Speaking at VSLive! Dallas 2008

One of the things that I’ve missed during my tenure here at Microsoft is speaking at some of the independent national conferences such as VSLive. But if you look through the speaker’s list at VSLive Dallas you’ll find a fellow named Josh Holmes… Woot!

I’ve actually got 4 talks and I’m sitting in on the ALT.NET panel on Tuesday night.

Definitely come out and see us – Register online or call 800-280-6218 using Priority Code SPHOL and receive $300 off the package of your choice.

DW10IronRuby and Silverlight, Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Josh Holmes
Wednesday, December 10 – 1:45 p.m.
As the DLR (Dynamic Language Runtime) and IronRuby become more polished, it’s time to start applying those technologies in new and interesting ways. One of my favorites is in a Rich Internet Application with a Silverlight front end. A perfect joining of two great technologies – IronRuby brings the dynamic abilities to your code that XAML gives your UI. From animations to logic to simple HTML DOM manipulation – it’s all possible and a lot of fun. In this session, we will cover the basics of the DLR, a touch of Ruby and play with it all in the context of Silverlight.

DW16User Experience for Architects: No Longer Optional
Josh Holmes
Wednesday, December 10 – 3:15 p.m.
The user experience is a core part of new applications and those with the best user experience will prevail. When I say user experience, most people think of the graphics and the front end. This, however, is just the lipstick on the application and considered “small d” design. The “big D” Design starts well before the UI layer and can have profound implications on your application architecture. Is it a SaaS application? Or is that one of many front ends? How does that impact your services strategy? How does the information flow impact your database structure? These and hundred more questions are all ways that the user experience decisions can affect the architecture.
In this session, we will cover a primer on user experience for the architect and discuss the various ways that it will affect your application architecture.

DTH6Mashups from the Ground Up
Josh Holmes
Thursday, December 11 – 9:45 a.m.
When building a Mashup, there are a lot of choices that come into play. Most people they with choosing the UI technologies that are going to be used, but they are wrong. They should be thinking about the information that is going to be used and how to get to that data. Mashups are about exposing new and interesting looks at data so the first thing that you have to do is figure out how to get to that data. Only after that do you start looking at the various front end technologies from AJAX to Silverlight to any number of other Rich Internet Platforms.
In this session, we will compare and contrast building out SOAP services verses REST services with ASMX, WCF and ADO.NET Data Services. We will demonstrate consuming those various services with AJAX, Live Maps, Silverlight and many more front end technologies.

DTH10Best and Worst Practices for Building Silverlight Applications
Josh Holmes
Thursday, December 11 – 1:45 p.m.
Silverlight, as it’s relatively new to much of the community, is putting people through some bumps and bruises as they create amazing experiences for their users. There are a lot of best and worst practices that are starting to emerge as the platform matures and more and more applications are being written. How and where to keep the state management? What networking stacks make the most sense? When does it make sense to use Silverlight or any Rich Internet Application (RIA) platform?
In this session, we will give a cursory overview of what it takes to build a RIA and dive deep into the best and worst practices with Silverlight.

VSLive! Dallas 2008

Microsoft BizSpark

It’s an exciting time here at Microsoft. Last week we announced Microsoft BizSpark!

Microsoft BizSpark is a global program designed to accelerate the success of early stage Startups. Microsoft has realized that most startups have more time than money. This means that in an attempt to save some cash up front, many will pursue free technology paths rather than spending the money on a more complete solution. The issue is that even though they have more money than time, if they don’t get to revenue quickly, they will fail. To help out here, Microsoft has taken cost off the table as an issue for the startups adopting any of the Microsoft technologies in their products and offerings.

I’ll get to the details of the software offering in a moment. But first I want to point out that this is not just cheap software. There are three key areas that Microsoft has identified where it can help startups. Startups need, in addition to the technology, support and marketing. This is accomplished in a couple of different ways. BizSpark Startups receive professional support from Microsoft as well as community-driven support from Network Partners, active organizations in the entrepreneurial space, who can provide guidance, mentorship and resources to Startups.

By virtue of their participation in BizSpark, Startups can also gain visibility with potential investors, partners and customers.

BizSpark provides software, support and visibility to high-potential Startups:


  • All the software included in the Visual Studio Team System Team Suite (VSTS) with MSDN Premium subscription Expression Studio (Version 2), plus VSTS Team Foundation Server Standard Edition – for the entire development team
  • Production license use rights, to deploy, host and support Startup’s “software as a service” applications for delivery over the Internet, using the following products: Windows Server (all versions), SQL Server (all versions), BizTalk Server, and Office SharePoint Server for hosting; and Systems Center for managing hosting server operations.


  • Guidance, resources and mentoring provided by Network Partners, active members of the global software ecosystem who are qualified to provide support and advice to Startups
  • Access to MSDN Premium: managed newsgroups, online library, online concierge, etc.
  • Two technical support Incidents per Startup


  • Each BizSpark Startup will have the opportunity to profile their company in the BizSparkDB, an online Startup directory, hosted on the Microsoft Startup Zone web site. Startups will get exposure to potential investors, partners and customers around the world.
  • Opportunity to be highlighted on the BizSparkDB as a featured company and be promoted as BizSpark Company of the Week on the Microsoft Startup Zone website.

Costs – on exit of the program (read three years after you sign up), the participants will be invoiced a $100.00 fee. This means that there are no up front costs for the startups.

Who’s Eligible?

An eligible Startup must have the following characteristics at the time of joining:

  • Actively engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of its current or intended business. This means that the startup must be producing software or services as the means to them getting paid. Either selling or leasing the software and/or service.
  • Privately held.
  • In business for less than 3 years.
  • Less than US $1 million in annual revenue. This varies slightly by country but here in the US it’s $1 Million.

To be eligible for Production License rights, Startups must also be developing a “software as a service” solution (on any platform) to be delivered over the Internet.


Does Quality:

  • An Independent Software Vendor (ISV) that is producing software for sale.
  • Producing a service such as a claims processing services that you lease to other companies so that they can outsources their claims management.
  • A combination application that sits on the clients machine and calls services that you have produced with any form of monitization be it leasing or for sale to third parties.

Does Not Qualify:

  • If you are developing an internal claims processing system solely for your own company.
  • Developing a web site for your company as your marketing presence.
  • Are a pure consulting agency with no products.

To break it down, if you are getting paid through the software and/or service that you are producing then you probably quality.

If you think you are qualified and are interested in signing up – Anand Iyer has a great walk-through that explains how to sign up at http://tr.im/joinbizspark

Network Partners

Our Network Partners consist of University Incubators, Government Agencies, Entrepreneur Organizations (incubators, business angels,…) and Investors themselves depending on the volume of startups that they deal with. These Network Partners are able to offer a lot of services to the startups than Microsoft ever could because they are in the trenches and offer a lot of different services.

Depending on the network partner, some of the services could include office space, access to funding sources, introductions to potential clients, legal advice, business plan mentoring and tons of other support.

If you are interested in joining BizSpark, you can do so easily by contacting one of our network partners. Or you can contact me and I’ll get you in touch with a local network partner that can help you out.

If you are interested in being a Network Partner, sign up online or reach out to me.


One of my first Network Partners, who actually offers almost all of the services listed above, is TechTown. TechTown, Detroit’s research and technology park, was established in 2000 when Wayne State University, General Motors and the Henry Ford Health System convened to create an engine of economic growth with both local and statewide impact. TechTown stimulates job growth and small-business creation by developing companies in emerging high-technology industries including advanced engineering, life sciences and alternative energy.

TechTown is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is the Woodward Technology Corridor SmartZone.

In the years since its inception, TechTown has developed into an epicenter of high-tech business creation by equipping new companies with the services, support and resources they need to grow and thrive. The 12-block park is poised to become a critical source of job growth in Michigan.


  • TechOne, the 100,000-square-foot business incubator facility, now hosts 40 growing companies.
  • More than 30 high-tech startups have enrolled in TechTown’s business accelerator programs.
  • NextEnergy, an alternative energy incubator founded to encourage the commercialization of emerging energy technologies, opened its $12 million research facility in TechTown.
  • Asterand, a biomaterials bank and TechTown’s first tenant, has become an international, publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange.

TechTown Detroit

SRT Solutions 

Microsoft BizSpark

Meet the Principal Group Manager of VSTS Test!

MarkMydland2We’ve got a fantastic opportunity for you here in the Heartland district. Visual Studio 2010 is the next generation of tools for building .NET applications of all varieties. One of the things that we are taking to heart is testability and testing tools. You can come meet the guy that’s in charge of building all of those tools. Do you want to know how they test the testing tools? Do you want to know how to use those tools to the best of your abilities? Do you have any questions at all? Come meet Mark Mydland!

Mark Mydland is the Principal Group Manager of the Visual Studio Team System Test Edition team (that means that all program managers, developers, and testers on VSTS Test in Redmond report up to him).  He is touring through Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee for a short time in November.  Mark will be visiting companies during the day and speaking at user groups in the evenings.  The user group talks are open to the public – this is a fabulous opportunity to speak directly with someone who created Visual Studio (and in fact runs the entire Test Edition team). 

At the user groups, Mark will be delivering a technical talk on the new features coming in VSTS 2010, codenamed “Rosario”.  This talk encompasses “some architect stuff, some dev stuff, some cool research stuff for concurrency and for bounds checking, 3-tier execution and data recording (aka Tivo for debugging).”  I purposely planned this tour to take place after PDC so Mark can discuss any new announcements made there. 

This is also his team’s work: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10052412-56.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20.  Cool, huh? 

Want a preview of VSTS 2010?  Mark is doing a number of user group talks that are open to the public.  And did I mention that there will be free dinner and giveaways?  Please stop by:

Grand Rapids, MI – Tues 11/11 at 6pmvsts
Watermark Country Club, 5500 Cascade Rd, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

Ann Arbor, MI – Wed 11/12 at 6pm
SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Cleveland, OH – Thurs 11/13 at 6:30pm
Sogeti office, Beacon Place Office Building, 6055 Rockside Woods Blvd, Independence, OH 44131

Columbus, OH – Fri 11/14 at 6pm
Microsoft “Polaris Parkway” office, 8800 Lyra Dr, Columbus, OH 43240

Cincinnati, OH – Mon 11/17 at 6pm
MAX Training, 4900 Parkway Dr, Suite 160, Mason, OH 45040-8429

Louisville, KY – Tues 11/18 at 6:30pm
Muhammad Ali Center, One Muhammad Ali Plaza, 144 N. Sixth Street, Louisville, KY 40202

Nashville, TN – Wed 11/19 at 6pm
Microsoft Nashville office, MPR room, 2555 Meridian Blvd, Suite 300, Franklin, TN 37067

Memphis, TN – Thurs 11/20 at 6pm
New Horizons, 4775 American Way, Memphis, TN 38118

Knoxville, TN – Fri 11/21 at 6pm
Edfinancial Training Center, 120 North Seven Oaks Dr., Knoxville, TN 37922

For all the updates along the way – make sure you watch Jennifer Marsman’s blog at Meet the Principal Group Manager of VSTS Test!