Experiences and Experiments in Programming

 Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I am a little late with this.  The registration for the Alabama Code Camp is now open.  Registration actually opened up on 04/10 but the broadcast email did not go out till today.

You can Register Here

Here are some quick stats:
  • 200 attendee slots open
  • 123 miles from Nashville
  • 100 books for giveaways
  • 95 miles from Birmingham
  • 28 unique sessions
  • 37 speakers
  • 7 MVPs sharing knowledge
  • 8 book authors presenting
  • 4 Microsoft presenters
Go to the Alabama Code Camp site to learn more!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 2:09:52 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
While it was definately not one of my best presentations, last night's presentation went well.  We wound up creating a DVD library.  Often times you wonder if presentations really matter and if anyone actually gets anything out of them.  Well today I was presently surprised.  One of the folks at the meeting last night contacted me to let me know they used some things covered in the presentation last night. Jeremy got a call from a client today asking for a quick turn-around on a task.  He was able to use what the presentation covered last night to get the client what they needed.  Awesome!  It is nice to hear that something you do is helpful and is actually used.  Thanks Jeremy for the call!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 2:02:46 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Last night I was working on my presentation for BUG.NET tonight and had a cool idea.

One of my many hobbies is magic.  I am a professional magician and proud member of IBM. UF Grant, a well known magician, published an entire magic act called "The Challenge Magic Act". The premise is that the magician enters the audience and promises to do an effect with any item handed to him.

Well I am going to do something similar tonight. I am going with no slides and no prepared code. I am going to ask the attendees to come up with some simple application ideas. One of them will be chosen and I will start from scratch and build a data-aware application using ASP.NET and ATLAS. I am going to try to complete the entire application in less than 15 minutes.

Now granted, the application will be a real simple one, but I am hoping to demonstrate the ease with which Visual Studio 2005, SQL Express 2005, and ATLAS can be used to quickly create a rich UI web application.  On top of that, hopefully it will be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 9:41:01 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Monday, April 10, 2006
A new web site has been created by Shawn Weekly for professionals in the Birmingham Alabama area.  It is called Bhamdeveloper.com. Currently, he is offering a weblog, an email address, and the ability to share your resume to those from the area who register on the site.  Check it out!

Monday, April 10, 2006 9:38:59 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I am going to be giving a presentation at the Birmingham .NET User Group tomorrow on ATLAS. I am going to cover both the client focused and server focused capability as well as demonstrate some examples of the UI coolness provided in the client libraries.  I am going to also mention the Mash It Up contest!

Monday, April 10, 2006 9:19:57 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Saturday, April 08, 2006
A few days ago, I found a site which I thought I would pass on.  Community Credit was created by David Silverlight and Alex Januschewsky.  They are both Microsoft MVPs.  The site is dedicated to recognizing and awarding people who are active in the technology community based on their contributions. They give away prizes to those who have been most active each month.

But beyond the prizes, "community credit simply highlights your contributions and is one way of seperating yourself from the crowd and showing that you are a serious professional".

If you are really serious about contributing to the technical community, visit Community Credit.
Friday, April 07, 2006 11:09:59 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Thursday, April 06, 2006
I am a member of Internet Professionals Society of Alabama (IPSA). Today's meeting is on Digital Imaging and it is obviously a hot topic since attendance has been limited. Although I was late getting my RSVP in, someone had to cancel so I am going to be able to go. Digital Imaging, while not code, is a huge part of web design that facilitates the web experience! I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006 8:50:19 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I have submitted my presentations for the Huntsville .NET Code Camp on April 22. I have finalized presentations on CSS2, and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).

One of my presentations is on CSS2 and ASP.NET. I will discuss how to effectively design a web page to use CSS (specifically the CSS2 spec). The best way to achieve separation of content and presentation. The talk will actually be beneficial regardless of server technology. The same basic premise could be applied to a static page.

The first of my WPF talks will focus on getting started with XAML and integrating with the server. The presentation would stand well on its own, but I will also use it as a springboard for my second WPF presentation which is a little more advanced.

The second WPF presentation will be more advanced. I am still not sure how far I will go with this one. My thought is to create a video jukebox using the carousel concept from Microsoft's North Face demo. We shall see!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 1:10:15 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Thursday, March 30, 2006

I have gotten a number of questions lately about Atlas. What exactly is it? What do I need to run it? What are the requirements for begin able to use it? So I thought I would post some information here in an attempt to help others who may have the same questions.

First of all, if you have not heard of Ajax, you have been living under a rock. However if you prefer to live like Patrick the starfish, Ajax is simply a term given to the use of multiple technologies (ie. Javascript, DHTML, CSS, and others) used in conjunction to achieve a more rich browser-based user experience. Granted, there are plenty of other definitions you can find if you don't like that one. Since Ajax is not really a technology so much as a technique, it does not belong to any one person or company. Plenty of people have created Ajax libraries. It should be no surprise that Microsoft has created their own Ajax framework, Atlas.

Atlas has 2 components: a set of Javascript script files which give you a similiar type of development platform for client-based Web pages that ASP.NET offers for server-based pages, and a server library that extends ASP.NET to integrate with server-based services. Do what? Effectively, you can have most of your work done on the client using the script files, or you can have most of the work done on the server utilizing ASP.NET.

"Ok, great"...you say.  "Sounds like it is a Microsoft ASP.NET technology. Not interested, I use PHP!" Well think again! You can use the client scripts with any back-end data provider you choose. If you use Visual Studio 2005, the Atlas .msi file will give you the option to install the Atlas web site templates. The Atlas web site template will give you a new Atlas web site option when you do a File..New from the menu. There is nothing magic here, the template creates a couple directories for you, references the Atlas library, and copies the Javascript files into your project.

The Atlas client scripts also include some really nice DHTML tools you can use as well. So what are you waiting for? Go download it and start playing.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 2:30:37 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Friday, March 24, 2006
Since my return from MIX06, my mind has been racing with a more hightened concept of the web as an experience. I have always thought that web design and public facing web applications should invoke an emotional response as well as an intellectual one; that browsing the web should be an experience more so than just a mundane task. This, in my mind, is what keeps an audience returning to a site.

Some of the things I have seen at MIX06 have solidified and hyped this feeling of the web as an experience. So I have decided to personally embrace this "experience the web" concept and let it drive me. I have changed my blog warmer to reflect this, and plan to reflect it in my blog content as well. I look forward to getting more feedback on how we as developers can inject the "experience" into our development.

Friday, March 24, 2006 9:10:26 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Who Am I - Todd Miranda
MVP Visual Developer - ASP/ASP.NET
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