April 2011 - Posts

My TechDays 2011 presentations - something old, something borrowed, something new and something blue
30 April 11 05:10 PM | Johan Hedberg

This is bordering on being somewhat old news (but don’t blame me for that). I attended the Swedish TechDays as a speaker, user group leader and ask the experts answerer. Now as far as the first one goes my two sessions “Windows Azure AppFabric - Middleware i molnet” (Middleware in the cloud) and “.NET utvecklare - utöka verktygslådan med BizTalk Server” (expand your toolkit with BizTalk Server) are now available online (unfortunately there is no direct links since they are hidden away inside a Silverlight player application). However note that they are in Swedish. My presentation slides should be available alongside them shortly, and those are (at least mostly) in English. I’ll give you a preview…

BizTalk for NET Devs 1BizTalk for NET Devs 2

The site makes those available as pdf’s. If you ask me nicely though, I might let you get your hands on the pptx’s ;) I am however not shy to borrow from previous presentations held by Microsoft or other luminaries if those are made available online an encouraged to be (re-)used. And since I have been doing BizTalk presentations for quite some time I do have some of my my favorite slides in there, so if you have seen a presentation by me before, chances are you will recognize a slide or two, even if most of what I communicate is still new. Thus you will find “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” (since the theme for this years TechDays was blue on a black background). Enjoy.

emailsignature

The 70-595 exam and the first rule of fight club
29 April 11 11:08 PM | Johan Hedberg | 5 comment(s)

I’ve had a not-so-few asks to blog about the 70-595 exam. I’m answering those calls with this post.

The exam launched on march 30th. I actually tried taking it on the 7th of April, though due to technical difficulties, on Prometric and the testing sites behalf, I had to leave without getting a chance to do it after waiting 90 minute for the issue to be resolved (see my twitter history if you want more on that story). I found the time to come back a week later though, on the 14th, and manage to successfully pass the exam.

70-595 is the Developing Business Process and Integration Solutions using BizTalk Server 2010 exam. Its coverage includes core BizTalk functionality as well as extended capabilities. The excerpt from the exams Microsoft learning page is:

Configuring a Messaging Architecture (20 percent)
Developing BizTalk Artifacts (20 percent)
Debugging and Exception Handling (17 percent)
Integrating Web Services and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Services (14 percent)
Implementing Extended Capabilities (13 percent)
Deploying, Tracking, and Supporting a BizTalk Solution (16 percent)

Which brings me to the first rule of fight club, and why Tyler Durden would be a good MCP (therefore not claiming that we (MCPs) are all insomnia cursed paranoid schizophrenics in any way ;).  But, “You don’t talk about fight club”, as in “You don’t talk about the contents of certification exams”. In fact you actually agree to an NDA about the contents of the exam - not that that stops any of the cheat sheet providers out there or the people that use them, but it does me. Therefore, you will not find any details as to what kind of questions or what specific areas were covered. All I’m going to say about the contents of the exam is that it pretty much mirrored that division into areas.  So let’s delve into that…

…and rephrase those percentages in another way:
Core functionality (like messaging, development, debugging, deploying, tracking and troubleshooting) make up roughly 90%, and BAM, BRE, RFID and EDI make up the other 10 percent.

Since the test is 50 questions, that would mean that on an average 45 question would be on the core functionality and 5 questions on the rest.

Following on with the math lesson that means that you are very likely to make the passing score of 700 (out of 1000), without any deeper knowledge on the “extended capabilities”. Which I know will be a soothing thought for a lot of people. No guarantees though, because it’s not always a 1 question =  1000/50 points kind of thing.

If you want to truly ace the test, you’ll really need to know all of your BizTalk, including reading into things like RFID. I did not ace the test (as in a perfect 1000), though I did reasonably well; close enough for me to be pleased and well within the margin.

How did I prepare is a question that often follow along with the ask to write a post on the subject. Others might compose a prep guide. I won’t. Not in this post anyway. I do have a simple answer with two sides to it for you though. One the one side – I didn’t. On the other – I prepared working in real BizTalk projects over the course of 6 years, 5 version of the product and took the two exams that came before this one. What I am saying is – if that sounds anything like you you are likely to just as I did just go take the test, and you’ll likely be fine. If it doesn’t – well, you know yourself best – perhaps you need to study?

On the note of previous tests, I found this to be about the same level of difficulty as the 2006 exam, though easier then the 2006 R2 exam. I don’t know about the 2004 exam – I never did that – you’ll have to ask someone like Jan or Thiago about that comparison.

Anyway, I encourage you to go take the exam, and if you do – best of luck to you!

Certified Trainer renewal – and why €400 is a magic cc limit
13 April 11 08:49 PM | Johan Hedberg

I renewed my Microsoft Certified Trainer “license” (if you so will) for another year today. I really do enjoy spending some time in the classroom now and then. I recognize that I might not always be the best pedagogue, though you should know I try, but I do hope that that mix of theoretic learning material with that crucial ingredient of real world experience gives “this is how this thing works” that extra nuance of “this is how this thing is actually used”. And that’s super important and often left outside of the course material since it’s hard to convey, but in many cases I believe I can bring that to the table.

To those that are unaware, the certified trainer is not really a certification that you pass, although you do need to have passed a certification as one of the requirements, it’s more of a affirmation of your ability and commitment to pass on your insight into your-technology-of-choice to others.

Or as the MCT site puts it:

Become part of an elite, international community that spans more than 150 countries and regions and includes classroom and e-learning instructors, learning consultants, authors, conference presenters, and user group leaders. Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) are the premier technical and instructional experts on Microsoft technologies, and are the only individuals authorized to deliver training for Microsoft Certification.

Now, why is €400 (or really 4000 Swedish crowns) a magic limit to (my) credit card companies? Well, that’s roughly what the MCT renewal cost me, and it bounced. When I called the cc company to see why, and verify that it had, I got told that they had an outage of the system that day, and that only amounts below the 4k Swedish crown limit were automatically approved when the system was unavailable. That sounds like a security hole if any to me. I really do hope there are more safeguards in place around that. Or is there someone there in need of an MCT for some security best practices classes?

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Re-Awarded: BizTalk MVP 2011
01 April 11 11:13 PM | Johan Hedberg | 1 comment(s)

Just a big thank you to everyone involved. And a big congratulations to all other great MVPs that got awarded or re-awarded today.

Wondering what the MVP award is all about? Read more here, I’ve pasted a short part of that site here:

The MVP Award recognizes exceptional technical community leaders from around the world who voluntarily share their deep, real-world knowledge about Microsoft technologies with others.

Now that sounds so much bigger then me, but I wove to do my best to do my part.

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