Andrew Connell

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  • Published on

    Blog: AndrewConnell.com v5 - new year & a new site theme

    After 3,240 days, I figured it was a good time for a good refresh. Recently I took some time to rebuild my site theme & after launching it, I’m excited to share it with you! In this post, learn about some of the things that went into the process.
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    Blog: Join me at 365EduCon (SPFest) Seattle in May 2022 - SharePoint Framework and Azure Functions

    Join me, May 9-13 in Seattle for the 365 EduCon (SPFest) conference! I’m presenting a full day workshop & sessions for Microsoft 365 & Azure pro developers!
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    Blog: Microsoft MVP Renewed 17th Year

    Last week, while my head was down and focused on updating my course, Microsoft sent their annual notices out to techies who received their first MVP award. I remember when I was up for consideration and received my first MVP award in 2005. That year, I was recognized as one of five (5) developers awarded for my community work related to Microsoft Content Management Server 2002 (MCMS). Over the years my award category has changed from MCMS to SharePoint to Office Apps & Servers to where it is now: Office Development.
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    Blog: Automated Hugo Releases with Github Actions

    I recently switched the CI/CD process to replace Azure Pipelines with GitHub Actions and in this post, I want to show you how I did it.
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    Blog: Join Me at the Quebec SharePoint User Group on February, 4 2020

    Danger: Presentation cancelled Unfortunately something has come up and I’m unable to be in Montreal the week of this user group. Therefore my presentation had to be cancelled… sorry about this folks! Hey SharePoint developers in Montreal, Canada! I’ll be in town next week and the kind folks at the Quebec SharePoint User’s Group invited me to present while I’m in town. Join me next Tuesday, February 4, 2020 and see a Floridian freeze in the Montreal winter!
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    Blog: Join me and Support the Fight to END Breast Cancer!

    Last week I registered for another half-marathon, the 26.2 with Donna The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer . The race is on February 9, 2020. This is my 4th half-marathon of the season… but this one is so much more than just a race. Proceeds from this race go to breast cancer research, care, and helping families. Like so many, my extended family has been touched by breast cancer. This past year that I saw it up close, it’s impact, and truly appreciated what the fighters and their families go through.
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    Blog: Microsoft Ignite 2019 Recap

    Last week, Microsoft held their annual Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. I was there recording interviews for my podcast, the Microsoft Cloud Show , presenting one session on Leveraging React in SharePoint Framework solutions (recording available on that link). This year, I made time to attend a handful of sessions. Here’s a fun fact, I attended more sessions at this year’s conference than all previous four (4) Ignite conferences combined, including all sessions I’ve presented & live podcasts I’ve streamed!
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    Blog: Automated Hugo Releases With Azure Pipelines

    In this post, I explain how this site is automatically built & deployed when I push commits as well as on a scheduled basis with Azure DevOps Pipelines.
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    Blog: Hosting Hugo on Azure

    Last week I wrote how I migrated my site from a dynamic CMS to a static site generated using Hugo. The entire site and all supporting processes are hosted in the Microsoft cloud, specifically Azure DevOps & Microsoft Azure. In this post, I will explain how the site is hosted in Microsoft Azure. This assumes the static files have already been built so you will see how it’s exposed to the world.

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    Blog: Moved This Site to Hugo

    I started this site and blogging as a personal journal almost exactly 16 years ago today, in September 2003. Over the last 16 years, I’ve used three different open source engines to implement the site, starting with .Text, it’s successor SubText and then moved to Orchard CMS in 2013. Orchard served me well for the last six years, but after much consideration, I’ve made yet another re-platforming move. The site you’re reading right now is on the new platform!
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    Blog: Using a Kindle Fire as a Home Kiosk for SmartThings & Smart Home Monitor

    I recently replaced my traditional home security system with a more modern setup. The new setup needed a keypad replacement, so I used Kindle Fire tablets!
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    Blog: DIY Home Security System with Konnected.io & SmartThings

    Home security systems usually mean expensive boxes in an obscure place in your house with a bundle of messy sensor wires hooked up to a circuit board, dumb keypads from the 1980’s and other uninspiring tech. You know, like what I had in my house? Some monitoring companies have come up with more modern solutions, at a price. This stuff isn’t all that complicated though… shouldn’t there be a better way?
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    Blog: Selling a car online attracts plenty of scammers

    We decided to try selling our car in a private party sale rather than a trade-in as you can get much more selling it than you can with a trade in. This was the first time I’ve done a private party sale, and it’s not sold yet, but one thing I’ve learned is how this process brings out so many scammers. A few days after posting the listing on AutoTrader & the Facebook Marketplace, I received a text from “Charles”.
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    Blog: What's up with the "Mastering the SharePoint Framework" Developer Course by Voitanos?

    Over the last few weeks I’ve steadily received more and more questions from developers about the status & ETA of my online course for developers: Mastering the SharePoint Framework by Voitanos . Let’s just cut to the chase and tell you what you are looking for: Fundamentals Bundle Pre-Release - End of August 2017 There… I said it… finally! This drop of the course will include a considerable portion of the entire fundamentals bundle that I have planned for the entire course.
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    Blog: Honored to be Highlighed by Mary Jo Foley As Community Champ

    I’m generally not one to make a big deal about being recognized for something, but yesterday something took me by quite a surprise. Heads down working on my new course, I had been off social media for most of the day… something I do frequently so I can focus as social media makes me too ADD during the work day. At any rate, a friend messaged me with “congrats on the news!
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    Blog: Cutting the Cord - Taking Control of TV and Slashing Monthly Costs Over 70%

    In early October 2017 I made one change to this setup related to OTA channels. I got rid of the HDHomeRun Connect tuner & using Plex to watch OTA channels. Instead, I’m now using a TabloTV tuner with the associated apps on my phone, tablet & Roku to watch OTA live TV complete with a DVR & time shifting solution. I’ve updated the changes in the text below. The phrase “cutting the cord” is used when people say they are breaking from the modern day way of getting TV, typically either from a cable provider (Comcast XFINITY, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Time Warner Cable, etc) or a satellite provider (DirecTV, Dish Network, etc).
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    Blog: What's Next for Me: Introducing Voitanos for OnDemand Courses

    Over a decade ago I left the corporate world to join another company and start teaching developers about SharePoint. A year after that I left the world of full-time employment to be a contract instructor doing the same thing: teaching developers. Then two years later I joined up with a good friend and co-founded a SharePoint training company , that I co-owned & co-operated from 2009-2013. I continued to teach as a contract instructor but also published on-demand video courses through a popular training platform.
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    Blog: Blog Update: New Blog Posts Published in RSS and Email

    A little over a month ago, I blogged how I shut off my RSS feed on my blog to replace it with an email newsletter. You can read more about that decision here: Blog Update: No more RSS, Moving New Blog Post Notifications to Email . Today I’ve turned the RSS feature back on for new posts, however, the only thing in that post is a message about going to the site to read the whole post, not the body of the actual blog post.
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    Blog: Blog Update: No more RSS, Moving New Blog Post Notifications to Email

    After years of struggling to find a solution to something that’s bothered me, I’m finally making a big change on my site. Starting immediately after this post, I will no longer syndicate my content out in an RSS feed. After this post, if you want to get notified of new posts, you can subscribe to my newsletter using the widget at the bottom of all pages on my site or signing up using this form .
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    Blog: Two Incredible Days at NASA - Restricted Access to KSC for SpaceX CRS-8

    I recently talked about my experience I outline here on my podcast, the Microsoft Cloud Show , with my co-host Chris Johnson If you’re interested, checkout Episode 124 | Geek Out - Behind the Scenes at Kennedy Space Center and Rocket Launches with NASA Social . Recently I had the incredible opportunity to attend the 8th NASA Social event which culminated with the launch of the eighth Cargo Resupply Mission (CRS-8) conducted by SpaceX, referred to as SpaceX CRS-8 , at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, FL.
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    Blog: Microsoft MVP Renewed for 12th Year!

    Gotta love April 1st… this is my anniversary date for my MVP award. You never know if you’re going to have an April Fool’s joke pulled on you or not. Regardless, I got the email today that I was renewed for my 12th year in the MVP program. My first two years were for Content Management Server (CMS) and when CMS was retired in favor of moving the feature set over to the SharePoint platform, I was transitioned over.
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    Blog: Two Months with a Tesla Model S 85D & Our First 1,200+ Mile Road Trip

    I joined the fortunate group of people who can say they own a Tesla Model S in late May of this year. My wife and I did a ton of research on the car and the life of switching to a fully electric car before we made the commitment, but I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know until after we lived with it for the last two months. Since we got it, I’ve fielded many of the same questions so I figured a detailed post would be nice to point to plus it might help someone else who is doing the same research we were doing in March 2015.
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    Blog: Traveling Dual Monitors on the Road with a MacBook & iPad

    I work from a home office where I’ve got a slick 3-monitor setup… three 27" monitors, two sitting horizontal at 2560x1440 and one sitting vertical at 1080x1920 in the middle (by the way, a center vertical monitor is awesome for coding). All this is run off the two Thunderbolt & single HDMI ports on my MacBook Pro (late 2013): I’ve become so dependent on this setup that when I travel or work outside of my office, I avoid some tasks when I don’t have a second monitor.
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    Blog: My Interview on Startups for the Rest of Us: Making a Full-Time Income With Online Training

    Close friends of mine know there’s a podcast that I’ve become a huge fan of over the last two years. It’s called Startups for the Rest of Us by Rob Walling & Mike Taber … their topic is all about working on startups as a solopreneur or micropreneur. Even if you aren’t doing a startup, if you’re a self starter or someone who works from home or works for yourself, there are tons of good life and work tips in this show.
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    Blog: Rapid Complete Install / Reinstall OS X Like a Champ in Three-ish Hours

    You’re a developer, you know that periodic spring cleanings are good. Laptops slow down over time from all the cruft you acquire on your main drive. No matter how hard you try, your machine is never fully clean. The best way to clean this up is with a complete system reinstall after blowing away the partition. But no one likes doing that because you don’t want take the time to backup everything or fear you’re going to lose something or… the worst part… you don’t want to spend the time reinstalling everything.
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    Blog: Microsoft MVP Renewed for 11th Year!

    Gotta love April 1st… this is my anniversary date for my MVP award. You never know if you’re going to have an April Fool’s joke pulled on you or not. Regardless, I got the email today that I was renewed for my 11th year in the MVP program. My first two years were for Content Management Server (CMS) and when CMS was retired in favor of moving the feature set over to the SharePoint platform, I was transitioned over.
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    Blog: Microsoft Band - My Review after One Week

    Yup, I jumped on the Microsoft Bandwagon and got a Microsoft Band one week ago. I wanted it earlier but had trouble finding it… but I got lucky! After failing multiple times to get one due to the stock issues around, I stopped in my local Microsoft store to preorder one and wait for it to arrive. To my surprise they had them in stock… apparently from some preorder people who never picked them up (idiots!
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    Blog: Presenting from a Mac - My Toolbox & Techniques

    Over the last year I’ve had the fun experience of riding the learning curve of spending most of my time in OS X instead of Windows. A key aspect of my professional life is conducing courses & presentations from my laptop so I had to crack this nugget pretty darn fast. There are some specific platform things I absolutely love about presenting from my MacBook Pro. I love making things full screen (which is literally full screen, even taking over the top Apple menu bar) including browser windows, slides or virtual machines and being able to use the gesture 4-finger-swipe or quickly see my desktop using the thumb+three finger pinch… you can see them all listed here: Mac Basics: Multi-Touch Gestures .
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    Blog: Project Task Management - Using Trello for Kanban Boards

    From time to time I write a little about productivity things. A while ago I wrote how using Evernote every day was a boost to my productivity: GTD - Get Organized and Be More Productive using The Secret Weapon and Evernote . This helped because I no longer lost or forgot things and because I was able to keep fewer things in my mind. Rather I have a daily morning ritual when I look at a specific tag !
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    Blog: GTD - Get Organized and Be More Productive using The Secret Weapon and Evernote

    In the past I’ve posted a few entries on being more productive, such as how I leverage virtual assistants . In this post I’m going to continue on that line of “getting things done” type thinking. It’s a long post, so let me start with the standard “too long, didn’t read” section to provide a quick rundown TL;DR I have a problem staying on top of my task list. I forget things, I have things I need to remember scattered across multiple sources like email, on the file system, in notes, etc.
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    Blog: Microsoft MVP Renewed for SharePoint Server - MVP for a Decade

    Gotta love April 1st… this is my anniversary date for my MVP award. You never know if you’re going to have an April Fool’s joke pulled on you or not. Regardless, I got the email today that I was renewed for my 10th year in the MVP program. Crazy… it’s been a whole decade… it feels like just yesterday I typed my first semicolon & got confused by an SPWeb being a site but a SPSite being a collection of sites…
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    Blog: I Jumped on the Evernote Bandwagon

    For years I’ve been keeping my notes in Microsoft’s OneNote app in Office. It’s worked just fine, sync’s across two machines (via SkyDrive) and as of the last few years I could even start accessing my notes via a web interface. It worked fine for me… I only had a few complaints, but it worked fine enough and I had a TON of data in it. Best part, it was essentially free being part of the Office suite.
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    Blog: Switching from Lenovo w520 to Apple MacBook Pro

    I’m going to leave the comments open on this post, but as with all comments on my blog, they are moderated. Just a fair warning: flamers & haters will not be approved. I’m all for a constructive conversation, but this is not a medium for noise. In December 2013 I made a significant change with my laptop and operating system choice. Part of this change was done under duress… so let me give you a little backstory on how I came to switch from being a Lenovo + Windows 8.
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    Blog: My First SaaS Product: Kerrb – Automating the Cloud & Controlling your Spend

    Today is an exciting day for me. Today, in this post, I state my current plans for my first software product, a SaaS app. Well, technically this is my second SaaS app as I see my Pluralsight training courses as a SaaS app being that they generate recurring royalty revenues. Product development is something I’ve always wanted to do, armed with an idea that has a market and some key players who’ve expressed interest, now is as great a time as ever.
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    Blog: Welcome to the Newest Podcast on the Microsoft Cloud!

    Welcome to the newest podcast, the Microsoft Cloud Show co-hosted by yours truly, dedicated to the Microsoft cloud. I’m a big fan of podcasts and have been listening to a good number across different topics for many years. A few months ago my co-host, Chris Johnson (CJ), pitched the idea that we start our own show. At first I was hesitant, but ultimately relented and the result is what you see here!
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    Blog: Working More Efficiently with the help of Virtual Assistants

    A few months ago I blogged about some changes I had made in my life to work smarter to be more efficient which yielded in higher productivity . At the time there was something else I wanted to mention, but was a bit timid as I didn’t want people to get the wrong impression. However since the post, I’ve had numerous conversations with some friends where our conversations dug a little deeper on the subject.
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    Blog: Upgrading Orchard CMS from 1.6 to 1.7.1

    Earlier this year, in March of 2013 ( all posts on the topic ), I relaunched my site using the open source CMS engine Orchard CMS . I based my deployment on the 1.6 release which was the most current stable release at the time. I’ve been very pleased with the engine and have enjoyed doing some customizations to the codebase as well not to mention some minor contributions to the project in the documentation and bug fix areas.
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    Blog: Named Dynamics101 Top 50 SharePoint Blog

    The folks at Dynamics101 have compiled a list of the top 50 SharePoint blogs out there. I’m not certain of the criteria they used to determine their list, but I’m in good company. Thanks guys! » Dynamics 101: Top 50 SharePoint Sites
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    Blog: Finding that Device Sweet Spot

    Desktops, laptops, ultra portables, tablets, mini tablets, phones… with so many choices out there it’s hard to find your device sweet spot. Over the years I’ve tried just about everything and I think I’m finally coming to the conclusion of what works best for me. The other day I wrote a blog post that gave the impression to many from what I saw on Twitter that I was dismissing the Surface RT.
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    Blog: Working Smarter, More Efficiently & Being More Productive

    A few months ago I tweeted a brief comment about investing some time in changing the way I was working and introducing a few new techniques to my work life. That tweet spun up a dialog with a handful of people and prompted a few to request I share some of the things I was doing. As such I decided to write up this post to share what changes I made that have been a boon in my productivity.
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    Blog: Microsoft MVP Renewed for SharePoint Server - 9 Years Running!

    Gotta love April 1st… this is my anniversary date for my MVP award. You never know if you’re going to have an April Fool’s joke pulled on you or not. Regardless, I got the email this weekend that I was renewed for my 9th year in the MVP program. My first two years were for Content Management Server (CMS) and when CMS was retired in favor of moving the feature set over to the SharePoint platform, I was transitioned over.
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    Blog: My Blog is Now on Orchard, Hosted in Azure and Redesigned!

    A little over a month ago I blogged about how I was planning to re-launch my blog . This post is from the newly launched site! Before I say too much here I want to mention that I will be writing quite a few posts on the reasoning behind some decisions I made with the new site as well as how I did it. Since posting that I was making the move, I’ve received quite a few comments from folks on Twitter asking why and how so these posts will serve those answers.
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    Blog: Personal Accomplishment - I Finished my First Half-Marathon Yesterday

    This is one of those note-to-self type posts… it has nothing to do with SharePoint or technology… it’s something I just had to write. Even though I ran track in high school, I have not liked running as an exercise… in fact I hated it. A few years ago I watched my wife cross the finish line of the National Breast Cancer Marathon (she did the half-marathon) and become overwhelmed with emotion.
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    Blog: Microsoft SurfaceRT Review 3+ Months Later (Even After Using a SurfacePro)

    First some context… I preordered a SurfaceRT 64GB model when they were first available with the Touch keyboard. After getting it, my wife liked it so much we got one for her as well. We both also have a Bamboo capacitive stylus… something we both thought we’d use more than we actually do. These have tablets 100% replaced the 1st Generation iPads we both used (related news, the kids think they got brand new iPads this past Christmas).
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    Blog: MVP Renewed for SharePoint Server

    Gotta love April 1st… this is my anniversary date for my MVP award. You never know if you’re going to have an April Fool’s joke pulled on you or not. Regardless, I got the email this morning that I was renewed for my 7th year in the MVP program. Guess the joke was that my junk filter caught it first :P. My first two years were for Content Management Server (CMS) and when CMS was retired in favor of moving the feature set over to the SharePoint platform, I was transitioned over.
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    Blog: Honored to be named to SharePoint Influencer top 50 list

    I’m honored to be named as one of the top 50 influencers in the SharePoint space along with my business partner Ted Pattision and fellow instructor/author Scot Hillier (that makes three from Critical Path Training !). The SharePoint Influencer50 was funded by Global360 and KnowledgeLake, conducted by an independent firm, and is “the results of the study focus exclusively on people who influence SharePoint decision makers in the United States.
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    Blog: Recapping my recent trip to Norway (-England)

    Recently I went to Norway to teach a private SharePoint Designer 2010 class to a consulting firm in Trondheim, Norway; Enable AS . The Saturday after the course I planned to fly over to London to present at the SharePoint 2010 Evolution Conference the following week and then go home. I expected this trip to be quite special going to Norway (which was new for me) and then seeing a bunch of friends and SharePoint folks in London.
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    Blog: I won't make the SharePoint 2010 Evolution Conference - Stranded in Europe

    Unfortunately due to the travel issues surrounding the volcano in Iceland, I will not be able to attend or present at the SharePoint 2010 Evolution Conference ( #spevo ) this coming week in London. I started my journey the weekend of April 10-11 en route to Trondheim, Norway to teach our SharePoint Designer course to a local consulting firm in Trondheim. Then the volcano started causing problems on Thursday. The Trondheim airport was virtually closed through today.
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    Blog: MVP Renewed for SharePoint Server - 6th Year!

    Gotta love April 1st… this is my anniversary date for my MVP award. You never know if you’re going to have an April Fool’s joke pulled on you or not. Regardless, I got the email this morning that I was renewed for my 6th year in the MVP program. Guess the joke was that my junk filter caught it first :P. My first two years were for Content Management Server (CMS) and when CMS was retired in favor of moving the feature set over to the SharePoint platform, I was transitioned over.
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    Blog: Roadmap (or lack there of) of my Visual Studio DX CodeRush/Refactor SharePoint Extensions

    Over the last few months I’ve fielded quite a few questions in person at conferences, via email or via Twitter from folks who were interested in what my plans were for my DevExpress CodeRush & Refactor extensions I wrote for Visual Studio 2008 for SharePoint developers. If you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, back in 2007 I created a few extensions for those customers who had bought a copy of DevExpress’ CodeRush & Refactor Pro!
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