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  • Hyper-V for Developers - presentation from NxtGenUG Oxford (including link to more info on Dynamic M

    - by Liam Westley
    Many thanks to Richard Hopton and the NxtGenUG guys in Oxford for inviting me to talk on Hyper-V for Developers last night, and for Research Machines for providing the venue.  It was great to have developers not yet using Hyper-V who were really interested in some of the finer points to help them with specific requirements. For those wanting to follow up on the topics I covered, you can download the presentation deck as either PDF (with speaker notes included) or as the original PowerPoint slidedeck,   http://www.tigernews.co.uk/blog-twickers/nxtgenugoxford/HyperV4Devs.pdf   http://www.tigernews.co.uk/blog-twickers/nxtgenugoxford/HyperV4Devs.zip I also mentioned the new feature, Dynamic Memory, coming in Service Pack 1, had been presented in a session at TechEd 2010 by Ben Armstrong, and you can download his presentation from here,   http://blogs.msdn.com/b/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2010/06/08/talking-about-dynamic-memory.aspx

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  • Commercial Software Development – presentation slide decks for DDD SouthWest 2.0

    - by Liam Westley
    Thanks to everyone who voted me onto the DDD SouthWest agenda, and a big thanks to all who attended the session and took the time to give feedback to rank me No.3 in the overall conference in presentation skills. There were some good feedback comments, which I'll try to make sure I take note of for future presentations. For those who came to the session, or even for those who were on one of the other tracks, I’ve uploaded the presentation for you to download.  I created a more simple, and smaller, PowerPoint without all the fancy animations and video clips, which is available as a compressed ZIP file,   http://www.tigernews.co.uk/blog-twickers/dddsw/commercialsoftwaredev-dddsw2.zip I also printed the presentation with speaker notes (which contain most of the information I was talking about) using PDFCreator, which is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF here,   http://www.tigernews.co.uk/blog-twickers/dddsw/commercialsoftwaredev-dddsw2.pdf ... and if PowerPoint presentations don't do it for you, also thanks to Craig Murphy, you can watch a video of the presentation that I gave at DDD8 in Microsoft TVP, Reading,  http://vimeo.com/9216563

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  • Microsoft Async CTP for DDD9 UK Developer Conference - slides and source code now available

    - by Liam Westley
    Thanks to all the nice comments from people who attended my presentation at DDD9, and extra thanks to Jon Skeet, Mark Rendle and Mike Hadlow for coming on stage for the last ten minutes to help debate whether the Async CTP is the correct way to go to enhance C# 5.0. The presentation is available at Prezi.com http://prezi.com/gysz5nohltye, which I can recommend as a refreshing change to the more standard PowerPoint slidedecks. I've also uploaded all the code samples into a single ZIP file. You will need to install the Async CTP to be able to run them, and I would remind everyone that the current Async CTP is not compatible with either ASP.NET MVC 3 RTM or Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 so you may need to use a test system of virtual machine to play with it! Source code - http://www.tigernews.co.uk/blog-twickers/ddd9/AsyncSrc.zip Again, thanks for all the positive feedback and the whole of the DDD team for putting on a fantastic conference for all the presenters and delegates.

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  • DDDSouthWest 4.0 26th May 2012 - Async 20/20 presentation

    - by Liam Westley
    As I wasn’t voted in with my nominated sessions I presented a 20/20 talk on the new async functionality coming with the .Net Framework.  This was based on the PechaKucha presentation format, where you have only 20 slides with only 20 seconds per slide, and it progresses automatically. It was the first I’d attempted, so thanks to the organisers for allowing me to have a go. Although creating the slide deck was definitely easier than a one hour presentation, it was much more stressful giving the talk by the end of the 6m 40s. I’m not going to upload the slide deck (it won’t make much sense) but I did record the audio and used the excellent Camtasia to create a video of the slide deck with that audio which you can watch over here, https://vimeo.com/42957952

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  • DDD9 - voting now open for the UK's premier community event

    - by Liam Westley
    If you are interested in software development including a heap of great open source frameworks, then get over to the DDD9 web site and vote for some sessions for the next DDD conference.  It will take place at Microsoft's UK headquarters in Reading on 29th January 2011.     http://developerdeveloperdeveloper.com/ddd9/ProposedSessions.aspx I've proposed a session on the new Async CTP announced at PDC, but there's loads more interesting stuff such as Ruby, CQRS and jQuery Mobile, so get your votes in now so it's the content you want to see.

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  • Last chance to see ... Virtualisation for Developers at NxtGenUG Cambridge, Tuesday 14th December

    - by Liam Westley
    As a farewell to 2010 I'm also saying farewell to presenting my Virtualisation for Developers and Hyper-V for Developers presentations with a final outing at NxtGenUG in Cambridge (my first visit to a user group in The Fens). I may have some homemade nibbles and party stuff to liven up the evening, and a certain Rachel Hawley has suggested a santa hat might be appropriate too. It's going to be a fun night. Sign up details are available here,   http://www.nxtgenug.net/ViewEvent.aspx?EventID=353 And for those of you who can't make this last outing, I am planning on converting both presentations into a series of blog posts so the content will be available to a wider audience.  If the posts don't seem to be appearing fast enough drop me an e-mail to remind me to get on with it !

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  • DDDNorth2 Bradford, 13th October 2012 - Async Patterns presentation and source code

    - by Liam Westley
    Many thanks to Andy Westgarth and his team for organising a fantastic conference at the rather elegant Bradford University School of Management. Also, a big congratulations to all the delegates who gave up there free time to come and hear us speak and who were, in general, enthusiastic and asked some cracking questions to keep us speakers on our toes. For those who attended my Async my source code and presentation are now available on GitHub, https://github.com/westleyl/DDDNorth2-AsyncPatterns If you are new to Git then the easiest client to install is GitHub for Windows, a graphical UI for accessing GitHub. Personally, I also have TortoiseGit installed – the file explorer add-in that works in a familiar manner to TortoiseSVN. As I mentioned during the presentation I have not included the sample data, the music files, in the source code placed on GitHub but I have included instructions on how to download them from http://silents.bandcamp.com and place them in the correct folders. What I forgot to mention is that Windows Media Player by default does not play Ogg Vorbis and Flac music files, however you can download the codec installer for these, for free, from http://xiph.org/dshow. I am planning to break down this little project into a series of blog posts, with each pattern being a single blog post over several weeks. In these I will flesh out the background behind the pattern, the basic goal being achieved and how to monitor the progress of the sample data being processed. Basically, what I said during the presentation and is missing from the slides.

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  • Update to Where&rsquo;s My Graphic Equalizer in Windows Media Player &ndash; now covers Windows 8

    - by Liam Westley
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/twickers/archive/2013/11/11/update-to-wherersquos-my-graphic-equalizer-in-windows-media-player.aspxHave you wondered where the graphics equaliser in the Windows 8 version of Windows Media Player has moved?  It’s certainly not on the menu option you’d think it is …. well, I’ve updated my Windows 7 post to include Windows 8, it’s over here http://geekswithblogs.net/twickers/archive/2009/10/23/135680.aspx.

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  • URL Rewrite query database?

    - by Liam
    Im trying to understand how URL rewriting works. I have the following link... mysite.com/profile.php?id=23 I want to rewrite the above url with the Users first and last name... mysite.com/directory/liam-gallagher From what Ive read however you specify the rule for what the url should be output as, But how do i query my table to get each users name? Sorry if this is hard to understand, ive confused myself!

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  • Insert lecture number and page number of lecture in footline

    - by Liam
    I am dividing a semester's worth of lectures via the \lecture command. I'd like to have in the footline (among other things) the lecture number, date, and page number of the current lecture. I would also like to use the default style footline, with the black box on the left and the blue on the right. So I define a lecture with e.g. \lecture{January 28, 2010}{lecture01} with \title[Lecture \insertlecturenumber{}(\insertlecture)\quad{}Page \insertframenumber]{Course Title} in the preamble, I get an error; it will not accept \insertlecture there. If I remove \insertlecture, it does what I want, except that the page number is counted from the start of the semester, not the lecture. Is there any way to do this? Thank you. Liam

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  • Craftsmanship Tour: Day 3 &amp; 4 8th Light

    - by Liam McLennan
    Thursday morning the Illinois public transport system came through for me again. I took the Metra train north from Union Station (which was seething with inbound commuters) to Prairie Crossing (Libertyville). At Prairie Crossing I met Paul and Justin from 8th Light and then Justin drove us to the office. The 8th Light office is in an small business park, in a semi-rural area, surrounded by ponds. Upstairs there are two spacious, open areas for developers. At one end of the floor is Doug Bradbury’s walk-and-code station; a treadmill with a desk and computer so that a developer can get exercise at work. At the other end of the floor is a hammock. This irregular office furniture is indicative of the 8th Light philosophy, to pursue excellence without being limited by conventional wisdom. 8th Light have a wall covered in posters, each illustrating one person’s software craftsmanship journey. The posters are a fascinating visualisation of the similarities and differences between each of our progressions. The first thing I did Thursday morning was to create my own poster and add it to the wall. Over two days at 8th Light I did some pairing with the 8th Lighters and we shared thoughts on software development. I am not accustomed to such a progressive and enlightened environment and I found the experience inspirational. At 8th Light TDD, clean code, pairing and kaizen are deeply ingrained in the culture. Friday, during lunch, 8th Light hosted a ‘lunch and learn’ event. Paul Pagel lead us through a coding exercise using micro-pomodori. We worked in pairs, focusing on the pedagogy of pair programming and TDD. After lunch I recorded this interview with Paul Pagel and Justin Martin. We discussed 8th light, craftsmanship, apprenticeships and the limelight framework. Interview with Paul Pagel and Justin Martin My time at Didit, Obtiva and 8th Light has convinced me that I need to give up some of my independence and go back to working in a team. Craftsmen advance their skills by learning from each other, and I can’t do that working at home by myself. The challenge is finding the right team, and becoming a part of it.

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  • Getting Started With Sinatra

    - by Liam McLennan
    Sinatra is a Ruby DSL for building web applications. It is distinguished from its peers by its minimalism. Here is hello world in Sinatra: require 'rubygems' require 'sinatra' get '/hi' do "Hello World!" end A haml view is rendered by: def '/' haml :name_of_your_view end Haml is also new to me. It is a ruby-based view engine that uses significant white space to avoid having to close tags. A hello world web page in haml might look like: %html %head %title Hello World %body %div Hello World You see how the structure is communicated using indentation instead of opening and closing tags. It makes views more concise and easier to read. Based on my syntax highlighter for Gherkin I have started to build a sinatra web application that publishes syntax highlighted gherkin feature files. I have found that there is a need to have features online so that customers can access them, and so that they can be linked to project management tools like Jira, Mingle, trac etc. The first thing I want my application to be able to do is display a list of the features that it knows about. This will happen when a user requests the root of the application. Here is my sinatra handler: get '/' do feature_service = Finding::FeatureService.new(Finding::FeatureFileFinder.new, Finding::FeatureReader.new) @features = feature_service.features(settings.feature_path, settings.feature_extensions) haml :index end The handler and the view are in the same scope so the @features variable will be available in the view. This is the same way that rails passes data between actions and views. The view to render the result is: %h2 Features %ul - @features.each do |feature| %li %a{:href => "/feature/#{feature.name}"}= feature.name Clearly this is not a complete web page. I am using a layout to provide the basic html page structure. This view renders an <li> for each feature, with a link to /feature/#{feature.name}. Here is what the page looks like: When the user clicks on one of the links I want to display the contents of that feature file. The required handler is: get '/feature/:feature' do @feature_name = params[:feature] feature_service = Finding::FeatureService.new(Finding::FeatureFileFinder.new, Finding::FeatureReader.new) # TODO replace with feature_service.feature(name) @feature = feature_service.features(settings.feature_path, settings.feature_extensions).find do |feature| feature.name == @feature_name end haml :feature end and the view: %h2= @feature.name %pre{:class => "brush: gherkin"}= @feature.description %div= partial :_back_to_index %script{:type => "text/javascript", :src => "/scripts/shCore.js"} %script{:type => "text/javascript", :src => "/scripts/shBrushGherkin.js"} %script{:type => "text/javascript" } SyntaxHighlighter.all(); Now when I click on the Search link I get a nicely formatted feature file: If you would like see the full source it is available on bitbucket.

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  • BDD IS Different to TDD

    - by Liam McLennan
    One of this morning’s sessions at Alt.NET 2010 discussed BDD. Charlie Pool expressed the opinion, which I have heard many times, that BDD is just a description of TDD done properly. For me, the core principles of BDD are: expressing behaviour in terms that show the value to the system actors Expressing behaviours / scenarios in a format that clearly separates the context, the action and the observations. If we go back to Kent Beck’s TDD book neither of these elements are mentioned as being core to TDD. BDD is an evolution of TDD. It is a specialisation of TDD, but it is not the same as TDD. Discussing BDD, and building specialised tools for BDD, is valuable even though the difference between BDD and TDD is subtle. Further, the existence of BDD does not mean that TDD is obsolete or invalidated.

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  • Executable Resumes

    - by Liam McLennan
    Over the past twelve months I have been thinking a lot about executable specifications. Long considered the holy grail of agile software development, executable specifications means expressing a program’s functionality in a way that is both readable by the customer and computer verifiable in an automatic, repeatable way. With the current generation of BDD and ATDD tools executable specifications seem finally within the reach of a significant percentage of the development community. Lately, and partly as a result of my craftsmanship tour, I have decided that soon I am going to have to get a job (gasp!). As Dave Hoover describes in Apprenticeship Patters, “you … have mentors and kindred spirits that you meet with periodically, [but] when it comes to developing software, you work alone.” The time may have come where the only way for me to feel satisfied and enriched by my work is to seek out a work environment where I can work with people smarter and more knowledgeable than myself. Having been on both sides of the interview desk many times I know how difficult and unreliable the process can be. Therefore, I am proposing the idea of executable resumes. As a journeyman programmer looking for a fruitful work environment I plan to write an application that demonstrates my understanding of the state of the art. Potential employers can download, view and execute my executable resume and judge wether my aesthetic sensibility matches their own. The concept of the executable resume is based upon the following assertion: A line of code answers a thousand interview questions Asking people about their experiences and skills is not a direct way of assessing their value to your organisation. Often it simple assesses their ability to mislead an interviewer. An executable resume demonstrates: The highest quality code that the person is able to produce. That the person is sufficiently motivated to produce something of value in their own time. That the person loves their craft. The idea of publishing a program to demonstrate a developer’s skills comes from Rob Conery, who suggested that each developer should build their own blog engine since it is the public representation of their level of mastery. Rob said: Luke had to build his own lightsaber – geeks should have to build their own blogs. And that should be their resume. In honour of Rob’s inspiration I plan to build a blog engine as my executable resume. While it is true that the world does not need another blog engine it is as good a project as any, it is a well understood domain, and I have not found an existing blog engine that I like. Executable resumes fit well with the software craftsmanship metaphor. It is not difficult to imagine that under the guild system master craftsmen may have accepted journeymen based on the quality of the work they had produced in the past. We now understand that when it comes to the functionality of an application that code is the final arbiter. Why not apply the same rule to hiring?

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  • My New BDD Style

    - by Liam McLennan
    I have made a change to my code-based BDD style. I start with a scenario such as: Pre-Editing * Given I am a book editor * And some chapters are locked and some are not * When I view the list of chapters for editing * Then I should see some chapters are editable and are not locked * And I should see some chapters are not editable and are locked and I implement it using a modified SpecUnit base class as: [Concern("Chapter Editing")] public class when_pre_editing_a_chapter : BaseSpec { private User i; // other context variables protected override void Given() { i_am_a_book_editor(); some_chapters_are_locked_and_some_are_not(); } protected override void Do() { i_view_the_list_of_chapters_for_editing(); } private void i_am_a_book_editor() { i = new UserBuilder().WithUsername("me").WithRole(UserRole.BookEditor).Build(); } private void some_chapters_are_locked_and_some_are_not() { } private void i_view_the_list_of_chapters_for_editing() { } [Observation] public void should_see_some_chapters_are_editable_and_are_not_locked() { } [Observation] public void should_see_some_chapters_are_not_editable_and_are_locked() { } } and the output from the specunit report tool is: Chapter Editing specifications    1 context, 2 specifications Chapter Editing, when pre editing a chapter    2 specifications should see some chapters are editable and are not locked should see some chapters are not editable and are locked The intent is to provide a clear mapping from story –> scenarios –> bdd tests.

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  • Syntax Highlighting for Gherkin (Cucumber Language)

    - by Liam McLennan
    SyntaxHighlighter is the de facto standard for syntax highlighting on the web. I am currently working on a tool for publishing BDD specifications on the web and I want syntax highlighting. Unfortunately, SyntaxHighlighter does not support Gherkin, the language Cucumber and SpecFlow use to define BDD specifications. Writing new language parsers for SyntaxHighlighter is very easy, so I implemented one for Gherkin. Here is what a syntax highlighted Gherkin file looks like: # A comment here Feature: Some terse yet descriptive text of what is desired In order to realize a named business value As a explicit system actor I want to gain some beneficial outcome which furthers the goal @secretlabel Scenario: Some determinable business situation Given some precondition And some other precondition When some action by the actor And some other action And yet another action Then some testable outcome is achieved And something else we can check happens too Like all SyntaxHighlighter brushes to use this one you need to install the brush (shBrushGherkin.js). I have also used a custom theme to get it just the way I wanted it (shThemeGherkin.css). If you would like to use my Gherkin brush you may download the code and example page.

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  • Craftsmanship Tour: Day 2 Obtiva

    - by Liam McLennan
    I like Chicago. It is a great city for travellers. From the moment I got off the plane at O’Hare everything was easy. I took the train to ‘the Loop’ and walked around the corner to my hotel, Hotel Blake on Dearborn St. Sadly, the elevated train lines in downtown Chicago remind me of ‘Shall We Dance’. Hotel Blake is excellent (except for the breakfast) and the concierge directed me to a pizza place called Lou Malnati's for Chicago style deep-dish pizza. Lou Malnati’s would be a great place to go with a group of friends. I felt strange dining there by myself, but the food and service were excellent. As usual in the United States the portion was so large that I could not finish it, but oh how I tried. Dave Hoover, who invited me to Obtiva for the day, had asked me to arrive at 9:45am. I was up early and had some time to kill so I stopped at the Willis Tower, since it was on my way to the office. Willis Tower is 1,451 feet (442 m) tall and has an observation deck at the top. Around the observation deck are a set of acrylic boxes, protruding from the side of the building. Brave soles can walk out on the perspex and look between their feet all the way down to the street. It is unnerving. Obtiva is a progressive, craftsmanship-focused software development company in downtown Chicago. Dave even wrote a book, Apprenticeship Patterns, that provides a catalogue of patterns to assist aspiring software craftsmen to achieve their goals. I spent the morning working in Obtiva’s software studio, an open xp-style office that houses Obtiva’s in-house development team. For lunch Dave Hoover, Corey Haines, Cory Foy and I went to a local Greek restaurant (not Dancing Zorbas). Dave, Corey and Cory are three smart and motivated guys and I found their ideas enlightening. It was especially great to chat with Corey Haines since he was the inspiration for my craftsmanship tour in the first place. After lunch I recorded a brief interview with Dave. Unfortunately, the battery in my camera went flat so I missed recording some interesting stuff. Interview with Dave Hoover In the evening Obtiva hosted an rspec hackfest with David Chelimsky and others. This was an excellent opportunity to be around some of the very best ruby programmers. At 10pm I went back to my hotel to get some rest before my train north the next morning.

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  • .NET CoffeeScript Handler

    - by Liam McLennan
    After more time than I care to admit I have finally released a rudimentary Http Handler for serving compiled CoffeeScript from Asp.Net applications. It was a long and painful road but I am glad to finally have a usable strategy for client-side scripting in CoffeeScript. Why CoffeeScript? As Douglas Crockford discussed in detail, Javascript is a mixture of good and bad features. The genius of CoffeeScript is to treat javascript in the browser as a virtual machine. By compiling to javascript CoffeeScript gets a clean slate to re-implement syntax, taking the best of javascript and ruby and combining them into a beautiful scripting language. The only limitation is that CoffeeScript cannot do anything that javascript cannot do. Here is an example from the CoffeeScript website. First, the coffeescript syntax: reverse: (string) -> string.split('').reverse().join '' alert reverse '.eeffoC yrT' and the javascript that it compiles to: var reverse; reverse = function(string) { return string.split('').reverse().join(''); }; alert(reverse('.eeffoC yrT')); Areas For Improvement ;) The current implementation is deeply flawed, however, at this point I’m just glad it works. When the server receives a request for a coffeescript file the following things happen: The CoffeeScriptHandler is invoked If the script has previously been compiled then the compiled version is returned. Else it writes a script file containing the CoffeeScript compiler and the requested coffee script The process shells out to CScript.exe to to execute the script. The resulting javascript is sent back to the browser. This outlandish process is necessary because I could not find a way to directly execute the coffeescript compiler from .NET. If anyone can help out with that I would appreciate it.

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  • Software Craftsman Pilgrimage Comes Together

    - by Liam McLennan
    Last week on Software Craftsman Pilgrimage I was trying to organise where I will be travelling, and the companies I will be pairing with. I now have a confirmed itinerary. 9 - 11th April Alt.NET Seattle 12th April Craftsman visit with Didit (Long Island) 13th April rest day :) 14th April Craftsman visit with Obtiva (Chicago) 15th – 16th April Craftsman visit with 8th Light (Chicago) 17th – 18th April Seattle Code Camp I am looking forward to all of my visits and talking to all the smart people who work there. I will be blogging my progress and hopefully shooting some video. If you are in Seattle, New York or Chicago and would like to meet up to chat about craftsmanship, programming, ruby or .NET please email me.

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  • CoffeeScript Test Framework

    - by Liam McLennan
    Tonight the Brisbane Alt.NET group is doing a coding dojo. I am hoping to talk someone into pairing with me to solve the kata in CoffeeScript. CoffeeScript is an awesome language, half javascript, half ruby, that compiles to javascript. To assist with tonight’s dojo I wrote the following micro test framework for CoffeeScript: <html> <body> <div> <h2>Test Results:</h2> <p class='results' /> </div> <script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.3.2/jquery.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script> <script type="text/coffeescript"> # super simple test framework test: { write: (s) -> $('.results').append(s + '<br/>') assert: (b, message...) -> test.write(if b then "pass" else "fail: " + message) tests: [] exec: () -> for t in test.tests test.write("<br/><b>$t.name</b>") t.func() } # add some tests test.tests.push { name: "First Test" func: () -> test.assert(true) } test.tests.push { name: "Another Test" func: () -> test.assert(false, "You loose") } # run them test.exec(test.tests) </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="coffee-script.js"></script> </body> </html> It’s not the prettiest, but as far as I know it is the only CoffeeScript test framework in existence. Of course, I could just use one of the javascript test frameworks but that would be no fun. To get this example to run you need the coffeescript compiler in the same directory as the page.

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  • Seattle Code Camp 2010

    - by Liam McLennan
    Seattle Code Camp was a two-day intensive software development conference. Ostensibly a technology agnostic event the reality is that code camp continues to focus on Microsoft technologies. Notable exceptions were talks on Ruby and iPhone development. If you were not able to attend you can view all of the sessions online. Code Camp was a good opportunity to catch up with my friends from last weekend’s Alt.NET conference and also to participate in some great sessions.

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