sorting through the muck.
PDC. Realized today who really runs the show at the PDC. The food cops. When you enter the "cafeteria" - which seats >5,000 people - you are "directed" to the appropriate food line and immediately thereafter to the appropriate seat. It is a model of conciseness and precision that I could only hope to attain in my software architectures some day. I understood the level of total orchestration when I was almost tackled by a 5'1" tall woman after I took a left turn instead of a right in order to pick a Coke up out of the ice bucket.
I need to hire one of these people to direct and inspire our software development teams.
They're like the Borg.
PDC. We use the SqlXml product quite extensively. Wait. That's an understatement. We use SqlXml exclusively. For those of you who don't understand or who are dismissing me, take another look - it's awesome technology.
We were becoming quite concerned that there was maybe only one remaining person working on it at Microsoft since the service pack 2 took, like, months to arrive, but apparently things are still ticking. We were able to corner some guys at the Yukon booth and find out what's up. There are still good things to come with SqlXml and Yukon, namely XQuery.
Of note however: we had the ObjectSpaces guys and the SqlXml guys right beside each other during this conversation. They just didn't seem to want to look each other in the eye. Too bad. Don't they realize just how similar their technologies are? There really is so much overlap. It would be great to see them converge, not move away from one another.
Then the security guy kicked us out before we resolved anything.
PDC. Attended Scott Guthrie's talk on ASP.NET 2 today. Seemed to be about 1,000 people in attendance and a whole lot of applause. When Whidbey finally ships, I'm sure that our application will drop to about 1/10th the amount of code. Seriously. The ASP.NET group seems to be a group that takes its users very seriously. Every feature that they've included in the framework - master pages, authentication, roles, themes, database caching - EVERYTHING will immediately benefit our product. I look forward to rebuilding our app, and only wish they could have been there a year ago. It's going to drive me nuts to wait for final.
Oh well, at least I have the bits.
PDC. Apparently, the secret to 24x7 availability in the .NET world is an appropriate Service Level Agreement. Actually, a 60-page SLA; a 2-page SLA is just a problem waiting to happen. Astonishingly, this seemed to be the main jist of the message from the leads of the Birds of a Feather "Managing Scalable .NET Solutions". The idea seemed to be that the best way to provide 24x7 is to have a heavyweight SLA, so that when something happens and goes wrong, you have all sorts of documentation to show why it wasn't your fault. Brutal. Hellooo, we're a room full of software architects and designers (the question was asked by show of hands), not LAWYERS. We're still idealistic enough to believe that an application can be designed and built to run 24x7.
Evidently, others do not share in that belief.
PDC. Wow, did I finally find the right conference. It's so refreshing to sit in a room of software architects and listen to a session presented by software architects (Birds of a Feather "Microsoft Patterns & Practices - Are They Relevant to Me?") - the audience not only understands what the presenters are trying to accomplish and the approach that they've chosen, but they are also challenging the ideas and techniques themselves. Finally - mental stimulation.
An interesting theme rose out of this session. Real world developers and architects know that there is much more to application development then simply dropping a grid on the page and hardcoding "select * from authors" into the datasource. It was felt that the "wow" demo (the RAD Point and Click to simply construct your application), most often given by presenters of .NET features, was harming the overall credibility of .NET. The message was "Microsoft (and others presenting/writing on their behalf), please stop oversimplifying and short-cutting examples, especially when 'preaching to the converted'. It only helps to undermine and belittle all of the incredible technology underlying the framework."
All of this out of a 9pm session. If only there had been beer.