# Saturday, June 16, 2012

I attended my first Tech Ed conference in Orlando this week. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work for INETA at the conference. In exchange, INETA covered my admission and expenses which would have been prohibitively expensive if I had to pay them myself.

My INETA work involved the following:

  • Working at the Community Leadership Summit the day before Tech Ed
  • Staffing a booth on the Expo floor
  • Volunteering at Birds-of-A-Feather sessions
  • Meetings throughout the week to talk about board business
  • Preparing a sponsor prospectus for the INETA Champs program

This was a small price to pay and I enjoyed most of these tasks. I got to meet some of the other board members in person for the first time and I had a chance to spread the word about user groups to a broad audience.

I gave a presentation at the Community Leadership Summit on attracting volunteers to a user group.

Two of my Birds-of-a-Feather topics were accepted at this conference, so I served as a moderator for these. The topics were "Getting Involved in my Local Developer Community: How is it a Win-Win? " and "Is Windows Azure a Contender for my Next Application?" Attendance wasn't particularly high at these sessions (possibly due to the 530PM and 830AM time slots) but the attendees participated in an active exchange. One exciting aspect of these sessions is that they were streamed live online and INETA volunteers monitored a Twitter hashtag to accept comments and questions from beyond Tech Ed.

Attending Tech Ed gave me the opportunity to spend some time with some members of the Visual Studio team and ask them some questions about the testing tools in VS Ultimate. I've been struggling with some aspects of this for my current project and I now have a better understanding of the capabilities and limitations of these tools.

I was invited to a Q&A with Microsoft VP Jason Zander in which we heard about some directions Microsoft is taking in the future. Unfortunately, I signed a non-disclosure agreement, so I can say nothing about this event except that I'm very excited about this future.

I competed in the Speaker Idol contest, hosted by Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell. Because I won, I now have an invitation to speak at next year's competition.

Of course, I also recorded 5 interviews that I plan to publish on Technology and Friends over the next few weeks.

The busy schedule above left some time to attend sessions. My favourite sessions were Web Sites on Windows Azure
and Building HTTP Services with ASP.NET Web API. I saw some exciting new technologies in these sessions that I can use in my work soon.

Of course, there were many hallway conversations and a chance to meet technologists from all over the world, which is always an opportunity to learn.

My notes on the sessions are below:

Web Sites on Windows Azure

Presenter: Bill Staples

10 free web sites

Supports Classic ASP, .NET 2.0,

Usage info on dashboard

App Gallery: Create blog in WordPress on Azure

WebMatrix 2 (in beta)

Install & download WordPress site

Publish automatically syncs with Azure (no configuration needed)

Publish via

  • FTP
  • Web Deploy
  • Git
  • TFS

Essential Tips for the Windows Azure Startup

Presenter: Michele Leroux Bustamante

  • Avoid web.config for
    • Settings that vary between staging, production
    • Use Web.config transformations
  • Caching
    • Co-located caching (% on each VM)
    • Shared caching (on one VM)
    • Same API
  • Queuing
    • Service bus queues
      • unlimited lifetime
      • 5GB max storage
      • Duplicate detection
      • Guarantee order
    • Storage queues
      • 7 day expiration
      • 100TB max storage
  • Diagnostics
    • Trace.TraceWarning
    • Listeners in webrole<trace><listeners>
  • Monitor from Outside
    • Monitoring Service
  • noSQL Kool-Aid

If the learning curve for noSQL is great, only use it for "obvious" data (e.g., profile, location data).

  • Enable Social Logins. Simplify signup
  • Don't ask users for too much info
  • Estimate costs
    • Calculate projected costs and revenue based on expected usage in advance
    • What is break-even point?

Beyond Master-Detail: Interaction and Navigation Patterns for Modern User Experience

Presenter: Billy Hollis


Hicks Law: Too many choices slow down user

Add 'FIND' capability


Make important buttons bigger


Different patterns at different parts of the app


Lots of new users

Complex but rarely use


Flexible Sort

Allow drag/drop columns

Context switchers

Toolbars & Ribbons

Usually action-oriented

Ribbon designed for en-users (not devs)

Most users don't like toolbars


Visual array of items



Visualization & navigation


Next item on top. No naviagation.

Don't use confirmation'


Can increase productivity dramatically


See changes as you select them


Vertical or horizontal layout


Interface resembles something familiar in the real world

May be cute the first time, but gets old over time


Items laid out in real world

Use lat-long

May use geocoding to get lat-long from address.


Semantic zoom: Change view as you zoom in & out

For multiple levels of detail

Book recommendation: Mobile Design Pattern Gallery by Theresa Neil

Building HTTP Services with ASP.NET Web API

Presenter: Daniel Roth

VS 2012

MVC app

Scaffolding to create CRUD methods around entity


If not found, throw httpException (not found/404)


Create new entity

Return HttpResponse

Url pointing to new entity page

ASP.NET Roadmap: One ASP.NET – Web Forms, MVC, Web API, and more

Presenter: Scott Hunter

In release mode, all js files are combined and minified

Put validation on model. Enforced in client script.


  1. Inherit from DbMigration
  2. Up() method
  1. Update columns in db

HTML 5 emitted

e.g., <input type="datetime" … />


Page.mobile.cshtml <-- Displayed when Page is requested on mobile devices

Signal R

  1. Inherit from Hub
  2. Send() method
    1. Clients.addMessage

Real-time communication with server

Design for Non-Designers

Presenter: Jennifer Smith

Good design makes a product useful, usable

Dieter Rams:

Good design

  1. is innovative
  2. Makes a product useful
  3. Is aesthetic
  4. Makes a product understnadable
  5. Is unobtrusive

Putting things in boxes is not good design

Keep UI focused

Before starting

My ___ app will be the best at _________

Talk through app using low-fidelity prototype

Recommended design tools


SketchFlow (Expression Blend)

Use rule of thirds (Divide into thirds, horizontally and vertically)

Golden Region

Viewers look at apps, pages, pictures, etc via Fibonacci (spiral in)

"Dead center is dead wrong"

White space is OK.


Use sans serif fonts

Counter size = space inside 'e' or 'p'. Larger is better

Friday, May 3, 2013 12:59:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Thanks for the kind words. We're actually wonkrig on two new series now in theory anyway. But hopefully the Atlanta Microsoft Professionals will have more great stuff to release just like the SharePoint 123 material. We're also going to work with INETA and the Microsoft Developer Evangelists to get the material out to user groups world wide as an ISO.
Saturday, May 11, 2013 9:53:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I was great hanging out with you and the group Friday night. Thanks again for the ride back to the hotel! BTW, That was an awesome adhoc &#8220;Michigan Left&#8221; FTW! I feel bad about missing your ActiveRecord talk, but you were up against Jim. As you found out talking to him later, Jim has some really great insights into software estimation in the realm of agile techniques. I hope your AR talk will be at CodeMash so I can finally catch it.This was my first AADODN, and I must say, I was impressed. The crew of contributing UG leaders did a great job in planning. The only issue I found was the five minute buffer between sessions. This didn&#8217;t leave much time to talk to the speaker and/or folks between. I understand its tough to cram all the value-add into one day, but the hallway conversations are an important part of these events.Other than that minor tidbit, I was glad I made the drive (or the ride, Joe did the driving I plan on returning to future AADODNs hang with the tribe and get my .Net on!

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