SoCal Code Camp San Diego 2014

On June 24, 2014, in Code camps and conferences, by Calvin Wong

Calvin WongThe SoCal Code Camp San Diego happens June 28th and 29th at the UC San Diego!

DiscountASP.NET has sponsored all the SoCal Code Camps (LA, SD and OC) for many, many years. They’re local events to us. They’re organized by local user groups and attended by local developers, so we’re always happy to offer our support.

This year, we’ll be there on Saturday the 28th sponsoring under the new Everleap banner. If you haven’t heard, Everleap is our new elastic cloud hosting service. We’re very excited to introduce our new platform to everyone attending.

This will be the very first code camp I’m attending. I’m a code camp virgin with a bit of sweaty-palm nerves, but I’m excited to meet members of our local development community. To ensure I don’t run afoul, Everleap has decided to send me with chaperons. Michael Ossou, one of our own developers, and John Meeks, manager of our affiliate programs, will be in attendance with me. Michael will also giving a presentation on JQuery and SignalR.

Michael is an engaging and entertaining presenter, showing off a really cool application. I’ve seen the presentation myself and you don’t want to miss this one.

You have questions about cloud hosting? Do you have a nagging curiosity about the people behind your hosting service? Does your current host suck? Swing on by our table!

See you there!



Calvin WongMichael Ossou, one of our developers and frequent contributor to this blog, gave a presentation last year at the SoCal Code Camp. The presentation, titled “Obama, JQuery, & ASP.NET SignalR: Getting Started with the Real-Time Web”, was received so well that Michael decided to take the show on the road. He asked me to join him because, well, he needed another body to use the carpool lane. We were invited to give presentations to five groups in the Southern California area.

That was a lot of pavement covered. I had fun meeting all the organizers, members and customers! But the time on the road is another story. Michael is a fearsomely angry driver, zig-zagging and red-lining all over those 491 miles. If there are more presentations ahead, I’ll need hazard pay. And Michael needs decaf.

I brought my GoPro and we put together this video:

February 11th – Inland Empire .NET User’s Group
James Johnson heads this smart and energetic group. DiscountASP.NET has sponsored this group for many years, but this was the first time either Michael or I got to meet James and the other members in person, and we’re glad we did!

March 3rd – Los Angeles .NET Developers Group
This group is (co-)organized by Hattan Shobokshi, who also now organizes the SoCal Code Camps. We’ve known Hattan for quite a while now, but we’ve never been to one of the group’s meetings before. Unfortunately, Hattan was out of the country couldn’t attend Michael’s presentation. We had a great time meeting the rest of the group. And we look forward to seeing Hattan during the next SoCal Code Camp.

March 5th – San Diego .NET Developers Group
We had a blast down in San Diego. The SD .NET group is run by Woody Pewitt and Kim Smith-Rohlfs. Woody is a fixture in the SoCal dev community and a real hoot! DiscountASP is a long-time sponsor of this group as well, and all the member were very grateful for all the pizzas we’ve bought them all these years.

March 10th – HTML5 Developers LA
We want to thank ShaRon Folio for inviting us to present to the HTML5 group. The presentation was held at the gorgeous Microsoft offices on The Reserve in Playa Vista (replete with Xbox One gaming stations). We would also like to thank Adam Tuliper, who hosted on behalf of Microsoft.

March 12 – jQuery LA
Natalie MacLees organizes this fun group that meets at in two locations, in Westchester and Chinatown. We met them in Westchester, in the eccentric orange-colored office of Q, where “coffee is for closers!”


Calvin WongSouthern Maryland GiveCampThe Southern Maryland GiveCamp version 2014 will take place during the last weekend of this month (March 28th – 30th). Ten non-profits will get an IT make-over!

We’re sponsoring the GiveCamp again this year and wish all the volunteers and participating NPO’s a great event!



Calvin WongDuring the last SoCal Code Camp, we had a drawing to give away a Leap Motion Controller. We’re proud to announce that the winner is Darryl Hawkins from Lake Forest, CA!

Darryl has been developing software for almost 30 years, having started in the game industry in 1986 with the Commodore 64. Subsequent console development included the Super Nintendo, Sega Saturn, Playstation, Wii, XBox 360 and PS3.

He is currently working as a software engineer, developing web applications using ASP.NET MVC. He also runs an independent game development studio called OmniHawk, developing games for PC, mobile, and next-gen consoles. His most recent game is called Drone Military, available for Android and Windows 8 mobile devices.

Darryl Hawkins with his prize!

Darryl Hawkins with his prize!

Congratulations, Darryl! We’re all looking forward to you implementing the Leap Motion Controller into your next game!


Calvin WongOn February 11th, Michael Ossou, developer, evangelist, regular contributor to this blog, and all-around good guy, is giving a presentation to the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group.

Michael OssouWe have sponsored the group for a while now, but this is the first time we’re giving a presentation. The title of the presentation is: Obama, JQuery, & ASP.NET SignalR: Getting Started with the Real-Time Web.

It features an application Michael built that mimics approval dials (those dial devices handed out to focus groups during election debates) that runs in a browser. If you’re part of the Inland Empire group or in the area, we’d love to meet you!

Time: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 @ 6:30pm
Location: National University, 804 East Brier Drive, San Bernardino, CA 92408-2815


Calvin WongMost of you are probably familiar with Team Foundation Server (TFS), Microsoft’s Application Lifecycle Management product that we offer as a hosted service. You can use TFS to manage work item, track bugs, automate builds and, of course, version control.

We get a lot of questions around here about Visual Studio Online (formerly Team Foundation Service) and how it’s different than the TFS service we offer. This article will try to shed some light on those questions.

What’s in a name?

visual studio team foundation server

Let’s start with getting the names straight. First, there is the original “Team Foundation Server” (TFS). This is software you can install on a server in your own network. You and your team can then hook up Visual Studio to that server and use TFS. You have to buy the software, buy licenses for users and use your own server.

Next came the hosted version of TFS, which is what we offer. We have TFS on our web server, you pay us a small per-user fee to use it. You can get up and running quickly, without performing installation or maintenance. And the service is available online. You just need Visual Studio installed on your computer and an internet connection.

Then came “Team Foundation Service,” a TFS-like product offered directly by Microsoft. You pay them to hook up Visual Studio to their Azure-based online server.

VS OnlineFinally, Microsoft changed the name of Team Foundation Service to “Visual Studio Online”.

I will just compare the hosted version of TFS (the product we offer) to Visual Studio Online (VS Online).

VS Online

The core functions of TFS and VS Online are the same. In fact, they are essentially the same product on different update cycles and frequencies. You can use them both to track bugs, manage work items, control different versions of your source code – all the things a good ALM product should do.

What’s fundamentally different is how new versions of each get to market.

TFS has distinct versions: 2010, 2012 and the new 2013. This is like most other Microsoft software, e.g. Office, Visual Studio, Windows OS. When a new version comes out, you can choose whether or not you want to upgrade (like choosing to stay on Windows 7 instead of moving to Windows 8).

VS Online does not have versions. There is no VS Online 2010 or VS Online 2013. Instead, VS Online is a constantly evolving service that’s continually being updated.

Microsoft is hard at work (try to keep up)

Currently, Microsoft releases a new sprint (update) for VS Online every 3 weeks. Adoption is not optional. Sprints are released on the entire platform, along with a news article explaining the changes. You can see history of the changes here.

The history is long. There are a lot of changes, big and small, superficial and architectural. Things get added, removed, returned, renamed and rearranged (heck, they even changed the name!). In fact, they released a new sprint while I was writing this article. So, if you’re going to be on VS Online, you’ll want to bookmark that page and keep up with all the changes as they happen. And not only you – your entire team will have to keep up, too.


It’s all part of Microsoft’s Agile philosophy, buildmeasurelearn.

Who are they measuring and learning from? While the VS Online team does do some dogfooding, they primarily rely on their users, through observations and direct feedback. In a sense, users are pioneers blazing the ALM frontier. Or maybe just lab rats? Remember this video from Microsoft taking shots against Google Docs?

(Note that Microsoft has removed that video from their YouTube channel.)

Most of the time, Microsoft is adding new features and making the service better by giving you more tools, better ways to manage your project and collaborate with your team.  Last year they added, among other features, Git support, charts, and team rooms.

But sometimes a new release will introduce a new bug, or just downright break something. Like with Sprint #45. Or with the Nov. 13, 2013 release.

I’ll be honest. Most of that is over my head. It’s a complex service sitting on top of a complex service (Azure) that changing all the time and it takes weeks for the smartest people in the world to figure out what’s wrong.

You want to blaze ahead too?

But you want more tools, better project management and collaboration, right? Well, you get that with TFS, too! See, the features on VS Online eventually get bundled up and released in new versions of TFS. Take a look at this chart. The third column (Server) lets you know what version of TFS that feature was released to.

So to me, with TFS, you’re getting the best of both worlds. You don’t have to suffer bugs, because they’re usually worked out by the time a new version is released. New features aren’t missing important components. You get a more stable, more mature product with TFS. And you’re not forced to adopt new versions.  If you’re happy with TFS 2012 and would rather concentrate on your code than learn new software, you can stay with TFS 2012. If and/or when you want some of the new features that came out with TFS 2013, you can choose to upgrade – on your own schedule.

Which should you choose?

If you’re having a tough time deciding, let me share what I’ve gathered from the feedback we get. People who prefer VS Online are willing to tolerate bleeding edge hiccups. Many of them are motivated by an interested in ALM itself, as a subject of study, and want to keep abreast of the changes Microsoft makes as they make them.

The people who prefer TFS tend to be in mature developer teams; and in teams that maybe that don’t have the luxury to schedule a training session every 3 weeks. These are usually people who need something they are familiar with and confident in.

If you have any questions or comments, let us know!


Calvin Wong

Leap Motion and DiscountASP.NET swag.

Leap Motion and DiscountASP.NET swag.

We had an awesome time at the Silicon Valley Code Camp! During the event, we held a drawing to give away two Leap Motion Controllers (and some DiscountASP.NET swag). Here are your winners:

Bill testing the Leap Motion.

Bill testing the Leap Motion.

Bill Pike

Bill is a software engineering manager at a large test equipment company. He does software on my own, mostly for fun.

“WoW! Very fun device and software. I cannot wait to decide what code I can write for it. Thanks to DiscountASP.NET for the early Christmas present!” – Bill Pike

Ishai with his prize.

Ishai with his prize.

Ishai Hachlili

Ishai is a web and mobile developer who has been building web sites for various companies for over 15 years. In the last couple of years he’s been building smartphone apps including The Next Line, a social story writing game, and a treasure hunt game called Play the Hunt. He’s currently working on “Masters of Trivia”, a new multi-player trivia game that will be released for Windows Phone and iPhone soon.

“I just got the Leap Motion. Thanks, I can’t wait to play around with it.” – Ishai Hachlili

Congratulations to you both!


Calvin WongThe Visual Studio Live! Orlando conference takes place November 18th-22nd at the gorgeous Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. The conference is actually four events in one with Modern Apps Live!, SharePoint Live!, SQL Server Live! and Visual Studio Live!

DiscountASP.NET blog readers (and those of you who randomly stumbled upon this article) can get a whopping $400 discount with this code: LS11

VSLive 2013

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