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Speaking at Lower Alabama User Group in May

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Presentations, Speaking | Posted on 26-04-2008


I will visiting the Lower Alabama .Net User Group on May 27th presenting a talk on Windows Workflow Foundation.  Here are the details:

  Office Mall South
  3100 Cottage Hill Road
  Building 3
  Mobile, AL 36606

  May 27th, 2008, 6:00 PM

Topic: Introduction to Workflow Foundation

Foundation Scenario: Your boss gives you a task with fairly complicated business rules one day at work. You spend weeks coding it and as soon as you get done he/she informs you the business rules have changed. Your first thought is to lash out at your boss because this is a major change. Instead you politely smile and say thank you, “I’ll get right on it”. Little does your boss know you’ve used Workflow Foundation to map out all the business logic and rules. You quickly make the change declaratively within Workflow Foundation and all of a sudden you are a hero.

Workflow Foundation enables developers to quickly and easily map out complex business tasks that turn their code into declarative models. In this session we’ll explore the ins and outs of Workflow Foundation from the ground up so you’ll have a good sense of where to get started when you head back to the office. 

Slide deck is available for download.

Detroit Launch Event, It wasn’t my fault, Let Me Explain

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Presentations, Speaking | Posted on 22-03-2008


This past week I have been in Michigan.  My reason for traveling to Michigan this week is I spoke at the MSDN Launch event in Detroit and used the time while I was up to work onsite this week as well. This is the first chance I’ve had all week to sit down at the computer and just vegetate.  It is good to finally just sit down at the keyboard and not have Power Point or Visual Studio open worrying about demos and presentations.  Five presentations this week wore me out. 

Launch Event

Tuesday was the Launch Event in Detroit.  I couldn’t believe the number of people there.  I heard 2,000 people were in attendance but I’m not sure if that was the exact count.  Let’s just say the Renaissance Center downtown was packed.  A lot of my friends said they got free copies of Vista, SQL Server, Visual Studio etc.  Personally I didn’t get any swag because I basically spent all of my time in the speakers room working slides and demos.  During lunch, I did go to a discussion panel which turned into a free for all round table session.  Alexey and I were at a table with a bunch of nice guys from Kelly Services.  We got to talking about TDD, Unit Tests, Team Foundation Server, and on and on.  It turned into such a great discussion that everyone decided to skip the panel and just keep the train a rolling.

I have no idea how much the event cost to put on but feeding that many people breakfast, lunch and providing them a cool lunch box to take home is already more than I could afford.  Attendees didn’t have to pay anything to attend the event, simply register.  There were tons of people from all over.  Michael Eaton and Dustin Campbell have blog posts that lists a lot of the people from the community that we all know. 

It Wasn’t My Fault, Let Me Explain

My session was the last session of the day.  There was one developer track session before lunch and then three after lunch.  The scheduling should have been tweaked to allow for breaks into between each one and I hope someone brings this up to the organizers so it can be addressed for other launches.  The first session after lunch started at 12:45 and was suppose to end at 1:45.  There was suppose to be a 15 minute break and then the next session started at 2:00.  The next session (mine) started at 3:00 with no break in between!  No breaks between sessions means the schedule gets thrown off.  Brian Prince and Jeff Blankenburg were covering Asp.Net during the session after lunch and theirs went pretty much to the 2:00 mark.  At about 2:10 Bill English started his session on the Office stack and he tried to get the schedule back on track.  He finished a few minutes after 3:00 but then questions poured in one after another so he didn’t end until 3:13.   I already had my laptop setup so I jumped up and started.  I looked down at my watch and it was 3:15.  Knowing we were running late I just tried to dive in and get the train running. 

After my session someone said, “man, your session was long”.  For the record my session was exactly an hour like it was suppose to be.  I had it timed perfectly and when I looked down at my watch it was 4:15 when I ended. 

From my perspective the talk went very well.  I tried to cover things from the real world perspective of “I am using these technologies right now you should be too”.  A few highlighted quotes from the talk were:

The New Hotness = WPF + Expression Blend


Workflow is so easy, even my Mom can do it!

After the session several people came up to me and said, “Dude, I can’t believe you covered MFC applications, I totally didn’t expect that from you”.  Here comes the “it wasn’t my fault” story.  Everyone has to understand something about Launch Events.  Everything you saw during the day was completely scripted.  In other words, I didn’t write the slides, nor the demos, nor come up with the agenda.  As a speaker at an event like this you are given everything.  And when I mean everything I mean even down to every line you are suppose to say as you walk through demos.  So for those that thought having MFC talked about at the Launch event was a little weird, it wasn’t my fault. 

Someone else said, “I can’t be you wrote in VB!”.  Again, I wouldn’t have if I had the choice, but at an event like that you have to play all sides of the fence and show a little love to everyone.  If you are a C# person and you went to an event with all VB examples you probably would feel that Microsoft was ignoring your platform and vice versa.  Thus that is the reason the talk incorporated C#, MFC, and VB. 

I tried to do my normal thing and work with what I had been given.  My goal was to try to bring some real world experience to the talk rather than just do a high level overview.  For example, the last demo I changed around which showed how to expose workflows via Workflow Foundation through WCF.  The original demo had console applications to host the WCF services.  Since the talk was about Clients, I ripped out the console apps and built the service to wire up to the WPF client.  I thought it was more important to show how a WCF service was built from scratch using Visual Studio and the new service reference additions which wouldn’t have been covered.  After I ripped out the consoles from the demos and did the timing with the new version it fit perfectly into the schedule and I thought made a lot more sense than what was originally planned.

After the Launch Event it was Geek Dinner time.  More to follow.

Speaking at the Detroit Launch Event, Panel Discussion, Geek Dinner Afterwards

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Presentations, Speaking | Posted on 15-03-2008


Tuesday March 18th is the Detroit, MI MSDN Launch Event for SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008.  I’ll be speaking at the event on the topic of “Defy Occasionally Connected Challenges with Smart Client Applications“. 

About The Event

The Detroit event will celebrate the launch of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008. The event will bring together IT Pros and Developers to get an in-depth, up-close look at the new products and will give attendees an opportunity to meet with our Partners as well as members of the development teams who created the cutting-edge technologies. And all attendees will get a promotional pack containing all three new products. Join us for this day long celebration!

Panel Discussion

During lunch I will be on a discussion panel for architects discussing how businesses can start leveraging these new tools.  I don’t have any further information on the panel other than that at the moment.  I also don’t know if the panel discussion is open to the public or invitation only.  If I find anymore details on it, I’ll update this post.

Geek Dinner After Event

After the event we are having a Geek Dinner at PizzaPapalis which is only a few blocks away from the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.  The slots for the dinner are getting full so if you know you are going to attend the dinner then be sure to RSVP.  Note the new RULES section.  If you are planning on coming, it is important you bring cash to the dinner so we can easily settle our tab.  Also, if you are not coming, either email me or Twitter a direct message to me.  I have to let the establishment know a fairly close number so we can get pizzas ordered ahead of time to shorten the wait.

I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of friends and fellow team members next week.

Speaking at Huntsville, AL Code Camp February 23rd

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Presentations, Speaking | Posted on 03-02-2008


image February 23rd, 2008 a plethora of knowledge will descend upon Huntsville, AL for the Alabama .Net Code Camp 6.0 event.  Speakers are traveling as far away as Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi to put on the code camp.  If you are within the general vicinity of Huntsville you should take advantage of this opportunity.

For more information about the line up of speakers and sessions planned, visit the Alabama Code Camp web site.

Event Details

Virginia College at Huntsville
Network Engineering Department
2800a Bob Wallace Avenue
Huntsville, AL 35805


7:30AM – 5PM



I will be speaking on four topics that day which revolve around Smart Clients and Workflow Foundation.  Two on each.  I missed last years code camp in Huntsville due to some other travel so this is my first time to do a code camp in Huntsville. I am looking forward to it.  See everyone on the 23rd!

Visual Studio 2008 Seminar in Jackson, MS and Geek Dinner in Hattiesburg on Feb 4th

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Presentations, Smart Clients, Speaking | Posted on 25-01-2008


Doug Turnure, Chad Brooks and me are doing a half-day technical overview covering the new features surrounding Visual Studio 2008 in Jackson, MS from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM on February 4th, 2008.  Then later that night we are having a Geek Dinner with special guest Sara Ford in Hattiesburg, MS.  Here are the details and how to register for the seminar (yes you HAVE to register for the seminar).  You do not have to register for the Geek Dinner but please RSVP as described.

Seminar Agenda

9:00 – 10:00: Visual Studio 2008 Overview for Architects (Chad)

If your job as a Software Architect is to research and exploit technology to help achieve business results – then you need to take a look at what has just been released in Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5.   In this talk we will discuss several of the many new features you need to understand and explore to be able to fully leverage these new capabilities in your environment, including multi-targeting support, new features for SOA, and web enhancements. Finally, we will discuss the road ahead and preview some of the local architect, web design, and developer events that you can use to help further your understanding of Microsoft platform and development technologies.

10:00 – 11:00 Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 (Doug)

Visual Studio 2008 has shipped, and with its arrival, there are several new features in the framework, compilers, and the IDE itself. In this technical overview, we will discuss some of the new developer productivity enhancements in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. We’ll explore new designers that assist developers in creating applications more quickly and easily. We’ll also take a look at LINQ, and the benefits it provides.

11:00 – 12:00 Visual Studio 2008: New Developer Productivity Enhancements (Keith)

Learn what is new in Visual Studio 2008 when it comes to building Smart Clients.  We’ll take a look at several new enhancements and improvements developers can take advantage of in Visual Studio 2008.  In this session we’ll look at several things such as Client Application Services, new improved ClickOnce features, offline and online data syncing and more.


New Horizons Computer Learning Center
1855 Lakeland Drive
Suite R101
Jackson, MS 39216

Phone: 601-914-4500


Or by phone:  877-673-8368 and reference Event ID:  1032367675

Geek Dinner Agenda

7:00 – 10:00 Geek Dinner in Hattiesburg with Sara Ford


Chesterfields’ Restaurant
Hattiesburg, MS

For more information about the dinner including directions, and how to RSVP for dinner please visit previous Geek Dinner announcement on this site.