Wednesday, November 25, 2009

December Session – Coding Dojo

Thanks to everyone for their presentations in the previous session. Since then I’ve had a good chance to have a play with PowerShell and Psake (which are both cool). I still haven’t had a chance to install AutoMapper but it seems more and more likely every day on my current project. There were some interesting side discussion around Event Driven Architectures and Do vs. Done that I’d love to see expanded upon in a later session. Finally, I continue to be blown away by the power and flexibility of WPF. I look forward to being able to build an MVVM project in WPF sometime in the future.

The next session is Wednesday 9th December and it will be another Coding Dojo session. If you haven’t come to one before it basically consists of us, as a group, solving some well defined problem using Test Driven Development. Here are some rules:

  1. One pair is "driving" at any given time
  2. One of the pair has the keyboard, the Driver, the other is the Navigator
  3. When the tests are all passing then the audience may suggest refactorings/tests
  4. When the tests are failing the audience may only suggest fixes.
  5. The Driver or Navigator may request silence while the tests are failing.
  6. Driver/Navigator should swap frequently (like every 5 minutes) with someone in the audience. Be prepared to jump in.
  7. Have fun, be nice **

Everyone is welcome, attendance is free.

What: December Coding Dojo
When: Wednesday 9th December, 6pm - ?
Where: 43 Below, 43 Barrack Street, Perth
Cost: Free

** Not necessarily in that order.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

All In

The November session is tomorrow night. It looks like we will have 5 presenters each giving 15-20 minutes on their chosen topics. These are:

For those interested Adam Bell has recently started the Perth chapter of the Powershell User Group Australia.

What: All In (short sessions from a bunch of people)
When: Wednesday 11th November from 6pm
Where: 43 Below (43 Barrack Street)
Cost: Free

Hope to see you there.

Monday, November 2, 2009

November Session – Someone presents something

Thanks to Rhys for presenting last month on Castle ActiveRecord. It was very interesting. Additionally I apologise to everyone who missed the session for accidentally running the session on the first Wednesday instead of the second. There is now a Google Calendar for the ALT.NET user group to make it easier to stay informed about when stuff is going to happen. If you’re on the site then its just over there to the right.

Anyway, the November session is Wednesday next week (the 11th). The room is booked and I’m organizing a projector but I don’t have a presentation as of yet. If you’d like to step up (even for just 15-20 minutes) this could be a great opportunity. Here are some topics that I’d (personally) like to see:

  • AutoMapper
  • Fluent NHibernate
  • SubSonic
  • Caliburn / MVVM
  • Distributed Version Control with GIT or Mercurial
  • Messaging Architecture with MassTransit or NServiceBus
  • Powershell
  • Refactoring – From Procedural to OO
  • The Horn Project
  • F# (Anyone actually using it?)

If you’d be interested in talking about any of those (or anything else) send me an email or leave a comment. Don’t forget the Perth .NET CoP is having a DevJam event in December so this could be an opportunity to try out ideas.

P.S. I’m interested in trying to get some sponsors to provide incentives for speakers. What sort of products/licenses would make you keen to present?

P.P.S. I’m thinking that for December we might have another CodingDojo. This one will be based around the more traditional Code Kata approach of trying to solve a really well defined problem in a set timeframe (traditionally using TDD). If anyone has a kata they’d particularly like to try then let me know.

Monday, October 12, 2009

OzVAN Presents me

Just a quick note to let you know that I'll be presenting at tonights Oz Virtual ALT.NET (OzVAN) event. It should be 7:30pm Perth time which makes it 10:30pm on the other coast**. You'll need a LiveMeeting client and then you can just head over to

I'll be presenting on Connascence and .NET which is an interesting way of looking at software connectedness.

If you are generally interested in OzVAN events then check out the global VAN website which has recordings of previous sessions as well as a calendar of ongoing events. OzVAN happens fortnightly on a Monday night and just like the Perth ALT.NET group there is a google calendar so you never miss any.

** It is normally 9:30pm Eastern Time but they have daylight savings so I'm not sure if I'll be home at 6:30 local. We might need to compromise on 7pm local which is 10pm EDST. Curse you Daylight Savings!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

October Session – Castle Active record

Update: Next Wednesday is the 7th of October not the 8th. Thanks to Anne and Jake for pointing this out.

The next session of the Perth ALT.NET group will be Wednesday 8th 7th Oct. Instead of throwing us in the deep end with NHibernate Rhys Campbell is going to show us Castle Active Record.

Castle AR is a great tool kit built on top of NHibernate for mapping a simple domain model onto a highly similar data schema. The AR pattern is great for getting started on projects (or dealing with simple projects) and Castle AR is a good implementation with a nice migration story into full NHibernate when you outgrow it’s capabilities.

Rhys has written a post containing a bunch of resources about Castle AR here.

Finally, I’m switching employers between now and then which means that a) I won’t have a laptop and b) I’m not certain that I’ll have access to a projector. If anyone thinks they’ll be able to provide either of these items please flick me an email.

Friday, September 4, 2009

No September Session

Hi all.

First off, thanks to Adrian for showing us LLBLGen Pro last month. At the end of the session Adrian threw down the gauntlet to other ORM evangelists in the room. We should have a LinqToSql guy, a few NHibernate guys and I’d like to show SubSonic in action.

According to our schedule the September session should be next Wednesday. As there will be a bunch of folks at TechEd AU next week and I haven’t had a chance to organise a session yet I think it’s best if we skip the session. We’ll reconvene for the next session on Wednesday 7th October.

If you have a topic you’d like to present (or that you’d like to hear) or if you want to defend your favourite ORM then leave a comment or send me an email at

P.S. The Perth .NET CoP is having two sessions next month and I believe there will be a Nerd Dinner. Keep an eye on their site as we get closer to October.

Monday, August 10, 2009

DDD Resources and August Session – LLBLGEN Pro

Last months session went reasonably well. We had a bit of a play with a very simplistic sample of what Domain Driven Design was all about. If you want to learn more about DDD then I highly recommend Eric Evans book:


InfoQ produce a free introductory text that summarizes much of the Evans Book called Domain Driven Design Quickly. This is a good start but if you are serious about DDD then I’d recommend the full book.

Otherwise you can download the code that we wrote and have a play with that:

This month, Adrian McGrath is going to show us the LLBLGEN Pro framework. The session will start at 6pm on Wednesday 12th August at 43 below. See you there.

P.S. Sorry for the late notice. This is THIS Wednesday

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July Session - DDDD

Domain Driven Design. The extra D is for Dojo. You can decide which end it belongs.

The July session is on for Thursday night (the 9th), 6pm at 43 below. Adrian has been kind enough to provide a small sample of a drag-drop application that we can either rebuild or refactor into using more Domain Driven approach.

Participation is encouraged but if you just want to sit in the back and heckle feel free.

Beer of the month is still VB (gross) but there is usually a beer and pizza combo deal on Thursday nights for $13 so maybe that balances out.

See you there.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Preparing July Session

At our last meeting we had a long discussion about the general architecture of a Domain-Driven application. While I think most of us have a pretty good understanding of the parts and how they interact it was suggested that we should have another Coding Dojo to build something together and really explore this space.

We’ll build a small part of an application around the AdventureWorks database (hey, it’s there right?). This should consist of a small domain model (2 or 3 classes) and a couple of screens. A lot to get through in one session but we might continue this offline afterwards.

We won’t have internet access as usual so I’d like to stock up on the required tools before we go in. I already have VSTS 2008 Developer Edition, Gallio, MbUnit, NHibernate, Linq to NHibernate, FlunetNHibernate, ASP.NET MVC and Unity on my laptop. What else do we need / would like?

Also, if we stick to the normal meeting date it will by Wednesday, July 8th. As this is my wife’s birthday I’d best move it to one of the other days that week (or buy a very comfy couch). If anyone has a preference let me know otherwise I’m leaning towards Thursday 9th (they have $13 beer and pizza on Thursdays).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Session tonight

Tongihts session is still on folks so come on down to 43 below on Barrack Street for 6pm start if you are keen.

The topics proposed were BDD, DDD and SOLID. Recently I've been reading the DDD book [Evans] and started to question the industry adoption of Object Modelling (Fundamental to DDD and SOLID principles). If people are willing I'd like to step back from the proposed topics and explore the value of Object Oriented thinking. Why is it important and why is it so frequently ignored? For me, this represents one of the fundamental pillars of the ALT.NET ideal.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Next Session

In order that we can all prepare for the next session (Wednesday 10th June) we need a topic for discussion. I have 3 idea at the moment.

1) Domain Driven Design (DDD): I get this request a bit and I’m reading the Big Blue Book at the moment.

2) Behaviour Driven Design (DDD): As I’ve been working on a BDD tool recently I’d be keen to discuss people’s opinions and ideas about BDD.

3) S.O.L.I.D. Principles: a set of 5 principles that you can use to guide your OO design toward some desirable properties (high-cohesion, low coupling, etc.).

If you want one of these then say so. If you want something else then propose it.

I’ll see you all on the 10th.

P.S. Don’t forget the OzVAN session is happening tomorrow evening (around 7:30pm local time). I probably won’t make it as I’ll be celebrating my 30th!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tools and resources

There is a session next week, I've just been very slack about blogging about it. A few people have expressed sorrow over the fact that the idea for the original Perth ALT.NET session (sharing the tools that make us happy) never came to pass. With that in mind (and considering Hanselmans list hasn't been updated for a year or more):

What: Open Toolbox Show and Tell
When: Wednesday 13th May, 5:30pm - ???
Where: 43 Below, Cnr Barrack & Hay St, Perth

Bring a laptop (or a thumbstick) with your favorite tools on them and be prepared to show them off. 

Also, I keep forgetting that the official Virtual ALT.NET group is now live. They have a schedule of sessions and a repository of previous sessions for you to check out. Remember that the OzVAN sessions run every 2nd Monday and the next one is this Monday (the 11th). This one is about Powershell. Go and check it out!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

TestDriven Dojo a-go-go

Well the bad news is that I forgot to book the 43below function room for the dojo until tonight and the room is taken by the Young Engineers. The good news it that they're going to put us in the restaurant and there is plenty of room (and beer) for both of us.

The event is Wednesday, 8th April starting at 6ish. Beer of the Month is still listed as Fat Yak on the website but as it's April 1st you never know.

Thus far it looks to be shaping up as a good event with:

Jeremy Thake - SharePoint and TypeMock
Rhys Campbell - WinForms
Stephen Price - Silverlight
Tiang Cheng - ASP.NET with WatiN

I don't have a link for Tiang but he sent me this:

Tiang Cheng is a Software Developer at Westnet. He works primarily in .NET 2.0 and 3.5, coding in both Visual Basic and C#. In his free time he codes Ruby on Rails web applications and Device Communcations technology (RFID and Rally Timing). He has a strong interest in Continuous integration, Testing techniques, and Software Quality and Measurement.  

Don't forget to bring your Coding Ninja outfit (I refuse to call it a Gi) and be prepared to jump in at a moments notice. Also, just two last things. 1) If you are coming please register at 2) Tell your friends (or if you think TDD is stupid tell your enemies). That is all. See you there.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TestDriven Dojo

Now that I’m back from Las Vegas it is time to organize next months Perth ALT.NET meeting. Last time we had some great discussion about running a Coding Dojo to follow on from the most recent Perth .NET CoP meeting.

A Coding Dojo is a meeting where a bunch of coders get together to work on a programming challenge. It is a great way to learn from your peers and to improve your skills. This dojo will focus on Test Driven Design.

The basic idea is this: You will show up and at some time during the night you will have contributed some tests and production code to a project in some .NET technology. I need to confirm some of the people who said they’d be willing to help facilitate this but thus far it looks like we have WinForms and SharePoint covered.

Rhys Campbell covered WinForms in his most recent Perth .NET CoP presentation and if you want a preview of what to expect from the SharePoint session you might like to check out the new Evening Developer-Only SharePoint sessions. The first one is tonight and it’s Jeremy Thake on SharePoint Developer Testing!

If you are interesting in facilitating a Dojo along the lines of TDD (I’m thinking WPF, Silverlight, ASP.NET are all not covered yet) then please let me know ASAP. All you need to do is provide a basic application and guide some people through adding some functionality Test-First.

The session will be at 5:30pm on Wednesday 8th April. To help us with venue we ask that you register your intent to come at this eventbrite page

Any comments or feedback please drop me an email.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Perth ALT.NET Meeting #2

Wow that happened fast. The 2nd meeting of the Perth ALT.NET group is this Wednesday from 5:30pm until we are done (about 8ish as people have homes to get back to). As with last time we'll be meeting in the function room at 43below. Beer of the month is Fat Yak and is apparently quite nice :)

We'll be voting on a topic (or two) on the night so if there's something you really want to talk about then get there on time and throw your vote in. Before the vote we'll have a quick discussion of some news items so if you've seen anything cool this month or have something cool to show off then flick me an email and we'll get it in.

One other thing I'd like to get from the night is a quick list of topics that people would like to talk about in the future so I'll probably pass a piece of paper around for people to add their vote to. I'll use this as a guideline going forward.

Entry to the event is free and we welcome anyone with an opinion on the state of .NET Development (or anyone who just wants to hear other peoples opinions).

Hope to see you there.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Virtual ALT.NET Oz Meeting tonight!

The international ALT.NET community have Virtual ALT.NET meetings (VANs). They basically come together on LiveMeeting for a discussion about whatever is on their minds at the time. Unfortunately for us in Australia these are usually not at a good time.

Well, a while back it was suggested on the OzALT.NET mailing list that we should host our own VANs. The first one is tonight at 9:30pm Eastern (which makes it 7:30pm local). If you are interested in attending head over to in a couple of hours.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

News for Feb Meeting

I figured the meetings would be a good place to talk about what was happening in ALT.NET world. I had a bunch of stuff that I intended to share with people to get some conversation going last night but I didn't need it. Here it is:


CodeCampOz 2009 is coming up (4th & 5th of April) and they are calling for speakers. They even have an ALT.NET track so get those abstracts in.

On the local mailing list we have been discussing a number of things including:

Mentoring Schemes - Would they work and how can we implement them?

What is wrong with the university courses and can we fix it?


I won't try to cover the whole of the international ALT.NET mailing list but the conversation around just what IS wrong with the Entity Framework was interesting.

The Oredev 2008 conference that was held in Malmo, Sweden late last year has released a bunch of it's sessions up as videos. You can see stuff from the Java, .NET, Agile Ways and DDD tracks. There's hopefully still a lot of content to come but what is there is very good.

Daniel Cazzulino is building an Inversion of Control container called Funq using Test Driven Development and is recording the whole thing as 30 minute videos on Viddler.

Jeff and Joel had a conversation about software quality on their StackOverflow podcast that received an awful lot of attention. Enough that Uncle Bob responded and has agreed to appear on the podcast to discuss some of the points made.

That's all I have for the moment but if you do see something interesting in the next month, let me know and I'll bring it up at the next meeting.

Oh and I just saw these and laughed. I wonder if I can put some up at work.

Resources for the aspiring ALT.NETite

UPDATE 13/02/2009 - Added home for international VAN. Thanks to Richard Banks for the info

ALT.NET is a big topic and there are loads of resources out there for those that interested. Here is a quick sample of a few. Add yours into the comments:


  • - The official home of ALT.NET. The site itself is only really a couple of pages that act as a springboard off to other resources.
  • - The ALT.NET Wiki. This is the best launching pad for learning about ALT.NET. From here you will find definitions, articles, videos, tools, etc.
  • The ALT.NET Mailing List - A yahoo mailing list where the conversations take place. This list gives you access to many of the brightest guys in the industry and a lot of very interesting conversation. It can get a little heated at times but persevere.
  • Virtual ALT.NET Meetings (VANs) - These virtual meetings are frequently had over LiveMeeting and are often recorded for viewing them later. I normally find out about them on Twitter but they have a mailing list as well.
  • ALT.NET Podcast - Started by Mike Moore and now run by James Avery. So far there have been discussions around Ruby, Object Databases, Domain Driven Design, jQuery, and more.


  • - The home of the Australian ALT.NET community. Acts as an aggregation point for Aussie ALT.NET group activity and maintains several feeds for local community member blogs.
  • OzALT.NET Mailing List - Local mailing list for ALT.NET discussion
  • OzVANs? - There has been some discussion around running Australian Virtual ALT.NET Meetings. If anyone is keen, let me know. This could seriously help with the timezone issue


  • - This site. Your one stop shop for ALT.NET action in Perth. OK not quite but you will hear about the meetings here.
  • The meetings themselves - Thus far we have had one. We meet on the second Wednesday of every month at 5:30pm. In case you are from the future reading this I suggesting checking the homepage for details of the next meeting.

First meeting a success

Last night we had the very first meeting of the Perth ALT.NET user group. There were just over 15 people there (I didn't actually count but that's the number that people gave me) and quite a few that messaged me to say they couldn't come but they're keen for the next one.

I had planned 2 basic sessions but the amount of conversation around what ALT.NET is and what we want to do was enough to keep us going to last call. I find that very encouraging.

To start with we ran quickly through what it is to be ALT.NET after which everyone agreed that it was a noble goal to aspire to. Here is a link to the original article that coined the phrase if you are interested:

We then went on a rambling conversation about a whole bunch of topics including:

  • Being aware of the total cost of ownership for software and ensuring that our clients and our employers are educated about this
  • Reducing the amount of friction that we get from our toolset (making tools work the way we do not vice versa) and understanding that our clients should be allowed to expect the same
  • Being passionate and delivering technical excellence and balancing those against pragmatism and providing customer value (The most architecturally perfect framework solves nothing if it doesn't help you client improve their process)
  • Our responsibility as a community to influence our peers and our vendors. We cannot sit back and just nod when someone else is making sense. Raise your voice and be heard

It was a very "Spiderman" conversation. With great power comes great responsibility. If you were there and I missed anything important drop a comment on this post and I'll update it.

We also talked about a number of different session types for future sessions including:

  • Classroom-style presentation
  • Structured Discussion
  • We all vote on the night (Open Spaces like)
  • Coding Dojo (RandoriKata)
  • Lots of quick sessions (Lightning Talks)
  • Formal Debates

Thanks to MS-Press Australia I was able to give away a door-prize. A copy of CLR via C# by Jeffrey Richter went to Mitch Wheat. Apologies for those that had to leave early. In future I need to figure out when and how to draw door prizes.

I did have a whole heap of news-like stuff that I had found interesting recently but I never got around to telling anyone about any of it so I'll put it all in it's own post. If you have any news that you think may be of interest to the rest of the group, let me know and I'll add it to the agenda for next time.

Speaking of next time, I have booked the 43 Below function room from 5:30pm on the 11th March. A lot of people seemed very enthusiastic about voting for topics on the night so I think we'll do that. If you have a particular theme that you'd like to talk about please let me know.

Thanks again to everyone that came along and I hope to see you next time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Meeting tonight

Whoa, today has really run away from me.

Don't forget that our first meeting is tonight from 5:30pm at 43below, underground off of the Barrack/Hay Street intersection.

See you there.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Finding 43below

The pub we are meeting at on Wednesday night is underground so in order to help first-timers find it I took some photos last week. This is the view from Barrack Street:


And here is what it looks like from Hay Street (I'm standing at the Barrack Street intersection facing southish):


I look forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

One Week to Go

We have secured a venue at 43 Below (used to be called Bar on Barrack). We'll be in their function room. It is at 43 Barrack Street Perth:

Map image

It is underground so if you haven't been there before look for a doorway. I'll take some photos tomorrow night and post them up here on the blog.

We'll be meeting at 5:30 for a meet and greet style session and we'll kick off officially at about 6. We have the function room booked until 8 so if we need it we have it.

Tentative Agenda for the moment is:

5:30 - 6:00 Meet and greet
6:00 - 6:45 Welcome. What is ALT.NET and why a User Group
6:45 - 7:30 Discussion: Open Your Toolbox - Bring along your favourite tools (the ones you can't do without) and we'll discuss them.

I figure that the tools topic is something many people will have an opinion about. Also Hanselman's Tools List wasn't updated last year.

Bring a laptop if you want to demo a tool. I'll be bringing a projector and hopefully I can rustle up a projection screen. If not, I encourage you to wear a white top. That way a couple of us can stand side by side and we'll project the image onto our backs.

We don't have sponsors throwing money on us (somewhat purposefully at this stage) so it'll be every person for themselves. Having said that they do have some special platters for those using the function room but we have to book those in advance (this week would be better). If anyone is interested let me know and I'll see what I can organize.

If you have any questions or suggestions you can:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Meeting. One out of three ain't bad

Well apart for the use of the word ain't.

Anyway, in order to have a meeting we'll need a venue, a date/time and a topic.

The plan at the moment is to have our first meeting Wednesday 11th February. After the first one we'll aim to meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. I would have made it the 3rd one except that I'll be in Vegas for the 3rd/4th week of March. Anyway the way it is it's the week after the Perth .NET CoP one each month.

I'm still looking for a venue but if I don't find one on time we'll meet in a pub somewhere. I do have a few irons in the fire here but if you have a suggestion about an awesome venue idea then let me know.

Tell me what you want to talk about. There are so many potential topics and I am happy to talk about pretty much all of them. You can leave a comment on this post, participate in the conversation on the ozaltdotnet mailing list or send me an email directly on

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to the Perth ALT.NET Group

Calling all .NET Professionals living in Perth, Western Australia.

This is the official announcement of an ALT.NET Group here in Perth. It is my hope that this group will provide a local forum for discussion of the practices, values and tools which have been put forward by the ALT.NET international group. If you don't know whether or not ALT.NET is something you are willing to stand behind ask yourself if any of the following apply to you:

From the homepage of altnetpedia:

Are you...

  • The type of developer who uses what works while keeping an eye out for a better way.

  • You reach outside the mainstream to adopt the best of any community: Open Source, Agile, Java, Ruby, etc.

  • You’re not content with the status quo. Things can always be better expressed, more elegant and simple, more mutable, higher quality, etc.

  • You know tools are great, but they only take you so far. It’s the principles and knowledge that really matter. The best tools are those that embed the knowledge and encourage the principles

...then you're in the right place!

At the moment the plan is for the group to meet monthly for discussion, presentations and coding practice (in the form of a CodingDojo). I am still working on organizing the first one where part of the agenda will be to figure out where we as a group see this heading.

If you'd like to help out, present or suggest a topic or propose a schedule I'd love to hear from you. You can leave a comment here on the blog or send me (Mike) an email directly.

More information on the first session will appear here as it becomes available so please subscribe to the feed.