Coding On Campus and Geeking out in Orlando with VS Live

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This week I will be presenting at VS Live Redmond.  I will also be presenting at VS Live Orlando in November as part of Live! 360.  For those of you that are not familiar with VS Live, it is a 3 to 5 day conference featuring code-filled days, networking at night and independent education for .NET developers, software architects and designers.  I love speaking at and attending VS Live because these conferences provide an opportunity to discuss technology not just teach it.  Four conferences in four different locations allows for smaller more affordable conferences that benefit attendee and speaker alike.  Below is the information related to my talks.  If you are attending in Redmond I look forward to seeing you there.  If your looking for a great conference hopefully I will see you in Orlando.

Aug. 21 - VS Live Redmond:

9:15 – Blend For Visual Studio

3:15 – Tips for Building Multi-Touch Enabled Web Sites

Nov. 21 - VS Live Orlando (Register Here):

1:30 – Adventures in Unit Testing : TDD vs. TED

3:00 – Blend For Visual Studio

C# Developer’s Anonymous (Defending C# in a JavaScript World)

Hi, My name is Ben and I am a C# developer.  It’s been 1 minute since I wrote a line of C# code.

Am I the only one that has noticed some negativity towards C# and .NET these days?  All this buzz and talk about HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript has C# devs on the defensive.  Lately, I feel like I need to apologize for using C#, ASP.NET, XAML and\or Visual Studio.  Everyone wants to use JavaScript for everything.  It looks like this post by Jeff is 100% accurate.  In the article, Jeff says anything that can be written in JavaScript will be.

Node.js is a huge example of this.  Don’t get me wrong Node is a great way to build a fast, scalable cross platform web interface for FREE!  I get it, it’s FREE.  However, let’s discuss the word “free” for minute.  Is it free if it takes me twice as long to develop it?  Is it free if I have to import all these open source modules, libraries and frameworks, some of which have licensing that forbid commercial use?  Is it free if my application breaks due to a bug in a new version of one of these open source projects?  To me the productivity gains I get from using IIS, ASP.NET MVC (or Web Forms), C# and Visual Studio are well worth the licensing fees required to build applications with .NET.  Not to mention all the unbelievable productivity tools provided by 3rd party vendors like Telerik.  In the long run, my users and customers don’t care about the backend technology as long as the architecture performs and can be scaled.  They also want it done as soon as possible.

Most of the C# developers I know love developing using .NET and Visual Studio (VS).  Hardcore open source proponents might say VS is cheating.  It abstracts much of the low level details and plumbing so the developer can focus on just building the application.  Is that wrong?  Maybe if you are writing a hardcore application that needs control over some low level operations.  Most apps these days don’t need that.  Plus I would argue that 3rd party JavaScript frameworks like jQuery, backbone, knockout, etc. do the same thing in the JavaScript world.  To me the abstractions that VS provides are all that is right with software development.

Ever since Microsoft killed Silverlight and provided HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript development for Windows Store Apps, C# developers get no love.  TypeScript is a perfect example of this.  I love TypeScript and use it to write large JavaScript based applications.  But TypeScript exists for one reason, because JavaScript development is painful for C# developers that have been spoiled by the most powerful language (C#) and IDE (VS) on the planet.  TypeScript is trying to bring all the features of these tools to JavaScript.  Eventually it will get there and we will all be writing applications that “compile” to JavaScript.

Visual Studio and C# produce software that runs on many different devices.  The apps created with these technologies might not always run on every device but they can target a large range of devices.  They might require some licensing fees, hosting fees or cloud fees.  My experiences is that these fees are a reasonable cost (or even a necessary cost) for writing and deploying good quality applications.

Finally, I want to say that I do not hate JavaScript.  I find it very similar to C#.  However, I miss all the value that the .NET framework and Visual Studio provides.  If I can ensure the environment my application runs in will have .NET installed I will use it every time.

My VS Live Las Vegas Session Contents for TypeScript and Touch Enabled Web Sites

Just a couple quick links to my slides and demos from my VS Live sessions.  I spoke on TypesScript and how to Build Touch Enabled Web Sites.  Attendees at both sessions where great.  Thanks for attending!  Please fill out the session evals to let us know how we are doing.

Type Script Slides and Demos

Touch Enabled Web Sites

Thanks again for attending.  More to come related to VS Live Vegas…

Telerik and KendoUI Phoenix User Group Tour 2013

Last week I had the honor of speaking at the North West Valley .NET User Group and the South East Valley .NET User Group in Phoenix.  As a Telerik Insider, Telerik sends me to different User Groups and Code Camps in the Western United States.  I am not required to speak on Telerik products but in this case I did discuss how to use KendoUI in both ASP.NET MVC and outside of MVC using the MVVM pattern.  The talk is a great talk that shows the “how to” as well as allows the group to compare and contrast the two different patterns.  The Phoenix area has some great developers and the discussions before, during and after the presentation were awesome!  As I said, I’m not required to talk about or promote Telerik products but I do because I love using their tools and software.  Whether you are a .NET, Android, IOS or JavaScript developer Telerik has something that will add value to your work.  Here are a couple pictures I took while in Phoenix:

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Here is a link to my slides and demos:

Slides and Completed Demo Code

Thanks to Telerik for sending me to Phoenix and thanks to the Phoenix Community for having me!  I’d also like to give a shout out to my company Aspenware for allowing me to work remotely from Phoenix for a couple days.  Aspenware get’s it.  I love working there!

MVP Summit 2013

Last week I attended the MVP 2013 Summit at Microsoft headquarters.  During this conference, MVPs from around the world attend sessions designed to inform us about the latest and greatest technology coming out of Redmond.  The speakers for these sessions are leading members of the product teams that actually develop the languages and tools we use to build applications on top of the Microsoft platforms.  I cannot write or talk about the content of the sessions because as an MVP I have signed a NDA (Non-disclosure Agreement) that prevents me from doing so.

The thing is, although the session content is interesting and informative, it is not the most important part of the week.  It is also important for MVPs to give feedback to the product team members to help make Microsoft languages and tools better.  I truly believe that one of the most important roles of being an MVP is to take feedback I receive from the community back to Microsoft.  In this age of likes, tweets and forum comments it is easier than ever to give and receive feedback.  In my opinion, however, this type of feedback can be tainted and lead to false results and miscommunication.  It’s one thing to make an anonymous post online but it is entirely different to make that same comment and have to explain it in front of your peers.  The MVP Summit is the one place to discuss these topics face to face with the people that live and breath these things on a day to day basis.  This back and forth discussion is more useful and informative than any other means of communication I have ever used.  I value the opportunity to give this kind of feedback.

Finally, talking about these same technologies with some of the other MVPs in attendance is also a real treat.  Over the years I have become friends with many of the attendees and I look forward to seeing them every year.  Being in the same location with some of the authorities in my field is humbling and motivating.

I look forward to next year’s Summit!