That was another enjoyable night. I must give a big thanks to all the hundred or so people that showed up to hear me talk again. If anyone would like the slides please click here.
All you really need to know is the following
- . This is one of the best written technical books I have ever read, and is an excellent introduction to Team System
- . If you have been working with Team System for some time this book is unlikely to teach you much, it is purely an introduction
The approximately 300 pages are filled with riveting content (disclaimer: I am a big fan of formal processes), and only uses screenshots where necessary. The book is far from another big font/ screenshots-on-every-page Barnes and Nobel shelf filler.
As you may expect the book begins with an introduction to Team System, Test Server and its related Client Applications. Beyond these chapters, things get really interesting as Richard explains the different major roles in team system, which as we know related to different skus of Visual Studio. For each major role Richard covers the tools provided in that area, and major features. It was interesting to see that Testers do not get much in this release of Team System – this did not surprise me given Mercury’s dominance in this area. It was interesting to read in the latter parts of this book that Mercury are planning add-ins for VS2K5. Note: Developers are looked after in the testing department, but your SQA team does not get much.
Part three of the book covers MSF 4.0, MSF-Agile and MSF-CMII. Personally I think this material is better suited to a classroom, as I found it difficult to keep up with all precise terminology used by each approach. After re-reading the first pages again and again I ended up skim reading most of part three.
Interestingly the best part of the book is the only part I can criticize. Appendix A is ‘A Day in the Life of Team System’; it presents a summary of using Team System on a three month long project. This section was very helpful to me in tying the whole process together, but I just feel it was not presented in the best manner. With a pen I highlighted the key terms in the storyboard to show what part of team system was used when, but I feel the waffle outweighed talk about team system. Most people reading this book with have experience with many projects already and we just want a rapid summary.
All-in-all this is possibly the best technology book I have read since Code Complete and Writing Secure Code. Much of the material in this book will be out of date sometime next year when I expect we’ll see the second version of Team System, but I believe Richard is capable of writing a classic book that will stay on our bookshelves alongside Steve McConnell’s work.
Mix means developers, designers and business professionals at the same conference. Most devs I know are waiting for TechEd/ PDC, but I jumped at the chance to ‘win’ my ticket at the Architect’s meeting today (It will cost me about $400 for the flight + hotel room). Taking a full week off week is too costly, and I am not quite networked enough to justify attending PDC or TechEd. Most people I know only go to them network, and barely see a presentation. I think I’ll enjoy the smaller gathering in Vegas, where I hope to see some great people speak including the following who are either major stars or I follow their web blog. Maybe unlike the bigger events I’ll get have a beer with one or two of them.
Superstar speakers: Hopefully I’ll get in the same room as them!
William (Bill) H. Gates
Famous among the geek set:
I’ll be sure to
It is over three months since I last presented anywhere, so it is time to do it again:
This is brand new material with only one slide carried from my NUnit presentations. The subject is testing, and on my first dry run it was utterly boring. Since then I rewrote the slides, and am quite happy that most developers will enjoy it.
The material is mostly high level covering:
- Extremes of development methodologies
- Different test practices, and when each one makes sense
- Automated Testing in Team System
It will not be as much fun as last year’s code camp, but I think it is worth attending for any developer wishing to become more methodical. This will be the primary presentation that I hawk at code camps this year, so feedback after the event is very much appreciated.
This is a continually updated collection of .Net podcast reviews. Last updated: April 9 2006
Disclaimer: For all of these podcasts I know the host, or they are at most one friend away. As part of my open and honest approach there are a few criticisms/ suggestions for improvement below. These are meant to be constructive so hopefully everyone will be still be speaking to me! Anyone who spends the enormous amount of time producing these shows is a hero in my book.
HanselMinutes (.Net and Tech Tools)
Oh yeah! Scott has nailed the kind of podcast I want to hear. There are few ads, but he does not waste time, and little fluff gets in the way of content. Mistakes are only minor when made, and given the quantity of information they are totally acceptable.
Scott Hanselman has utilized Carl Franklin’s skills (or vice-versa) to deliver a well produced podcast right out of the box. You probably know that Scott lives technology 24/7; still I cannot believe how much he knows about such a breadth of subjects. He must sleep 4 hours a day and do research as part of his day job. Podcasts number 4 on Continuous Integration, and number 5 on Mono are my particular favorites. At the time of writing Scott has just posted number 5 on hacking the Linksys WRT54 Router – I was thinking of attempting this today for improved QOS support. What timing!!! This podcast rules. I doubt very much if Scott can keep supplying this level of interesting technical content week-in, week-out for very long but if anyone can Scott can.
Update (April 2006): Scott is twelve shows in and still going strong. I recommend starting with Continuous Integration as it should be mandatory listening for all developers.
Craig Shoemaker has made great progress with this podcast which he clearly puts a lot of effort into. Craig is a full time .Net developer and produces planned introductions to .Net technologies, spliced with interviews of .Net luminaries.
Much like DNR the interviews depend on who is being interviewed and Craig makes a pretty good Larry King extracting the most from his guests. I would be slapping the guests around for technical accuracy, but that is a one good reason I do not have a podcast! Talking of technical accuracy; not once have I noticed Craig give out inaccurate information. He obviously researches before pressing record.
Audio quality is often a bug-bear of niche podcasts. In true ‘my laptop has a built-in-mike and I want to podcast now’ style the audio was initially terrible; I think Craig did it on one those ‘plastic-cup-tied-to-a-piece-of-wet-sting that ran to his neighbor’s house’ type device we all played with a kids. He was probably underwater at the time too, speaking through his nose… I could go on <g> Download his first podcast and take a trip back to podcasts in early 2005.
Seriously like many other podcasts from early to mid 2004 the audio was bad, but it is now high quality well put together audio and it was wonderful to hear a podcast hero Scott Fletcher give a professional intro and exit piece (I love Scott’s podcast on podcasting and hope he does not fade).
Advertisements/ sponsors: Many podcasters are attempting to monetize their shows, and considering the effort involved who can blame them? Given the number of ad-free podcasts still available, the Slashdot review and Hanselminutes are the only shows where I put up with advertisements, because the content is worth it. Fortunately Craig’s advertisements are pretty unobtrusive with none disturbing a show’s main content; evidently he thought hard about how to advertise.
In summary this is a must try for mid-level .Net developers. .Net newbies will be lost because unlike DNR Craig makes some assumptions of the listener’s knowledge. Until lately I said book-consuming, blog-devouring seniors devs would not hear anything new. Craig’s recent podcast on the state of AJAX is changing my mind about this.
The Grand Daddy of .Net podcasting: Carl Franklin releases an incredible amount of energy into the .Net community. Not least of those efforts is his Internet Radio Show called .Net Rocks. This show predates the word Podcast having kicked off in August 2002, when the dinosaurs were still around burning their downloaded MP3 ‘podcasts’ to compact discs.
This show started out pretty technical with co-host Mark Dunn, really taking off with world famous co-host Rory Blythe and many of us are still weeping at his departure. The show’s format seems to have found a resting place with Richard Campbell helping Carl steer the helm. In 2003 and 2004 there were some terrifically technical shows particularly the ones with Kimberly Tripp, Don Box and Ted Neward. Over the last year the show generally gravitated to simpler subject matter and is now IMO aimed at junior developers looking to keep up with the buzzword alphabet soup.
In summary this is one of the best produced niche shows out there; their audio quality is great and these guys have found a format that works. If you are less than a year into .Net then listen to this show all you can. Unfortunately if you have two or more years .Net you may well find yourself frustrated with technical errors that crop up.
Update (April 2006): These shows appear to be getting more interesting with fewer technical gaffs. Their recent coverage of outsourcing was very interesting.
The best thing about this podcast is also the worst. Wallace McClure (MVP, multiple author, ASPInsider, blah blah blah) mixes up the regular talking about .Net, along with sharing many snippets from his daily life. I love hearing all about his latest book deal, speaking events etc, etc and I am sure many others listen for this reason. On the flipside, a good percentage of first time listeners are probably wishing he would just get to the tech. I loved Wally’s 2005 summary show where he just talked about his year in 2005; maybe shows like this could complement shorter shows that just talk tech?
Paul Glavich is co-founder of the ASP.Net podcast and creates podcasts from his Australian location. He produces less shows than Wally but certainly deserves a mention. I don’t recall them doing a DNR style Skpye show recently; that could be pretty interesting. Their audience consists mainly of MVPs, Microsoft staff and senior devs, probably not as large an audience as for the slickly produced .Net Rocks, but very heavy in terms of influentials. As you are guessing this show is very on the mid to senior dev side.
Update (April 2006): The recent interviews have been very interesting; everyone should listen to Udi Dahan (it has rare bad audio though). Wally is becoming more professional with every show, but is not quite the natural that Craig turned out to be.
Frank La Vigne is a compulsive blogger and started podcasting in December 2005.
If you are an amateur thinking of podcasting you must listen to Frank’s first show. He obviously took a lot of time in deciding how to assemble the podcast and it is very close to emulating professional quality. I for one hope he keeps this show up; I know the effort required to make quality podcasts is non-trivial. Frank is now fice shows in, and I think has really realized the time involved to create a quality podcast. Frank does a lot of other Microsoft community work, and I’ll bet on him being an MVP this time next year. Even if Frank becomes a pod-fader he has already set a good example for those wishing to start their own podcast.
Update (April 2006): Yup he got the MVP
For the last month or so I have using OpenOffice. It is part of my long term plan to try moving my personal Laptop (email/ web browsing machine mainly) to Linux. The idea is to find open source software that exists in both Windows and Linux. I am checking out the tools on Windows, before making the switch to Linux.
Well OpenOffice looked good while I was used it for making minor changes to Word documents, and editing my Excel based project-plans. Yesterday and today I have been brushing up my resume which uses a large number of tables. Several times open office moved chunks of text around! I do not mind missing a few features, but this bug is too serious.
What I did not know is that Sun still holds tight control of OpenOffice’s reigns. This is why we have not seen the likes of IBM or Google really pitch into its development. I heard on a podcast today that Sun is being urged to give up control of OpenOffice. Maybe if they do then version 3.0 will swing the balance to using Linux on the Desktop?
So will I be giving on .Net anytime soon? Are you crazy! I foresee .Net as the major business development platform for the foreseeable future – I will be amazed if anyone can challenge Microsoft in the new ten years. Other than Open Source .Net that is: It has been two years since I used Mono (successfully) in the workplace, and Scott tells us mono is far more mature today. I know I am always recommending podcasts, but if know little about Mono you should really checkout Hanselminutes show 5, <The State of the Mono Project./>:
or this link will go directly to episode here when Scott gets off his lazy ass and updates his website (only kidding Scott, you rule!):
Today I looked at the Atlanta job boards for the first time in a good while. It appears even Microsoft is having a hard time finding people in this mini tech-boom, I say this because they have resorted to public job postings.
Salary is $80->130K + stock/bonuses, which I expect are the ranges for a high GPA, few years out of college grad, to the 15+ years of IT experience guy. The candidate must be willing to travel which is why the ceiling about $15K higher than most others in town.
It does not interest me because of the travel, but I’ll be a good few Atlanta based readers are interested. If you apply try to ask a local Microsoft DE/ consultant what the interview may entail – they have a few recurring themes/ questions from what I hear. You might want to ask them how demanding their job is too
So are you interested in selling your soul to the devil, and forgetting what your wife and kids look like? I thought so.. Start by clicking here.
Let’s start by saying that I loved this book. While in a speakers lounge once I picked it up from the sky-high give-away pile, started reading, got engrossed and well… it ended up travelling the 500 miles back home with me!
This is a book that would have been very useful when starting my .Net career. It is ‘simply’ a collection of nasty traps that .Net can lead you into. The book contains 75 separate gotchas organized into related sections.
Some gotchas are just that, but others explain tricky areas such as COM interop. Of particular interest to me was garbage collection and the Dispose()/ Finalize() coverage. I already knew everything that was written in these chapters but the concise manner in which they were written helped me collect my disjointed knowledge together. After reading chapter 5 I can confidently say that I understand garbage collection basics and the relative merits of dispose and finalize. The COM interop was of particular interest too. I had done this on a previous project, but was simply copying example code from newsgroups. This book gave a better idea of what happens with memory beyond us calling into the .Net RCW.
It is difficult for me to say how much of the book is out of date because of .Net 2.0 because I only have three months 2.0 experience. From what I have seen so far in 2.0 it looks like most of the gotchas are still valid. A gotcha does not mean that it was a flaw with the .Net design, just that somethings are tricky/ unexpected such as exceptions thrown from thread pools are lost. As you can guess I recommend people at least borrow this book. When (if?) a v2.0 of .Net Gotchas hits the shelves I recommend checking it out. The only bad thing I will say is that if you are experienced with .Net do not expect much of this material to be brand new, you will have heard of most issues before but probably not seen them documented quite so well.
This book is aimed at developers already experienced with .Net 1.0 and 1.1. It aims to offer a quick introduction to what is new in .Net 2.0 and VS 2005.
The first chapter in the book covers C# 2.0 and the book is very much worth buying for this chapter alone. Features covered by the chapter are as you would expect: Generics, partial types etc. We have been hearing and reading about them in the MSDN magazine for over a year. Still, it was very useful spending a couple of hours reading this chapter and nailing down each topic. It was also great to see the new covariance support for delegates covered, which I imagine is included to keep us hardcore happy.
It was a shame to spot a simple technical error: the book states that static classes cannot have a constructor. How this was not picked up proof-readers I have no idea. Just in case the CLR team has started taking mind altering drugs while designing 2.0, I knocked up a quick sample with a static class + static constructor and it worked fine.
So on to the rest of the book. Well there are lots and lots of page filling screenshots covering the new Visual Studio, WinForms, WebApps and Data Binding etc. These may be of use to less experienced developers, but I would have preferred simple short sections covering new features. Walking an experienced developer through how to setup a masked text box (>4 pages!) was not useful to me.
Summary: If you are just about to embark on your first .Net 2.0 project I recommend buying this book first chapter alone. It won’t take long to read, and then you can pass it to another team member. I do expect this to be a book you will use for reference.
IE7 looks cool, but I do not recommend using it on your main machine. Since Firefox does not work well on some sites I use all the time, IE 7 had to go. It is not obvious how to remove it, but is documented in Microsoft’s IE 7 Beta 2 FAQ:
How do I uninstall the preview?
To uninstall Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2
Preview and return to Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP
- Click “Start,” and then click “Control Panel.”
- Click “Add or Remove Programs.”
- Check “Show Updates” at the top of the dialog box.
- Scroll down the list to “Windows XP – Software Updates,” select “Internet
Explorer 7 Beta 2Preview,” and then click “Change/Remove.”
“Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview” does not exist, run
%windir%$NtUninstallie7bet2p$spuninstspuninst.exe. You need to have “view
hidden folders” enabled. %windir% is your Windows installation directory, which
is normally ‘C:Windows’ on most systems.