Scott Hanselman

Three FREE Training Courses on ASP.NET Core from Microsoft Virtual Academy

January 17, '17 Comments [16] Posted in ASP.NET
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This time last year we did a Microsoft Virtual Academy class on what was then called "ASP.NET 5." It made sense to call it 5 since 5 > 4.6, right? But since then ASP.NET 5 has become .NET Core 1.0 and ASP.NET Core 1.0. It's 1.0 because it's smaller, newer, and different. As the .NET "full" framework marches on, on Windows, .NET Core is cross-platform and for the cloud.

Command line concepts like dnx, dnu, and dnvm have been unified into a single "dotnet" driver. You can download .NET Core at http://dot.net and along with http://code.visualstudio.com you can get a web site up and running in 10 minutes on Windows, Mac, or many flavors of Linux.

So, we've decided to update and refresh our Microsoft Virtual Academy. In fact, we've done three days of training. Introduction, Intermediate, and Cross-Platform and all three days are now available! We just released training for ASP.NET Core 1.0 Cross-Platform that shows Mac, Ubuntu, and Docker!

Head over to Microsoft Virtual Academy and watch our new, free "Introduction to ASP.NET Core 1.0." It's a great relaxed pace if you've been out of the game for a bit, or you're a seasoned .NET "Full" developer who has avoided learning .NET Core thus far. If you don't know the C# language yet, check out our online C# tutorial first, then watch the video.

Introduction to ASP.NET Core 1.0

Join experts Scott Hanselman and Maria Naggaga, and find out how to build .NET Core applications on any operating system. Bring your web development expertise and roll up your sleeves, for this first in a three-part series.

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Intermediate ASP.NET Core 1.0

Want a deeper dive into ASP.NET Core 1.0? Build on what you learned in Introduction to ASP.NET Core 1.0, and explore this new technology even further, as Scott Hanselman, Jeff Fritz, and Rowan Miller offer an in-depth, intermediate-level look at ASP.NET Core 1.0.

Intermediate ASP.NET Core 1.0

ASP.NET Core 1.0 Cross-Platform

Ready to build and deploy ASP.NET Core 1.0 apps? Join experts Scott Hanselman, Maria Naggaga, and Glenn Condron, and see how to do just that using Mac and Linux. Revisit content from the Introduction to ASP.NET Core 1.0 course, but using a Mac and Linux.

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Do us a favor when you watch these, rate them (5 stars!) and SHARE them on your social networks.

NOTE: There's a LOT of quality free courseware for learning .NET Core and ASP.NET Core. We've put the best at http://asp.net/free-courses and I encourage you to check them out!

Hope you have as much fun with these courses as we had creating them!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection for Remote Team Management

January 15, '17 Comments [10] Posted in Productivity
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Monday Vision, Friday ReflectionMy friend J.D. Meier has an amazing blog called Sources of Insight and he's written a fantastic book called Getting Results the Agile Way. You can buy his book on Amazon (it's free on Kindle Unlimited!). I put J.D. up there with David Allen and Stephen Covey except J.D. is undiscovered. For real. If you've seen my own live talk on Personal Productivity and Information Overload you know I reference J.D.'s work a lot.

I've been a people manager as well as an IC (individual contributor) for a while now, and while I don't yet have the confidence to tell you I'm a good manager, I can tell you that I'm trying and that I'm introspective about my efforts.

My small team applies J.D.'s technique of "Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection" to our own work. As he says, this is the heart of his results system.

The way it works is, on Mondays, you figure out the 3 outcomes you want for the week.  Each day you identify 3 outcomes you want to accomplish.  On Friday, you reflect on 3 things going well and 3 things to improve.  It’s that simple. - J.D. Meier

We are a remote team and we are in three different time zones so the "morning standup" doesn't really work so well for us. We want a "scrum" style standup, but we're a team that lives in Email/Slack/Microsoft Teams/Skype.

Here's how Monday Vision works for us as a team. We are transparent about what we're working on and we are honest about what works and when we stumble.

  • On Monday morning each of us emails the team with:
    • What we hope to accomplish this week. Usually 3-5 things.
    • This isn't a complete list of everything on our minds. It's just enough to give context and a vector/direction.

It's important that we are clear on what our goals are. What would it take for this week to be amazing? What kinds of things are standing in our way? As a manager I think my job is primarily as traffic cop and support. My job is to get stuff out of my team's way. That might be paperwork, other teams, technical stuff, whatever is keeping them out of their flow.

These emails might be as simple as this (~real) example from a team member.

Last Week:

  • DevIntersection Conference
    • Workshop and 2 sessions
  • Got approval from Hunter for new JavaScript functionality

This Week:

  • Trip Report, Expenses, and general administrivia from the event last week
  • Final planning for MVP Summit
  • Spring Planning for ASP.NET Web Forms, IIS Express, EF4, WCF, and more 
  • Modern ASP.NET Web Forms research paper
  • Thursday evening – presenting over Skype to the London.NET user-group “Introduction to Microservices in ASP.NET Core”

Again, the lengths and amount of detail vary. Here's the challenge part though - and my team hasn't nailed this yet and that's mostly my fault - Friday Reflection. I have an appointment on my calendar for Friday at 4:30pm to Reflect. This is literally blocked out time to look back and ask these questions....

  • On Friday evening on the way out, email the team with:
    • What worked this week? Why didn't Project Foo get done? Was the problem technical? Logistical? Organizational?
    • Did you feel amazing about this week? Why? Why not? How can we make next week feel better?

What do you do to kick off and close down your week?

Related J.D. Meier productivity reading


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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What .NET Developers ought to know to start in 2017

January 11, '17 Comments [75] Posted in Musings
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.NET ComponentsMany many years ago I wrote a blog post about what .NET Developers ought to know. Unfortunately what was just a list of questions was abused by recruiters and others who used it as a harsh litmus test.

There's a lot going on in the .NET space so I thought it would be nice to update with a gentler list that could be used as a study guide and glossary. Jon Galloway and I sat down and put together this list of terms and resources.

Your first reaction might be "wow that's a lot of stuff, .NET sucks!" Most platforms have similar glossaries or barriers to entry. There's TLAs (three letter acronyms) in every language and computer ecosystems. Don't get overwhelmed, start with Need To Know and move slowly forward. Also, remember YOU decide when you want to draw the line. You don't need to know everything. Just know that every layer and label has something underneath it and the whatever program you're dealing with may be in a level you have yet to dig into.

Draw a line under the stuff you need to know. Know that, and know you can look the other stuff up.  Some of us want the details – the internals. Others don't. You may learn from the Metal Up or from the Glass Back. Know your style, and revel in it.

First, you can start learning .NET and C# online at https://dot.net. You can learn F# online here http://www.tryfsharp.org. Both sites let you write code without downloading anything. You just work in your browser.

When you're ready, get .NET Core and Visual Studio Code at https://dot.net and start reading! 

Need To Know

  • What's .NET? .NET has some number of key components. We'll start with runtimes and languages.
  • Here are the three main runtimes:
    • .NET Framework - The .NET framework helps you create mobile, desktop, and web applications that run on Windows PCs, devices and servers.
    • .NET Core - .NET Core gives you a fast and modular platform for creating server applications that run on Windows, Linux and Mac.
    • Mono for Xamarin - Xamarin brings .NET to iOS and Android, reusing skills and code while getting access to the native APIs and performance. Mono is an open source .NET that was created before Xamarin and Microsoft joined together. Mono will support the .NET Standard as another great .NET runtime that is open source and flexible. You'll also find Mono in the Unity game development environment.
  • Here are the main languages:
    • C# is simple, powerful, type-safe, and object-oriented while retaining the expressiveness and elegance of C-style languages. Anyone familiar with C and similar languages will find few problems in adapting to C#. Check out the C# Guide to learn more about C# or try it in your browser at https://dot.net
    • F# is a cross-platform, functional-first programming language that also supports traditional object-oriented and imperative programming. Check out the F# Guide to learn more about F# or try it in your browser at http://www.tryfsharp.org 
    • Visual Basic is an easy language to learn that you can use to build a variety of applications that run on .NET. I started with VB many years ago.
  • Where do I start?
  • After runtimes and languages, there's platforms and frameworks.
    • Frameworks define the APIs you can use. There's the .NET 4.6 Framework, the .NET Standard, etc. Sometimes you'll refer to them by name, or in code and configuration files as a TFM (see below)
    • Platform (in the context of .NET) - Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, etc. This also includes Bitness, so x86 Windows is not x64 Windows. Each Linux distro is its own platform today as well.
  • TFMs (Target Framework Moniker) - A moniker (string) that lets you refer to target framework + version combinations. For example, net462 (.NET 4.6.2), net35 (.NET 3.5), uap (Universal Windows Platform). For more information, see this blog post. Choosing a TFM decides which APIs are available to you, and which frameworks your code can run on.
  • NuGet - NuGet is the package manager for the Microsoft development platform including .NET. The NuGet client tools provide the ability to produce and consume packages. The NuGet Gallery is the central package repository used by all package authors and consumers.
  • What's an Assembly? - An assembly is typically a DLL or EXE containing compiled code. Assemblies are the building blocks of .NET Full Framework applications; they form the fundamental unit of deployment, version control, reuse, activation scoping, and security permissions. In .NET Core, the building blocks are NuGet packages that contain assemblies PLUS additional metadata
  • .NET Standard or "netstandard" - The .NET Standard simplifies references between binary-compatible frameworks, allowing a single target framework to reference a combination of others. The .NET Standard Library is a formal specification of .NET APIs that are intended to be available on all .NET runtimes.
  • .NET Framework vs. .NET Core: The .NET Framework is for Windows apps and Windows systems, while the .NET Core is a smaller cross platform framework for server apps, console apps, web applications, and as a core runtime to build other systems from.

Should Know

    • CLR – The Common Language Runtime (CLR), the virtual machine component of Microsoft's .NET framework, manages the execution of .NET programs. A process known as just-in-time compilation converts compiled code into machine instructions which the computer's CPU then executes.
    • CoreCLR - .NET runtime, used by .NET Core.
    • Mono - .NET runtime, used by Xamarin and others.
    • CoreFX - .NET class libraries, used by .NET Core and to a degree by Mono via source sharing.
    • Roslyn - C# and Visual Basic compilers, used by most .NET platforms and tools. Exposes APIs for reading, writing and analyzing source code.
    • GC - .NET uses garbage collection to provide automatic memory management for programs. The GC operates on a lazy approach to memory management, preferring application throughput to the immediate collection of memory. To learn more about the .NET GC, check out Fundamentals of garbage collection (GC).
    • "Managed Code" - Managed code is just that: code whose execution is managed by a runtime like the CLR.
    • IL – Intermediate Language is the product of compilation of code written in high-level .NET languages. C# is Apples, IL is Apple Sauce, and the JIT and CLR makes Apple Juice. ;)
    • JIT – Just in Time Compiler. Takes IL and compiles it in preparation for running as native code.
    • Where is  .NET on disk? .NET Framework is at C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET and .NET Core is at C:\Program Files\dotnet. On Mac it usually ends up in /usr/local/share. Also .NET Core can also be bundled with an application and live under that application's directory as a self-contained application.
    • Shared Framework vs. Self Contained Apps - .NET Core can use a shared framework (shared by multiple apps on the same machine) or your app can be self-contained with its own copy. Sometimes you'll hear "xcopy-deployable / bin-deployable" which implies that the application is totally self-contained.
    • async and await– The async and await keywords generate IL that will free up a thread for long running (awaited) function calls (e.g. database queries or web service calls). This frees up system resources, so you aren't hogging memory, threads, etc. while you're waiting.
    • Portable Class Libraries -  These are "lowest common denominator" libraries that allow code sharing across platforms. Although PCLs are supported, package authors should support netstandard instead. The .NET Platform Standard is an evolution of PCLs and represents binary portability across platforms.
    • .NET Core is composed of the following parts:
      • A .NET runtime, which provides a type system, assembly loading, a garbage collector, native interop and other basic services.
      • A set of framework libraries, which provide primitive data types, app composition types and fundamental utilities.
      • A set of SDK tools and language compilers that enable the base developer experience, available in the .NET Core SDK.
      • The 'dotnet' app host, which is used to launch .NET Core apps. It selects the runtime and hosts the runtime, provides an assembly loading policy and launches the app. The same host is also used to launch SDK tools in much the same way.

    Nice To Know

      • GAC – The Global Assembly Cache is where the .NET full Framework on Windows stores shared libraries. You can list it out with "gacutil /l"  
      • Assembly Loading and Binding - In complex apps you can get into interesting scenarios around how Assemblies are loaded from disk
      • Profiling (memory usage, GC, etc.) - There's a lot of great tools you can use to measure – or profile – your C# and .NET Code. A lot of these tools are built into Visual Studio.
      • LINQ - Language Integrated Query is a higher order way to query objects and databases in a declarative way
      • Common Type System and Common Language Specification define how objects are used and passed around in a way that makes them work everywhere .NET works, interoperable. The CLS is a subset that the CTS builds on.
      • .NET Native - One day you'll be able to compile to native code rather than compiling to Intermediate Language.
      • .NET Roadmap - Here's what Microsoft is planning for .NET for 2017
      • "Modern" C# 7 – C# itself has new features every year or so. The latest version is C# 7 and has lots of cool features worth looking at.
      • Reactive Extensions - "The Reactive Extensions (Rx) is a library for composing asynchronous and event-based programs using observable sequences and LINQ-style query operators." You can create sophisticated event-based programs that work cleanly and asynchronously by applying LINQ-style operators to data streams.

      NOTE: Some text was taken from Wikipedia's respective articles on each topic, edited for brevity. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. Some text was taken directly from the excellent .NET docs. This post is a link blog and aggregate. Some of it is original thought, but much is not.


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      Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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      Teaching coding from the Metal Up or from the Glass Back?

      January 6, '17 Comments [29] Posted in Musings
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      * Stock photo by WOCInTech Chat used under CC

      Maria on my team and I have been pairing (working in code and stuff together) occasionally in order to improve our coding and tech skills. We all have gaps and it's a good idea to go over the "digital fundamentals" every once in a while to make sure you've got things straight. (Follow up post on this topic tomorrow.)

      As we were whiteboarding and learning and alternating teaching each other (the best way to make sure you know a topic is to teach it to another person) I was getting the impression that, well, we weren't feeling each other's style.

      Now, before we get started, yes, this is a "there's two kinds of people in this world" post. But this isn't age, background, or gender related from what I can tell. I just think folks are wired a certain way.  Yes, this a post about generalities.

      Here's the idea. Just like there are kinesthetic learners and auditory learners and people who learn by repetition, in the computer world I think that some folks learn from the metal up and some folks learn from the glass back.

      Learning from Metal Up

      Computer Science instruction starts from the metal, most often. The computer's silicon is the metal. You start there and move up. You learn about CPUs, registers, you may learn Assembly or C, then move your way up over the years to a higher level language like Python or Java. Only then will you think about Web APIs and JSON.

      You don't learn anything about user interaction or user empathy. You don't learn about shipping updates or test driven development. You learn about algorithms and Turing. You build compilers and abstract syntax trees and frankly, you don't build anything useful from a human perspective. I wrote a file system driver in Minix. I created new languages and built parsers and lexers.

      • When you type cnn.com and press enter, you can pretty much tell what happens from the address bar all the way down to electrons. AND YOU LOVE IT.
      • You feel like you own the whole stack and you understand computers like your mechanic friends understand internal combustion engines.
      • You'll open the hood of a car and look around before you drive it.
      • You'll open up a decompiler and start poking around to learn.
      • When you learn something new, you want to open it up and see what makes it tick. You want to see how it relates to what you already know.
      • If you need to understand the implementation details then an abstraction is leaking.
      • You know you will be successful because you can have a FEEL for the whole system from the computer science perspective.

      Are you this person? Were you wired this way or did you learn it? If you teach this way AND it lines up with how your students learn, everyone will be successful.

      Learning from the Glass Back

      Learning to code instruction starts from the monitor, most often. Or even the user's eyeballs. What will they experience? Let's start with a web page and move deeper towards the backend from there.

      You draw user interfaces and talk about user stories and what it looks like on the screen. You know the CPU is there and how it works but CPU internals don't light you up. If you wanted to learn more you know it's out there on YouTube or Wikipedia. But right now you want to build an application for PEOPLE an the nuts and bolts are less important. 

      • When this person types cnn.com and presses enter they know what to expect and the intermediate steps are an implementation detail.
      • You feel like you own the whole experience and you understand people and what they want from the computer.
      • You want to drive a car around a while and get a feel for it before you pop the hood.
      • You'll open F12 tools and start poking around to learn.
      • When you learn something new, you want to see examples of how it's used in the real world so you can build upon them.
      • If you need to understand the implementation details then someone in another department didn't do their job.
      • You know you will be successful because you can have a FEEL for the whole system from the user's perspective.

      Are you this person? Were you wired this way or did you learn it? If you teach this way AND it lines up with how your students learn, everyone will be successful.

        Conclusion

        Everyone is different and everyone learns differently. When teaching folks to code you need to be aware of not only their goals, but also their learning style. Be ware of their classical learning style AND the way they think about computers and technology.

        My personal internal bias sometimes has me asking "HOW DO YOU NOT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE TOASTER INTERNALS?!?!" But that not only doesn't ship the product, it minimizes the way that others learn and what their educational goals are.

        I want to take apart the toaster. That's OK. But someone else is more interested in getting the toast to make a BLT. And that's OK.

        * Stock photo by WOCInTech Chat used under CC


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        About Scott

        Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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        Exploring the Tessel 2 IoT and robotics development board

        December 27, '16 Comments [23] Posted in Hardware
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        13841-01I'm still on vacation and still on the mend from surgery. I'm continuing to play around with IoT devices on my staycation. Last week I looked at these devices:

        Today I'm messing with the Tessel 2. You can buy it from SparkFun for the next few weeks for US$40. The  Tessel is pretty cool as a tiny device because it includes WiFi on the board as well as two USB ports AND on-board Ethernet. It includes a two custom "module" ports where you can pop in 10-pin modules like Accelerometers, Climate sensors, IR and more. There's also community-created Tessel modules for things like Color Sensing and Motion.

        Tessel is programmable in JavaScript and runs Node. Here's the tech specs:

        • 580MHz Mediatek MT7620n
        • Linux built on OpenWRT
        • 802.11bgn WiFi
        • WEP, WPA, WPA2-PSK, WPA2-Enterprise
        • 64MB DDR2 RAM
        • 32MB Flash
        • 16 pins GPIO, 7 of which support analog in
        • 2 USB 2.0 ports with per-port power switching

        Tessel isn't a company, it's a open source project! They are on Twitter at @tesselproject and on GitHub here https://github.com/tessel.

        NOTE: Some users - including me - have had issues with some Windows machines not recognizing the Tessel 2 over USB. I spent some time exploring this thread on their support site and had to update its firmware but I haven't had issues since.

        Once you've plugged your Tessel in, you talk to it with their node based "t2" command line:

        >t2 list
        INFO Searching for nearby Tessels...
        USB Tessel-02A3226BCFA3
        LAN Tessel-02A3226BCFA3

        It's built on OpenWRT and you can even SSH into it if you want. I haven't needed to though as I just want to write JavaScript and push  projects to it. It's nice to know that you CAN get to the low-level stuff I you need to, though.

        For example, here's a basic "blink an LED" bit of code:

        // Import the interface to Tessel hardware
        var tessel = require('tessel');
        
        // Turn one of the LEDs on to start.
        tessel.led[2].on();
        
        // Blink!
        setInterval(function () {
          tessel.led[2].toggle();
          tessel.led[3].toggle();
        }, 600);
        
        console.log("I'm blinking! (Press CTRL + C to stop)");

        The programming model is very familiar, and they've abstracted away the complexities of most of the hardware. Here's a GPS example:

        var tessel = require('tessel');
        var gpsLib = require('gps-a2235h');

        var gps = gpsLib.use(tessel.port['A']);

        // Wait until the module is connected
        gps.on('ready', function () {
        console.log('GPS module powered and ready. Waiting for satellites...');
        // Emit coordinates when we get a coordinate fix
        gps.on('coordinates', function (coords) {
        console.log('Lat:', coords.lat, '\tLon:', coords.lon, '\tTimestamp:', coords.timestamp);
        });

        // Emit altitude when we get an altitude fix
        gps.on('altitude', function (alt) {
        console.log('Got an altitude of', alt.alt, 'meters (timestamp: ' + alt.timestamp + ')');
        });

        // Emitted when we have information about a fix on satellites
        gps.on('fix', function (data) {
        console.log(data.numSat, 'fixed.');
        });

        gps.on('dropped', function(){
        // we dropped the gps signal
        console.log("gps signal dropped");
        });
        });

        gps.on('error', function(err){
        console.log("got this error", err);
        });

        Of course, since it's using node and it has great Wifi or wired, the Tessel can also be a web server! Here we return the image from a USB camera.

        var av = require('tessel-av');
        var os = require('os');
        var http = require('http');
        var port = 8000;
        var camera = new av.Camera();

        http.createServer((request, response) => {
        response.writeHead(200, { 'Content-Type': 'image/jpg' });

        camera.capture().pipe(response);

        }).listen(port, () => console.log(`http://${os.hostname()}.local:${port}`));

        I'll make a Hello World webserver:

        var tessel = require('tessel');
        var http = require('http');
        
        var server = http.createServer(function (request, response) {
          response.writeHead(200, {"Content-Type": "text/plain"});
          response.end("Hello from Tessel!\n");
        });
        server.listen(8080);
        console.log("Server running at http://192.168.1.101:8080/");
        

        Then push the code to the Tessel like this:

        >t2 push index.js
        INFO Looking for your Tessel...
        INFO Connected to Tessel-02A3226BCFA3.
        INFO Building project.
        INFO Writing project to Flash on Tessel-02A3226BCFA3 (3.072 kB)...
        INFO Deployed.
        INFO Your Tessel may now be untethered.
        INFO The application will run whenever Tessel boots up.
        INFO To remove this application, use "t2 erase".
        INFO Running index.js...

        Where is my Tessel on my network?

        >t2 wifi
        INFO Looking for your Tessel...
        INFO Connected to Tessel-02A3226BCFA3.
        INFO Connected to "HANSELMAN"
        INFO IP Address: 192.168.0.147
        INFO Signal Strength: (33/70)
        INFO Bitrate: 29mbps

        Now I'll hit the webserver and there it is!

        image

        There's a lot of cool community work happening around Tessel.  You can get involved with the Tessel community if you're interested:

        • Join us on Slack — Collaboration and real time discussions (Recommended! - ask your questions here).
        • Tessel Forums — General discussion and support by the Tessel community.
        • tessel.hackster.io — Community-submitted projects made with Tessel.
        • tessel.io/community — Join a Tessel meetup near you! Meetups happen around the world and are the easiest way to play with hardware in person.
        • #tessel on Freenode — IRC channel for development questions and live help.
        • Stack Overflow — Technical questions about using Tessel

        Sponsor: Big thanks to Telerik! They recently published a comprehensive whitepaper on The State of C#, discussing the history of C#, what’s new in C# 7 and whether C# is the top tech to know. Check it out!

        About Scott

        Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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        Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.