MSDN Flash: Volume 14, Number 22 - October 25, 2010
Editorial News and Notes from Developer Evangelist G. Andrew Duthie

Manage Dependencies with NuPack and Start a Fire with the Web

This issue, learn about the new open source package manager from Microsoft, called NuPack, and why you should be using it, and get the word on upcoming web firestarters from your local developer evangelist…

Saving Time and Hassle with NuPack

When you're developing anything beyond very simple systems, it's often useful to take advantage of pre-built components and libraries so you can avoid reinventing the wheel. One way to do this is to take advantage of open source libraries for .NET, including things like enhancements for ASP.NET MVC such as the MvcContrib project, ORM software such as nHibernate, or client libraries like jQuery. Using these libraries can save you time and make you more productive.

But going out and finding the right libraries usually involves knowing the library is available, going out to its website, downloading the right files, making sure you have any dependencies, and so on. Not impossible, by any means, but not very straightforward either.

Enter NuPack. NuPack (currently available as a Community Technology Preview, or CTP) is, according to the Codeplex site, "a free, open source developer-focused package management system for the .NET platform intent on simplifying the process of incorporating third-party libraries into a .NET application during development."

To put it more simply, NuPack allows you to install libraries like the ones mentioned above with a minimum of muss and fuss, and handles all of the dependencies as well. No more worrying whether you have the right version of a dependency for a given package you want to use.

According to the NuPack feed (note that this URL may change in the future), there are nearly 150 packages available for many of the most popular Microsoft and third-party development libraries, with more being added every day.

NuPack can be used as an add-in to Visual Studio, via the command line, or with Microsoft PowerShell, so you've got a lot of flexibility in terms of how you want to manage your packages. Check out the Getting Started page for more info.

As noted above, NuPack is currently a CTP, so the usual caveats regarding pre-release software apply.

Web Platform Firestarter

Firestarter: free events to ignite your skills

A new set of free Firestarter events covering the ASP.NET web platform will be running through December along the East coast.

Microsoft/webFirestarter events focus on a particular topic area and progress from introductory through intermediate topics, helping you to quickly ramp up in that area, in this case the Microsoft Web Platform. You'll get up to speed on the latest in web development, from ASP.NET web forms and ASP.NET MVC, to WebMatrix, and tools and techniques for creating effective web applications with CSS, jQuery, and AJAX.

I'll be helping to deliver a bunch of these along with teammates Rachel Appel and Chris Bowen, so I hope to see you there!

Registration is now open, so reserve your seat today:

The Agenda

  • 8:30 - Registration
  • 9:00 - To the Web with ASP.NET 4 Web Forms
    The tried-and-true approach for creating effective and robust websites, ASP.NET 4 Web Forms offers powerful abstractions and rapid application development features. Add in recent advances in ASP.NET 4 and Visual Studio 2010 and you'll be crafting amazing sites in no time.
  • 10:30 - Looking at ASP.NET MVC
    ASP.NET MVC (Model View Controller) is a relatively new option, offering a variety of potential benefits such as separation of concerns, flexibility, control, and testability. In this session, you'll learn the essentials, along with the latest advances, so you can get started right away.
  • 12:00 - The Web Platform Smorgasbord
    Grab a bite to eat and join us for this relaxed but rapid-fire lunchtime look at a variety of web topics, including tools and tech that you'll surely find appetizing.
  • 12:45 - Introducing WebMatrix
    WebMatrix is a new option that provides a simple but powerful way to create web applications. You can create sites based on existing open-source applications, or dive right in and create from scratch. From code and testing to data and deployment, we'll introduce WebMatrix and show you how it can make your life easier.
  • 1:40 - Evaluating Your Web Options
    You're up to speed with the latest in ASP.NET MVC, Web Forms, and WebMatrix, but you may be wondering how and when to choose between them. The great news is you don't always have to choose just one. In this session we'll talk about factors to consider, options for adoption/migration, and ways to combine ASP.NET Web Forms and MVC in the same web application.
  • 2:40 - Creating Effective Websites with ASP.NET
    Knowing how to create websites with ASP.NET is important, but making them effective is the key. This final session dives into additional options and techniques that apply to both Web Forms and ASP.NET MVC applications. From scripting with jQuery and AJAX, design with CSS, markup and validation techniques, and tools for testing, you'll learn how to set your sites (and skills) apart from the rest.

Devhammer Live!

I'm doing a bunch of user group talks over the next few months, so if you'd like to see me present, check out the list below.

The user group talks I have lined up will cover Microsoft WebMatrix, IIS Express, and the new Razor syntax, and are going to be on the following dates:

If you're interested in having me speak at your group, just drop me a line. I'm happy to give the above talk, or cover other web technologies you might be interested in.

Code Camp Update

An issue of the MSDN Flash in the Fall wouldn't be complete without a reminder about upcoming code camps…

The next code camp coming up in Mid-Atlantic will be the Central Maryland Association of .NET Professionals in Columbia, MD on November 6, 2010. They're currently accepting proposals for talks, so if you're interested in speaking, go apply now!

Last, but surely not least, the Northern Virginia Code Camp will be held at the Microsoft office in Reston, VA on December 11th, 2010.

In addition to the code camps, there are the following SQL and SharePoint events you may want to take advantage of:

You don't want to miss out on these opportunities for great learning and networking, absolutely free!

Did I miss a code camp or other event? Let me know.

_________

To find out about and/or promote upcoming local developer and IT pro community events, check out Community Megaphone. Check out our podcast, too.

You can also find out about local and national developer and gadget stuff on my blog. You should also follow me on Twitter.

Want to learn more about the speakers you'll see at user groups and code camps, and up-and-coming personalities in the developer community? Check out the Community Megaphone Podcast! You can find the podcast on the web, on Zune and iTunes, and you can follow us on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook!

Interested in hosting a Code Camp or similar community event, and not sure where to start? Drop me a line and I can help you get started.

Want to share your information or make suggestions for future updates? You can contact me via my blog.

Until next time...

G. Andrew Duthie
Developer Evangelist, Mid-Atlantic States District

Andrew Duthie has been working with computers since the days of the Commodore PET, hacking game programs loaded from cassette tapes to say funny stuff, and has been writing and speaking about developer technologies for more than a decade.

 

Meet the Microsoft Evangelists in Your Region

Microsoft Events

Microsoft PDC10
October 28 - 29, Redmond, WA

Community Events and User Groups

IIS Express, Razor, and WebMatrix, Oh My!
October 27, 6:30 P.M., Washington, DC
Microsoft Developer Evangelist G. Andrew Duthie presents an overview of Microsoft WebMatrix, ASP.NET Web Pages, the new Razor syntax, and IIS Express, and how they fit in with the existing offerings in Microsoft's web stack.
Event Details | Map & Directions | Add to Calendar

RVNUG
November 11, 6:00 P.M., Roanoke, VA
Meeting moved to second Thursday this month: Microsoft Developer Evangelist G. Andrew Duthie presents an overview of Microsoft WebMatrix, ASP.NET Web Pages, the new Razor syntax, and IIS Express, and how they fit in with the existing offerings in Microsoft's web stack.
Event Details | Map & Directions| Add to Calendar

Salesforce (force.com) New Features
November 18, 6:30 P.M., Alexandria, VA
Peter Churchill presents some new features of Salesforce and provides useful demos that can help you to understand the power of force.com platform.
Event Details | Map & Directions | Add to Calendar

Want your events listed? Add them at CommunityMegaphone.com.