Thursday, 25 October 2007

DDD6 Registration

You can now register to attend DDD6. The event is on Saturday 24th November.

Registration link :

The aganeda will be posted shortly on the DDD site.

If you are thinking of going register NOW

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Estimation Poker

The skill of task estimation is something we all have to deal with, I like to lean more towards overestimation rather than under, however when you are sat there after completing your 1 day task with still the majority of the day left you cannot help feeling that if you could have done better in your estimation. Now you can spend the rest of the day working on those research tasks or the next item in your project plan or you can plan a game!

This is not any old game this is a game that will actually help increase yours and your teams estimation skills, this game is called Planning Poker. I know you can hardly contain your excitement, you can buy your own copy of this game or play the online version at The idea of the game is that you come up with an outline for a task then all the players put in they estimation of how long it will take to do the task and between each player you talk about your decision.

The game is a good idea and it may work for your team to help increase your teams skills for estimation but this is never a replacement for historical data.

Entry inspired by Coding Horror by Jeff Atwood on October 21st 2007

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper 6 – Voting Opened

I cannot believe we are so luck to have another Developer day event, this years event is due to be held on Saturday November 24th at the Microsoft Reading campus.

If you visit the web site( for the event you will be able to vote for the topics you wish to see, every year the votes are used to create the schedule for the coming event.

If you have not heard about the DDD events, it’s a community event run by the developer community for the developer community. This event is so popular that each year they run out of spaces within three days of registration opening, not that amazing, but when you think that blogs like mine are the only way the event is publicised its no mean feet.

Also did I forget to say its FREE FREE FREE

To find out when registration for the event opens add my blog to your RSS reader or you can add the blog of one of the committee members who is always the first to inform the community Guy Smith-Ferrier.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

.Net Developer Network - WPF and Silverligh

This is just a reminder that Bristol’s only FREE user group is holding its next event, next Tuesday 16th October. This meeting is called ‘WPF and Silverlight’ and is being presented by Oliver Sturm. So far over 40 people have registered and we can still fit in more people in our new meeting location at the UWE in Frenchay.

Please visit for detailed information and FREE registration.

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

C# Coding Standards

I am all about the standards, the reason being that it means I have to concentrate less on how to structure the code in a methodical manor and more on what the code will actually do standards are the leveller between all developers.

Code Complete by Steve McConnell is a great book but it’s not specifically geared to C# development, however Juval Lowy has created such a document. The document is 26 pages long, and rather than give you a long explanation of why you should code in a certain way it is just a list of what you should do, which you either agree with or you don’t (I do), either way they are a good starting point.

To download the pdf go here

Monday, 8 October 2007

10 Usability Nightmares You Should Be Aware Of

If you are like me, you are designer, developer and tester of your web application. Microsoft spends a lot of time talking about collaborating with designers, but in the ‘real-world’ we have yet to be able to employee one of these people so you design your site the best you can taking ideas from other sites and putting your own twist on them. Often I find myself so immersed in technical function of the site that I can loose focus on the fact that my interface has to appeal to the common denominator, at these points I find myself referring to a top 10 worst list to help me take out those features which do not work for everyone.

Smashing Magazines has just published an article where they review the top 10 things not to do with web user interface design, to read what they have to say go here

Thursday, 4 October 2007

.NET Source Code Release

Have you been debugging that .NET code and watched the stack window fill up with calls to the many .NET framework classes and wondered what is .NET class doing? Or why is it not working how I expected? And how does it do that?

Well put that copy of reflector away and just step into the code!

In Visual Studio 2008 you will be able to step straight into the .NET Framework code and debug as if you where one of Microsoft’s employees. The code can be automatically downloaded on demand and, unlike a reflection tool, will have the variable names and comments as you would expect any normal production code to contain. The download feature will mean you always get correct version of the code for your framework version but to save time you can always download all the source to your machine, however you will need the space to store it.

The code is released to you under the Microsoft Reference License so you cannot change or redistribute, and initially you will only be able to get the source code for version 3.5 of the framework although this will change and be added to as time goes on.

Jscript intellisense and now framework source code on demand, what super feature will they think of next?

To read more about this see Scott Guthrie's blog, see a video at Channel 9 and listen to Scott Hanselman talk to the guy who headed up the project

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Java Script Tips and Tricks

As a web developer I often find myself involved with writing Jscript, which is something I quite in enjoy….and yes I am a geek. I do find the challenge of finding out about how Jscript will handle certain events and debugging it to find out what it knows, a nice change of pace, Besides the language is not that far from C# which I enjoy working with.

However my knowledge did not go far beyond short functions used with ASP.NET validation controls to provide that instant user feedback.

With the recent invention of AJAX frameworks I have found that my tiny validation code knowledge does not event scratch the surface of what Jscript can actually do for me, in fact it’s a very powerful language which implements some language features that C# has only recently gained or will not gain until the next version.

To help me get a better understanding of what Jscript can actually do and hopefully allow me to better understand what I can do within the AJAX framework I came across my favourite kind of article, tips-and-tricks on Jscript but for the ASP.NET developer…that’s me! This article covers all those advanced features of Jscript I did not think I needed to know, although now I do I cannot wait to take advantage of them, and tips on other functions to help provide a more responsive application.

To read this two part article on Tips for ASP.NET Developers please go here

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Team Foundation Server – Power Tools (September 2007)

Team System is something I use almost every day and it is a great product, however like most software there are a number of features that never made it into the final product which I actually need. Microsoft understands this which is why almost all developer software produced is accompanied by some Power Tools, and Team Foundation Server is no different.

The Power Tools, which have been updated and released this month, offer a number of invaluable features to anyone involved with TFS these include;

‘Best Practices Analyser’ for checking your server is set up correctly
Check-In Policy pack for new ways of stopping bad code making it to the final product
A Process Template Editor to make those company specific tweaks
Number of command line tools for managing your projects

You can find the full information and detail on how to download the tools here