Of Code and Me

Somewhere to write down all the stuff I'm going to forget and then need

Bad technology is like an infectious disease November 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rupert Bates @ 9:18 am

There are some Microsoft technologies which I avoid like an infectious disease such as Sharepoint, Silverlight and Team System. They all seem to me to be either just bad technology (Sharepoint), an expensive proprietory version of something for which there are plenty of decent open source alternatives (Team System) or just wrong from a philosophical point of view and this is the objection I have had to Silverlight. I’ve always disliked Flash because it is not open, it sits in the middle of websites like a binary black hole and refuses to let any of its content out (for indexing, accessibility, portability, whatever…) and Silverlight is the same, it would be hypocritical of me to embrace it just because it uses .Net and makes it easy for me to display rotating videos all over my browser.

However, I am starting to wonder whether in fact there is a whole other class of applications which naturally lend themselves to a technology like Flash/Flex or Silverlight, and aren’t morally corrupted by not using open web standards. I’m not entirely convinced of this, but I am at a stage where I’m thinking of taking Silverlight off the ‘infectious disease’ list…


TechEd Barcelona Day One November 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rupert Bates @ 6:45 pm
Tags: ,

Day one of Tech Ed 2008 has been extremely interesting,

Points I picked up:

Keynote – Jason Zander

  • Showed some interesting tools in VS2010 to enable visualization of projects such as
  1. auto generation of class and assembly diagrams showing the relationships between different areas of your app. .Net base libraries are included in these.
  2. UML sequence diagrams showing interactions between your objects
  • Test lab – much much more support for testers within Visual Studio. Stores debugger state for all tests along with a video of the test interaction. Developers can then go in at a later date and step through code. This looked great, will it be a compelling enough reason to move to TFS though?
  • Set up IIS settings from within Visual Studio and then deploy over FTP or zip for a systems person to deploy. This will be really useful.
  • There was a really interesting demo where he hooked into Windows 7’s touch screen support to handle interaction in a pong app. Will be great when this type of interaction becomes the default for applications.

Introduction to F# – Luke Hoban

This was my session of the day, just because I’m loving F# so much at the moment.

Luke did a quick tour of some of the basics of F# talking about the different thought processes that go into writing code in a functional language compared to an imperative language. He then went on to show a more ‘real world’ example where he pulled in some financial data from Yahoo finance, did some on the fly analysis and returned the result to a C# console app. This was good to see because it emphasises the benefits of F# being built on top of the .Net framework, namely the vast number of readily available libraries and interoperability with other languages and technologies.

Lastly he showed how the previous example could be rewritten to make it asynchronous with only minor changes to the main algorithms. This was a part of F# I hadn’t looked at before so it was great to see, and I will definitely be looking into it in more depth.

Dynamic in .Net, the Iron languages – Curt Hagenlocher (a dev on the IronPython team)

This was also a great session, giving a bit of background on the evolution of dynamic languages on .Net, a summary of the current state of the two main players (IronPython and IronRuby) and a roadmap for the future of those languages; IronPython is due for a 2.0 release in December 2008 and IronRuby should be going into beta in spring 2009 with a 1.0 release in mid 2009.

The first demo showed the new dynamic features of C# 4.0 and how they could be used to interact with com objects, some untyped xml and a class written in python, in a much more natural way than would currently be possible.

The second demo showed a calculator app which allowed the user to add their own functions in at run time using ruby!

All in all an interesting day, now to see what Barcelona has to offer for refreshment…