Philly.Net hosted its second Center City meeting on April 11 at Structured Hosting.  Just like the last meeting in NJ, we had a capacity crowd again.  I think these new meetings/venues are a success!  If you missed the meeting (or if you need some details) here is my synopsis.  Thanks again to Dani and Mike for setting it up.

And don’t forget our next meeting is April 18 at SEI in Oaks, Pa.  See the Philly.Net site for more details.


Note:  I’ll add the slides and content to this post as soon as I get them from the presenters.


Presenter:  Jason Beres, Infragistics

Topic:  Understanding ASP.NET AJAX and the AJAX Control Toolkit

Jason is the Chief Technical Evangelist for Infragistics.  If you are doing .Net development, you probably have heard about Infragistics’ popular control packages for Windows and web development.  In his presentation, Jason shared some of his expertise on ASP.Net AJAX.  He described the new framework (previously known as ATLAS) which provides infrastructure, javascript libraries, and server controls.  The coolest part (in my opinion) is that you don’t need to write any javascript to do it.  Check out for all sorts of info, tutorials, downloads, etc.  AJAX enabling a web site allows for, among other things, asynchronous communication for partial postbacks between the browser and the server.  This means that you can provide a much richer UI on the web.  Jason also recommends checking out the ASP.Net 2.0 Ajax Futures CTP as well as the Ajax Control Toolkit (the toolkit is open source) which both include a bunch of controls that are not included in the original download.  He demo’d the popular UpdatePanel which is the control that instantly “ajaxifies” (sorry, that’s my word, not his) any controls that get put in the panel.  Instant AJAX, you’ve gotta love that!  He also showed us how to use samples included in the ASP.Net Ajax Control Toolkit such as the Accordion, AlwaysVisibleControl, Collapsible Panel, DragPanel, DropShadow and ModalPopup.  This is very cool stuff.  I have been using AJAX for a while as well and I recommend it highly.  It is a great way to make a better web UI.


Jason and Infragistics were kind enough to provide 3 licenses for Infragistics Net Advantage (I think this is valued at $995, sweet!) as door prizes.  Thanks Jason! 



Presenter:  Walt Ritscher, ScandiaSoft

Topic:  WPF — Microsoft’s Magnificent New Graphics Engine

Walt was in town from Washington State for a few days and offered to stop by and do a presentation for us.  Check out his blog WPF Wonderland to learn all about Windows Presentation Foundation.  The stuff he showed off is not easy to put into words but the demo’s were very cool.  Here is my attempt at summarizing what he talked about.  Sorry Walt if I’ve I’m not accurate.  I learned a lot tonight, even if I can’t explain it correctly!


With WPF we will have the ability to create applications that look drastically and dramatically different then before.  He listed some of the benefits and concepts of WPF:  The Compositing Engine, Graphics Processor Unit, Drawing (animations are faster), DWM-Desktop Windows Manager (with Vista, applications don’t render the graphics, the DWM does it for them).  With WPF you have only 1 windows handle, no refreshes, no paint events, and you can layer controls.  You get much better graphics (faster, vector based drawing, opacity masking).  WPF provides a model for templates and styles so that all controls are now style-able, sort of like CSS for windows.  He showed us how to use XamlPad (download it here) to quickly and easily create controls with features that would have been difficult or impossible up until now.  He even created a button with a checkbox inside it! 

Another topic he covered is WPF/E.  I think The “E” stands for “everywhere”, so in this case we can apply WPF to the web.  He showed off come cool demos including some found at Channel 9.

He ended a few cool demos including  how to create a “cloth” (this can’t be explained, it had to be seen) with text and a 3-D scatter chart in WPF.  This presentations had lots of “oohs” and “ahhs”.

This was a great presentation and one thing is clear, we all have a lot of learning to do!


Meeting Sponsor:  Thanks for the pizza!  

Additional Door Prizes courtesy of:  and Microsoft

Meeting Date: March 29, 2007

Philly.Net has expanded.  We now host meetings in the Philly Suburbs,  Philadelphia (Center City), and now…South Jersey.  Thanks to Travis Laborde for getting the new South Jersey branch going.  Tonight’s meeting was a huge success.  It was standing room only with about 50 attendees which is pretty impressive for a first meeting.  Pizza and location provide by New Horizons Training Center.  Plus, Travis’ wife Jessica treated us to a cake to celebrate the start of Philly.Net in NJ.  It was a great meeting.  Please read on…

Presenter:  Travis Laborde, Data Deluxe

Topic:  Developer Testing

Not only did we learn a lot from Travis’ presentation but we laughed a lot too.  Travis always does a great job to make sure his presentations are fun.  Tonight he talked all about developer testing.  And typically for Travis, he included bunch of great tools.  He demo’d the basics of NUnit, a FREE tool that assists with executing test classes.  He also showed MBUnit which he dubbed “NUnit on steroids”.  This tool allows you to execute similar tests as NUnit, but introduces the RowTest attribute so you can run the same test in multiple iterations, passing in different parameters each time.  Next he went through testing for “Code Coverage” via TestDriven.Net and NCover.  He ended up with some quick demos of SeleniumIDE, a very cool FireFox add-on that allows you to record steps in the Browser so you can play them back.  This gives you the ability to test an ASP.Net UI over and over again automatically.

If you are into free tools and tips for .Net development, check out Travis’ clipmarks site where you can read about all kinds of cool stuff.



Presenter:  Scott Watermasysk, Telligent Systems

Topic:  ASP.NET Tips & Tricks

Scott has been posting ASP.Net tips and tricks on his blog for a while.  Tonight he went through a bunch of them for us.

It is hard to summarize Scott’s talk because he talked about so many items.  The good news is that most of the content is up on the web, check out the links included in my text. He provided us with a ton of tips for everyday use.  Some tips provided for controls:  Try to use <asp:Literal> control instead of <asp:label> and use <asp:Repeater> instead of <asp:GridView> where possible.  Some general ASP.Net tips included:  use Page.IsValid from button event handlers, use the AppOffline.htm page when you are doing “construction”, use the new VirtualPath class to convert relative paths to absolute ones.  And Scott also spent a lot of time talking about State Management and Caching tips.  He also recommended a few articles:  one by Fritz Onion on Control State and “A Matter of Context” by Susan Warren.  I’ll update this blog post and include his slides as soon as I can.

As a special bonus, Scott provided free copies of CodeSmith Professional for all attendees.  This certainly went over big with the crowd.


Meeting Sponsor:    

Additional Door Prizes courtesy of:  and Microsoft

We had a another great Philly.Net meeting on March 21, 2007, packing several great speakers into one night. 


Presenter:  Rob Keiser, Row 5

Topic:  SharePoint 2007 Web Parts

We started off the night with Rob Keiser creating Sharepoint Webparts with ASP.Net 2.0.  Thanks to this new feature of ASP.Net 2.0, you don’t need to use Sharepoint to create your webparts.  As a bonus, he demonstrated how you can programmatically change MasterPages from inside Sharepoint.


Presenter:  Peter Laudati, Microsoft

As a special presentation, Peter Laudati, the Microsoft Developer Evangelist from NJ presented our own Bill Wolff with a plaque from Microsoft to thank him for 5 years of service as leader of Philly.Net


Presenter:  Bill Wolff, Agility Systems

Topic:  Windows Presentation Foundation

Bill showed us WPF:  Windows Presentation Foundation, XAML, Microsoft Expression Designer, Microsoft Expression Blend, and some demo’s courtesy of Channel9.  Bill demonstrated how to create a quick and easy application to show videos using Blend.  This demo also included how to use mouse events and formatting.  Lots of “Oohs and Ahhs” in this demo.  Like Bill said, this stuff is the future of programming.


Presenter:  Scott Ocamb, Knowledge InfoTech

Topic:  Workflow Foundation

After two presentations that were all about user interface, Scott showed us technology that doesn’t present a UI at all.  He used Visual Studio to show how to create sequential workflows, handle workflow events, and work with state diagrams.

He suggests the following links for more information: and



Our Sponsor:  Knowledge InfoTech

With about 90 attendees, the meeting was great thanks to the sponsorship of Knowledge Infotech who provided excellent sandwiches for dinner. 

Other swag was provided by Diamond Technologies, Microsoft and Wrox Press.

Philly.Net is expanding to include .Net Developer Usergroup meetings in South Jersey. 


Thanks to the hard work of Travis Laborde, our first meeting will be March 29th at New Horizons Training Center in Cherry Hill. 




For those of you who are new to Philly.Net, this is a totally FREE EVENT.  Please see our website for more information.  Please register in advance.