Shared Assembly Info Files in Visual Studio Reborn

The last project I worked on had a lot of class library projects in it and we really struggled with file versions.  We really wanted a good way to give all the class libraries the save version number other information.  I seem to remember that in an older version of Visual Studio, 2005 I think, if you created a setup project you could tell it to make all the file versions the same.  I couldn’t get this to work in Visual Studio 2008, or 2010, and it doesn’t work for web applications.

After talking with several of my colleagues, Devlin Liles and Rob Tennyson, and others we came up with a solution of using a Shared Assembly Info file across the projects.  I am starting a new project and since I didn’t remember how we did it of course I consulted the great oracle of all collected knowledge, Google and found this article Shared Assembly Info in Visual Studio by Jeremy Jameson and this solution worked great.  I was able to get my new project well underway with Shared Assembly Files and got to bed early.

The benefits I have found so far are that all outputs of the build have the same number and you only have to update the product and file versions in one place.

If you have struggled with this in the past check be sure to check this out.


Open Space Technology: Introduction



Last fall I facilitated an Open Space track at our Tyson Development Conference.  The Tyson Development Conference is a 1-2 day internal conference for Tyson Team Members held at our Springdale Corporate offices.  We had over 50 sessions and 200+ attendees.  This was the first conference of it kind at our company and I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce Open Space Technology to our organization.  To get start getting everyone excited about the Open Space Technology I did a series of short articles for our newsletter, I have decided to take that series and post it as a series of blog post with some added commentary and understanding that I have gained since then.  This is the first in the series enjoy!

Other Post in this series:

  1. Open Space Technology: Introduction
  2. Open Space Technology: Opening Circle
  3. Open Space Technology: Sessions, where the sharing happens 

A Little History

In 1985 Harrison Owen, the creator of Open Space Technology, spent a year organizing a huge visioning conference for his then employer. Comments he received from attendees surprised him. Their favorite parts of the conference were the side conversations, the ones that happened between or after the sessions. Harrison set out to find a way to have a conference that embodied the essence of the between session discussions. Thus, Open Space Technology was born. Open Space Technology is at its core, the essence of the conversation at the water cooler.

Open Spaces are self organized by the attendees. Everything from the who participates, what is discussed, when it starts and when it is over is controlled by the participants.

I had the chance to experience an Open Spaces at the devLink this year. DevLink is a community based 3 day developer conference which also had an Open Space track. I participated in the Opening and Closing Circles as well as some of the sessions. This was a great experience and felt very organic; I felt that it was ok to sit and listen or to contribute to the discussion.

The 4 Principles

These are like the pirates code from Pirates of the Caribbean, more a set of guidelines rather than hard fast rules that must be obeyed.

Principle 1: Whoever comes are the right people

The belief is that if you singed up to participate in a session you are going to get something out of it, either by being part of the discussion or listening. Many times when I explain this I hear, “Yeah, but then only the really passionate people will show up”. To which I reply, “Yes, that is the point”, it is expected that the people passionate about the topic would be interested in discussing it, therefore they are the right people.

Principle 2: Whatever happens is the only thing that could have

There are no foregone conclusions in these sessions. In a typical presenter lead session, the presenter stands at the front and goes through his practiced presentation. Yes, there is some input from the attendees but to the presenter the eventual outcome is known. In an Open Space session the participants are in control of where the discussion goes. As long as it is related to the topic, it is fair game and whatever happens is the only thing that could have.

Principle 3: Whenever it starts is the right time

Ok, so this one sounds a little silly, right? I mean you said there were time slots on the agenda board to there is a time to start, right? Well yes, but remember that part about the participants being in control, if they want to delay 30 minutes to start, they can. Just as long as they are ready to conclude or move their session to another location when the next session is ready to start.

Principle 4: When it is over, it’s over

Yes, in the last principle I said move the discussion. There is no reason to stop a really good discussion just because the clock on the wall said to. Just because time is up does not mean the discussion is stale, if it isn’t over, participants will be asked to move it to a different location so they can continue. It is that simple.

The 1 Law

The 1 Law: The Law of Two Feet

The law of two feet gives participants the right to vote with their two feet and is worded as follows.

If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet. Go to some other place where you may learn and contribute.


I have found that there is a very organic, liberating feeling of an Open Space event.  How many times to you go to conferences and spend the whole week experience only a few sessions that resonate with you or provide a deep passionate experience.  Every Open Space I have attended has had this feeling at the core of every session.  Why?  Because it is the attendees who decide what the content will be for the give subject, they are part of the conversation, the speakers, the scribe, the reason the event exist.

In the next post we will look at how this self-organized event get, well gets organized as we discuss what goes on during the Opening Circle.

Open Space Technology on Wikipedia
Open Space World:

Stop Team Explorer from asking for login for CodePlex projects


I recently have started working on several project that are hosted on CodePlex.  One of the main annoyances I had was that I had to enter my logon information every time I started Visual Studio or Team Explorer.  Robert Tennyson, showed me how modify my User Account information in windows so that I didn’t have to type that in every time. 

Hopefully this will help remove the pain from your CodePlex experience.

Here are the steps to follow:

Open User Accounts


Click Advanced


Click “Manage Passwords”


click “Add”


You will want to do this for each server you have projects hosted on and viola no more having to enter your user name and password every time you start Visual Studio or change TFS servers.


Speaking at SharePoint Saturday Ozarks: June 12-13, 2010

imageI will be speaking at SharePoint Saturday Ozarks in Harrison on June 12, 2010.  This is an awesome event full of SharePoint and .NET goodness right in our own back yard. Mark Rackley, The SharePoint Hillbilly, did a great job organizing the event last year and I am sure this year will be even more awesome.  In fact I know it is since he has organized a float trip on the 13th.

I am sure there will be a SharePint at the Hotel Seville after the sessions since that is where everyone will be staying.  I haven’t decided if I will drive over that morning or go early and stay the night.

If you haven’t registered go here, now, I’ll wait, it opens in a new page, go register and then come back, go now, go, go.

Ok, now that you are registered we can talk about the sessions.  There are going to be some awesome SharePoint sessions and a few .NET sessions as well.  Mark, thanks for throwing us none SharePointer’s a bone.  I hope to hit a lot of the SharePoint sessions as I will be working on a project soon to port over an old application to SharePoint.

Check out all of the sessions to start planning your day and check out Mark’s blog for updates. He has some great post regarding the event, and some awesome pictures from last year too.

Here are the two session I will be presenting.

Make Deployment Easier with VS2010 Config File Transformations

In any development environment we have to code local, publish to test, and then have the tested code published to the production environment.  The process has built in gates to ensure that bad code doesn’t make it into production, but it causes a huge issue with keeping up with service and database connections in your configuration files.  Visual Studio 2010 introduces Web.config transformations as a way to solve this problem.  In this session we will look at the age old problems, discuss some solutions in use today and take a look at how Visual Studio 2010 has solved this problem for us today.

Planning Poker: Play Estimate, Plan

Planning Poker is a fun way to gather estimates for project task that levels experience, and helps document assumptions where everyone on the team has input.  In this session we will look at Planning Poker and then we are going to estimate some task using the techniques we have learned.    This session is educational as well as fun.  Yes, estimating can be fun.

Hope to see you there…

Speaking at Ozark .NET User Group May 13, 2010


I will be speaking at the Ozark .NET User Group in Harrison this week.  Here is the info about the session.  I have attended a few of their meetings but this will be the first time to speak to their group.  I look forward to it, it is going to be a fun time.


Introduction to Agile Software Development


In today's world of software development the challenge of delivering quality value added software quickly and often have brought rise to a new approach in software development.  Agile software development is becoming a widely proven and accepted alternative to heavy up front software development.  There are many misconceptions with the processes and practices of Agile software development.  This sessions is designed to give you a grounding on concepts that are used in many forms of Agile development including Scrum and Extreme Programming.


1515 pioneer Dr.
Harrison, AR [MAP]

Once you get there, here's how to find the rooms...

1.  Turn right onto Pioneer Drive
2.  Turn left into the first parking lot (Parking Lot H) which is in front of the John Paul Hammerschmidt Building on the north side
3.  Go up the flight of stairs and take the door on the left into the John Paul Hammerschmidt Building
4.  From 6:00 PM to 6:45 PM, we will be meeting in room 304 (Bennie Ellis conference room) for social networking, pizza and soda
5.  From 6:45 PM to 8:30 PM, we will be meeting in room 208 (computer lab) for the main presentation

Check out the Ozark .NET User Group site for more info about the group.


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