July, 2011

  •  

    Training materials for Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, course #80295, are now available for download on Microsoft Dynamics PartnerSource (sign in needed). Orderable materials will be available late next week.

     

    The course is also available in the eLearning Catalog on PartnerSource.

     

    The eLearning series includes

    ·         Querying Data and Executing Operations

    ·         Plug Ins

    ·         Client Extensions

    ·         Extensibility Overview

    ·         Implementing Business Processes

    ·         Application Event Programming

    ·         Web Resources

    ·         Common Platform Operations

     

  • Writing under the nom de plume of Mathais Thurman, in his “Security Manager’s Journal,” Marthais opined on “The perils of enterprise search”. Mathais’s take away comment is “First and foremost, you have to make sure you don’t compromise the rule of least privilege.”

    To those of you not that might not know, the rule or principle of least privilege is:

    “The principle of least privilege (POLP) is the practice of limiting access to the minimal level that will allow normal functioning. Applied to employees, the principle of least privilege translates to giving people the lowest level of user rights that they can have and still do their jobs. The principle is also applied to things other than people, including programs and processes.” From http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/principle-of-least-privilege-POLP.

    So how are POLP and enterprise search intertwined? One of the key goals of an enterprise search deployment is to index content from various enterprise repositories such as SharePoint sites, web sites, Exchange servers, file shares, and many others. If you do not take into account the security access rights of the various repositories, you might be surprised at what can be found using search. This was illustrated to me on one of my first customer proof of concept (POC) engagements. We were asked to index some content on a few internal file shares as well as their public Exchange folders. The security aspects of search were not being evaluated at this time. After a few days of work I was finished and went to our sponsor to show her the results. I showed her the search interface, along with some of the advanced search features on the results page; I then let her use the software on her own. In about a half hour she called me into her office. I knew something was wrong by the flustered look on her face. One of her searches had turned up a highly confidential document. Evidently the security of its repository was not set appropriately, this lead to a search security discussion, and a meeting with their IT security lead.

    The bundled SharePoint search, Fast Search for SharePoint, and Fast Search for Internet Sites all support the policy of least privilege, i.e. the user is restricted to seeing only content they are authorized to view. This is accomplished by the use of access control lists and results trimming as well as the capability to extend the security model using the custom security-trimming infrastructure. SharePoint 2010 has added Claims based authentication, and enhanced the document level security while the content is in the SharePoint repository. To secure your content as it leaves the SharePoint site, consider using Information Rights Management (IRM). IRM can be configured at the document library level, so when content is checked into the SharePoint library, it is wrapped in an IRM security blanket. As Arpan Shah points out, “By applying the wrapper at download time & leveraging SharePoint security while the content lives in SharePoint, the search indexer is able to effectively index the content - which is a great feature. “

    For a more complete discussion of SharePoint search security, I highly recommend you read “Trim SharePoint Search Results for Better Securityby Ashley Elenjickal and Pooja Harjani.

    We look forward to your comments. If you have a technical tip you would like to share with your colleagues, send it to phelsel@microsoft.com to be included in our next Technical Tips blog. See you in class!

    By: Philip E. Helsel

  • Microsoft technologies are evolving more quickly than ever. In order to maintain the value of your certifications, we need to ensure that Microsoft Certifications keep pace with changing technologies and remain a meaningful indicator of a candidate’s continued competence.

    Recertification provides assurance to hiring managers and other key stakeholders that the candidate who holds the certification has demonstrated continued competence even as the technology has changed based on service packs, revisions, and new product version releases. Recertification also provides candidates the opportunity to update an advanced-level certification to encompass the skills they have gained on a newer version, without having to complete the full certification path again.

    We are conducting a survey to gather customer and hiring manager feedback about recertification requirements for advanced level (i.e., MCITP and MCPD) Microsoft Certifications. Your responses will help us determine how often a candidate should be required to recertify, which activities hiring managers would consider appropriate proof of continued competence, and which activities candidates would prefer to engage in to demonstrate continued competence. One possible recertification requirement would be passing an exam--
    but it doesn't necessarily have to be an exam. We'd like to hear your opinions on other possible activities.

    We hope that you’ll take the time to participate in this short—but important—survey. Please complete and submit your responses by August 8th.

    Follow this link to complete the survey: http://microsoftlearning.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_8GizxTjKyuQ3tHu

    Thanks in advance for your participation!

  • We're looking for volunteers to help us with the development of a new Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)* exam covering mobile development fundamentals.  If you've taught introductory mobile development courses in a high school, community college, or other learning environment, we want you!

    MTA is the first Microsoft certification targeted specifically at students who are new to IT.  The exams validate the foundational knowledge needed to begin building a career using Microsoft technologies.  We recommend that candidates have some hands-on technology experience prior to taking these exams.  MTA provides an ideal stepping stone to our MCTS certifications and to a career in IT.

    Please email me at sanres@microsoft.com by end of day July 29th PST if you'd like to participate in developing this exam.  Please provide a brief summary of your relevant experience.

    And if you know someone who you think would be interested in volunteering for this, please send them a link to this post.  We want to hear from as many people as possible.

    *If this is the first you've heard about MTA, you can find out more about it here on Born to Learn.

  •  You are invited to take beta exam 71-158, TS: Forefront Identity Manager 2010, Configuring. If you pass the beta exam, the exam credit will be added to your transcript and you will not need to take the exam in its released form.

    By participating in beta exams, you have the opportunity to provide the Microsoft Certification program with feedback about exam content, which is integral to development of exams in their released version. We depend on the contributions of experienced IT professionals and developers as we continually improve exam content and maintain the value of Microsoft certifications.

    The preparation guide for this exam is now available: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/Exam.aspx?ID=70-158&Locale=en-us#tab3

    Note: The preparation guide includes the audience description document attached to the previous post along with general informaton about the exam and any exam-specific resources.

    71-158 TS: Forefront Identity Manager 2010, Configuring counts as credit towards the following certification(s).

    · MCTS: Forefront Identity Manager 2010, Configuration

    Availability

    Beta exam period runs: July 15, 2011 – August 4, 2011

    Receiving this invitation does not guarantee you a seat in the beta. We recommend that you register immediately. Beta exams have limited availability and are operated under a first-come-first-served basis. Once all beta slots are filled, no additional seats will be offered.

    Testing is held at Prometric testing centers worldwide, although this exam may not be available in all countries (see Regional Restrictions). All testing centers will have the capability to offer this exam in its live version.

    Regional Restrictions: India, Pakistan, China, Turkey

    Registration Information

    You must register at least 24 hours prior to taking the exam.
    Please use the following promotional code when registering for the exam: FIMJ
    Receiving this invitation does not guarantee you a seat in the beta. We recommend that you register immediately.

    To register in North America, please call:

    Prometric: (800) 755-EXAM (800-755-3926)

    Prometric: http://www.register.prometric.com/ClientInformation.asp

     Outside the U.S./Canada, please contact:

    Prometric: http://www.register.prometric.com/ClientInformation.asp


    Test Information and Support

    You are invited to take this beta exam at no charge.
    You will be given four hours to complete the beta exam. Please plan accordingly.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about beta exams here:

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/exam-dev-release.aspx#tab2

    For Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) help and information, you may log in to the MCP Web site at http://mcp.microsoft.com/ or contact your Regional Service Center: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/help/assisted-support.aspx

     

     

  • I am often asked why the default memory allocations settings are so low for the FSIS Server. The answer is simple: the default settings allow all the FSIS components, including the FSIS server, ESP search engine and connectors, and Visual Studio, to run on a single machine with 8 GB of memory. For the FSIS classes the VM is actually only allocated 6.5 GB of memory, because the flows used in the labs are simple and feeding batches are small.

    Production
    The default and recommended amount of memory reserved for the different nodes is as follows:

    • Administration node: The default setting is 512 MB and is sufficient for most environments, even with a full allocation of worker services.
    • Content Management Service (CMS) node: The default setting is 800 MB which can only run the simplest flows. In production, memory should be increased to 4 GB. To better utilize memory and CPU, add additional CMS services.
    • Interaction Management Services (IMS) node: The default setting is 800 MB, which is sufficient for simple flows with a single search result. When federating results from multiple engines, additional memory is required to hold and process the results. As a rule of thumb, each additional federated source or thread operator in your flow increases the memory allocation by 400 to 800 MB.
    • Content Distributor Emulator (CDE) node: The default setting is 400 MB, which is sufficient for most operations. The amount of memory must be larger than the expected maximum batch size. If not, either increase the memory allocation to hold your batch or decrease the batch size. |\

    Development
    I am fortunate to have 16 GBs on my development system, so I can allocate plenty of memory to FSIS and ESP. If you do not have a PC with 16 GBs, here are a few tricks to improve performance when running everything on one machine:

    • Double the memory allocation for CMS to 1.6 GB. I have been successful doing this on an 8 GB machine, but not with a 6.5 GB VM.
    • Disable the enterprise crawler. If you need to feed in web content use the Docpush command line tool instead. Usually when I am testing CTS flows or document processing pipelines I only need to feed one document at a time.
    • Reduce your batch size when feeding with FileTraverser, JDBC or other connectors. When ESP and FSIS are running on the same machine each byte that the batch size is reduced, reduces the amount of memory used by 3 bytes, because the batch is created in memory on the connector, stored in memory by the content distributor and processed in memory by the document processor. The connectors and content distributor will grab as much memory as they can, up to 3 GB.
    • When testing and debugging CTS flows, disable the QR Servers to free up memory. I disable the QR Server when I am feeding. When I need to test if the documents are searchable, I disable document processing and re-enable the QR Server (psctrl stop and nctrl start qrserver).

    On occasion I have had to work with 4 GB machines. In that case, the only option was to put FSIS Server and ESP on different machines. For more information on deployment models in production or development and the procedure for updating memory allocations attend the Microsoft | Learning  FAST University instructor-led course FAST Search for Internet Sites for IT Professionals. To register online visit www.fastuniversity.com or contact an Education Consultant for assistance at fastuniv@microsoft.com.

    By Brian Barry

  • First, I want to thank everyone who responded to the previous survey that was the first step of the SQL Server “Denali” certification exam and courseware design process! Your feedback was extremely valuable and was used to create a comprehensive list of tasks for the core database job roles we’re researching. Now, that we have that list of tasks, we need your help in prioritizing them.
     
    Whether you participated in the first step of the process or not, we are asking for your feedback on the importance and frequency of each task identified during that initial phase; your responses to this survey will help us prioritize what will be assessed on the certification exams (we can’t measure everything!) and covered in the associated training created by Microsoft Learning. Not only is this your opportunity to have a voice in the certification and learning content developed for SQL Server “Denali,” you will also be participating in a pilot of our new exam and courseware design process that should create closer alignment between exam and courseware content! Very cool, indeed!
     
    Because we are planning seven exams, we have created two surveys to accommodate the breadth of the planned portfolio.

    ·         If your skills align to business intelligence, please complete this survey: http://microsoftlearning.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_bBguJmAZIyH59kw.

     

    ·         If your skills align to other database roles, please complete this survey: http://microsoftlearning.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_8206sREIs29IcQI

     

    ·         You may complete both surveys if you have skills in multiple areas.

     
    You will have the opportunity to provide input for all exams in the BI or other database role tracks as you complete each survey. You can provide feedback on some or all of the exams included in a particular survey and/or you can complete both surveys if you have skills across Bi and other database roles. Here's the key, though--we need your responses by July 24, 2011.
     
    Thank you, in advance, for completing this survey! We’re committed to certifying the real world skills professionals need and cannot do it without your input. 
  • You are invited to take beta exam 71-158, TS: Forefront Identity Manager 2010, Configuring. If you pass the beta exam, the exam credit will be added to your transcript and you will not need to take the exam in its released form.

    By participating in beta exams, you have the opportunity to provide the Microsoft Certification program with feedback about exam content, which is integral to development of exams in their released version. We depend on the contributions of experienced IT professionals and developers as we continually improve exam content and maintain the value of Microsoft certifications.

    Note: The preparation guide for this exam will be available on July 20th. To view the audience description and objectives for this exam, see the attached document.

    71-158 TS: Forefront Identity Manager 2010, Configuring counts as credit towards the following certification(s).

    · MCTS: Forefront Identity Manager 2010, Configuration

    Availability

    Beta exam period runs:  July 15, 2011 – August 4, 2011

    Receiving this invitation does not guarantee you a seat in the beta. We recommend that you register immediately. Beta exams have limited availability and are operated under a first-come-first-served basis. Once all beta slots are filled, no additional seats will be offered.

    Testing is held at Prometric testing centers worldwide, although this exam may not be available in all countries (see Regional Restrictions). All testing centers will have the capability to offer this exam in its live version.

    Regional Restrictions: India, Pakistan, China, Turkey

    Registration Information

    You must register at least 24 hours prior to taking the exam.
    Please use the following promotional code when registering for the exam: FIMJ
    Receiving this invitation does not guarantee you a seat in the beta. We recommend that you register immediately.

    To register in North America, please call:

    Prometric: (800) 755-EXAM (800-755-3926)

    Outside the U.S./Canada, please contact:

    Prometric: http://www.register.prometric.com/ClientInformation.asp

     

  • We're looking for volunteers to help us with the development of a new Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)* exam covering gaming fundamentals.  If you've taught introductory Gaming courses in a high school, community college, or other learning environment or have developed games in XNA or other technologies, we want you!

    MTA is the first Microsoft certification targeted specifically at students who are new to IT.  The exams validate the foundational knowledge needed to begin building a career using Microsoft technologies.  Some hands-on technology experience is recommended for candidates.  MTA provides an ideal stepping stone to our MCTS certifications and to a career in IT.

    Please email me at sanres@microsoft.com by end of day July 22nd PST if you'd like to participate in developing this exam.  If you know someone else who would be interested in volunteering, please send them a link to this post.  We want to hear from as many people as possible.

    *If this is the first you've heard about MTA, you can find out more about it here on Born to Learn.

  • Introducing MCPD: Windows Phone Developer

    Industry forecasts indicate that Windows Phone will become the second most popular mobile operating system by 2015. Do not get left behind! The new Microsoft Certified Professional Developer certification on Windows Phone helps validate a candidate's knowledge and skills on designing and developing applications for the Windows Phone platform. Candidates can earn the Windows Phone Developer MCPD by passing these three required exams:

    • 70-506: TS: Silverlight 4, Development
    • 70-516: TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework
    • 70-599: PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications

    Some Other Stuff You Should Know About This Certification

    • Transcript visibility delayed. While customers can begin earning the MCPD: Windows Phone Developer certification at any time by passing the three required exams listed above, the certification will not be visible on a candidate's transcript until late September 2011.
    • Recertification required. Windows Phone technology is updated frequently. As a result, the skills required to be a successful Windows Phone developer will evolve rapidly. To ensure that developers who hold the MCPD: Windows Phone Developer certification keep pace with the evolution of Windows Phone skills, they will be required to recertify every two years in  order to demonstrate continued competence as the skills needed to develop applications on Windows Phone change. Through recertification, we can maintain the value of the certification as the technology changes over time. More information about this recertification requirement will be provided at a later date.
    • Your beta exam scores. Though 70-599 is now available in Prometric testing centers, it does take awhile for them to process the beta rescores--up to two weeks after the live exam is published. If you don't hear anything from Prometric in another week, give their customer service a ring, and have your registration ID handy. 

    Get Training on Windows Phone 7

    Some great resources are available to help developers get started on the Windows Phone platform:

    See the table below for information about training materials and learning plans that map to these exams. 

    Exam

    Classroom training

    Microsoft Press books

    Learning Plan

    Exam 70-516 TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

    10265A: Developing Data Access Solutions with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010

    MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-516): Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

    Learning Plan for Exam 70-516

    Exam 70-506 TS: Silverlight 4, Development

    10553A: Fundamentals of XAML and Expression Blend1

    10554A: Developing Rich Internet Applications using Microsoft Silverlight 42 

    Not available

    Learning Plan for Exam 70-506

     

    Exam 70-599 PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications3

    Not available

    Not available

    Learning Plan for Exam 70-599 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Releases July 2011
    2. Releases August 2011
    3. Note that candidates who earn the MCPD: Windows Phone Developer certification will be required to show continued competence in this technology area by recertifying every two years.

     

  • Our "train the trainer" Microsoft Certified Trainer Bootcamp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is over, the results are in and MCT enrolment for 5 newly qualified MCTs is in hand.

    All of the 13 experienced IT professionals that participated in the week long bootcamp successfully achieved a passing performance at the trainer the trainer part of the week.  Five also now have the pre-requisite MCP exam(s) to now enroll as MCTs.

     

    Haiti Train the Trainer bootcamp - class photo

    There were some great presentations during the week, and everyone did a great job.  One attendee Jean Bernard Agenor scored an amazing 96% on the assessed teach back, whilst Garry Beauplan did a great job attaining a score of 86% presenting the Windows 7 Firewall module to the class.  Well done to our new MCTs: Steve, Garry, Jean Bernard, Gregory H and Jean Maxo!

    Proud to wear the MCT shirt : Flying the Haitian flag - battered but working hard : Garry, new MCT

    The remaining 8 now need to continue to prepare to re-sit the MCTS Windows 7 exam (or a MCP in their chosen specialty) - Microsoft sponsored the MCP examinations and the MCT enrolment fee for the first year.

     

    We awarded Jean Bernard Agenor the most promising MCT award - Jean is a .Net Framework trainer who works at the Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haiti (ESIH) and showed great promise in this "in demand" technology.  As a prize we have a great MCT branded laptop bag.

    Studying hard for the MCTS exam : Jean Maxo - great score!

    All of the MCTs will be offered the opportunity to present modules this September during the next NetHope/Microsoft initiative on the island - a special NetHope IT Academy Internship Program which trains 30 unemployed youths and helps them to secure IT work experience with the myriad of NGOs deployed in Haiti who are really making a difference to rebuild not only the infrastructure, but also the lives of the many thousands displaced by the disaster last year.

    Not a safe place to park! : Rebuilding ESIH in the evening sun

    So, after a hot, tiring, but truly fantastic week in the Caribbean, we have succeeded - there are now 5 new MCTs on the island - more than doubling the current number there already, and another 8 are motivated to achieve MCT status in the new few weeks.  I am looking forward to reading on Born to Learn all about the next NetHope/Microsoft project in September - I am sure that it will be a huge success and that the MCTs will do a great job!

  • On Monday, I announced some awesome changes that we're making to the SME Database Profile survey to increase the opportunities for our SMEs to be a part of the well-oiled machine that is Microsoft Learning.

    I'm happy to report that we have updated the SME Database Profile survey to incorporate the changes that will allow all MSL teams to use the database for recruiting SMEs for a wide variety of opportunities. This survey contains many new questions; the wording of some questions has changed to more accurately reflect the type of information we need to effectively recruit SMEs; and a few questions have been removed.

    Your action: If you have a current profile, you should go back to your profile, answer the new questions, and update any answers that you previously provided. The information that you previously provided will still be in the database, but because nearly every question changed in some way (in most cases, more answer choices were added), you should verify that your responses reflect your current level of interest in these opportunities. 

    If you do not have a profile**, now's the time to create one! If you have previously registered on Connect, sign in with your Windows Live ID so that you can access the survey. If you’re new to Connect, you will be prompted to complete the Connect registration process before you can access the survey. There is no need for an invitation code.

    Fair warning...because of the number and variety of opportunities available, the survey is longer, but it shouldn't take longer than 30 minutes to complete. Consider it time well spent, though; it will increase the probability that you'll be invited to have a voice in the work that MSL is doing!

    **The Connect registration process can be a little rocky, so if you’re having trouble getting to the survey, e-mail mslcd@microsoft.com and we’ll send you some more troubleshooting info.

  • Recently, NWjobs.com published a story about the challenges Seattle-based technology companies have finding qualified candidates. According to the article, the technology section of NWjobs.com typically has postings for hundreds of software-engineering jobs.

    Employers aren’t necessarily looking for candidates with four-year computer science degrees. Instead, they need “confident team players” with proven programming and software development skills.

    According to LangPop.com, a website that analyzes the popularity of programming languages, C, Java, and C++ are the most in-demand languages, based on Craigslist ads, Google and Yahoo searches, and other widely used sites. To the right is a chart from LangPop.com.

    Improving your existing or learning new programming skills may not require formal training. Look for Microsoft Press books, affordable online training, free Learning Snacks, and learning plans in the Microsoft Learning Training Catalog. Within in the catalog, find training and certification resources for Visual Studio and other development tools.   

     

  • Those of you who have added your profile to the SME database know that much of the information that we collect is focused on your expertise and interest as it relates to participating in exam development opportunities. Earlier this year, we surveyed the SMEs in that database to learn how we could improve the SME database experience. The results overwhelmingly indicated that you want to be more involved with Microsoft Learning--not just exam development but with anything. This is great news for us! But, the question is how do we get you more involved?

    Because opportunities for exam development are somewhat limited over the course of any given year, we started working closely with other teams within MSL to determine what additional information would help them recruit SMEs for other MSL opportunities. These opportunities include:

    • Define content domain for an exam (objective domain)
    • Rate the frequency and difficulty of each exam objective (blueprinting)
    • Write exam items
    • Take a beta exam
    • Establish the passing score for an exam (standard setting)
    • Perform technical review of exam items after they have been written (alpha)
    • Author instructor led training courses
    • Author eLearning courses
    • Author books
    • Perform Technical Review of instructor led training
    • Perform Technical Review of eLearning
    • Perform Technical Review of books
    • Instruct a courseware Beta class
    • Participate in a courseware Beta class
    • Create a Community Course independently to be published on the Microsoft Learning Courseware Library
    • Write practice test items for books and/or courseware
    • Market research, including focus groups and surveys
    • Usability studies

    But, we weren't collecting the right information to get you involved in these activities. So, we have to change the survey.

    Here's the deal... We are in the process of updating the SME Database Profile survey to incorporate the changes that will allow all MSL teams to use the database for recruiting SMEs for a wide variety of opportunities. The updated survey should be available on Wednesday, July 13. This survey will contain many new questions; the wording of some questions will be changed to more accurately reflect the type of information we need to effectively recruit SMEs; and a few questions have been removed.

    Your action: If you have a current profile, on or after July 13, you should go back to your profile, answer the new questions, and update any answers that you previously provided. If you do not have a profile, I suggest waiting until Wednesday before creating one. You can certainly do so now, but you'll have to update your responses on or after July 13 in order to take full advantage of the new opportunities that might be available to you.

    Most important, watch for my blog on July 13 announcing the availability of the updated SME Database Profile survey!

  • Exam 70-599: Pro: Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications  is now available in Prometric testing centers. This exam is designed to test the candidate's knowledge and skills on designing and developing applications for the Windows Phone platform.

    Candidates for Exam 70-599 are typically independent software vendors (ISVs) or developers who design and develop applications for the Windows Phone platform.

     

    Candidates should have knowledge of and experience with the following;

    • Windows Phone 7
    • Silverlight
    • C# or Visual Basic
    • Microsoft .NET
    • Mobile application design and development

    To schedule your exam, visit Prometric’s Web site.

  • Today we had a comprehensive schedule – a roster was drawn up where each attendee needed to focus on the following key components of the bootcamp to become Microsoft Certified Trainers.

    ·         Technical Teach Back sessions assessment

    ·         Microsoft Technology Associate Examination

    ·         Exam cram for the Microsoft Windows 7 70-680 MCTS certification

    Rdgmy and Emmanuella delivering their teach back sessions 

    The day was long and of course very hot, but also great fun and interesting.  I would have learned a lot about .Net Framework, Proxy Servers and Routers if they had not been delivered in Haitian Creole/FrenchJ.  Thankfully Patrick Attie, the Director Adjoint at Ecole Supérieure d'Infotronique d'Haïti (ESIH http://www.esih.edu/) was on hand to assess the sessions with me.  Patrick has supported the NetHope Academy in Haiti since the earthquake disaster and not only provides us with sanctuary from the blazing heat during break times; he is extremely passionate about the success of this initiative and asks me daily how everyone is progressing. The other sessions were delivered in English and it was great to see the Haitian trainers presenting so confidently in this language.

    Jean Maxo and Gregory delivering their teach back sessions 

    I was pleased to inform Patrick after a gruelling day that 9 of the 13 gained passing scores in the skills delivery assessment and a similar number achieved the MTA in the client operating system and networking examinations.

    After close of training day, I gave the participants in this highly experiential bootcamp a final rallying boost for them to prepare hard tonight for the MCTS tomorrow, and a debrief to the five who will also need to repeat the teach backs in the morning.

    Tomorrow, our final day here at ESIH, will hopefully see 100% of the learners qualify with the IT Skills delivery component they need to enable them to apply for MCT status once they also achieve the Microsoft certifications in their chosen field of expertise. 

    I am quietly confident that some will pass the MCTS tomorrow (ESIH is a Prometric Testing Center), but we will have to wait until the score reports….

  • Day 2 was a hard day, but today we made some real progress.  On the first day Ken Rosen and I explained the MCT Program, unpacking all the acronyms and benefits;  MOC, MOAC, CPLS, ITA, MCP, MCTS, CWDL, MTM and many more!  By the end of the day everyone was excited and hungry for more but we knew that the first day would be the easiest, and that the hard work would start on Tuesday!  

     

     


    Day 2 starting at 8am, brought the topic of classroom preparation and management.  Downloading 30-40Gb of courseware content per average MOC course, posed a big problem – how could they manage such a bandwidth requirement – normally this would take several hours on a good connection, but in Haiti we faced glitches to the network, and the frequent power outages brought some real challenges to not only downloads, but also to deploying the classroom using my favorite tool – Windows Deployment Services (WDS). 

    Next topic was Hyper-V (all new MOC courses are now delivered using Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V)  Only 2 of the class members had used Hyper-v before, and most of the class struggled with the concept of using this platform to deliver a Windows 7 class.  Once I demonstrated the functionality of snapshots, dynamic memory (using sp1) and how to host an XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Domain Controller on the same physical classroom PC they eventually “got it”! 




    Today we moved on to trainer readiness – unpacking the 70-680 Windows 7 Configuration course – highlighting areas of the courseware and focusing on the key topics such as IPv6, deployment, NTFS and VHD native boot capabilities.  We even had some time to encourage the “trainees” to deliver short impromptu, 2-3 minute “learning snacks” on concepts such as DHCP, DNS, NAT and Diskpart, as we came across them in the modules.  I was very encouraged by the willingness and ability they showed to “have a go” with minimal preparation.  It was also a great way to give them feedback and encouragement in readiness for tomorrows “teach backs” which will be assessed as part of the “train the trainer” boot camp.


    As an end note, I have developed a “love/hate” relationship with the projector – this little beast is struggling to keep up with the random power cuts, and continues to scorch me as I deliver in temperatures which are soaring above 35 degrees.  The air-conditioning is hopeless – not at all helped by the classroom door being constantly left open…Grrrr
    J  

     

     

  • Today we started our "train the trainer" Microsoft Certified Trainer Bootcamp in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

    We have enrolled 13 experienced IT professionals to participate in the week long bootcamp, all aiming to join the community of 18,000 MCT trainers worldwide.  Due to the earthquake disaster in January 2010, there is a huge skills shortage in Haiti, especially in IT skills.  Through this programme, supported and sponsored by NetHope, Microsoft and our hosts, Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haiti (ESIH), we aim to enable the attendees to become Microsoft Certified Trainers who can the help teach at IT Academies and learning partners the IT skills which are crucial to Haiti rebuilding its infrastructure.

    We have invited the 13 attendees to post a short "hello" during class time to this , so that they can feel part of the worldwide MCP and MCT community.

    Let us applaud them all and wish them well in their efforts to this life changing opportunity which they are undertaking.

  •  I am pleased to announce the release of the English ILT course: 10553A - Fundamentals of XAML and Microsoft® Expression Blend®.

     This course will cover the beginner and intermediate tasks that enable the learner to build the foundational skills required before a developer can begin developing professional Silverlight 4 and WPF applications (for the Web, Windows desktops, and Windows Phone 7 devices). The course will include hands-on labs that comprise approximately 50% of the classroom time and enable the student to learn the essential XAML programming tasks that are the building blocks of real-world applications.

     

     

     

    About this Course

    This 3-day course covers core and essential XAML skills. The learner will gain valuable experience developing XAML code in both Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend 4.

     

    Audience Profile

    The target audience for this training course is professional developers who have experience creating Windows Forms and ASP.NET Web application with Visual Studio 2010, and who are interested in learning the core and essential XAML programming tasks that are required for professional Silverlight 4 and WPF programming in both Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend 4 environments.

    This course is intended for developers who have programming experience using either Visual Basic .NET or C# and who understand the concepts of object-oriented programming. This course is designed for developers who need to become comfortable using Expression Blend 4 and Visual Studio 2010.

    This course is not designed for entry-level programmers.

     

    At Course Completion

    After completing this course, students will be able to:

    • ·         Describe XAML-based applications and the tools they can use to build them.
    • ·         Create vector graphics with both Expression Blend 4 and Expression Design 4.
    • ·         Create a Silverlight application and a user interface by using various layout controls and other controls from the toolbox.
    • ·         Work with key parts and logic of a Silverlight application, such as hosting controls, App events, and InitParams.
    • ·         Create XAML objects programmatically.
    • ·         Work with Resources, Styles, Control Templates, and Behaviors.
    • ·         Implement Transforms, Animations, and Visual States in XAML-based applications.
    • ·         Prototype applications by using SketchFlow.

    Course OutlineModule 1: Binding in XAML

    This module familiarizes the students with various binding techniques.

     

    Lessons

    ·         Introduction to XAML-Based Applications

    ·         Tools for Designing and Developing XAML-Based Applications

    ·         Anatomy of a XAML-Based Application

    Lab : Getting Started with XAML-Based Application Development

    ·         Exercise 1: Creating a 'Hello World' WPF Application

    ·         Exercise 2: Creating a 'Hello World' Silverlight Application

    ·         Exercise 3: Using the Expression Blend 4 and Visual Studio 2010 Development Environments

    ·         Exercise 4: Exploring the Expression Blend 4 Development Environment

    After completing this module, students will be able to:

    ·         Describe the benefits of XAML-based applications.

    ·         Explain the tools that can be used to create XAML-based applications.

    ·         Describe the structure of a XAML-based application.

     

    Module 2: Creating Vector Graphics with Expression Studio 4

    This module describes how to create vector graphics by using both Expression Blend 4 and Expression Design 4

     

    Lessons

    ·         Creating Vector Graphics with Expression Blend 4

    ·         Creating Vector Graphics with Expression Design 4

    ·         Importing Vector Graphics into Expression Blend 4

    Lab : Creating Vector Graphics with Expression Studio 4

    ·         Exercise 1: Creating a Silverlight Application and Website by using Microsoft Expression Blend 4

    ·         Exercise 2: Creating an Expression Design 4 Background

    ·         Exercise 3: Distorting Text on a Path

    ·         Exercise 4: Using Expression Design 4 Files in Expression Blend 4

    After completing this module, students will be able to:

    ·         Create Vector Graphics with Expression Blend 4.

    ·         Create Vector Graphics with Expression Design 4.

    ·         Import Vector Graphics into Expression Blend 4.

    Module 3: Laying out a XAML-Based Application

     

    This module describes how to create a simple XAML-based application and how to create a user interface by using various layout controls and other controls from the toolbox.

     

    Lessons

    ·         Organizing Controls in the User Interface

    ·         Adding and Manipulating Controls

    Lab : Laying out a XAML-Based Application

    ·         Exercise 1: Adding TextBlocks and Buttons to MainPage.xaml

    ·         Exercise 2: Using the Grid

    ·         Exercise 3: Adding a Hyperlink to the Grid

    ·         Exercise 4: Adding a Button to the Grid

    ·         Exercise 5: Testing the Application

    ·         Exercise 6: Adding Backgrounds to MainPage.xaml and DesignMode.xaml (as time permits)

    After completing this module, students will be able to:

    ·         Organize the controls used in the user interface of a XAML-based application.

    ·         Add and manipulate the controls used in XAML-based applications.

    Module 4: Developing and Debugging XAML-Based Applications

    This module describes how to work with key parts and logic of XAML-based applications, such as startup parameters, hosting controls, App events, and InitParams.

    Lessons

    ·         Developing WPF Applications

    ·         Developing Silverlight Applications

    ·         Hosting Silverlight Applications

    ·         Debugging XAML-Based Applications

    Lab : Developing and Debugging XAML-Based Applications

    ·         Exercise 1: Creating HTML Hosting Pages

    ·         Exercise 2: Customizing the App.Xaml Code-Behind File in Visual Studio 2010

    ·         Exercise 3: Debugging a Silverlight Application

    ·         Exercise 4: Retrieving URL Parameters in the App.xaml Code-Behind File

    ·         Exercise 5: Using URL Parameters in the Application

    ·         Exercise 6: Rewrite as: Exercise 6: Designing the Greeting Card Page (optional)

    ·         Exercise 7: Adding Code to Display Values From the URL

    After completing this module, students will be able to:

    ·         Develop WPF applications.

    ·         Develop Silverlight applications.

    ·         Host a Silverlight application in an HTML web page.

    ·         Debug a XAML-based application.

    Module 5: Creating Controls Programmatically and Working with Media Files

     

    This module describes how to work with XAML objects programmatically and play audio and video files

     

    Lessons

    ·         Creating and Using Controls Programmatically

    ·         Working with Media Files

    Lab : Creating Controls Programmatically and Working with Media Files

    ·         Exercise 1: Creating Controls Programmatically

    ·         Exercise 2: Building a Video Player

    After completing this module, students will be able to:

    ·         Create and use controls programmatically.

    ·         Work with media files.

     

    Module 6: Working with Resources, Styles, Control Templates, and Behaviors

     

    This module describes how to manage development efforts by using a variety of reusable/modular concepts in XAML-based applications

    Lessons

    ·         Working with Resources

    ·         Working with Styles and Control Templates

    ·         Working with Actions, Triggers, and Behaviors

    Lab : Working with Resources, Styles, Control Templates, and Behaviors

    ·         Exercise 1: Using Resources in Expression Blend 4

    ·         Exercise 2: Changing a Property Using a Conditional Behavior

    ·         Exercise 3: Calling Methods from a Conditional Behavior

    ·         Exercise 4: Using XAML Styles

    ·         Exercise 5: Using XAML Control Templates

    After completing this module, students will be able to:

    ·         Use Resources in a XAML-based application.

    ·         Work with Styles and ControlTemplates.

    ·         Add and configure behaviors by using Expression Blend 4.

    Module 7: Implementing Transforms, Animations, and Visual States

    This module describes how to use animation techniques in XAML-based applications

    Lessons

    ·         Transforms in XAML-Based Applications

    ·         Animations in XAML-Based Applications

    ·         Implementing and Working with Visual States

    Lab : Implementing Transforms, Animations, and Visual States

    ·         Exercise 1: Preparing Objects for Animation

    ·         Exercise 2: Creating and Playing a StoryBoard

    ·         Exercise 3: Using Visual States for the Video Page

    ·         Exercise 4: Adding a Visual State for the Video Controls

    ·         Exercise 5: Controlling States Programmatically

    After completing this module, students will be able to:

    ·         Apply transforms in your XAML-based applications.

    ·         Create different types of animations in your XAML-based applications.

    ·         Provide visual feedback to users based on the state of a control or a group of controls.

    Module 8: Binding in XAML

    This module familiarizes the students with various binding techniques.

    Lessons

    ·         Property Binding in XAML-Based Applications

    ·         Data Binding in XAML-Based Applications

    Lab : Binding in XAML

    ·         Exercise 1: Binding Controls

    ·         Exercise 2: Creating a Master/Detail View in WPF

    After completing this module, students will be able to:

    ·         Implement property binding in XAML-based applications.

    ·         Implement binding to external data objects in XAML-based applications.

     

    Module 9: Prototyping Applications by Using SketchFlow in Expression Blend 4

    This module describes how to use SketchFlow to prototype complex user interfaces and to gather feedback from clients.

    Lessons

    ·         Prototyping Applications with SketchFlow

    ·         Packaging and Reviewing Prototypes Developed with SketchFlow

    Lab : Prototyping Applications by Using SketchFlow in Expression Blend 4

    ·         Exercise 1: Creating an Expression SketchFlow Application

    ·         Exercise 2: Creating SketchFlow Screens

    ·         Exercise 3: Configuring the Login Screen

    ·         Exercise 4: Configuring the Card Gallery Screen

    ·         Exercise 5: Packaging the SketchFlow Solution

    ·         Exercise 6: Performing the Client Role

    ·         Exercise 7: Performing the Developer Role

    After completing this module, students will be able to:

    ·         Create application prototypes by using SketchFlow.

    ·         Package prototypes for distribution to your customers.

    ·         Review feedback on your prototypes from your customers.