North East Bytes - Microsoft Technology Usergroup in the North East of England

NEBytes February 2017: Tools Galore and a Private Cloud

After a brief hiatus we're back in February.  And we're also back at Campus North.  We've got two talks for you this month.

Building your own Private Cloud on a Shoe String

"During this talk I will offer an alternative to AWS and Azure, a little known provider that also happens to have the third most hosting servers in the world (According to Netcraft 2015). 


What if I also said this company was also was often much cheaper than Azure or AWS while offering similar SLA’s?   What about an easy to use REST API that covers pretty much everything they do?  Interested yet?  I was.    The company is called OVH.


I will discuss the benefits and limitations of using OVH to build a cloud infrastructure.

Discussions and Demonstrations will include:

·         Virtual Instances on the OVH Public Cloud

·         Dedicated Servers

·         Setting up Microsoft Hyper-V Core on Dedicated Hardware

·         Microsoft System Centre Virtual Machine Manager

·         Firewalls and Load Balancers

·         Private Networking and World Wide Data Centres

·         Using Object Storage with Open Stack and C#

The costs - How to get it for £30 a month (Or free)


Mark Thompson is the Head of Product Development at Global Data Sentinel. 

Mark’s software development experience includes everything from Military Communications to Factory Automation to Accountancy products all using predominantly C / C++ / C#.

Global Data Sentinel provides secure data solutions including strong encryption and biometrics in both on premise and cloud hosted scenarios.

The Global Data Sentinel Research and Development Team are based just North of Newcastle in Gosforth.  Their products are used world wide by organisations of every size.

Git, Gulp, Grunt, Node and Code: Making Sense of the Modern Development Toolchain

Our second talk is from Dr Bill Ayers...

"JavaScript was once just a scripting tool for "front-end" developers. Now it's gone mainstream. And along with it comes a new set of tools that the cool kids use. In this session I'm going to look at some of the new tooling that is being used by web and open-source developers and increasingly in enterprise development and by engineers at Microsoft building the next generation of SharePoint and Office 365 technologies and the SharePoint Framework. We'll look at the tools, when you would use them, and how they relate to more traditional IDEs like Visual Studio. We'll also look at JavaScript as a language, including its shortcomings, and how it is changing, along with the role of transpilers like TypeScript. If you are planning to build solutions for Office 365 and SharePoint over the next few years, you need to get up to speed on the modern development toolchain."

Please register at EventBrite

Food is sponsored by:

Ben & Jon - Retiring from NEBytes

First off Happy New Year folks - yes, yes we're way into the new year but still, new years mean new starts. As anyone who was present at the latest event in December will know Jon and I have decided to take a step back from the montly running of NEBytes.

I first met Jon and Andy through the VBUG series of user groups where they announced they were looking to startup a Microsoft focused, technical user group in Newcastle. The goal was to run monthly sessions for both IT Pros and Developers and I think it is safe to say that we acheived what we set out to do. Now as NEBytes heads into it's 7th year with 78 events under it's belt I think the time is right for me to have a bit of an "NEBytes pause" and become involved in some other community activities and user groups (prehaps even try to blog again :o )

Thats not to say that NEBytes is going anywhere, Damien is still involved as is Derek who came on board last year and has been the driving force behind all of the recent events. I'm sure that NEBytes will remain strong this year and beyond.

It also means that we'd be more than delighted to have some extra pairs of hands onboard to help with the organising and coordination of events/speaks. If you would like to be involved please drop us a comment or make contact.

So for now, from Jon and Myself, Goodbye and thanks for all the fish!

NEBytes December 2016: Microsoft’s NET Core is going to rock your world

For our December event we've got Christos Matskas from Microsoft giving us a talk on the new kid on the block - .NET Core.

Please note the change of venue for this month, we're back to Newcastle University at Claremont Tower!

Microsoft’s NET Core is going to rock your world

Christos is a software developer, blogger, speaker and all around geek. He currently works for Microsoft as an Azure Dev Premier Field Engineer. Before joining Microsoft, he was a successful entrepreuner collaborating with companies such as MarkIT, Lockheed Martin and Barclays. He's been building software for over 12 years and he's a passionate Open Source advocate. He contibutes regularly to numerous OSS projects and works closely with the developer community to make the space bigger and better.

NET Core has been written from the ground up to be the best web development platform for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can now use your favorite editor to create faster, leaner and more memory efficient NET applications that work everywhere. In this session, you'll get an introduction to the major advancements and an overview of what's changed in the new, brave world of .NET Core. You'll also get the chance to see how you can create ASP.NET Core apps that leverage all the new front-end tooling like npm, Bower, Grunt and Gulp to make development easier. This is going to be session full of demos and information that promises to rock your world!

As per usual there'll be networking over pizza during the sessioin break. Christmas jumpers are optional!

Please register at Eventbrite

Food is sponsored by:

NEBytes November 2016: Mobile with Xamarin, Realtime with RethinkDB/NodeJS

After a hiatus that took longer than we'd intended we're back with our November event.  As usual we're at Campus North but we've got a change of date - it's a Thursday this month rather then the usual Wednesday.

Building Realtime apps with RethinkDB and Node.JS - Matt Collins

In todays online world, user experience is key. Users expect slick interfaces that are intuitive, informative and engaging. More and more, building apps that update the user in Realtime are becoming an essential part of this experience - and we can see this every day with things like Google Docs, Facebook Notifications, Slack and BBC Live Text.

RethinkDB is a fully featured, opensource, NoSQL database designed to make developing for the Realtime Web easy. We'll talk about changefeeds, clustering and how combining with Node.js can help you avoid some of the pitfalls of building rich, engaging, Realtime Apps to scale and across multiple platforms.

By the end of this talk you be ready to go back to the office and create your first Realtime App with RethinkDB and Node.

Writing your First Mobile Application using Xamarin - Dave Mawer

Dave Mawer is a Senior Developer who has been working at Sage UK Ltd for 4½ years and is currently working on the Sage 200 team enhancing the Sage 200 product suite.  His interests outside of work include cycling, following Liverpool FC and writing simple mobile applications using Xamarin.

In this talk Dave will introduce the Xamarin add on for Visual Studio, explain two different approaches to writing a mobile phone application and then demonstrate implementing a simple Android mobile application to display data from a Twitter account.

Please register at Eventbrite

Food is sponsored by:

NEBytes September 2016: Buddying up with AgileNE "Mob Programming: A Whole Team Approach"

This month the Agile North East user group have Woody Zuill over visiting from the USA talking about "Mob Programing". So instead of having our usual dual event this month we're keeping the airwaves clear (and extending the summer break!) and suggest you head along to see him in action...

Woody has an impressive track record working with the likes of
Ericsson, Schneider Electric, Qualcomm, Intel, H & M, King Games, Capital One, Twitter, Zip Car, Pivotal Labs, and Spotify.
Mob Programming is a development approach where the whole team works on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and on the same computer. It is a whole-team approach to doing all the work the team does including designing, coding, testing, and working with the customers, users and other stakeholders. This is an evolutionary step beyond pair programming, and accentuates face-to-face communication, team alignment, collaboration, and self-organizing team concepts of the Agile approach to software development. Mob Programming can be a highly effective approach to software development.

You can register over at here -

NEBytes July 2016: O365 Compliance & Intro to Go

Heading into the summer, hot on the heals of June's DevOps fest we're mixing it up a bit with one MS talk and one Google talk...

Considering Compliance in Office 365 - John Timney

This session provides a top down view of the Office 365 Compliance Center, delivered by veteran Office Server and Services MVP John Timney. A business and operations focused session describing why we need to understand the key aspects of this service around archiving and retention, e-discovery, advanced e-discovery and audit. The session considers not only the features in Office 365, but the issue of legality, EU Compliance and the EU-US Privacy Shield, data sovereignty and the possible impact of Brexit on service owners. If you work in a regulated industry and are considering or have already adopted Office 365 and Azure then this is a must see session to ready you for a compliant business.

Introdution to Go - Jon Bulmer

The Go programming language was invented by Alan A A Donovan and Brian W Kernighan in 2007. It is Google's project, intended to offer speed and dynamic development. Now at version 1.6 it is a fairly new language and this can show at times. It works best in web service and network environments.

I will start with a look at the tutorials on the golang site. . This is an amazing site that gets you up to speed with the language, writing your code directly into the web browser with syntax and compiler help. As you work through the tutorials and do the exercises, you gain confidence. I will finish this section of the talk by completing the Fibonacci closure exercise.

Then I will move onto the Latte Panda. This is a fully functional 2G/32GB Windows 10 PC, built on a card with USB, HTMI and Ethernet connection. It also includes a wifi card. All this for $109 my unit is in a cool bamboo case. I have installed the Go compiler on it and will demonstrate a web service running on it written with Go.

We'll be in Campus North, most likely the classroom but the final venue is still to be confirmed.

See folks soon!

Eventbrite - NEBytes July 2016: O365 Compliance & Intro to Go

NEBytes June 2016: Real world DevOps with Azure and VSTS

This month we are very happy to welcome back MVPs Richard Fennell and Rik Hepworth from Black Marble to talk DevOps:

The dream of any DevOps solution is to make the provisioning and deployment to environments seamless. In this session we will show you how this dream can be achieved using the latest advances in Visual Studio Team Services and Azure. 

We will show how you can use utilise Azure Resource Templates to define your environment then the latest features of VSTS Release Management to create an end to end deployment of you environment and application, with appropriate testing.

We will also discuss how these techniques could potentially be used for on-premises scenarios now and in the future.

We're meeting in Campus North's Auditorium, through the back of Bunker Coffee and Kitchen on the corner of Carliol Square. Come along from 18:00 and grab a drink - the presentation will start at 18:30.

We'll look forward to seeing you there.

Campus North Auditorium - Bunker Coffee and Kitchen 11 Carliol Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6UF

Eventbrite - Real world DevOps with Azure and VSTS

NEBytes May 2016: Great Rx-pectations

This event is kindly sponsored by Scott Logic:

Feeling like we're nearly into summer yet?! Come along to this months NEBytes for some cool beer, a good talk and some tech chat...

Demistifying Rx - Sam Hogarth

The Reactive Extensions (Rx) began as a Microsoft project and has grown into an open-source, multi-language set of libraries. Using Rx you can easily compose asynchronous, event-driven programs by building Observable streams and performing operations on those streams. If you're familiar with LINQ you're pretty much there. In this talk we'll take an introductory look into how Rx works, how you can build applications using Rx (including testing!) and take an in-depth look into how some of the key operations work using marble diagrams.

Sam Hogarth is a Senior Developer at Scott Logic, where he spends his time building web-based trading platforms using React. He has five years experience working across the investment banking and applied science sectors, developing for the web, desktop and mobile.


We don't have a fixed session for the second slot this month but will instead continue with Jon's Magical technology rating game that seemed to go down quite well a couple of months back.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Eventbrite - NEBytes May 2016: Great Rx-pectations

Microsoft Web Platform Day coming to Newcastle

You might have spotted it already, but just in-case you haven't, Microsoft's development evangelist team are hitting the road with a set of events round the country and In April it's Newcastle (ok, ok technically Gateshead's) turn!

The event is a full day's worth of sessions with breaks for lunch and the all important networking.. The event is web focused with topics on Javascript,, Hybrid apps and even a splash of DevOps.

If you haven't aready you can register here -

It would be great to get as many folks along as possible to "proove" that it's worth Mirosoft coming back to visit us in our little section of the UK in future!

And as a great pre-event don't forget about April's NEBytes too!

NEBytes April 2016: .NET MVC Security with John Staveley

This month we happen to line up the day before the Microsoft Web Platform roadshow hits town (more info here - As such we have our own webby topic ready for you and are delighted to have John Staveley coming up from Leeds who will be taking over both sessions with his master class on:

.NET MVC Website Security - John Staveley

The number and frequency of attacks on websites in the news is increasing steadily and effects can be devastating. However for each company that you hear about there are many more who cover up or are unaware of breaches on their sites. Thus what you hear about in the news represents just the tip of the iceburg. This primer session on security focusses on the major risks and the practical steps you can take now in your software development to protect an ASP.Net Mvc website from the major threats in the web today and will include code you can take away and implement in your own sites. Each type of attack will be introduced in a technology agnostic way, then highlighted with some case studies using major breaches as examples, then finally countermeasures which you can use will be proposed for each risk. The attacks I will be looking at are:

  • SQL Injection
  • Session hijacking
  • Password hacking
  • Weak account management
  • XSS
  • Insecure direct object references
  • Misconfiguration
  • Sensitive data exposure
  • Missing Function Level Access Control
  • CSRF
  • Unvalidated redirects and forwards
  • Form overposting
  • DDOS
  • Social Engineering

A sample code project is included as part of the talk which helps mitigate against all of these threats and more.


Eventbrite - NEBytes April 2016: .NET MVC Security with John Staveley