Friday, December 4, 2009

January Meeting - iPhone and MonoTouch

The first meeting in the new year will be on 19 January (not 26th as this is Australia day). As well as the usual news segment, and pizza, Ali Shafai will be giving us a taste of iPhone development, comparing both Objective C and MonoTouch.

In his own words:
In this session I'm planning to write a simple enough application in Objective-C and explain the structure of an iPhone application. Then we'll write the same application in C# using MonoTouch and we can compare the code and see the differences. I will assume you don't have any Objective-C knowledge, however being familiar with the C syntax is crucial. I will compare the Apple "recommended" pattern (observe the lack of "S" in front of pattern) to develop Objective-C applications to what we have in .Net land. I will at the end come to a conclusion why and when I would choose which tool. This is a real "Alt".Net session!

Also, here's Ali's bio:
Ali Shafai started programming a few months before he could touch a computer, during this time, he was the programmer, the program and the computer. Then he got his hands to real computers and learned COBOL, PL/I, BASIC, C, Prolog, X86 Assembly, C++, Object Pascal, C#, Python and Objective-C in that exact order. He can still remember the first program he wrote and the joy he felt writing it.
He moved to Sydney in 2001, was introduced to XP, TDD, CI and some other acronyms. In 2004 the company he was working for (EDI) won the 2004 Consensus Software Award and Microsoft Realising Potential Award, he then joined forces with Chris Anderson and Mark Wallis and formed PeerPlacements, a software talent management company. He is still enjoying programming and does freelance software development. His latest joy is Silverlight/Prism/Unity + iPhone/ObjC/MonoTouch.

As usual, please RSVP using the poll on the right to help with catering. I'll be sending out a reminder closer to date too to the Facebook group.

Hope everyone has a very merry Christmas and see you in the new year!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It’s That Time Of Year Already

November’s meeting is the last Sydney get together for the year so this month we’re going to have an beers evening with the excuse of it being an early Christmas party – yes it’s that time of year already.

We’ll be gathering at the Brooklyn (cnr Gorsvenor and George St’s) at the usual time, chatting about topics, telling war stories, talking about whatever comes out of PDC, and generally being social and having a good ol’ time.

No need to RSVP this month – just come along!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Meeting – Selenium and Mass Transit

This month we’re going to have 2 short presentations as follows:

First up, Jodie Miners (@jodiem) will be presenting a slightly longer version of the lightning talk she prepared for Tech.Ed (which didn’t quite happen) on automated functional testing with Selenium.

In the other mini-talk David Keaveny will be talking about Mass Transit and how it’s being used in a large, real world environment and some of the lesson’s learned.

Both talks should be great, plus we’ll have room in the schedule for more of the conversation that made last months meeting so much fun, so why don’t you put October 27th in your diaries and we’ll see you there.

Oh, if you could RSVP via the poll on the right as per usual we’d appreciate it. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September Meeting

Next week is our September meeting and in the spirit of “try a lot of things and keep what works” we’re going to try an unstructured open discussion evening.  Think of it a little like lightning talks, only more random and spontaneous :-)

Here’s the way it’ll work:

  • Everyone turns up and consumes beer and pizza
  • We start to talk about something
  • We see where the conversation goes from there
  • As soon as the conversation slows we switch to another topic

To make this actually useful and not just a case of sitting around and staring at each other, it would be great if you could think of a few things you’d like to talk about before hand and brings those ideas with you on the night.  Either something you want to share or an idea you want to explore and understand further.  (Feel free to leave a comment if you have a goldfish like attention span and will probably forget your great idea by the time Tuesday rolls around).

Whatever happens we’ll do our best to make the night as amusing and informative as we can so that the time you take out of your evening to attend is well worthwhile.

P.S. There’s a few topics I have in mind as backups so don’t panic if you can’t think of anything.

RSVP via the poll on the site as per usual and we’ll you there!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August Lightning Talks – Subjects

I mentioned a little while back that this month we’re doing another round of lightning talks.  Well, I’m glad to say that we now have a list of volunteers ready to bedazzle us with their rapid presentations of 10 minutes or less, packed with dollops of content, a dash of humour and maybe even just a sprinkle of awesomeness!

Come along this month for the fun! You won’t want to miss out!

Here’s the session list:

Damian Maclennan (@damianm): Making ASP.NET MVC web apps simple using Fluent NHibernate and StructureMap.  Maybe a little PSake thrown in for good measure.

Angus McDonald (@Falkayn) or Neil Hougton (@nizmow): DDD-inspired architecture in the real world.

Josh Roth: Experiences dealing with a tightly coupled code base.

Dave Newman (@whatupdave):  One of the following:

  1. Package management with horn
  2. Writing maintainable javascript with jQuery plugins
  3. Integration test coding patters with Watin
  4. Getting started with Rake

James Crisp: Securing your ASP.NET MVC site against code injection and x-site scripting

Omar Besiso (@omarbesiso) : Sync your data across the world in 10 minutes. A Sync Framework showdown

Let us know you’re coming by responding to the poll on the site.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

August Lightning Talks

After a good, thought provoking night last night with the talk on M and Oslo and DSL goodness (thanks Justin) we’re changing things around for the next meeting and doing another round of lightning talks.

We had a lot of fun doing this last time and saw a wide range of subjects covered as well as getting some people through their first public presentations.

So, I need some presenters - if that’s you then drop me a line with your session idea. (if you don’t have my email address subscribe to the mailing list and reply to the thread in there)

A few rules

  1. Duration: 10 minutes or less.
  2. Subject: Anything as long as it’s interesting (and probably dev related)
  3. Experience: No previous presentation experience required
  4. Attitude: Have fun! Grumpy bastards not allowed

I’ll finalise the list in a few weeks so that people have time to prep.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July Meeting – Oslo

Want to know what the plan is for this month’s meeting?  We’re going to have Justin King (@JustinKing) give us a run through of Oslo.

Here’s the abstract for you:

”Oslo” is the codename for Microsoft’s forthcoming modelling platform. Modelling is used across a wide range of domains and allows more people to participate in application design and allows developers to write applications at a much higher level of abstraction. i.e Model Driven Development

“Oslo” consists of:

* A tool that helps people define and interact with models in a rich and visual manner

* A language that helps people create and use textual domain-specific languages and data models

* A relational repository that makes models available to both tools and platform components

Justin King will show the different parts of Oslo including the modelling language M, Repository and the tools to build an application and textural DSL's.

Given that a critical element of DDD is building a model (or multiple models) of the domain and keeping it current, tools like Oslo may be quite useful. I think this will be quite an interesting session, so register your intent to attend via the poll on the site and we’ll see you there.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

F# Presentation - Slides and Code Now Available

Slides and code from Mark Needham’s presentation on F# last night are now available from his blog -

Thanks again to Mark for presenting!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Food for June Meeting

In an exciting break from tradition, we are planning to order gourmet pies from Pie Face for the June meeting. Comment quickly if you're desperate for pizza again :-)

June Meeting – Are You Coming?

It’s RSVP time.  If you’re coming, please let us know so that we can get the catering right.

Instead of posting a comment or replying to the facebook event, this time all you need to do is click an option in the poll on the right of this post (if you’re in an RSS reader just click through to the blog to see it).

Remember, this month we’ve got Mark Needham covering F# and we may also have a dynamic vs static language smackdown as well depending on how the time is going.

See you there!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Do you want an Aussie Alt.Net Conference?

We’re currently trying to gauge the level of interest in having an Australian Alt.Net conference on the day before Tech.Ed AU.

Putting a conference together (even an open spaces one) takes quite a bit of effort so before we go down that path please help us out by responding to the poll in the right hand column.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

June Meeting – F#

It’s the first functional language to be included out of the box in Visual Studio. So what’s it all about? What can it do? and why should you care?

This month Mark Needham (@markhneedham) will give a run through of F# based on what he’s learnt through using it. Spread the word and we’ll see you on June 30th @ 6pm.

Edit: I originally wrote "dynamic" instead of "functional" when describing F#. Oops - my bad. I think I've been playing with too many new languages lately :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May Meeting - BDD

According to Mike Cohn, the most critical risk facing most software development projects is the risk of developing the wrong product. He adds that on most projects this risk is entirely ignored.

Do you ever get the feeling, as the change requests start to mount up, that you have been developing the wrong product or wrong functionality?   That growing sense of frustration that the customer is making it up as they go, often at your expense?  All this despite detailed specs that everyone agreed to.

Over the past few years the idea of using customer facing tests as specification has started to slowly gain followers.  Terms such as BDD, TDD, DDD are popping up more frequently. However, judging by forum and blog postings there appears to be confusion in the developer world about how to apply these concepts and how much benefit they really provide.

Ernie Josefik will share some practical experience of applying these ideas over the past 3 years and demonstrate a recent real-world application of customer facing tests.


Over the past 23 years Ernie Josefik has

  • deleted 1000's of lines of code (and written a few more)
  • skydived into a rugby league grand final
  • run a successful software practice (Dataview Solutions)
  • slid on his back down an ice mountain (after losing his skis and stocks)
  • delivered functional and simple to use software on 4 continents
  • and partaken in numerous other foolish, exciting and terrifying activities

He now spends his time on the equally tough battles of getting his children to brush their teeth and helping frustrated business clients to comprehend the gaps in their software requirements specs.


As usual, please RSVP either via the facebook group, or by adding a comment to this post.  See you all there!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Do You Want Next?

When we first started the Sydney Alt.Net group we asked you what you wanted to hear about.

Since then we’ve covered a good number (though not all) of those subjects and when we pause and consider how quickly our industry moves you realise that it’s about time for us to take stock and reset the goals for what you’d like to see covered in the coming months.

So help us out and leave a comment on what you want to hear about or, even better, what you’d like to present on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April Alt.Net Meeting

A quick reminder that this month’s meeting is on this Tuesday, April 28th.

We’re having two presentations this month

Presentation 1

Do you arrive home after a long day at work to endless requests by family and friends to use the latest application you've been writing? Do local teens make regular visits to your house asking they can have another go of your application? When your colleagues at work finish for the day, do most of them stay on a little longer to use your application just because they enjoy using it so much?

Not so much? Well come and have a chat to Luke as he discusses some of the ways to make applications that people actually want to use.

In-between dodging imaginary attacks, making 'pow pow' noises and singing "We are the champions" throughout the office whilst 'playing' Visual Studio, Luke Drumm, has been known to speak Tech Ed, Code Camp, user groups and Microsoft with only a minimal loss of life, three bottles of 'mana' juice and the passing respect of at least one small child who once saw him almost complete the first level of Tetris.

Presentation 2

Introducing MEF. From concepts to examples.

Sergey will cover the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) a future extension of BCL, explaining high level concepts, and providing examples and possible usage scenarios.

Sergey Klementiev is a follower of CSDD or Common Sense Driven Development ;)

Help us out by RSVP-ing via the blog (add a comment) or Facebook so we can get the catering right. See you there!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

March Open Spaces Wrap Up

On Tuesday we ran our open spaces night and even though it was a smaller than usual turnout it was still a fun night.

The night started by throwing up some suggested topics and we ended up voting to decide the sessions we were most interested in talking about. As a result we had the following:

  • C# Code Contracts [by Richard Banks]
  • Seams (working effectively with legacy code) [by Dave Cameron]
  • Ruby, and
  • REST applications [both by James Crisp]

As an experiment we also used to do a live stream of the night (excluding the code contracts session) for those who couldn’t be there.  If you couldn’t make it you can always catch up on what happened by watching the shows (part 1, part 2). Apologies for the break in the transmission; there was a short dropout of the 3g network connection.  And at times the sound isn’t great – we’ll see what we can do to fix that in the future.

All up it was a fun night and I think everyone got something useful from it.  This month we’ll return to the usual session format, so stay tuned to see what April has in store for us!

P.S. My sincere apologies go out for those who received the reminder late and couldn’t make it.  I had a small chair to keyboard interface problem that meant I thought I had sent reminders when I actually hadn’t.  Ooops! :-(

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Meeting – Open Spaces

Last month we did lightning talks and the response was really positive - so much so that most of you want to see them done every 3 months!  Cool.

When we first put the group together we talked about different formats for the nights and ways we could avoid things getting stale.  Lightning talks was one of those options and that proved to work really well.  In addition to that a number of you also wanted to see some open spaces nights (similar to how the Seattle conference is run).  With this in mind we're going to make this month’s meeting an open space meeting.

For more information on what this involves check out the wikipedia entry on the subject.

So, what I need from you are some ideas for subjects – topics or practices you would like to see discussed or tools that you'd like to see demoed or talked about.  So get your thinking caps on and let us know by adding a comment to this post.

We’ll put a poll on the site next week to help us work out which topics are the more popular ones so we can save a bit of time on the night.

Monday, March 2, 2009

JAOO User Group Night

If you're interested in a tech evening with a couple of good speakers, you might want to check out the JAOO user group night on March 17. It is $15 to attend, and located in Darling Harbour, from 5-8pm. The main page for the evening doesn't seem to have info on the talks but a printed flyer had a bit more information. The talks are:I've worked with Erik a number of times and seen him speak last year at JAOO. He is both very sharp and experienced - I suspect his talk will contain some real gems. I've also enjoyed a session given by Joel Pobar on F# at TechEd. So, although this is the first evening session JAOO has ever run in Sydney, I think it has the scope to be quite interesting and worth attending.

UPDATE: The JAOO site now has information about the talks. We've also been offered a $5 discount if we have 5+ people coming to the event, so feel free to comment if you plan to come (we'll be given a discount code to use when signing up).

UPDATE 2: Free tickets available for tomorrow night! Contact me for the code.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feb 09, Lightning Talks Wrap Up

Last night we ran a series of lightning talks for our regular Alt.Net get together and what a great night it turned out to be.

Lots of fun, lots of interesting topics, lots of passion in the room for the things being spoken about and an amusing sense of panic by presenters trying to stay within the 10 minutes :-)

Many thanks to the presenters who put in the time and effort to get something together on their topic of choice and to cover it in as much depth as possible with the time given them. So kudos to Justin King, Omar Besiso, Paul Theriault, Anthony Egerton, Mark Wallis and Miguel Madero! Well done!

As a follow up, the evening went so well that people have expressed a desired to see more evenings like this.  So, how often do you want to do them?  Answer the poll on the site and let us know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February Meeting – Lightning Talks

As promised, we have a series of lightning talks happening this month for our February meeting.  A big thank you to everyone who put there hand up to present.

So, without further ado, here’s the list of topics and presenters (and also the running order for the night):

  • Code Analysis and NDependJustin King
  • PostSharp & EntLib, Hand in HandOmar Besiso
  • OWASP.NET – Paul Theriault
  • Strict Mocks Suck – Anthony Egerton
  • Getting Started With CI in Less Than 10 MinutesMark Wallis
  • Memory Leaks in SilverlightMiguel Madero

Let us know you’re coming by RSVP’ing at

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Call for Topics – February Lightning Talks

For something a little different this month we’re going to do a number of lightning talks.

Talks should be about 5-10 minutes in length and can be on any subject of your choosing, with the proviso that it’s .NET related. That means no speed-knitting or how-to-make-money-using-pyramid-schemes talks :-)

Ping me with your talk proposal ( or and I’ll let you know soon if you’re presenting or not.  It’ll just depend on the number of people wanting to talk and if we there is subject overlap or not.

I’d really like to give the first opportunities to people who haven’t presented before but would like to try.  Something short is a great opportunity to get a feel for what presenting is all about and see if it’s something you might enjoy.  Oh, don’t worry about stuffing up – it’s only 5-10 minutes, and you’re amongst friends!

If you want some subject ideas, how about one of the following:

  • Template engines
  • IoC mini-smackdown: Castle vs Spring vs StructureMap vs Unity
  • JQuery changes in 1.3
  • Iron Python
  • Watin
  • Logging frameworks (nlog, log4net, etc)
  • Alternate IDE’s (e.g. SharpDevelop)
  • psake and rake
  • one of the SOLID principles
  • F#
  • Something new in VS2010/.NET 4.0
  • xDD in a nutshell. (DDD, TDD, BDD, FDD, …)
  • XNA
  • Show off your pet project and some of the lessons learnt during it.

Of course, you can do anything else beyond that as well.  I’m just trying to seed some ideas here.

P.S. For those that talked to me directly after the meeting, my goldfish memory kicked in and I forgot what your subjects were.  You’ll need to let me know as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Australian Alt.Net Community is Alive

You may have noticed that the URL for this site has changed.  It’s now This is because we now have an Australian Alt.Net community at with new groups starting in Brisbane and Perth over the next month or so.

There’s also a mailing list just for the Aussies, so if you find the fire hose that is the main mailing list to daunting, feel free to converse and ask questions in quieter channels with people in your same time zone.

The community is still growing and it’s your community, so feel free to get as involved as you like and help shape the future.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January Meeting – Practical TDD

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m sure you all listed doing test driven development as one of your new years resolutions, right? What! You didn’t?! I’m shocked :-)

Well, regardless, come along on this month as Wiryadi Adidharma talks about …

Practical TDD:
- Unit Test guidelines
- Using Dependency Injection for testable design
- Unit testing with NHibernate
- Unit testing with ASP.NET MVC

We’ll also have the usual shenanigans with the monthly news & happenings as well as setting aside a bit of time for a discussion on the state of our profession and how we might improve it (or even if it needs improving in the first place). Make sure you bring your opinions else it’ll be a very short and quiet discussion. I don’t want to have to pull out my “sounds of crickets” recording!

RSVP by…

  • signing up to the meeting on Facebook
  • leaving a comment on this blog entry
  • emailing/tweeting James or Richard