The “Inner Circle” syndrome and MVP Program

After an overwhelming response to my last week post about the lack of diversity and inclusion in the technical communities, I wanted to speak about a specific diversity problem in more detail.

This problem is the “inner circle” syndrome.

As I mentioned in the previous post:

Even in the Spanish community, I’ve been mostly involved with the people I know well, mainly the Spanish MVPs and user group leaders. We know each other as we always hang around the same events, and thus unintentionally we create an “inner circle” in the community that makes it difficult for new people to come inside. It’s not that there aren’t any new community members, but it’s more of a mental barrier of always having “the usual suspects”. I have heard several comments lately from bright technical people that don’t submit to events because “there are always the same guys” speaking there.

The “syndrome” is the feeling or an opinion, backed by some evidence, that in technical communities there is a small core of people who share a disproportionally large amount of the “spotlight”, this being sessions in technical events, articles, publications. I have received many, many comments of technically proficient people that don’t bother to propose a talk because “it’s always going to be the same people chosen for the sessions“.

Let’s go deep into the problem, shall we?

It’s a small community

The technical communities are usually led by a small group of people, who are motivated enough to invest their time and efforts into providing value for the rest of the members of the community. By its own nature, this is something altruistic and we can’t expect everyone to be a community leader. So, the number of the people actively leading a community is low and there’s no problem with that.


At the same moment, the fact of being a leader in a technical community also shapes another community of sorts: the community of community leaders. I suspect that there is a natural disposition to mingle with those who are like us. It’s not a problem, per se. I benefit from interacting with other community leaders, for example, sharing strategies and tips on how to have a more successful community or how to drive attendance and awareness for our events. That’s the good part.

The bad part is that, if left unchecked, it’s easy to mistake the community of our peers (community leaders) for the community at large. It can lead to the “inner circle” syndrome if we do nothing to include checks and balances against it.

How you get accepted to speak at events?

If there’s one measure of the public perception of an “expert” in a technical community, that’s speaking at technical events. Those people are usually recognized or taken by the rest of the technical audience as the ones who excel on something in their respective domain of knowledge.

However, there are many more people knowledgeable about something than speakers at the events. It’s a matter of combining several characteristics:

  1. Being knowledgeable about something
  2. Having sufficient skill (and bravery) to speak in public
  3. Being aware of an event where your contribution can be welcome
  4. Actually submitting a proposal to talk at the event
  5. Having been accepted to speak at the event

In a 100% meritocratic world, this would be a pure number’s game. However, in the real world there are unseen obstacles to this straightforward process.

Once you fulfill the condition 1, you have to acquire skills about speaking in public. Many people don’t come forward at this step, as public speaking is something very stressful for mostly an introvert population. (Introversion is highly correlated with abstract thinking capacity we need to understand computers, so our technical communities are necessarily skewed to the introvert half of the population).

Let’s say you have the skills to speak. How do you become aware of a prospective event (the condition number 3)? In many cases, it’s a random thing. Usually, you read it on Twitter or a technical blog you follow. The “inner circle” members have an advantage here, because if you are already in the community “inner circle”, chances are that you already know about the event either because it’s organized by your peers or because somebody mentions in the conversation.

The condition number 4 requires you to choose a topic and craft a cohesive and appealing proposal for your talk. You need some marketing advice in order to find that what’s unique about your talk and you have to “sell” it to the event decision board. This is another skill in which the most of the technical audience are not well-versed.

Finally, the last barrier is getting accepted to speak. If you have a good proposal, your chances are better. But the sad truth is that if you are part of the “inner circle”, your chances are SO much greater. Sad but true.

Why is that?

The people choosing your talk are probably the people who are your acquaintances or friends. It’s a small community we are talking about, and we mostly know each other. When you have a talk from someone you know (and trust) as opposed to a talk by someone you haven’t heard of, then it’s just natural to lend more credibility to your friends. It’s our human nature. And it’s detrimental to our community diversity.

Also, the number of speaking slots is usually always much less than the number of prospective speakers. Due to this pressure, the selection board tries to “stick to the well-known” and minimize the risk.

We have to tread carefully not to close the doors on the any prospective contribution, and the fact of not being “known” in the community is such a huge handicap. The mere fact of having someone in the “inner circle” to rely on and to ask for advice is the most frequent way I’ve seen for the people to become speakers. I’ve done it, a couple of times. But, that’s not the way I’d want it to be in the future.

The trouble with MVP program in the technical community

And here I explicitly mention the Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) program as a factor in this imbalance of speaking sessions. I’m a current MVP, and I speak out of the knowledge of how things are run in our local community (Spain and Europe).

MVP Logo

The MVP program is an award (not a certification, not an entitlement) for past year contributions (posts, articles, speaking sessions, open-source contributions etc) in the technical community that aligns with one or more Microsoft products or technologies. It’s awarded every year.

That’s the good part.

However, MVPs represent only a portion of the valuable community leaders and contributors (I suppose that’s why it’s called “Most Valued” though). For starters, there is a limited number of MVPs per category and per region. The evaluation criteria are opaque (even though you can nominate yourself or other people) and there is no formula that let’s you know if or why you are accepted or rejected as an MVP. If I’d change one thing in the MVP program, I’d make the criteria and the nomination process more transparent. I don’t think that it should be totally objective (because it could be gamed), but I’d like to see the explanations about the selection results for each MVP. Until then, the rest of the community can only take educated guesses and fuel rumours about how the whole process works. More transparency will bring more accountability to the program, in my opinion.

Additionally, the MVP Award in the Microsoft technical community is almost a guarantee that you are in the “inner circle”. Your sessions proposals are going to weigh more in the event selection boards, you are going to be in contact with other MVPs and you’ll be aware of more community engagements. However, now you have a vested interest to keep being an MVP so you will submit to those events, knowing that your MVP status makes it easier to keep it. It’s much more easier to keep your MVP status than to get one. It’s not that the entry barrier is high (which is true) but the fact that the advantage the renewing MVPs have over you is so much greater.

Don’t get me wrong. I think that MVP program is very valuable, both to the community and to Microsoft, but it’s easy to misrepresent it and to mistake the MVP community for “the whole community”. You’re going to think of the fellow MVPs as your “inner circle” in the community and you’re going to reap the benefits. It’s not fair, but it’s real.

Ok, how should we fix it?

I wish I knew!

Notwitstanding that, I can suggest some possible actions.

First and foremost, the community leaders should be less of a rock star and more of a servant leader. It means serving the community and getting out of the way of others. You don’t brag about you, you don’t abuse the advantage you have as a community leader by grabbing more spotlight. You consciously move out of the spotlight to let the others be illuminated.

Our role as the community leaders is more to the people that are still outside the community than it is to the people already inside. We should focus on expanding the numbers and diversity of the community, not our own numbers.

Don't be a rock star

We can also help the prospective new members. As leaders, we are exposed to potential valuable contributors more than the average community member. We should act as a benevolent gatekeeper that brings people in instead of letting them out. The feeling of “not being one of us” that trickles down in the technical community, is a very strong barrier to entry. I don’t think that it’s something we do on purpose, but it has a real effect. We should be aware of it and correct for it. How?

  • Mentor other community members that show potential value
  • Teach soft skills such as public speaking, personal branding and community engagement, not only technical stuff
  • Spread the word about potential speaking and engagement opportunities. Make a goal to bring in one new speaker for every event in your expertise domain. Help them writing their proposal and help them with the session preparation if you can.
  • Make the proposal selection a blind process. Strip the biography from the submission and let a board of peers rank the proposals for their merit, not for the speaker.
  • Be conscious about your unfair advantage as a community leader. Concentrate your contributions to non-competitive channels (your own blog, GitHub, magazines and selected events) and resist the urge to cover all possible outlets. Don’t be a rock star! If you really have something to tell, help organize your own event 😉
  • If you are organizing an event, reserve a sizable portion of the agenda for first-time speakers and traditionally underrepresented communities. Don’t let the “same old faces” steal the show. Even if it feels lowering the quality of the agenda, it’s the other way round. You are strengthening it.

Microsoft can also do a lot about fixing the “inner circle” syndrome:

  • Make the MVP nomination process more transparent and accountable. Not everyone who applies should be an MVP, but we really need more transparency around the process to make the “inner circle” dissappear. Explain why someone is awarded and someone else is not.
  • Reserve slots for first-time speakers and underrepresented communities at your events

I’m really looking forward for comments on this issue. Am I being right? Wrong? Misled? Please use the form below to contribute to the discussion.

The dark, hidden side of our technical communities

For a long time now, I’ve been wishing to write about the gender and diversity gap in the technical community. Today felt like that day, so here it is. It’s the longest post I have ever written, I think. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read it now. Save it for when you have some time to spare. No TL/DR here, I’m afraid.

As an active community member for some years now, I’ve been exposed to the rich ecosystem of user groups, formal and informal events, online collaboration, banter and gossip, articles, blog posts and other outlets of the technical community at large and SharePoint-specific community in particular. The personal rewards of interacting with other people in the community are enormous, and I feel grateful for the insights I got and for the opportunity to exchange points of view. Based on a voluntary participation, the community is one of the best examples of intrinsic motivation that I have ever seen.

However, the technical community isn’t the rose-painted picture nor it exists in the void. The real-world issues also seep into the technical community and not all what I have seen inside is something that I’d like to see again. I’ll try to explain it in the following lines.

The technical community is based mainly on the underlying politics of meritocracy. The more you work to benefit the community, the more benefit you get from doing it. We are used to think that our communities are as egalitarian and democratic as possible, but it’s a flawed illusion.

Who is the “community”?

Enter the blissful ignorance of conformity bias.

Let me check the circles of my personal interactions in the community. Mainly I’ve been involved in Spanish technical community around Microsoft technologies. I also have an active European participation, mainly in community-run events. In the end, I have participated in a couple of US and Canadian events, but my main field of action is Spain and Europe. I feel enriched by my community work, but let’s make a closer look.

Even in the Spanish community, I’ve been mostly involved with the people I know well, mainly the Spanish MVPs and user group leaders. We know each other as we always hang around the same events, and thus unintentionally we create a “inner circle” in the community that makes it difficult for new people to come inside. It’s not that there aren’t any new community members, but it’s more of a mental barrier of always having “the usual suspects”. I have heard several comments lately from bright technical people that don’t submit to events because “there are always the same guys” speaking there.

And there’s true to that. It’s true that in the Microsoft communities the preponderance of MVPs in the speaker rosters is something that makes it easier for the attendees to choose interesting events but it also shuts the door (or leaves it almost closed) for new people and new blood in the community. As MVPs we have to do community activities to keep our MVP status, and I think that it has this side-effect of erecting walls around the technical events for potential speakers that aren’t part of the “privileged” few.

Furthermore, my community interactions are mainly with the people similar to me: white males, with university studies, middle to upper-middle class. For years I’ve been blissfully ignorant of the biased world I was in, but for some time I’ve been growing a conscience that ultimately makes me write this post, due to several things in the last years. I’ll line them up for you, if you are still with me.

Women in Technology

Vanessa Estorach is one of the founders of “Women in Mobile”, an advocacy group that helps raise the profile of women in the male-dominant world of mobile technology and marketing. She also happens to be my wife. She explains to me that one of the problems women face in the tech sector is that they have no role models. I haven’t thought about that before, but it’s painstakingly clear: while the boys have Bill Gates, Linus Torvalds or Mark Zuckerberg (nerd, geek stereotype included), the girls have no modern Ada Lovelace to refer to. I can only see some timid examples such as Marissa Meyer in Yahoo!. In fact, the stereotyped image of a tech person as a young nerd with zero social skills is the main factor that drives the girls out of technical careers even before stepping in.

I also read the “Lean In” book by Sheryl Sandberg, where Sheryl, a Facebook COO, paints a feminine/feminist view of a more egalitarian tech world and how to “lean in” to make it possible. My main takeaway from the book was there is a lot of effort to be done if we really want to see some change.

And last, but not the least, I’ve been subscribed to a newsletter called “Technically Speaking” for some time. It’s run by Chiu-Ki Chan and Cate Huston who write about technical speaking, a subject dear to my heard, but from the point of view of a minority, with special focus on codes of conduct and inclusive events. They are a female voice in a male-dominated sector, and collect positive examples of more diverse events and community. Their newsletters struck a chord in me and made me conscious of the “granted by default” privileges that I have as a white male, first-world technical community member.

The more I read and discussed about the “gender gap”, the more I felt that I could do more. I started to raise the issue at my work, in discussions with HR and management. I made a conscious choice of positive discrimination, recommending women over men from the candidates pool for our new hires. While positive discrimination is a discrimination, I think that it’s necessary until the field is leveled and the things regulate themselves. We have to apply extra effort to change the inertia that by itself will only perpetuate the existing situation, that’s why we have to discriminate positively.

Woman with laptop

However, the one thing that I try to avoid is to foster a token female presence. To have a single women in the team is almost as bad as having none. There is some research that says that starting with 3 women in the team is when you begin to see the effects of more diversity of opinion.

My community “girls club”

While my community circles are still mainly “boy clubs”, I have to acknowledge remarkable women in the community that I have the privilege of knowing personally:

  • Cristina González, the MVP lead for Spain, Portugal, Italy (and some other countries). The envy of other MVPs who don’t have the privilege of having her as their lead, she has a soft and caring communication style and a brilliant mind that makes for very interesting conversations.
  • Martina Grom, Office 365 MVP from Austria. For me she’s the embodiment of what I’d like to see more in the world: a competent professional, engaged in the community and true to her values about the women in the IT.
  • Agnes Molnar, SharePoint MVP from Hungary. Agnes is a mother of three and a frequent community speaker and traveler. If that wasn’t enough, she even writes books and helps other women in the IT.
  • Isabel Cabezas, Microsoft Technical Evangelist from Spain. Isabel is a former student of mine, that became coworker and now she participates in Microsoft Developer Experience team in Spain to communicate her passion about technology. Isabel also works to fix the gender gap by organizing events such as Ada Code Group or AdaJS/JSLadies.
  • Iris Classon, Swedish MVP. Iris was a dietitian who discovered programming in 2011 and hasn’t been looking back since then. Her passion for technology is unbounded and she transmits it on her talks and her blog. While I still can’t make my mind about whether her previous look was a good or a bad role model for women in IT, she’s undeniably an example for other women in the programming community.

Beyond gender inequality

So, if we have more women in the technology, then the problem is solved, right? Well…there are still some issues beyond the mere presence of female talent in the community.

Do the women in the IT feel welcome in the community? The sexual harassment raises its ugly head even in our meritocratic communities. We won’t have more diverse communities without eradicating sexist jokes, patronizing talk and innuendo. There have been several high-profile incidents in the technical events lately, and we’re talking about supposedly more-than-average open and forward-looking communities.

What about the lactating mothers who want to come to an event? Will they feel welcome? And even for the parents regardless of the gender, what if they want to bring their children to the conference? How can we make it possible so that they won’t have to pay a babysitter?

And that’s only one of the diversity issues in our communities: the gender gap. But there are many more lurking around. How many times you had a speaker from emerging countries? By focusing ourselves on our cozy Western environment, we lose the valuable insights of the people whose experiences in the IT are radically different in scope and impact.

What about the economic inequality? As a members of the privileged middle-class, we tend to forget that not everyone can afford to travel to a conference to speak, even more so in the real community events where the budget is stretched. It’s a real barrier to more diverse events, and I can feel it even in Spain where outside Barcelona and Madrid, few speakers can show up because of the economic downturn that hit the areas outside the metropolis much harder. How many voices we lose due to the companies that can’t (or won’t) pay the travel costs for their people?

What about the people with disabilities? Can they participate in the technical community as it is now? Or do we need to change the community itself. Even such a small detail as the wheelchair ramp or the subtitles for people with hearing problems can mean that a person who wants to participate cannot do so.

What about the LGBT people in the technical world? Do they feel welcome when somebody cracks a joke or uses a derogatory term even without thinking about it. There is a sincere post on Medium by a black lesbian programmer and her experiences about the diversity in the tech industry.

I have just scratched the surface of the unconscious bias that we have in our technical communities. You can find a lot, lot more information just by searching on Internet. For example, the Python community has a set of guiding principles for a more inclusive community.

Diverse world

What can I do about it?

So, what can I personally do to foster the more diverse community? As a user group leader and a technical speaker I do have some freedom of action and I intend to do something to increase the diversity:

  • I will make our user group events (such as SharePoint Saturday Barcelona) more inclusive by inviting speakers outside our “white, privileged boys club” and by helping that everyone who wants to participate can do so, regardless of the gender, sex, sexual preferences, economic situation or physical condition
  • I will promote the awareness of the diversity gap in the technical community and be vocal about it
  • I will decline to participate in the events where there’s no effort to bring more diverse backgrounds or where there’s no clear code of conduct (such as this one for instance)

I know that I won’t change the world, as I realized many years ago I can’t change it by myself. What I can do, however, is change what I do. By “being the change you want to see in the world” I can stay coherent with my beliefs and help bring in a richer, more diverse world to the communities I’m involved with.


¿Cómo me mantengo al día de la información técnica?

Mucha gente me ha preguntado como consigo estar al día de las novedades tecnológicas del mundillo SharePoint/NET/Web/JS sin morir en el intento. En este post intentaré resumir lo que hago yo.


Ojo, no sugiero que lo que me funciona a mí te va a funcionar a ti también, pero por intentar que no quede, ¿verdad?

Fuente de información #1: Twitter

Uso Twitter para filtrar las noticias importantes. La lógica es la siguiente: si sigo a la gente que más o menos son de mi perfil tecnológico, es muy probable que twiteen o retwiteen noticias o contenido interesante para mí. En este sentido, mi red de contactos actúa como una caja de resonancia de lo verdaderamente importante.

Fuente de información #2: Newsletters

Para la información más detallada y “asíncrona”, estoy suscrito a varias newsletters que me envían periódicamente noticias de interés sin demasiada “paja” de relleno. Os pongo aquí las que me llegan:

  • InfoQ – Si tuviera que recalcar una publicación, sería esta. Son los organizadores de la QCon, la conferencia de desarrollo que se celebra en varias ciudades cada año. Principalmente me interesan las noticias de .NET, arquitectura y de prácticas de equipo.
  • Simple Talk – El newsletter de la gente de Red Gate. Un poco orientado a sus productos de profiling y de gestión de BBDD, pero con el contenido bastante útil al final.
  • DZone – Noticias de desarrollo, arquitectura y un poco de gestión de proyectos infomáticos. No tan útil para mí como InfoQ, pero de vez en cuando hay algo interesante como este artículo.
  • Methods & Tools – Es una publicación un poco “retro” orientada a desarrolladores y arquitectos. Publican una revista PDF cada 6 meses con artículos interesantes.
  • SharePoint Community – Noticias y novedades del mundillo SharePoint y Office 365.
  • Technically Speaking – Es el newsletter más personal que recibo. Lo edita Chiu-Ki Chan, una desarrolladora ex-Google que vive en EEUU. Los temas que cubre son básicamente “call for speakers”, organizar conferencias y charlas, hablar en público y la igualdad de género en la informática. Me va muy bien para mi “trabajo” en SUG.CAT.

Fuente de información #3: Revistas

Las revistas (en PDF y en papel) siguen siendo mi fuente de información “en profundidad”. Me inspiran para probar cosas nuevas y me dan ese conocimiento previo a meterse a trastear con algo nuevo.

Me suscribo para que me lleguen a mi buzón cuando haya un nuevo número.

  • MSDN Magazine – La revista “oficial” de .NET, con artículos de calidad (aunque a veces demasiado alejados del día a día) y temas en el “cutting edge” como dirían los anglosajones. Disponible en papel, en PDF y online.
  • DotNetCurry – La revista india de .NET. Artículos más asequibles, aunque la maquetación es a veces demasiado “Bollywood”. Hacen entrevistas a gente destacada del mundillo .NET.
  • Compartimoss – “LA” revista de SharePoint de habla hispana. Si eres SharePointero (o Office 365ero) la debes seguir. Punto.
  • DIWUG eMagazine – Revista en inglés de SharePoint, editada por el grupo de usuarios de SharePoint de Países Bajos. Artículos de mucha calidad. A veces está disponible en papel, en eventos europeos de SharePoint.

Fuente de información #4: Blogs

Siguiendo con la información en profundidad, sigo usando un agregador de blogs (ahora mismo Feedly). Allí tengo una colección de blogs de NET, de SharePoint, de otros hobbies y de compañeros como Robert Bermejo, que está que se sale con su blog de Azure.

Otro tipo de blogs que sigo son los de agregación de novedades, como Variable Not Found y This Week in .NET.

¿Cómo gestiono todo esto?

Aquí está la proverbial “madre del cordero”. Con el tiempo que tengo al día, ¿cómo gestiono todas estas fuentes de información?

Lo que hago es aprovechar el viaje en metro de cada día para ponerme echar un vistazo a Twitter y a Feedly. Si hay algo que merece una lectura más profunda, me lo apunto en OneNote.

Los newsletters y las revistas llegan cuando llegan. Lo que hago es programarme su lectura: un ratito el fin de semana, en el descanso, en un viaje… Lo mismo hago con las cosas apuntadas en OneNote: me programo su lectura.

Al mediodía, después de comer, echo otra batida por Twitter a ver si hay algo nuevo. Igual que por la mañana, apunto en OneNote cosas de interés para leérmelas con más detalle.

Supongo que mi flujo de información no es todo lo óptimo que podría ser, pero de momento me da buenos resultados. Al final, creo que es responsabilidad personal de cada profesional estar al día de su ámbito de acción.

Y vosotros, ¿qué pensáis?


UpdatePanel Troubles with SharePoint 2013

Few weeks ago I had a nasty bug on customer premises where a combination of SharePoint 2013 and ASP.NET UpdatePanel control resulted in some very weird behaviour.


Our project consisted of several full-trust code ASPX pages, dutifully placed in _layouts folder. Two of these pages had ASP.NET AJAX UpdatePanel controls to give “a kind of” smooth user interaction experience. The reason to use it was the simplicity of wrapping the existing SharePoint server controls such as grids and buttons in the update panel to prevent page reloads on postbacks. (Yes, I know it’s legacy technology but still, sometimes it’s the best and simplest solution for a given problem).

However, these pages gave random errors as if their event was somehow lost between the UpdatePanel client-side code and the server-side postback. Randomly, we had errors in our pages, with no discernible pattern. The only clue was in the ULS logs, where there were no user claims associated with the request, as if it were a non-authenticated call. What’s worse, as it had no clear cause, our reproduction procedure was to mindlessly click the buttons in the hope of a random error. Needless to say, it was way too inefficient.

Googling around, I found a way to reproduce the errors using Fiddler HTTP debugging tool. The sequence of steps is to make the first page load with Fiddler running in the background. Then, I deleted all the captured traces in Fiddler and clicked the button inside UpdatePanel. Immediately, the UpdatePanel threw the dreaded error.


According to the Microsoft KB3062825 article, the cause is the mismatch between the HTTP protocol implementation in UpdatePanel and SharePoint 2013, where instead of returning a 401 code in the handshake, SharePoint returns 200 with the login redirect and the UpdatePanel loses its changes. It only applied to a certain combination of SharePoint 2013 and .NET Framework, and even in these combination it wasn’t certain that the error would happen.

Unfortunately, we were in that situation, with the right combination of SharePoint and .NET versions.


The solution is simple: applying a specific .NET Framework hotfix (for Windows Server 2012 R2, for Windows Server 2012) that’s meant to patch the HTTP protocol handling causing the error. The patch is available via Microsoft support, but it’s not publicly available. I think that it’s because the error isn’t deterministic enough to be included in a regular cumulative update or service pack.

You also have to install SharePoint 2013 SP1, together with a Cumulative Update from December 2014 (or later).

“Jotasón” y la (mala) pronunciación de términos informáticos

Los que me conocen saben que soy un poco Grammar Nazi. Lo reconozco, me gusta corregir la ortografía o la pronunciación en inglés cuando se trata de gente a la que aprecio, como amigos o compañeros. No hace falta añadir que no lo hago por fastidiar sino siempre con el afán de que mejoren su expresión oral en inglés, lo que abre muchísimas puertas en el mundo profesional y sobre todo en el de la informática.

A lo largo de los años he ido guardando mentalmente las pronunciaciones de palabras técnicas más frecuentes. Aquí os presento la lista, con la pronunciación aproximada mala y la buena.

(Agradecimientos a Robert Bermejo por ser el artífice de alguna palabra de la lista. Os recomiendo su blog por si tenéis algún interés en Azure)

Término Pronunciación incorrecta aproximada
Pronunciación correcta aproximada con enlace al audio
SharePoint chárpoin
(share + point)
feature fítur
premises premáises prémises
event receiver event risáiver ivén risíver
Azure éishur áshur
Source surs sors
Xamarin shámarin
JSON jotasón
(como el protagonista del Viernes 13)
Bootstrap botestrap bútstrap
XAML chámel sáml
Microsoft Microsof Máicrosof
Git “yit” (como George) guit
LINQ línquiu link

Ya puestos, pongo también como se pronuncia mi nombre: Édin (con la “i” un poco más larga de lo normal) y no Edín.

¿Tenéis algunos ejemplos de vuestra propia experiencia?

Speaking at SharePoint Konferenz Erding 2016

Last week I was in Germany, in the little village of Erding (near Munich), delivering two sessions at SharePoint Konferenz 2016. It was a very good event with fantastic speaker lineup and nice environment.

SPKonferenz banner

My two sessions were Extending Authentication and Authorization and High-Trust SharePoint Add-Ins for On-Premises Development.

SPKonferenz Keynote
SPKonferenz Keynote Speakers

Extending Authentication and Authorization

In this talk I focused on explaining the architecture of claims identity in SharePoint. From there I went to explain how to extend the claims with custom claim providers, together with the explanation on how to use other identity providers such as ADFS or Thinktecture Identity Server with SharePoint. I had a fairly good Q&A session after my talk.

You can find the sample claim provider code at

High-Trust SharePoint Add-Ins for On-Premises Development

My second session was focused on how to build on-premises apps/add-ins (high-trust or S2S) using certificate authentication instead of OAuth-brokered authentication. I highlighted some of the challenges and also some of the extensibility points that we don’t have in low-trust apps. Again, I had nice Q&A time after my talk.

Hablando de Reactive Extension en DotNetSpain 2016

La semana pasada estuve participando en la mayor conferencia de .NET que se hace en España: la DotNetSpain Conference 2016. Este año se celebró en las instalaciones de Kinépolis, en Ciudad de la Imagen (Pozuelo de Alarcón). La zona me la conozco muy bien porque estuve “viviendo” allí durante unos meses para un proyecto de Microsoft Consulting Services.


Más de 1700 personas asistieron al evento, entre los cuales unos cuantos compañeros de Sogeti España. Como muchos sabéis, soy un firme defensor de la comunidad técnica como una fuente de conocimiento, de inspiración y de contactos. Por ello animo siempre a mis compañeros a asistir y a ayudar en medida de lo posible.

Las charlas de la DotNetSpain 2016 fueron muy interesantes desde el punto de vista técnico. Además, pudimos disfrutar de la visita del mismísimo Satya Nadella, el CEO de Microsoft. Para mí, la conferencia fue un día para aprender, conocer gente nueva y reencontrarse con los conocidos.


En DotNetSpain 2016 hablé de Reactive Extensions (Rx), una librería de Microsoft poco conocida en el mundo “mainstream” de .NET pero que es muy potente para modelar aplicaciones que tienen que gestionar eventos o flujos asíncronos de datos. Afortunadamente, pude grabar la sesión usando un jueguete nuevo que tenemos en SUG.CAT y el video ya está colgado en Channel9.

La presentación está en SlideShare y el código fuente utilizado está disponible en GitHub.

Espero vuestros comentarios.

Creative Uses of IDisposable

We all know IDisposable interface in NET Framework. It is used to signal to any object with dependencies to other objects when should it dispose of them. IDisposable is a very handy feature together with the using statement, when IDisposable is called automatically when we exit a using code block.

I was reading the Introduction to Rx by Lee Campbell, in preparation of my session for DotNetSpain conference in February. There, I’ve found some creative uses of IDisposable.

Basically, it leverages the fact that Dispose method is called after “using” statement code block exits. So, we can use it to do some wrapping around that code block.

Before the code in the block is executed, the IDisposable constructor will be invoked. After the code is executed, the Dispose method will be invoked. In effect, our code will be surrounded by “Pre” and “Post” actions in an elegant way.

In Campbell’s exemple, a console app can leverage IDisposable to print text in different color inside a code block.

The “wrapper” is a short class named ConsoleColor that implements IDisposable. It remembers the previous console foreground color by saving it in the constructor and restoring it in the Dispose method.

The calling code just decorates Console.WriteLine code blocks with custom ConsoleColor instances, and voilà, we have a multi-color console application.


Book Review of “Debugging Teams” and “Exercises for Programmers”

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been reading two books that I hoped would help me with my role as a practice lead.

debugging teams cover page

One of them is “Debugging Teams” by Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman published by O’Reilly. It is a small book of around 150 pages, filled with practical advice on how to make successful teams that work and collaborate together. When I started reading it, it reminded me of a book I read a year back called “Team Geek”. Of course, I missed the clue that “Debugging Teams” is a rewrite of “Team Geek”, expanded to include feedback from the first book.

The main advice of Debugging Teams is a simple idea of practicing HRT (Humility, Respect and Trust). It permeates the whole book as a effective acronym to remember during your team leadership work. The rest of practical advices in the book include how to manage conflict, how to make a strong team ethos, how to navigate the organizational hierarchies and so on.

Debugging Teams, in essence, is a great update to an already great book. I’d rate it with 5 stars, wholeheartedly.

exercises for programmers cover pageexercises for programmers cover page

The second book is even smaller, but equally useful. It is called “Exercises for Programmers” by Brian P. Hogan, published under the umbrella of Pragmatic Programmers brand. With the subtitle of “57 challenges to develop your coding skills”, it is an exercise book that begins with “Hello, world” challenges and ends with complete small projects such as to-do lists or URL shorteners.

I use it now to send bi-weekly code challenges to my team. We then sit together to do a joint code review of each individual solution, in order to learn from it how to improve the code legibility and mantainability. It is equally suitable to use it as a source for code katas, test-driven development (TDD) assignments or self-study challenges when learning a new programming language.

My review of the “Exercises for Programmers” is 4 out of 5, just because many programs are very simplistic and also because several examples in it are maybe too US-centric (use of imperial units and USA-specific jargon) for a universally applicable book. Having said that, it is also a must-have if you want to challenge your (or your team’s) programming skills.


Talking about Claims and Claim Providers at ESPC15 in Stockholm

Last week I was in Stockholm for the annual European SharePoint Conference 2015. A little bit tired after being in USA for MVP Summit the previous week, but happy to meet my dear SharePointers and get to know some new ones.

Me at ESPC15
Me at ESPC15

My talk was about “Extending Authentication and Authorization”. I talked about claims, the underpinning of all thinks AuthN and AuthZ in SharePoint 2013. My demo was a custom claims provider that exposed dummy claims in People Picker that were used to protect confidential document from normal users.

I also demoed the federated authentication with SharePoint and ADFS.

My Session announced at ESPC15
My Session announced at ESPC15

You can find my slides on the ESPC15 website or on SlideShare. The demo claims provider code is also available on my OneDrive.

Special thanks to Spencer Harbar for coming with the claims as boarding pass analogy in the first place. It’s a great explanation tool.