NWA DNUG: Building A Testable Data Layer – Todd Anglin

The Northwest Arkansas .NET User Group July meeting will be hosting Todd Anglin, Telerik Chief Technical Evangelist, talking about “Building A Testable Data Layer”.

NOTE: New Location this month, Technology 101 Rogers, AR [MAP]

Session Description

All developers understand the theoretical value of unit testing, but with data driven line of business applications, figuring out how to create tests can be hard. In this session, learn how to build a data layer that can be tested. We will introduce data layer architecture practices and methodologies that make testing possible, and cover the basics of unit test mocking. You will also be guided through various types of testing, including unit, integration, and functional testing. Leave this session with the basics needed to start creating tests for application data layers, including those powered by LinqToSQL and OpenAccess ORM.

About Todd Anglin

Todd Anglin is an active .NET community member, President of the North Houston .NET User Group, and Telerik's Chief Technical Evangelist. At Telerik, Todd is responsible for building Telerik's global community of developers and helping ensure Telerik's products serve the needs of .NET developers around the world. Before joining Telerik, Todd worked as a developer in a Fortune 200 financial services company supporting applications on a wide range of platforms and technologies, including Unix, Windows Server, Informix, Oracle, and SQL Server. He also an avid entrepreneur with previous experience running a small .NET software studio.

Meeting Date: July 13, 2010
Meeting Location: Technology 101, 5211 Village Parkway, Suite 1, Rogers AR [MAP]
Meeting Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

About the Northwest Arkansas .NET User Group (NWADNUG):

The Northwest Arkansas .NET User Group is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the promotion, education and adoption of Microsoft .NET Technologies. We strive to provide an environment for professionals to network in Northwest Arkansas to foster the free exchange of ideas and information.

We hold monthly meetings that have presentations that allow you to keep up to date on the latest emerging .NET technologies as well as providing practical skills you can apply immediately.

Is Your User Group a Gated Community?

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Recently I was listening to a radio program and they started talking about gated communities, what they were and how they functioned.  While I was listening I started thinking about my user group and asking the question “Has my user group become a gated community?”.  Have you ever gone to a meeting, for anything, and thought that you didn’t fit in or felt like it was going to take a lot of work to be accepted by the group?  You may have just encountered a gated community. 

What is a gated community?

We have all seen them, right?  The big fence surrounding a bunch of usually really expensive houses with only one way in.  Oh, and you have to be invited, on the list, and have to check in with the gate keeper to verify all information before allowed in.

Why would you want to live in a gated community that required all of that?

People want to live in a gated community to feel safe, keep people they don’t want to be around out, and the ones they do want to be around in.  Many gated communities, especially the larger ones, have all the amenities and rarely require residents to leave.  This has become a type of enclave, Seth M. Low, among other anthropologist, has argued that gated communities have an negative affect on the community outside.  I would agree that this does the same for people outside of your user group.

Signs of that your user group might be a gated community

Here are a few items I think might be indications that your group is a gated community.  This is, of course, is my opinion so please take it with a grain of salt.  With this post I hope to start the conversation with the community to better understand and solve this issue.  If you think of any other please let me know.

  • Lots of first time visitors but they don’t seem to come back
  • Same core group of members always show up, seem to hand out after the meeting and rarely is anyone new there
  • Feeling of Elitism
  • Other groups are created on the same or similar topic close by, people that used to come to your group

How to open the gates

I am just starting to think about possible ways to open this up.  We need a way to make first time visitors feel welcome, without it feeling forced.  It must be genuine.

  • Have new/first time visitors introduce themselves at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Have social events, create opportunities for members to meet and socialize outside the regular meeting time and make it open to everyone
  • Have problem solving meeting where everyone gets presenter time to propose an issue they are facing and see if others have the solution
  • Have a fish bowl or open space style meeting
  • Invite new/first time visitors to any social activity after the meeting

Summary

I am sure there are not any user groups or technical community that actively seeks this condition. It can happens slowly over time, especially if you aren’t watching for it.  This condition is also not exclusive to small user groups, it can happen at work, and even in larger national organizations. 

Once the problem has been identified the hard part begins, trying to figure out how to solve it.  Currently I have more questions than answers, and am greatly interested in hearing how you handle this issue in your community.  Please email me at jay@jaysmith.us or post a comment to this blog I would love to hear your input.

The Rational Guide to Building Technical Communities by Dr. Greg Low

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I received this book from INETA several years ago and it has been one of the most useful resources on building and growing community I have ever read.  I keep coming back and re-reading it every year, and every time I learn something new.

Dr. Greg Low does an awesome job of giving very sound advise and practical approaches to many issues faced by communities.  Topic covered in the book include why to start a technical community, finding speakers, how to start and grow user groups, recruiting members, how to organize your meeting or conference, and tips for presenters.

There are also two whole chapters dedicated legal and finance, and funding.

If you are a user group leader, or have thought about starting a user group this is a must read. I highly recommend it for anyone that is a leader of a user group or technical community, presents to communities, or just a community member.

If you see me at a conference ask me about this book, you might be surprised at what happens. 

Open Space Technology: Sessions, where the sharing happens

Introduction

Last time we learned about the Opening Circle, this time we are going to focus on what happens for most of the day, the actual open space session itself.

Other Post in this series:

  1. Open Space Technology: Introduction
  2. Open Space Technology: Opening Circle
  3. Open Space Technology: Sessions, where the sharing happens 

 

The Open Space Session

You may remember from the post about The Opening Circle that someone has to stand up and propose a topic or idea to be discussed in a session and by doing so has agreed to be at the chosen place and time to discuss and share on that topic. This however does not mean that anyone will show up.

Devlin and I placed a topic on the board at devLink 2009 this fall to discuss the usage of the Wii Remote in .NET Applications. We had 2 people show up. This was still a successful session; we discussed with them what we had learned. The 2 people that did show up weren’t even aware that you could use a Wii remote with a .net application. So we shared with them what we knew, and in the discussion we got some great ideas from them about other ways to use it. The success of a session is not determined by numbers but by learning or sharing.

What do you do when people show up?

So, you have your session on the agenda, your time slot is about to start, what do you do? Simple, you wait to see if anyone else joins you, when the time hits you re-iterate what your topic is, ask someone to take notes start the discussion.

There is usually a flip chart available for capturing topics of interest. The group is then in charge of where the conversation goes and how long the discussion last. A session is usually allotted 45 minutes, especially if this is running along side other conference sessions. This will allow people to go to an open space and attend regular sessions. But remember, just because the time is up on an open space discussion doesn’t mean that the discussion should stop.  If your time is up and you have not exhausted the subject, move the discussion to another location and continue.  This will allow the next discussion to get started at the scheduled time instead of having to wait.

What do you do when people don’t show up?

If no one shows up, don’t let the opportunity pass you by.  Think of it this way, you have the complete timeslot to use to explore the subject on your own. As long as you are learning it is a success.  Remember who shows up is the right people or person to show up, in this case you are the right person so go for it.

Summary

I know this post is a little short when compared to the others, but but believe me sessions are anything but short on content.  This is where the real magic of the self organized event takes place.  This is where solutions are crafted, discussions are heated, and relationships are forged.  This is what the event is all about, you and what you are passionate about.  I love the organic feel of an open space session, leaving breathing, flowing like a Zen master.

In the next post we will look at the Closing Circle activities.  What do you do when it’s over?  I will also discuss what you can do with all those notes that got taken during the sessions.

Resources
Open Space Technology on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Space_Technology
Open Space World: http://www.openspaceworld.org/

Tyson Development Conference - October 21-22, 2010 - Springdale, AR

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** UPDATE **

Session submissions have been extended through July 9th, 2010.  Submissions will be evaluated as they come in with final decisions being made on July 23rd, 2010.

The Tyson Development Conference presents an opportunity for speakers to present to an audience that is skilled in technology and eager to learn.  The conference is held at the Tyson World Headquarters in Springdale, AR and is for Tyson Team Members only.  We are accepting session submissions through www.TysonDevCon.com. Please register as a user and speaker on the site to submit your sessions. 

Speakers interested in presenting must fill out the information on the website. Tyson will provide travel on a case by case basis so please specify this in your submission. 

All applicants will be notified of their status via email by no later than July 31st, 2010.  Speakers that are accepted can expect a professional grade conference at a Fortune 500 company including feedback packages with scores and comments.

The Travel assistance covers –

  • Travel to and from the event
  • Lodging during the event
  • Meals during the event

If you have any questions, contact one of the Speaker Coordinators below:

If you are interested in being a sponsor, please contact the Sponsor Coordinator:

If you have any other questions or ideas please contact the event chairman, Devlin Lilesdevlin.liles@tyson.com

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