Tag: code camp
South Florida Code Camp 2019
Posted by bsstahl on 2019-03-03 and Filed Under: event
Thanks again to all the organizers, speakers and attendees of the 2019 South Florida Code Camp. As always, it was an amazing and fun experience.
The slides for my presentation are online Intro to WebAssembly and Blazor and the Blazor Chutes & Ladders Simulation sample code can be found in my AIDemos GitHub Repo.
Three Awesome Months
Posted by bsstahl on 2019-02-26 and Filed Under: event
The next few months are going to be absolutely amazing. We've got some great events coming up in March and April right here in the Valley of the Sun. In addition, I currently have 4 conferences scheduled in 4 different countries on 2 continents.
AZGiveCamp IX - Presented by Quicken Loans - March 8th-10th
The most important occasion coming up is the 9th AZGiveCamp Hackathon of Help. This year, we're very fortunate to have Quicken Loans presenting our event and hosting it at their new facility in downtown Phoenix. At AZGiveCamp, Arizona's finest technologists will put their skills to work creating software for some great local charity organizations. We help them help our community by using our skills to create tools that help them further their mission.
Visual Studio 2019 Arizona Launch - April 16th
Another fun event for developers in the valley is the Visual Studio 2019 Arizona Launch event being hosted at Galvanize. We'll have some great speakers talking about how Visual Studio 2019 is a more productive, modern, and innovative environment for building software.
Around the World
In March, I'll be visiting opposite ends of the east coast of North America.
First, on March 2nd, I'll be attending the always amazing South Florida Code Camp in Fort Lauderdale. This event is right up there with the biggest community conferences in the country and is always worth attending. This will be the 7th year I've presented at SoFlaCC. If you're in the area I hope you'll attend.
Later in March, I cross the border into Canada to attend ConFoo Montreal. This will be my first trip ever to Montreal so I hope the March weather is kind to this 35 year Phoenix resident. The event runs from March 13th - 15th and there will be 2 Canadiens games during the time I am there so I should be able to get to at least one of them.
In May I get to do a short tour of Europe, spending 2 weeks at conferences in Budapest, Hungary (Craft Conference), and Marbella, Spain (J on the Beach). While I have done some traveling in Europe before, I have never been to Spain or Hungary so I am really looking forward to experiencing the history and culture that these two cities have to offer.
Keep up With Me
I maintain a list of my presentations, both past and upcoming, on the Community Speaker page of this blog. I also try to document my conference experiences on Twitter @bsstahl. If you are going to be attending any of these events, please be sure to ping me on Twitter and let me know.
SoCalCodeCamp Slide Decks
Posted by bsstahl on 2018-11-10 and Filed Under: event
The slide decks for my two talks at SoCalCodeCamp USC from November 10, 2018 are below.
Thanks to all of the organizers and attendees of this always amazing event.
Desert Code Camp – October 2017
Posted by bsstahl on 2017-10-16 and Filed Under: event
Another great Desert Code Camp is in the books. A huge shout-out to all of the organizers, speakers & attendees for making the event so awesome.
I was privileged to be able to deliver two talks during this event:
A Developer’s Survey of AI Techniques: Artificial Intelligence is far more than just machine learning. There are a variety of tools and techniques that systems use to make rational decisions on our behalf. In this survey designed specifically for software developers, we explore a variety of these methods using demo code written in c#. You will leave with an understanding of the breadth of AI methodologies as well as when and how they might be used. You will also have a library of sample code available for reference.
AI that can Reason "Why": One of the big problems with Artificial Intelligences is that while they are often able to give us the best possible solution to a problem, they are rarely able to reason about why that solution is the best. For those times where it is important to understand the why as well as the what, Hybrid AI systems can be used to get the best of both worlds. In this introduction to Hybrid AI systems, we'll design and build one such system that can solve a complex problem for us, and still provide information about why each decision was made so we can evaluate those decisions and learn from our AI's insights.
Please feel free to contact me on Twitter @bsstahl with any questions or comments on these or any of my presentations.
An Example of a Hybrid AI Implementation
Posted by bsstahl on 2017-10-13 and Filed Under: development
I previously wrote about a Hybrid AI system that combined logical and optimization methods of problem solving to identify the best solution to an employee shift assignment problem. This implementation was notable in that a hybrid approach was used so that the optimal solution could be found, but the system could still indicate to the users why a particular assignment was, or wasn’t, included in the results.
I recently published to GitHub a demo of a similar system. I use this demo in my presentation Building AI Solutions that can Reason Why. The code demonstrates the hybridization of multiple AI techniques by creating a solution that iteratively applies a combinatorial optimization engine. Different results are obtained by varying the methods of applying the constraints in that model. In the final (4th) demo method, an iterative process is used to identify what the shortcomings of the final product are, and why they are necessary.
These demos use the Conference Scheduler AI project to build a valid schedule.
There are 4 examples, each of which reside in a separate test method:
The 1st method in BasicExamplesDemo.cs shows an unconstrained model where only the hardest of constraints are excluded. That is, the only features of the schedule that are considered by the scheduler are those that are absolute must-haves. Since there are fewer hard constraints, it is relatively easy to satisfy all the requirements of this model.
The 2nd method in BasicExamplesDemo.cs shows a fully constrained model where all constraints are considered must-haves. That is, the only schedules that will be considered for our conference are those that meet all of the scheduling criteria. As you might imagine, this can be difficult to do, in this case resulting in No Feasible Solution being found. Because we use a combinatorial optimization model, the system gives us no clues as to which of the constraints cause the infeasibility, or what to do that might allow it to find a solution.
The 3rd method in BasicExamplesDemo.cs shows the solution when the true must-haves are considered hard constraints but preferences are not. The AI attempts to optimize the solution by satisfying as many of the soft constraints (preferences) as possible. This results in an imperfect, but possibly best case schedule, but one where we have little insight as to what preferences were not satisfied, and almost no insight as to why.
The final demo, and the only method in AddConstraintsDemo.cs, builds on the 3rd demo, where the true must-haves are considered hard constraints but preferences are not. Here however, instead of attempting to optimize the soft constraints, the AI iteratively adds the preferences as hard constraints, one at a time, re-executing the solution after each to make sure the problem has not become infeasible. If the solution has become infeasible, that fact is recorded along with what was being attempted. Then that constraint is removed and the process continues with the remaining constraints. This Hybrid process still results in an imperfect, but best-case schedule. This time however, we not only know what preferences could not be satisfied, we have a good idea as to why.
The Hybrid Process
The process of iteratively executing the optimization, adding constraints one at a time, is show in the diagram below. It is important to remember that the order in which these constraints are added here is critical since constraining the solution in one way may limit the feasibility of the solution for future constraints. Great care must be taken in selecting the order that constraints are added in order to obtain the best possible solution.
The steps are as follows:
- Make sure we can solve the problem without any of the soft constraints. If the problem doesn’t have any feasible solutions at the start of the process, we are certainly not going to find any by adding constraints.
- Add a constraint to the solution. Do so by selecting the next most important constraint in order. In the case of our conference schedule, we are adding in speaker preferences for when they speak. These preferences are being added in the order that they were requested (first-come first-served).
- Verify that there is still at least 1 feasible solution to the problem after the constraint is added. If no feasible solutions can be found:
- Remove the constraint.
- Record the details of the constraint.
- Record the current state of the model.
- Repeat steps 2 & 3 until all constraints have been tried.
- Publish the solution
- The resulting schedule
- The constraints that could not be added. This tells us what preferences could not be accommodated.
- The state of the model at the time the failed constraints were tried. This give us insight as to why the constraints could not be satisfied.
Note: The sample data in these demos is very loosely based on SoCalCodeCamp San Diego from the summer of 2017. While some of the presenters names and presentations come roughly from the publicly available schedule, pretty much everything else has been fictionalized to make for a compelling demo, including the appearances by some Microsoft rock stars, and the "requests" of the various presenters.
If you have any questions about this code, or about how Hybrid AIs can be used to provide more information about the solutions to problems than strictly optimization or probabilistic models, please contact me on Twitter @bsstahl.
Dynamic Optimization Presentation
Posted by bsstahl on 2015-10-21 and Filed Under: event
I hope you’ve had an opportunity to see my presentation, “Dynamic Optimization – One Technique all Programmers Should Know” at a Code Camp or User Group near you. If so, and you want to have a copy of the slide deck for your very own, you can see it embedded below, or use the direct link to the Powerpoint here.
The subject of this presentation is using a technique called Dynamic Programming to solve problems that have more than one possible solution. This technique works very well when used to solve problems that are recursive in nature. One of the best things about this technique is that it guarantees that the solution it produces is the best possible solution.
We look at three examples during the presentation, the first is done only “on paper” and is an example of using this technique to solve a knapsack problem. The second example is done in pseudo-code and solves a linear best-path problem in the game of Chutes & Ladders. Finally, we drop into Visual Studio to solve a 2-dimensional best-path problem. Sample code for both of the last 2 examples can be found in GitHub.
Keep an eye on my Speaking Engagements Page for opportunities to see this presentation live. If you are a user group or conference organizer, you can contact me to schedule an in-person presentation. This presentation is a lot of fun to deliver and has been received extremely well at Code Camps and User Groups across the country.
Speaking Engagements for October 2015
Posted by bsstahl on 2015-09-30 and Filed Under: event
I am really looking forward to October because I have 3 awesome events that I’ll be speaking, and learning, at:
- The first event for the month is Code Camp NYC in Manhattan on October 10th. I have attending this event once before and loved it. I’m really looking forward to being there again.
- Next up is Atlanta Code Camp on October 24th. This will be my 1st time at this event, and my 1st time in Atlanta in many years. Hopefully, people will have some helpful suggestions for what to see and do when I am not at the Code Camp.
- Finally, I’ll be speaking at .NET Group – Southern Nevada’s .NET User Group in Las Vegas on October 29th. I’ve spoken in Las Vegas at the Code Camp there before, but have never had the privilege of attending their user group.
I have several other event possibilities in the works for November and beyond. I’ll announce them here periodically, but you can always see my schedule, as well as past events and the talks I am currently giving, using the “Speaking Engagements” link above.
New OSS Project
Posted by bsstahl on 2014-07-11 and Filed Under: development
I recently started working on a set of open-source projects for Code Camps and other community conferences with my friend Rob Richardson (@rob_rich). In addition to doing some good for the community, I expect these projects, which I will describe in more detail in upcoming posts, to allow me to experiment with several elements of software development that I have been looking forward to trying out. These include:
- Using Git as a source control repository
- Using nUnit within Visual Studio as a test runner
- Solving an optimization problem in C#
- Getting to work on a shared project with and learning from Rob
As an enterprise developer, I have been using MSTest and Team Foundation Server since they were released. My last experience with nUnit was probably about 10 years ago, and I have never used Git before. My source control experience prior to TFS was in VSS and CVS, and all of that was at least 6 or 7 years ago.
So far, I have to say I'm very pleased with both Git for source control, and nUnit for tests. Honestly, other than for the slight syntactical changes, I really can't tell that I'm using nUnit instead of MSTest. The integration with Visual Studio, once the appropriate extensions are added, is seamless. Using Git is a bit more of a change, but I am really liking the workflow it creates. I have found myself, somewhat automatically, committing my code to the local repository after each step of the Red-Green-Refactor TDD cycle, and then pushing all of those commits to the server after each full completion of that cycle. This is a good, natural workflow that gives the benefits of frequent commits, without breaking the build for other developers on the project. It also has the huge advantage of being basically unchanged in a disconnected environment like an airplane (though those are frequently not disconnected anymore).
The only possible downside I can see so far is the risk presented by the fact that code committed to the local repository, is not yet really safe. Committing code has historically been a way of protecting ourselves from disc crashes or other catastrophes. In this workflow, it is the push to the server, not the act of committing code, that gives us that redundancy protection. As long as we remember that we don't have this redundancy until we push, and make those pushes part of the requirements of our workflow, I think the benefits of frequent local commits greatly outweigh any additional risk.
As to the other two items on my list, I have already learned a lot from both working with Rob and in working toward implementing the optimization solution. Even though we've only been working on this for a few days, and have had only 1 pairing session to this point, I feel quite confident that both the community and I will get great benefit from these projects.
In my next post, I'll discuss what these projects are, and how we plan on implementing them.
SOA–Beyond the Buzzwords
Posted by bsstahl on 2014-06-28 and Filed Under: event development
For those who saw my code camp presentation, “SOA – Beyond the Buzzwords”, you can find the slide deck here.
There is much more to building a Service Oriented Architecture than just creating services. SOA services can be much more difficult to build, requiring more analysis and design work up-front than a non-service-enabled system or a system that relies on CRUD-style data services. In this session, we will look at real-world examples of SOAs, examining what a good SOA might look like, what conditions present a good opportunity to use a Service Oriented Architecture, and how we can make the process more agile. We will also look at some practical tips to help make your services more extensible and maintainable.
For those who haven’t yet seen this presentation, I will be giving this session at several other code camps and user groups around the US between now and the end of the year. Keep an eye on my Speaking Engagements page to know where and when I will be presenting.
Code Sample for My TDD Kickstart Sessions
Posted by bsstahl on 2012-02-13 and Filed Under: development
The complete, working application for my .NET TDD Kickstart sessions can be found here.
Unzip the files into a solution folder and open the Demo.sln solution in a version of Visual Studio 2010 that has Unit Testing capability (Professional, Premium or Ultimate). Immediately, you should be able to compile the whole solution, and successfully execute the tests in the Bss.QueueMonitor.Test and Bss.Timing.Test libraries.
To get the tests in the other two test libraries (Bss.QueueMonitor.Data.EF.Test & Bss.QueueMonitor.IntegrationTest) to pass, you will need to create the database used to store the monitored data in the data-tier and integration tests, and enable MSMQ on your system so that a queue to be monitored can be created for the Integration test.
The solution is configured to use a SQLExpress database called TDDDemo. You can use any name or SQL implementation you like, you’ll just need to update the configuration of all of the test libraries to use the new connection. The script to execute in the new database to create the table needed to run the tests can be found in the Bss.QueueMonitor.Data.EF library and is called QueueDepthModel.edmx.sql.
You can install Message Queuing on computers running Windows 7 by using Programs and Features in the Control Panel. You do not need to create any specific queue because the integration test creates a queue for each test individually, then deletes the queue when the test is complete.
If you have any questions or comments about this sample, please start a conversation on Twitter @bsstahl or Contact Me.
.NET TDD Kickstart
Posted by bsstahl on 2012-01-26 and Filed Under: event development
I head out to Fullerton tomorrow for the start of my .NET TDD Kickstart world tour.
In this session, the speaker and the audience will "pair up" for a coding session which will serve as an introduction to Test Driven Development in an Agile environment. We will use C#, Visual Studio and Rhino Mocks to unit test code to be built both with and without dependencies. We will also highlight some of the common issues encountered during TDD and discuss strategies for overcoming them.
I will be presenting this session at numerous venues around the country this year, including, so far:
If you are interested in having me present this or another session at your event, please contact me.
There is much more than an hour’s worth of material to be presented, so instead of trying to rush through everything I want to talk about during this time, I’ve instead taken some questions from this presentation and posted them below. Please contact me if you have any additional questions, need clarification, or if you have an suggestions or additions to these lists.
Update: I have moved the FAQ list here to allow it to be maintained separately from this post.
Demo Code for EF4Ent Sessions
Posted by bsstahl on 2011-06-26 and Filed Under: development
I previously posted the slides for my Building Enterprise Apps using Entity Framework 4 talk here. I can now post the source code for the completed demo application. That code, created for use in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, is available in zip format below. This is the same code that was demonstrated at Desert Code Camp 2011.1 and SoCalCodeCamp 2011 as well as the New Mexico .NET User’s Group (NMUG).
South Florida Code Camp 2011
Posted by bsstahl on 2011-02-13 and Filed Under: event
For the 2nd time in the last 3 years, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the South Florida Code Camp. Code Camps are free, community driven technical conferences that take place during off-hours, usually weekends, so I try to make it to as many of them as I can. I have attended most of our local (Arizona) Desert Code Camp events, and will be speaking at the upcoming Desert Code Camp in April 2011, but I also try to attend other code camps whenever possible to get the broadest range of speakers and experiences. If you haven’t been to the local code camp in your area, you are missing out on a lot of great technical content and opportunities to chat with some awesome technologists.
I was able to attend a session in each of the 6 time slots for South Florida Code Camp 2011. I’d like to thank the speakers for all of the sessions as each was useful and worth attending:
- Zachary Gramana - Custom Tooling Using a VS Add-In and T4 Templates
- Colin Blakey – Building OData/WCF Data Service Providers
- Bayer White - Hosting Workflows as WCF Services Through Windows Server AppFabric
- Olec Sych – ASP.Net Dynamic Data
- Woody Pewitt – Technical Debt
- Chris Eargle – Code Like a Ninja: Enhance Productivity with Visual Studio and Just Code
Three of these sessions deserve some special mention. The OData/WCF session was probably the most useful from a technical perspective as the demos gave specific examples of exactly what I’d need to do to implement the technology. The session on technical debt was the most useful overall, Woody from ComponentOne, who is always a fantastic speaker, gave some specific tools to use to calculate the costs of carrying technical debt. In fact, I was fortunate enough to come-away from the raffle with a license to ComponentOne’s Studio Enterprise product. I’m especially looking forward to trying out the Silverlight controls. Finally, in the last session of the day, which turned into a free-form Visual Studio tips session, Chris did a great job of going with the flow and giving the already rowdy crowd, exactly what they wanted, including demos of some of the coolest features of Just Code.
All of the speakers and organizers did a fantastic job and it was a great event. Hopefully I will be able to make it back for next year’s event.
Desert Code Camp IV - Another Great Day
Posted by bsstahl on 2008-06-04 and Filed Under: event
I would once again like to thank the organizers, presenters and sponsors of Desert Code Camp for giving of their time, effort and funding to support such an outstanding community resource. Desert Code Camp IV, held yesterday, May 31st at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, AZ featured well over 40 sessions on topics such as Agile & TDD, ASP.NET, Flash, Silverlight, iPhone SDK, XAML, Apache, Ruby and much more. I was fortunate enough to attend 4 of these sessions, all of which were well worth my time in attending.
The first session I attended was "Scrum 101" presented by Dan Weinmann (who I think works for Desert Code Camp sponsor Neudesic but I am not sure because it is not listed in Dan's extremely minimalist bio on the Code Camp website). Dan spent the first part of the session explaining general Agile concepts which is appropriate for a "101" class, and his explanation was quite solid. What I was looking for however came in the remainder of the discussion where Dan gave specific examples of how his organization has utilized Scrum as an effective project management methodology. I found especially interesting the parts where Dan explained how they use Scrum "under the covers" when working with a client who, for whatever reason, will not use Scrum. I found this similar in a number of ways to how my team currently functions and came-away with several ideas of how we might be able to improve on our current processes.
The next session I attended was "Silverlight Zero to Hero" given by Simon Allardice of Interface Technical Training and gets my vote for the mythical "session of the day" award. This session gets my vote not for the abundant humor, which had the room in stitches and led me to refer to Simon on Twitter as "..the Eddie Izzard of the tech world, without the dress...". No, this was the best session I attended because of the unique perspective he gave to the topic. That is, he didn't waste our time by giving us the same overview of Silverlight that we could get in any 10k foot video from the Mix conference. Instead, we were taken step-by-step through Simon's unique metaphors detailing how we can use the generalized feature-set of Silverlight as well as how it could be used to create Rich Internet Applications that are truly effective in communicating with the user. The next time I am looking to take a class, I hope Simon is teaching it. In addition, if anyone is looking to become an instructor, I hope they sit-in on some of Simon's sessions which couldn't help but improve anyone's teaching technique.
My third session was "integrating Data with Silverlight 2.0 Applications" presented by Simon's colleague at Interface, Dan Wahlin. Dan, who described himself as "...not funny like Simon...", certainly had his moments, especially when he (unintentionally?) made a comment about some of his demo data to the effect of "...there are Johns in the room...nothing wrong with Johns." Dan's wife was videotaping at the time, I hope that clip ends up on YouTube. Regardless of the humor factor, this presentation as well was full of useful specifics on binding Silverlight 2.0 apps to data services including both SOAP and RESTful services.
Finally, I attended a preview by Scott Cate of MyKB of his TechEd presentation next month called "C# 3.5 Compiler Tricks". This session provided me with some fascinating insights into the workings of the C# compiler, including several situations where the compiler uses "syntactical sugar" to provide constructs that compile to .NET 2.0 IL code and have no dependencies on .NET 3.0 or 3.5 libraries. In these cases, it is possible to use these constructs in Visual Studio 2008 (or more specifically, when using the C# 3.5 compiler) even when targeting the .NET 2.0 framework. I was also fortunate enough to be able to spend some very enjoyable time with Scott after the session, discussing his most recent project, EasyDB.com. Scott set me up with access to the service beta and I spent the rest of the afternoon working with this fantastic "SQL in the Cloud". I will be blogging about this application and my experiences with it much more in the near future.
Again thanks to everyone who helped to make this event happen. Sponsors that I haven't mentioned yet who also deserve props for their support include Infusionsoft and JumpBox.
Loosely Coupled Apps
Posted by bsstahl on 2006-05-09 and Filed Under: event
I was expecting more of a "Best Practices for Data-Store Independance" type of session. This turned out to be more of a "Creating Web-Sites that Work Similarly Across Scripting Engines" thing.
Summary - Desert Code Camp 2006
Posted by bsstahl on 2006-05-09 and Filed Under: event
Overall, I (fully) attended 7 sessions and garnered quite a bit of useful information (especially what should be on my reading material list). I consider the Desert Code Camp a tremendous success and look forward to the next one. A big thank-you to the organizers and presenters.
Holding the Web on Your Shoulders With Atlas
Posted by bsstahl on 2006-05-09 and Filed Under: event development
Some links Tim showed us were:
Enterprise Library Overview
Posted by bsstahl on 2006-05-08 and Filed Under: event development
In this excellent session, Rob Bagby gave a warp-1 overview of much of the .NET Enterprise Library (Application Blocks). Some key points of the talk were:
- Config files for all blocks are now unified
- Crypto block provides Hashing & Encryption functionality
- Logging block provides a number of canned sinks including EventLog, DB, Text, MSMQ, Email and WMI
- A good resource on the Caching block is at http://www.ronjacobs.com
Of course, there were many other interesting items which I am unable to document here due to my mild case of brain disfunctionality, but again, I will post links to the slide-decks as I get them.
Posted by bsstahl on 2006-05-08 and Filed Under: development
The first session I attended was T-SQL 2005 Enhancements, Tricks and Tips. David Lundell was the instructor and did a nice job.
Some key points were:
- Common Table Expression (CTE) - A way to alias a query for use within another query. This can also be used to execute queries recursively.
- nTile - Allows a resultset to be "partitioned" into segments. i.e. 100 segments make it a percentile, 4 segments is a quartile, etc.
- Rank - Similar to nTile except the values are ranked in order. If two or more items tie for a rank, subsequent ranks are skipped. That is, if two items are tied for first, the next item would have a rank of 3.
- Dense_Rank - Same as Rank only no ranks are skipped, regardless of ties
- Row_Number - Same as Dense_Rank only with no duplicates, just lists the items in order from 1..n. Ties are arbitrarily broken and consistant order by broken ties is not guaranteed.
- Pivot - Allows the creation of Pivot Tables but in my opinion, won't be very useful until we can set the columns dynamically. Currently in SQL 2005 the Pivot columns have to be explicitly defined.
Web Parts in ASP.NET 2.0
Posted by bsstahl on 2006-05-08 and Filed Under: event
Again, not too much new material here but still a good session. Chris Rolon gave us an high-speed overview of the Web Part framework in .NET 2.0 including many of the key features and his suggestions for using them. Again, I will post links to the slide decks as I get them.
VB.NET 2.0 Language Changes Give You More
Posted by bsstahl on 2006-05-08 and Filed Under: event
Unfortunately, the presenter for this session never showed-up and a number of us were left sitting in the room for about 10 minutes. I'm glad I slipped in a 5-minute power-lunch beforehand.
Posted by bsstahl on 2006-05-07 and Filed Under: event
Nice. On arrival, we were given Free copies of "Writing Secure Code" from Microsoft Press, along with schedules and a few other things. This looks to be more organized than I thought it would be and should turn out to be very interesting.