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New Bits for Atlas - December CTP

Nikhil and the Atlas team have pushed some new bits at http://atlas.asp.net. They have made an amazing jump forward with their platform. Some of the big changes:

- Partial updates with the update panel control. This lets a trigger action on the client do a virtual post back using callbacks. On the server side you have the rich event and stateful object model you are used to. The server then renders only the part of the page that maps to the update panel in question. This could potentially lead to a postback-less web app. That wouldn't necessarily be my goal, but I would like to get rid of past backs that are on the same page.

- ScriptManager upgrade: The SM has had a major upgrade. You can run it in a new 'runtime' mode that provides the OOP features, without all of the atlas controls and other stuff. That is awesome, because one of my favorite features of Atlas is how they turn JavaScript into a real OO language. The SM can also be used to create references to services, so you don't need to write any more script tags. I thought that this was cool though. Also, although it is still supported, the slash-js format isn't needed anymore. Adding references to your own scripts will now be easier with a singleton-like access to the SM. Also, the SM will now ship with prod and debug script libraries. It will detect the setting for debug in the web.config and load the proper libraries.

- Many of the Atlas controls will be going away, to be replaced with 'extenders'. These will be similar to how you would tack on behaviors to a control. They extend the normal ASP.net controls to provide Atlas functionality, like auto-complete.

Check out the full blog post at .


Atlas Presentations

The Thursday night presentation to CONDG went really well. The only slow part was where we (Michael and myself) relied on too much typing during the code demos. We are presenting the same talk at CINNUG this Tuesay, and plan to modify how much code we write on the fly.

I have found this great Atlas resource on the net. Wilco Bauwer has posted a tool that uses to reflection to help document the framework. This has been a great help to me in trying to learn Atlas, and get it to do what I want. It also helps in findig the holes in the current bits. For example, there isn't a server side service manager component yet. You still have to use the client side control. Wilco also some great Atlas postings on his blog as well.

I will soon publish the slide deck, code, and resource URLs on the related user group sites soon. When I send them out to the UG owners, I will post them here as well.

I have found some conflicts when you put a hyphen in the ID attribute of the atlas:panel server control. Hopefully that will be resolved in the next set of bits.

Once I get a good sample app put together, the next feature I will implement is using BizTalk web services to process some rules from the web client.

On another note, there are several good AJAX frameworks for .NET floating around out there. Dave and James say that Ajax.net is a really good one. I haven't worked with any besides Atlas, and I don't plan too. As Atlas rolls into procuction, it will become the defacto standard, with other controls and parts of ASP.NET built to leverage this. Since part of my app will already be using ATLAS, I don't want other parts to use some other framework. Consider Infragistics controls for example. Several of them (including the grid and tree) use their own AJAX pipes to connect to teh server. I can see this raising conflicts, as well as bloating the client side code with more and more javascript references and frameworks. Hoepfully Infragistics will migrate their stuff over to Atlas, when Atlas is ready. We shall see.


Speaking at CONDG about Atlas

I will be speaking at CONDG (Central Ohio .NET Developers Group) on 12/8/2005, from 6-8p. We will be going over Atlas, and looking at some code. I will be bringing along Michael from my team, who is an amazing young developer, to be my code monkey. Drop by if you have time.

TDD for BizTalk

TDD is the hot new topic. Actually, it has been around in one form or another for several years. With the release of Visual Studio 2005, I expect to become even more of a hot topic. When I introduce TDD to professional developers in my shop, they tend to think of it as a drag at first. This is when I usually ask them how they developed their last personal project. They always talk about how they wrote on feature, and made sure that worked, and then moved onto the next piece in a very organic way. They grew the architecture as needed, and refactored to streamline the code. They didn't sit down and write 50 pages of technical documentation (although they may have drawn some big boxes and arrows.) TDD is merely writing tests to validate the features you want to implement, before you write the code. The green light of TDD is what tells you when you are done. Which is hard for some developers to know. We call them 'gold-platers' around these parts.

Test Driven Design is a great tool to use on your development team. We use it my shop, in one form or another. This process does leave you with a complete suite of tests to support your code. The true soul of TDD though is the concept of incremental design. By writing a test for a specific business rule or requirement (sometimes many tests), and then writing JUST ENOUGH code to complete that test, you will end up with a much tighter and appropriate design. The toughest part is building something before you truly need it. Don't confuse this however with the use of patterns to build in flexibility that might be required of the system; such as the provider model seen in many parts of ASP.NET 2.0.

This post isn't really about TDD in software, and I may not be the highest authority on it to begin with. The challenge with our shop is the big part of software that can't be supported by TDD tools (ie nunit). For example, it has been hard to automate and drive out our design of BizTalk orchestrations without any sort of normal TDD tool. This is where BizUnit comes in. It gives you the same toolset for BizTalk that you would have with your normal business code. The best way to approach this is to consider your processes in BTS as black boxes. Then you can use BizUnit to submit messages, and validate their results. Version 2 was just released at its workspace. I look forward to upgrading to version two. We are at a point in a project at the shop where there will be some significant BTS work, and this will make it much nicer.


Brian Loesgen's New Article

Brian is a great guy I met through the VTS program. The funny thing is, I have been reading his blog for a while, and then didn't put two and two together until several days after I first met him in LA.

Since I don't like other people who blog about blogs, I will summarize his article a little. Brian puts forth a pattern that loosely couples related orchestrations together using a state machine driven message subscription process. The state machine is driven from a status field of the state of the message that is promoted so you can route on it. His article is written very well, with a good example.

Central list of BizTalk resources

Here is a list of resources the VTS team tries to keep up to date. Let me know if you have any other needs, and I will dig out what I can find.

White Papers

· Enterprise Integration Vision for BizTalk Server 2004
Discover how XML and Web services are implemented within BizTalk Server 2004, Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, and Microsoft Office 2003 and how they interact with each other to create a process-centric computing infrastructure.
· Choose a Business Process Automation Solution
Read this in-depth analysis of how BizTalk Server 2004 delivers a more integrated business process automation (BPA) solution than the WebSphere Business Integration system from IBM.
· Developing a BizTalk Server Solution for BizTalk Server 2004
See how BizTalk Server 2004 enables developers and system architects to use the same development methodology and components to create workflow processes, application integration interfaces, and trading partner interactions.
· Architecture for BizTalk Server 2004
Learn fundamental concepts and development methodologies of the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) paradigm and its implementation in BizTalk Server 2004, including the Microsoft .NET framework architecture.
· Business Rules Framework in BizTalk Server 2004
Examine the creation and deployment of business rule "policies" in BizTalk Server 2004, and see how a development environment that enables business rules to function as transparent services can effectively drive business agility.
· A Technical Guide For Certificate Management
This paper provides detailed information about how to configure your BizTalk Server environment to use certificates for encryption, signing, and party resolution.
· Security for BizTalk Server 2004
Examine security mechanisms and deployment methodologies that BizTalk Server 2004 uses to authenticate data, authorize access, and maintain data privacy and integrity.
· Service-Oriented Architecture Paradigm Takes Center Stage in the Enterprise
Use Microsoft InfoPath with BizTalk Server 2004 to address complex workflow issues, demanding documentation requirements, and application integration issues, with a view towards building an agile enterprise.
· Single Sign-on Services for Microsoft Enterprise Application Integration Solutions
Microsoft Host Integration Server and BizTalk Server both support an extension of Microsoft Windows Enterprise Security integration called Enterprise Single Sign-On (SSO). Learn how SSO can help solve a key problem that many enterprise organizations experience. Download this paper from the Microsoft Download Center for the details.
· Understanding BPM Servers and BizTalk Server 2004
Learn more about this conceptual framework for BPM Server and how the major technologies of BizTalk Server 2004 correspond to these services.
· Understanding the Hub and Spoke Deployment Model for BizTalk Server 2006
Read this article to understand how the BizTalk Server 2006 hub and spoke model supports administrators who want to install and deploy the associated bits of a BizTalk Server solution from one central server and multiple remote servers.
· Using Microsoft Tools for Business Process Management in BizTalk Server 2004
See how Microsoft tools for business process management (BPM) and supporting technologies help you create and execute highly transparent and modular process-oriented workflows and gain development and operational productivity.
· MSDN Architecture Webcast: Design Human Workflow Solutions with BizTalk Server 2004 (Level 200) Thu, 03 Nov 2005
· MSDN Webcast: Extending BizTalk Solutions to IBM Systems Using Host Integration Server 2004 (Level 200) Thu, 20 Oct 2005
· MSDN Webcast: What's New in BizTalk Server 2006 (Level 200) Thu, 06 Oct 2005
· MSDN Architecture Webcast: BizTalk Server Security Revealed (Level 300) Thu, 22 Sep 2005
· MSDN Architecture Webcast: Microsoft Integration Technologies: When to Use What (Level 200) Thu, 08 Sep 2005
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 Business Rules Engine (Level 200) Wed, 31 Aug 2005
· MSDN Webcast: Business Activity Monitoring with BizTalk (Level 200) Tue, 30 Aug 2005
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Orchestration (Level 200) Mon, 29 Aug 2005
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Web Services and WSE (Level 200) Fri, 26 Aug 2005
· MSDN Webcast: Introduction to BizTalk Server 2004 (Level 200) Thu, 25 Aug 2005
· MSDN Webcast: An XML Guru's Guide to BizTalk Server 2004 (Level 200) Wed, 01 Jun 2005
· TechNet Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 Technical Overview (Level 200) Fri, 20 May 2005
· MSDN Webcast: Implementing a Business Rules Engine Solution Using BizTalk Server 2004 (Level 200) Fri, 20 May 2005
· MSDN Webcast: Using the BizTalk Business Rules Engine: Tips, Tricks and Best Practices (Level 200) Fri, 13 May 2005
· MSDN Webcast: A Practical Approach to BizTalk Server 2004 and Web Services (Level 200) Wed, 11 May 2005
· MSDN Webcast: Everything You Wanted to Know About Integration But Were Afraid to Ask! (Level 200) Thu, 05 May 2005
· MSDN Webcast: Test-Driven Development with BizTalk Server 2004 (Level 200) Wed, 04 May 2005
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: BizTalk Accelerator for SWIFT Tue, 05 Apr 2005
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: A4SWIFT and Implementing SWIFT Standards Using BizTalk 2004 Thu, 31 Mar 2005
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Data Management in STP Thu, 17 Mar 2005
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Creating Operational Efficiencies in Today's Financial Services Firms Tue, 08 Mar 2005
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Interoperability Challenge of Maritime Security Wed, 02 Feb 2005
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Using BizTalk 2004 To Implement An SOA For Service Provisioning Mon, 31 Jan 2005
· MSDN Webcast: Integrating BizTalk Server 2004 with SharePoint Sat, 16 Oct 2004
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Cutting Medical Red Tape to Save Dollars and Lives: An Integrated Approach to Workflow and Data Exchange Tue, 25 May 2004
· MSDN webcast: Extending Mainframe Applications using BizTalk Server 2004 and Host Integration 2004 - Level 200 Mon, 24 May 2004
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 Adapters for the Visual Studio .NET Developer - Level 200 Fri, 07 May 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Migrating from BizTalk Server 2002 to 2004 - Level 200 Mon, 03 May 2004
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Increased Agility with Web Services Wed, 28 Apr 2004
· MSDN Webcast: InfoPath SP1 and BizTalk Server - Level 200 Mon, 19 Apr 2004
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 EDI with and without the Covast Accelerator - Level 200 Wed, 14 Apr 2004
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) Governance Tue, 13 Apr 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Real-World BizTalk Server 2004 Editing and Mapping Techniques - Level 200 Thu, 08 Apr 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Adding Business Activity Monitoring your BizTalk Server 2004 Projects Thu, 08 Apr 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Integrating BizTalk Server 2004 with SharePoint Fri, 05 Mar 2004
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 Business Rules for the Visual Studio .NET Developer Thu, 04 Mar 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Using Web Services with BizTalk Server 2004 Thu, 04 Mar 2004
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 Performance and Early Adopter Experiences - Level 200 Wed, 03 Mar 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Biztalk Server 2004 Architecture - Level 300 Wed, 03 Mar 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Biztalk Server 2004 Orchestration for the Visual Studio .NET Developer Wed, 03 Mar 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Getting up to speed with BizTalk Server 2004 for the Visual Studio .NET Developer - Level 200 Tue, 02 Mar 2004
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Microsoft and Metastorm: Implementing the Business Process Management Solution Thu, 26 Feb 2004
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Leveraging Business Solutions with BizTalk Server 2004 Tue, 10 Feb 2004
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Real-Time Pre-Trade Compliance Monitoring of Investment Policy Wed, 28 Jan 2004
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Manage Trading Partner Integration with BizTalk 2004 Wed, 17 Dec 2003
· Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Check Capture and Clearing – How to Manage Declining Fri, 12 Dec 2003
· MSDN Webcast: Biztalk Server 2004 Tue, 09 Dec 2003
· MSDN Webcast: Biztalk Server Then and Now Mon, 03 Nov 2003

· Advanced Orchestration Concepts in BizTalk Server 2004 - Convoy Processing
· MSDN Webcast: Getting up to speed with BizTalk Server 2004 for the Visual Studio .NET Developer
· MSDN Webcast: Biztalk Server 2004 Orchestration for the Visual Studio .NET Developer
· MSDN Webcast: Biztalk Server 2004 Architecture
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 Performance and Early Adopter Experiences
· MSDN Webcast: Using Web Services with BizTalk Server 2004
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 Business Rules for the Visual Studio .NET Developer
· MSDN Webcast: Integrating BizTalk Server 2004 with SharePoint
· MSDN Webcast: Extending Mainframe Applications using BizTalk Server 2004 and Host Integration 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Adding Business Activity Monitoring your BizTalk Server 2004 Projects - Level 200
· MSDN Webcast: Real-World BizTalk Server 2004 Editing and Mapping Techniques - Level 200
· MSDN Webcast: Building on BizTalk Server 2004 Human Workflow Services for the Visual Studio .NET developer - Level 200
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 EDI with and without the Covast Accelerator - Level 200
· MSDN Webcast: InfoPath SP1 and BizTalk Server - Level 200 MSDN Webcast: Migrating from BizTalk Server 2002 to 2004
· MSDN Webcast: BizTalk Server 2004 Adapters for the Visual Studio .NET Developer
· MSDN Webcast: Advanced Orchestration Concepts in BizTalk Server 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Extending Mainframe Applications using BizTalk Server 2004 and Host Integration 2004
· MSDN Webcast: Advanced Orchestration Concepts in BizTalk Server 2004 - Level 300
· TechNet Webcast: Monitoring your E-Business Solutions with Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 - Using Built-In Knowledge in MOM 2005 to Reduce Downtime (Level 300)
· MSDN Webcast: Host Integration Server 2004 Extends BizTalk Solutions – Level 200

· Check for Updated and New web casts: http://www.microsoft.com/events/AdvSearch.mspx?EventsAndWebcastsControlName=As1%253AAdvSrc%26As1%253AAdvSrc%253AAudienceID=0%26As1%253AAdvSrc%253AProductID=a913e33b-e7d2-4eea-8556-c18f5b3670f8%26As1%253AAdvSrc%253AEventType=OnDemandWebcast%26As1%253AAdvSrc%253ACountryRegionID=en%257CUS%257CUnited%2BStates%26StateProvinceID=0%26As1%253AAdvSrc%253ATimeframeID=-1%26As1%253AAdvSrc%253ASearchFilter=%25C2%25A0%2BGo%2B%25C2%25A0

Community and Bloggers

· Community: BizTalk Server Community on Microsoft.com
· News Group: BizTalk Server News Group on TechNet
· Consolidated Blog Entries: The Blogger's Guide to BizTalk
· Product Group Blog: BPID Customer Response Team's Blog
· Scott Woodgate’s Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/scottwoo/
· Product Group Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/Biztalk_Core_Engine
· BizTalk on Channel 9: http://channel9.msdn.com/tags/Biztalk

Self-Guided Training

· On-line Technical Training through MSDN
Step into the BizTalk Virtual Lab for Free and learn BizTalk Server hands-onIt's simple - no complex setup or installation is required to try out BizTalk running in the full-featured MSDN Virtual Lab. As part of the MSDN Virtual Lab, you will have full access to BizTalk through 14 different, 90 minute modules including topics such as Creating a Schema Map, Integrating Business Rules, and Enabling Business Activity Monitoring.
· Connected Systems Business Kit
Now available to order at no charge, the Connected Systems Business Kit shows you how connected systems deliver value to your business. The resources in this kit can help you better align your IT with your business.

Classroom Training

· Deploying and Managing E-Business Solutions Using Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004
Learn how BizTalk Server 2004 can help you deploy and manage your E-Business solutions in this two-day course offered by Microsoft Learning.
· Developing E-Business Solutions Using Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004
Discover how BizTalk Server 2004 can help you develop your E-Business Solutions in this five-day course offered by Microsoft Learning.
· Find BizTalk Server Training and Resources
Increase your market value with these educational resources. Choose from online and instructor-led courses as well as books.
· Become a Technical Leader—Get Certified Now
Prove your advanced skills and experience with Microsoft technologies by becoming certified. Microsoft certification helps organizations identify the best in the industry. Visit the Training & Certification site to learn more.

Related Sites

· BizTalk Server on MSDN
· BizTalk Server on TechNet
· BizTalk Server on Microsoft.com
· BizTalk server on GotDotNet

Additional Information

• BizTalk Server 2004 Unleashed
ISBN: 0672325985; Published: Nov 4, 2004; Copyright 2005;
Dimensions 7-3/8" x 9-1/8" ; Pages: 768; Edition: 1st.

· Designing Healthcare Solutions with Microsoft Biztalk Server 2004 (VertiGuide)
ISBN: 1932577181
Format: Paperback, 255pp
Pub. Date: December 2004
Publisher: Mann Publishing Group


The Trip to the launch

The launch has finally come and gone on Nov 8th. A bunch of my coworks, clients, and friends rented a big van-bus-like thing. We had laptops, xbox, dvd players, internet access, and wifi onboard. And WAY too much redbull!

We left at three in the morning, and didn't get back until 10:30p.

The launch itself was fun. The sessions weren't groundbreaking if you had been working with the betas in any way. I was surprised at the depth of the new features in SQL Server 2005. I just wasn't really excited about the few features I knew about.

I was asked to shoot some footage of our geek oddysea. I got about 30 minutes of it. The best of it was interviewing people in a sub shop on the way home. If I can find a place to post it, I will and then link to it here. I have been asked to show a bit of it at the next usergroup session.

Best of all, all of the new tools are finally available, and we can move forward with the projects we have been using the beta's on. Now if we can get RTM for BizTalk 2006 and Team Foundation Server.


NEW BT toolset/see channel 9

While in Redmond several weeks ago, Eddie (Sr something or other for developer tools) showed us the bleeding edge research they are doing to really improve the management and development tools for BizTalk tools beyond 2006. Eddie, I must say. is a very entertaining speaker.

Some of the stuff I saw I can't talk about (I have to say it is cool to say that). Some of the new features they did show at the PDC, and on videos on channel 9. [links below]

Here is a summary:
1. They actually use real world samples when working on the new tools. For example, schema maps with 15,000 fields in them. This forced them to really focus on the scale of work that us users really focus on, instead of trivial amounts of sample work.

2. To fix the 'black map' problem they seriously upgraded the mapping tool. What is the 'black map' problem? When you have a map with a lot of fields, and lines, you eventually only have a large mass of lines, and no whitespace. With auto-mapping using character patterns, folding of the tree, hiding lines that aren't involved in the links selected, and by re-arranging the tree to display everything you are working on. VERY COOL! Check out the video- http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=126990

3. They showed off the new BizTalk Solution Designer. This gives a GUI for managing and developing send/receive ports, subscriptions, and maps. The tool uses autolayout really well to keep the work surface uncluttered. Filters are just nodes on the lines connecting the ports together. Again, more video - http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=115378


ATE at the launch

'THE' launch is finally upon us.

Which launch? The launch of Visual Studio 2005 (which includes alot!), BizTalk 2006 (really a paper launch), and SQL Server 2005. This is BIG stuff! These products have already completely reformed how we do .NET development. I think this is a bigger jump than the one from Studio 2000 to Studio 2003, from a tools perspective. What they alone have done to the traditionally opaque and obtuse BizTalk tools is fabulous.

The closest launch event to us is in Detroit, MI on Nov 8th. Since so many of us are going, we have arranged for a bus from Columbus. We are leaving around 4:30am, and will be getting back around 9:00pm. There are some seats left, so drop me an email if you would like one. I am not sure if we will have to split costs, or if this will be 'complimentary' from my company. We shall see.

What is happening at the launch? Check this out, and don't forget to register. To me, it seems like a mini-TechEd. And the best part (there's more besides being in geek-nirvana?) You get a free, honest, real, production license of both VS2005 and SQL Server 2005. No gimmics. No timeouts, and no vacation condo sales pitch.

I was asked to be a co-presenter on the last BizTalk session, but we were bumped for scheduling reasons. Too bad. I was really looking forward to it. I just love talking to groups of geeks. The more the better. I have been asked to be at the 'Ask the Experts' area. I think that will be a lot of fun, and I will get to interact with a lot more people in a one on one manner.

I hope to see you there!


Anyone who knows me, or has seen me speak, knows that I love acronyms. That, and whiteboards; but we are talking about my penchant for acronyms right now.

I know that speaking in 'jargon' can definitely put off some people. I make a conscious effort to not use acronyms when I am around non-technical people (aka civilians) or if it is a new subject. But when I am speaking to those of my own kind, I just feel it is an effective way of compression of the speech stream. I mean, come on, some of these words have so many syllables, it takes ten minutes to spit out something that is fairly simple.

The expansion of the title of this post is:
Microsoft Business Process Integration Virtual Technical Specialist.

I have told a few people about my recent acceptance into this program, but I have received a lot of questions about what it exactly is. The program is fairly limited in scope right now, and started in Southern California. I think there will be about 20-30 total members in the USA when it is fully rolling. Basically, we are a small team of MS partners that MS trusts enough to leverage to help win BizTalk (and related products) projects. We get access to awesome training and other resources, and they expand their technical sales force. Its a win/win.

I have been looking for ways to take my relationship with MS to the next level, and I am glad to have found it.

The first step of this program was to go to Redmond to sit through the first BT2006 training course by DevelopMentor. This was my first experience with a DM course, and I have to say I was blown away. John Flanders and Richard Blewett are just plain biztalk GODS! My expectations were high to begin because Dave Donaldson used to be an instructor. The guerilla aspect of the course (at least 12 hours a day, all the food/drinks you could want, hard core deep dive etc.) was awesome.

It was a great bonding experience for the VTS team as well. We started of as mostly strangers, although I did know a few people. By the end of the week we had all gotten to know people, and felt like we had gelled as a team. I really think this group will help accelerate the acceptance of BizTalk.

Because of this, I am sure I will be writing about BizTalk a lot more than ever. Most of the VTS team members are experienced with the hardcore EDI integration/Systems Integration work. I have done some of that, but I really tend to focus on custom software development. Where BT comes into play for me, is when we need to integrate with trading partners, or other parties because of the new application, not a pure EAI play. I will also be using it extensively to codify business rules on a project that is under way right now. Of course this has tons of advantages, and I will probably go into this, and some recommended usage patterns in the future.


So, *, right?

Just spent a week at Microsoft [I will go into why later].

I have noticed that all MS speak follows this expression:
"So.... [insert stuff here]...., right?"

At first I noticed this months ago with speakers at the local and regional level. But after the PDC and a week in Redmond, I have decided it is pervasive.

Now, this is not a negative/beatdown post. This isn't even a grammarian rant. Just an observation.

While at Mistral having dinner, Javier Mariscal and I discussed this weird thing. At first I thought it was a result of MS trying to fix it's perceived arrogance, by asking for confirmation in every statement, and by starting with SO, in an attempt to appear passive (or at least not aggressive).

I am guessing that it merely spread, as a meme so to speak, to everyone in the MS space. I have found though, that it seems to permeate every said now, to the point that it is obstructing the message. In a 1 hour meeting, I could 27 'rights' from one person. Just too funny. We were going to base a drinking game on the concept, but I don't think I can hold that much liquor.

Also, Drew Robbins and I noticed, at the PDC, that the word "Super" has been completely co-opted by any executive at MS. It was 'super'-this, and 'super'-that. I would think these brilliant people could come up with something more sophisticated to convey their excited in the all of this great new technology. The word super just seems to cheapen it for me.

So, What do you think?


What is going on?

Sorry I haven't posted, not that anyone is reading, anyway.

I have spent my time:
* digging into atlas
* writing five proposals in one week
* playing as much dungeon seige 2 before age of empires 3 and civilization 4 comes out
* finding someplace to pre-order a 360

Biggest news? I have been accepted into the Virtual Technical Specialist program with Microsoft. Big thanks to Keith for the opportunity, and Drew for the support. I am at guerilla training for BizTalk 2006 this week, at Microsoft.

This is my first visit to MS, and I am very excited. It is like going to the mother ship for me. This is also my fist guerilla style training, so I think it will be fun, and exhausting.


Speaking at FANUG

FANUG (Findlay Area .NET Users Group) has asked me to speak at their next session. I love getting the chance to speak to groups about technology.

This session will start off with a brief slide about what was announced at the PDC, and then dive into some details and code for Atlas.

I got to see a lot of Atlas at the PDC, and have played with it since. I am very impressed with it so far. It is still early in development, but I expect it will make huge strides before it is released.

If you are going to be in Findlay on Sept 29, 2005, you should drop by.


Back from the PDC

Just got back from the PDC05. This was a wonderful experience. It was total geekdom immersion. Almost like going to Disney for the first time. I was afraid to miss something. Of course, with all of the sessions, there was not possible way to see and do everything. There was a lot of walking as well.
Never got to the hands on labs, but most of the HOL docs and code are downloadable, and I am working through a few of those. Never got to the Birds of a Feather sessions either, although I really wanted to. There were just other things to do in the evenings besides BOF.
My biggest piece of feedback, which I did on their survey, was that there were too many sessions I wanted to go see, and not enough slots. I think they should add a day or two, and repeat some sessions.
Right now, my staff that couldn't go to the PDC05 are trying to go to the local global launch event. Based on the current agenda, it looks like a mini-PDC. You can sign up here for the Detroit session.
I have been playing with the bits from the PDC. Unfortunately, alot of the bits aren't yet compatible with the VS2005 PDC Release Candidate zero build. So after spending all day upgrading to RC0, I had to downgrade again to play with WWF and Atlas (more on those topics later.)
Big thanks to Drew for showing me the ropes of conferences, and introducing me to so many people. This was my first major conference, and I don't think I will ever pass another one up again.


Hello World!

Just trying out blogger. I read a ton of blogs a day, and have always wanted to do it. Two things always stopped me.
1> Do I have enough time? I run an app dev consulting practice, and that takes a lot of time. Also, I spend a lot of time with other important things, such as my family. Would I have the time to write often enough to provide value?

2> Would I have something different to say besides all those millions of other bloggers. Differentiation. I didn't think I really did, until I went to the PDC05. Something in me clicked, not sure what.

Well, we will see how often I write, and if it get's a response. I guess if no one notices, I can't get too embarassed.