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December 2004 - Posts

UML vs DSL
Got wind of this debate via Ted Neward in that folks from IBM and folks from Microsoft are in a debate over UML (IBM) and Domain Specific Languages or DSL (Microsoft). I agree with the comments made by both parties that this kind of debate is good for everyone in that by proving and disproving the ideas that Microsoft have over already the established UML (and what it effects i.e. RUP, MDA etc) means that both may take advantage. Microsoft will have some work to do in getting DSL up and running in the software world over UML, the arrivial of Whidby will of course mean that the tools will be around to work in the real world with DSL and Software Factories but the education must start now. You owe it to your selfs to understand what Microsoft is driving at, the only works on the concept right now is Wileys Software Factories book, go out, buy it, read it, read it again and pass to all your work mates to read. 2005 is going to see the start of one epic journey.
Posted: Dec 19 2004, 12:55 PM by astopford | with no comments
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CLR stuff
A few items from the CLR world (who I have been missing out on lately)
Posted: Dec 18 2004, 06:18 PM by astopford | with no comments
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Patterns
With the build cycle now mature enough to be build code and generate installers my attention is turning to code and to design. The final week to Christmas will be quite heavy as I POC some designs and ideas around patterns. Sam has a post on a design talk that is being given,  do you feel the subject is hot right now? are you using patterns? What tools are you using to implement patterns, help improve your work with patterns? What resources are you using?
Posted: Dec 18 2004, 06:03 PM by astopford | with 2 comment(s)
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Asimo is very cool
Something a little different to start today. A friend sent me a link to the video of Honda's latest robot development, the Asimo. The vid is stunning to watch and for movement they have it very close indeed. The next challenge, and this is the key one, is the AI ot bring it all together.
Posted: Dec 17 2004, 08:58 AM by astopford | with no comments
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NAnt tasks

The SDC task I created for CCnet has been sent onto Microsoft and to the CCNet folks (who have suggested it be included in the CCNet Contrib project),  hopefully it will show up on one of these.

I spent some time with my old buddy Reflector yesterday digging around the internals of the NAnt task system. I now have two new tasks.

SolutionLite

A very light weight version of the stock NAnt task that uses devenv to build.

<SolutionLite solutionfile="C:\myproj.sln" configuration="Debug" />

The idea here is that I can start to replace my SDC scripts with NAnt but not face the pain of the stock solution task. With this degree of parameters the syntax is the same as the stock solution task.

InstallShield

<InstallShield projectfile="C:\My InstallShield X Projects\myproj .ism" path="C:\Program Files\InstallShield X\System\" />

This task is to allow NAnt to use the installshield command line tools to build a InstallShield installer. The path variable is optional and allows you to point at the directory containing the InstallShield tools.

Sun and Dynamic Languages
I went back through Edd's post on a recent Sun summit with folks from Perl,Parrot, Python/Jython and Groove. It was interesting to see Dan (Parrot) there, as Parrot will be a rvial VM to the JVM although the lessons that Dan and the parrot folks are learning and their take on where VM's such as the JVM or CLR are going wrong I am sure Sun willl be interested to hear. Its good that Sun are learning and taking this on board to improve the JVM. Microsoft are introducing steps to improve the CLR as a target VM for dynanmic languages but summits such as these do help each party learn from each other and help others see that their language of choice is still a good investment. I echo Edd's frustration that in the CLR world things seem to have dried up, I have been saying for a very long time that Microsoft and folks from the worlds of PHP, Perl, Python etc should get together. Edd feels that prehaps its time to stop waiting for Microsoft and just get on with seeing what can be done. While I agree that this is a vital research function I also feel that if the CLR is as multi language as Microsoft says then the adoption of dynamic languages is something they should be taken very seriously.
Posted: Dec 13 2004, 01:58 PM by astopford | with no comments
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Knee deep in installers

Before I forget, some stuff I forgot :)

  • Last week I presented some slides and a demo on unit testing with MbUnit . This covered the basics of unit testing and MbUnit, the demo showed the basic testing types common to XUnit and the data driven testing feature of MbUnit. If anyone is interested in this along with annotations let me know.
  • Howard suggested I contact Microsoft about including the CC task for SDC Build tools, my employeer has kindly released IP and Microsoft have agreed that I should send it in. I may also contact Owen and the CC folks to see if its of any interest there. The task is being used in a production enviroment so I know it works :)

Spent the last few days on installers and deployment, the web.config issue remains outstanding. The solution I have in mind is going to take some development in my spare time, as details on it develop I'll see what folk think. Thanks for all the feedback on my last post (which covered this issue), good to know its effecting everyone and that a solution is needed.

My deployment research centers around creating a installer that can include a custom GUI step, copy files, launch custom exe at the end and be launched from the build cycel. I started with one of the kings, InstallSheild. Easy enough to create a installer using a wizard, power users can see installer screens and script them. Major issue, the scripting language is awful, who in their sane mind uses goto's. I have created a functional installer and a custom GUI step, using an example from the help files this was quite easy to do. Very powerful bit of kit, but installscript is not nice. On Howards suggestion the next phase is to look at NSIS.

web.config SCM
Before I propose a solution of my own to the powers that be I wanted to collect folks ideas on this. The system I work on has three enviroments, one for development, one for test and one for live. Managing three different versions of the same file, were some content will be the same and some won't be is a SCM nightmare and cries out for a central managment point. I wanted to hear folks thoughts, experiences and best pratices on this? If you have had this issue before and what you have done to resolve? Any and all comments welcome.
NUnitASP quickstart
Jim has added a quickstart guide to the NUnitASP wiki. Its also worth noting that NUnitASP 1.5 is now compatible NUnit 2.2.
Laszlo Road Map
Seemed to have snuck by me, the Laszlo roap map has been published. CLR integration is mentioned long term beyond v3.0 release. I suspect that the system will have been changed enough to make this spread to mutiple runtimes possible. I continue to say that CLR adoption is vital.
Posted: Dec 10 2004, 12:04 AM by astopford | with no comments
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