North Mississippi Software Developers


April 2014

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North MS Software Developers

New features you can use now in HTML 5 - November 10th

The upcoming new version of HTML, HTML 5, is still years away from being finalized. However, there are features that are currently supported by mainstream browsers you can use today. The features are pretty exciting - 2D vector animation without using Flash or any other plug-ins, playing video and audio in web pages without plug-ins, session persistence, great new layout tags, robust drag and drop support, etc. etc.

We'll take a tour of the new features and play around with them in IE, Firefox, and Chrome.

Details, as always, are right here

An Introduction to Zend with Jeremy Kendall - October 27th

Jeremy Kendall, the organizer of the Memphis PHP Meetup group (, will be introducing us to the Zend framework. Jeremy will be taking us from absolute no knowledge of Zend to understanding what it is and how it can aid your projects.

Getting Started with Genetic Programming - October 13th

During this meetup we're talking about genetic programming. What is it? How do genetic algorithms work? How can you use them? We'll look at the theory behind genetic programming then play with a couple of examples of simple, graphical genetic algorithms.

A great intro book, "A Field Guide to Genetic Programming" is licensed under the Creative Commons and is available for free here.

We'll be making use of David Eck's example source code located on his site at Details, as always, are on the group's  Meetup page.

An Introduction to Silverlight with Dennis Tindall - September 29th

Dennis Tindall with Next Gear Solutions will be introducing us to Microsoft Silverlight. Silverlight is a powerful framework for creating web applications. Details, as always can be found on the group's Meetup page.

XBox 360 Development with XNA - Part 2 - September 22nd

A few weeks ago we learned about XNA, Microsoft's video game development platform, and how to build games for Windows, the XBox 360,and the Zune. Let's pick up where we left off and apply the concepts from the last XBox meetup to build a simple 3D game together during the session. Like last time, I'll bring an XBox so we can deploy the games we create to it. If you missed the last XBox meetup it's no big deal - you'll catch up quickly.

Software you'll need:
The new hotness is XNA Game Studio 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010. That may work fine, but we'll be getting the basics on XNA Game Studio 3.1 and Visual Studio 2008, so if you've already got 3.1 and 2008 installed you're good to go. Otherwise download them:
Visual Studio:

We'll be going through a Microsoft game tutorial and will be mixing it up and experimenting as we go.

If you have any trouble grabbing the software or want to pitch in let me know. Details, as always, are on the group's Meetup page

You'll need the content downloadable from this page. Download the zip file at the bottom of the page under the "Download source code" link.

An Introduction to GIS and Spatial Databases - September 15th, 2010

A geographic information system (GIS) organizes and provides access to spatial data - data tied to a location. Mapping software, navigation software, Google maps, etc. all use GIS. It's an industry by itself and, while the software is built on commercial standards and databases, it's a bit unlike typical database programming. Queries that depend on location - for example, "How many restaurants are within 20 miles of an interstate exit?" are simple using a spatial database but would be very difficult using a conventional relational database.

We'll look at the basics of GIS and will learn how to use SpatiaLite a lightweight spatial database,built on top of SQLite.
This is the software we'll be using, so if you want to follow along on your own computer, grab the following:

Download and install the "Standalone Installer" of Quantum GIS at
Be sure to download all the sample data packs during install:

Download both the SpatiaLite database and the SpatiaLite-GUI from

Let me know if you have trouble downloading and installing the software.

Ruby on Rails Installation Links

Tomorrow we'll be installing Ruby on Rails and building a Rails web application as a group, so bring your laptop for maximum fun. Anyone who wants to install and use Rails on their own machine during the meetup is welcome to do so, but there are a few files you'll need to have. Wireless Internet will be available and we can download most of this during the meetup, but NetBeans is pretty large and takes several minutes so you'll want to download it beforehand.

If you want to follow along during the meetup on your own machine, here are the files we'll be using:

1) Download and Install NetBeans 6.9
Download the "All" version at 319MB

2) Download SQLite Studio

3) Download the SQLite3 DLL

4) Download Ruby 1.8.7

5) Download rubygems 1.3.7

Installing NetBeans with the default options is a good idea, but if you choose to download the Ruby and SQLite files before hand you'll want to hold off installing them because we'll be talking about the specific installation steps during the meetup.

I hope everyone can make it out to the meetup tomorrow. If you have any trouble please let me know.

Next week: Getting started with Ruby on Rails - Wednesday, September 1st

Thanks to everyone who came out for last night's meetup for XBox 360 game development. It was a blast! We learned the basics of XNA, how to build simple games, and then blew each other up in a mutli-player game deployed from Visual Studio to the XBox. I've posted some photos from last night below.

Next week the plan is to make the topic Ruby on Rails. We'll learn how to use Rails to create simple web applications and what the strengths of the platform are. If you have any ideas for the meetup or want to help please let me know. Details, as always, are on the group's Meetup page.

If you want to download and hack around with the game used during the session, grab it here. The example is based heavily on the "TanksOnAHeightmap" example from Microsoft.

Weekly meetings changed from Tuesday to Wednesday

Starting next week meetups will move from Tuesdays at 7 PM to Wednesdays at 7 PM. The location hasn't changed, so it will be the same office in Oxford, MS. For details please see the Meetup page.

If you have any questions or ideas for new topics please let me know.

Getting Started with XBOX 360 Development using XNA - Tuesday, August 24th

The North Mississippi Software Developer's Group is meeting up on the 24th to learn about getting started in XBOX 360 development using C#.NET and XNA.Should be lots of fun - I hope to see everyone there. For details go to the Meetup page.

My past (limited) forays into game development have been by using 3D engines like Ogre 3D or by directly using graphics APIs like OpenGL and DirectX. In comparison XNA is just easy. I haven't felt constrained by it yet - like in the way many "easy" technologies make 90% of what you need to do a breeze and the other 10% they didn't anticipate impossible. However I haven't gotten into it really deeply yet either.

Anyway, I'll take the lead on the next meetup and I'm bringing my XBOX 360. Unless something unexpected eats up all my free time before Tuesday I'm thinking we can build a simple game together, load it on the XBOX, then proceed to blow each other up in multi-player goodness. A 3D tank game should fit the bill. The meeting may go a a few minutes over the normal hour, but everyone's free to bail whenever.

It'll be neat - hope you can make it. Shoot me a message if you have any ideas or want to help.