Posts about getting involved in the software development community

.NET Users of Fort Wayne – August 21

On August 21st I’ll once again venture out of my cave for a trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana where I’ll spread more F# love with my friends at NUFW.

If you’re in the Fort Wayne area and want to learn about how F# and functional programming principles can improve your software, please join us. The doors open at 6:00 for networking and the main event begins at 6:30. Be sure to check NUFW ‘s events page for the latest logistics information.

Microsoft MVP – Visual F#

If you’ve spoken with me or have been following this blog for any time you know that over the past year I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with the F# language. You’ve probably also noticed that fresh content here has been a bit, well, lacking over the past few months as I’ve focused on some speaking engagements and writing an as yet untitled F# book. I was very surprised, ok, shocked, when earlier this week I received word that I’ve been selected as a 2013 Microsoft MVP for Visual F#! I’m extremely honored to have received this recognition and will do everything I can to continue promote and advance this fantastic language.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the Indiana development community that I’ve been part of for so many years, particularly the user groups in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Bloomington. Thank you for your all of your support and encouragement.

If you’re interested, you can find my MVP profile here:

On a related note, if you haven’t read about the new language features or tooling support in F# 3.1 and Visual Studio 2013, be sure to take a look at the F# Team blog.

Bloomington .NET Society – June 27

I know I’ve been quiet for a few months but don’t worry, I haven’t disappeared. Instead I’ve been hard at work on an upcoming F# book! The book has consumed most of my time but not being one to pass up a chance to talk about my obsession I’m making the trip down to Bloomington, IN at the end of the month to talk to the Bloomington .NET Society.

If you’re in the Bloomington area on June 27th and interested in learning about F#, please join us. You can find the full meeting details on the group’s site:

I hope to see you there!

IndySA – March 21, 2013

The March IndySA meeting is this Thursday.  I’m excited for the opportunity to spread around a bit more F# love as this month’s speaker.  If you’re looking for a fun way to fill the evening please join us at the SEP office in Carmel at 5:30 PM.  All of the logistics details are available on the meetup site.

I hope to see you there!

About the Talk

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 talk 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.


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