Coding Standards: But that will limit my creativity!

At work I have been part of a standards committee with the goal of creating and enforcing a set of standards for .NET development in our organization. Any time I have been involved with the discussion or creation of any kind of developer standards I always hear the same thing, “But that will limit my creativity”.

The standards the committee has put together are a short list of things you should always do, and 3 times as many best practices we wish everyone would do. Many of them are industry standards that are set by default in Visual Studio anyway.

So why do so many developers believe that following a standard for solution, file, and code format will limit their creativity?

writing-musicIn the music industry, if you want to be a song writer you first must learn the language of music. This includes notes; quarter, half and full, as well as, the music staff and how to put the notes on the staff so that people can play the song. I would argue that this adherence to a standard has hardly limited the musician’s creativity. We hear new and different songs on the radio all every day.

I don’t believe that creativity in software development is found in the location of a curly bracket or the structure of an if statement. The creativity in software development comes from how you apply your knowledge of the language and patterns to solve a problem that brings value to your organization.

Even design patterns, which very few have issue with, are a standard approach to solving a problem.  I have never heard someone say implementing a Repository pattern limits their creativity. It more often removes the tedious, mundane task so you can focus on the more interesting parts of the solution, which is where the real creativity exists.

So if you are asked to create, review, or adhere to a standard look at it as a chance to see if you can eliminate time that you would have spent worrying about non-creative menial task of how the code should be written and focus on what code needs to be written to solve the problem at hand.

TechNet: Transforming IT: Virtualization to the Cloud Tulsa, OK - April 26, 2011

Are you ready for the challenge to lead and transform your IT organization?

Cloud computing is emerging as a promising IT service delivery vehicle. But is the question "To cloud or not to cloud"? For you and your organizations, it is crucial to recognize the opportunities and play a key role in the transformation from existing infrastructure-focused IT into a service-oriented, user-centric, and IT-as-a-Service environment.

Join your Microsoft® IT Pro Evangelists for this FREE, half-day event that will help you decide.

Location: Tulsa, OK

Register today at

Questions about these events? Contact us at
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EventServer 1.0 Released

logoI am proud to announce that EventServer 1.0 has made it to release status.  The goal of EventServer is to create an application to be used to run multi-session, multi-track, multi-day conference. Much like CodeMash, DevLink, TechFest, CodeCamps, etc.

Event Server is a MicroCMS, meaning that it is an application that is designed to solve a very specific problem that contains some CMS functionality. Event Server is not a CMS which complicated module and theme architectures. Event Server does however have parts of the site that can be updated without requiring the code to be modified. Our focus on in-place administration has taken advantage of CMS like functionality to allow you to spend your time organizing the event, not creating a site for it. The Event Server project has a very narrow focus on the problem we are trying to solve without increasing the skills required to maintain or customize.

Featured included in this release:

  • Pages for Home, Speakers, Sessions, Sponsors, About
  • MicroCMS functionality allowing editing of static HTML content on any page using Live Writer or any MetaWebAPI compliant client.
  • Built in Blog for announcements.
  • Ability to post new announcements on the blog via Live Writer or any MetaWebLogAPI compliant client.
  • Ability to future post announcements
  • Allow potential speakers to Register and Submit session abstracts and bio information online
  • Ability to review and approve or reject sessions (with comments that are sent to the speaker)
  • Ability to assign sessions to a Track and TimeSlot
  • Ability to manager sponsors, add/remove, edit, and assign to sponsorship level
  • Ability to activate/inactive sponsors
  • 100% CSS themes, no complicated theme engines.

Features for vNext:

  • Ability to assign session to a day for multi-day event
  • Ability for attendee to register for the events
  • Ability for attendees to sort session by day

With this release all development has moved to the new project located on GitHub and has become part of the RoundTable family of applications. Even though development has been moved to GitHub public releases will still be made available on the EventServer CodePlex site.


Northwest Arkansas TechFest 2011–Mar 25th, 2011


The next installment of the Northwest Arkansas TechFest has been announced!

What is the  Northwest Arkansas TechFest?

The Northwest Arkansas TechFest is a technical conference with a primary focus to provide training/teaching sessions that are immediately beneficial to the broadest range of IT professionals in their day-to-day jobs. We accomplish this with numerous national and international speakers delivering 75 minute sessions.

It is also charitable non-profit event organized by local area volunteers. Even though it is a free event, we ask that you support the community and PLEASE bring TWO CANS or TWO BUCKS. All canned food will be donated to the NWA Food Bank and all proceeds will be donated to the The Jones Center.

Date: Friday, March 25th, 2011

Center for NonProfits @ St. Mary’s
1200 West Walnut St.
Rogers, AR 72756 [MAP]

The call for speakers is open right now! So, if you are looking for an event to speak at close to home then here is your chance.  Submit your sessions now!

Dominion Game Generator Web V1.0 Released

dominion-card-gameOver the last few months I have been playing a game called Dominion.  Dominion is a designer card game created by Donald X. Vaccarino, and published by Rio Grande Games.  It is a deck-building[3] card game in which the players compete to gather the most valuable deck of cards, representing a Kingdom.

There are also many expansions available that add to the fun.  After introducing this to my gaming buddies at work, well, let’s just say I wish I got a commission.  Smile

Up until recently I have been using the Dominion Kingdom Deck for iPhone created by Jerry Hsu.  But since I am not an iPhone user any more, Long live WP7!, I was a bit out of luck.  So, I started working on writing one for the Windows Phone 7 platform.  Thanks to Jerry for sharing some of his rule logic.

Since I am a web developer soon be phone developer I thought I would work out the logic in a web application first.  I know there are several web based card pickers out there already and many of them are very good.  I only did this to get it out in the wild and test the logic while I learn the Windows Phone UI development.

I am happy to announce that I have published The Dominion Game Generator version 1.  It can be found at

If you play Dominion please give it a try and let me know if any issues you run into.  I am currently working on the Windows Phone 7 version and hope to have it out soon.

Note that this app only assists in setting up a game of Dominion and does not actually play the game.  Dominion is by Donald X. Vaccarino. Dominion Game Generatoris not affiliated with Donald X. Vaccarino or any publisher of Dominion.


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