It's been a while since I've been along to a meeting (...again) mainly due to me working in Burwood while the meetings are in the city, but I managed to drag myself in (by train) and was very glad I did.

I also learnt that the Victoria Dot Net User Group (VDNUG) now has a twitter feed ... sweet!

Visual Studio Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Mahesh Krishnan ran through some of the sides he presented at the TechEd 08 in Sydney. At first I wasn't sure what I could learn here being the hard core Visual Studio developer that I am ahem - but I was pleasantly surprised to learn or be reminded of several cool features in the IDE.

He's written up all his notes into a detailed blog Visual Studio Debugging Tips and Tricks

My top take-aways were ...

He also went over macros as expected, but I've been a long time advocate of this little gem, spreading the joy everywhere I go ;-)

I still feel the best way to become more productive with Visual Studio and the entire Windows Operating System for that matter is to have a "No Mouse Day" - this will force you to use the keyboard, learn the shortcuts, and after an hour or two of pain you'll be much better off for it.

Also, do yourself a favor, and get a copy of ReSharper 4.1 installed ... try it free for a month then convince your manager you need it. There are loads of productivity enhancements tucked away in there.

There are loads of tips out there which are easy to find, but a good place to start would be to check out Sara Ford's blog

Using the AJAX History Control with AJAX/Silverlight

Jordan Knight took us through a couple examples of how to use the ASP.NET AJAX History control which was packaged into .Net 3.5 SP1. Basically the AJAX History control allows for more control when dealing with the pesky browser back button which has been the woe of many a web developer in recent times.

His examples showed how to add history points to the browser which would record specific state values and allow the application to retrieve these values when the browser back/forward button is hit. It was great to see a Silverlight example using the DOM Bridge which allows .Net classes to be exposed to the html page and accessed via javascript.

This functionality looks particularly useful when dealing with wizard style applications using an RIA technology such as AJAX/Silverlight.

He has a blog article which covers his talk in great detail including the Silverlight example with code and a screencast.

He also acknowledged Jonas Follesoe's blog post covering a similar example which minimizes/encapsulates the javascript involved.