Happy Programmer Day!

Happy Programmer Day everyone!  To learn more about Programmer day check out ProgrammerDay.info!  I started the site last year to promote the day and I’m hoping that it’ll be even more popular this year, maybe we’ll even get a wikipedia article that will stay up instead of getting deleted!

If you’re coming here from the Programmer Day site, you might want to check out the post I did last year on Programmer’s Day, it’s one of the most popular i’ve ever done: 5 Great Code Search Engines.

Have a great day and don’t eat too many doughnuts!

My MS ASP 3.5 Certification Journey

A selection of programming language textbooks ...Image via Wikipedia

If you haven’t read the KnightKnetwork for long (or ever before) you may not know that I’m a programmer. I work primarily in a heavily macroed assembler that NO ONE else in the world still uses (or I doubt they do anyway).

I’m a big fan of The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andrew Hunt and Dave Thomas, and one of the suggestions they make is to learn a new programming language every year. So, to do this, I’ve dabbled in Python and PHP but lacking a clear goal, I usually stopped learning as soon as I completed whatever personal project I was working on and got busy with other things. If I want to take on some side projects or more complicated personal ones, then I need more than that and more than my regular assembler so I’ve decided to get some MS Certifications, specifcally the new ASP 3.5 ones.  I’m not sure how many and which paths I’ll go down, but this post will serve as a way to mark the path I do take. These certifications provide set goals and should force me to a more comprehensive knowledge of the technology than I’ve been achieving.

I’ll bookmark useful sites, provide book links to Amazon (affiliate links) of anything I purchase, and post any useful tips I come up with along the way.

General Books And Tools:

Exam 70-536: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation

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Microsoft 2008 Launch Event

The Microsoft 2008 Launch event for Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 in Charlotte, NC has already gotten a negative review from Knetwork writer Franklin Pettit on his on blog. And while I do agree with some of the points Franklin makes I won’t say that the event was a total waste of my time. The free versions of VS 2008, SQL 2008, and the surprise addition of a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate made the trip worthwhile, but the presentations just didn’t have the kick that I’ve gotten used to at Microsoft events.

Let me offer the disclaimer that I don’t regularly program in MS products, I do occasionally and I’ve been considering going for the new certifications when they are released to beef up my knowledge and ability to do work on the side. Still, I love going to MS events because they are so well presented and really get you excited about the work MS is doing for developers. I usually leave an event wanting to go out and try the technology immediately even if I have no ability to do so! To give you idea of how this launch event went, I haven’t installed any of that nice new, shiny, powerful software yet. It’s still shrink wrapped a week later. I wasn’t motivated, I wasn’t inspired, and I wasn’t impressed.

All this is not to say that these products aren’t great and that the new features weren’t covered, it’s just that the coverage was a watered down rehash of info gone over at MSDN Events or was presented without any point of reference to how it was better. If you have a captive audience staring a big screen then make use of the visual! I was 75% of the way towards the back and I couldn’t read any of the code unless the presenter zoomed his screen (this only happened once while I was there). If you want the audience to Oooooh and Aaaaah like they’re watching a knife cut through a cement block then you’re going to have to give us some eye candy… why no silverlight?!? Being in Beta is no excuse, it has never stopped an MSDN Event presenter from showing us the goods.

All said I’ll keep coming to the launch events for the software, but I hope to see better presentations in the future. MS knows you can’t do much that’s meaningful in the short time we’re a captive audience so give us a quick run down if the changes, some before and after code samples, and lots of eye-candy!

TipJoy TipThis Plugin w/ Widget

The latest beta version of the TipThis plugin now has a sidebar widget! This will allow users who don’t want to spam their blog frontpage with Tip This buttons to have a way to accept tips on their main page. Just go to the Presentation portion of your WordPress admin dashboard and drag the TipJoy Widget onto the sidebar!

Download the latest version of TipThis with sidebar widgets form the TipThis home post.

Spottt WordPress Widget

If you are using Spottt on a WordPress blog you’ll have to insert the code that Spottt gives you to embed into your theme’s sidebar code. This is hardly user friendly. so I decided to put together the Spottt WordPress Widget for WordPress blogs that support widgets. Bookmark this post for updates!

The current version is 0.5 and is still in ‘beta’ but I have it running on Polled.info if you want to confirm it works.

Better documentation will follow but for now you just need:

  1. Download the widget
  2. Unzip and upload to your plugins folder
  3. Active the plugin
  4. Under Presentation -> Widgets drag the spottt ad where you want it
  5. Click the little notepad icon on the widget admin to edit the settings
  6. Title: Name the sidebar section, or leave blank for no title section
  7. Spottt ID: This is that long string of letters and numbers in the ‘Embed’ code
  8. Press Enter to save and check your site for the ad!