Western Mass .NET User Group

I had a great time speaking at the Western Mass .NET group last night (thanks INETA!)

THe group meets sometimes in Northampton and sometimes in Easthampton, Mass. Northampton is a very hip small city replete with coffee houses where the groovy people hang out and vehicles roaming the streets with kayaks on them (sounds like where I live!) I was lucky to stay in a beautiful historic hotel ,Hotel Northampton, in downtown northampton (ask for the corporate rate to get an affordable way to stay there).

Last night’s meeting was at the Atalasoft offices. Atalasoft makes imaging software and .NET components (eg the DotImage toolkit). Imaging is pretty complex, especially over the web, (they have windows and web components) and they have some insanely bright people working there. The office is in a huge old mill building called Eastworks in Easthampton. Part of the building’s past was as home of Stanley products (you know, door locks etc). Now it is home to lots of art studios, cool shops and office space. It’s very Tribeca (NYC) and I think it’s brilliant for communities to leverage these old buildings rather than knocking them down and spending gazillions to build new ones. Outside of Burlington, in Winooski, there are a lot of historic old mill buildings along the Winooski River. Some of the history is not great as it involved child labor etc in the turn of the century. But the buildings are really gorgeous and now house all types of creative companies.

I presented on many of the new asynchronous features in ASP.NET 2.0. I couldn’t do this without showoing client side callbacks, which, prior to Ajax/Atlas were a huge improvement over trying to do xmlhttp yourself. But now, with the 8 steps I laid out to set it up, seems a little embarrassing to show (since there are now easier and more sophisticated alternatives). Still, it’s there, and it was interesting learning how to use it and since there were plenty of peole there who hadn’t used any of these types of features (ajax, etc), it was a great eye opener.

The beauty of all of these tools though is that they enable a lot more people to leverage asynchronous processing without having to become gurus with threading and delegates. There were people there who are very comfortable and knowledgable with threading and delegates, which led to some questions and discussion that I was able to learn from. (I love that!) Additionally, thanks to some of the folks who have been doing a lot with AJAX already, we were able to take the discussion of the client side callbacks a little deeper. (I am now getting SO ready to make the leap!)

Robert Hurlbut (Mr. Enterprise) happens to be working with a client in the area, so it was great fun to have him come to the meeting as well as very handy to have him there when some of the threading discussion got a little deep. 😉

Now I have to head about 90 miles east to Waltham, Mass (to the Microsoft office) for the New England VB Pro user group, where I will be giving this talk again (another INETA talk) tonight.

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