Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Reviews of the Patterns and Practices Summit

I just wanted to share links to a few people who blogged the patterns & practices Summit earlier this month. The conference was lot of fun, I met a lot of interesting people and had a blast giving my presentations.

Steven St. Jean - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4

David Boss - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - More Day 4

The Server Side .NET - Mini Review - Interview w/ Me - Frameworks Review

Michael Wood - Lots of notes here

Thanks to everyone who came out to Redmond for this. I think it was our biggest p&p Summit yet and I certainly enjoyed it. Hopefully the attendees did too.

Seattle Code Camp 2.0

Rather than write my own rendition of this post, I’ll blatantly steal the relevant portions from Brad Wilson’s post

The first co-presentation is our Micro-Pairing talk, which was actually born out of last year’s Seattle Code Camp talk about Model-View-Presenter. It was an odd combination that seemed to work okay, but this talk will focus entirely on the Micro-Pairing agile practice (we used to call this “The TDD Pair Programming Game” until Brian Button suggested this better name). This is the same talk we did at Agile 2006 (in July) and the p&p Summit (a couple weeks ago), and this will likely be the last time we do this talk publicly.

The second is titled How I Pwn3d the World of Warcraft UI with Lua. This is a new talk that we’ve never given before. We will discuss the topic of end-user extensibility in game development, and we’ll teach you the basics of how to extend the game for yourself using a Lua/WoW Object Orientation library called Ace2. We don’t want to give away too many secrets before the talk, of course. :)

I always love presenting with Brad and I think these will both be fun. Please come out and participate, we’d love to see you.

No More Comments... For Now

I’ve decided to disable comments for now. The comment spam was just getting out of hand and our CAPTCHA solution just wasn’t cutting it.

Hopefully I can turn them back on someday soon…

Guidance Explorer Beta 2 Release

From J.D. Meier’s Blog:

We released Guidance Explorer Beta 2 on CodePlex. Guidance Explorer is a patterns & practices R&D project to improve finding, sharing and creating prescriptive guidance. Guidance Explorer features modular, actionable guidance in the form of checklists, guidelines, how tos, patterns … etc.

**What’s New with This Release **

  • Guidance Explorer now checks for updated guidance against an online guidance store.
  • Source code is available on CodePlex so you can shape or extend Guidance Explorer for your scenario.
  • Guidance Explorer Web Edition is available for quick browsing of the online guidance store.

**Learn More **

**Resources **


Send your feedback to getool@microsoft.com.

Patterns & Practices Summit - Redmond 10/9 - 10/12

p&p Summit West

Brad’s post reminded me (and Scott’s post reminded him) that I forgot to tell you all that I’m speaking at the upcoming patterns & practices Summit here in Redmond next month.

Here are my two talks:

  • “The Agile Talk on Agility” (co-presented with Michael Puleio) is a style of talk that I first saw given by my friend Brian Button. Basically we will use agile project manegement techniques (mostly XP iteration planning) to define the content of the talk on the fly as we go. Learn about agile planning and learn about agile development at the same time.
  • Micro-Pairing (co-presented w/ Brad Wilson) describes our refinement of the eXtreme Programming practices of Pair Programming and Test Driven Development into a fun development practices that feels less like work and more like playing. It encourages frequent micro-discussions about design and implementation direction to help you get the most out of your coding session.

There are a lot of other interesting talks this year and some really great speakers, so I would encourage you all to register now and come out for a visit.

PS. If you ask really nicely, we may even give some tours of the new patterns & practices Agile Development Center.

Tags: patterns & practices, agile, XP, pair-programming

How John Learned to Stop Worrying and Love TDD

I love posts like this one by my friend John Socha-Leialoha. An excerpt will show you what I mean:

Yesterday and today I did two major refactorings that before would have required very careful work and testing. However this time it was nearly painless. The unit tests I’ve written now do that work for me. So when I did the refactoring yesterday, roughly 10% of the unit tests failed. It only took me about 15 minutes to fix the code so all the tests passed.

Gotta love that!

Tags: Agile, Test-Driven Development, TDD, Refactoring

Yet Another Cool Windows Vista Keyboard Trick

For all I know, this may have been around since Windows XP, but I only recently discovered it on my Windows Vista RC1 machine.

The buttons in your Quick Launch bar are keyboard accessible using the&nbsp_place_holder;Windows key () and a number.

So, with this Quick Launch setup:

I can quickly and easily get to Outlook by typing +3.

Very cool!

Tags: Windows Vista, Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Launch

Ch-ch-ch-changes: New Job, Repaving (Again) and the State of My Addictions

No posts in a while because I’ve been repaving my machine again and changing a few things.

I don’t think I blogged this yet, but back in July I was asked to take over the management of the p&p development team. It is an honor to be given the opportunity to manage these guys. They are an amazing team and I hope I can serve them well.

I’m finding management at a big company to be unlike anything else in my experience. I used to laugh at the managers who seemed to be so busy. They don’t actually write code, so why are they so busy. I know know at least a bit more about what we do. :) Yes, we probably do go to too many meetings, and as I get settled in I’m going to try to eliminate a bunch of those, but being a good blocker for your reports and looking out for the best interests of your larger team takes a lot of work.

I mentioned that I’ve repaved my machine. I decided to go ahead and take the plunge into Vista and Office 12 beta. So far, I really like it. There are lots of little things in Vista that really are nice from a usability standpoint. So far I’m enjoying IE7 although I would like to see some more speed improvements.

Same goes with Office 12 and the new ribbon bar. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you commit yourself to it, it is suprisingly simple and straightforward to do the tasks you want to do. I really really like the new Outlook. The integrated search is killer, new search folders rock and the categories and coloring are great. I already blogged about how Outlook 12 has influenced my email triaging system, so I won’t torture you with that any more.

Also, I’ve made the move from BlogJet to Windows Live Writer. First of all, it is free. Secondly, it has been updated in the last year (BlogJet 1.6 “Lime” was released almost a full year ago and is far from perfect). I’m really enjoying Writer and love that it has a published SDK for plugins and have already installed the Tag4Writer plugin. I need to think about what other interesting addons I might want.

And of course I’ve been spending too much time playing World of Warcraft. Although even that addiction has changed… I’ve been spending almost all of my time in game standing in one place.

Why? Because what I’ve really been doing lately is writing and publishing game addons. It is a lot of fun and since I’m now a manager with no coding responsibilities, it helps fulfill my “geeky” needs. I’ve published two addons so far at&nbsp_place_holder;my author portal on wowinterface.com&nbsp_place_holder;and am working on a few more. This should help extend my MMORPG addiction a few more months. Hopefully it will last me until the new LOTRO ships. :)

As a final catch up, I want to say that I am very aware of the problems this blog and the others I host have been having. Brad Wilson and I are looking at how to do something about that, so there may be some more changes on that front soon.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows Vista, World of Warcraft, Management, Live Writer