Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Free Silverlight Training

Cincinnati Silverlight Firestarter (Saturday, March 28th)

Have you heard of Silverlight, but just haven't had time to look into it? Are you ready to explore the next generation web technology from Microsoft? If you've answered yes to either of these then the Silverlight Firestarter event is for you! On Saturday, March 28th the Cincinnati .NET User Group, in co-operation with Microsoft, will be hosting a day long event designed to introduce you to Silverlight technologies.

The event will be broken down into introductory sessions that cover the basics for getting started with Silverlight development:

  • Keynote: Introduction to Silverlight by Jeff Blankenburg
  • XAML Basics by Joe Wirtley
  • The Tools by Josh Holmes
  • Controls & Data Binding by Matt Casto
  • Server Communication by Sam Nasr

Come out and join us to learn about Silverlight. The event will take place at the Microsoft office in Mason, OH. Lunch will be provided.

Register online :

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lean Software Development

I have made a personal commitment to read more this year and thought I would share some thoughts on what I am reading. I recently started Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit with some colleagues of mine. This is my synopsis of Chapter 1.

This chapter focuses on the core Lean principle of Eliminate Waste. Anything that doesn’t provide value to the customer is waste. That was a real eye-opener to me as a lot of IT and application development processes don’t add direct value to the customer. The list below is a representation of The Seven Wastes of Application Development (derived from the 7 wastes of manufacturing) as outlined by the authors.

  1. Partially Done Work

  2. Extra Processes

  3. Extra Features

  4. Task Switching

  5. Waiting

  6. Motion

  7. Defects

While all of these are important areas to focus on, I will discuss just a couple. Partially done software has a tendency to become obsolete and there is no assurance it will even work. Until the development can be integrated into the rest of the environment, you can’t be sure it will work as designed. We should strive to reduce partially done development in order to reduce risk and wasted effort. We only check in our code when it has been compiled, tested, and is functionally complete. This is currently our definition of “done”. We will further expand this definition when we incorporate our automated build process.

The desire to add extra features has more than likely plagued every developer. As we implement our Agile/Scrum process, we are conscience of this “wasted” effort. We are developing only the minimum amount of code to meet the requested requirement. Even if we know for sure the feature will be needed in a future story point, we have decided to refactor at that point just in case the business decides not to move the story from the product backlog to one of our sprints.

We have just completed our third sprint. So far, the development team, the business, and our analysts have nothing but positive feedback for the new methodology. I believe the business will receive more value even quicker leading to the corporate wide adoption of Agile/Scrum. I am very excited about the possibilities. If you have experience in this area, please share with me so we can learn from each other. I will continue this series as I read more chapters.  

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ArcReady Event

Cloud computing is all the rage in the IT marketplace. Microsoft is hosting its quarterly ArcReady event with a focus on this topic. I attend these events regularly and recommend them to any architect or aspiring architect working on the Microsoft platform To register for an event in the Central Region check out the website at These events are free and it's a great opportunity to network with other professionals in your area. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Architecture and Patterns

I just read an excellent article discussing Software Architecture and Service Oriented Architecture and wanted to pass it along ( It provides a good comparison, and dependencies, of these two architectures. I really enjoyed the analogy of how the city of Chicago has been successful because of the architecture within its buildings and its infrastructure. That really rings true for IT systems as well. I would dare say no application can sustain long term success without both a solid application and infrastructure architecture. I have dealt with a lot of companies that don't see the value in any architecture and eventually they pay the cost of getting it done quick. As experienced IT professionals, we are obligated to provide our due diligence in selling the value of architecture in every way possible.

Secondly, a lot of you are probably already aware, but Microsoft has published an index for it's Patterns and Practices Application Architecture Guides. If you work in the Microsoft domain, these are must reads for basic design principles. They can be found at

If you run across other articles, magazines, or books on IT architecture please share them. Happy reading and that's all for now.