Last weekend I spoke at my first KCDC. It was a great event! The event had lots of great speakers and content and the organizers did an amazing job executing. The development community in Kansas City is smart, engaged, passionate and very friendly. I definitely will try to get to this event as often as I can!
The slide decks and demos for both of my talks are available below. As always, if you have any questions, comments or anything else to say, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
Getting Started with WCF: Everything You Need to Know About REST:
I had a great time at CodepaLOUsa last week! Got to hang out with some old friends, make some new ones and talk about Web API to a great group who despite a bit of a room/scheduling glitch and some minor technical issues which delayed the start of the talk (which resulted in me kinda rushing through the end) were very engaged and interested. This makes me especially happy since this was the last talk of a three-day conference, which is the easiest time to check-out. But I had a full room and most of the people there were into it. Thanks again!
Seriously, I’m really looking forward to speaking for the first time ever at my “home town” SIG in Cleveland and being at three GREAT conferences in the next few weeks. If you get a chance (and even if you don’t some see my talk) you should definitely try to check any of these events out.
Tuesday, April 23rd
Building Effective Distributed Applications Easily with Web API
It’s been an eventful couple months since I left my last job, full of very sad things and very happy occasions. In that time I’ve had several job offers which I did not accept. Some were AMAZING and there’s a good chance I’m going to regret turning them down someday. The others, well, I don’t think eventual regret is something I need to worry about. In the end they all lacked some facet of what I was looking for in my next job and as I said previously, I was going to be picky.
In the meantime I’ve been picking up some small, short term independent jobs to fill the time between “now” and “the next big thing.” In doing this I was reminded of something I had said before I started me last job; The next step after this is to go independent. It’s clear to me that the time has come to do just that.
So, I suppose this blog post is my first official piece of marketing: I am now available for independent consulting work!
Many of you who are reading this blog already probably have an idea of what my qualifications are (I know a thing or two about TDD and Windows 8), so I’m not going to enumerate them here. I have created an on-line CV which provides a summary of the information you may need. You can get detailed information by sending me an e-mail.
I am available for software development, coaching (I have a Professional Scrum Master certification from Scrum.org) and training(.NET, TDD/BDD, WCF, Web API, MVC, etc).
If you are interested in talking to me about how I can help you and your company, please feel free to send me an e-mail at James@JamesCBender.com I’ll also be at several events in the mid-west/east coast region this Spring and Summer. Check back here often and feel free to come talk to me wherever you might find me!
For the past two years I have been the Chairman of the Central Ohio Day of .NET. Before that I was the President of the Central Ohio .NET Developers Group. I’ve also been involved in planning and running several other smaller events, lunch-and-learns and Give Camps. I’ve been a prolific speaker for about five years. So, I’ve been to A LOT of conferences.
Due to some recent unfortunate events at a technical conference that I wont re-hash here (**cough** Dongle-gate **cough**), it’s been suggested that I create a “Code of Conduct” for the Central Ohio Day of .NET. Having seen more and more “ugliness” happen at a few of the events I’ve been to recently I’m inclined to agree. I’ve tried to keep it simple while addressing all the important areas:
Rule One: Don’t be a jerk – Remember that this is a professional event and you are attending with your peers and (perhaps) your future employer. Think about that before you say or do something questionable in the presence of strangers (you never know who’s listening). Please don’t disparage or mock other people based on race, gender, sexual orientation or choice of text editor. Also, no hitting. Or kicking. Or head-butting. Or biting. Seriously, if you’re having trouble understanding this rule you should go yell at your parents because they dropped the ball somewhere along the line…
Rule Two: Don’t post pictures of attendees, speakers, sponsors or staff on social network sites without their permission – What happens at CODODN doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stay there, but some people just don’t want pictures of themselves out there. For many reasons. Maybe they are having a bad hair day. Maybe it’s their “bad side.” Maybe they’ve gained a little weight and are embarrassed. Who knows? Who cares? Just don’t do it please.
It honestly makes me a little sad that we’ve come to this. I’m reminded of the Voltaire quote “common sense is not so common.” And I suppose that as long as there are people there will be ways for people to offend and be offended by others. I like to call it “The Circle of Ass-hattery.”
An assumption people often make about be, being a “Microsoft Developer” is that I must love Team Foundation Server (TFS) and look down on tools like Subversion and Git as “toys.” That assumption would be completely wrong. When TFS first came out in 2005 I was very excited. But that excitement quickly faded when I realized that the source control functionality of TFS did not live up to the hype and in my opinion was just barely a step above Visual Source Safe. Subversion was always “just OK” in my book, but when it comes to source control, my heart belongs to Git.
Up until last week I was working on a blog post explaining why my feelings for Git should not be considered a “forbidden love” or a sign of mental disease or defect. And yes, I did find blog posts from several MVPs who compared any choice to use a tool and/or framework not made by Microsoft as a sign of mental illness. I’m currently wrestling with a decision on whether or not to out these bloggers in a future post.
Once people know I love Git, they then assume that must hate TFS. All of TFS. This is not the case either. I think the work item tracking in TFS is terrific and just keeps getting better with each version. I also like the SharePoint integration as I’m a big believe in SharePoint as a collaboration tool. For years I’ve been saying the same thing: “TFS would be GREAT, if only it used Git as it’s source control on the back end and kept all the work item and SharePoint stuff.”
Well someone must have been listening, because last week Microsoft announced that TFS will now (like, RIGHT NOW) host Git repositories! It was also announced that Visual Studio will have Git support! You can read all the gory details on Brian Harry’s blog.
Naturally I found this all very exciting. I hurriedly went and setup a hosted TFS account, downloaded the Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 CTP and downloaded and installed the Visual Studio Tools for Git. After all this was setup, I started playing with my new toys. The user experience for Git in TFS (for me at least) really revolved around two tools; the repository website and the client tools. I’ll take a look at in future posts. In the meantime go checkout this tutorial and get your Git on.
I love speaking at the Findlay .NET user group and last night I had a chance to give me “Everything you need to know about REST” presentation to them. I hope them enjoyed it and thanks to Brian Cobb for inviting me out.
As of last week, I am no longer with Improving Enterprises. And the story is actually pretty boring. The company is going through a change in direction and the fact is that my position on the management team was simply eliminated and my salary made billing me out as a consultant financially difficult. I’d seen the writing on the wall awhile ago and began talking to a few people about other potential opportunities. I have no hard feelings and I would be open to working with them in the future if the conditions were right.
“Now what?” is actually pretty cool! As mentioned I was already in the process of creating an “exit strategy” and Gayle (my wife) was on board with this. Gayle also saw how stressed I had been lately (I had been working almost every night and weekend for several months) and was concerned about me. She pointed out that outside of our honeymoon, I hadn’t had a “real” (non-working) vacation in over two years.
So what does the most awesome wife in the world do when I tell her I’m thinking of quitting my job? She tells me “OK. But you need some time to decompress. You should tell you’re new company that you can’t start till after the MVP Summit.” The MVP summit runs from February 17th to the 22nd. So yes, my wife is insisting I take four weeks off! I told you; AWESOME!
OK, So Then What?
I’ve been taking to several people about a lot of different opportunities. Some of them sound AMAZING! That’s what I’m going for. In almost 20 years I’ve had a pretty varied list of roles and responsibilities. When I was younger my motivation in finding a job was “Ack! I need money!” So I looked for the job that would most easily help me pay my bills. As I got older my motivation started to change to “I need a job that validates me.” So I looked for jobs that helped me establish that my career and life was moving forward.
I’m in a unique position this time. My motivation now is “I want a job that I find interesting and fun.” The thing is, that could describe anything. Does this mean a job in management? Does it mean looking for a job in technical evangelism? Does it mean finding a job on a kick-ass development team that is building way cool stuff? Yes. To all of them. This time around I can be a little bit picky, so I plan to be.
I already have several irons in the fire and am certainly open to new ideas/opportunities.
Note: This is NOT an invitation for every staffing company to spam me with jobs for “lead developers” on “this great project” at “the really great client” they have. Remember the key words from above; AWESOME, INTERESTING, FUN and PICKY!
In the Meantime…
I’ll be taking a bit of a break before the Summit. There will probably be a lot more blogging now that I have this fancy WordPress blog (hosted on an Azure website) and time to actually write posts (Got one on my thoughts around TFS in the pipeline!). I’ll get a chance to play with some of those cool new frameworks and tools that have come out that I have just not had the time to look into. The scars from my previous foray into F# are starting to heal and I’m thinking of jumping back into that. But don’t kid yourself. There will be sleeping in. There will be playing of the XBox. There will be lunch-time drop-in hockey. There will be movie watching. There will be noodling around on the guitar (I haven’t had time for that IN YEARS!) and I’m sure my aforementioned awesome wife will have a modest “honey do” list for me as well. Man, life is good!