Then & Now

It’s been a while since my last post, but there has been so much happening. The best part of the first half of this year has been spent sharing with developers all around Australia the power of Microsoft Azure coupled with the comprehensive controls from DevExpress.  Everything from ASP.NET WebForms and MVC, to cross platform delights with DevExtreme Mobile, and don’t forget the Xamarin Form controls.

This week I will be doing a special presentation in Sydney showing how to create hybrid Azure solutions using DevExpress ASP.NET controls for administering your users, the ASPxFileManager and ASPxUploader control for adding unprecedented functionality, creating both Mobile Services and Web Apps to provide the perfect infrastructure for a cross platform mobile app with DevExtreme Mobile. Since sometimes the power of the desktop is required, we will also be taking a look at how to combine all of this with a WinForms application sporting the XtraReports suite.

In July (and September), I’ll be sharing some of these ideas with the Newcastle Dot Net User Group, so even if you can’t make the Sydney Azure Camp, there are still opportunities to see the technologies at work.

Stay tuned, July/August will be the start of the WPF series webinars, anyone with an interest in the latest technologies and future proving your desktop development skills will find this set of presentations invaluable.

….. I promise to keep up the posts

TestCafe v15.1 What’s New Webinar

The one thing I found when I was learning about libraries and frameworks was that it was much easier to watch someone use it than have to read about it. That’s also true of TestCafé, even though we’ve made it a lot easier to hit the ground running over the past couple of releases.

Join me Tuesday for a look at what has been introduced in the latest release including;

  • Automated Screenshot Capture
  • Enhanced Test Results View
  • Extensive Assertion Failure Reports
  • Fail on JavaScript Error

Click here to Register today.TestCafe

Getting Things Done

It’s no secret that I have a passion for productivity, and with that a constant quest for software that allows me to be focused and organised. Before moving to the Mac, I used to love a couple of Windows based programs, “Keep It Real” and “MLO”, the first was a system I designed back in 2005, which is still in use with the company I was working for, the latter is a great tool. The problem is, while I use Windows on my VM, it’s not always running, so I wanted an OS X interface. I’ve looked at online system, some good, some not so, and I’ve tried some ‘hybrid’ applications too, the latest was Todoist, which had a great way of helping you keep focused by using ‘Karma’ points, the more you used the system, the more points you got, attainable levels keep you aiming at becoming ‘Enlightened’.  I recently reached ‘Master’ which was an ego trip, but I still felt there was something lacking from the UI on the Mac app.


Smartsheet, Wrike & TeamworkPM are all worth a mention, but their primary interfaces are web based, and I’m sorry, (well not sorry), I am yet to find a web ui that is as rich and smooth as desktop, also some of these are designed for collaboration not so much an individual user. I’ve had varying success with some web interfaces, sometimes dragging or moving tasks around cause problems including data loss or things ending up in the wrong place.

My journey begins again, looking for the best tool.  I’m starting out by reviewing ‘Things’ and ‘OmniFocus’, both of which I have licences for. Having just finished reading some reviews and I’m still torn which I should start with.  Things certainly has a nice clean interface, but OmniFocus seems to have some extra features. One boasts better sync than the other, oh man.  Of course it is all daunting when starting from scratch, but then there is something refreshing about a clean page, things that have been hanging around and you really don’t think you will get to are able to be dropped, it’s like a spring clean for your mind and todo list.

… decision made … I will run OmniFocus for a minimum one month, along with the companion apps for iPhone and iPad. After that I’ll write a mini review (so there will be no bias towards Things.) After the month if there are any areas that I believe are weak, then a switch to Things for the same period will be made.

Who knows, maybe in that time Todoist will bring out a new slicker interface? or maybe MLO will announce a Mac version!

WPF is dead!

Thats what I was told when I announced my focus would be on WPF this year. It’s a sentiment shared by quite a few people it seems, but let’s take a look at some facts;


Some people feel that the demise of Silverlight means WPF is going the same way. I think it is important now more than ever that developers have a good grasp on the principles of WPF and a firm understanding of MVVM. Therefore I say “WPF is NOT dead”.

So what does that mean for the WinForms guy? and how do you get started with WPF? there are many questions that can be raised, and in some cases the answers raise more. But if you are anything like me, the minute you need a desktop application you reach for ‘old faithful’, the gun metal grey, proven event driven project we’ve come to love and trust.

Well friends, it’s time to move outside your and my comfort zone, it’s time to look at the next generation (yes, yes, I know it’s been around since 2006) of desktop development, it’s time to get started with WPF.

Over the next few months I’m going to be presenting a series of webinars on how to get started with WPF including; what are the benefits of using WPF?  what are the challenges?

Beginning this week with a two part primer explaining what it’s all about. Use this link to register and see what all the fuss is about!

a MUST for ASP.NET Devs…

JavaScriptIf there is one thing I have learnt in the last month, its how little I really understood about the use of JavaScript inside ASP.NET applications. Sure I could mash a <script> tag together and get something happening on the browser, but as far as best practices, lexical closures, correct use of the global stack, well, it left a lot to be desired. Thankfully I get to work with someone whom I think is a JS Guru… Mr Julian M Bucknall, esteemed CTO of DevExpress.

Next week, Julian will be presenting a short but thorough overview on what you should and should not be doing as an ASP.NET developer when it comes to JavaScript.  I would highly recommend anyone in this space to register and watch.

Julian’s blogs are available here and here.

Register / info here.

Oh Apple, I’m such a fool…

I am sorry message

Oh Apple, I’ve made such a fool of myself. Why? Why did I fall for the lure of the slim lines? the promise of the wearables? I was sure that Android was going to make me happy, to fill the gaps that had grown between us. I cannot believe I fell for it.

After a month of trying to fit in with the new crowd I just knew it was a hopeless task. Yes it was nice to parade around with wrist notifications and changeable faces, but that pretty much sums it up, a facade. Too many variables, too many inconsistencies. I miss our time together Apple, I even find I’m missing the ‘problems’ we had, the fights, the ‘Siri’ irriate moments.  Please can we go back to the way things were, please can you give me another chance. I’ll wait patiently for iWatch, I’ll even stop complaining about the quality of the beta, I know it won’t be easy to start with, but I’m sure together we can make it work.

Yours hopefully.

Paul x.

Building dxHotels from the ground up


Following a recent webinar on what went into the building of DXHotels a lot of people got in touch and asked if I could show how to actually *build* it. That sounded like a great idea since it is a good example of a real world scenario website and the hurdles faced would provide beneficial discussion points. The challenge of course is condensing weeks of work and demonstrating the core elements in only a couple of hours. Lets face it, no one really wants to see me typing code do they!?

During 2 x 1 hour live sessions I will be taking you through creating the DX Hotels WebForms application from scratch… you will see how;

– To create a new ASP.NET WebForms application with the DevExpress Wizard.
– Easy it is to build stunning looking pages with very little code behind.
– To embed the powerful DevExpress ASP.NET controls to save time and provide amazing results.
– Use CSS to extend the look, feel and functionality even further.

It’s going to be a fairly fast paced, technical presentation but as always recordings will be made available via YouTube on the DevExpress channel.


You can follow along even if you are not a DevExpress customer by downloading a FREE trial copy of the components here.

To register for the webinar click here.

If there are topics or technologies you would like to see me present on, please feel free to leave a comment below, email me or send a tweet.