The blogs of Black Marble staff

Tech ED EMEA IT: Day 1 - Waiting for the Keynote

It's an exercise in surreality. I've just walked through tunnels reminiscent of THX1138, to emerge in a wonderful blue-bathed auditorium, and they're playing the Akira soundtrack (specifically the bit from just after the first nuclear explosion). Weird.

Andy and I travelled all the way from Bradford, and the first guy we strike up conversation with... is from Salford! What are the odds?

Anyway, here's a pic of the view from our seats. More after the keynote...The Tech Ed stage - waiting for the keyonte

PDC Review

Having just returned from PDC in LA, here are my highlights from the week.

Windows Azure - this is the OS for the cloud. Microsoft have learnt from their experiences and created a secure, scalable platform for developing and deploying your web applications.

.Net Services - Are a set of services hosted in the cloud to help you to develop cloud based or cloud aware applications. .Net services consists of 3 main components: Access Control, Service Bus and Workflow. Access control uses standards based identity systems including LiveId to help to secure your cloud applications. Whether the service is hosted behind your fire wall or in the cloud, the service bus allows you to connect your applications and services together across the internet. Workflow services is a cloud based host for your WF workflows and includes a set of management tools and api

OSLO - A platform for model driven development and consists of a modelling language called M; A tool for interacting with models called Quadrant; and a Repository which is a SQL server based database for storing and sharing models. M is used to define the domain specific data model, create a grammar for entering data and create a way of visualising the data.

Dublin - this is the codename for Microsoft's Application server. Dublin is a robust and scalable host for WF and WCF applications and will be used to support the OSLO modelling technologies.

Visual Studio 10 - There are some nice cool features in VS10 including impact analysis, historical debugging and better test management. Impact analysis looks at the code that has been changed and identifies the unit tests that are affected by the changes , allowing them to be run easily. Historical debugging allows debugging to be carried out after a fault has occurred and rewind backwards and see the state of the system rather than stepping forward through the system. Some issues are difficult to reproduce or step through without affecting the system. Having the ability to replay the sequence after the fault has occurred and interrogate the data will help the developers to fix problems more efficiently. Historical debugging can be tied into better test management by allowing the testers to run through their test scenarios and when a fault occurs, mark the test as a failure and then send the whole test information including a video (if selected) and the historical debug information through to the developer to fix. This will also help to eliminate the faults that can not be reproduced in the development environment.

Windows 7 - Another version of the windows operating system that should use less memory and be faster than Vista. In addition there will be multi desktop support in Remote desktop and on the fly virtual hard drive support which can then become bootable if required and better home networking.

TechEd EMEA IT: Day 1

It's 7:25 AM. Andy and I are hoping to make a whistle-stop trip to the Cathedral before making it to the conference early enough to get good seats for the keynote.

I thought I'd take a picture of the conference pack, especially since I've heard grumblings about the PDC bag. The TechEd pack looks pretty much identical to the pack the devs brought home last year, to me.

TechEd EMEA Conference swag

However, when I opened the curtains I was greeted by a fantastic sunrise:

Sunrise over Barcelona

Here's hoping it's going to be a fun-packed day!

TechEd EMEA IT: Day 0 - Greetings from Barcelona

Ola! Andy and I are now in sunny Espana. Only it's not sunny. Oh well... However, true to form we started our trip, having registered at the conference centre, by eating hot dogs in a german fast food joint in a Spanish shopping centre! If you're passing, Kurz & Gut does pretty good food.

I'm also extremely impressed with the Metro system here in Barcelona. It's my first time in the city, and the transport is pretty efficient, with a wonderful simple trip-based charging mechanism.

The only downside is that despite not travelling particularly far, we seem to have lost an entire day to travel. Up and out by 8:30am UK time, and we finally landed in the hotel here in Spain around 18:30 (17:30 UK time) - then we had to get across town to the conference centre.

Apparently, take-up on the shuttle service from the airport was low last year, so this year Microsoft didn't bother. I can understand that, but at the same time it would have made our lives much easier, even if we would have needed to get from the conference centre to the hotel after registering. Perhaps that's as much because we're TechEd noobs - next year we'll know where to go and how to get there, I guess.

So now we're relaxing in the hotel bar, checking the conference schedules and noting the irony of how the prize-of-the-moment for all conference competitions is the Dell Mini 9 (I'm typing this on mine, and Andy stole Richard's for the week!).

As I mentioned before, don't be shy - if you're in Barcelona at the moment and feel like being sociable, get in touch and we can try to meet up. Oh, and I hadn't forgotten about Robert, but he's effectively working!

CodeRush and Refactor XPress for C#

Developer Express and Microsoft now are shipping a limited free copy version of CodeRush and Refactor! Pro. The free edition is available for C# developers using Visual Studio 2008.

A list of features :

  • Find any File or Symbol...
  • Tab to Next Reference
  • Expand/Shrink Selection
  • Intelligent Declaration Based on Usage
  • Professional Grade Refactoring
  • Editor Features
  • Navigation Features

Get it Here

If you want to know more about the greatness of the free tools come along to one of our evening events where the near legendary Oliver Sturm will be presenting on Developer Productivity


Happenstance is a wonderful thing…

Rik and I arrived this afternoon in Barcelona for the TechEd IT conference that is going on this week. Our flight was pretty good, and our bags even arrived at baggage reclaim fairly quickly. After some confusion, we managed to negotiate the train/underground to get to our hotel (and I must say here that I was very impressed indeed with the Barcelona underground system; I even managed to get a good mobile signal all of the time I was on the underground). Rik and I decided at that point that a) getting registered at the conference would be a good idea and b) some food would also be a good idea. Registering was very quick and we visited the shopping centre across the road as Rik had been recommended a place inside.  After a bit of a wander around, we eventually settled on a place called Kurz & Gut (first night in Barcelona and we end up in a German themed place eating bratwurst!) – however I was very pleased that we had done. I enjoyed what has to be the very best hotdog/bratwurst I have ever eaten!

PDC – Home – TechED

I am just back from the PDC and all the great news ( post to follow ) and I am just off to TechED IT all though Rik seems to have forgotten me :(

if you are at TechED IT pop over to the BizTalk booth and say hello.


Patterns and Practices : Acceptance Test Engineering Guidance

The P&P team have released the Acceptance Test Engineering Guidance Guidance book. The guide is designed to help groups meet customers expectations of delivery.

  • How to Plan for Acceptance Testing
  • What Kinds of Acceptance Tests to Run
  • How to Create and Run Acceptance Tests
  • Defining What “Done” Means ( this is the important one from my observations )
  • Get it here

    I can’t say enough how much the P&P team are making a difference in quality to the whole of the development and IT industry, if you haven't had the privilege of looking at the exceptional set of knowledge the P&P team put together look here