January 2009 - Posts

Extension Method Guidelines

I'm spending some time this morning getting caught up on RSS reading.  A great post from last week from Brad Abrams on when you should use extension methods – i.e. when they are a good choice.  As Brad Abrams points out: "While this a very powerful new feature, it does come with some new responsibility."

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CodeMash 2009

I know it's been over a week since it ended, but I'm finally taking time to get my review up.

Awesome!

I've been going to CodeMash since it started 3 years ago and it keeps getting better!  Last year I focused more on .NET stuff because that was my area of interest and my comfort level.  This year, however, I decided to plunge into some Ruby classes.  I already blogged about the fun time I had in the Ruby 101 during the precompiler and Michael Letterle's IronRuby presentation was a good one too.  Venkat Subramaniam's keynote was awesome – he's a great speaker and very funny!  Lots of other good sessions and meeting tons of people – a very good time (except for the ride home in the snowstorm).  Thanks to Jim Holmes and all of his crew for another phenomenal conference!

I snapped a few pictures during the week and captured a bit of video – including SRT jamming during the Rock Band competition.  It's all up on my flickr site.

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MonoRail Integrations

Andy Pike has recently done some really cool MonoRail integrations:

Integrating reCAPTCHA with Castle MonoRail

Integrating Gravatar with Castle MonoRail

Take a peek at how easy it is to plug these types of things into the MonoRail framework.

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CodeMash: Ruby 101

At today's CodeMash Precompiler I decided to check out "Ruby 101" with Jim Weirich and Joe O'Brien.  I've caught a few glimpses of Ruby code over the years but have never sat down to actually do anything with it.  Since CodeMash is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and learning new things, I thought this would be a good session to attend.

The format for this session was pretty neat.  Jim and Joe created a set of unit tests and distributed them to all of us.  The unit tests were not complete – they didn't work.  What we students did was work our way through tests and "fix" them so they'd pass.  The tests were designed to be followed in a specific order and you'd gradually build on your knowledge of Ruby as you got the tests working.

Pretty much everybody liked the format of the class.  When Jim and Joe first explained what they were doing, I though it was an awesome idea.  In practice (at least for me), there were a few places where my lack of knowledge of some of the Ruby syntax hampered my progress.  They weren't insurmountable challenges,  but it was frustrating knowing what needs to be done to make the test pass (from a logical standpoint), but not knowing how to express that in Ruby.

Still, I really enjoyed the class.  The unit tests had a very logical progression and built on each other.  At the end, I was writing a proxy class which would intercept and forward calls to any object and would expose information like what calls were made to the object and how many times each call was made.  Not bad for my first day of Ruby!

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Come see "Paint Wars" at CodeMash!

Fellow SRT employee Chris Marinos will be showing off his wii-mote controlled "Paint Wars" game built on the XNA framework at our booth at CodeMash this week.

Chris has taken what started out as his senior project and used it during SRT's learning time to convert it to F#.  His blog post has a few screen shots.  It looks cool and I can't wait to play around with it.

Hope to see you all at CodeMash this week!

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Thank You Microsoft (2009)!

One year ago today I thanked Microsoft for recognizing my contributions to the community by awarding me the MVP award.

I'm very happy to make this post.  For a second year in a row Microsoft has given me the MVP award in C#.  It's a great honor to be recognized by Microsoft and I will continue my community work in 2009.  I'm now the President of our .NET User Group and have been recently in contact with the planners of this year's Ann Arbor Give Camp.  This is going to be a busy year!

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