Friday, October 30, 2009

Q3 2009 Release Week kicks-off November 4th, Free Daily Webinars

Does everybody know what time it is? No, it's not Tool Time, it's Telerik Q3 2009 release time! After months of working hard to build one of the biggest releases (again) in company history, Q3 2009 is now almost ready for its big moment in the spotlight. Every product line in the Telerik Premium Collection will be touched in this update, and many will be seeing new controls and new industry-first features. In short, there's a lot of new and exciting things to check-out in this release.

To help you discover the cool stuff faster and to ensure you know how to use it, we will once again be hosting a free "Webinar Week" with the Q3 2009 release. As with the first two webinar weeks earlier this year, the Q3 2009 Webinar Week will feature a new webinar everyday at 11 AM Eastern that introduces you to new features in one or more of the Telerik products. The first release kick-off webinar will be next Wednesday, November 4th.
There will be 5 webinars you can attend during this release week series, and at each you have a shot at winning a Telerik Premium Collection license ($1300 value). We'll be selecting random winners from the attendees of each LIVE event (must show-up to qualify) and announcing winners on Twitter. Here's the schedule of webinars that will give you your chances at winning:
  • Wednesday, Nov 4th What's New in Q3 2009 Overview + WebUI Test Studio and OpenAccess ORM Register Now
  • Thursday, Nov 5th What's New in the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX + ASP.NET MVC Register Now
  • Friday, Nov 6th What's New in the RadControls for Silverlight and WPF Register Now
  • Monday, Nov 9th What's New in the RadControls for WinForms Register Now
  • Tuesday, Nov 10th What's New in Telerik Reporting Register Now
If you can't attend the live events, we will of course be recording the webinars and posting them to Telerik TV for on-demand viewing. We'll also be running some additional contests to give you shots at winning prizes if you can't make the webinars.
So, register for the webinars now and join us for the Release Week fun starting next Wednesday! It's the best way to get started with all the new bits shipping next week.
P.S. Because many have asked for it in the past, here's a timezone translation of our 11 AM Eastern webinar start time. Mark you calendar correctly!
Eastern 11:00 AM
Central 10:00 AM
Pacific 8:00 AM
Germany 5:00 PM
Sofia 6:00 PM
New Zealand 5:00 AM

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New articles published on Ajax performance and futures

If you are going to be "prolific" and live up to a company motto of "deliver more than expected," you have to multi-task. So somewhere in the middle of preparing a dozen sessions to present this fall, I also found time to author a couple of articles for some well know (in the developer world, at least) publications. Specifically, I have recently published articles in Dr. Dobb's and .NET Developer Journal.

The articles both cover areas that are within my primary realm of "expertise" (which is web development), but with two distinct approaches:
  • Practical Approaches for Optimizing Web Site Performance (written for .NET Developer Journal) covers tips and tricks for optimizing standards-based websites. Most of the tips are applicable to all websites, though there is some ASP.NET specific advice towards the end. Great resource if you're starting to "tune" your website for performance.
  • Ajax, RIAs, and the Future of Web Development (written for Dr. Dobb's), meanwhile, takes more of a "strategic" look at the future of web development, analyzing trends in web technologies to better understand what the future of web development will look like over the next 18 to 24 months. If you want to know what will shape the future of web development- the technologies you need to start studying now so you can get ahead of the curve- this article is for you.
Both are obviously required reading if you're a web developer, but I imagine that desktop developers, brain surgeons, and even small children will enjoy these articles. Be sure to share the links with your friends and stay tuned for more articles from the "industry influencers" at Telerik coming to another well-known publication near you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Important releases from Microsoft you may have missed

If you've not been keeping-up with the Microsoft blogs lately, there's a good chance you have missed some pretty cool releases from the folks up in Redmond. Microsoft's been busy releasing betas and CTPs and altogether new tools for developers, and primarily web developers at that. In typical "Microsoft of today" fashion, all of these releases are free, and most of them are available with source code on CodePlex.

What have you missed?
  1. ASP.NET AJAX 4.0 Preview 6 - This is the client-side portion of ASP.NET 4.0 that includes all of the cool news things like client-side templates, client-side data context, and client-side "controls." I've been using and demoing these bits since Preview 4, and I think they are one of my favorite new features in ASP.NET 4.0. You can use them today, though, since all you need are the new JavaScript files. Download on CodePlex.
  2. Microsoft Ajax Minifier - One thing that jQuery has bested Microsoft on for quite some time is library size. jQuery is about 50 KB in its commonly distributed "minified" format, Microsoft Ajax is about 100 KB. The new MAM tool helps close that gap by providing build-time support for minifying any JavaScript file, including Microsoft's Ajax libraries. It's not the first JavaScript minifier, but MSFT is claiming it is one of the most efficient, and the MSBuild scripts don't hurt its likability, either. Download on CodePlex.
  3. ASP.NET MVC 2 Preview 2 - The second update to the ASP.NET MVC v2 project is now available. Preview 2 adds support for things like "Areas," model validation providers, and client-side input validation. Phil does a better job elaborating. If you're an ASP.NET MVC convert (or fan) and you want to get your hands on the latest and greatest, the source is now available (as usual) on CodePlex.
  4. ASP.NET MVC 2 Upgrade Tool - Just squeezing-in before the bell for this blog post, Microsofty Eilon Lipton has also just released a simple tool that helps you upgrade ASP.NET MVC 1 projects to ASP.NET MVC 2. Simple tool, but helpful perhaps for any of you ready to upgrade your MVC 1 sites to a preview framework...Download from his blog.
  5. Ajax Control Toolkit - Do you use the Microsoft Ajax Control Toolkit? If so, you might want to check out their latest release (published earlier this month). It contains a few new controls- SeaDragon control (for Deep Zoom images) and AsyncFileUpload- and a lot of bug fixes. The controls and the source are...everyone now...available for download on CodePlex.
  6. Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 - Last but certainly not least (and just publicly revealed), Microsoft is finally releasing a broad, public beta of Visual Studio 2010. Beta 2 will be broadly available tomorrow (Wednesday) and it will be your chance to start playing with all of the goodies in .NET 4.0. VS 2010 also sports a pretty nice visual makeover (new logo below), so unlike the upgrade experiences from VS.NET to VS 2008 ("Okay...looks...the same..."), you'll instantly notice that VS 2k10 is a major upgrade. Details on Hanselman's blog. Download from Microsoft.
And I think that's all for October. I could be wrong. Microsoft is updating at a furious pace as we head towards PDC, so it is tough to keep-up. At the very least, this is a great collection of updates any ASP.NET developer should check-out. Grab the updates from Microsoft and try them out this week...because in a few weeks, you'll have lots of new Telerik code to play with!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Q3 2009 betas available now, Official release soon (update)

While I may be busy galloping around the world speaking at different events this fall, that hasn't slowed down the Telerik dev teams from marching forward with Q3 2009. The third and final major release of the year is rapidly approaching and that means that now is your last chance to download some Q3 betas and start previewing for yourself what the new release will deliver.

Late last week, Telerik shipped the final two three betas that will be available before the official Q3 2009 release:
Both of these suites are shipping new controls in Q3, and both are pushing hard to maximize performance on their platforms. For example, all of the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX will be getting a performance boost in Q3 (about 30%) because our dev team has refactored out almost all reflection-based code in the source. The RadControls for Silverlight, meanwhile, will also be getting a boost due to radically revamped UI virtualization techniques in controls like RadGridView.
I will post more details on each suite later this week as I spend more time previewing the upcoming Q3 bits, but for now, grab the betas and share your feedback. This is your chance to let us know what we should tweak before the bits are "official," so download the betas and share your thoughts in the forums!
RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX Beta
RadControls for XAML Beta 2
[Side Note: This does mean that there will not be time for betas for the RadControls for WinForms, Telerik Reporting, OpenAccess ORM, or WebUI Test Studio. Fear not! There are very cool things coming in those suites, too. More details later this week.]
UPDATE: Somehow I missed the fact that the RadControls for WinForms would also be releasing a beta, available today! Beta details below:
RadControls for WinForms Beta 1

Sunday, October 18, 2009

DevReach Follow-up, Part I

Hello from Bulgaria! This update comes to you direct from Telerik HQ in cold, wet Sofia, Bulgaria. I am seated high atop the Telerik building listening to the sounds of buses and cars cruise by on the wet streets below as I get prepared for a busy week with the local teams, and I figured it was high-time I broke my blog "travel silence" to bring you a quick update.

As you know, I am in the middle of the busy "fall travel season," and since I'm in Bulgaria, that means it's time for DevReach 2009. The conference went down last week and it was a great event! Despite the economic turmoil plaguing many events this year, DevReach was as strong as ever, with over 450 attendees packing the two days of sessions delivered by "first class" speakers. Everyone from Richard Campbell to Shawn Wildermuth to Tim Huckaby, Chris Sells, and Kent Alstead (and many others) trekked to the capital of Bulgaria to put on a good show.
I, of course, joined this stellar cast of speakers as the "outlier." I presented three sessions this year at DevReach:
  • Maximizing Ajax Performance with REAL Ajax
  • Building a Common Data Layer for ASP.NET and Silverlight
  • Will It Blend? Building Websites with All Flavors of ASP.NET
All of the sessions were well attended and everyone seemed to have a "good enough" time. The most popular session this year (of mine)? Probably "Will It Blend." A big thanks to everyone that came-out to my sessions and for putting-up with my random Texas trivia. Hopefully you all had a good time and managed to learn something (even if only how great Texas is) at each of my sessions.
I captured some video from around the conference I'll be working to transform in to a new TWM as soon as I can. Stay tuned for that "Part II" update. Until then, enjoy the resources below from my sessions and then watch for more updates as "Fall Travel Season" wears on. Next-stop: Q3 2009 release week!
Maximizing Ajax Performance with REAL Ajax
Will It Blend? Building Websites with All Flavors of ASP.NET
Building a Common Data Layer for ASP.NET and Silverlight
[Slides] [Code coming soon...]

Friday, October 09, 2009

Fall Travel Season 2009, Where in the world is Telerik

For a few weeks now I've been blaming the mysterious "Fall Travel Season" as the root cause of some of my blogging delays. So, it's high time I introduce and describe the 2009 Fall Travel Season at Telerik.

For those not aware, .NET conferences and events tend to happen in "clusters." There are a lot of events in the spring, very few (though there are some good ones) in the summer, and then a lot in the fall. During these times, those of us that speak at a lot of conferences say goodbye to our loved ones and hit the road for a couple months.
My participation this fall will cover 6 events and span 15 sessions delivered in 2 countries and 5 states. My full schedule:
  1. Houston TechFest 2009, Sept. 26th
  2. SW Florida Code Camp, Oct. 3rd
  3. DevReach 2009, Sofia, Bulgaria, Oct 12 - 13
  4. Tulsa TechFest 2009, Nov 6th
  5. DevConnections Fall 2009, Las Vegas, NV, Nov 10 - 12th
  6. PDC 2009, Los Angeles, CA, Nov 19 - 22nd
My sessions at these events will cover everything from Silverlight to ASP.NET AJAX performance to building common data layers for web applications. After each event, I do my best to post the slides and code to Telerik Watch, so check back often this fall for updates that contain bits, slides, and wrap-up notes. And, in case you've never caught my sessions in the past, I always try to give away some Telerik swag (yes, I'll bribe you to attend). If you're at one of these events, check out my sessions for an extra chance at winning.
I'm not the only person traveling at Telerik this fall, though. Telerik all-star Stephen Forte is also on a whirlwind tour of US and European speaking stops. Check-out his blog for a full list of travel dates and sessions. Gabe Sumner will also be at a few additional CMS events this fall as our resident Sitefinity Evangelist, so check his Sitefinity Watch for travel and speaking updates.
As you can see, plenty of opportunities to visit with Telerik this fall no matter where you're located around the globe. We always love to meet fans (and critics), so be sure to stop us and say hello. For now, I've got to wrap-up this quick visit to Telerik Boston and get ready for the long flight to HQ in Sofia. Next update on the other side of the globe.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

RadGrid optimization webinar on Telerik TV

Did you miss last week's RadGrid for ASP.NET AJAX optimization webinar? Then don't miss this recorded video. This session covers the basics of optimizing RadGrid for ASP.NET AJAX and introduces a handful of techniques you can use to make your ASP.NET pages with RadGrids faster. Catch the video above and grab the session slides and demo code below. Enjoy!

SW Florida Code Camp 2009 wrap-up

The fall travel season is swinging in to full gear and already blog posts are getting behind (which reminds me, I need to create a post about the "fall travel season"...). Kicking-off the season of conference travel was last weekend's trip to Fort Myers, Florida for the SW Florida Code Camp. A full-day Saturday event held on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University, the 2nd Annual SWFLCC brought out almost 150 people to engage in .NET learning.

This was my first trip to the SWFLCC and it was a great time! I presented 3.5 sessions- 3 scheduled + 1 "pinch hit" for a speaker that had a family emergency. My sessions were packed to capacity, and aside from some slow morning grogginess during my 8:30 AM slot, the audiences were very involved with great questions. To everyone that attended my sessions, a big thanks for coming out and being involved! Hope you learned something.
For sessions, I covered a lot of ground, with topics ranging from Silverlight to MVC to Dynamic Data. You can grab all of the slides from this even below along with relevant demo code. Enjoy the resources and stay tuned for an updated list of my conference stops this fall.
Rich Islands of Functionality: Silverlight in ASP.NET
Will It Blend? Building Websites with All Flavors of ASP.NET
Being Productive with ASP.NET MVC: Telerik Open Source Extensions for MVC
P.S. Big congrats to John Dunagan for playing such a big role in the success of this year's event! John is doing a great job unifying the .NET community in SW Florida, and with a little encouragement, I think he could expand SWFLCC to 300 people next year. Easily.