23 Apr 2010

The Weekly Links 3

This is the 3rd post in an ongoing series of weekly roundups of links useful to developers.




  • SQL Immersion: Dublin 2010 – Advanced SQL training with Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp in Dublin this June/July.  Via Bob Duffy’s blog.
  • Epicenter 2010 - The 2nd Annual Irish Software Show, epicenter 2010, takes place in Trinity College Dublin between Tuesday 8th and Friday 11th June.


  • Aurion Learning – ASP.NET developer required for the educational software ISV based in Belfast.  More details via NIJobFinder.
  • Asidua – Software Developers and Graduate Developers, based in Belfast.
  • First Derivatives – A number of developer roles are currently being advertised by the Newry based financial software firm.
  • Navinet – Various developer roles based in the new Belfast centre of excellence for the American healthcare firm.
  • Isaac Agnew – A senior Software Developer required in Belfast.
  • CitiGroup (via NIJobFinder) – Several development roles, based in Belfast.
  • QUB – Software Engineer (Grid Computing), based in Belfast.
  • Moy Park (via NIJobFinder) – Information Assistant, based in Craigavon.
  • Parity – A number of roles available with my own company, based in Belfast.

22 Apr 2010

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly…


Folks, apologies for the lack of posts this past week.  A minor traffic accident earlier in this week led to a lot of stress and hassle (my daily commute jumped from 1 hour to 2.5 hours), and meant that I wasn’t about to spend any time crafting posts.  Rest assured, normal service will resume next week.

Unfortunately, the same mishap meant that I missed Jesse Liberty’s talk on Silverlight tonight in Belfast, and will mean that I also miss Open Spaces in Dublin this week.  I hope the day goes well for everyone who can attend!

16 Apr 2010

The Weekly Links 2

This is the 2nd post in an ongoing series of weekly roundups of links useful to developers.  Given the release of Visual Studio 2010 earlier this week, there is a definite VS2010 theme in today’s post.


Just to make aware, it looks likely that the BarCamp Belfast event will be postponed from the 17th to the 22nd of April.  Check the twitter account for the latest news.


  • Visual Studio 2010 Released – Scott Hanselman highlights the new features in the latest Visual Studio release.
  • Visual Studio 2010 Web Deployment Projects Beta – Following this week’s release of VS2010, the Visual Web Developer Team Blog announce the release of the latest release of the Web Developments Project
  • SPServices – A jQuery library that wraps wraps the SharePoint web services in an AJAX wrapper for use in JavaScript.  Available from CodePlex.
  • AllMargins – A VS2010 extension that replaces the excellent add-in Rockscroll for VS2005/2008.
  • Ninite – A great website that allows you to build a bulk installer of a number of great (freeware or open source) applications for Windows. [I used the installer generated by the website this week to help pave my new developer machine, and I really recommend it!]
  • CodeRush Xpress for C# and VB – The refactoring toolset is now freely available to all Visual Studio 2010 developers.
  • PSake 4.0 – An updated version of the PowerShell Build library for .NET 4.0 is announced by James Kovacs.




  • Northgate IS – Various technical positions are currently available from Northgate IS in Belfast.
  • Liberty IT – Software Professionals, Database Developers and Associate Software Engineer/Graduates roles in Belfast.
  • Kainos - Infrastructure Services Engineer, based in Belfast.
  • Acorn IT Solutions (via NIJobFinder)– Software Developer, based in Maghera.
  • Allstate – Oracle DBA, based in Belfast.

12 Apr 2010

First Day…

Today, I started my job with Parity in Belfast.  I’ll be working in the support team.  Despite being labelled a developer in the past, I’m more than happy with this.  Over the past 5 years, I’ve spent more time maintaining and extending existing applications than on green field development.  As part of my introduction to the team, I was given a brief overview of the projects I’ll be working on over the next few months, and I can tell you the following:

  • I’ll be busy.
  • The work will be a mixture of bug fixing, implementing change requests and new development work.
  • I’ve have a lot to learn, as I’ll be working on solutions with technologies completely new to me (K2 anyone?).
  • I’ll be really busy.
    My new colleagues at Parity have been very welcoming, and I’m already impressed with the culture. People are left to get on with things, and to take responsibility for their own work.  Also, there isn’t a tide of paperwork to fight through in order to get things done.  What a relief!
      Anyway, time for bed.  I’m knackered.

    11 Apr 2010

    Game of Thrones

     Official HBO still photo from Game Of Thrones

    It was recently announced that a fantasy series, George R. R. Martins’s A Song of Fire and Ice, will be filmed in Belfast later this year.  Being a fan of Sci-Fi and Fantasy (FIJAGH!), I picked up a copy of Game of Thrones, the first book in the series, from my local library.  I've just finished reading it, and I am already a huge fan of the series.  While some reviewers have compared it to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, it reminded me more of Dune, with the detailed descriptions of the myriad court factions jostling for power.  The book is also quiet brutal, with none of the fantasy escapism that puts some people off the LOTR.  All in all, was an excellent read, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Clash of Kings.

    I’ve just checked the IMDB site for details of the HBO production of Game of Thrones, and it looks to have a pretty impressive cast list.  Sean Bean (LOTR, Red Riding) is in the lead role as Eddard Stark.  It looks like Jennifer Ehle (Pride and Prejudice, Possession) will no longer be appearing as Catelyn Stark, but she is replaced by a local actress, Michelle Fairley.

    Unfortunately, the talentless Lena Headey (300, St. Trinian’s) is also appearing.  Thankfully, she is the evil Cersei Lannister, so we can “Boo!” when she appears onscreen to ruin a scene.

    10 Apr 2010

    New Mobile Phone


    I finally got around to buying a new mobile phone today.  While it isn’t the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Android handset that I really wanted, the Nokia 7230 is a definite step up from my last mobile phone.

    I’ve just finished synchronizing my contacts using the Nokia Ovi service (Mobyko does not support the 7230 yet), and I’m now looking to use the open source application GCal Sync to sync my google calendar with the mobile phone’s calendar.  Assuming I can get GCal Sync to work, in the future I will also be able to develop and deploy my own custom applications to the phone.

    9 Apr 2010

    Links Roundup

    This is the first in a series of weekly roundups of links that will be useful to developers.  This is based on Chris Alcock’s The Morning Brew, but will also include additional links on SharePoint development, and will focus on events for developers in Northern Ireland.


    • QuickUnit – A Visual Studio add-in to design and generate unit test projects within the IDE.
    • Mono Tools - Miguel de Icaza of the Mono team announces the release of Mono Tools, an IDE add-in to allow .Net developers to build solutions using the Mono framework directly from Visual Studio.
    • ASP Classic Compiler – A CodePlex project that allows developers to package classic ASP pages as executables so they can run within the ASP.Net environment. I think this is insane, but possibly very useful for those working with legacy projects.
    • Switch project files between VS2008 and VS2010 – Given the imminent release of Visual Studio 2010, Steve Dunn’s command line tool allows you to open an existing VS2008 project file from VS2010 without converting the project.




    8 Apr 2010

    Why I’m Blogging…

    Sorry for the delay in posting again.  I spent the Easter weekend visiting friends in Sheffield, and had a great time catching up with them. But now that I’m back, I thought it would be useful to set out the reasons why I’m blogging, and what I hope to do with the  blog over the next few months.
    The main reasons I’m blogging are:
    • To market myself.  This blog will be a body of work on the topics that I’m passionate about.
    • To make me a better communicator! 
    • To expand on my answers to StackOverflow questions.  Quite often, when I get interested in a SO question, there is additional material that doesn’t make it into the answer. I plan on using that material in posts on this blog.
    • To note technical points that are of interest to myself and others.  For instance, you can expect to see a number of posts on developing and configuring SharePoint 2010 over the next few months.
    • To document my own personal projects.
    The last point is the most important.  For a while now, I had a number of personal projects that I wanted to start work on, but never seemed to have the time for.  By documenting the projects using this blog, I will publicly committing myself to completing these projects, and will also break up the project work into post sized pieces.

    Given the above, I plan to post at least twice weekly to the blog.  The blog posts will in general be one of the following types:

    • A roundup of useful links (every Friday)
    • Articles summarizing work done on personal projects (typically on a Monday or Tuesday, to document work done over the weekend)
      You can also expect to see occasional posts on the following topics:
        • SharePoint 2010
        • Becoming a better developer
        • Useful code snippets