Tags: , , , , , , , , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 10/22/2015 2:19 AM | Comments (0)

I hope you’ve had an opportunity to see my presentation, “Dynamic Optimization – One Technique all Programmers Should Know” at a Code Camp or User Group near you.  If so, and you want to have a copy of the slide deck for your very own, you can see it embedded below, or use the direct link to the Powerpoint here

The subject of this presentation is using a technique called Dynamic Programming to solve problems that have more than one possible solution.  This technique works very well when used to solve problems that are recursive in nature.  One of the best things about this technique is that it guarantees that the solution it produces is the best possible solution.

We look at three examples during the presentation, the first is done only “on paper” and is an example of using this technique to solve a knapsack problem.  The second example is done in pseudo-code and solves a linear best-path problem in the game of Chutes & Ladders.  Finally, we drop into Visual Studio to solve a 2-dimensional best-path problem.  Sample code for both of the last 2 examples can be found in GitHub.

Keep an eye on my Speaking Engagements Page for opportunities to see this presentation live. If you are a user group or conference organizer, you can contact me to schedule an in-person presentation.  This presentation is a lot of fun to deliver and has been received extremely well at Code Camps and User Groups across the country.

Tags: , , , , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 10/1/2015 2:23 AM | Comments (0)

I am really looking forward to October because I have 3 awesome events that I’ll be speaking, and learning, at:

  • The first event for the month  is Code Camp NYC in Manhattan on October 10th.  I have attending this event once before and loved it. I’m really looking forward to being there again.
  • Next up is Atlanta Code Camp on October 24th.  This will be my 1st time at this event, and my 1st time in Atlanta in many years.  Hopefully, people will have some helpful suggestions for what to see and do when I am not at the Code Camp.
  • Finally, I’ll be speaking at .NET Group – Southern Nevada’s .NET User Group in Las Vegas on October 29th.  I’ve spoken in Las Vegas at the Code Camp there before, but have never had the privilege of attending their user group.

I have several other event possibilities in the works for November and beyond. I’ll announce them here periodically, but you can always see my schedule, as well as past events and the talks I am currently giving, using the “Speaking Engagements” link above.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Categories: Development Posted by bsstahl on 7/11/2014 8:53 PM | Comments (0)

I recently started working on a set of open-source projects for Code Camps and other community conferences with my friend Rob Richardson (@rob_rich). In addition to doing some good for the community, I expect these projects, which I will describe in more detail in upcoming posts, to allow me to experiment with several elements of software development that I have been looking forward to trying out. These include:

  • Using Git as a source control repository
  • Using nUnit within Visual Studio as a test runner
  • Solving an optimization problem in C#
  • Getting to work on a shared project with and learning from Rob

As an enterprise developer, I have been using MSTest and Team Foundation Server since they were released. My last experience with nUnit was probably about 10 years ago, and I have never used Git before. My source control experience prior to TFS was in VSS and CVS, and all of that was at least 6 or 7 years ago.

So far, I have to say I'm very pleased with both Git for source control, and nUnit for tests. Honestly, other than for the slight syntactical changes, I really can't tell that I'm using nUnit instead of MSTest. The integration with Visual Studio, once the appropriate extensions are added, is seamless. Using Git is a bit more of a change, but I am really liking the workflow it creates. I have found myself, somewhat automatically, committing my code to the local repository after each step of the Red-Green-Refactor TDD cycle, and then pushing all of those commits to the server after each full completion of that cycle. This is a good, natural workflow that gives the benefits of frequent commits, without breaking the build for other developers on the project. It also has the huge advantage of being basically unchanged in a disconnected environment like an airplane (though those are frequently not disconnected anymore).

The only possible downside I can see so far is the risk presented by the fact that code committed to the local repository, is not yet really safe. Committing code has historically been a way of protecting ourselves from disc crashes or other catastrophes. In this workflow, it is the push to the server, not the act of committing code, that gives us that redundancy protection. As long as we remember that we don't have this redundancy until we push, and make those pushes part of the requirements of our workflow, I think the benefits of frequent local commits greatly outweigh any additional risk.

As to the other two items on my list, I have already learned a lot from both working with Rob and in working toward implementing the optimization solution. Even though we've only been working on this for a few days, and have had only 1 pairing session to this point, I feel quite confident that both the community and I will get great benefit from these projects.

In my next post, I'll discuss what these projects are, and how we plan on implementing them.

Tags: , , , , | Categories: Event, Development Posted by bsstahl on 6/29/2014 1:08 AM | Comments (0)

For those who saw my code camp presentation, “SOA – Beyond the Buzzwords”, you can find the slide deck here

There is much more to building a Service Oriented Architecture than just creating services. SOA services can be much more difficult to build, requiring more analysis and design work up-front than a non-service-enabled system or a system that relies on CRUD-style data services. In this session, we will look at real-world examples of SOAs, examining what a good SOA might look like, what conditions present a good opportunity to use a Service Oriented Architecture, and how we can make the process more agile. We will also look at some practical tips to help make your services more extensible and maintainable.

For those who haven’t yet seen this presentation, I will be giving this session at several other code camps and user groups around the US between now and the end of the year.  Keep an eye on my Speaking Engagements page or have your user group leader request me as a speaker via Ineta.

The complete, working application for my .NET TDD Kickstart sessions can be found here.

Unzip the files into a solution folder and open the Demo.sln solution in a version of Visual Studio 2010 that has Unit Testing capability (Professional, Premium or Ultimate).  Immediately, you should be able to compile the whole solution, and successfully execute the tests in the Bss.QueueMonitor.Test and Bss.Timing.Test libraries.

To get the tests in the other two test libraries (Bss.QueueMonitor.Data.EF.Test & Bss.QueueMonitor.IntegrationTest) to pass, you will need to create the database used to store the monitored data in the data-tier and integration tests, and enable MSMQ on your system so that a queue to be monitored can be created for the Integration test.

The solution is configured to use a SQLExpress database called TDDDemo.  You can use any name or SQL implementation you like, you’ll just need to update the configuration of all of the test libraries to use the new connection.  The script to execute in the new database to create the table needed to run the tests can be found in the Bss.QueueMonitor.Data.EF library and is called QueueDepthModel.edmx.sql.

You can install Message Queuing on computers running Windows 7 by using Programs and Features in the Control Panel.  You do not need to create any specific queue because the integration test creates a queue for each test individually, then deletes the queue when the test is complete.

If you have any questions or comments about this sample, please start a conversation on Twitter or Contact Me.

I head out to Fullerton tomorrow for the start of my .NET TDD Kickstart world tour Smile

In this session, the speaker and the audience will "pair up" for a coding session which will serve as an introduction to Test Driven Development in an Agile environment. We will use C#, Visual Studio and Rhino Mocks to unit test code to be built both with and without dependencies. We will also highlight some of the common issues encountered during TDD and discuss strategies for overcoming them.

I will be presenting this session at numerous venues around the country this year, including, so far:

If you are interested in having me present this or another session at your event, please contact me.

There is much more than an hour’s worth of material to be presented, so instead of trying to rush through everything I want to talk about during this time, I’ve instead taken some questions from this presentation and posted them below.  Please contact me if you have any additional questions, need clarification, or if you have an suggestions or additions to these lists.

Update: I have moved the FAQ list here to allow it to be maintained separately from this post.

I previously posted the slides for my Building Enterprise Apps using Entity Framework 4 talk here.  I can now post the source code for the completed demo application.  That code, created for use in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, is available in zip format below.  This is the same code that was demonstrated at Desert Code Camp 2011.1 and SoCalCodeCamp 2011 as well as the New Mexico .NET User’s Group (NMUG).

EF4EnterpriseDemoCode.zip

Tags: , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 2/13/2011 4:14 PM | Comments (0)

For the 2nd time in the last 3 years, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the South Florida Code Camp.  Code Camps are free, community driven technical conferences that take place during off-hours, usually weekends, so I try to make it to as many of them as I can.  I have attended most of our local (Arizona) Desert Code Camp events, and will be speaking at the upcoming Desert Code Camp in April 2011, but I also try to attend other code camps whenever possible to get the broadest range of speakers and experiences.  If you haven’t been to the local code camp in your area, you are missing out on a lot of great technical content and opportunities to chat with some awesome technologists.

I was able to attend a session in each of the 6 time slots for South Florida Code Camp 2011.  I’d like to thank the speakers for all of the sessions as each was useful and worth attending:

  1. Zachary Gramana - Custom Tooling Using a VS Add-In and T4 Templates

  2. Colin Blakey – Building OData/WCF Data Service Providers

  3. Bayer White - Hosting Workflows as WCF Services Through Windows Server AppFabric

  4. Olec Sych – ASP.Net Dynamic Data

  5. Woody Pewitt – Technical Debt

  6. Chris Eargle – Code Like a Ninja: Enhance Productivity with Visual Studio and Just Code

Three of these sessions deserve some special mention. The OData/WCF session was probably the most useful from a technical perspective as the demos gave specific examples of exactly what I’d need to do to implement the technology.  The session on technical debt was the most useful overall, Woody from ComponentOne, who is always a fantastic speaker, gave some specific tools to use to calculate the costs of carrying technical debt. In fact, I was fortunate enough to come-away from the raffle with a license to ComponentOne’s Studio Enterprise product.  I’m especially looking forward to trying out the Silverlight controls. Finally, in the last session of the day, which turned into a free-form Visual Studio tips session, Chris did a great job of going with the flow and giving the already rowdy crowd, exactly what they wanted, including demos of some of the coolest features of Just Code.

All of the speakers and organizers did a fantastic job and it was a great event.  Hopefully I will be able to make it back for next year’s event.

Tags: , , , , , | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 6/4/2008 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

I would once again like to thank the organizers, presenters and sponsors of Desert Code Camp for giving of their time, effort and funding to support such an outstanding community resource.  Desert Code Camp IV, held yesterday, May 31st at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, AZ featured well over 40 sessions on topics such as Agile & TDD, ASP.NET, Flash, Silverlight, iPhone SDK, XAML, Apache, Ruby and much more.  I was fortunate enough to attend 4 of these sessions, all of which were well worth my time in attending.

The first session I attended was "Scrum 101" presented by Dan Weinmann (who I think works for Desert Code Camp sponsor Neudesic but I am not sure because it is not listed in Dan's extremely minimalist bio on the Code Camp website).  Dan spent the first part of the session explaining general Agile concepts which is appropriate for a "101" class, and his explanation was quite solid.  What I was looking for however came in the remainder of the discussion where Dan gave specific examples of how his organization has utilized Scrum as an effective project management methodology.  I found especially interesting the parts where Dan explained how they use Scrum "under the covers" when working with a client who, for whatever reason, will not use Scrum.  I found this similar in a number of ways to how my team currently functions and came-away with several ideas of how we might be able to improve on our current processes.

The next session I attended was "Silverlight Zero to Hero" given by Simon Allardice of Interface Technical Training and gets my vote for the mythical "session of the day" award. This session gets my vote not for the abundant humor, which had the room in stitches and led me to refer to Simon on Twitter as "..the Eddie Izzard of the tech world, without the dress...".  No, this was the best session I attended because of the unique perspective he gave to the topic.  That is, he didn't waste our time by giving us the same overview of Silverlight that we could get in any 10k foot video from the Mix conference.  Instead, we were taken step-by-step through Simon's unique metaphors detailing how we can use the generalized feature-set of Silverlight as well as how it could be used to create Rich Internet Applications that are truly effective in communicating  with the user.  The next time I am looking to take a class, I hope Simon is teaching it. In addition, if anyone is looking to become an instructor, I hope they sit-in on some of Simon's sessions which couldn't help but improve anyone's teaching technique.

My third session was "integrating Data with Silverlight 2.0 Applications" presented by Simon's colleague at Interface, Dan Wahlin. Dan, who described himself as "...not funny like Simon...", certainly had his moments, especially when he (unintentionally?) made a comment about some of his demo data to the effect of "...there are Johns in the room...nothing wrong with Johns."  Dan's wife was videotaping at the time, I hope that clip ends up on YouTube.    Regardless of the humor factor, this presentation as well was full of useful specifics on binding Silverlight 2.0 apps to data services including both SOAP and RESTful services.

Finally, I attended a preview by Scott Cate of MyKB of his TechEd presentation next month called "C# 3.5 Compiler Tricks".  This session provided me with some fascinating insights into the workings of the C# compiler, including several situations where the compiler uses "syntactical sugar" to provide constructs that compile to .NET 2.0 IL code and have no dependencies on .NET 3.0 or 3.5 libraries.  In these cases, it is possible to use these constructs in Visual Studio 2008 (or more specifically, when using the C# 3.5 compiler) even when targeting the .NET 2.0 framework.  I was also fortunate enough to be able to spend some very enjoyable time with Scott after the session, discussing his most recent project, EasyDB.com.  Scott set me up with access to the service beta and I spent the rest of the afternoon working with this fantastic "SQL in the Cloud".  I will be blogging about this application and my experiences with it much more in the near future.

Again thanks to everyone who helped to make this event happen.  Sponsors that I haven't mentioned yet who also deserve props for their support include Infusionsoft and JumpBox.

Tags: | Categories: Event Posted by bsstahl on 5/9/2006 10:20 PM | Comments (0)
I was expecting more of a "Best Practices for Data-Store Independance" type of session. This turned out to be more of a "Creating Web-Sites that Work Similarly Across Scripting Engines" thing.