October Newsletter


First, I’d like to extend an apology to all those that were signed up to our Advanced TDD event which we had to cancel at the last minute. We are looking to re-schedule this event and we’ll publish the details as soon as we have the new date confirmed.

If you are thinking of starting a software or web business Microsoft’s BizSpark or WebsiteSpark programmes may be for you. These programmes offer various software licenses over a 3 year period for eligible start-ups. Information on signing up is available on our site.

If you are simply looking to gain web development skills then 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.

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 Martin Hinshelwood

Scottish Developers: Martin, you are a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) and you recently were re-awarded. Can you tell us something about yourself?

Martin Hinshelwood: I have been a developer since I graduated from university in 2000 and I spent one horrible year using ASP3 before .NET was released in 2001. I primarily program in VB.NET, but as most examples are in C# I need to be able to translate. In 2005 I started working with Visual Studio 2005 Team System, then a fledgling but stable, once you got it installed, product and I have worked with every version since then.

I started a blog in June 2006 and I have blogged on many Microsoft related topics including VSTS, SharePoint, Windows 7, WPF, VB, .NET, WCF as well as non development topics such as Dyslexia.

Being a dyslexic developer I don’t know if having a larger right-hemisphere in my brain and "unusual wiring" has helped me be a better developer, but it has made the ride exiting. The only problem with being a dyslexic is the stigmata attached with it and peoples lack of understanding, the rest… the result of being dyslexic… is actually a benefit in a programmer such as 3-D visualization ability; creative problem solving skills; and intuitive people skills.

SD: When did you first get awarded as an MVP and why?

MH: In October 2008 I was Awarded a Microsoft MVP in Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) which allowed me much more interaction into the product teams. There is a unique element of trust between those on the VSTS Champs list and Microsoft that allows a much closer level of integration and exposure between the VSTS MVP’s and Microsoft.

This has lead to my involvement with VSTS2010 prior to and in between public betas. and some work with the version after that.

Where many MVPs speak at events and do presentations, or work as TFS consultants, I have, so far, stuck to my comfort zone and developed a number of open source application and tools for TFS. Over the past few years I have become a moderator on the Microsoft Answers for Vista forum as well as the new Microsoft Answers for Windows 7. I have participated in the MSDN forums for VB, WPF, WCF and VSTS.

The 2 main projects that helped me attain my MVP were TFS Event Handler and TFS Sticky Buddy.

The TFS Event Handler makes it easier to notify users of changes to Work Items in Team Foundation Server. You will no longer need to add individual alerts to users. It is developed in .NET 3.5 SP1 for Team Foundation Server 2008 and is deployed as a system service.

The Alerts that you no longer need users to individually setup are that: a work item is assigned to you; a work item that is assigned to you is reassigned to someone else; and a work item that you created is assigned to someone else.

There is also a framework for creating and deploying your own event handlers that can do pretty much whatever you want. One of the shipped examples updates “Heat ITSM” whenever a work item that contains a Heat Id is changed.

TFS Sticky Buddy makes it easier for all members of the development team to visualise the current state of their project by utilising a graphical view of Work Items. It is developed in VB.NET for .NET 3.5 SP1 and Team System 2008.

Since then I have written other TFS integration pieces such as TFS ELMAH Log which integrates ELMAH with TFS. SQL Server and BIDS Version Check In Policy which adds a policy to Team Explorer that allows an administrator to require a specific version of SQL Server and the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) be installed on a users computer prior to checking in. And TFS to Heat which will provide a configurable link between Heat ITSM and Team Foundation Server. This will allow calls to be logged by helpdesk in the standard way, while using TFS to manage the development and support work required to fix the problem.

SD: That’s quite a lot of work, isn’t it? Do you have time for any other types of development?

MH: Outwith TFS have have a some other Open Source things going on.

WPF Behaviours allows the easy addition of drag and drop functionality in the same list, to a different list of the same type and to allow linking between different data types in lists.

Command Line Parser is a nice little command line parser based on Ray Hayes Code Project article Automatic Command Line Parsing in C#. I have adapted it to VB.NET and upgraded it to .NET 3.5. An updated command line parser that has a built in commanding architecture. The usage varies depending on what you are trying to achieve, but you can have commands, nested commands and delegate commands.

.NET Service Manager is a series of classes to enable the management of "Services", wither these services are local (instance) or remote. You can have any number of "ServiceManagers" that encompass a set of features (Services) that can be extracted at runtime.

I have currently been working in a framework similar to the CompositeWPF project that used Ninject for dependency injection and uses the MVVM pattern exclusively, and a project to proxy the connections to team foundation server so that it can be used in a composite manor.

SD: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us about your community work.

Our Upcoming Events

28-October-2009 @ 19:00 in Dundee
SQL Injection Attacks and tips on how to prevent them
Registration Required - Cost FREE

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

SMALL PRINT: The opinions of interviewees do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Scottish Developers or its sponsors.

About Colin Angus Mackay
I blog at ColinMackay.co.uk. I help run Scottish Developers which is a user group for software developers in Scotland, and co-organise the DDD Scotland conferences.

One Response to October Newsletter

  1. Pingback: Interview with Scottish Developers - Visual Studio ALM from Martin Hinshelwood

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