anug_logo_200x85 We had our fourth successful meeting yesterday evening in the fine offices of Ditmer. A lot of people turned up for this one I guess LINQ is something which is on most .NET developers minds these days as I counted approximately 30 people attending this one. We even had some guys from Nordic Company coming all the way from Copenhagen to attend and Niels Hartvig of Umbraco fame decided to take the trip from Fyn as well which I believe is a testament to the fact that we're doing something right with this thing.

Usergroup News

As always I started out by telling everybody about the things we've been doing with the usergroup since the last meeting. This time around we've had a lot going on and I was looking forward to announcing it all and getting people's response on it.

Logo and Web Site

We've got ourselves a logo courtesy Lars Øer who is a regular attendee at the meetings and also a colleague of mine. As you can see we're already using here and on our LinkedIn group (which you should join if you haven't already done so :)). With the logo done we're hoping to move on to the design of the ANUG.dk site and get that done before the end of the year additionally we'd like to provide a more structure schedule for our upcoming events which should make it easier for you to sign up and get an idea of where we're going. we basically need some kind of custom control for BlogEngine.NET so feel free to go nuts and do one if you'd like ;)

November 28/11: Getting Started with Professional .NET

First up is our next meeting which will be for those of you who want to learn same of the basic .NET stuff and tools you're going to need. The session is called Getting Started with Professional .NET and it's scheduled for 28/11 at Scanvægt. More details will follow shortly but the basic idea is to cater to people in our group who are there to get started with .NET and learn a couple of tricks along the way.

December 14/12: Geek Christmas Dinner

For our final session this year we decided to do something a little different and throw a geek Christmas dinner. We really don't think that a session the last Wednesday of December would garner any attendees at all so instead we're doing this. There are 15 seats available for now but we've got the option to bump that number if we see a lot of interest. You need to RSVP no later than 23/11. Due to some planning constraints we have to make attendance binding for this one. As with the November meeting more details will be up shortly.

March 01/02: Code Camp .NET for Beginners

As a follow-up to our November meeting we're going to do a code camp where we'll build a three tier .NET web application using the tools and best practices which are considered essential for a .NET developer. We'll be digging into data access, domain models, UI design.

This will basically be an entire day of .NET where you get the opportunity to get your hands dirty in your own solution with the help of our coaches who'll guide you through the day. I think this is going to be a lot of fun and even better it's a great way of digging deeper than we usually do that the regularly scheduled meetings. Hope to see you there!

We're still looking for a place to hold it but I'm not too worried about that as we've got a number of possibilities already. Also we're looking for sponsors to provide food and drink for the attendees so if you're working at a company that needs some attention feel free to contact me about the details.

Ideas for Upcoming Events

While the group was just getting started we decided to go ahead and put together as many events as we could without taking any input from the attendees but the vision is to allow you the attendee to decide what you want us to talk about. We got together a nice list of topics and surprisingly F# topped it out with the most votes so I guess we're to do an F# session soon, we just need to find someone who knows something about it, hint hint nudge nudge :)

Other topics on people's minds are, number of votes is in the parenthesis, we'll definitely take these into consideration, specifically I'd like to do a couple of sessions of Visual Studio 2008, C# 3.0, and VB 9 with their release imminent.

•    VS 2008  (11)
•    Silverlight 1.1  (11)
•    Team System (foundation + client)  (10)
•    C# 3.0 / VB 9 (new language features,difference between version, when and why should you upgrade) (9)
•    PowerShell (9)
•    DLR / F# (8-12)
•    WF (7)
•    WCF (9)
•    ASP.NET MVC Framework (+10)
•    Compact Framework (7)

JAOO Cooperation

Briefly after JAOO 2007 I was contacted by Kresten Krab Thorup from Trifork who suggested that we do some kind of cooperative effort with the JAOO guys next year. There are no solid plans as of now but it's definitely something we're going to pursue in to get a super star or two to speak at one of our humble meetings.

With my intro done I yielded to floor to Søren Skovsbøll the main attraction of the evening...

ORM and LINQ, Søren Skovsbøll, Ditmer A/S

Søren did a very cool and thorough presentation of ORMs in general and LINQ to SQL in particular. He gave an insightful view into the wonderful wacky world of ORM and all the patterns surrounding the various implementations like NHibernate, LINQ to SQL, and even his own implementation Matternhorn all the while relating the information to LINQ to SQL to give us an idea of what to watch out for when doing LINQ to SQL projects.

Although Søren said that he in no way was an expert on LINQ to SQL I came away with a sense of knowing the product better because of his insight into the general principles of ORMs. When I first saw LINQ to SQL back in 2006 demoed by Anders Hejlsberg I was ready to drink the cool aid and go all out with it. Søren's presentation was sobering as he pointed out not only all the good things about LINQ to SQL but more importantly all the problems, something you won't see from a Microsoft presentation I think :)

I still think LINQ to SQL is a cool product but from Søren's presentation I think it's clear that you need to know what you're getting yourself into before taking the plunge.

Tour de Ditmer, Morten Ditmer, Ditmer A/S

With our break done Morten spent some time telling us about Ditmer and the way they operate as a company. Ditmer is a very agile company with focus on delivering software rather than bickering over contracts with the customer as a result they don't employ contracts at all which Morten felt obligated them even more to deliver real business value to their customers. Another aspect of this is that they've got no sales force; every new project comes in by word of mouth which to me is interesting as I've seen very good ideas tank because they didn't get the attention they deserved. Probably the reason that this is working is the fact that they've got traction in the marketplace already and their network is allowing them to operate like this. As a result they're a very developer centric company which should appeal to most .NET'ers out there :)

There's no question that Ditmer is an great work place where all the right values are in focus. They're even involved with Agile Alliance another plus in my book :)

Open Forum (The Artist Formerly Known as The Nutcracker)

Even though it was getting pretty late most attendees stayed around for the open forum where we had a very good question about how to do internationalization and a step beyond that: How to change logic and appearance based on locale you're currently operating in. In addition we covered scaling an web application for a lot of users across multiple continents. Although people we tired I think we got some good answers and food for thought on this one. As always I encourage you to think on topics for Open Forum in advance so we get the most out of the time we've got.

posted on Thursday, 25 October 2007 14:36:22 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [4] Trackback
# Tuesday, 23 October 2007

anug_logo Be sure to attend the most requested session of ANUG ever: ORM and LINQ with Søren Skovsbøll. If you want an opportunity to learn more about LINQ and ORM in general this is a must for you! :) Also you'll get to meet a lot of interesting people what's not to like?

It's absolutely free to attend and Ditmer will provide some snacks for us so be sure to check Wednesday 24/10 19:00 (that's tomorrow evening). More information and to sign up.

posted on Tuesday, 23 October 2007 10:30:35 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 08 October 2007

As I mentioned in my summary of the last usergroup meeting we have a little more mainstream topic for the next meeting: Object relational mapping (ORM) and LINQ.

The next meeting will be held October 24th 19:00 at Ditmer A/S. Please note that we're not doing the last Wednesday this time around due to scheduling conflicts with the speaker. As always the meeting is open to anyone who wishes to participate.

Please leave a comment to sign up for this meeting

Practical Information

The meeting will be held:

Wednesday 24/10 at 19:00

at:

Ditmer A/S

Trindsøvej 9

8000 Århus C

Map

Agenda

Usergroup News

To keep everybody inform on the various stuff going on we'll begin with a short update on planned sessions, new initiatives, and so forth. This will also be your chance to give us some feedback on what you would like to see at future meetings or voice your interesting in presenting a subject matter yourself.

Object Relational Mapping and LINQ, Søren Skovsbøll, Ditmer A/S

O/R mapping is a widely used discipline in the .NET world. Only now Microsoft is entering the fray with two O/R mappers: LINQ to SQL and later ADO Entity Framework. LINQ to SQL has garnered a lot of publicity primarily due to the new query language which is available inside C#, VB, and other CLR languages.

Getting started with LINQ to SQL is easy but when your applications become more complex than the samples Microsoft provide you'll need to know what's going on under the hood and what an O/R mapper really is.

We'll dive into which patterns also all O/R mappers use: Identity Map, Unit of Work, Data Mapper, etc.. LINQ to SQL is a simple O/R mapper in that regard but making up for the fact are the rich design time tools which comes with Visual Studio 2008.

Søren Skovsbøll is  a development consultant with Ditmer A/S. He started working with O/R mapping when NHibernate was in its infancy with the 0.3 release. Mappers which will let you keep your domain model nice and clean is in high regard with Søren and he's even built his own O/R mapper from scratch called Matterhorn which was the first to support generics. He publishes a blog at Skarpt.dk.

Break

Tour de Ditmer

Morten Ditmer, the CEO of Ditmer, will do a lap around his company and enlighten us on Ditmer as a company, their values, and how they go about building software in Ditmer.

The Nutcracker

Have a problem or a topic you'd like to discuss? This is your chance to get the opinion from a bunch of intelligent people working with .NET. Would you like to demo a cool tool? Show a web site which has changed your life? It's all up to you, if you find it interesting chances are that others will too. So feel free...

Looking forward to seeing you and remember not to be shy even if this is your first attendance :)

posted on Monday, 08 October 2007 15:59:29 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [30] Trackback
# Monday, 01 October 2007

To bring the members of Aarhus .NET Usergroup even more benefit, I've created a group for us on LinkedIn. Feel free to join.

posted on Monday, 01 October 2007 21:27:35 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 30 September 2007

We had little over ten people turn up for the meeting and we had great fun. I admit that the topic was rather esoteric as ESB, SOA, and BizTalk just doesn't apply to all that many people out there, especially in Denmark. ESB and BizTalk was the second part of our SOA topic and I think it rounded the topic off in a nice way. For future meeting we'll try to keep to topic of the presentation a bit more mainstream. Also the next time I plan a meeting I'll make sure not to collide with a major conference in town like JAOO. Having a usergroup meeting right after a full day of conference is a tall order, I know I went there straight after JAOO, I might not have been my most coherent self and it might have affected the turnout as well.

A big thank you goes out to Klaus Hebsgaard and Kristelig fagbevægelse for getting a nice space for us to hold the meeting, probably the nicest yet, and some very good sandwiches too.

Like always we started out the meeting by summarizing what the core group has been up to since last time. First of all we've been busy with getting new talks and speakers together and I'm proud to announce that we've got the next couple of rounds together at this point. I expect that we'll announce new meetings much earlier than we've been doing up to this point to allow people more time to sign up for the meetings. The topic of the next meeting is Object Relational Mapping and LINQ by Søren Skovsbøll and will be held at Ditmer A/S at October 24th at 19:00. Please note that we're not doing the meeting the last Wednesday of the month this time around due to scheduling issues. I'll do a separate post on the next meeting when I've got the last couple of details sorted.

We're planning a couple of meetings which are aimed at the inexperienced .NET developer because we do have a number of you attending the meetings and we'd like for the group to bring something to the table for everyone. As a follow up to that the first meeting we're trying to get a code camp together with the intent of teaching you how to create a .NET application from ground up the right way, or at least the way we feel is the right way. This is not only for the inexperienced developer as we need a number of experienced developers who can act as a kind of instructor at the code camp helping out with questions. I'd like to gauge the interest in this concept so please write me an e-mail if you're interested in participating either to learn something as an instructor.

We're still working on the web site for the group. All the technical stuff is basically done, we just need text and the pretty parts to be done as well.

Like previously we did a quick lap around the attendees to get a feel for who was present. We had a couple of new guys, one of whom had asked me before the meeting whether he could attend even though he hadn't been the previously. So I I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify that Aarhus .NET Usergroup is completely open to all who wish to participate regardless of previous attendance. We'd like you to attend every time of course to ensure continuity but it's completely up to you. You simply sign up to the meeting you want to attend and that's it. If you've attended a meeting previously you'll receive an e-mail whenever a new meeting is scheduled so you have the chance to sign up before anyone else.

Troels Riisbrich Underlien gave an interesting presentation on Enterprise Service Bus and BizTalk. The presentation focused on ESB as a technology and less on BizTalk although he gave us insight into some of the inner workings of BizTalk because they were at the heart of the ESB solution he outlined later on. Troels gave us information on how to go about building an ESB on BizTalk, the Microsoft guidance, and probably most interesting of all how Vertica has created and implemented an ESB for Bestseller. Download the slides if you want to either recap or get a feel for the content of the presentation. Essential an ESB is the way to go if you're considering doing SOA that's my personal take away from the presentation anyway. If you what want is a asynchronous, scalable and flexible solution there really is no way around the ESB as a concept.

After a short break and chatting in the hall ways we went back to the regularly planned programming where Holger Brøns Jensen the CIO of Krifa did a brief presentation on the IT organization of Krifa and the challenges they're facing. Krifa is definitely facing some interesting problems at the moment as they're moving their entire platform to a service oriented architecture, of course they have a lot of legacy which still needs to work so the last two meetings have basically been perfect for their needs. Krifa has done some very interesting stuff in the past and was off to the IP telephony races very early on which provided them with a nice head start on the callcenter side of things compared to their competition. Thanks to Holger for a very informing presentation.

Finally we had the unstructured part of the meeting which we call the Nutcracker. People usually refer to this part of the meetings as the most interesting as it opens up for discussion on various topics. we had a couple of good discussions this time around: Klaus had a problem getting their ESB to talk to WCF and we steered him in the direction of a possible solution. We even got Visual Studio fired up to show him the default binding profile for ASMX, of course I couldn't help but get sidetracked just a bit so I demoed a couple of features of ReSharper a couple of which have actually found their way into Visual Studio without my knowledge making for an interesting demo. Following that I wanted to get people's opinion on ORM and which they use themselves. I didn't really get that one off of the ground but the discussion took an interesting twist regardless so all in all a success.

Thank you to all who attended this meeting. As I started out by saying we're aware that the topic was esoteric and we'll try to keep broader topics of interest in mind for future meetings. I'd like people who plan to attend in the future to think about topics for the Nutcracker so we ca get the discussion going, maybe even prepare a short five minute talk to get the topic going.

posted on Sunday, 30 September 2007 13:25:16 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Remember that ANUG is holding a meeting tonight where the topic is BizTalk and Enterprise Service Bus. Read more and sign up.

posted on Wednesday, 26 September 2007 09:13:41 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 17 September 2007

Announcing the next meeting in Aarhus .NET Usergroup. Be sure to mark your calendar for Wednesday 26/09 18:00. Please note the new time for the meeting which is 18:00. The last meeting ran pretty late with the discussion going strong when I left at 23:00 so to accommodate that we decided to move the time forward a bit.

Leave a comment to sign up for this meeting.

Practical Information

The meeting will be held:

Wednesday 26/09 18:00

at:

Kristelig Fagbevægelse

Sintrupvej 71

8220 Brabrand

Map

Agenda

Usergroup News

To keep everybody inform on the various stuff going on we'll begin with a short update on planned sessions, new initiatives, and so forth. This will also be your chance to give us some feedback on what you would like to see at future meetings or voice your interesting in presenting a subject matter yourself.

BizTalk and Enterprise Service Bus, Troels Riisbrich Underlien

The term Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) has as many definitions as SOA itself. Depending on the company, the person you'll get a different explanation of what ESB is. We'll take a look at what ESB can be, how it can help us, and how it fits into a service oriented architecture. Furthermore we'll dive into how Microsoft recommends putting together an ESB and how we at Vertica have gone about implementing the ideas in a concrete projects.

Tour de Krifa

The CTO of Krifa will give us some history on Krifa and how they go about developing their internal solutions.

The Nutcracker

Open mic. This is your chance to get the discussion going on a topic interesting to you. Last time we discussed how to go about getting certified on .NET, techniques for reading and retaining the information, and books to get. So feel free...

posted on Monday, 17 September 2007 14:59:29 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [13] Trackback
# Thursday, 30 August 2007

With our second meeting in Aarhus .NET Usergroup successfully completed I'd like to take some time to do a summary for those of you not able to attend. Let me first start off by saying that the meeting was a complete success - all the stuff we worried about not working did actually pan out just fine and we had some great discussions as a result. But first things first.

usergroup vertica 001 The meeting started out with some news about what the organizers have been keeping busy with since the last meeting. Basically we've been racking our brains on how to structure the meetings, how long to have to go on for, and what we can bring to the table that Microsoft cannot with their Meet Microsoft events.

The conclusion we've come to is that what we can bring to the table is the ability to relate .NET technology to concrete projects and every day problems in a way that Microsoft cannot.

Many of us have probably seen upcoming features from Microsoft which demoed really well but when actually used on a real projects failed horribly. We'll try to remedy this by providing a more pragmatic insight into the inner workings of .NET and related products. As an extension to this we'll continue holding the meetings at various companies around Aarhus and the vicinity of Aarhus. Please e-mail me if you would like to put us up for a meeting in your company. Additionally we'll try to have a representative from the company give a short presentation of the company, what they stand for, and how they do things in an effort to give people different perspectives on how to go about systems development. For me personally this is something I'm looking forward to seeing in action.

Next up we discussed our ideas about meeting structure. A lot of new things we can do with the group were discussed before the meeting but in the end we decided to keep things to the bare minimum and get the basics working before moving on to other stuff. So for now the our activities will be limited to the meetings which will be structured like so:

  • Group News
  • Presentation on Topic of the Meeting
  • Break
  • Tour de <Company>
  • Nutcracker

The only thing here which isn't obvious is the Nutcracker so I'll spend a little time on detailed what the idea here is. What we want this to be is kind of an open forum where a person can ask a question which we'll spend time on discussing. It can be anything from a specific coding problem to more fluffy stuff like when to use WPF instead of WinForms, how to study for a particular subject, etc.. Only your imagination sets the boundaries for this one as long as it's related to .NET in some way ... and I don't mean a subject which is the great-great-great-great-great-great red headed stepchild of your grandfather kind of related either :)

Even though we're a nonprofit organization with no form of income we've already acquired a couple of assets we can use in the future. The first and most important asset is our domain name which yours truly came up with (direct hate mail here please :)). In the future you can find the usergroup at www.anug.dk. You can probably guess what it's short for too. At the moment it redirects to aarhus.activedeveloper.dk but we'll have a Community Server up in the near future so we have a place to store member lists, files, and of course keep you informed about upcoming meetings.

As I mentioned previously Vertica has been kind enough to buy a projector which we can borrow when we need it.

So how did the meeting go anyway? I've covered the news portion quite extensively but by and large I'll say that we have a success on our hands. I was a bit worried that we wouldn't be able to get people to participate with questions and commentary about the presentation and especially the Nutcracker had me worried because it relies solely on the attendees providing a topic for discussion.

My worries were put to rest to say the least. During my SOA presentation people asked a wealth of questions and had some great comments to the solutions I outlined in my presentation. All in all I think people took away some valuable information from that portion of the meeting. You can take a look at my slides if you want to either recap some of the stuff we talked about or if you curious about what Hulk Hogan has to do with service oriented architecture :) I wanted to keep the presentation to an hour max but we went a bit long on that due to the questions and observations from the attendees.

After a short break Sune Hansen took the stage with a short presentation about Vertica. He told us a little bit about the history of company and where we are going with a development and something about the tools. Short and sweet and again people actively participated in presentation. Very cool!

usergroup vertica 002usergroup vertica 003

Finally we had the Nutcracker which started out a bit shaky and I was just about ready to pull the plug on it when Brian Holmsgård Kristensen came forward with a question on how he should prepare himself for certification on the .NET Framework and ASP.NET. What followed was a great discussion where people told about what has worked for them in the past and a lot of tips and tricks on how to go about it. To me this part of the evening was the best as we really got into the meat of things and people got to interact in a way I've never seen at the Microsoft events.

We wrapped up the meeting and frankly I'd expected people to leave quickly as is customary to the MS events but a large group stayed behind to continue the discussion. We branched out into various groups and I had one guy asking me about Team Foundation Server and how best to implement it on their projects so I gave him a quick tour of our stuff and a couple of pointers on how to get it going. This is really what it's all about: Developers meeting and learning from each other.

We left the office around 23:00 after a solid 4 hours of content. I'm very pleased about how it all turned out and I think we have the recipe for success here we just need to repeat it.

Finally I would like to give honorable mention to Jacob Saaby Nielsen who came up with the idea for the usergroup who missed the initial meeting but was present to this one.

See you all at the next meeting!

[Download the usergroup news slides]

[Download Pragmatic Service Oriented Architecture slides]

posted on Thursday, 30 August 2007 11:13:32 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A quick reminder that tomorrow evening (29/8) at 19:00 is the first "real" meeting in Aarhus .NET Usergroup. There are still a few spots available so be sure to leave a comment if you intend to participate if you haven't already done so. The meeting will be held in the Vertica office at the following address and we'll talk about SOA.

Vertica A/S
Vestergade 58N, 2. sal
8000 Århus C.
Map

Also remember that we'll be doing the Nutcracker where we try and solve a problem that you are dealing with in .NET so bring along those notes and we'll have at it.

Vertica will be supplying sandwiches and soft drinks for everybody so if nothing else you'll get that out of the evening ;)

Read more on what's planned if you still haven't made up your mind.

posted on Tuesday, 28 August 2007 11:52:48 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 10 August 2007

After some procrastination the next .NET usergroup meeting is all set to go. We did have some difficulty finding a place to hold the meeting initially but luckily both Vertica and Kristelig fagbevægelse (Klaus Hebsgaard) came forward to help us out on that front. Vertica did even better than that I've been given the promise that Vertica will provide us with a brand spanking new projector for our first meeting. I won't mention that I've been bugging the CEO for two weeks about it :)

With this being the first meeting we of course need to tune the meeting structure until we find a format which fits. Expect the meeting to span two to three hours depending on how much content we have for the news portion and the Nutcracker. I hope to see a lot of people ready to contribute to a great meeting so we can carry on the positive energy created on the initial meeting; this time around we're setting a precedent for the meetings to come.

Practical Information

The meeting will be at the Vertica offices August 29th (last Wednesday of the month remember?) at 19:00. We can seat around 30 people so if you want to make sure to grab a spot please check back quickly by leaving a comment on this post.


Vertica A/S
Vestergade 58N, 2. sal
8000 Århus C.

Map


Agenda

Usergroup News

To keep everybody inform on the varoius stuff going on we'll begin with a short update on planned sessions, new initiatives, and so forth. This will also be your chance to give us some feedback on what you would like to see at future meetings or voice your interesting in presenting a subject matter yourself.

Pragmatic Service Oriented Architecture

I will be speaking about my experiences with service oriented architecture with regards to migrating an existing code base to not only a new technological platform but also to the entirely new mindset of SO. Before shifting my focus to the practical aspects of the technical style, I will dwell a while on the basics of SOA defining some of the techincal terms as to shed light on why decisions and tradeoffs where made. I will show you how you can build a service oriented architecture with basic means that get the job done. Finally I will spend some time on lessons learned during development with regards to pitfalls, good and bad aspects, and how to go about testing.

Tour de Vertica

We'll take you on a tour of the Vertica offices where we tell you a little bit about the company, what we do, and how we do it. Like the following session the Nutcracker I hope that this will become a regular session porviding we can find a new place every time.

The Nutcracker

We try to solve or at least give pointers on solving actual problems attendees are facing. The hope is that the Nutcracker will become a regular session at the meetings but it of course relies entirely on you, dear reader, so be sure to bring some interesting  problems and we'll take a stab a cracking the nut together.

posted on Friday, 10 August 2007 21:46:51 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [11] Trackback
# Monday, 25 June 2007

As you probably know we had our first meeting in the Aarhus .NET Usergroup last wednesday. I wanted to get the summary out earlier but unfortunately customer meetings got in the way. A couple of accounts of the meeting has already been posted, one by Jeppe Rørbæk from Microsoft (with pics), another one by Morten Vadstrup of Host Nordic who was kind enough to arrange a place for the meeting at the offices of Dynamic Web, and finally a short one from Klaus Hebsgaard.

I wanted to help Morten out with setting the place up for the meeting so I arrived early at Dynamic Web, luckily for me Morten and Morten had already done all the work which left me looking good without actually having to do anything :) Actually that's not entirely true as Marten asked me to handle the agenda since I was the one who proposed it.

We had quite a turnout with a total of 15 people attending. The number was perfect as our game plan for the evening was to establish the ground for the usergroup: What content to offer, what format to offer it in, membership, and so forth.

After a brief presentation of myself and the agenda we went around the table and got everybody introduced. I'm very pleased with the breadth of people who turned up, both professionally and technically.

We had people working with system administration, provisioning, C#, VB, Web, WinForms, CMS, SAP, and even one person looking into game development using XNA. XNA in particular was something people were instantly interested in hearing more about, much to the surprise of the person in question :) No doubt about the fact that we should have a presentation on XNA at a future meeting. A couple of students had also found their way to the first meeting which is great. No doubt that a usergroup is a great asset to them in particular as it gives them access to not only great knowledge but also to industry contacts which they can leverage come graduation. For those of us already in the business of software it's a great opportunity to meet the next generation of software developers and single out potential hires :)

In short we had people working with almost every aspect of .NET with all levels of experience which brought us to the next question: Technical level of the content. The consensus was that we would try and find something for everybody and that we would encourage everybody to take part in doing presentations. As one person pointed out nobody is an expert in all areas of .NET so even if you only have limited experience on a given topic you would still be able to provide value for people not familiar with that particular topic. In short we'll try to avoid a RTFM culture and try to create an environment which provides something for everybody.

Content-Brainstorm-Founding-Meeting Next up: Brainstorming about concrete topic people would like to see presentations on. My goal here was to walk away with something for the next meetings and boy did we ever cover a lot of topics! We had a whiteboard available for the seance and by the end of the session we had the entire whiteboard covered in topics. At the end I had difficulty even finding space for new stuff. Basically we're going to dig into all areas of .NET and in the future we might even take a look at some stuff not related to .NET. For now though we have more than enough: Check out the picture I took of the whiteboard in case of doubt :) Of course topics such as Orcas, LINQ, Silverlight, and other upcoming stuff were mentioned again and again so we need to do something in those areas. Jeppe mentioned that he would be able to come up with people on various topics such as unit testing (Mark Seemann), ORM (Morten Mertner), and Team Foundation (Martin Pamdeth). I mentioned that I'd like to see that bulk of the content created by the group itself to get it going but we'll see how we end up doing it.

Three people elected to come up with presentations for the next meeting: Jeppe Rørbæk, Klaus Hebsgaard, and myself.

With a very nice discussion on topics and level of presentations done we moved on to the physical aspect of the usergroup: Where should the meetings be held? The same place every time, in alternating locations, or something else entirely? Everybody were pretty much in agreement that doing a round robin between the offices of our respective companies would be preferrable because we'd get to see how other people have chosen to set up their shop. I personally like the idea of doing a round robin approach in spite of the fact of the additional planning required. The fact of the matter is that we all get an opportunity to be inspired and maybe start doing things in a better way by seeing what others have done. So we decided on giving the round robin model a go while keeping a couple of places as backup should all else fail. Jeppe ensured us that he would be willing to help us out by finding speakers on particular topics.

On a very cool note I had proposed that we should try and work something out for a informational web site but that had already been taken care of by Morten on beforehand. He launched our web site at http://aarhus.activedeveloper.dk a couple of days before the actual first meeting. It's a great example of the energy and entusiasm surrounding the meeting. When I asked if anyone would be interested in doing a presentation most put up their hand. I expected about 5 but got double that which bodes well for the future I'd say.

We needed some way of easily planning meetings which is why I came up with the idea of meeting the last Wednesday of the month at 19:00. We did not schedule the next meeting because of summer vacations which are sure to conflict with the group. In hindsight we could probably have chosen a better time to start this thing :) Keep your eyes peeled at the usergroup web site for information about the next meeting. We had a brief discussion about the particular day of the week and which time. Some wanted the meeting to start later, some earlier. For me personally 19:00 suits me just fine as I have to hang out until the meetings start and you never know how long they will go on for. We didn't decide on a particular length of each meeting but I feel that 2 - 3 hours is as good a place as any to start out which leads us on to the format of the meetings.

Basically we would like to have a presentation which can act as a base for further discussion, maybe a couple each time depending on how long we can keep a single topic interesting. We definitely need to play around with length and number until we find something that works. Someone came up with the concept of the "Nut Cracker" ("Nøddeknækkeren"); the idea here is to have people present problems they're facing and others will try to help them out. Also Jeppe suggest that we should try and build some actual useful code which sounds great in theory and it's certainly something we should try and do but in reality I'm concerned that it might be a tad too unmanageble. I would encourage people to try and come up with ideas for implementations based on the topic of their particular presentations. Additionaly we could put a Subversion server online for the group to play around with.

As the last order of business we decided to elect a number of core responsible people who will make sure that the meeting are arranged and that we have speakers for the topics people want to hear about. I was a bit afraid that no one would volunteer but in the end 5 people including myself volunteered for the job. Again a nice sign that we have something special going on here. The core responsible are: Morten Vadstrup, Peter Loft Jensen, Lars Buch-Jepsen, Brian Holmgård Kristensen, and Søren Spelling Lund. We had a short meeting at Vertica before we went to the meeting to discuss what we could do ourselves to get this thing rolling; one of the things was to actively participate in the group and that's just what we did as Lars and Brian are colleagues of mine. Also Vertica is ready to support the group should it be needed.

Finally I would like to thank everybody who showed up for the meeting and for the very active participation in the discussion. Also thanks to Morten Vadstrup for arranging a place for us to hold the meeting and organizing a web site for the group. Of course thanks to Dynamic Web for allowing us to use their offices for the meeting.

Sorry about the longest post since TechEd :)

posted on Monday, 25 June 2007 21:18:46 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [4] Trackback
# Monday, 18 June 2007

A quick reminder that the first meeting of the Aarhus .NET Usergroup is this wednesday 19:00 at Hostnordic A/S, Åhavevej 5, 8260 Viby J. Check out my original post about it and also take a look at the attendee list. I'm taking the liberty of proposing an agenda for our initial meeting to try and encourage a more productive meeting.

Goals for initial meeting
Vision/Mission for the group
Elect core responsible for group
Website

Who are we
Introduction of attendees
Wishes for the usergroup - advanced topics vs. entry-level topics
Brainstorm for content - concrete presentations

Physical space
Schedule meetings, e.g. the last Wednesday of every month
Venue for meetings, e.g. round robin of work spaces
Informational web site

Content
Attendees wishing to do presentations
Contacts in companies (possible speakers)
Content topics: SQL Server Express, SSIS, ERP, Vista, Commerce, Ruby, BizTalk, data access, LINQ, architecture, concrete projects
INETA
Use of Prosa/Samdata

posted on Monday, 18 June 2007 15:48:12 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [3] Trackback
# Wednesday, 06 June 2007

Earlier this year there were some rumblings that a .NET usergroup would be started in Århus, Denmark. Nothing ever came out of it but this time around I do think that we have something. Quite spontaneously too by the looks of it.

If you are at all interested in talking to like-minded .NETers now would be a good time to show up for some community service :)

The date is set for June 20th 1900 at Hostnordic A/S, Åhavevej 5, 8260 Viby J.. A couple of guys from Vertica will definitly be in attendence, myself included. If you're thinking about attending go and post about in the ActiveDeveloper forum or leave a comment at Vadstrup.dk.

UPDATE: There's an attendee list up at Vadstrup.dk.

posted on Wednesday, 06 June 2007 18:02:08 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback