Plip's Weblog

Phil Winstanley - British .NET chap based in Lancashire. Enjoys tea and tech. Working for Microsoft.
Notes from HTM01 @ MIX11

IE9 compiles JavaScript down into machine code.

There are eleven subsystems which impact performance.

The majority of time is spent in JavaScript and rendering on most sites, which don't use AJAX.

A lot more time is spent on Rendering in AJAX based sites.

Quickly respond

  • Quickly respond to network requests - avoid redirection. Avoid meta tag refreshes and redirection.
  • Minimise server time required for requests
  • Use content delivery networks
  • Maximise concurrent connections, ensure server side handles and delivers requests quickly by distributing files across multiple domains
  • Reuse connections by not sending a connection:close header (disable no keepalive)

Minimise bytes

  • Use gzip compression
  • Provide cacheable content, ensure headers are set on content to specify the expiry
  • Use conditional requests, only downloads if file has been modified
  • JSON - cache data requests, done by default, don't disable caching
  • Standardise on file capitalisation conventions, URI's are case sensitive
  • Use the html5 document type, it'll be the fastest
  • Don't use the metatag for IE compatible modes, use the header, it doesn't need to parse before it loads it
  • Link stylesheets at the top of the page
  • Avoid using the @import command for CSS
  • Avoid embedded and inline styles
  • Only include nessescary styles, check what styles are used for a page, CSS is an inefficient matching algorithm, less styles in the dictionary the better

Optimise the media

  • Jpeg for photographs
  • PNG's for everything else
  • Use native image resolution, have images at the size that they should be rendered that size on disk
  • Avoid lots and lots of images, use image sprites where possible
  • Create image sprites by hand, don't use the tools
  • Replace images with CSS gradients where possible, don't use 1 pixel wide gradients
  • Where possibly use CSS corner radius instead of images
  • Embed small images through the data URI
  • Replace large images with inline svg
  • Avoid complex SVG paths
  • Use css3 transforms instead of small animated gifs
  • Proactively download next resources (bing homepage downloads the next days image)

Write fast JavaScript

  • Avoid linking JavaScript at the head of the document, downloads, parses and executes before continuing, if you need to try using the defer attribute
  • Avoid inline JavaScript - best practice is to load JS at the very end of the page
  • Remove duplicate code, multiple versions of the same JS file.
  • Standardise on a single JavaScript framework.
  • Don't include script if it's not absolutely needed
  • Just use one analytics framework
  • Minify JavaScript, remove characters not needed (spaces etc), compaction, change variable names to small aliases. Less bytes over the network, less in the cache, type resolution is faster when variable names are smaller, inlining, refactor code in many methods into one small one.
  • Use domcontentloaded event instead of the load event, it fires much sooner than the load event.
  • Initialise JavaScript on demand, load script files when needed.
  • JSON is always faster than XML for data
  • Always use the browser native methods, they're much faster than script based methods (100/200 times faster than scripted methods)
  • Use regular expressions as little as possible
  • use rounding in JavaScript wherever you can, math in JS represent numbers as floats, integers are much more efficient math.ceil() and math.floor()
  • Minimise Dom interactions, cache variables, eg document.body
  • Use built in Dom methods instead of abstractions such as jquery
  • Use innerHTML it's the fastest way to inject into the Dom
  • Batch markup changes instead of firing them off individually, this only makes one Dom change
  • Maintain a small DOM, smaller it is the better (well duh), aim for under 1,000 Dom elements
  • Know what your application is doing when it's running
  • Look out for settimeout and setinterval, make sure they're cleaned up
  • Try and batch your timers together and consolidate into one
  • Align animations to the display frame, 16.7ms = 60fps (desktop), 33.4ms = 30fps (mobile)
Posted: Apr 13 2011, 12:40 AM by Plip | with 3 comment(s)
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IIS Express and System.Threading.ThreadAbortException

If you’re moving over to IIS Express and you spot these kind of entries in your trace log: -

A first chance exception of type 'System.Threading.ThreadAbortException' occurred in mscorlib.dll
An exception of type 'System.Threading.ThreadAbortException' occurred in mscorlib.dll but was not handled in user code

Just check, if you’re using Response.Redirect then this is absolutely normal and nothing to worry about!

(Remember that the default login pages use Response.Redirect too).

ASP.NET Syntaxes

Phil Haack put together a quick Razor syntax guide, I’ve just extended it out for old dinosaurs like me that nly know ASP.NET Code Behind as their true and trusted way of writing pages so that we can compare our syntax to the new Razor and ASP.NET MVP ways too.

Attachement link JUST BELOW THIS TEXT

 

Them and us

As much as we try and create inclusive societies throughout the globe time and time again we revert to our tribal and clan origins back in the distant past, be those line split across the obvious like  Nationality, Religion or even the Football teams we follow.

Microsoft to me has always been a “them”. I was always on the outside looking in, free to say as I wished and have an external objective viewpoint. Now, after my first week (well four days but who’s counting) Microsoft is an “us” for me.

So when I look up in the Atrium of Building 1 at Microsoft’s UK headquarters I see banners like the one above and I already genuinely feel a part of this much bigger community. I looked up at that and I felt a sense of pride to be part of something bigger, something which is out there touching peoples lives everywhere (for the good and the bad).

My objectivity has made me who I am today. I’m open to other ideas and concepts, I’ve worked hard to be understanding across the board be it from technology through to cultural differences in my life and it’s vital to me that I preserve that so I now have to learn how I balance the “them” of Microsoft to the “us” of Microsoft and maintain the objectivity.

It’s my job to advise people on the best way to do things, which won’t always mean “Use Microsoft Technology X”, sometimes it’ll be my responsibility to say “Don’t use Microsoft Technology X”. My first and foremost responsibility is to the customer, to give them the best advice that I can and I want to maintain that.

Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be tarred by some as a Microsoft guy, for many years I’ve had just that, but those out there in the non Microsoft communities I’ve engaged in I think know that I’m the first to say when I think something is a bit naff.

So, here’s my ask to you ‘the community’. Keep me honest. If I start to sound like a fanboi I want you to find me and give me a slap. It’s all too easy to forget reality sometimes and I want to make sure I stay well and truly routed in that reality.

Also, no matter how much I embed myself within Microsoft I fear I will never understand Microsoft’s marketing team. In the Gents just under the WP7 banner shown above I was faced with this. Draw your own conclusions on what it’s message is.

Plip’s Hardware Lineup for 2011

Inspired by Mike Taulty’s hardware lineup 2011 I thought I’d share mine.

As we go into 2011, I’m well and truely an apple fanboi in terms of their hardware. I love Apple kit and have always found it to be really stable. The only issue I’ve ever had is with *spit* iTunes and Apple’s fascist control of how their devices sync. You’ll see that reflected in my hardware below.

As I pointed out in my previous post I’m joining Microsoft as of 2011. Let’s see if that changes my love of Apple hardware. I will be issues with a non Apple Laptop for work I suspect and that’ll be a new one for me!

Car

My favourite gadget of all. My Jaguar XF.

As we speak it’s sitting in a garage having it’s internals taken apart piece by piece as it’s refusing to start, not the best experience! It’s a sexy beautiful car and it’s is SO much fun to drive, powerful, comfortable and not too flashy.

Verdict 9/10. Hold!

Phone

I’ve had an iPhone 3Gs since they came out in the UK and I love it as a device for playing music, tweeting, and generally faffing about. As a phone it’s bloody awful. 

I *love* Spotify and use it all the time on the Phone.

It’s the only phone of the two I have that will connect to my car over Bluetooth, that’s one of the main reasons I don’t use my WP7 device as my main phone.

Verdict 8/10. Hold (Until the WP7 is up to spec).

I mentioned I also have a WP7 device, it’s the LG E-900 Windows Phone 7. The device hardware is very nice, comfortable to hold and without weighing I think it’s lighter than my iPhone.

I had a torrid affair with this phone for a few weeks while I gave it a chance. I missed too much from my iPhone, at the time (November 2010) the apps were somewhat lacking, I missed a GOOD twitter client that handled the tombstoning properly and I was starting to go crazy without Spotify (all my music is streamed, I now don’t have any stored locally) and without a Spotify client for the phone I was musicless, so ended up carrying around my iPhone JUST for Spotify.

There were other issues with the OS that were frustrating me, I didn’t like the way it forced all my MSN contacts into the main phone book nor that it kept dropping the WiFi at my home (every other device is fine with it so it WAS the phone) where I have an atrocious 3G signal.

When the apps are there, the phone has multi tasking and the niggles are sorted in the OS I’m certain I’ll switch wholesale to the WP7 but until then the device can’t compete with my iPhone.

 

Verdict 5/10. Sell (Until WP7 is updated and the Apps are there which make me love it as much as my iPhone).

Music Player

Any device I can run Spotify on, so at the moment all of my computers (running Windows or OSX), my iPhone and my iPad. That goes in the car too, it’s either BBC Radio 4 or a Spotify playlist on the iPhone.

I’ve not bought a single CD since I’ve had Spotify. I was buying on average three to four a month.

 

Spotify Verdict 9/10. Hold. (Especially if they keep on expanding their Library).

 

Slate

I was furious with Apple back in April 2010 they brought in the infamous changed to their licensing agreement putting the future of Monotouch and other platforms running on their hardware at risk. At the time I vowed never to buy Apple hardware again.

Back at Barcamp Blackpool in July 2010 I was surrounded by people using iPad’s and I caved in and went out there and then during the conference and bought a 16GB 3G iPad.

I use the iPad for reading the EXCELLENT Economist and for playing Music via Spotify. I also use Echofon as my twitter client of choice on the iPad. In addition to that I check e-mail and occasionally browse the web. It’s also a great device to have in the living room when friends are over as you can quickly pull up things like Facebook and Flickr and pass the device around.

With travelling lots the iPad has become my travel companion, it’s revolutionised mobile computing for me, I no longer lug a laptop round anywhere – simply pickup my iPad and go.

I swallowed my pride with Apple and I’m glad I did, the iPad was my second best purchase of 2010 (after the Jag).

Verdict 9/10. Hold.

Laptops

I have two Laptops, they’re no longer used unless I’m giving a presentation. I use my iPad now for ALL mobile computing. They both have Windows 7 installed on them, the Air also has OSX Leopard.

Macbook Air

HP nx9420

 

Verdict 3/10. Sell. They’re good machines, they just don’t fit my work/life style now since the iPad came along.

 

Desktop

I’ve had a 24” iMac for a few years now and I love the beast. It’s not super powerful but it does EVEYTHING I need and more. It’s a beautiful device.

I dumped the Apple keyboard and mouse as they’re about as fun to use as a condom with a tear in it at a syphilis sufferers conference. I use a Logitech Wireless keyboard and mouse and have an old Dell Monitor plugged in as a second display.

I’m running Windows 7 Ultimate on the machine and it’s where I do all of my development work.

If I’m doing video editing (2-3 times a year) I switch into OSX and use Final Cut Express 4.

Verdict 8/10. Hold.

Home Media Player

Admittedly I’ve not used this in a year as I’ve not brought myself to buy a new TV which I can plug into the Mac Mini through HDMI. In my previous place I had a Mac Mini plugged into a TV running XBMC and Spotify – great setup and I’ll be resurrecting this in the next few weeks when I buy a new TV.

 

Verdict 10/10. Hold.

Printer

I have a Wireless HP Photosmart Premium 309a which is absolutely brilliant although the ink is bloody expensive Smile

It rarely screws up and it’s great for wirelessly scanning etc.

The iPad doesn’t support it which is a shame, but other than that it’s a great printer and was well worth the cash.

Verdict 8/10. Hold.

Bye bye MVP Status. 2011 and beyond

Back in 2005, spurred on by the examples of independent, strong, smart people within this community I decided to break the shackles of permanent employment and hit out on my own. This saw me building what’s proved to be a very successful career and business which I’ve loved to bits. 2011 will be a big change for me and my life, the largest in about five years (which whilst it might not sound like much is proportionally a lot of my life! ).

From January I’ll be joining Microsoft. 

What I’ll be doing is joining the Services division here in the UK as an Application Development Manager.

Role Purpose

The purpose of the ADM is to provide our customers access to a wide range of product and application development expertise to help software developers accelerate the development cycle and produce successful applications. This can be accomplished by direct collaboration or by facilitating access to other resources within Microsoft.

By maintaining a long-term relationship with their customers, an ADM becomes intimately familiar with the customers’ development environment. The technical tasks performed in this role include general “how-to” strategic advice, solution architecture assessments, workshops, prototyping, application design reviews, performance benchmarking, code reviews, porting/migration assistance, configuration management and general development consulting.

The ADM gains an understanding of their customers' development organizations' impact on overall business, their development goals, and their pain points - which is used by the ADM to ensure their customers' success with developing on Microsoft products.

While the ADM is assigned as the primary contact for the development efforts of a company, the ADM may leverage other ADMs or even other groups within Microsoft to provide the best service possible, especially if escalation services are necessary. The ADM acts as the escalation manager to bring in appropriate technical expertise (primarily Customer Services and Support) to manage incidents to resolution. The ADM follows up to ensure either product improvement within Microsoft or appropriate development skills are built within the customer's development environment.

Team/Department Mission

Microsoft Application Development Managers (ADMs) strive to be the best in software development. Working with cutting edge technologies we play a pivotal role in the delivery of industry leading solutions within the UK’s most prestigious enterprise organisations and software houses.

This is high value technology consultancy. We generate great customer satisfaction from our long term engagement model.  This gives our customers the confidence to allow us to become their trusted advisors helping to architect, design and implement their solutions.

Key Accountabilities

• Work with key UK customers to provide innovative solutions to their development problems, helping to architect, design, implement and test solutions throughout the development cycle.

• Build an on-going trusted relationship with customers by improving their development processes and deliverables.

• Delight customers with your technical breadth knowledge, demonstrating a willingness to engage and work with other resources to solve difficult technical challenges.

• Transfer knowledge to customers through effective communication and engagement style

• Liaise with internal Microsoft communities (such as our development teams in the USA) to represent the interest of customers and drive product improvements

• Remain technically competent in a broad range of Microsoft products and technologies

• Support your peers though deliverables into internal and customer engagements, contributing to an environment for learning and creativity, contributing to others’ success.

There’s a little marketing blurb here: -

http://www.microsoft.com/microsoftservices/en/uk/adc.aspx

Sadly I’ll not be able to make it to the MVP summit as an MVP any more as the status gets taken off me pretty rapidly, evidently awarding one’s own employee’s is seen as cheating, who’d have thought it?

I will continue to be involved with the ASP Insiders & work closely with the Web Platform and Tools Team, not only because of what they all mean to me both personally and professionally but also because it’ll be a big part of my job to help connect experts, and what group is better than those guys to find experts.

Some of you know I’m involved heavily in DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper and the UK Community, this will continue and if anything should increase. The guys and gals that I work with over here won’t let me go so I’ll be pushing that both within my role and outside of it as I always have. It’s VITAL to me that DDD stays independent of Microsoft as that’s it’s true strength – that check and balance.

Products and Projects worked on by my business’ will be handed over to the loving care of others so that they can continue to be worked on and serviced. This is all very woolly at the moment and when there’s more concrete information I’ll announce it.

Thanks everyone for your support over the years and I look forward to working with you in 2011 and beyond.

Cold Boot / Factory Reset Samsung Taylor Windows Phone 7 - WP7

Clean boot the device manually using the boot menu.

  1. Power down the device
  2. While Holding down  both volume UP and volume DOWN press Power button.  The device will show “TAYLOR Boot menu”.
  3. Use volume DOWN to skip to “Cold Boot?”  option. Press volume UP to change form [warm] to [cold]
  4. Use volume DOWN to skip to “Save Settings”.  Press volume Up to change to [yes]
  5. Use volume DOWN to exit menu
Posted: Nov 02 2010, 08:41 PM by Plip | with 1 comment(s)
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DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper Dublin - October 9th 2010

The magic of the Emerald Isle was made a little more magical on Saturday 9th October 2010 with the wonder of a very special event, the third DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper that we've held on the island. Previously they've been held in Galway on the west coast and Belfast in Northern Ireland. This one was a little different in that the whole team at Microsoft in Ireland has changed so we were working with entirely new people, this led to some great new dynamics and different ideas which resulted in a totally unique DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper event.


Getting a venue is always the first task whenever we run an event, this time was no different. Enda Flynn and Craig O'Connor managed to source the slickest venue DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper has been held in, the National Digital Research Centre, this converted warehouse is opposite the Guinness factory slap bang in the National Digital Enterprise Area in Dublin. Brilliant location, amazing building and gorgeous rooms for us to use. I know now why the Irish Economy is up the swanny, they've spent all the money on making this venue fantastic! Irish tax payers, we salute you!    
 

We opened the site to speaker submissions back in late August and pretty rapidly got a good selection of sessions submitted both from known speakers in the UK (The usual culprits - you know who you are!) through to a really exciting bunch of local speakers many of whom had not spoken at a DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper event before. One of the main goals of DDD is that we encourage new speakers and foster communities wherever they're found and the fact that we had a bunch of new Irish speakers submit sessions really pleased us.

As is the tradition of DDD we opened up the sessions to a community vote to help us determine which sessions the community wanted to see, I'll be the first to admit we had a very low take-up on the opportunity to vote but the trend of sessions that the community wanted to see came out of that voting very clearly and we took the votes and constructed the schedule accordingly. It was great that we were able to give almost all of the Irish speakers that submitted a session the opportunity to speak at the event.

With the venue sorted and the sessions selected, a couple of cups of tea later and we had the schedule drawn up it was time to open the registration. Wow, that was slow, we're used to selling out DDD events in minutes but the Irish seems to be so laid back they're horizontal. Perhaps they were finishing their pints of Guinness, maybe they were just waiting until the last moment to give me a heart attack - either way we eventually got well over a hundred people registered and that staved off our heart stopping moments...

Okay, we have a venue, delegates and sessions, all we needed now was speakers, turns out that hardly any of them were actually in Dublin so thus started the logistical nightmare of getting them all into one place ready for the conference, thankfully Craig Murphy stepped in here and coordinated the flights, hotels and ferry crossings with our wonderful sponsors enabling us to get the speakers there for the event.

There was one last thing to get there. Us. Craig and I decided to take ferries across from our island to the other one, Craig from Scotland into Northern Ireland and myself with Dave Sussman from Wales straight into Dublin. We had a lovely drive down through North Wales on the Friday afternoon to board the ferry, the Welsh cost is very pretty. As we travelled we were treated to a display by Red Arrows jets which was absolutely brilliant, I assume they were out in honour of DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper. That arial display was not the only thing we had though, we were escorted across the Irish Sea by a Royal Air Force Seaking helicopter which shadowed the ferry for a good half hour performing flyby's and rescue manoeuvres with the ferry, again, I can only imagine they were there in respect of DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper.

 


Eventually we arrived at the hotel after a lovely tour around Dublin's labyrinth of a one way system (cheers Dublin traffic department, I hope you all die a slow painful death), checked in, switched rooms as they'd ballsed up and then met a bunch of the speakers in the bar of the hotel before heading down to get a tour of the venue. I cannot lie, I was absolutely blown away, the venue is stunning. Have a look at some of the photos that have been uploaded:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/plip/sets/72157625135944554/ 

So venue toured, speakers accounted for, time for some grub. You're in Dublin, you want to sample the local delicacies, you let Craig Murphy choose where we're eating, you end up in a Moroccan restaurant. Well done there Craig. As it happens the food was stunning and I had a lovely meal with Colin Gemmell, Dave Sussman, Jackie Pollock, Daniel May, Ben Hall, Liam Westley, Colin Mackay, Craig Murphy, Andy Gibson, and Mark Rendle. The wine, oh the wine. I was a happy Phil.

The morning after the night before ... We crawled out of bed and headed down to the breakfast room in the hotel ... The place was pretty much deserted, more importantly my partner in crime (and this fallguy) Craig Murphy was no where to be seen. Just as I was starting to panic my fears were allayed, I've never been so happy to see a bald Scotsman with a clipboard as I was that Saturday morning. Off to the venue!

We rocked up and started to get the swag and other bits and pieces sorted out, we had speakers to brief (basically "do it right or we'll kill you") then we needed to get the Microsoft Student Partners sorted who very graciously helped us with the event by manning the registration desk - massive thanks to those guys - you rock. People started to turn up slowly in drips and drabs but as expected the turn out was much lower than we'd hoped for. At previous events in Ireland we've always faced a much higher drop out than we experience in the UK but this event is probably the worst we've ever had with just under a 50% no show of delegates, as it was, we had enough numbers that the event felt good and had the right atmosphere.  When we hit the start time Craig and I headed to our respective rooms and gave the opening slides before handing over to the first speakers of the day.

I didn't go to any of the sessions and I've not had a chance to read the feedback forms yet, however, from everything I was told on the day the sessions (bar one exception) were all brilliant and spot on the mark. Here's a list of those brilliant sessions and speakers: -



Thanks to some money Microsoft managed to find down the back of an Irish sofa we were able to get the whole event recorded professionally, as soon as these are processed and ready we'll share out the links. Can't wait to see some of the sessions, as is always the case when running these events I miss out on the sessions because I'm busy wheeling boxes of t-shirts sound or helping net a speaker that's managed to get up into the rafters (you have to keep a close eye on them).

Catering is the thing that gives us the most problems at any event we run, all I can say is we had no problems this time, the catering was magnificent, throughout the day tea and coffee was available and the lunch was absolutely brilliant! Soups, fresh sandwiches (proper ones, with actual filling), fruit, cookies, mmmm all we missed was chocolate but hey, I can't have everything.

Note to self: Get everything.

As well as Microsoft sponsoring the venue we also had some brilliant sponsorship in terms of swag from people like Telerik and DevExpress who provided t-shirts, pens, little ninjas, the lot! Thanks so much guys!

After the event it was time to wind down, Burgers & Beers was the order of the day and we all had a cracking meal in GBK in Temple Bar followed by more beer and for me at least clubbing until the wee hours of the morning. I think I stumbled home about 5am. 

The next day (or same day) Dave Sussman and I went in search of breakfast and managed to find a FEAST of a Full Irish Breakfast for only €10 ! I was a happy Phil at this point of the day and with that we headed to the ferry port and onwards to Sunny Wales, where the men are men and the sheep are fearful.
 

That's not all though, at the event we got chatting and saw significant interest in running an event in Belfast, provisionally penned for March, we'll keep you updated.

Thanks to all those who helped make DDD Dublin happen and a massive thanks to the delegates whom attended.
Windows Phone 7 Day – DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper – Manchester – October 7th 2010

A glorious sunny day in Manchester on the seventh of October 2010 we had eight sessions all to celebrate and help support the developer community all around Windows Phone 7. The event was held in the ODEON cinema in the Printworks in Manchester which is a venue we used for a DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper Guathon back in September 2009.

John Price (of NxtGenUg fame) and I managed the registration in the morning, well, I say registration, it was basically me ticking names off a list, John handing out raffle tickets while the delegates (or attendees if you're American) scribbled their own names onto sticky labels as badges for the conference. We had a really wide ranging audience from hardcore Microsoft fanbois through to Fundamentalist iPhone developers and even members of the press. People had travelled from all over the country to come to the event with developers from far flung cities such as Edinburgh and London.

We only had one small disaster during registration when an attended managed to knock his Starbucks coffee all over the tables we were using, although in his defence he dived for and saved my iPhone before worrying about anything else, so we'll let him off for that. I didn't ask him if he was one of the Microsoft or Apple fanbois :-)

Even though we had a good turnout it was lower that we'd hoped (we had room for 360 but registration only hit around 150), after polling Twitter over the previous weeks there are a few reasons for this:

- Location wise Manchester is a 'long way' for a lot of developers to travel.

- Running the event on a week day meant people had ti take a day off from work.

- The technology isn't proven in the Market yet so for some people the return on the investment of their time was a difficult trade off. 

With an amazing line up of speakers and sessions those that could make it were in for a real treat. Internally we'd agonised over how to pitch the sessions, should they be introductory or deep dive, should they flow from one to the other or could the be islands of specialism, eventually the appamundi guys came up with a brilliant schedule that would take beginners to the platform from knowing nothing to be able to build and create a functioning application whilst still giving those that had dabbled with the system some really useful real world advice from their experience of building applications both for the emulator and devices.

Some of the guys speaking are even training Microsoft staff and their partners on Windows Phone 7 development, we were very lucky that they could take time out of their schedules which are packed at the moment as launch is imminent to come and speak at the event.

First off was Maarten Struys to open the day after a quick introduction from Andy Wigley, Maarten has the most amazing accent which totally captivated me, he looks and sounds just as you'd expect a crazy scientist to. His presentation style is slick and relaxed, making it so easy to listen to him and focus on the content that he's sharing, as he showed off the Visual Studio and Blend features which were a part of his opening session he revealed nuggets of information which even the most seasoned Silverlight developers would have found useful and still managed to show the beginners how to get started with WP7 development.

Then came the turn of the legend that is Andy Wigley. I've been lucky to know Andy for a number of years, to look at he's a throwback from the 60's, some crazy veggie hippy who plays in a death metal band, in reality however he's one of the kindest gentlest guys with an amazing capacity for turning complex technical processes and systems into simple language and conveying it to idiots like me :-)

Andy spoke back to back for three sessions covering in depth Silverlight development for Windows Phone 7, drilling into the device capabilities such as using the camera and GPS (because every application needs photos and geotagging now we're in the Mobile device era) then came Andy's magnificent session on probably one of the most controversial features of Windows Phone 7 which is it's Application lifecycle system, Tombstoning.

Then came the fun stuff, Rob Miles who really is that crazy lecturer I'm sure many of you had at University, 7' something of pure technical passion. Robs height is the only way that all that technical prowess can be contained I'm pretty sure occasionally a bit spills out of his ears, and at the event, it was flowing in drippy streams of technical content from Rob. First he covered XNA development with the Phone to build games and other graphics intense applications and then he drilled into how to sell your applications through the Marketplace that Microsoft are putting together.

Developers aren't known for producing the most beautiful applications so it was a real boost for the event to be able to get Tricky Bassett to come to the event and talk about design for Windows Phone 7 applications as well as showing off a production application his company has been working on. The session added real spice to the event and left everyone thinking of designing a Windows Phone 7 application with a variety of options open to them and the guidance they'll need to pull together their applications.

As with all mobile platforms, Windows Phone 7 has support for running applications offline and  Andrej gave a brilliant rundown of the features available to developers in the initial release of Windows Phone 7.

Throughout the day the speakers gave an objective view of the technology and talked about their personal experiences without prejudice. That's one of the great benefits of DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper events, it's real world advice from people working in the field who want to make sure that those that come after them can benefit from their learning process. A real testament to the dedication and openness of the UK developer community. I personally got very upset with a press review of the event which had a serious undertone of accusing the speakers of working to a Microsoft PR agenda which really couldn't be further from the truth, if anything the only Marketing of the day came from Tricky who cheekily plugged his firms design services, but we'll let him off because he's giving so much back to the community. 

Something that was happening whilst the sessions were running was a Xapathon. This was essentially Mike Ormond of Microsoft who'd travelled up for the day with a bunch of Windows Phone 7 devices to allow developers who has build an application to bring it to the event and try it on a real device. Mike and Pete Vickers managed is process and helped people get their Xaps onto the devices - watching people debug their applications on the devices was really cool - developers getting to play with the devices for the first time as opposed to the emulator and seeing their apps really running was brilliant, their little faces lit up and more importantly every application worked flawlessly - pretty cool that the emulator is so close to the real thing! I think there were about seven applications tested throughout the day.

As we'd done previously we called on the services of Joel Hammond-Turner to video the event and he's done a stifling job, with the presenters and the screens being recorded as well as the audio being recorded in high quality (HD I believe !) we're going to get some cool content to share out to everyone who couldn't make the event. Massive thanks to Joel, who like all the speakers and those involved gave up his time and did this for free. As soon as the video is ready we'll publish it and get the links out to you.

Of corse these events wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the support of sponsors who help us pay for the venues, supply prizes and swag and support promoting the events that we run. So I want to call them out here. Big thanks to Microsoft, appamundi and nxtgenug who all did a brilliant job in getting this event going - without you guys it couldn't have happened, thank you on behalf of the whole community both those who could make the event and the countless thousands that will watch the video content produced at it for the weeks and months to come.

PrizesPrizesPrizes - what would a DDD event be without swag? We were really lucky to be able to award a prize at the event of a brand new shiny Windows Phone 7 device to a chap in the audience who was absolutely over the moon. Load of other people got bits and bobs ranging from t-shirts through to mice.

All in all a brilliant event.

Posted: Oct 10 2010, 10:41 PM by Plip | with 4 comment(s)
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DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper! Scotland 2010 - DDDSCOT

DDD in Scotland was held on the 8th May 2010 in Glasgow and I was there, not as is uaual at these kind of things as an organiser but actually as a speaker and delegate.

The weekend started for me back on Thursday with the arrival of Dave Sussman to my place in Lancashire, after a curry and watching the Electon night TV coverage we retired to our respective beds (yes, I know, I hate to shatter the illusion we both sleep in the same bed wearing matching pijamas is something I've shattered now) ready for the drive up to Glasgow the following afternoon.

Before heading up to Glasgow we had to pick up Young Mr Hardy from Wigan then we began the four hour drive back in time...

Something that struck me on the journey up is just how beautiful Scotland is. The menacing landscapes bordered with fluffy sheep and whirly-ma-gigs are awe inspiring - well worth driving up if you ever get the chance.

Anywho we arrived in Glasgow, got settled intot he hotel and went in search of Speakers for pre conference drinks and food. We discovered a gaggle (I believe that's the collective term) of speakers in the Bar and when we reached critical mass headed off to the Speakers Dinner location. During dinner, SOMEONE set my hair on FIRE. That's all I'm going to say on the matter.

Whilst I was enjoying my evening there was something nagging at me, I realised that I should really write my session as I was due to give it the following morning. So after a few more drinks I headed back to the hotel and got some well earned sleep (and washed the fire damage out of my hair).

Next day, headed off to the conference which was a lovely stroll through Glasgow City Centre. Non of us got mugged, murdered (or set on fire) arriving safely at the venue, which was a bonus.

 

I was asked to read out the opening Slides for Barry Carr's session which I did dilligently and with such professionalism that I shocked even myself. At which point I reliased in just over an hour I had to give my presentation, so headed back to the speaker room to finish writing it.

Wham, bam and it was all over. Session seemed to go well. I was speaking on Exception Driven Development, which isn't so much a technical solution but rather a mindset around how one should treat exceptions and their code. To be honest, I've not been so nervous giving a session for years - something about this topic worried me, I was concerned I was being too abstract in my thinking or that what I was saying was so obvious that everyone would know it, but it seems to have been well recieved which makes me a happy Speaker.

Craig Murphy has some brilliant pictures of DDD Scotland 2010.

After my session was done I grabbed some lunch and headed back to the hotel and into town to do some shopping (thus my conspicuous omission from the above photo). Later on we headed out to the geek dinner which again was a rum affair followed by a few drinks and a little boogie woogie.

All in all a well run, well attended conference, by the community for the community.

I tip my hat to the whole team who put on DDD Scotland! 

 

 

 

Posted: May 10 2010, 08:21 AM by Plip | with 1 comment(s)
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