Plip's Weblog

Phil Winstanley - British .NET chap based in Lancashire. Enjoys tea and tech. Working for Microsoft.

January 2008 - Posts

"Pre-Launch Pizza and LINQ" - NXTGENUG BRUM 18th March

NxtGenUG are having an evening meeting on Tuesday 18th March "Pre-Launch Pizza and LINQ" with Ian Cooper speaking.  If you happen to be in Brum the night before the Launch and want to sample the delights of NxtGenUG Birmingham, just register for the event and come along. is the link.




SQLBits 2008, 1st March, Birmingham - Registration Now Open

SQLBits Logo


Registration is now open for SQLBits 2008 March event.

Come and join us at the Lakeside Conference Centre in Birmingham for SQLBits (the sql); believe me the sessions are way better than the punch line! We have kept costs low with help from our sponsors, so low in fact it's free to attend again.

20 technical Sessions broken up into 4 tracks covering all areas a SQL Pro is interested in and on top of that a recruitment panel and new product demonstrations - something for everybody - Development, DBA, Business Intelligence and of course SQL Server 2008. Check out the confirmed sessions.

Technical Sessions end at 5pm but the day continues first with a Recruitment panel and New production demos and then into an informal networking and social evening at our Group By drinks reception - a great opportunity to relax and chat about our holidays, hobbies, ok - get real - more SQL!

Register quickly; we run out of places in 8 days at the October 2007 event.

Register Me For SQLBits 2008

Session List:

SQL Server 2008
Making more of SSIS in 2008
Reporting in SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008 – Declarative Management Framework concepts & database problem solutions with policy management.
Where do you live? Intro to spatial indexing
SQL Server 2008 TSQL Enhancements

Business Intelligence
Using Analysis Services as a data source for Reporting Services reports
Extending SSIS with custom Data Flow components
Master Data Management (MDM)


SQL Server High Availability and Disaster Recovery Overview
What Are You Waiting For?
I/O! I/O! It’s off to disk we go...
Introduction to SQL 2008 Performance Data Collector
"SELECT TOP(@x) Name FROM MyFavouriteDMVs ORDER BY MyRanking"
Administering SQL Server 2008 and 2005 with Windows PowerShell
Transient data in SQL Server
Getting to grips with Service Broker.
2005 SQLCMD Scripting
Understanding LINQ in .NET Framework V3.5 and Beyond
Development Life Cycle using Visual Studio Team Edition for DB Professionals
Making the leap into Advanced SQL

SQL Bits Organising Committee.

Gold Sponsors

Idera Logo

Quest Logo

Evening Sponsors

Huntress Logo

Silver Sponsors




Web Deployment Projects for VS.NET 2008

Deployment is hard, but it doesn't have to be!

The guys over in Redmond have released the WDP for VS.NET 2008 release tot he web today.

Go check it out.

One very interesting point: -

"There was community feedback about trying to get aspnet_merge.exe  independent of Web Deployment Projects for use within Visual Studio Express editions...  Good news is that ASP.NET Merge Utility is now available as a part of Microsoft® Windows® Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows Server® 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5"

The control and flexibility you get from utilising these projects is absolutely fantastic.




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IIS here, IIS there, IIS everywhere!

The IIS team have been busy (again!). Not content with creating IIS 7, the funkiest version of IIS yet, they've also created a sexy little command line tool to help you migrate and deploy applications.

I'm passionate about deployment because I feel it's the most important part of maintaining an existing web site, tools to help are always a good thing.

Check out the new IIS tool here: -

The main features are outlined here: -


Synchronization and Snapshot of IIS 6.0/IIS 7.0:
The sync operation provides administrators with a way to quickly synchronize a site or server and deploy changes to existing sites and servers. A synchronization allows you to synchronize one source with one destination. For example, you can synchronize two directory paths or two web servers. The sync can be performed with local or remote objects.
The snapshot, or archive, functionality allows administrators or developers to quickly take an archive of their web site or server for rollback, restore or backup purposes.

Migration from IIS 6.0:
The migrate operation provides administrators with a way to migrate sites or entire servers from IIS 6.0 to IIS 7.0, including their settings and content. A migration is essentially a way of synchronizing, filtered by migration rules. For example, when migrating from IIS 6.0 to IIS 7.0, MS Deploy will check the value of some properties and see if it is the IIS 6.0 default. If it is the default, such as the log files directory, it will instead use the value set on the IIS 7.0 server. This enables a server admin to maintain new settings on IIS 7.0 while moving sites or applications from IIS 6.0.

Analysis of IIS 6.0 Installed Features:
The analyze operation allows administrators to check what components are installed on the source server. In this way, they can determine if features are present that they will need in IIS 7.0 or that require more advanced setup than simply copying files. For example, ASP.NET requires more than a file copy and will need to be installed on the destination server.

Troubleshooting and Validation Features:
For validating an operation, the -whatif flag allows administrators to see what actions would happen when they perform an operation. This is especially useful for performing sync or migration, when they want to validate what changes will be made before performing them. For troubleshooting, the -verboseLevel flag allows administrators to get rich detail about what operations are being performed, and upon failure, the ability to diagnose the problem.


Keep your eyes out for the Web Deployment Project update that's coming too! :)

Cool eh?




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New Members

It appears we have some interlopers in our midst ...

This is just a quick post to welcome all the new bloggers to the site, can't wait to see what you write :)



Posted: Jan 23 2008, 07:17 PM by Plip | with no comments |
It's lonely being a home working freelancer - or is it?

Day in day out, the despair of only yourself and the small array of office dwelling cuddly toys to talk to, it can be hard working at home by yourself.

One of the biggest things I miss from working in an office full of other people is the ability to easily bounce ideas off people, it's just not the same over the phone or on instant messenger. Little things like not being able to just have a chat with people easily and being able to mix and match a days activity without having to switch context and stop working.

Today I went to the Manchester Digital Development Agency for a Co-working day, pray tell, what is a co working day I hear you ask. Well, here's how the event describes it's self (or rather how Paul Robinson describes it).

"Turn up and meet other geek's. Bring something to talk about and we’ll schedule up a meeting with people who are interested in the same, or you can just quietly get on with some work without having to listen to News24 in the background all day for company."

A group of around twenty freelancers and homeworkers all got together and worked in the same room for the day, well, actually, a series of rooms.

It was cool to do my day job in a different environment with other geeky people for company. The same office nostalgia's I have always enjoyed all occurred, watching people say and do strange things, swearing at my own code, taking and making calls as well as a whole host of friendly banter and chatting.


What was really cool was just having the option of looking up and watching other people for a few seconds. Just being part of that environment is amazingly different to sitting alone at my desk at home.

I'm pretty lucky in that I get out of the house to see clients at least half of the week, but monthly meetups like today's co-working will be a welcome addition to my working environment.

Keep an eye out for the next event on Paul's blog:

In other news, there's a new local community site called North Pack which has been launched here in the North of England. Check it out.



Beer in the North

It's important to understand that beer in the north is priced appropriately.


Northern beer prices

Manchester Barcamp - 1st March 2008

We can now announce the venue for BarCamp Manchester and that the signup process is now open.

If you put down your name on the Wiki as wanting to attend IT DOES NOT get you a ticket. You need to now sign up proper using the process below - thanks for helping us get an estimate on numbers though.



You know what a BarCamp is, and if you don't you know how to find out. :-)

We'll be providing food and drink, a venue, and lots of other interesting people to talk to. It's completely free of charge, run by people like you, for people like you.

You have no excuse. :-)



The MEN Media Headquarters on Deansgate Manchester – home to the Manchester Evening News.

We’re grateful to MEN Media for opening up the building and letting us have use of their offices on a Saturday. In particular I'm grateful to Ian Carroll for getting us set up over there.

It’s a great space with a dedicated auditorium for 40, larger open spaces for groups, and several small meeting rooms. We have dedicated use of the building all day, but it’s an office and we’re guests – please respect the surroundings.



We can now confirm the date as being 1st March 2008. We've yet to work

out a proper schedule, but it's likely to be open doors around 9am,

get underway around 9:30am, and close... well, we'll work out exact

timings next week, but we've heard whispers somebody might want to

sponsor an after-event bar, so we hope that even when the talks finish

we'll find a way to keep going until we reboot.

Want to help?


We've had loads of offers of help, and you can expect them to start

getting called in very soon! Add your name to the appropriate part of

the Wiki if you have anything to offer, or get in touch off-list

How do I sign up?


Go here:

After you've signed up we'll keep you informed by e-mail of occasional

updates including confirmation of the exact schedule next week so you

can start planning your talks.

You might also want to keep an eye on the Wiki here:

Here's to you all making it a great event!

Off to MIX


Whoop :)


See you there?

ASP.NET Developer Position - Manchester UK



One of the companies I work with are looking for some skilled ASP.NET developers.

Have a look at the job description above and see if it appeals to you :)




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