May 2007 - Posts
As I have mentioned previously, I have recently been researching and playing with mashups and various sources of online data sources, such as Windows Live. Well, this is obviously something that has caught wider interest in Microsoft as well, as they recently released an alpha version of a tool/technology called "Popfly" (http://www.popfly.com/). This is a very cool, visual and interactive tool, for combining various building blocks and data sources, to build your own mashups, without all of the coding.
There are some heavy-hitter developers and marketing people on the Popfly team, but they haven't lost their sense of humor - this is from the Popfly FAQ page :
Q: Why did you call it Popfly?
A: Well, left to our own devices we would have called it "Microsoft Visual Mashup Creator Express, May 2007 Community Tech Preview Internet Edition," but instead we asked some folks for help and they suggested some cool names and we all liked Popfly.
In one of our current projects, we had a need to provide progress indication for web service calls that could take a long time to execute (by design - alot of data being transferred). It turns out that this is a perfect scenario for using SOAP extensions, in order to get into the processing pipeline and provide the necessary information. Kim Major, our senior developer, wrote a great article that clearly explains and shows how to do this.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
Good Times ...
The odds are pretty good that if you are a reader of my blog, you are a Microsoft and/or .NET developer. And if you are a Microsft developer, the odds are also pretty good that at some you've come across, and probably been helped by Scott Hanselman's blog. Having said that, I feel compelled to ask you to help Scott and the millions of others who suffer from Diabetes. Do what you can to help Scott meet his goal of raising US $50,000 directly for the American Diabetes Association.
Read Scott's story, and what this means to him, here.
Go here to make a donation. It helps. And makes you feel good yourself.
There has been much discussion regarding the relative usability and available data of these two leading mappign sites. The general feeling, which I would agree with, is that local.live.com has a better UI and user experience, but it's raw data is often lacking - especially outside of the US.
However - beware. Sometime too much details, as returned by Google Maps, could be less than desirable :-)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Flsx7ccOCB4&NR=1
If you are considering or already involved in upgrading VB6 applications to VB.NET, make sure you check out the new release of the Interop Forms Toolkit 2.0. The first version of this toolkit was very usefull and had some cool features that weren't always obvious at first glance. This version takes it even a step further - here is the summary from the VB Team blog announcement:
This new release builds on version 1.0 by adding support for the following features:
- Interop UserControls - These are .NET controls that can be hosted on existing VB6 Forms. These controls look and feel just like regular ActiveX controls, but you build them the same way you would any other .NET control.
- MDI Support - One of the big pieces of feedback we heard after the initial release was that MDI support was very important. With the introduction of Interop UserControls, you can now extend your MDI forms with .NET content.
- Redistributable Package - The toolkit's runtime now appears in the Prerequisites dialog in Visual Studio Setup Projects, so deploying your hybrid application is very simple.
See the details and download from here.
As I am working my way back home from the MIX 07 conference, I have had time to reflect on the conference and whether it was a good use of my time and money:
I did not attend MIX last year, but very much enjoyed and benefited from it this year. I actually walked away with it having exceeded my expectations – but given how many conferences I attend and speak at over the course of a year, I am somewhat jaded and my level of expectations is not that high J
Here are some specific comments, in no particular order:
(1) I attended a few sessions that I really learned from and got a lot out of.
(2) I found it interesting to sit in on a few sessions and think about stuff that I don’t normally think about, e.g. marketing and content.
(3) Had some good conversations with people besides my usual crowd – some MS people and some different people that I met.
(4) Keynotes – I thought that both were excellent, but I’d give a big “thumbs down” to the respective Q/A and panel discussion. The keynotes ended on real highs, but the attached discussions took the air out, in my opinion.
(5) Several of the sessions I attended had a few customer speakers / case studies embedded in the talk – a different and interesting approach (if it was laid out as such in the session description - I do not really remember if it was or wasn’t)
(6) As far as specific technology, Silverlight was clearly the star of the show. However, another interesting observation is the swing (back) away from strong/static typing - as you can see from the development of the DLR (Dynamic Language Library) and the additional support for loosely-typed web service calls instead of only SOAP calls.
All in all – sign me up for next year !
Download videos of all sessions, including kenotes, from here.
You can download session contents as they are available from here.