Dundee Event: “Azure Table Service” and “How To Manage Your Manager”

Kindly hosted by the School of Computing at the University of Dundee

Scottish Developers are pleased to present two talks by Mark Rendle on Wednesday 12th October 2011 at the University of Dundee.

Mark is currently employed as Principal Software Architect by Dot Net Solutions Ltd, creating all manner of software on the Microsoft stack, including ASP.NET MVC, Windows Azure, WPF and Silverlight. He is a Windows Azure Development MVP.

Mark’s career in software design and development spans three decades and more programming languages than he can remember. C# has been his favourite language pretty much since the first public beta, when you had to write the code in a text editor and compile it on the command line. Those were the days. You kids today, with your IntelliSense and your ReSharpers, don’t know you’re born…

Things vying for Mark’s attention lately include functional programming, internet-centric applications, the Azure cloud platform and NoSQL data stores.

Azure Table Service – getting creative with Microsoft’s NoSQL datastore

Microsoft’s Azure Table Service provides a low-cost solution for storing and searching structured data in “The Cloud”. Plus, it’s one of these cool new NoSQL data stores that everyone’s talking about. But it’s very, very different from SQL Server and other relational databases, so is it the right solution for your project?

In this session we’ll look at how Azure Table Service works and how to use it. We’ll look briefly at the high-level Data Services SDK, talk about its limitations, and then quickly move on to the REST API and how to use it to improve performance and reduce costs. We’ll make-up some pretend real-world problems and solve them in new and interesting ways. Code will be written. We’ll denormalize data (for fun and profit). We’ll talk about how certain social networking sites can deal with huge volumes of data so quickly, and why it sometimes go wrong.

We’ll also cover some of the very useful features of relational databases that Azure Table Service doesn’t provide, and whether they can be reproduced in other ways. Acronyms such as ACID, BASE and CAP will be tossed around with gleeful abandon. And we’ll discuss the relative costs of Azure Storage Services (including Blob, Queue and Drive) compared to SQL Azure, and ways to appease the bean-counters.

How to manage your manager*

*Mark is happy to swap this talk with another based on audience feedback on the day.

Developers and managers generally don’t understand each other. Developers know the arcane languages of machines and are motivated by inexplicable forces. Managers seem to spend half their time in meetings and the other half emailing each other Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. The result is that both sides end up frustrated, feeling that the other is stopping them from doing their job to the best of their ability.

In this talk, I will share some of the things I’ve learned in 20 years of being managed, including:

  • How to get the PC you want, with the two big monitors and a decent CPU.
  • Also, how to get extra software, training, and even sent to conferences.
  • How to adopt best practices, like TDD, pairing and daily stand-ups even though your manager doesn’t know what they are, and probably doesn’t care.
  • How to earn the respect of people who seem to actively like wearing suits.
  • Maybe, possibly, how to respect them just a little bit.

Agenda - Wednesday, 12th October, 2011

  • 19:00 - 19:05: Introduction
  • 19:05 - 19:55: Azure Table Service – getting creative with Microsoft’s NoSQL datastore
  • 19:55 - 20:05: Break
  • 20:05 - 21:00: How to Manage Your Manager
  • 21:00 onwards: Retire to the bar


The event will be held at in the Queen Mother Building of the University of Dundee, DD1 4HN. The event starts at 19:00 but feel free to arrive early and grab a tea or a coffee.

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