Category Archives: Conference

.NET Rocks Ireland

.NET Rocks Ireland is coming to Ireland and Northern Ireland



Oct 7th, 2013 – Galway –

Oct 8th, 2013 – Dublin –

Oct 9th, 2013 – Belfast –  

Carl and Richard are coming to Ireland and Northern Ireland! That amazing podcast done by those technical and comic geniuses will be recorded in front of a live audience in three great cities on Oct 7, 8 and 9.

Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin



Oct 7th, 2013 – Galway –

Galway is our kickoff. We haven’t picked the evening guest yet but we’ll announce them soon.


Oct 8th, 2013 – Dublin –

In Dublin, we’ll be joined by the astounding Mark Miller himself. He’s going to be recorded live in from of the audience.


Oct 9th, 2013 – Belfast – 

In Belfast, we’ll be joined by marvelous Martin Woodward who undoubtedly improve your software development process.



We’ll start the day at 1:00 with a half day HTML5 conference and end the day with a .NET Rocks recording. Whether you are doing web development or app development with HTML5 technologies, this conference is for you. We’ve got 3 sessions that start off with how to handle touch in my HTML5 app and then diving off into ninja level talks with 3D and how you do performance analysis to make sure that your users are blown away.


1:00 – 1:10 – Welcome and introductions

1:10 – 2:00 – Touch Me, I dare you!

2:00 – 2:50 – You can do that in a browser?

2:50 – 3:00 – break

3:00 – 4:00 – The Perf Doctor is In

4:00 – 4:10 – break

4:10 – 6:00 – .NET Rocks recording

Touch Me, I dare you!

Speaker: TBA


Designing for a touch first web is becoming more important every day with the proliferation of touch devices ranging from phones to tablets to convertible laptops to touch monitors. The issue is that most folks think this just means having bigger buttons but they are wrong. Yes, understanding touch target sizes is important but that’s the absolute bare minimum. A great touch experience starts with understanding your user’s context and includes understanding the difference between touch and a mouse with issues ranging from how to handle gestures to thinking about things like your usage of hover state to scoping input correctly and more. In this brief session, we will dive into these issues and show you how to build a great web experience that will help you on all platforms and devices with touch interface.

You can do that in a browser?

Speaker: Michael Barr – CTO of Scaboodle and an outstanding speaker. He’ll wow you with his demos and his knowledge of creating an amazing experience for your customers.


The web platform is amazing. With the onslaught of new capabilities in modern browsers such as WebGL, Pointer Events, Video, WebSockets, Web Workers, FileStorage, Geolocation and so much more, web development is more fun, and more challenging, than ever before. In this session, we’ll dive into some amazing demos and show you what’s possible in the modern day browsers and show you how you can do this yourself.

The Perf Doctor Is In

Speaker: Josh Holmes – Senior Program Manager on the IE Developer Relations team.



Building a high performance front end is a balancing act. You need to understand all the different moving parts and subsystems in the browser and how they interact with each other.

Small changes can significantly impact page and app load time, memory consumption, and processor use which has a huge impact on your user’s experience!

In this session, we will dive into the subsystems of the browser and learn to optimize performance on sites and in web apps.

We will also deep dive into the new performance analyzing tools available expose good and bad run-time patterns for your sites and web apps, and provide users with a fast and fluid experience.


.NET Rocks Recording

Recorded live in front of you will be that amazingly popular podcast that’s reaching (literally as in actually as in for real) millions of developers each and every month.

The guests and topics for the recording will be announced closer to the time but there are rumors that Mark Miller (if you haven’t heard of him, go listen to – brilliant and funny) is going to crash the party and join us in Ireland. We’ll also be highlighting some of the amazing folks from Ireland who are forging the way in technology.

Looking forward to seeing you there!
Josh Holmes

PHP Benelux 2012

Last weekend I was at PHP Benelux (@phpbenelux). This is the third year that they have run the conference but the first time that I’ve been able to make it, definitely an advantage of living in Ireland… It was a really fun conference for a number of reasons.

First, we had a PHP on Azure Hackathon where we had a number of PHP devs working on getting a project up onto Azure. There were definitely some learnings around the setup and preparation side of the hackathon but once people got setup, it was pretty good. In the three hours with setup problems and the like we actually had 3 people get a project up and running. I was fairly pleased with that as an outcome given the first time nature of this exercise.

IMG_0490First of all, the people are fantastic. That includes everyone from the other speakers, to the attendees to the conference organizers. To be fair, I’ve got a lot of friends that were there and it was great to just hang out with some of them. But I also met a ton of new people there. The speaker’s themselves range from international PHP celebrities, such as David Zülke and Derick Rethans, to local Belgian and Dutch speakers getting their first breaks. Microsoft’s own Craig Kitterman from the Azure product team was one of the speakers as well.

Second, the content, across the board, was top notch. I really enjoyed a number of the talks from Matthew Weier O’Phinney’s VIM talk to David Coallier’s closing keynote on taking PHP to the next level.

Third, the conference organization is on par with a number of pro-conferences that I attend. The tremendous number of little touches, like the fact that they track your flights and pick you up from the airport and arrange travel back for you as well, is what really puts it over the top. One of the things that I particularly liked is that they, at the end of the conferences in the closing bits called out each of the sponsors and talked about why that sponsor was important. This is something that not nearly enough conferences do. The sponsors invest quite a bit of resources ranging from cash to people to many types of resources. It was great to hear how some of the sponsors who had a small amount of cash were deeply involved in other ways while some others simply wrote a check. Both are valid sponsorships and are needed but it was really interesting to see how the different sponsors were involved. I also liked that at the end they called up all of the speakers. that line of speakers filled the stage. For anyone who thought this was a small conference, it’s amazing to see all of the bodies on stage that were involved from the staff to speakers and see how many people it takes to pull it off.

Looking forward to next year…

Visiting Norway

I had a blast visiting Oslo, Norway for Wordcamp Norway (#wcnorge). The last time that I went to Norway, it was just for a few hours as I flew in, did my talk and flew out. This time I made sure that I took an extra day to see part of the city.

I started off at the Thon Hotel next to the Central Station and walked up to the palace and on to Vigeland Park which is amazing. Then I walked back down to the water and through the Akershus Castle. It was a long walk and I was sore but I’d do it all again.

Oslo, despite being code in January, is a beautiful city. One of the things that I really appreciated is that there is art almost literally on every corner. I took a few (349) photos as I was walked around.

Some of that art was quite striking. However not all of that art was “pretty”. Some of it had some rather graphic depictions of violence and demons but it was all magnificent. It wasn’t gory or out of taste but it (at least to me) spoke to the human trial against our sins and frailty. It wasn’t censored as in there was nudity. It wasn’t pornographic in nature, just naked.

Being a I also appreciate the focus on theatre as I passed at least 6 theatres including the National Theatre which is a magnificent building.

I’m not moving there anytime soon, it gets even darker there during the winter than it does here in Dublin. But I’m definitely going back when I get a chance.

That said, next time I go back, I need to do it in the summer. It was cold. Not a ton of snow this time but cold. Also next time I want to get out of Oslo and see some of the rest of the country as I understand that the rest of the country is at least as beautiful at the city of Oslo.

I recommend that you, if you get a chance regardless of the time of year, go to Norway and do some site seeing.

Missing Codemash this year

CaptureI’m really sorry to be missing CodeMash this year. This is the first CodeMash that I’m going to be missing. I was one of the founders before I joined Microsoft and it’s been on of the things that I’ve been extremely proud to be involved in in a small part and has grown far bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. The fantastic board (Jim Holmes, Jason Gilmore and Brian H. Prince) have been true visionaries and have done an amazing job of walking the balance beam between guiding and pushing CodeMash and letting it remain something of and from the community. It’s inspirational.

The meme with CodeMash is that people are to mash, not to bash. Developers of all sizes and religions are invited from .NET to PHP to Python to Ruby to Java. And everyone is pushed to learn something new. It’s where I learned, as a .NET guy, about Ruby, Python and PHP. That’s in the spirit of CodeMash. Get out of your comfort zone and learn something new. It doesn’t mean that you will be doing that new thing in your everyday job but learning something new will make you better at your full time job.

One of my favorite talks that I did at CodeMash was that I, as a .NET guy, did a talk on Dynamic Languages such as Ruby and Python. My demos were in Ruby. It didn’t matter if anyone in the crowd was ever going to do Ruby for the full time job, learning more about it will make them better C#, Java, PHP or whatever.

Some of the great outcomes of CodeMash were that all of the community has grown stronger and more inclusive throughout Michigan and Ohio in particular. The Ruby guys are going to the .NET user group and the .NET guys are going to the Ruby user groups and so on. 

imageOh yeah – and it was at the first CodeMash that I shaved my head (well, Jennifer Marsman did it actually) for the first time. I bet the audience that they couldn’t get 600 posts up on Technorati by the end of the conference and they not only did that but we crashed Technorati and were the number one topic for two weeks outranking the announcement of the new iPhone and Hillary Clinton announcing that she was running for president.

Oh yeah – and I met some of my best friends in the industry at CodeMash. I’ll miss all of you this year…

I’d love it if something like CodeMash started up here in Ireland.

Dublin Gamecraft

tumblr_lw9gj1MrmG1r2bsum[1]I’m looking forward to Dublin Gamecraft on Feb 25th. It’s not a traditional conference, it’s an 8 hour coding marathon. The idea is that you have 8 hours to build a game, either by yourself or on a team.

  • Yes, you have to start from scratch.
  • Yes, you can build for platform X (where X is XBox, PC, iPad, WP7, iPhone, Android, or any other platform that you can write games for).
  • Yes, you can bring a team.
  • Yes, you can join forces with someone on the day.
  • Yes, there’s a need for coders, designers, storyline folks and more.
  • Yes, it’s free.
  • Yes, you should come.
  • Yes, it’s being organized by cool folks like @roundcrisis

On hand will be some of the up and coming games studios in Dublin such as Open Emotion Studios.

If you’re interested in learning to write games, there’s not a whole lot better of a way to do it than jumping in the deep end. At the very least, you’ll get to meet and hang out with some of the most fun folks in all of Ireland’s tech scene.

Any question? Ask them at

Dublin reMIX 2011

One of the things that really fun about my job here in Microsoft Ireland is that the team I’m on has one primary remit – to inspire the  developers or designer of Ireland. In June, we’re going to pull together a full day of the most exciting content from MIX11 as well as some cool stuff that we’re throwing in ourselves all for free.

Our goal with this content is to drive you, as someone involved in software in Ireland whether you’re a developer or designer,  as a to go bigger and faster with your applications. To help you think about development, whether that’s traditional web development, phone development or even really breaking down the walls to a natural user interface with Surface 2 and Kinect.

reMIX Dublin is on June 9th, 2011 at the RDS in Ballsbridge, D4.

It’s broken up into two separate events actually.

reMIX: Developer (9.00-13.00)


Welcome, followed by

Developing for Windows Phone 7 – From Concept to Marketplace


Developing for the Cloud




Windows Phone 7.5 aka Mango


Kinect Hackables


Wrap up

reMIX: UX (14.30-18.30)



Taking UX Further with Surface


Designing Infographics for Web Applications




HTML5 Awesome Sauce


UX Lighting Talks


Wrap up

Now, this is a loose schedule at the moment and subject to a few possible changes. For example, I might have a really big name speaker coming in from Redmond that we’ll leverage in here at least, if not twice.

If you’re interested – you should register early at

Join the MIX Conversation in Ireland!


Unplug from your day job. Be inspired at MIX.

Join the conversation at MIX – see the latest tools and technologies and draw inspiration from a professional community of your peers and experts.

MIX is a gathering of developers, designers, UX experts and business professionals creating the most innovative and profitable consumer sites on the web. The conference takes place in Las Vegas, but will be streamed live online Join developer peers in Ireland on the hashtag #MIX11IE.

There’ll be great prizes on offer for both in-person & virtual attendees. Local evangelist will be tweeting questions every 30 mins during the keynote (5pm-7pm) and answers should be emailed to If you get all four answers right you are in the draw to win one of the following (we’ve cleared out our storeroom and here’s what we found J):

· Xbox Kinect bundle

· Arc Touch Mouse (x2)

· Xbox Live Gold Memberships 12 months (x3)

· Microsoft Web t-shirts (loads)

Questions to


*competition open to residents of ROI and NI only

*entry to competition only possible before 7.30pm 12th April 2011

WordCamp Ireland

IMG_3070I had the pleasure to attend and speak at WordCamp Ireland March 6-7, 2010. First off, huge kudos to the whole organizing committee especially Sabrina Dent and Katherine Nolan. The whole event was extremely well run. From the amazing venue to the session line up, I was impressed with the whole event.

Second, big thanks to Martha Rotter who worked with Sabrina Dent to get me a speaking slot and reschedule it for day 2 to make sure that I’d be there in time.

This was my first ever WordCamp and I have to say it was an interesting experience. There was an amazing blend of extraordinarily technical folk and completely new to web/blogging/technology folk. My favorite question that I got was, as I was explaining my job at Microsoft and that I work with a lot of PHP developers. The question was “What’s PHP?”. On the other hand, I had some great technical conversations with folks like Alastair McDermott, Joost de Valk and Michele Neylon.

Site Clinic

IMG_3079My favorite session at WordCamp Ireland was called Site Clinic put on by Joost de Valk aka @yoast. He had a couple of slides where he laid out who he was and then said that this session is really just called “Stressing Yoast out for 50 minutes.” He asked the audience for suggestions of web sites. Then he gave them advice about how to better manage SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the like. He knows what he’s talking about. Do a search for WordPress SEO and see what I mean. 🙂 Some of the top pull outs for me that I’m going to be incorporating into this site when I do a major overhaul in a few weeks:

  1. Read his post on SEO at
  2. Switch the title format to be “Post Name >> Blog Title” as it’s actually the posts that you want to have more weight and to be at the front of the link when it shows up in Google or Bing.
  3. My front page takes a while to load. You can test it with a great tool at I need to reduce the front page to abstracts or synopsis for the actual articles and links to the full article. This helps with load time and it helps with SEO because the content is in one place rather than scattered all over the web.
  4. Remove the “Recent posts” and “Recent Tweets” from the individual articles. The rule of thumb here is if it’s not relevant to the current post or your revenue (i.e. adds) remove it.

Becoming a Social Media Guru and Make WordPress Your Bitch

image Sabrina Dent gave a great session on Social Media and WordPress – One of the big points that she hit on is that having people on a social network site such as facebook or twitter is great but the real point is to get them to your own site. To that end, make sure that you drive traffic in the right directions.

Free Tools You Didn’t Know About to Help Improve Your WordPress site

image Martha Rotter gave another great talk in the basic track called “Free Tools You Didn’t Know About to Help Improve Your WordPress site”. She highlighted Windows Live Writer, Web Platform Installer, Microsoft SEO Toolkit and several others.

I also liked her use of PPTPlex for the presentation – it looked pretty awesome and I’m going to have to start using it going forward.

You can find out about all of the tools that she highlighted and download her slides on her blog at WordCamp Ireland 2010.

WordPress on Windows

I also gave a talk about running WordPress on Windows. Really this is a running PHP on Windows with all of my demos being WordPress related. My favorite bit was installing WordPress, including pretty URLs, on Windows in about 3 minutes through the Web Platform Installer.

I uploaded my slides to Slideshare.


It was also fun learning more about Rugby. Evidently, according to Alastair, I’m built perfectly for it. I played a little backyard pickup Rugby in high school but there wasn’t really any rules and I didn’t really understand the game. I’ve found myself, since getting home, watching all of the Six Nations matches. I’m still not 100% on all the rules and such but I’m learning.


Really hoping that I get to go to WordCa
mp Ireland again next year. It was a great event run by and attended by great people.