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: