BSDA Presentation on Visual Studio Database Edition

Last week I did a presentation at the Birmingham Software Developers Association on generating sample data using Visual Studio Database Edition, often called by it’s code name of “Data Dude” for short.  You can find my original posting, which has links to the code gallery site at http://arcanecode.com/2009/04/02/sql-server-sample-data-the-sql-name-game/ .

During my presentation I was using Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition GDR R2, which you can find here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=bb3ad767-5f69-4db9-b1c9-8f55759846ed&displaylang=en 

This update assumes you have Visual Studio Database Edition installed. Most developers with an MSDN license have the Development Edition installed on their PC. When Microsoft announced the Database and Development products would merge in the Visual Studio 2010 product, they made the Development Editions of Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 available via MSDN. Go check your MSDN, and see if you have “Data Dude”. If so download and install it, then download and install the GDR R2 update from the link above. These will add new menus and tools to your Visual Studio environment.

Most notably you’ll look at the Data menu. there are menu options for Schema Compare and Data Compare. These will allow you to setup comparisons between a source and target for schemas or data.

BSDA – BUG.NET Christmas Party

It’s party time! The Birmingham Software Developers Association and the Birmingham .Net Users Group are joining forces to throw a holiday blast. The event will take place Tuesday, December 2nd 6:00 pm at Richard’s BBQ and Grill on Acton Road, just off Interstate 459. This is a family friendly event, spouses and children are encouraged to attend. We promise to keep the geek talk to a minimum.

The clubs want to extend an invitation to all user groups in the Birmingham community. No matter what your group we’d like to extend a special invite to all to attend. Rumor has it there will be some swell door prizes and swag to give away.

Please be aware the event is BYOW! Bring Your Own Wallet. Each family will be responsible for it’s own bill. Not to worry though, Richard’s rates are very reasonable, and they have a wide variety of food to pick from. In addition to BBQ they have a nice meat and three selection, and some of the best burgers you ever put in your mouth.

Please RSVP to altechevents@gmail.com by close of business Monday, November 30th with how many will be attending so we can give the restaurant a semi-accurate count. Look forward to seeing you all then!

October Open Spaces at BSDA

Come join us in October for a very special Birmingham Software Developers Association meeting. We will be having a Open Spaces session, to expose members and visitors to the concept. In Open Spaces, participants place topics for discussion on the board, then the group votes on the topics they’d like to discuss. A moderator moves the discussion along, and when the topic is worked out moves onto the next topic.

Some possible topics might include open source software, imperative versus declarative languages, and more. Any topic is open for debate and discussion, so please come prepared to discuss!

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday October 9th at the New Horizons Training Center in Homewood, AL. Everyone is welcome.

The Importance of a Good User Interface

Sure, everyone would like a good UI, but most developers simply have not had the training to implement a usable user interface. I’m not necessarily talking about something dazzling and good looking, no I’m talking about USABLE. Think user interfaces aren’t that important?

Last night on Twitter, @djuggler mentioned John Denver. My wife is a huge John Denver fan. Right after we got married, I took her to a John Denver concert. We got all dressed up, did the nice dinner then I surprised her with some great seats. We were on the front row, if you exclude the seats that were down in the orchestra pit. I was especially glad I spent the extra bucks as it turned out to be his last concert in Birmingham before he passed away.

@djuggler ‘s tweet made me curious what year he’d passed away. In reading the Wikipedia article I found an interesting link to an article on ASK TOG. It was titled “When Interfaces Kill: What Really Happened to John Denver”. I’ll let you read the article for the full details, but the short version is the fuel tank toggle switch was poorly designed, and in a location that forced the pilot to remove his hands from the controls. Doing so caused John Denver to lose control and, well, that was that.

I hope this brings to light how important a good UI can be. At the risk of this sounding like a lame lead in to a commercial, I will mention tonight’s BSDA meeting. Shannon Brooks-Hamilton is coming to speak to give us a User Experience Overview. From her extract:

“User Experience” is a person’s overall experience and satisfaction when using a product or service. This presentation will give an overview of the practices, methods, and outcomes of User Experience with an emphasis on tips for great interface designs. The benefits of User Experience include increased product usage, increased e-commerce sales, increased user productivity, decreased support costs, decreased training costs, and fanatical customer loyalty. Google, Apple, and IDEO are examples of companies that embrace User Experience.

We’ll be meeting at 6:30 pm on August 14th at the New Horizons Training Center in Homewood, hope you can make it!

Presenting Getting Started with SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5 at BUG.NET Meeting

Just wanted to let everyone know I’ll be doing a presentation this coming Tuesday night, August the 12th for the Birmingham .Net Users Group (BUG.NET). My topic, as you may have guessed from the title, will be using SQL Server Compact Edition.

While I will be using Visual Studio 2008, I will point out which pieces are 2005 compatible. I will also cover the use of both traditional coding techniques as well as how to use LinqToSQL to talk to the Compact Edition.

The meeting takes place at 6:30 pm at New Horizons Training Center in Homewood.

I also plan a new series of blog posts to start later this week on the subject, and will be creating a new Code Gallery site to hold my examples.

Also, don’t forget the regular BSDA meeting this coming Thursday night, the 14th. Also starting at 6:30 pm at New Horizons, Shannon Brooks-Hamilton, a software usability expert, will be there to talk about user interface design. Lots of good thought material on how we can make better UIs for our users.

Doug Turnure MS Developer Evangelist To Speak at BSDA on Silverlight 2.0

Just thought I’d share some exciting news, Doug Turnure the Microsoft Developer Evangelist for our South East area will be in Birmingham on Thursday, March 13th. He will be at the Birmingham Software Developers Association and will be telling us about Silverlight 2.0 and other cool stuff that was announced at Mix 08 this week. Afterward we’ll be having a geek dinner at Jim and Nicks on Oxmoor.

The BSDA meeting will take place at New Horizons in Homewood, beginning at 6:30 pm. I’d suggest getting there a bit early to get a good seat, then be sure to join us afterward for food and more geekery at Jim and Nicks.

I’m Honored

Tonight I was given an honor. My fellow developers elected me President of the Birmingham Software Developer’s Association. I’m grateful for the confidence they placed in me, and will work hard not to disappoint. I have some big shoes to fill, my predecessor Wallace did a tremendous job for the last five years. A big public thanks to Wallace for his dedication to the BSDA.

Everyone has a vision of what they’d like to see done when they are elected to office, and I’m no different. Specifically, I’d like to double the regular attendance at club meetings. Further, I’d like to do at least one boot camp, and one .Net University session this year. With the release of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 this year and the recent release of Visual Studio 2008 I’d like to see a lot of great presentations around these new technologies.

Finally, let me make it clear this is YOUR club. I’m just the guy who gets up and welcomes everyone. It’s the members who make the club work, and who I want to serve. If you have ideas for meetings, activities, special events, whatever I’m open and willing so let’s hear them.

Again, let me say thanks to everyone who attended tonight. I look forward to working with my fellow officers and club members to do some exciting things. I deeply appreciate the honor, and will work hard to make sure it’s deserved.

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