Friday, December 22, 2006

The Book Is Out!

It’s here!  Woo!

Pretty amazing to come home from an errand and find a massive box on the stoop!  (I have to use “stoop” because a new hire is a UK expat so I’ve got to learn the lingo.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

CodeMash: The British Are Coming!

We’ve actually had two folks from a firm in the UK register for CodeMash!  They’re coming over specifically for CodeMash and hope to tie their visit in to a client site visit, but the client work is secondary.  They’re looking at CodeMash as a very unique forum for networking and “getting some cutting edge ideas.”

Let me tell you: if you’re whining about having to drive four hours up from Cincinnati to attend CodeMash then I don’t want to hear it!  These two are travelling over an ocean to attend!

One of the travellers remarked on the motivation for attending CodeMash: “…there’s nothing like this in Europe at the moment.”  How amazingly cool is that?

CodeMash: Go register now.

Monday, December 18, 2006

CodeMash: Low Room Rates Extended!

If you haven’t yet registered for CodeMash, then I’ve got good news for you!  The great folks at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky have extended the great room rate of $88 until 28 December.

The agenda for CodeMash is finalized and it’s loaded with amazing stuff regardless of the language or platform you’re currently involved with.

Looking to learn more about what’s happening in .NET?  Look up the sessions on Smart Clients, Closures in C# 3.0, Data-Driven Applications with LINQ, or Tips and Tricks for ASP.NET 2.0 and AJAX.

Want to find out things on some of the “newcomer” languages you’ve not explored yet?  Check out the sessions on Enterprise Python Architecture, Rails and Ruby Introduction, or Caffienated PHP.  (And some of those languages are older than Java, BTW…)

What about you folks who are happy with the language you’re in and aren’t interested in expanding that envelope?  Then you need to attend larger-scope talks on design, architecture, and methodologies from great minds in the industry.  Check out the keynotes and sessions like Lean Software Development, Beyond Test Driven Development, Source Code Management with Subversion, and The Productive Programmer.

The conference fee is $149 and rooms are $88 per night.  That’s an insanely cheap price to hear folks like Neal Ford, Scott Guthrie, Bill Wagner, and Bruce Eckel talk.

Go register!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

CodeMash: Early Bird Discount Ending!

The Early Bird discount for CodeMash ends tomorrow.  That means you’ll have to pay $149 instead of $99 for the conference rate, and you’ll lose out on the killer $88 rate for the great rooms (and waterpark access!) at the Kalahari Lodge.

I’ve blogged the heck out of this event because it’s going to be an amazing one.  Don’t lose out on your early bird rates — get on top of things and get cracking!  Go register now!

Exciting New PowerShell Book!

Manning Press always impressed me with their books I gotten in the past.  Java Development with Ant is a terrific book if you use any automated build system because the book lays out a great methodology for approaching and implementing automated builds.  Hibernate in Action is critical if you do any work at all with O/RM systems and specifically if you work with Hibernate or NHibernate.

The only problem with Manning was that they were slow to get into the .NET space.  That’s changed, however, and now they’re slowly building up a nice catalog of good-looking books on great topics.

I’m particularly excited about the early release copy of Windows PowerShell in Action I just got.  I haven’t gotten far in to the book, but it appears to do a great job of laying out the basics and nitty-gritty of PowerShell.

I fooled around with PowerShell as part of working on my book, but left off playing with it months ago.  PowerShell in Action will push me to do more playing with Monad I mean PowerShell, and perhaps even get some real work done.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Testing Events with Anonymous Delegates

Phil Haack has a nice post showing how to use anonymous delegates to test the source of events.  Anonymous delegates are something I’ve only scratched the surface with, so it’s nice to see a great, practical use for them.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Book Review: Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#

I’m not completely through this book yet but it’s such a great one that I wanted to plop out a quick review of it to pass on the word.

Are you sick of books on XP which seem too much like mystical hand-waving with really shitty lousy examples of paired programming sessions?  Are you sick of books on patterns which are too convoluted and abstract to make any sense at all?  Are you sick of books full of silly, contrived examples which don’t make any real-world sense?  What about books on UML which approach it from a near-religious dogma direction with no room for any deviation or common sense?

If so, then you badly, badly need to read Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# .  This book, written by the father/son team of Robert and Micah Martin is part of the impressive Robert C. Martin series on Agile from Addison Wesley/Prentice Hall.

This book is amazingly great from start to finish.  All the basics of good agile development are covered clearly and sensibly in the first section: what agile is, how to go about it, why testing and planning are so critical, and where refactoring fits in all of this.  Design and general patters are hit in the second section, again in a clear, concise, and sensible fashion — and with common sense thrown in. 

The final two sections cover a real-world case study implementation of a payroll system.  Here the rubber meets the asphalt: walking through use cases, building transactions based on smartly-chosen patterns, discussion of what patterns make sense where and why, implementation, packaging, and evolution.

I found myself shaking my head in wonder as I read this book and stumbled across one nugget of gold after another.  Some bits of goodness pop out in the middle of nowhere simply because the authors are so well-versed in their domain that they’re letting fly wisdom even when discussing other topics.  An example of this is in the XP pairing session episode where some discussion of increment operator side effects is tossed in the middle of another discussion stream.  You read that section once and pass over it, only to do a head check, bounce back and re-read it while nodding your head and saying “Yeah, that’s absolutely right and I might not have caught that otherwise.”

As an aside, this book had the first XP paired programming episode I’ve ever read which didn’t make me barf.  Other example episodes were so contrived and smarmily written that I thought for sure I was going to heave.  This pairing epsiode is real life stuff, complete with some strong discussion between partners, good examples of refactoring and patterns, and also shows the developers making and recovering from various mistakes.

Another bit of greatness is the chapter on UML.  The authors are emphatic about keeping UML tightly in check and using it only in specific cases where it makes clear sense.  Mountains of UML diagrams are not the answer; the authors show where a few concise diagrams make perfect sense.

More goodness can be found throughout the book in the gems relating to any number of design issues such as a small example of a problem the authors put forth to students of their various design/patterns courses: build a coffee maker.  The authors go through the most common result they see and show the specific problem areas of that solution — and then show a solution that is amazing in its simplicity, elegance, and maintainability.

Micah Martin, the co-author and son of the other co-author Robert Martin, makes a great statement in his introduction to the book.  He talks about his father’s first edition of the book (winner of the 2003 Jolt Award) not making much of an impact on the .NET community.  This new edition, specific for C#, certainly should make a tremendous impact on the .NET community.  If it doesn’t then we have ourselves (or our colleagues) to blame for not caring enough to improve ourselves by reading seminal works.

This book is a critical read for folks at any level of experience.  I’m going to do my best to make sure it gets on the required reading list for developers at my company.

(Go register for CodeMash, by the way.)

Good Series on Building a Web Site

Dan Hounshell, a good buddy from the Dayton .NET Developers Group, is writing a series of blog posts on a site he’s architecting.  Dan’s a very smart guy and writes very well, so his series should be well worth reading.  Dan’s focusing on building his skills in a few new tech areas and is using the site as a vehicle for that learning.  His series is a great idea and I’m looking forward to watching it progress!

Win a Zune!

Want to win a Zune?  Drew Robbins came up with a great contest: Blog about CodeMash and have a chance to win a Zune!  Details on the CodeMash site.

Six days left for you to register at the early bird discount rate — and get the insanely low price of $88 per night for rooms.

For you procrastinators: Be advised that after 18 December you won’t be able to get the discount rate, and you may not be able to get a room at all.  Kalahari Lodge sells out fast this time of year and the block of rooms they’re holding for us goes away after the 18th.  Move fast.  Move now!

Book News: Off to the Printer!

I’ve just gotten word from my editor today that Windows Developer Power Tools is going off to the printer on Thursday.  It will hit warehouses (and the doorsteps of contributors) around 20 December. Wow!

I’m not sure when orders will head out from places like Amazon, but I’d think it will be shortly thereafter.

James and I started off on this adventure nearly a year ago, writing up the proposal some time around February and getting underway in late March.  (I think.)  It’s been a heck of a ride and I’m really looking forward to seeing the end result land on my doorstep in a few weeks.  Whoof.

Monday, December 11, 2006

CodeMash: Spread the Word Via a Flyer!

So I’m sitting in a nice cottage right off the beach in Vero Beach, Florida with nothing better to do than sip a little bit of Iron Horse bubbly and clean up after a nice dinner eaten while looking out at the Atlantic ocean.

Yeah, my life sucks.

But back to more important things: Help spread the word about CodeMash!  We’ve got a great flier which talks about CodeMash — print that out and hang it up around your workplace or share some copies with colleagues and other interested geeks.  Also, a few days ago I wrote a post that highlights the value of folks attending such a conference.  This is great fodder for convincing your boss to either let you go to CodeMash or better yet pay your way there.

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