Thursday, June 12, 2008

Personal - Software Development Meme

My buddy Dan Rigsby called me out in his Software Development Meme. I guess it's my turn...

  1. How old were you when you first started programming?
    When I was about 12 years old, my parents were building a house. By building a house, I mean they were physically building it. During that process, there were some stages that I couldn't help with. To keep me busy, my dad showed me a book that had some old BASIC code in it. He told me if I entered all of that code into the old Commodore 64 line-for-line, I would be able to play a video game. I never got the game to work because a page was missing :)

    In reality though, it wasn't until I was 16 that I really started.

  2. How did you get started in programming?
    My high school offered a C++ class. I had an open slot on my schedule and I had to fill it. The class was awesome because it had LITTLE structure. It was the first class that I was really just allowed to run as hard and as fast as I wanted. It kept me engaged, interested, and my curiousity grew.

  3. What was your first language?
    Technically it was Commodore BASIC. In reality though, I would say C++.

  4. What was the first real program you wrote?
    I wrote a C++ application that acted like a restaurant menu. As a user made their selections, they were saved back to a .txt file. That was probably the first app that I felt like I really did something.

  5. What languages have you used since you started programming?
    Oy vey! In no particular order: C#, C++, C, Java, MIPS Assembly Language, JavaScript, Python, Visual Basic, and Farfle (It was a very primitive language that I created so no one has probably heard of it)

  6. What was your first professional programming gig?
    During jr. high and high school, I worked at the local grocery store. A lady, who owned a bed breakfast asked if I could build a website for her while I was carrying out her groceries. Though the development was very primitive, I still consider that site my first paid gig in relation to software. This site is still on the web today! From there, I moved onto doing actual application development a little later.

  7. If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming
    Undoubtedly. Personally, I would like to see programming as a required part of a high school education. I think if nothing else, learning to program forces you to think more logically than you may have a tendency to do.

  8. If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be?
    Create a vision and run towards it full steam. This is probably more important in relation to technology than any other field due to the rate of change. I have really learned about this in regards to my endeavors around Silverlight. I have spent a lot of time, energy, and resources trying to convince certain individuals of the value it brings. In reality, I should have just focused on taking the power that Silverlight brings and building my own innovative solutions. Which is what I will be doing when Silverlight 2 in Action is finished.

  9. What's the most fun you have ever had programming?
    I had the most fun working on a very innovative intranet search portal solution back at the turn of the century. It some incredibly cool stuff.

  10. What’s the most fun you’ve ever had … programming?
    I really enjoyed the technical challenges associated with creating a compiler. I also enjoyed building an intranet search engine that handled engineering documents. They were both very challenging and I learned a lot in both scenarios.

  11. Who are you calling out?

Friday, June 06, 2008

FREE Silverlight 2 EBook Raffle


I've been heads down working on Silverlight 2 in Action over the past couple of months. With the release of Silverlight Beta 2, we are ready to make a couple of announcements. First, I would like to announce a raffle for Silverlight 2 in Action. Then, after providing a brief history of the book, I would like to announce the roadmap for the book.


In celebration of the release of Beta, I have been given FIVE (5) coupons for one FREE Ebook to distribute. In order to provide everyone with an interest in Silverlight 2 an equal chance at this content, I have decided to create a raffle. The winners for this raffle will be randomly selected on Saturday, June 21st, 2008.

In order to enter the raffle, please visit and fill out the form. You will receive a confirmation email after you fill out the form. If you do not receive a confirmation within 10 minutes of submitting, please post a comment on this blog. My web hosting provider has been having some issues, and I want to make sure your entry gets in. Regardless, please note that you may only enter once, duplicate entries will be removed.

On Saturday, June 21st, 2008 I will randomly select FIVE (5) winners. On that day you will receive one e-mail that will inform you if you or another individual has won. If you win, you will have 48 hours to respond. If you do not respond within 48 hours, another particpant will be selected and you will not receive the coupon.

Your e-mail address WILL be kept private. In addition, I will NOT spam you to buy the book. If you do not win, don't worry, you will still have the opportunity to get the content thanks to Manning Publishing's Early Access Program. If you are not familiar with this process you can find out more here.

Silverlight 2 in Action - History

Believe it or not, I started this book in the middle of May of 2007. In other words, this book has been in development for over a year. I spent a lot of time playing with Silverlight and WPF to help me write the content. I want to publicly thank the MEAP adopters that have provided some excellent feedback. Especially Ben Hayat. Ben has been encouraging and a positive voice. He has also provided some excellent feedback. I also want to thank my publisher, Manning Publishing, as well as my editor, Cynthia Kane, for their patience and guidance on this project. But we're not done yet...

Silverlight 2 in Action - Moving Forward

Currently, there are 8 chapters available through the MEAP program. These chapters are going through some finalizations. Because of this, there are still some remnants from SL2 Beta 1. Those will be fixed before we publish. If you see "bugs" in the content, please do not hesitate to let me know. I have some time scheduled to go over the whole book one final time to make sure it is all correct before we actually publish the book. MEAP customers get the updated content as it becomes available.

In regards to the remaining 4 chapters, those will come very quickly. In fact, I just sent off the o.k. to prepare chapter 12 for MEAP-ing. So that should be available next week. Chapter 4 is about 90% complete. Chapter 10 is about 80% complete. I will be focussing on Chapter 10 this weekend and I hope to finish it up. Chapter 6 is sort of in limbo right now. It is a bit of a long story, but I hope to make an announcement around that content during my next blog post.

Thank you and Good Luck!