Last night saw another great session at NxtGen Southampton with Dave McMahon co-founder of NxtGen kindly making his way down to the sunny south coast all the way from Birmingham.
The session kicked off with a nugget on ELMAH by James Driscoll one of our region members. This looked really interesting and definitely requires further investigation, ELMAH stands for Error Logging Modules and Handlers and it is essentially a completely pluggable error logging framework that can be added to any asp .net web application with the need to re-compile or re-deploy, just change a few configuration settings and you are off. This is something I would certainly consider for my next asp .net application or as James so rightly said last night "even if you inherit a dodgy application that doesn't really have any error logging functionality built in, just plugin in ELMAH and the basics are covered". A more in depth article on ELMAH can be found at Using HTTP Modules and Handlers to Create Pluggable ASP.NET Components which was written by Scott Mitchell of 4GuysFromRolla.
Dave then stepped up to the plate and delivered what I felt was a very truthful and interesting talk on his experiences with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). Dave clarified the differences between a Site and a Site Collection and tried to bring some sense or understanding to some of the terms and phrases used by Microsoft in SharePoint, namely the term "GhostableInLibrary" which I am still not sure I truly understand what this does :-).
Working his magic with various batch files Dave then gave us a variety of hints and tips on how to deploy a SharePoint installation to over 2000 web sites using STSADM.
He gave a brief overview of the disparate set of tools that are used to develop a SharePoint site including, but not limited to, Visual Studio and SharePoint Designer and pointed us in the direction of a few helper tools including an addin for Visual Studio the name of which escapes me but I shall update this post when I get hold of some links to Dave's resources. He then should us how to create a SharePoint Feature/Solution together with a recommended workflow using the variety of tools necessary to develop and deploy the new feature to sites.
As usual, the night also included plenty of pizza and a host of swag items given away including a set of Telerik web controls, a JetBrains Resharper License, some a Programming Linq book, some Microsoft socks and plenty of other goodies. Once again another great session, many thanks to Dave and James.