TechDays: Reza Alirezaei on Developing and Consuming Services For SharePoint

reza alirezaei 1

As I write this, we’re getting into the final session of TechDays Toronto, which in my track – Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform – features SharePoint guru Reza Alirezaei doing his presentation, Developing and Consuming Services for SharePoint.

If you ask me the question “What is SharePoint?”, I’d most likely give you a description that sounds like this:

how sharepoint appears to uninitiated

Here’s a more accurate description of what SharePoint is:


Reza’s session takes a look at another aspect of SharePoint: as a platform on which you can build and deploy custom web services that other clients can call upon.

reza alirezaei 2

Once his session’s done, TechDays Toronto will wrap up and then the tear-down process begins.

Next stop: Halifax on November 2nd and 3rd!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


TechDays: Bruce Johnson on Building RESTful Applications Using WCF

bruce johnson 2

Right now (at the time of this writing) at the Toronto edition of the TechDays cross-Canada conference, in the Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform track, is Bruce Johnson – “the speaker so nice, we put him on twice!” – talking to the audience about Building RESTful Applications Using WCF.


REST – as in REpresentational State Transfer – while a big thing for a lot of developers, is still only gaining traction in the Microsoft world, in which a lot of resource access is done with SOAP. Since Microsoft is more about interoperability these days, it’s important to get developers building on the Microsoft platform up to speed with REST and different ways to build RESTful services using Microsoft technologies, whether it’s ASP.NET MVC or Bruce’s area of expertise, WCF, Windows Communications Foundation.


Bruce is playing to a full room, which is a good sign – it’s good to see developers interested in learning new things!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


TechDays: Bruce Johnson on “SOLIDify Your ASP.NET MVC Applications”, Assless Chaps, Twitter and Opportunities

bruce johnson 1

This morning’s sessions in TechDays’ Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform focuses on both the ASP.NET MVC web app framework and recommended object-oriented programming practices, namely the Model-View-Controller pattern with Colin Bowern’s presentation earlier this morning and now (at the time of this writing) the SOLID principles in Bruce Johnson’s session, SOLIDify Your ASP.NET MVC Applications.

Assless Chaps + Twitter = Business Opportunity

You might remember Bruce from the “Assless Chaps” story. The story can be summarized in the three tweets shown below.

First came Bruce’s response to my article about CodeCamp back in April, in which I forgot to mention the session he was doing:


I tweeted him back and then decided to throw in a jokey reply:


My thinking was: Hey, this is a conference of Microsoft developers! Yes, they’re a bright and talented bunch, and I like them, but they’re an older, corporate, more buttoned-down crowd. They’d never go for renaming a session from “Data Binding” to “Data Bondage”.

But Bruce and the Toronto Code Camp organizers surprised me – he changed the name of his session very quickly:


And since he responded to my challenge, I had to fulfill my end of the bargain:



The “Assless Chaps” story doesn’t end there. Yesterday, while we were hanging out by the Windows 7 lounge and the “Assless Chaps” story came up. Bruce told me that our conversation on Twitter about the assless chaps actually landed his company, ObjectSharp, some business. A local developer got curious as to what the “assless chaps” business was all about in Bruce’s and my conversation on Twitter and the ensuing conversation got them talking about ObjectSharp’s services, which in turn became a contract.

The moral of the story: there’s actual business value in Twitter and assless chaps. I may have to go buy a pair (I rented the ones pictured above).

There’s a tamer version of this story in Canadian Developer Connection.


TechDays: Colin Bowern and “Introducing ASP.NET MVC”

Colin Bowern doing his presentation at TechDays

It’s Day 2 of TechDays Toronto! and after a hearty breakfast, we’re kicking off the Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform track – my track, and thus to my mind the best one – with Colin Bowen doing his presentation, Introducing ASP.NET MVC, which takes a look at the new web development framework, ASP.NET MVC. If you’ve done development with Rails, Django, CakePHP or Catalyst, you should find ASP.NET MVC familiar.

gang_of_foreheads If you’d like to learn more about ASP.NET MVC programming, the best place to get started is chapter one of the “Gang of Foreheads” book, a.k.a. Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0, which I covered in the article The Best “Chapter One” I’ve Ever Read. This particular chapter walks you  through the construction of an entire site using ASP>NET MVC – – from start to finish.

You can get a free copy of chapter one of the Gang of Foreheads book [14 MB PDF] – er, I mean Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0 – which is more than enough book to get you started.

Want the source code for Not a problem – it’s an open source project on Codeplex released under the MS-PL license (and yeah, it’s Open Source Initiative-approved!).

Want to learn more about building applications using ASP.NET MVC? Watch this space!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


TechDays: Anthony Vranic on Optimizing Your Application for the Windows 7 User Experience

Anthony Vranic doing his presentation at TechDays

My photos from Anthony Vranic’s session at TechDays, Optimizing Your Application for the Windows 7 User Experience, are a bit dark because I used a different camera; my main camera was on video recording duty. I’m including them anyway, because I’m trying to keep a complete record of TechDays.

Anthony Vranic doing his presentation at TechDays

The original version of this presentation from TechEd North America is somewhat different – its target audience was C++ developers, and TechDays is more of a managed code audience. Since the original TechEd presentation, Microsoft released the Windows API Code Pack for the .NET Framework, and Anthony added it to his presentation.

The Windows API Code Pack for .NET gives managed code access to a lot of features, including some new ones introduced in Windows 7, such as:

  • Windows 7 Taskbar Jump Lists, Icon Overlay, Progress Bar, Tabbed Thumbnails, and Thumbnail Toolbars
  • Windows 7 Libraries, Known Folders, non-file system containers
  • Windows Shell Search API support, a hierarchy of Shell Namespace entities, and Drag and Drop functionality for Shell Objects
  • Explorer Browser Control
  • Shell property system
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 Common File Dialogs, including custom controls
  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 Task Dialogs
  • Direct3D 11.0, Direct3D 10.1/10.0, DXGI 1.0/1.1, Direct2D 1.0, DirectWrite, Windows Imaging Component (WIC) APIs — (DirectWrite and WIC have partial support)
  • Sensor Platform APIs
  • Extended Linguistic Services APIs
  • Power Management APIs
  • Application Restart and Recovery APIs
  • Network List Manager APIs
  • Command Link control and System defined Shell icons
  • Shell Search API support
  • Drag and Drop functionality for Shell objects
  • Support for Direct3D and Direct2D interoperability
  • Support for Typography and Font enumeration DirectWrite APIs

Anthony Vranic doing his presentation at TechDays

Watch this blog – I’ll posting some example code for the Windows API Code Pack for .NET in the coming weeks!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Why the “Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform” Track is the Hippest Track at TechDays

It’s because we have the best obscure pop culture references, as seen in Rob Burke’s presentation on Developing Composite Applications with Silverlight and WPF:

Slide showing John Oxley and Damir Bersinic on cell phones, doing the "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" song

(That’s a photo of my manager John Oxley and co-worker Damir Bersinic, used to illustrate heavyweight layer communication in Prism. If you don’t get the pop culture reference, this article on my Accordion Guy blog will help you.)

Here’s Rob Burke, striking his GQ magazine pose, just before his presentation:

Rob Burke posing onstage

And here’s Rob in action:

Rob Burke during his presentation
And here’s Rob answering a lot of additional questions at the end of his session:

Rob Burke answering walk-up questions after his presentation

Want to know more about building composite applications using Silverlight and WPF? Check out the Composite WPF site on Codeplex and as well as Glenn Bock’s article on building composite applications with WPF.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


How to Get to FailCamp Toronto 3 from Union Station

Most of you will be heading to FailCamp via public transit, and many have asked how to get to FailCamp’s venue, the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, from Union Station – here’s how!

First, go up to the main level of Union Station, which looks like this:

skywalk 1

On the west end of the station – the side with the Harvey’s – you should see a sign marked “Skywalk”. Go down that hall!

skywalk 2

Keep going…

skywalk 3

There’ll be a slight twist to the left, but keep following the hallway! You’ll get to a tunnel like this:

skywalk 4

Keep going! At the top of the steps at the end of the tunnel, it’ll turn left and you’ll see this:

skywalk 5

That’s the entrance to the actual Skywalk, which looks like this. Follow the signs to the door on the left that says “Convention Centre”…

skywalk 6

…then follow the signs that say “South Building”…

skywalk 7

…and follow the arrows that lead you to the TechDays conference. FailCamp is in room 716, which is on the 700 level of the South Building. Note that the 700 level is below the 600 level, not above it.

skywalk 8

See you at FailCamp!