The Knitty Gritty
By David Riggs
My wife Beth began knitting several years ago. It s relaxing; it helps her unwind. She knits while watching television, at ball games, even on flights (that s right; you can t take nail clippers on board an airplane, but they allow knitting needles go figure). Starting with no experience, no training whatsoever, she simply picked up a couple of needles and a skein of yarn, got a book, and dove in.
She s creative, smart, and a quick study, so she mastered the simpler stitches with little trouble. But pretty quickly she wanted to do more complex stitches and more difficult patterns. So she started frequenting the local knit shops, most of which host some sort of weekly get-together where people gather to learn new techniques and socialize with others who share their interest in knitting. One store hosts Sit n Knit; another, because they provide snacks, calls theirs Knit & Nosh. By getting involved becoming part of the knitting community Beth has been able to master more advanced techniques and develop more complicated projects. In essence, these weekly gatherings dedicated to teaching techniques, sharing ideas, and fostering a love of their craft are what we in the programming community call user groups.
Most of you are likely familiar with the concept of user groups, even if you don t actively participate in one. User groups provide a place for you to meet with your peers to learn (and teach) best practices, keep abreast of new developments in the industry, and share ideas maybe even land a new job. User groups afford you the opportunity to learn new techniques so you can develop more complicated projects so you can continue on your path of professional growth. We at asp.netPRO feel that user groups are an essential part of the development community. That s right, community. User groups help foster a sense of community among developers, architects, and enthusiasts who share an interest in software design, development, and deployment.
And we at asp.netPRO want to be part of building that community, your community. I recently received an e-mail from Rob Walling, who occasionally writes for us. Not too long ago, Rob and a few co-workers started The San Gabriel Valley .NET Developer s Group (http://www.sgvdotnet.org). After talking to Rob and discussing how we could get involved, we settled on sending some swag for giveaways at their next monthly meeting. But we wanted to do more. We decided to provide a certain number of subscriptions to asp.netPRO for distribution to the group. Sharing ideas, providing the latest tips and techniques, fostering a connection, getting involved. Building a community.
But Rob s group is not unique; every month we send bulk mailings of the magazine to numerous user groups across the country. We at asp.netPRO want to help those who are helping to build their .NET communities. Please let us know if your user group is not receiving the magazine; we re more than happy to provide you with complimentary issues (unfortunately this offer applies only to US user groups at this time; international user groups may contact us for further details).
It s not easy keeping up with all the changes to this cutting-edge technology. Let me know how we can help your group build a better community. Thanks for reading.
David Riggs is editor-in-chief of asp.netPRO and its companion e-newsletter, asp.netNOW. Reach him at mailto:[email protected].