.Net user group expands and meets

The .Net User Group, which has more than 350 on its mailing list, is to hold inaugural meetings next month.

The .Net User Group, which has more than 350 on its mailing list, is to hold inaugural meetings next month.

Founder and facilitator Luke Svoboda says meetings have been confirmed for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

One in Dunedin is also likely to be confirmed and Svoboda is keen to hear from anyone wanting to set up groups in other centres.

Depending on how the first round goes, further meetings will be held monthly or bi-monthly.

The group has been communicating electro-nically since February. Svoboda says members come from systems in-tegration companies, government departments, and large and small businesses.

He promises “intense discussion” about technology and the chance to network with other .Net developers.

A key topic will be GXA (global XML web services architecture), which will underpin the next generation of web services developed in Microsoft technology.

Svoboda says although he is talking to Australian .Net users, the group will remain focused on New Zealand.

“New Zealand is a very price-sensitive market and IT managers here tend to take a long time to make decisions. Developers have to bear that in mind so a lot of the questions we get are based around how to build cost-effective solutions.”

Partly due to his work with the .Net community, Auckland-based Svoboda has been made a Microsoft regional director, one of 120 worldwide.

The role entails dispensing information about Microsoft technologies to developer communities and providing feedback to Microsoft.

Regional directors are not Microsoft employees, but “industry experts” who have committed themselves to Microsoft technology.

New Zealand is home to one other, Scott Bennett, of Datacom Systems.

Svoboda, technology head of mobile application dev-eloper Orbiz, says he sees the role as a go-between for the developer community and Microsoft.

He says it’s a voluntary, unpaid position but he gets access to confidential information about what Microsoft is doing with its technology.

That’s already given him access to information on where the company is heading with Visual Studio .Net, which was imparted during a visit to Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

“It is part of my strategic role to work within the developer community so being a regional director is not a lot of extra work.”

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