Interview with a Wiki Ninja and WPF Guru: Andy O'Neill

Welcome to another interview! Today's interview is with Andy O'Neill!


Andy ONeill's avatar 

Some stats:

  • 32,892 Recognition Points
  • 12 TechNet Wiki articles
  • 122 Article Edits

Here are some of Andy's TechNet Guru award-winning articles:


Now let's get to the interview...


Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?

Hi, I am Andy (Andrew) O’Neill. I live in Liverpool, England just up the hill from Strawberry Fields and John Lennon’s house.

I’m more a generalist than a specialist since I lead teams, design and build web, windows, services and database. Recently that includes mvc, WPF, WCF, various data manipulation and reporting and SQL Server.  

On some projects my speciality is more people orientated than technical - herding cats and taming tigers.  

I’m a long term contractor and Director of a software house.


What Wiki projects are you working on?

I have several ideas and the MVVM Entity framework series is ongoing. This is pretty time consuming since it’s basically a project. Like any project there are bugs.

Another complication is that it’s supposed to be beginner friendly as well as offer enterprise level design advice. Rather than just write stuff like I would normally I have to consider the reader. How much goes in each step is particularly tricky. I think the first step probably had too much in the one article.


What is it about TechNet Wiki that interests you?

Learning is always good.

I find the monthly Guru competition particularly interesting.

I like the mix of articles. When I am researching something I am an equal opportunity googler. You have to know what you’re looking for in order to google it though. The competition highlights things I probably wouldn’t have thought to read up on.

Sometimes the judges decisions are quite surprising so it’s also interesting to see what a group of experts feel are the most significant articles.

From a personal perspective feedback is always useful.


What sort of Wiki articles do you contribute?

Most of my articles are on WPF – based on article count you might think that was pretty much all I do. It’s far from the only technology I work in but I find it particularly interesting.


What are your favorite Wiki articles you’ve contributed?

But I love all my children equally ;^)

Tricky to pick specific articles to mention. I think the WPF Entity Framework MVVM Walk Through should help a lot of people since it’s a common requirement that is difficult for the developer new to WPF. If there are any other such articles, I’ve not found them.

The point of writing articles is to help people so the more the merrier.

I also like the CollectionView tips article:

Denormalisation is an interesting subject and can avoid a performance disaster:

Writing the passing c# parameters was useful in that it crystalised my own understanding on the matter – which is confusing.


What could we do differently on TechNet Wiki?

I think the tooling used to write articles could do with some work.

Any CSS style has to be inline, it would be nice if there were standard classes one could use.


Do you have any tips for new Wiki authors?

Don’t use Internet Explorer !

I now write most articles in Word. You can use the heading styles to give you heading H1,H2,H3 etc easily and I already know how to use Word. Paste in and strip formatting.



Just to prove I don’t actually spend all my time in a pub drinking beer, I included a picture of me in the great outdoors. Probably on the way to a pub :^)


Thank you Andy for your amazing contributions!

   - Ninja Ed