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Archive for the category “Community”

Conference Session Videos Online

The past few weeks I was honored to be accepted at two European developer conferences: Techorama in Belgium and NDC in Norway. Both conferences were amazing, and I’m really hoping the organizers have me back again next year.

Over the span of both conferences I gave four presentations. I received lots of positive feedback about them, which I was really happy about. Most of them were recorded, and their video’s are now available online. Here’s there titles, abstracts, links to slides and any demo code and videos:


Introducing Nonacat (Guerilla Hacking an Extra Arm onto GitHub) (Techorama)

GitHub, as instrumental as it is, knows that they cannot possibly offer a one-size-fits-all service that meets the needs to every OSS project. With that in mind, come join Nik Molnar, co-founder of Glimpse, for a session on how to extend GitHub by leveraging their API’s, cutting edge web technologies and free/open source tools to provide users, contributors and project maintainers with a better overall experience.
This session is not about Git itself and is suitable for OSS project maintainers and all users of GitHub.

Techorama did not record their sessions, but there is a slightly outdated recording of this session online from MonkeySpace last year.


Azure Web Sites Secrets, Exposed! (NDC)

Microsoft’s premier cloud solution for custom web applications, Windows Azure Web Sites, has brought the DevOps movement to millions of developers and revolutionized the way that servers are provisioned and applications deployed.
Included with all the headline functionality are many smaller, less-known or undocumented features that serve to greatly improve developer productivity. Join Microsoft MVP and veteran web developer Nik Molnar for a whirlwind tour of these secret features and enhance your cloud development experience.
This beginner session is suitable for developers both using and curious about WAWS.

Watch the session on Vimeo.


Full Stack Web Performance (Both)

Modern users expect more than ever from web applications. Unfortunately, they are also consuming applications more frequently from low bandwidth and low power devices – which strains developers not only to nail the user experience, but also the application’s performance.
Join Nik Molnar, co-founder of the open source debugging and diagnostics tool Glimpse, for an example-driven look at strategies and techniques for improving the performance of your web application all the way from the browser to the server.
We’ll cover how to use client and server side profiling tools to pinpoint opportunities for improvement, solutions to the most common performance problems, and some suggestions for getting ahead of the curve and actually surpassing user’s expectations.
This session covers a wide array of topics, most of which would be classified within the 200 level.

Watch the session on Vimeo.

If you have any thoughts or feedback on any of the sessions – please leave a comment! I’m always try to make my sessions better.

Introducing Nonacat: Web Extensibility and Hacking GitHub

A few weeks ago I was honored to be selected as a speaker at MonkeySpace 2013 in Chicago.


For the uninitiated, MonkeySpace (formerly MonoSpace) is a cross-platform and open source conference which covers topics such as developing for the iPhone, Android, Mac, and *nix platforms using .NET technologies. It’s put on by the good folks at MonkeySquare, and has quickly become one of my favorite conferences.

My presentation was titled “Introducing Nonacat (Guerilla Hacking an Extra Arm onto GitHub)” and covered lots of “web extensibility” techniques, each with an example of extending the GitHub website/service. The presentation’s namesake, Nonacat, is a space-aged mutant version of GitHub’s Octocat with an extra arm. (“Nona” being the prefix for nine.)

Nonacat designed by @headloose

The presentation covered lots of extensibility techniques and tools, which I promised I’d enumerate with plenty of links on my blog. So, without further ado, here is my list of wonderful tools to extend GitHub:

  • MarkdownPad – The only Windows based markdown editor I know of that fully supports GitHub flavored markdown, as well as instant preview and many other useful features. Great for working on long .md files.
  • Emoji Cheat Sheet – An online visual listing of all the emoji icons that GitHub (and several other services) support with nice click-to-copy functionality for quickly dropping an emoji into an issue comment. I’m sure this site was invaluable for the authors of Emoji Dick.
  • – A GitHub convention that allows for a repository owner to hook a message into “GitHub’s chrome” and describe the way that users should contribute to a project.
  • 5 Minute Fork – An ingenious little service from Remy Sharp that allows a user to clone and host a repository online with a click of a button. Here’s an example link, which when clicked will automatically clone my Oss Zero to Sixty repository and host it for you to browse online.
  • Huboard – A web based GitHub issue management GUI with a Trello/kanban board vibe.
  • jsFiddle – Many of my readers will know about jsFiddle, but did you know that it automatically hooks into GitHub Gist’s? This is a great feature to leverage to enable shareable, executable code samples.
  • Executify – A service very similar to jsFiddle, but for C# code based on scriptcs.
  • User Scripts – There are lots of pre-build portable little user scripts out there that enhance the GitHub experience. User scripts are much lighter weight than browser extensions and very easy to write since they are based on JavaScript and the browser API’s you already know. I’ve created one for tracking user votes on GitHub issues.
  • Web Hooks – Not a tool specifically, but rather a technique. I covered tools useful to debug a web hook including RequestBin, PageKite and my favorite: nGrok.
  • – A service for creating a shareable, embeddable change log from your GitHub repository.
  • – A service I created to demonstrate GitHub’s API and web hooks which allows repository owners to manage their contributor license agreements painlessly.
  • Diagramming Tools – If a picture is worth a thousand words, than we should be putting more of them into our online conversations. AsciiFlow (ascii diagrams), (sequence diagrams), MemoFon (mind maps) and yUml (uml class diagrams) allow you to do just that with convenient (and editable) text based input mechanisms.
  • Issue2PR – I didn’t find out about this service until after the conference, but it is very handy as it allows you to convert any given issue in your repository to a pull request.

If you have a service, tool or technique that improves your GitHub experience, please do share it in the comments.

NOTE: The video of this presentation, although not as high quality as I’d like, is now available:

Introducing Nonacat (Guerilla Hacking an Extra Arm onto GitHub) – Nik Molnar from Monkey Square on Vimeo.

NYC Code Camp Presentations

This weekend I attended and presented at the 7th (mostly) annual Code Camp NYC.

It was a great event put on my a host of wonderful volunteers, speakers and sponsors. (Full disclosure: my employer, Red Gate, was one of the sponsors.)

In my first session, Glimpse: Taking a look inside your server, I basically re-presented the presentation Anthony and I gave at aspConf. You can find the video of that talk on Channel 9.

For my second session I presented new talk based on some of the things I’ve been learning at Red Gate. The talk, called Performance Profiling 101, was really well attended, with a few rows of people sitting on the floor!


We handed out copies of Jean-Philippe Gouigoux’s excellent book Practical Performance Profiling: Improving the efficiency of .NET code to all who attended. (The book is also available as a free PDF download.) I highly recommend reading this book if you are at all interested in performance and performance profiling

The slides from the presentation are posted online, however, the resource hyperlinks at the end of the deck are not retained by SpeakerDeck. I’ve reported a bug/feature request to SpeakerDeck, but until that is resolved I’ve included the resources here:


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NYC ALT.NET: Building Win8 Metro Apps with JS & HTML

At the July meeting of the New York ALT.NET Meetup, Microsoft developer evangelist Rachel Appel presented a session on building Windows 8 Metro style applications with JavaScript and HTML. Here are my notes from that presentation.218420_980

  • In a room of ~40 developers, all said they felt comfortable with JavaScript, but only one or two considered themselves to have any design skills.
  • The presentation started with a quick demo of Windows 8 running on Rachel’s tablet. It was all pretty standard stuff if you’ve seen Windows 8. If you haven’t – head straight over to the Building Windows 8 blog and read up right away!
  • To build Windows 8 apps, you have to have Visual Studio 2012 running on Windows 8 itself. Visual Studio 2012 does work on Windows 7, you just can’t create Windows 8 Metro apps with that configuration.
  • Out of the box, Visual Studio 2012 has several JavaScript based Metro templates that have lots of build in features, including some layout and styling along with the usual library references.
  • There does not appear to be a built in UI pattern like MVC or MVVM. I assume that libraries that help structure code, like backbone.js or knockout.js, will be popular.
  • There is a concept of “pages” (not HTML pages) built into the template. These were not covered in depth – I need to research this more.
  • I was happy to see the ECMAScript5’s “use strict” directive in use in the template code.
  • No additional work is needed to get basic touch gestures working when using the JavaScript controls.
  • Running (IE:F5 Debugging) an application from Visual Studio causes the application to open up in full screen mode. This makes break point debugging very painful with lots of Alt+Tab window switching.
  • A simulator (not emulator) can be used to ease this pain. The simulator is basically a remote desktop connection, back into your own machine, which shows the application running along with tooling to do things like rotate the device orientation and simulate touch events/gestures.
  • Once an application is deployed to the app store, and downloaded by a user, it is placed in an obscure Program Files directory. If a user finds the application, they would be able to view the source JavaScript. If this is a concern, Id recommend using a JavaScript obfuscator like UglifyJS.
  • Visual Studio will show you the JavaScript source for the core libraries, but it will warn and stop you from changing said source. Since JavaScript is dynamic, you could replace a method implementation at runtime.
  • Visual Studio tries to guide developers into properly implementing the Metro UX guidelines. A full set of documentation and resources can be found in the Windows Dev Center.
  • Interesting point made about the reduced relevancy for HTTP caching/CDN’s in HTML based Metro apps since a majority or resources (sans data/JSON) will be included in the bundle.
  • Metro style JavaScript applications run in IE10 under the covers – no surprise there.
  • Html “controls” use standard elements (IE: divs) with data-* attributes.
  • Application manifest file (XML) contains tons of settings, but there is a nice editor for the file that hides away the XML and makes editing “easy”.
  • Access to device API’s (camera, geolocation, etc) must be approved by user, similar to Facebook’s permission model.
  • Background tasks are supported.
  • Applications can have many entry points like a tile click or a search result.
  • Side loading of applications is handled by Visual Studio.
  • Tiles can be short (square) or wide (rectangle), live or “dead” – users choose and developers should accommodate those preferences.

All in all, it was a very informative session. It was video recorded, so I’ll update this post as soon as the video is posted online.

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