Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December Meeting

So at this point you'd be expecting that there might be some mention of what's happening for our December meeting, right? Well, the thing is, we're not having a December meeting.

Why? Simply because the meeting would fall between Christmas and New Years, and almost everyone will be on holidays (including myself).

As such our next get together will be in January and I'll post details closer to the date.

Until then, James & I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year.  If you're having a break enjoy your time off and relax, play games, work on your pet projects and sleep in. If you're working through then at least you can enjoy an easier commute to work each day and maybe even turn up to the office in shorts and a t-shirt.

See you all in January!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Location Change for November Meeting

There's been a change in the location of the November meeting.  It's no longer at the James Squire - we're now at the Atlassian offices; complete with free food and beer.


6pm for a 6.30pm start
185 Sussex St,
Sydney, NSW

See you all there!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

November User Group Mega-Meeting

This month Dave Thomas is in Sydney (see the previous post) so we're going to get all "community like" and combine with a few other user groups at the James Squire Brewhouse to have a listen to what Dave has to say on either Cloud Computing and/or Agile.

So come along as we get ourselves a little outside the Micro-sphere and hang out with the Scrum, SyXPAC and Java User Groups whilst having a listen & chat with Dave Thomas.

This meeting will also be our last meeting for the year. The good thing is that since we're at the James Squire we can hang around and have a quiet drink and a bit of a chat afterwards.

RSVP (so we know numbers) at and I'll see you all there!

P.S. The normal group meetings will resume last Tuesday in January as per usual.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November Meeting - Early Heads Up

This month it looks like we're going to have a guest speaker for our November meeting.

Dave Thomas is in Australia for a few days and has offered to speak to some of the Sydney user groups.  It also looks like we'll be having a combined meeting with the Sydney Scrum group and the SyXPAC XP group which should make for a really interesting and fun night.

For those who don't know, Dave is the founder of Bedarra Research Labs, a company specializing in emerging software technologies, practices and applications.  Dave himself was a founding director of the agile alliance, is a recognised thought leader and an engaging international speaker and has been involved with development of the Eclipse IDE, the IBM virtual machine and Smalltalk.

Dave has a few talks planned for the night:

Hey! You! Get On To My Cloud - Application Development in the Clouds

In this talk Dave will discuss the issues, technologies/tools and practices for cloud developers including Serious JavaScript, Dynamic Languages, Functional Programming – Map Reduce, LINQ and Erlang, Restful Services (URI, MIME, Stateless, JSON), Schema-less Databases.

Managing Lean and Agile In The Large Software Development -Best Practices for Large Scale Development

Agile Development per se doesn’t speak to large scale development involving many teams, geographically distributed working on complex products or applications where there are hard deliverables 12 – 18 months out. Dave will describe the practices beyond those used in Scrum and XP to articulate requirements, architecture, estimation and planning, team organization and management in challenges of large scale development.


Please note that details are still being firmed up but I wanted to let you know what's going on ahead of time.  I'll post again once we have details finalised.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Links for October Talk: ASP.NET MVC with NHibernate

Damian has made the links for the NHibernate part of the talk available on his blog but just in case you are lazy here they are:

Ali has also provided the link for the Sydney ALT.NET Assembla space (subversion repository and more).  It's at so feel free to go there and grab the source for last nights demo to have a look at.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October Meeting Summary

It was another great night tonight with over 40 people in attendance and a lot of great interaction between the presenters and the rest of the group.  Ali and Damian put on a great talk and I must say well done and many thanks to both of you!


Various Interesting Things:

  • Free version of Hyper-V Server Link
  • Common Service Locator (a common API for IoC Containers) - Link 
  • DotNetRocks IoC Web Cast - Link
  • Utility: Contig - defrag a single file Link
  • XHTML 1.1 Templates project - Link
  • Crack.Net (access the internals of any .NET desktop application) - Link
  • JQuery Intellisense Support - Link Download

New software releases:

  • Rhino 3.5 - Link
  • Mono 2.0 - Link
  • Silverlight 2.0 - Link
  • Vista SP2 Beta - Link
  • StructureMap 2.5 - Link
  • DataDude GDR RC - Link
  • Watin 1.3 (now with Lambda support) - Link
  • Watin 2.0 CTP (firefox support) - Link

If you come across anything interesting, drop me a line or let us know at the next meeting.

What's Coming Up Next?

At this stage we have penciled in two talks for the November meeting on advanced TDD techniques and Aspect Oriented Programing (AOP) using PostSharp.  This will be confirmed a little closer to the date so keep an eye on the site.

Also, with the growth in numbers we may need to think about moving to a new venue in the new year.  We'll see how it goes, but if you know of a larger (and free) venue we might be able to use then please drop me a line.

P.S. Links for resources from tonight's talks and the SVN repository location will be made available on the site shortly.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Liberation Day: See Steve Ballmer - 6 Nov in Sydney

I have a number of invitations available for the Sydney ALT.NET user group members to see Steve Ballmer talking in person about cloud computing and Microsoft's strategy in that space.

Following Steve's keynote, there will be two
demo sessions on the new technologies
being announced at the Professional Developers Conference.
On the Cloud side,
Gianpaolo Carraro,
Senior Director, Microsoft Corporation, will
discuss Microsoft's vision for Cloud Computing
and how its various components come together.

On the Client side, Tim Sneath,
Director, Microsoft Corporation, will show you
technologies that work hand in hand with Cloud to
liberate you to build the applications
you dream of – for Windows or the Web.

If you want to book yourself a spot contact me for a registration code either via Twitter or email ( and I'll get you the code and registration URL ASAP.

Registration's close on Monday, so hurry!!

(And if you can't make it you can watch it online Click Here For Details)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October's Meeting - Tuesday 28th

Our next Sydney ALT.NET meeting is on next week so stick a reminder in your calendars, put a post it on your monitor about it or tie a piece of string around your finger - what ever works for you :-)

On Tuesday 28th we'll have the following agenda:

6:00 pm - Welcome & News (including a group chat about whatever has come out of PDC)

6:15 pm - Pizza & Beers

6:45 pm - Session: "Using ASP.NET MVC with NHibernate" presented by Ali Shafai & Damian MacLennan

In this session Damian and Ali will dissect (yes, there will be blood) a not so imaginary ToDo application to show you how you can use NHibernate to map your database entities to C# classes and use the ASP.NET MVC framework to present and interact with them, and then persist the changes.
For those not in the know, NHibernate is a port of the popular Hibernate ORM framework from Java and the ASP.NET MVC is Microsoft's shiny new web development framework that enables applications to built around the MVC pattern in a much simpler way that ASP.NET does.

Ali is an architect and developer working for PeerPlacements Pty Ltd. He loves developing for mobile and portable devices and challenges they bring to his day. Ali was introduced to XP in 2001 and later to Agile, he’s done unspeakable things ever since. He loves making sarcastic comments.

Damian has made technology his career for the best part of ten years. He has spent a lot of time working as a Microsoft based web developer, a Solutions Architect working in the media management and delivery field and is currently employed as the Director of Technology for Inspire, a non profit based in Sydney. Outside of that, his passions are guitar and cycling.

8:00 pm - Go home (promise!)

To help with catering we'd appreciate an RSVP:

So there you have it folks! Stick Tuesday October 28th in your diary and we'll see you there - and don't forget to tell your friends!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Links for September Talks

Downloads from last night's talks are now available for you to grab at your leisure:

James Crisp's Ruby session

Richard Banks' Rhino Mocks session


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And We're Away!!

Wow!  What a great turnout tonight for the Sydney ALT.NET group!  We had around 35 in attendance and lots of interaction during the presentations which was fantastic, plus a few of the guys were live tweeting during the night.

In fact, we had so many discussions and conversations during the sessions that we ran a fair bit over time.  It was probably the only downside to the evening and I sincerely apologise for it and for the rush job in the rhino mocks session.  I'm very conscious that people take private time out for these nights so I don't like running over.  That said we did learn a lot about the group and the dynamics tonight so I'm sure we'll improve next time around.


Here's the links for the items mentioned during the news section.

  • ALT.NET Mailing List - Link
  • ALT.NET Wiki - Link
  • VSTS Database Edition now available for MSDN Subscription/Software Assurance customers - Link
  • JQuery to be included in ASP.NET MVC & Visual Studio - Link
  • DevSta Competition - Link
  • Clone Detective - Link (screen shot)
  • VS Snippet Designer - Link
  • Cobra programming language - Link
  • Cosmos OS - Open Source C# OS project - Link

If you find out about anything interesting this month, remember to bring it up during at news time during the next meeting.

Twitter Hashtag

For the twitter users out there, the official hashtag is now #altnetsyd.  You can follow this on twitter using this link and subscribe to an RSS feed from there if you wish.

What's Next?

We had a retrospective for the evening to see what went well or not so well, and to get some suggestions going forward.  Here's what came up, in order of popularity:

  • NHibernate
  • Dev practices - SOLID
  • Castle Windsor
  • Open spaces meeting
  • Lightning talks session
  • OSS alternatives to TFS
  • TDD
  • F#
  • WPF
  • Agile & Scrum session
  • RESTful architecture

So we'll be having a presentation on NHibernate at the next meeting, and maybe one other subject.  Given the discussion levels we had tonight, I'm wondering if trying to get through 2 sessions in a night is asking too much? What do you think?

Looking forward to next month now!

Monday, September 22, 2008

One week to go! Are you coming?

Our first meeting occurs next week. Not long to go now!

To help us with organising the logistics (i.e. food, etc) we'd like to know if you are coming or not, so if you are planning on being there (and we hope you are!) can you please do one of the following:

Continue to spread the word that the group is starting, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sydney ALT.NET on Facebook

The Sydney ALT.NET user group now has a group on Facebook, as well as a home on this blog.  So now you have a way to get to know your fellow ALT.NET'ters outside of just the meetings (don't let that scare you too much!)

Head on over to to join.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 30th - What's going to happen?

We now have our content organised for our first ALT.NET meeting on September 30.

Here's the draft agenda for the night:

6:00 pm - Meet & Greet time and then Kick Off!

6:30 pm - "Ruby, Rails and IronRuby from a .NET perspective".  Presented by James Crisp

7:00 pm - Munchies & Drinkies

7:30 pm - "Mocking with Rhino Mocks 3.5". Presented by Richard Banks.

8:00 pm - Wrap up & go home.

During the night we'll be looking for your input on what you want to see during future sessions so bring your ideas along.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sydney ALT.NET First Meeting will be September 30th

I'm happy to let you know that we now have some details for where and when the ALT.NET user group meetings will be.

We will be meeting on the last Tuesday of every month at the Thoughtworks offices in Sydney.  Many thanks go to Thoughtworks for letting us make use of their facilities. Their generosity is greatly appreciated.


  • Level 8, 51 Pitt Street
    Sydney NSW 2000 Australia


  • Tuesday, September 30th
    6pm - 8pm


  • Welcome & Latest Happenings
  • Presentation 1 (30 mins)
  • Break for food & socialising
  • Presentation 2 (30 mins)

We'll have the 2 presentations finalised in the next few days, however if you've got anything you'd like to see discussed, please bring your ideas along.

We look forward to seeing you there and please spread the word!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome to the Sydney ALT.NET Group

Welcome to the home of the Sydney ALT.NET group.

For those of you who don't what ALT.NET is all about here's a simple definition that defines the sort of person who might be considered "alt":
  • You’re the type of developer who uses what works while keeping an eye out for a better way.
  • You reach outside the mainstream to adopt the best of any community: Open Source, Agile, Java, Ruby, etc.
  • You’re not content with the status quo. Things can always be better expressed, more elegant and simple, more mutable, higher quality, etc.
  • You know tools are great, but they only take you so far. It’s the principles and knowledge that really matter. The best tools are those that embed the knowledge and encourage the principles

We're currently organising our first meeting and will post updates here on the site as they become available. If you're interested in coming along or would like to suggest a date and time or some content you'd like to see then either subscribe to the site feed or leave a comment.

You can also catch up with myself (Richard Banks) or James Crisp during Tech.Ed this week if you just want to have a chat.