May 2003 - Posts
If you are taking advantage of the new skinable properties of ScottW’s weblog engine, you have to thank him for embracing CSS based layouts, instead of the old Table based layouts. It is not always easy to unlearn old habits, and by ScottW actions, a lot more people are learning the beauty of CSS based layouts.
Just make sure you remember this lesson when you are building your next ASP.Net app, and also remember to petition MS is make it easier to do in VS.Net
[Listening to: Ink - TT Quick]
Just a reminder that the Software Legends Night is coming to Morris Plains, NJ, tonight.
Where: Barnes & Noble in Morris Plains
When: Wednesday, May 28th at 6:30 PM
Due to a scheduling conflict, Jesse Liberty will not be able to attend. He will be replaced by David Sussman:
Dave Sussman has spent most of his working life as a professional developer, starting his career on the Dark Side as a Unix systems programmer. Seeing the light, he switched to Windows, just before NT 2.0 was released, and began working with Access, VB and SQL Server. Oddly he still remembers SQL Server on OS/2 fondly.
After a short stint as a Trainer and Contractor he switched to writing full time, because it gave him the chance to work from home and not wear a suit. And that's what he's done for the last five years, writing in excess of twenty books for Wrox Press, and also speaking at a variety of conferences.
Most of his attention has been devoted towards data access and Internet technologies, specifically ADO, ADO.NET and ASP.NET. He's been a key author in the Professional ASP and Professional ASP.NET series for Wrox, and has just released 'Beginning Dynamic Web Sites with Web Matrix'
David Platt will also be there:
After reading some student comments on David Platt's classes, we knew that this was not your average class at Harvard University. Mixed in with several "...best class I've ever had" was "I have never learned so much in such a short time, except perhaps when I brought my daughter home from the hospital."
David taught the first Windows, COM and .NET programming courses at Harvard. Current class offerings include .NET for Existing Microsoft Three-Tier Programmers and .NET Web Programming. And while the title may sound funny, after looking at the syllabus for .NET Framework for the Serious Geekery, we know that there is nothing nutty about this professor.
[Listening to: Suburbia - Butch Walker]
Well, he did respond to the posts Rob Green, Frans Bouma and I made, but his answer is more vague than my initial response (if that’s possible):
In the latest builds of Longhorn, Google still works just fine. Does that answer that question?
Well, that was a no brainer. I could have told you that, and I don’t even have a copy of Longhorn. It’s not like MS is going away from the Internet. Now that would have been surprising. Looks like Rob can't say any more, and MS will let us know as soon as they are ready. My guess, you better be at the PDC.
[Listening to: Lysergik Funeral Procession - Down]
Ron Green (SlightlyBent) asks this question on his blog, and Robert Scoble is going to try to get an official answer from Microsoft. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and tell you what I think. Basically, it’s as dead as COM is. Now I know that the answer may seem pretty cut and dry, but it really isn’t. You really have to go back to Don Box’s December 2000 House of COM MSDN article to get an answer to the question, “Is COM dead?” The last paragraph sums it up:
As this column has shown, the CLR provides significant benefits to developers who are using COM today. Virtually all aspects of the COM programming model have survived (interfaces, classes, attributes, context, and so on). Some may consider COM dead simply because CLR objects don't rely on IUnknown-compliant vptrs/vtbls. I look at the CLR as breathing new life into the programming model that I've spent the last seven years of my life working with, and I know there are other programmers out there who share this sentiment.
I contend that the same can be said about Internet Explorer. The one thing I can say with confidence is that IE will never be the same. We are in a desperate need for true XML browsers, and need to get away from the old school HTML design of extending browsers with plugins that do not participate as an equal partner with the rest of the browser. That means extending browsers with namespace engines that can render the new namespaces, but can also work with the other namespaces within the document. Some things leaked about Longhorn seem to be along those lines, but I don’t think we will know for sure until the PDC.
But with the question of is IE dead aside, what are the goals of Longhorn? Or even more broadly phrased, where is Microsoft heading? Well we’ve got the following known facts
- The .Net Framework is the future of the company.
- The Web is here to stay
- Microsoft business is software.
- Microsoft is trying to switch to a subscription based licensing model.
Now, Longhorn is supposed to be a revolutionary not evolutionary advance of the MS operating system line. If it is revolutionary, in what ways, a vector based UI, more XML integration? They are all great advances, but does that constitute revolutionary? Is the term revolutionary being used as just hype, or is there more that we don’t know? In my opinion, Longhorn was supposed to be MS first Web based OS, but trying to make that leap in one jump was just too much, too soon, and now Longhorn has become the first major step towards a Web Based OS. Thus, the beginning of the end of what you knew as Internet Explorer. It’s not really dead, just like COM it will be reborn with a much improved architecture (which is desperately needed).
[Listening to: Peace Sells - Megadeth ]
I’m sure most .Net developers haven’t had the need for this little tidbit, but when the time comes, it will come in handy.
You can use the Obsolete Attribute to decorate types and members of types that are obsolete and will cause compiler warnings to be generated if that type or member is used. It’s a great way to remind developers that a particular object is changing, and the functionality they are using will be going away in a future release.
This definitely cool, because we all know that developers actually read the documentation that comes with the components they use.
[Listening to: Harms Way - Anthrax ]
If you haven’t seen Doug Purdy’s .Net Remoting spot on MSDN TV you’ve got to stop by and watch. .Net Remoting can be a very dry topic, but the first 30 seconds makes the whole segment. One of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while (Hint: a famous person makes a very “special” appearance).
As for Doug, I recently turned him onto some really cool stoner rock recently (sHeavy, Fu Manchu, and Supafuzz). But, now that I know that he looks like Aaron Lewis of the band Staind, I don’t know if that was such a great idea. ;)
[Listening to: Tonic And Cigarettes - Supafuzz ]
Well it looks like my posts over on GDN OTD, have got Erik thinking
. Although we use (and a lot of us write) HTML, we seem to forget what it really is, a serialized User Interface. We tend to get locked into what we know, and forget to go back and re-learn how the things we use every day really work (and not just accept that they do work). By doing this, it will only make us better developers.
Onto Erik’s topic, serializing UIs. We already know that HTML does this, but it is limited to a few UI controls. You can reuse these controls to produce aggregate controls with technologies like Internet Explorer’s Element Behaviors, but you are still limited to a limited set of possibilities. You can build controls on the server, and then serialize them as HTML, a la ASP.Net Server Controls, but that only solves the server side coding issues. Well, if you know the client is IE 5.5+ you can kick Element Behaviors to the client, but in the end it is all just HTML. What if you wanted to create brand new controls that were nothing like the other controls (like maybe a Bar Graph, or a Bar Label). You need to get at the graphics level, and HTML doesn’t let you do that. You can use Flash, but then you are self contained box, and can’t interact with the other elements on the page. Now you decided that you need to get to the graphics level and you need to interact with the other elements on your page as an equal. You need another XML dialect to represent your control, so that it can be easily serialized on the server, and sent to the “browser”.
SVG to the rescue. SVG will let you get to the graphics level, but it is also XML. So you go off and build these new cool controls on the server, and then serialize them as SVG and send them off to the “browser”. But now you are back to the craziness that is ASP.NET Server Controls. What if you could send these controls as your XML dialect to the “browser” and let the client translate it to SVG? You’ve accomplished your goal of serializing the UI and the rehydrating it on the client. Now you are getting an idea some of what will be discussed during my presentation at the XMLDevCon in July.
But wait. What is this “browser” I keep talking about? Well it isn’t the current IE. Have you read any of the “leaked” info on Longhorn? Did you see the bit about the Desktop Composition Engine and the new vector graphics based UI? Sound familiar? Did you see the XAML references in the Longhorn “leaks”. Here’s a snippet:
The Longhorn compilers, for instance, will use XML script files to create user-interface functions with a few lines of XML code that before would have required hundreds, if not thousands, of lines of C# coding. And the Longhorn software developer kit, which is also due out this fall, will come with prebuilt XML Application Markup Language (XAML) schemas for many UI functions, said sources briefed on Longhorn.
Sound familiar? MS may not be using SVG, and more than likely has a better implementation than what I’m discussing, but I think we are on the same page.
Applied XML Developers Conference 2003 West
applied topics for xml & web service zealots
july 10-11, 2003, greater portland, oregon
[Listening to: Can U Deliver - Armored Saint ]
Software Legends Night
May 28th - Barnes and Noble - Morris Plains, NJ
6:30pm - 8:30pm
The Software Legends Night will be an informal QA session and book signing with two authors; David Platt and Jesse Liberty. This will be an informal social event for our UG to meet these authors and ask questions regarding .NET Technologies.
The organizer of this event has asked for a number of questions from the members of N3UG to help prepare the speakers. Please contact Stacey at SetFocus with the questions you would like answered for this event and she will pass them along.
This might be a cool event for all the NJ bloggers on .NetWebLogs to get together. Coffee, tech books, a tech presentation, what else do you need?
[Listening to: Lady Strange - Def Leppard ]
This question was recently brought up on the Win_Tech_OffTopic Yahoo Group, but never really answered, so I was hoping someone might enlighten the DotNetWeblogs.
When buying MSDN Universal Subscriptions through 3rd party vendors, is there any difference in licensing (or anything else) that a consumer should know about? I’ve got to renew my Universal License, and MS is offering a special renewal price of $1999 ( a $300 discount). But if you check some of the 3rd party venders, they are selling (supposedly) the same thing for around $1100 (case in point www.vLane.com is selling it at $1139). I am all for spending less to get the same, but are they really the same? Anyone hard and cold facts on the diffeneces and want to share them with the .Net community? Whatever happens, I’ll blog about it here, and keep everyone in the loop.
[Listening to: Long Time Dyin' - Overkill ]
One of the skeletons in my closet is that at one time I actually wrote code for the mainframe. COBOL, Assembly, CICS, DB2, JCL (that still brings back nightmares), I've done them all, and survived. I've have been reformed mainframe programmer for a long time now, and haven't touched code for that platform in over 5 years. But still I get calls from recruiters, trying to tempt me back into the fold. I was very young when I got started (it definitely wasn't something others my age were doing), and did it for about seven years. I tried to quit for a number of years, but my manager's would never let me. I'd get a taste of freedom, by worked with VB (starting with VB 3), but I wasn't able to quit the habit until 1998. While everyone else was busy doing Y2K work, I escaped to a Microsoft DNA project, and never looked back.
But still, there is so much that I learned back in those days. The stateless Internet reminds me so much of CICS. If I need to make sure something scales, I think back to CICS, and try to implement a technique similar to how I'd do it on CICS. EnterpriseServices (aka COM+) feels so much like CICS to me. The browsers are really just dumb terminals. Web Services are just advanced screen scrappers. The one thing that I really miss, and haven't found the equivalent in .Net, is Temp Storage Queues. I've tried a couple times to get MSMQ to work like TSQ, but since MSMQ is more of a FIFO architecture, I've never got it to work right. TSQ, was a great place to stuff statefull info. It was a bunch of application level queues, but they were indexed by UserId, so you could easily dump info based on an app and the user, and then get it back quickly the next time through. It was also persisted, so that if the machine failed, you would be able to recover, and continue. Stuff that, as a .Net developer, you could really use, if it worked out of the box.
[Listening to: Wake up Dead - Megadeth ]
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