Goodbye, Amegala

For the past two years I’ve worked with Amegala to bring Indiana the developer conference it deserves. During that time Amegala has gone through some organizational changes and our visions for what the Indy.Code() conference should be have diverged significantly enough that I’ve elected to cut my ties with Amegala. I am no longer affiliated with Amegala or any of the .Code() family of conferences. I’m incredibly proud of what we accomplished with Indy.Code() but the time was right for a clean break.

Despite severing my ties with Amegala I still strongly believe that Indiana needs a world-class, locally-run, technology agnostic, community-driven developer conference and I’m still committed to making that happen. So much so that I’ve already assembled a new team of strong, local development community leaders to do just that!

I’m really excited to announce that on the evening of June 15, Tiffany Trusty, Kevin Miller, and I had our first official meeting! We’re still in the very early planning stages so we don’t have much to report yet but stay tuned – we’ll release more information as our plans materialize!

Conference Planners

Tiffany Trusty, Dave Fancher, and Kevin Miller commemorating their first conference planning session.

I don’t know what Amegala’s future plans are but if you’re looking for a truly Indiana-based conference run by people who know the Indiana development community, this new event is the one for you.


Kansas City, Here I Come!

It’s hard to believe that KCDC is next week in Kansas City, MO! I’m excited to be giving two talks.

On Thursday you can see F# Type Providers in Action which is an abridged version of my new Pluralsight course, Building F# Type Providers. On Friday I’ll break from the technical conference norm with a lighthearted look at some of my experiences from my trip into the book publishing world while I wrote The Book of F#.

Please check the schedule for updated rooms and times.

As a bonus, I hope to have a few copies of The Book of F# to give away during my sessions! I’ll be giving away a copy of The Book of F# during each of my sessions! I hope to see you there!

Nebraska Code Conference Call For Speakers

Wait… What? Nebraska? Yes! Nebraska! Last year I had the good fortune to present both a workshop and a breakout session at Nebraska Code Camp and the entire experience was one of the highlights of my year. The event has evolved from a two-day code camp to a three-day code conference being held March 19-21 in Lincoln! A bigger conference means a new venue, more sessions, and more networking opportunities that you definitely won’t want to miss.

The Nebraska Code Conference call for speakers is currently underway and I highly recommend submitting a talk but hurry, the call closes on January 16th. Even if you’ve never given a talk before, there’s no better time to start than now! I also have it on good authority that the conference organizers would like to see a decent number of F# talks so to all of my F# friends: please get those submissions in!


Upcoming Event: Iowa Code Camp

I’m excited to have been selected to speak at Iowa Code Camp on July 19th. The organizers have put together what should be a great event with some really strong speakers.

I’ll be speaking about – you guessed it – F#! This is my introductory talk, Breaking Free with Managed Functional Programming, so if you’re in the area and want to learn my F# is getting so much attention, be sure to stop in.

GR DevDay

GR DevDay Speaker Badge

GR DevDay Speaker Badge

Last weekend I made the trek up to Grand Rapids, Michigan for the GR DevDay conference.  This was the second time I’d attended this conference but this time was special – it was my first time speaking at a conference!  I was honored to have my talk “F# Needs Love Too” selected and to have been included in line-up of speakers that included some familiar names like Eric Boyd, Jay Harris, Michael Eaton, David Giard, and Jennifer Marsman.

My talk was in the first time slot immediately following the keynote.  Considering I was up against some HTML5 and mobile development talks I was happy to see such interest in F#.  I thought the talk went well and spurred some good conversation.  Thanks to everyone that attended.  Hopefully you were inspired to take a closer look at the language and see how it can change the way you think about writing software.

Having the first time slot gave me the rest of the day to attend other sessions.  The sessions I selected were:

  1. Collaborate: Windows Phone and Windows 8 – Michael Perry
  2. Make Node.js Package. Become Famous. – Jay Harris
  3. Hot Data and Cool Cash – Joe Kunk
  4. Creating apps with high code reuse between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 – Jennifer Marsman

All of the talks were interesting in their own right.  Naturally I was most interested in the two Windows Phone 8/Windows 8 talks and they didn’t disappoint.  The other two sessions weren’t as immediately relevant to me but gave me some stuff to think about.

I’d like to thank the organizers for putting on yet another great conference.  I thought the event was every bit as good as the last one and was happy to be a part of it.

GR DevDay – March 2, 2013

If you’re looking for a great developer conference in the Grand Rapids, MI area I highly recommend checking out GR DevDay. This year the conference is being held on March 2 at Calvin College. The organizers have lined up a  great selection sessions covering a wide range of topics and technologies. Whether you’re developing for the cloud, desktop, or mobile spaces you’ll be sure to find something of interest.

I’m honored to be included among this year’s speakers. If you’re interested in an introduction to F# be sure to check out my session:

F# Needs Love Too!

Originally developed by Microsoft Research, Cambridge, F# is an open-source, functional-first language in the ML family. Despite its lofty position as a first-class Visual Studio language for the past two releases and its cross-platform availability it hasn’t seen widespread adoption in the business world. In this session we’ll take an introductory look at F#, exploring how its constructs and terse syntax can allow you to write more stable, maintainable code while keeping you focused on the problem rather than the plumbing.

I hope to see you there even if you don’t attend my session.
…but please do
…you know you want to!


I spent Saturday (Dec 8) over in Columbus, OH attending the Central Ohio Day of .NET conference. As with any multi-track conference there were plenty of good sessions to choose from but of course, I could only attend five. What follows are my raw, nearly unedited notes from the sessions I selected.

Underestimated C# Language Features

John Michael Hauck (@john_hauck |


  • Anonymous functions
  • Closures
  • Automatic closures compile to classes

Yay!  ANOTHER discussion about using var or type name for declaring variables


  • IEnumerable<T>
  • yield return
  • IEnumerable of delegates

Deep Dive into Garbage Collection

Patrick Delancy (@patrickdelancy |

Automatic Memory Management

  • Reference counting
  • Track & mark


  • Application virtual memory
  • Heap is automatically reserved
  • New declarations are allocated into segments in the heap
  • Ephemeral segments
  • Clean-up tries to move longer lasting objects into other dedicated ephemeral segments
  • Longer-lasting objects are collected less frequently

GC Timing

  • When an ephemeral segment is full
  • GC.Collect() method call
  • Low memory notifications from the OS (physical memory)

Only finalization is non-deterministic

GC Process

  • Marking – Identifying objects for removal
  • Relocating – Relocating surviving pointers to older segments
  • Compacting – Moving actual object memory

Dead or Alive

Starting points:

  • Static Data is rooted in garbage collector (never out of scope)
  • Stack Root (call stack) has variable references
  • GC Handles – special cases that can be created and freed

Collector walks the tree from each point

GC Handles

Struct that has a reference to a managed object and can be passed off to unmanaged/native code


GCHandle.Alloc() and .Free()

Handle Types:

  • Weak – tracks the object but allows collection; Zeroed when collected; Zeroed before finalizer
  • WeakTrackResurrection – Weak but is not zeroed when collected; Can resurrect in finalizer
  • Normal – Opaque address via the handle (can’t get the address); not collected by GC; Managed object w/o managed references
  • Pinned – Normal with accessible address. Not collected or moved by GC; free quickly if needed


  • Generation 0 – newly allocated objects
  • Generation 1 – objects that survived gen 0; infrequent collection
  • Generation 2 – Long-lived objects; things allocated as large objects too; infrequent collection

Anything larger than 85K in memory is considered large and automatically placed on the large object heap.

Threshold checks consider machine resources including bitness and is always in flux (except gen 0 which is based on segment size)


Workstation & server mode:

  • Default behavior is workstation
  • Workstation
    • Single-processor machines
    • Collection happens on triggering thread
    • Normal thread priority
  • Server
    • Multi-processor
    • Separate GC per thread processor
    • Parallel on all threads
    • Collection at highest thread priority
    • Intended to maximize GC throughput and scalability


  • Foreground
    • Non-concurrent
    • All other threads are suspended until collection finishes
  • Concurrent & Background
    • Collect concurrently while app is running
    • Background (v4) is the replacement for concurrent
    • Collects concurrently while the app is running
    • Only applies to Gen 2 collection
    • Prevents Gen 0 & 1 collections while running

Latency modes

Time the user knows the system is busy

Useful especially when users will notice the collection – graphics rendering

  • Batch
    • Default when concurrency is disabled
    • Most intrusive when running
  • Interactive
    • Default when concurrency is enabled
    • Less intrusive but still accommodates the GC
  • LowLatency
    • For short-term use – impedes the GC process
    • Suppresses Gen 2 collection
    • Workstation mode only
    • Still collects under low host memory
    • Allows manual collection
  • SustainedLowLatency
    • Added in 4.5
    • Contained but longer
    • Suppresses foreground gen 2 collection
    • Only available with concurrency
    • Does not compact managed heap



Only used with native resources (IntPtr handles)

  • To release unmanaged resources ONLY
  • Objects with a finalizer get promoted to the next generation and the next time the collector hits that generation it calls the finalizer; added to finalizaton queue
  • Finalizer runs on another thread after collection has finished and runs at the highest thread priority
  • Managed objects may already be freed
  • Flagged for finalization upon allocation
  • When troubleshooting performance check the size of the finalizer queue and look for hung finalizer threads


Objects using managed resources that need to be released

Debug Build

  • Does some artificial rooting due to CLR optimizations

Unleashing the Power: A Lap around PowerShell

Sarah Dutkiewicz (@sadukie |

Covering PowerShell 3.0

Some Cmdlets:

  • Clear – clears the screen
  • Get-verb
  • Get-unique


  • Part of Windows Management Framework 3.0 suite
    • 32/64 bit available
    • Windows 8 & Server 2012 have it installed
  • Built on CLR 4
  • Adds support for
    • Networking
    • Parallelism
    • MEF
    • Compatibility/Deployment
    • WWF
    • WCF
  • show-command cmdlet
    • allows searching for commands and executing in the console
    • often easier than get-command | more
  • Updatable help
    • Not installed by default on Win8/Server 2012
    • Update-Help cmdlet
    • Must run as administrator
    • No restart required
    • Can store to a network share
  • Language improvements
    • Simplified foreach (automatic/implicit)
      • PS C:\windows\system32> $verbs = get-verb
      • PS C:\windows\system32> $verbs.Group | Get-Unique
    • Simplified where
      • PS C:\windows\system32> $verbs | where group -eq “Data”
    • Enhanced tab completion
  • Unblock files with Unblock-File cmdlet
  • JSON, REST, & HTML Parsing support
  • Session improvements
    • Disconnected sessions on remote computers can be reconnected later w/o losing state
    • Both ends need 3.0

Integrated Scripting Environment

  • IntelliSense
  • Show-Command window
  • Unified console pane
  • Rich copy
  • Block copy
  • Snippets
  • Brace Matching

Scheduled Jobs

  • PowerShell jobs can now be integrated with task scheduler
    • Register-ScheduledJob
    • Found under Microsoft / Windows / PowerShell / ScheduledJobs

Autoloading Modules

  • PowerShell 3 automatically loads a module when one of its cmdlet is invoked

PowerShell Web Access

  • PowerShell in a browser
  • Mostly 3.0 w/ some limitations due to remotin
  • Prereqs:
    • Server 2012
  • Setup is difficult
    • Install web access
    • Authorization configuration
    • PowerShell remoting must be enabled to connect
  • Limitations:
    • Some function keys aren’t supportd
    • Only top-level progress is shown
    • Input color cannot be changed
    • Writing to console doesn’t work

Management OData IIS Extension

  • Allows RESTful OData access
  • Requires Server 2012, not Server Core

MS Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell

  • 32/64-bit platforms
  • PowerShell ISE is required
  • Downloadable (Non-standard)

Building Large Maintainable JavaScript Applications w/o a Framework

Steve Horn (@stevehorn |

Quote from Kahn about complaining about status quo and theorizing about how things should be

(I tried to find the actual quote but couldn’t – if anyone knows where I can find it I’ll be happy to update these notes)

Assumptions for JavaScript Applications

  • Not progressive enhancement
  • JavaScript is enabled
  • Rendering of HTML templates is done on the client
  • Server side is for querying or performing work
  • The UI is the most important part of the app

Each framework is giving its own world view of how you should build an app

Code Organization

Book: JavaScript Patterns (Stoyan Stefanov)

  • How can I create modules and namespaces?

window.nmap = window.nmap || {};

Let JavaScript be JavaScript; don’t worry about public/private/etc…    

Constructor members are recreated every time the constructor is invoked

jQuery Tiny Pub/Sub

Designing for Windows 8 Apps

Dan Shultz (@dshultz)

Metro/Windows 8 Style Design

  • Modern Design – Bauhaus
  • International Typographic Style – Swiss design
  • Motion Design – Cinematography

Windows 8 grid

  • Grid units
  • 20×20 pixel grids
  • Title size: 42pt
  • Title line height: 48pt
  • Page header is 5 units from the top

Responsive Design

…is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation


  • A flexible grid
  • Media queries

Media Query Ranges

  • Mobile portrait < 479 px wide
  • Mobile landscape 480 – 767 px
  • Tablet portrait 768 – 1023 px
  • Tablet Landscape >= 1024 px

Certification Tips

  • Apps need to work in snap view to pass certification
  • Keep functionality off of the margins to prevent interference with charms and app switching
  • Use charms contracts where applicable
    • Share
    • Search
    • Picker
  • Need to include a privacy statement within settings
  • Weight functionality toward edges for higher usability
    • Center screen requires a posture change
  • Sharing & Ages
    • Limit < age 12
  • Reserved Space
  • Asset sizes
    • 100%
    • 140%
    • 180%
  • Invest in a great live tile
    • Consider different sizes

.NET Rocks! Visual Studio 2012 Launch Road Trip in Indianapolis!

.NET Rocks Visual Studio 2012 Launch Road Trip

The details are still a bit sparse on this one but here’s a note to mark your calendar.  On October 8 (Yes, the day after GiveCamp) IndyTechFest presents The .NET Rocks! Visual Studio 2012 Launch Road Trip in Indianapolis!

If you’re wondering what this is all about here you go:

Well, we’ve done it again! We went and rented a big 37′ RV and booked another United States (mostly) Road Trip for the launch of Visual Studio 2012. No charge for admission.

At each stop we will record a live .NET Rocks! show with a guest star, whom we will fly in for the occasion.

Following that, we (Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin) will each do a presentation around building modern applications on the Windows platform. Carl leans toward development and client-side technology and Richard leans toward DevOps and server-side technology.

There will be food, drink, geeking out, and hopefully some alert locals will know of a pub where we can adjourn after the event to continue the conversation.

If you’d like to attend be sure to register.  I’ll update this space with more details as they’re made available.  I hope to see you there!

10/8/2012 Update

I’m a little behind with this update since I was tied up with GiveCamp all weekend but the venue details are as follows:

7960 Castleway Dr
Indianapolis, Indiana 46250

Kalamazoo X in a Nutshell

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend my 3rd consecutive Kalamazoo X conference.  This event has gotten better every year thanks to the efforts of Mike, Mike, Matt, and Mark.  I’ve written about the conference recently so I won’t go into detail about what Kalamazoo X is.  Instead I’ll let a quote from the home page do the work for me:

The X Conference is the other half of your career; the half that makes you stand out.

Kalamazoo X has a rich history full of great speakers with interesting topics and this year was definitely no exception.  As with years past I took quite a few notes, the highlights of which I’d like to capture here and share for you to ponder.  As you read through them I think you’ll find some of the recurring themes begin to fall out naturally.


Kalamazoo X Conference 2012

I don’t get to as many conferences as I’d like to during the year.  I have yet to go to Code Mash, I missed out on Code PaLOUsa, and I envy everyone tweeting from VSLive (especially since Aria is a great place), but one conference I always make sure to attend is Kalamazoo X.  I’ve attended this conference for the past two years and didn’t hesitate when I was invited to take advantage of early bird registration for this year’s event.  It’s a four-hour drive from Indianapolis but it’s always well worth the trip.

I’ve mentioned this before but Kalamazoo X isn’t like other developer conferences.  Instead of focusing on the latest frameworks and toys, Kalamazoo X looks at things like communication skills, process improvement, and design.  I generally view it as a personal and career development conference for geeks.

The organizers have traditionally done a great job pulling this event together.  With speakers including Leon Gersing, Jeff Blankenburg, Tim Wingfield, and Joe O’Brien this year should be no exception.

Kalamazoo X is on April 21 from 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (check the conference site for full logistics).  If you’re free that day I highly recommend registering.  It’ll likely cost you less than seeing a movie but the lessons will last for years to come.  You won’t be disappointed.