Thinking of starting a software or web company?


Microsoft® has an exciting new program specifically designed to provide early stage Startups with software, support, and visibility to help ignite your success. The program, called BizSpark™, provides access to:

  • Software. Join BizSpark and you’re just clicks away from having access to current, full-featured development tools, including Visual Studio Team System, plus production licensing to develop and bring your solution to market.
  • Support. BizSpark provides you with professional technical support from Microsoft and connects you to a global community of business experts who can help guide you through the hurdles of growing your business.
  • Visibility. Through BizSpark, you’ll have the opportunity to achieve global visibility to an audience of potential investors, clients and partners.

Eligibility requirements are minimal: If you’re a privately held company (or are planning to form a company) building a software-based product or service (even using open source code), in business for fewer than three years, and with less than USD$1M in annual revenue, you’re in!


Microsoft® WebsiteSpark™ ignites success in the Web business by helping Web Pros to drive new business opportunities through connections with partners and customers around the world. WebsiteSpark also provides Web Pros with Microsoft software and solutions, as well as support and training opportunities. By participating in WebsiteSpark, Network Partners, including Hosting Partners, gain exposure as a Microsoft partner and join an ecosystem that includes not only Web development and design companies but also their customers.

WebsiteSpark can help you to drive new business opportunities and expand your customer base. You benefit from co-marketing activities to drive demand toward your portfolio of Web solutions. Then you can extend your reach by exposing your services to the broad set of Microsoft customers and partners. You also can benefit from professional support and training from Microsoft engineers, Hosting Partners, Network Partners, and peers from around the world. You receive free online training, trainer mentoring, and webinars.

As a participant in WebsiteSpark, you get discounts on software and solutions to bring to market your sites and applications based on the Microsoft Windows® Web platform. You receive fast, easy, and immediate access to current Microsoft development tools, Web platform technologies, and production licenses of server products. This can help you to improve your development and design productivity.

WebsiteSpark provides software licenses that you can use for three years at no cost.  Once enrolled, you can download and immediately use the following software from Microsoft:

  • 3 licenses of Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • 1 license of Expression Studio 3 (which includes Expression Blend, Sketchflow, and Web)
  • 2 licenses of Expression Web 3
  • 4 processor licenses of Windows Web Server 2008 R2
  • 4 processor licenses of SQL Server 2008 Web Edition
  • DotNetPanel control panel (enabling easy remote/hosted management of your servers)

The Windows Server and SQL Server licenses can be used for both development and production deployment.  You can either self-host the servers on your own, or use the licenses with a hoster.  WebsiteSpark makes it easy to find hosters who are also enrolled in the program, and who can use your licenses to provide you with either dedicated or virtual dedicated servers to host your sites on.

In addition to software, WebsiteSpark provides partner opportunities to grow and build your business (including customer referrals through our partner programs).  It also includes product support (including 2 professional support incidents) and free online training for the products.

Who can join WebsiteSpark?

WebSiteSpark is available to independent web developers and small web development companies.  The only two requirements to join the program are:

  1. Your company builds web sites and web application on behalf of others.
  2. Your company currently has less than 10 employees

Signing up

To join either program, you need a nomination from a BizSpark or WebsiteSpark Network Partner like Pixel Programming - they’re happy to sponsor anyone that qualifies. Send an e-mail to [email protected] and to get signed up.

Scottish Open Source Awards 2009

Nominations are now open for the 2009 Scottish Open Source Awards. If there is a person, project or organisation you want to nominate for an award make your way to:

SQL Injection Attacks and Tips on How to Prevent Them

Wednesday, 28th October 2009 at 19:00 – 21:00
Queen Margaret Building, Dundee University

The Talk

In light of some recent events, such as the man who was convicted of stealing 130 million credit card details through a SQL Injection attack, it is imperative that developers understand what a SQL Injection Attack is, how they are carried out, and most importantly, how to defend your code against attack.

In this talk Colin Mackay will demonstrate a SQL Injection Attack on an application in a controlled environment*. He’ll show you where the vulnerable code lies and what you can do to harden it.

Although this talk uses C# as the application language and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 as the database engine many of the concepts and prevention mechanisms will apply to any application that accesses a database through SQL.

* Demonstrating an attack on a real system without the owner’s consent is a breach of the 1990 Misuse of Computers Act, hence the controlled environment.

The Speaker

Colin Angus Mackay is a Software Developer living in Glasgow. He has been programming since the age of 9 starting with a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. He became a professional software developer in 1994, using a Smalltalk based language called Magik. In 1996 he started using C++ commercially and in 2002 migrated to the emerging language of C#.

Colin has received a number of awards including Code Project MVP (for 5 years) and Microsoft MVP (for 3 years). He is a member of the British Computer Society and a Member of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers. He is currently the chairman of Scottish Developers and has organised the last two Developer Day Scotland conferences (with a third in the works).

You can find out more on his blog.

The Venue

We are meeting in the Queen Mother Building at Dundee University. After the meeting we normally retire to the the bar at Laing’s

The Agenda

18:45 Doors Open
19:00 Welcome
19:10 The Talk (Part 1)
19:55 Break
20:05 The Talk (Part 2)
20:45 Feedback & Prizes
21:00 Repair to the Pub


Space is limited, we would therefore ask that you sign up.

Next SQL Server UG Meeting

This just in from Martin Bell at the SQL Server User Group:

I’ve just put up the meeting details for an User Group Meeting on the 8th October. Rob is going to be talking about useful tools for performance analysis and showing you how to use them, I’ll be following with an introduction to powershell. Check out here for more details:

Don’t forget that the early bird offers for SQLBits will finish on the 30th September. We have a great line up for the Thursday and Friday including a keynote speech by Donald Farmer. Make sure that you vote for the sessions you want to see on the Saturday; session voting will close on the 4th October. There is still a chance to win a free ticket to all 3 days of the conference by entering our Mug Shot competition. For more see

SQL Bits V – Session Voting Open

If you are thinking about going to SQL Bits V, here’s your chance to influence the agenda.

This is just a quick note to tell you that voting is now open for SQLBits V. If you go to (making sure you’re logged into the site) you’ll be able to pick the ten sessions that you most want to see, and the top-rated sessions will make it onto the agenda. You aren’t obliged to vote, and if you vote for a session you aren’t obliged to attend it on the day, but voting will help us work out what topics you’re interested in.

We’d also like to point out that our ‘mug shot’ competition is closing on September 28th. If you’d like to win free entry to the training day of your choice on Thursday November 19th, free entry to the 2008/R2 day on Friday November 20th and free hotel accommodation on the Thursday and Friday nights, all you need to do is upload a photo of you and your SQLBits mug in an unlikely (but safe-for-work) situation. More details here:

- SQL Bits Organising Committee.

VBUG Annual Conference

The 2009 VBUG Annual Conference is to be held at Microsoft, Reading on Thursday 26th November.

The cost is £149 (plus VAT) for members and £249 (plus VAT) for non-members.
This year we have organised a one-day event due to the current economic climate but we have put together what we think will be a great day with well-respected presenters from within the community.

For the full agenda and details of how to register/book go to
Please pass on the details to any colleagues who might be interested.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Nicky Gordon

M.Sc. Web Systems Development (.NET) @ Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow Caledonian University are now able to offer their Web Systems Development (.NET) postgraduate course, which will run as a part-time evening course starting in February 2010.

The course, run in association with the new Caledonian ICT Academy, provides candidates who have some experience of software development technologies with the opportunity to develop their careers by enhancing their skills in Microsoft .NET development, specifically in the area of web systems and data-driven websites. The programme provides the opportunity to gain postgraduate level academic qualifications in addition to preparation for Microsoft developer certifications relevant to Web Systems Development. Flexible study options range from a one-year Postgraduate Certificate up to a full Masters.

Further details of the course content and how it relates to Microsoft certifications can be found at:

Job Opportunity, Glasgow City Centre: Senior Developer

Conscia are looking for a Senior Developer:

The Role

Conscia require an experienced senior developer to join a major new project within the company, and play a key role in the overall quality and delivery of the project. This role will require the candidate to be able to mentor junior developers, communicate with clients and internal customers. The candidate will need to clearly demonstrate their ability for active learning and advancement. We are committed to quality engineering processes and the candidate be expected to contribute towards this.

The Rewards

As well as an excellent financial package (salary, pension, bonus), we also offer you the chance to work within a friendly, sociable, relaxed and informal environment.

Your skills will be pushed to their limits and you will have the opportunity to gain new and varied skills across a broad range of high-profile projects. UK travel is a likely aspect of the role.

The Company

CONSCIA are a technology solutions provider specialising in web applications development across a range of industry sectors including; health service, local government, leisure, financial and retail.

Working in an environment where freedom of ideas and company development involvement is genuinely encouraged, you’ll have all the opportunity you want to influence the business, both technically and non-technically.

The opportunities offered are focused around NEW PROJECTS using the latest tools and technologies.

The Candidate

You should have excellent technical skills which you work to keep up to date, along with a proactive interest in new technologies and personal improvement within your field. You should have a thorough understanding of Object Oriented principles and software engineering practices; knowledge of Unit testing will also be key. You will need to be aware of enterprise development patterns and practices. An understanding of scalability issues, especially relating to the Web will be fundamental to this role. You will be expected to participate in mentoring and code reviews, as well as knowledge transfer session with the rest of the development team. You should work well in teams and be a good communicator, and be able to plan and execute your time efficiently. Above all, we want a candidate who is excited by tackling problems and writing good solutions, and is energised by what they do.

Main Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Producing high quality deliverables in C# which are maintainable and extensible
  • Implement solutions using appropriate technologies such as ORMs (e.g. nHibernate, LINQ2SQL), SQL Server, Web Services, FAST and to a lesser degree third party products such as Umbraco or SharePoint.
  • Design and Implement robust solutions, primarily for the Web
  • Profiling and tuning code for optimal performance and scalability
  • Contributing to the engineering practices of the company
  • Participate in Technical Architecture and Code Review sessions.
  • Mentor junior developers within the company
  • Understand key issues in developing web solutions, such as progressive enhancement, accessibility and browser considerations.

To apply please send your CV to [email protected], include in the Subject “Senior Developer, Sept-09”

September Newsletter


It’s time for another monthly newsletter already. The last newsletter was actually a bit late, so we’re trying to get back to sending it out around the middle of the month.

In the last week we’ve received some requests to post job ads. Two positions available near Edinburgh (Senior C# Developer and User Experience Designer) and one in East Kilbride (C# Developer). If you are looking to move they may be something you are interested in. On the other hand, if you are looking to hire a software developer then we may be able to help you. Get in touch at [email protected].

We have some great events coming up in the next month (details below) but so do some other user groups in the area. Dundee’s Software Freedom Day is on the 19th September. Scot ALT.NET user group will be hosting their first AltNetBeers evening on the 25th September. On the 8th October the Glasgow User Experience User Group meets.

If you run a user group, or just know of an event that would be of interest to software developers we’re always keen to hear about it. Let us know by sending an email to [email protected]

Colin Mackay, Chairman, Scottish Developers

Interview with Sebastien Lambla

Scottish Developers: First of all, could you tell us something about yourself?

Sebastien Lambla: Hello, I’m Sebastien, and I’m a developer. I’ve been living in code ever since I wrote my first line of HTML back when we got excited by Netscape 1.1. I’ve been a freelance consultant for a while, and been switching between development, agile coaching and architecture, depending on what my clients want. All in all an out and proud geek. :)

SD: You’re doing two talks for Scottish Developers, the first is in Dundee on “When Agile Goes Bad – How to stay calm and move forward“. I thought “Agile” was supposed to be this super methodology to solve all the woes of software development. So, how did you come to produce such a talk?

Seb: I do believe that agility is a great target for any company that needs to adapt to change and become more competitive. I’ve been doing Scrum and more recently been adopting Lean more and more. But I’ve also seen over the last couple of years a fantastic uptake in the number of companies advertising themselves as agile.

The sad reality is that agile methodologies have been, in many places, an excuse for throwing out the old fashioned methodology, without actually replacing it with the rigor, testability and quality that are needed for an agile approach to succeed.

So this talk is really me recalling all the issues I’ve encountered when adopting an agile approach to software development, and the many ways people misuse those and produce a non-functional, anything-goes, practice. The antithesis of what an agile environment should be!

Hopefully, this talk will both energise the people in the middle of their transition to agile, and also show those that have tried and failed that maybe there was more to agile than having a “daily scrum”.

SD: So, what are the various ways that an agile project can go wrong?

Seb: There are many issues on any project that may lead to it not being successful. Agile methodologies will not help a failing project magically succeed, quite the contrary. It will let you fail earlier, and realise early enough that things won’t just fall into place magically many months in.

Agility will bring all the issues that companies have right in the open; from a dysfunctional team to feature creep to hero developers jeopardising your delivery dates. Any issue that managed to hide itself behind excel spreadsheets will be brought to light very early on.

This is where most companies fail. Things will get hard, because things are rarely functioning efficiently. A good team will learn from it, adapt their practices and fix what is constraining their capacity to deliver. A sad number of companies see those challenges as too hard, refuse change, or refuse to even consider bottlenecks as being an issue.

Changing is hard, and agile will force a company to change. If they don’t, they’ll just stay less efficient, and go to market more slowly than their competitors.

So, really, it’s not agile projects that go wrong. It’s companies that want the new methodology, don’t apply it and refuse change that go wrong. I’d argue that those companies will be inefficient whatever the methodology, but I’d also say that a lot of those companies often just don’t realise they are inefficient. If you’ve always been in pain, how would you know you are?

SD: You will also be giving a talk titled “An Introduction to OpenRasta, an MVC framework with strong opinions” in Edinburgh. This is an open source project that you started. So what is OpenRasta?

Seb: It’s very difficult to categorise what OpenRasta is. At core, it’s an HTTP, or a web framework. It exists at the same level architecturally as ASP.NET, but takes the opinion that there are no differences between services and web pages.

As such, you can build web applications on top of it that resemble what you can do with ASP.NET MVC, or you can build services that support multiple formats, something that even WCF ReST 4 won’t make as easy as what is available right now on OpenRasta.

But really, what OpenRasta does the best is ReST: Representational State Transfer, the architectural style of the web. There’s a lot of confusion in the community as to what ReST stands for, and some vendor’s decision to name some of their frameworks or APIs as restful muddy the water even more, but let’s put it that way: a ReST architecture is about document formats, things that have URIs and having links and forms discovered at runtime by clients. If one is only exposing XML representations of their databases and don’t have links anywhere, or if they’re calling anything over HTTP that is not SOAP restful, chances are they’re building POD (Plain Old Data) services. They lose the benefits of ReST architectures, which hopefully we’ll talk about at the presentation

SD: Is there any significance in the name, what does OpenRasta mean?

Seb: It’s a very good question :) The OpenRasta name was born because it’s the open-source version of a first version of the Rasta framework I built for a client. Sadly, I didn’t get the rights on the code to open-source it, and rewrote it with a new approach and published it as OpenRasta.

The Rasta name itself comes from a play on word on the architecture of the web, ReST. The ReST proponents have been for many years calling themselves ReSTafarians, and I thought bringing the original word would work quite well. Then with a lot of contrived efforts, you can even find an acronym that matches.

ReST Architectural Solution Targeting ASP.NET

Of course, this acronym is not one I recognise anymore, especially as I have no more dependency on ASP.NET at all.

SD: Why did you start the project?

Seb: Mostly because of the current state of the web framework world. Be it ASP.NET, MVC or monorail, they’re all based on the old ASP.NET architecture. While those may work for simple scenarios, when you start supporting things like streamable data from the client or running out of ASP.NET, you’re stuck.

That’s the reason it still exists today. When I started, it was because ASP.NET MVC was in preview 1, and years from shipping. WCF ReST is not providing half of the features I need when building an HTTP site. And most other frameworks do not favour composition of components, or put an IoC container at its core.

I wanted a framework that supported all the things HTTP can do (like content negotiation, the process by which client decide which format, language and character set they want to receive), and that didn’t get in your way, that just worked. None of the existing frameworks felt quite at the level I wanted to get things.

If any of the existing frameworks could have been customised non-trivially to achieve what I wanted and needed at the time, I’d have listened to the advice I give to all the companies I work with: don’t build it. But in this instance, there was just no way to achieve those results, so I built it.

SD: What makes it different to ASP.NET MVC?

Seb: There are many similarities and yet many differences. MVC has controllers, we have handlers. Unlike MVC, we don’t enforce base classes, as I’m not a fan of inheritance for frameworks. We also don’t rely on attributes as much.

The most visible difference is that there’s a complete separation between the handler (the component handling the request), and the codec (the component creating HTML pages, XML or JSON). Because of this loose coupling, it is very easy to build new formats on the same handlers, without writing any code.

Architecturally, we work very differently. OpenRasta has a small IoC container at it’s core, and lets you replace it with your own if you so wish. As such, code is highly decoupled, and most parts of the framework can be replaced very easily. But it goes further than that. I believe in what i call the “pay as you go” model of modifying a framework behaviour. You should learn just enough about a feature to change the way it works, and you should be able to change its behaviour by adding smaller components that are very targeted. As such, in OpenRasta you have components that filter requests, components that filter URIs and modify them before a request comes in… You even have components to generate your markup.

And finally, an OpenRasta project can run in an ASP.NET web site, in its own app domain, in memory, and soon in WCF, making it a very versatile solution for building your services. We don’t have any dependency on ASP.NET code anymore, which lets you host applications without the additional memory footprint of ASP.NET.

SD: Finally, you’ll be helping out the Scot ALT.NET group with their AltNetBeers evening in Glasgow on the 25th of September. How do they work?

Seb: I’ve been organizing the AltNetBeers for quite a while in London (we’re on our 12th iteration!). The guys in Glasgow asked me to host their event there, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

An AltNetBeers event is a one hour open-space styled session. People come in, have a couple of beers before we start, and write proposed subjects on a wall. When everyone is ready and sustained, usually an hour or two later, we vote for the top three subjects we’ll discuss, and organize a fishbowl. The concept is simple, 4 seats and 3 speakers. People ask questions to the speakers, and only questions. If they want to contribute, they have to go and seat on the empty 4th seat, and one of the original contributors will leave.

We run this for exactly 60 minutes, with a small break half-way to vote on moving to the next subject. The amount of common learning we get from those sessions is huge, because however intimidating it can sound, the atmosphere is relaxed enough that even the shiest people come and sit down and give their point of view.

SD: That sounds like it will be a great evening.

Seb: May I just add that I’m always very excited to come to Scotland, as it’s such a vibrant community with quite wonderful people. I think that week is going to be brilliant, and I’m really looking forward to meeting plenty of new people!

SD: Many thanks for speaking to us. I know there are many people who are also looking forward to your visit.

Sebastien Lambla will be speaking at Scottish Developers on the 23rd and 24th September and hosting the AltNetBeers on the 25th September.

Our Upcoming Events

23-September-2009 @ 19:00 in Dundee
When agile goes bad: How to stay calm and move forward
Registration Required - Cost FREE

24-September-2009 @ 19:00 in Edinburgh
An Introduction to OpenRasta, an MVC Framework with strong opinions
Registration Required - Cost FREE

13-October-2009 @ 18:30 in Glasgow
Advanced TDD - An Introduction to Testing Patterns and Behaviour Driven Development
Registration Required - Cost FREE

10-November-2009 @ 18:30 in Glasgow
Web Application Testing with Selenium
Registration Required - Cost FREE

Glasgow UX Book Club : 8th Oct

The UX book club is valuable for anyone who wants to start or increase usage of user experience techniques in their projects.

UX design is about the need to understand the motivations, behaviours and tasks of your audience and align your research, design and development strategy to support them.

Find more information on the official wiki page:


If you haven’t read the book don’t sweat it, you can still come along and join the the discussion and give your opinions about what we should be reading next.

The outline of proceedings:

  • Welcome and introductions

  • Opinion on the book

  • General UX chat, as time allows


Thursday, October 08, 2009 from 18:30 - 20:30 [Sign Up]


Good creative
106 Hope Street
The Loft
Glasgow, G2 6PH