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

NEBytes October 2015 - Windows 10 and the Universal Windows App Platform

We are very pleased this month to welcome back the speaking powerhouse of Mike Taulty... Mike will be joining us to talk about the changes in the updated Universal App Platform for Windows 10... Mike will be taking over the whole session and we expect high demand so make sure you register early!

Windows 10 and the Universal Windows App Platform

Windows 10 is a big release for Microsoft. Commodious. Huge. Massive. Colossal. Humongous. ;-)

It’s the end of a journey to unify Windows. It’s the beginning of a journey for developers who want to take advantage of a universal app platform available across all Windows devices.

In this session, we’ll dig into what’s changed in Windows 10 for the Windows app developer. We’ll talk about the Universal App Platform that makes it possible to build code that runs on all Windows devices and about the Extension platforms for code that targets specific device families.

We’ll stay in Visual Studio as much as is possible and we’ll lean towards C# and XAML.

Mike's Bio:

Mike Taulty works in the Developer and Platform Group at Microsoft in the UK where he has spent the past few years helping developers understand and get the best from the Microsoft platform. Prior to this, Mike spent 3 years with Microsoft Consulting Services as a consultant on developer technologies.

Before joining Microsoft, Mike spent the previous 9 years working as a software developer for a number of enterprises, consultancies and software vendors working with a variety of operating system, client, communication and server technologies. You can find more of a complete career history over on LinkedIn.

Mike holds a BSc Hons (1st Class) in Computer Science from the University of Leeds.

Date: Wednesday 21st October 2015

Time: 18:30-20.30


Eventbrite - NEBytes October 2015 - Windows 10 and the Universal Windows App Platform

NEBytes September 2015 - Dapper + Unity

Make your SQL Queries Dapper with Mark Thompson

Mark says: "I’ll talk about the different object relational mappers out there – Why 
the concept of ORM’s is a good idea but the real world performance 
problems that seem all to common as applications scale in production.
We’ll then do a comparison of the entity framework and NHibernate to 
some of the other options out there, including Dapper.
Dapper is a Micro ORM created by Stack Exchange (Stack Overflow) to 
address exactly these problems.

I’ll then show how easy it is to get started with Dapper (How can the 
creators of Stack Overflow be wrong?)
By the end of the talk you should have an understanding of Dapper, how 
to use it and a common repository style pattern I’ve seen adopted when 
using dapper.
We will be using C#, Mysql and possibly Sqlite as well as the Entity 
Framework, NHibernate, Dapper and Peta Poco."

Mark is a Software Development Manager who has worked on software 
projects from Military Communications to printing best before dates on 
ready meals. He favours the Microsoft Technology Stack, C#, MVC and Team 
Foundation Server, and is a Certified Scrum Master and Professional.

When he isn't ranting about code or Scrum he is trying to convince his 
two young daughters software development is cool.

Using .Net + Unity3D to Make Cross-Platform Games with Steve Higgs

“When I grow up I want to make line of business applications” - said no one ever. Lets unleash our inner children and use .net and unity to easily create games.

Topics covered:

What’s unity?
C# and unity
Using the asset store to work around the fact that I can’t draw

Steve does node, c# and other things for Opentable. In previous lives he has developed content management systems, factory control software and gambling apps. Can be a bit sweary.

Date: Wednesday 16th September 2015

Time: 18:30-20:30

Attendence is free. Drinks will be provided. All we ask is a small donation towards the pizza order if you want some pizza. :-)

Eventbrite - NEBytes September 2015 - Dapper + Unity

NEBytes August 2015 - There are 10 kinds of people in the world...

The magic hour has been and gone… Microsoft pushed the big green "go" button in the cloud and have unleashed the Ninja-cat riding a Bacon-Narwhale on a Unicorn surfing on the back of a T-rex software (incase you were wondering) known to the rest of the world as Windows 10!

Come along to the second NEBytes in our new home at Campus North where Jon Noble and Ben Lee will cover their thoughts and experiences to-date with Windows 10. Also they will talk and attempt to demo more of the upcoming Windows 10 mobile release – hopefully with more success than last time!

We’d love to hear your tales and experiences so come along ready to contribute. If you have any particularly interesting or exciting tales you want to share drop us a line – and we can give you a proper slot in the agenda.

As it is summer holiday season we will only be running the one slot this month which leaves more beer & pizza time after the event :)

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Ben & Jon.

Date: Wednesday 19th August 2015

Time: 18:30-20:30

Eventbrite - NEBytes August 2015 - There are 10 kinds of people in the world...

NEBytes July 2015 - New Home!

Join North East Bytes for the first event in our brand new home! We're very happy to be running our events at Campus North in the heart of Newcastle from this month. The format of our events won't be changing (but there will be added beer!).

We're welcoming a brand new speaker for our brand new venue. This sounds like a great session from Mark Thompson:

Session 1: Communications enable your software quickly and easily with Twillio (Mark Thompson)

For the uninitiated Twillio is an on-line service that makes it easy add support for SMS and phone calls to your web/ mobile apps.

Using a few lines of code you can have your application up and running, sending/recieving SMS messages or even making telephone calls for you.

Yes really! No hardware needed, no SIM cards and certainly no need to run any new cables to your premises!

During this talk I'll demonstrate how easy it is to get up and running with Twillio:

  • Get a UK landline number with the area code of your choice for $1 a month
  • Enable SMS based two factor authentication for your apps - Because we all know how secure email is...!
  • Respond to an SMS message
  • Respond to a telephone call
  • Build your own PBX (i.e. Telephone menu and multi user voicemail) in under half an hour.

We'll be writing code, mainly C#, with a dash of PHP in places and probably some good old ASP MVC too.

Everything I demonstrate will be easily ported to the language of your choice.

Mark is a Software Development Team Lead who has worked on software projects from Military Communications to printing best before dates on ready meals. He favours the Microsoft Technology Stack, C#, MVC and Team Foundation Server, and is a Certified Scrum Master and Professional.

When he isn't ranting about code or Scrum he is trying to convince his two young daughters software development is cool.

Session 2: Azure Service Bus (Michael Stephenson)

In this session we will look at an introduction to the Azure Service Bus and its capabilities to deliver low cost massive scale messaging.  We will also look at some demo's of how to use the service bus and some real world use cases.

Michael Stephenson is a UK based integration and cloud specialise who has worked with many consultancies and customers building hybrid integration solutions using Microsoft technologies such as BizTalk & Azure. Michael is also a Pluralsight trainer and blogger on integration and architecture related topics. Michael has been a Microsoft MVP for 6 years.

Date: Wednesday 15th July 2015

Time: 18:30-21:00

We look forward to seeing you at Campus North on the 15th!

Eventbrite - NEBytes July 2015 - New Home!

NEBytes June 2015 -

Join North East Bytes and SharePoint User Group UK for an evening of Azure and Office 365.
Date: Wednesday 17th June 2015

Time: 18:30-21:00

We have two new speakers to Newcastle, with a wealth of techncial experience between them looking to impart their wisdom on us. 

We will begin the evening with a discussion on the tricky and misunderstoof topic of:

Site Provisioning in Office 365

While this push to cloud is both great and exciting, it can be often time consuming, tedious and prone to errors if most of our work is undertaken manually. In this talk we will explore the current techniques for automating the process of provisioning many site collections, team sites, pages and web parts, user security etc, against both Cloud Hosted Office 365 and on premise SharePoint 2013. Specifically, we will look at taking real world user requirements and then letting these drive the provisioning through community initiatives as well as writing bespoke PowerShell and Provider Hosted Apps / CSOM.  

Join Daniel Westerdale, Office 365 Jedi, to demonstrate some simple approaches to automatrin to allow you to avoid the hazards caused by manual activity. The session is targeted towards both IT Pro, Power users and the developer audience.

Our second session of the evening, following a break for networking and refreshements is delivered by Simon Doy is a strongly developer focussed afair, but entirely relevent to Solution and Enterprise Architect level staff looking at considering development and utilization strategies around Azure.

Simon is an Independent SharePoint Solution Architect who has been hooked on SharePoint since 2006. Currently he is slowly transitioning into the Office 365/Azure world.  He has been built large scale solutions using SharePoint for clients in various markets including Construction, Finance, Healthcare, Government and Entertainment industries.   He also helps organise the Yorkshire SharePoint User Group so he is not new to these sessions.  Simon will cover the concept of:

Coding for the Azure paradigm

This talk is a developer/solution architecture focused session. It will take a full trust code application built on the SharePoint 2013 platform and discuss how it could be converted to run in the Cloud on the Office 365 and Azure platform.  We’ll introduce the application and its key requirements. The existing application architecture will be explained and then we will look at how we could convert the application into a cloud based SharePoint Add-In. There were a number of issues with the original application and the Cloud allows us to help solve those. The Cloud and the SharePoint Add-In model also introduce more problems so we’ll cover some techniques to help.

After discussing the new architecture we will then pick out some key areas and build those components in the cloud.

We'll conclude with a Q&A, so bring your questions, there will be a wealth of talent on hand to help work out your queries.

Eventbrite - An evening of Azure and Office 365

NEBytes May 2015–Igniting Build

Join North East Bytes for our fourth event of 2015.  In this event we'll be running a retrospective session covering all the news from BUILD 2015 and the inaugural Microsoft Ignite Event, so if you can't make it out to San Francisco or Chicago why not come along and catch up on all the news with us.

Date: Wednesday 20th May 2015

Time: 18:30-21:00

If you're following the Build and Ignite conferences and see something you think might be of interest to the wider group, please feel free to either point it out to us so we can include it or why not even stand up and discuss it with members in our session - they don't bite! :), either way let us know via Twitter/Facebook/Website of anything that is of interest.

We look forward to seeing you on the 20th!

Event Location The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 on the first floor of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -

Eventbrite - NEBytes May 2015 - Igniting Build

NEBytes April 2015 - Universal MS Previews

Happy post-Easter everyone...

Better late than never we're pleased to be making live our April event for 2015...


Date: Wednesday 15th April 2015

Time: 18:30-21:00

Session 1: Microsoft Preview

It's that time in Microsoft's development cycle where lots of new things are just round the corner and prehaps unprecedented in Microsoft's history they are sharing more and more information than ever before. As a Joe Public you are able to sign up and get preview access to:

  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10 preview for phones
  • Office 2016
  • Skype for Business

In this first session, Jon Noble, Ben Lee and Andrew Westgarth will cover the key points from the above upcoming product releases. They break their devices so you don't have to! :)

Session 2: Universal app per day to help prepare way for Windows 10

Peter Bull is a local developer living in Gateshead and has worked on a variety of development projects from an online second-hand book store to his own Windows Phone apps, one of which got over a quarter of a million downloads. This month he’s releasing a Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 Universal Application Tutorial each day, in this presentation he’ll cover how writing universal apps now (for Windows 8.1 / Phone 8.1) will bring you a step closer to being ready for Windows 10. Now that the promise of truly universal apps is about to be delivered Peter learned a lot from the process with Windows 8 and will share his knowledge with the group.

Eventbrite - NEBytes April 2015 - Universal MS Previews

NEBytes March 2015 - Evolving the IT Pro & surprise!

Hello All,

We're delighted to put live our event for March where are are partnering with the SharePoint User Group once again :)


Welcoming back to the stage MVP John Timney


Date: Wednesday 18th March 2015

Time: 18:30-21:00

Session 1: Evolving the IT Pro

What does SharePoint IT Pro version 2 look like?  How will you transform your skills to retain employment in the new world of cloud, hybrid and damned confusing IT?  What indeed even is this new world we are facing? Are we more fragmented as individuals, what place is there for developers, and what planning roles can an IT Pro evolve themselves into to ensure a career in SharePoint? 

Demand has never been higher for SharePoint staff, and yet many IT Pro's and Devs are simply unemployable in this new world.  Come and learn what skills you need to thrive in this rapidly evolving world that we face and consider how to evolve yourself from the IT Pro of old to the in-demand leading edge Hybrid professionals sought by the SharePoint IT and consulting industry. 

While you are here, learn what kind of salary these new roles we can place ourselves into might actually pay. Plan your next IT Pro career opportunity by joining me on a holistic overview of what it takes to be the IT Pro V2, understanding how the world is rapidly changing, what the new market is seeking, what roles are in demand, how to avoid recruiter snake oil, avoiding unicorns and even gathering some tips on finding the right staff for your SharePoint projects.  If you want a career in SharePoint VNext as IT Pro VNext, this is a must attend session!

Session 2: Surprise!

We've not quite confirmed session two but fear not, we have an amazing backup session just incase with Jon talking about DevOps

Eventbrite - NEBytes March 2015 - Evolving the IT Pro & surprise!

NEBytes Febuary 2015 - Xamarin on about Xamarin

Welcome back to a new year and an all new NEBytes event! Hopeful you will forgive our slight interruption to your normally scheduled NEBytes entertainment programming but I promise the wait will have been worth it!

We are very pleased to have along a great speaker from Xamarin themselves with not just a single talk but a double bill all about your favourite cross-platform mobile development platform...

Date: Wednesday 18th February 2015

Time: 18:30-21:00

Introducing Mike James (@micjames6):

The most recent addition to the Developer Evangelism team at Xamarin, Mike previously worked within the support department. Before joining Xamarin he worked within the entertainment control industry developing control systems for installations such as the London Eye. His passion grew for mobile when he was tasked with developing mobile apps for site engineers tocontrol the lighting on these installations. Currently Mike is responsible for engaging with the community in Europe and takes great pleasure in having the opportunity to meet customers face to face and present new technologies to them. Mike lives in the UK and enjoys music production, running and his Xbox One.

Mike will be presenting on two topics for us this month:

Session 1: Xamarin.Forms: Native iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps from ONE C# Codebase

Building cross-platform native UIs with one shared codebase was once just a dream. With Xamarin.Forms, this dream is now a reality. Xamarin.Forms allows you to build a native UI for three platforms with one shared C# codebase. Simply put, if you know C# then you already know how to build iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps. Leverage the .NET Framework to build out your shared business logic including integration with web services and Azure Mobile Services and then build out your shared UI in C# or XAML. Xamarin.Forms also features a built-in two-way data binding, dependency service to help you implement platform-specific code, an advanced cross-platform animation system, support for custom controls, and lots of other powerful features to help you build the best apps possible in the least amount of time.

During this session we will cover the Xamarin platform and the brand new Xamarin.Forms library to share even more code across iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.  Moreover, we will really focus on the code with several live coding adventures throughout the entire session. When you leave you will have the knowledge to create your first iOS, Android, and Windows Phone mobile apps in C# with Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms.

Session2: Automated UI Testing for iOS and Android Mobile Apps

An ever growing number of mobile devices with constantly advancing operating system releases are hitting the market at a lightning pace. Creating a comprehensive testing suite is imperative to success in the mobile market to ensure your app is of the highest quality with each and every release. Unit tests can only test your core business logic. How can you ensure your user interface is bulletproof and regression free on four versions of iOS on 20 devices or eight versions of android on over 18,000 device models! This is where creating automated user interface testing for mobile apps comes in.

Xamarin.UITest is a freely available testing framework that enables you to create user interface tests to programmatically interact with native and hybrid apps. Swipe, tap, or rotate any user interface element and then perform real world assertions and take screenshots for visual validation along the way. Learn how to create these tests and run them locally on your own device or simulator or take them to the Xamarin Test Cloud to automatically test your application on thousands of physical devices ensuring mobile success.

Now with your apps out in the wild how do you plan on monitoring your applications in real time for crash reporting and analytics? Xamarin Insights provides a fully cross-platform API for all of your mobile applications and even integrates into popular services such as GitHub and Visual Studio online for mission critical updates. Learn how to easily integrate Insights into your mobile applications and extend further with identity and service integration.

Event Location

The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 on the first floor of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -

Eventbrite - NEBytes Febuary 2015 - Xamarin on about Xamarin
Thanks to Ross Dargan for arranging this months talks.

NEBytes December 2014–The Dawn of Skynet Santa?

Come along and join us for a rare festive NEBytes this December we are delighted to welcome DevExpress Analytics Program Manager, Seth Juarez to the region!

Date: Tuesday 9th December 2014

Time: 18:30-21:00

Come along and join us for a rare festive NEBytes this December we are delighted to welcome DevExpress Analytics Program Manager, Seth Juarez to the region!

Practical Machine Learning - Predicting Things

Machine Learning can often be a daunting subject to tackle much less utilize in a meaningful manner. In this session, attendees will learn how to take their existing data, shape it, and create models that automatically can make principled business decisions directly in their applications. The discussion will include explanations of the data acquisition and shaping process. Additionally, attendees will learn the basics of machine learning - primarily the supervised learning problem.

About Seth Juarez

Seth Juarez holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science where his field of research was Artificial Intelligence, specifically in the realm of Machine Learning. Seth is the Analytics Program Manager for DevExpress where he specializes in products dealing with data analysis, shaping, and presentation. When he is not working in that area, Seth devotes his time to an open source Machine Learning Library, specifically for .NET, intended to simplify the use of popular machine learning models, as well as complex statistics and linear algebra.

Event Location

The event will be hosted in Room 1.02 on the first floor of Claremont Tower at Newcastle University. For a detailed campus map -

Eventbrite - NEBytes December 2014 - The Dawn of Santa Skynet?