# Friday, 16 May 2008

At Vertica we do our very best to keep everybody happy. We pull out all the stops with inspiring work environment, nice desktops, multiple monitors, top-notch salaries, food, private healthcare, fysio, massages, etc.. But best of all, like Apple we think differently too, the fruit of the day says it all.

Fruit-of-the-Day-2 

Yes that indeed is a rhubarb, and no I have no idea why the fruit company would think it a good idea to include it in the delivery :)

posted on Friday, 16 May 2008 15:30:36 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 14 May 2008

ReSharper-Logo Getting "Failed to load the supplementary package '0c6e6407-13fc-4878-869a-c8b4016c57fe'" every time you fire up Visual Studio will make for veeery long dev days I tell you that. Luckily I was able to find the Issue Details in Jetbrains' JIRA which told me the issue was resolved in version 3.0. Doh! Reinstalling everything in sight won't help either...

A thread on the Jetbrains forum however lead me to the solution. You simply go like this from the Visual Studio 2008 SDK command promt:

devenv /ResetSkipPkgs

We were going through a rocky patch there, ReSharper and I, but I'm happy to report that we're back together and all is well :)

posted on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 15:14:57 (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, 25 April 2008

Vertica_Logo My good colleague Daniel has joined the blogging fray. He's been at it for a while too before telling anyone about it so he's got a nice bunch of posts up already and keeping up the pace. He's been working on a Commerce Server/SharePoint project for the past couple of months and of course the regular C# stuff so expect to see more posts about those subjects.

Subscribed!

posted on Friday, 25 April 2008 15:30:57 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

img_ecommerce With an e-commerce solution online payment naturally follows. Recently I've been involved in a couple of e-comm projects which needed integration with a payment provider.

In the good old days integration was a no-brainer you'd simply go with the API, HTTP-RPC or web services, for the nicest solution design-wise and development-wise as well.

Last year though VISA/MasterCard introduced the PCI compliance requirement for businesses handled credit card information. A move which in theory was good in that it limits the number of businesses which handle the information and by extension limits the chance for leaked information via security breach.

Now I write in theory because what happened is the VISA/MasterCard went a bit too far in their requirements. Basically if a credit card number is ever entered on your server you need to be PCI compliant; while this make sense for a payment provider for a store it means that you can't use the APIs as you'd normally would instead you have to use a payment window provided by the service provider.

If you want to handle credit card information at all you have to submit your system for quarterly reviews by external security consultants and your system will have to comply to the same standards as the payment providers themselves adding a yearly running cost of $5,000 - $30,000. Did I mention that VISA/MasterCard is bumping up the requirements on a quarterly basis? All in all this adds up to the conclusion that not handling credit card information on your servers at all is becoming the default choice and by extension the payment window becomes the default choice.

The payment window adds another layer of complexity to your solution in that you have to redirect your customer completely over to the payment provider site to process the credit card after which point the customer returns to your site to view a confirmation if everything went well. My main complaint about the payment window is the lack of contiguity for the customer. A great many sites here in Denmark use the payment windows with more or less success in that department.

Payment-Windows-Redirection-Flow

With the payment window being the default choice for now it's important that Danish online e-tailers figure out how to integrate the window in the most user friendly manner. Not doing so signals lack of professionalism in the best case and in the worst case they could loose customers because they are confused by a completely different look and feel in the most critical part of the checkout flow: Payment.

A company which does this extremely well is Trollbeads.com. Their integration with the payment window is seamless, in fact when I shopped there a couple of weeks ago I didn't even notice that I was redirected to their payment provider for processing my payment information. I should notice I do this for living :)

Take a look at the following screenshots to see what I mean:

Trollbeads-basket

(Basket)

Trollbeads-checkout-DIBS

(Checkout)

That's how it should be done and I didn't even do it myself :)

posted on Friday, 25 April 2008 15:14:53 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Monday, 14 April 2008

Back in 2005 I wrote about the "magic" third connection available with Terminal Services with the -console switch and I've happily used it ever since. Everything was dandy until recently when suddenly it stopped working for me.

It turns out that with Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Microsoft deemed it necessary to rename the switch to -admin. Only for Windows Vista mind you and only for Service Pack 1.

So the command for getting at the console of a Terminal Services enabled machine is now

mstsc.exe -admin

Thanks Microsoft!

posted on Monday, 14 April 2008 10:36:45 (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.

IMG_2247 IMG_2248

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.

IMG_2258 IMG_2257 IMG_2261

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
# Thursday, 03 April 2008

glatfore_skilt I'm now officially a statistical anomaly. Only last November I encountered a ghost driver and in my post Could Have Been Me I write about what could have happened if I'd decided to try and take over another car at the very moment the ghost driver came upon me.

Well tonight turned out to be that night. On my way home from Århus I encountered a different ghost driver only this time I was actually in the same lane as the other guy. Luckily I had my wits about me and managed to swerve out of his way.

So please just for a year or so give me break. I really think that I've had to deal with enough ghost drivers for one life time. WTF!

posted on Thursday, 03 April 2008 23:16:00 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback