Saturday, January 28, 2017

Stef’s Monthly Update – January 2017

Usually like most of my blogger friends I do a write up of what I have done and experienced at the end of the year. I write a year’s review, post a few pictures and publish it. During 2017 I want to do things differently, I’ll write a review post every month and look ahead a bit in the upcoming months.

Why Stef instead of Steef-Jan my real name? Well the explanation is that many of my international buddies call me Stef, rather than my full name. And that’s fine, I do not mind at all. Thus, I have decided I will call or label my monthly updates as Stef’s Monthly Update.

What have I been up to in January? I have written a few blog posts for BizTalk360’s blog. Last year at the MVP in November, Saravana asked me if I was interested in writing a biweekly guest blog post with integration in mind. And I said yes let’s do that and I started in December with two posts:
I followed up in January with two more, staying a bit in the integration space with BizTalk and Logic Apps:

Creating these blog posts is fun to do, you explore a new technology or get a bit more insight in building solutions with Logic App as a new cloud integration service. As a matter a fact, one my latest projects with Logic Apps for one of Macaw customers went live this month. So, I have gained experience in building and deploying Logic Apps to production. Awesome!

What I like about BizTalk360 is that besides providing a platform for blogs, it sponsors and supports the Integration Mondays for over two years now. And this has been revamp into the Integration User Group, that is the integration Mondays are part of it together with Middleware Friday. The latter is a weekly update by Kent Weare a recorded session every week, and has 4 episodes so far. As for integration Monday, a set of speakers is line up all to way to the end of April and I will be one of them in March.

What else have I been up to? I have written an article for the Dutch SDN Magazine in Dutch, which has been a quite a while (a couple years I believe) since I have done that. Thanks to Marcel Meijer and Lex Hegt, both for reviewing the article. It is ready to be published in the upcoming magazine 131. The article is about Server less Integration using Logic Apps and Functions. As you might realize that means no more VM’s, just a Browser and Azure J

The benefit of writing that article was that I can also will present on the topic at the SDN Event in March. Super! And I’ll be on stage next month too, in New Zealand and Australia. Yes, this cool and this evolved from what happened last year. On the plane, back from Gothenburg, where me and Eldert did some talks we came up with the idea of going down under. A few weeks later we booked the tickets after we spoke with Mick Badran and Rene Brauwers. Rene has set up a Meetup in Sydney and Mark Brimble together with Craig Haiden one in Auckland. And we’ll probably have one in Melbourne and Brisbane too. Cool, eh!

During my trip, down under there’s an Ignite going on too in the Gold Coast. Eldert will be going there and meanwhile I’ll be a few days in Auckland, before I join him at the end of the event. We’ll be meeting up with Dan Toomey, Dean Robertson, some other Team Mexia guys/gals, the Microsoft PG (Jeff Holan, Kevin Lam and Jon Fancey), and fellow MVP Martin Abbott. So, will be mixing up work with leisure time while I am down there.

In this month, I read a few books on various topics, entrepreneurial, social media and politics. The first one being a book from Gary Vaynerchuck Ask GaryVee.  Why the entrepreneurial topic, why the interest? Kent Weare my buddy mentioned this guy, as one of the hottest entrepreneurs at the moment, a few times and point to some points he stands for. Hence, I looked at a few YouTube movies of GaryVee, bought one of his books and read it. Besides this one I read another one, which I stumbled on called “Your One Word” by Evan Carmichael. And through GaryVee I also got interested in the “The Social Organism” book and read that one too.

 Three books in total in combination of two other books, which I picked up while reading the Correspondent website:
  •  Utopia for realists. This book deals with an ideal world that we all have enough money, and can live happy lives. It discusses experiments with a base income for people. However, all these experiments have been done on a small scale and it yet needs to prove itself on a large scale. Politically is can be a hard sell.
  •  Je hebt wel iets te verbergen (You do have something to hide). A book that discussed our privacy in this day and age being online every day with all your device. Interesting read as everything we do these days is being tracked and used for all kinds of purposes like profiling, ectera.
My favorite albums, which we released in January, are:

Besides writing, preparing content, reading and listening to music have I been doing some workouts? Yes, I have done a few runs to prepare for a half marathon of The Hague in March and a full marathon in April (Rotterdam).

There you have it Stef’s first Monthly Update and I can look back with joy. Accomplished quite a few things and exciting moments are ahead of me.



Friday, January 06, 2017

Integration, the community blasting into 2017!

In the past, now and tomorrow I will keep saying that integration is relevant, even in this day and age of digitalization. Integration professionals will play an essential role in providing connectivity between systems, devices and services. Integration drives the digitalization forward by connecting everything with anything.

Integration skills are still in demand. A LinkedIn study revealed a top 10 with integration and middleware in top 5 with Cloud, Data Science, UX and Web. And the expectation for 2017 is that this will be similar.

Our toolbox is expanding from on premise tooling to cloud services; we have WCF, BizTalk Server, MSMQ to Logic Apps, API Management and Service Bus. Formats ranging from flat file, EDI, XML to JSON, several protocols open and proprietary, tooling from mappers to BizTalk360. It can be challenging yet much more exciting. My conclusion is more options, more fun, at least in my view.

In February I, will be travelling to Australia to meet up with my buddies Mick and Rene. And Rene is organizing a Meetup in Sydney on the 20th of February. And since I am kind of in the neighborhood, I have decided to pay my friends (Mark e.a.) in New Zealand a visit too. Hence, I will speak in Auckland on the 14th of February and in Melbourne, where Bill Chesnut resides. That’s three meet ups I will speak during my stay down under.

With Eldert I will be travelling around and our plans will look like:

•           Saturday 11-2 – Monday 13-2: Sydney
•           Tuesday 14-2 – Wednesday 15-2: Auckland (Meetup)
•           Thursday 16-2 – Friday 17-2: Gold Coast (Eldert attends Ignite, Gold Coast)
•           Saturday 18-2: Brisbane
•           Sunday 19-2 – Monday 20-2: Sydney (Meetup)
•           Tuesday 21-2 – Thursday 23-2: Melbourne (Meetup)
•           Friday 24-2 – Monday 27-2: Sydney

Hope to see some of you there!

And that’s not all. The following month, March 25th there will be the Global Integration Bootcamp and the IntegrationMondays will start from the 9th of January onwards to end of April. And finally, there will be an Integrate 2017 in the UK and TUGAIT with an Integration Track in May. 

Hence, there you go a tremendous community effort the coming months!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year 2016 in review, Integration is still relevant

Last few hours before 2016 ends and what a year it has been as so many things happened. The year started off with finalizing and publishing an eBook on extensibility of BizTalk Server, which is available for free. My buddy Saravana made available through BizTalk360 website.

The publishing of the book marked the first major milestone in 2016. The collaboration of Eldert, Johann and myself as authors and three awesome reviewers in Mark, James and Sandro delivered a 150-page book on the power of .NET and BizTalk.
With the release of the book, Eldert and myself embarked on a speaking tour to promote the book, which we did in front of the BizTalk User Group in the Netherlands, online through integration Monday and in Sweden (Stockholm, Gothenburg). Thanks Mikael, Johan and Peter!!!

In the spring (May) I presented at Integrate 2016 on IoT end to end leveraging the Microsoft Azure Platform services. And this was in front of almost 400 people.

Who would have thought that integration is irrelevant? It’s not! Thanks for  Saravana and the BizTalk360 team for making this three-day event happening. Integrate 2016 was a success and for me my second major milestone in 2016.

Before Integrate 2016 Kent, his wife Melissa travelled through the UK and Scotland enjoying various country sides. One of the best days was hanging out with Michael in Newcastle. A really nice place with some great bars and restaurants.

After Integrate I went to TUGA IT, a large two-day conference in Lisbon. Thanks to Sandro I got invited to speak together with Nino. The three of us did a full day workshop on integration on Friday and a few talks on Saturday.

We had a blast and I really enjoyed Lisbon together with Nino and Sandro. Thanks to Niko Neugebauer and other Portuguese involved! Before I left I spend a full day exploring Lisbon with Sandro.

After Integrate and TUGA IT I went to Sweden with Eldert to talk about BizTalk Extensibility and another topic Azure Web Jobs. Sweden and its user groups are awesome, great welcome, excellent hosting environments and crowd. In Stockholm, we had a great user group event with several speakers including Mikael, Johan, Eldert, Robin, Ashwin and myself. The next day Eldert and myself went to Gothenburg to speak on extensibility and Web Jobs.

The summer holidays I spent in Italy and started to seriously prepare for third major milestone in 2016, the NYC marathon. In 2013 I ran the Berlin marathon together with Kent and decided or at least I said I will do another, preferably New York. Once Kent and his brother Kurt decided they wanted to run it when they turned 40 I said I am in!

The race was brutal and the bridges were quite the experience and challenge. It was a psychical and mental test yet I managed to finish with 5 hours.

My Canadian buddies finished just a few minutes later and then we enjoyed our medals with some great food and beers.

Thanks Kent and Kurt for letting me join in this endeavor. Our next challenge might be in 2018.

The next stop after the Marathon was the MVP Summit, which started the day after NYC Marathon. And to start things of was a nice game of the Seahawks playing the Bills. Lots of MVP and some MS folks went to the game.

The MVP Summit was a great experience as there was lots to share and engagements with the product teams.

You always run into someone you know ☺

This summit took place during the elections, hence we spent an evening together at Dan and Ola, who organized a great barbeque.

The outcome was not what we thought it would be, however, we still had a great time.

One of the traditions during the Summit is visiting Joey’s in Bellevue, which of course we did.

And Moksha our favorite Indian Cuisine place.

Another thing we did was visiting Tord, PG BizTalk Server and his family in Redmond.

And the BizTalk Crew was reunited once again.

We know BizTalk Server is in good hands now!
I really enjoyed my stay in Seattle. I went to another football game with Kent. We watched the Washington Huskies.

Before I left Seattle, I spent some time with my great friend Tom and his wife JoAnn. We watched the Seahawks play the Patriots on Sunday in a bar. Yes, more American Football, I love it. And it was an epic game, with the Hawks winning the game and cheers in the bar!

It was quite a trip, New York, running the Marathon followed by the MVP Summit. Something to remember as long as I will live.

In November and December I spend time writing some quest blogs for Saravana, a LinkedIn article on today’s integration and presenting at our Local user group.

In 2017 I, will kick the tires with some speaking engagements in Australia. In February I, will spent two and a half week with Mick, Eldert, Rene, Dean, Bill, Dan and many others. This will be followed by the global integration boot camp in March, where I’ll be speaking at the location of motion10 together with Eldert, Rob, Gijs, and Tomasso. In April and May I will be on the road to probably to speak in Portugal, Sweden and some other countries or venues. It will be an interesting year 2017!

P.S. I lost some kind of bet I have to wear some jersey with a name of a soccer player I really like, NOT!!!