Scenes from May’s Metro Toronto .NET User Group

Better late than never! Here are a couple of pictures I shot at the Metro Toronto .NET User Group in late May, where I presented my walk-through of ASP.NET MVC, Canada’s Next Top Model View Controller.

Colin Bowern opened the session with some quick announcements about upcoming events as well as other .NET user groups in the Greater Toronto and surrounding areas:


He then introduced me, and I got started with my presentation. I did a quick walkthrough of the basic concepts behind MVC (that is, the Model-View-Controller design pattern), after which I introduced a special guest who I brought along with me: Paul Doerwald. Paul’s a Ruby on Rails developer, and he gave the audience a quick demonstration of building a Ruby on Rails project from scratch:


Bringing in a Rails guy to speak in front of a .NET crowd was a little unexpected, but I thought it was important to show them the inspiration behind ASP.NET MVC, whose creators acknowledge Ruby on Rails’ influence on their framework. I think that they benefited from this outside perspective, and it worked on Paul as well – he was impressed by the size of the crowd, the nice settings (the Metro Toronto .NET User Group has a nice arrangement to use the conference rooms at the Manulife office building), the extent and organization of all the .NET user groups in the Toronto area and even the male-female ratio (while the women were still vastly outnumbered by the men, the percentage of women at the User Group was still high in comparison to some open source gatherings).

Much of my presentation was a walk-through of building the basic structure of the NerdDinner application featured in the book Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0 and online at, with plenty of additional commentary by me, explaining in further detail why things were done a certain way. I encouraged the audience to download the free chapter from the book and actually build the application themselves; after all, the best way to learn is to do.

I had a wonderful time presenting in front of the very attentive and appreciative crowd at the Metro Toronto .NET User Group and would like to thank the audience for watching, Paul for helping out and the organizers for inviting me. I’d love to do it again sometime!

As for ASP.NET MVC, watch this space for more articles and code examples!


TSOT Ruby/Rails Project Night Next Tuesday!

Next Tuesday is the second Tuesday of the month, which means: Ruby/Rails Project Night, hosted by TSOT!

Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien and Stephen Colbert fighting over a Rails logo

The Quick Version

  • When: Tuesday, February 12th, 2008:
    • Doors open around 5:30 p.m.
    • Presentations begin sometime between 6 – 6:30 p.m.
    • Arrive early to get fed!
  • Where: TSOT developer office, 151 Bloor Street West (just east of Avenue Road), Suite 1130
  • Admission: FREE (but please register!)
  • Register with: Corina Newby or Joey deVilla

About Ruby/Rails Project Night

Ruby/Rails Project Night is a Toronto-area gathering held at the TSOT developer office on the second Tuesday of every month. It’s an event that lets people developing projects in either Ruby or Ruby on Rails show them off in front of their peers in 20-30 minute presentations. Presenters are encouraged to go into as much technical detail as they like (even showing the code, if they’re so inclined) and cover all sorts of aspects of their projects, from programming issues to visual design and usability to the business of making a living off their software.

Whether you code in Ruby and Rails for a living like we do, dabble in it in your spare time or are just curious as to what the fuss is all about, we encourage you to come to our office next Tuesday for Ruby/Rails Project Night! It’s a chance for you to see software that’s being developed right here in town and to mingle with other developers interested in Ruby and Rails. We provide food and drink, so you can focus on the presentations and not your grumbling stomach.

Who’s Presenting

Yours Truly will start the night with an opening monologue to get things going, after which I’ll be followed the the evening’s main presentations:

  • How to Avoid Hanging Yourself in Rails, by Rowan Hick. This presentation is subtitled “or: Optimizing Your ActiveRecord Associations”.
  • Mike Bowler and Steve Vetzal will talk about their project that helps new businesses be memorable.
  • CRMS – Clinical Research Management System. Luke Galea will present this project, a Rails and Prolog/XSB application that manages drug and procedure trials at some of the biggest hospitals in the U.S..

What Happened at the Last Ruby/Rails Project Night?

Everyone Takes Their Seats
Click the photo to see it on its Flickr page.

Check out this article, which has a quick write-up and photos.


SEO Tips for Rails Apps

Default Routes Considered Harmful, and Other Rails SEO Tips covers SEO for Rails apps, with both on-page SEO tips (Prettier URLs, Better Title Tags and DRY in Content) and off-page SEO tips (Easy Linking and Bookmarks).


RailsConf 2008 Registration is Open

Just got the email: early bird registration for RailsConf 2008 (which is $100 cheaper) is now open. When I was working a nice big company like Tucows, they’d foot the bill, making the decision a no-brainer. Now that I’m at TSOT, which is a start-up, we don’t have those budgets and now I have to think about the bang-per-buck ratio. Are you going, and what factors are you taking into account?