Archives / 2006 / March
  • Mix06: Final thoughts

    Sadly I couldn't stay for all of today's sessions in order to get home at a reasonable time, but I did finally get to meet Rob Howard from Telligent (former Microsoft) after conversing with him for years by e-mail, forums and blogs. Good to finally match a face with a name.

    There were really two big stories in terms of product. The first is Atlas, the AJAX framework that makes it very easy to build stuff in ASP.NET. There's a lot there to use with other platforms as well, but it's so easy that I don't know why the hell you'd want to. It's fairly amazing.

    The other big story is Windows Presentation Foundation. I personally wasn't that excited about it, and didn't go to any of the sessions, but I peeked in on one of them (The North Face demo) and was impressed. Obviously a lot of people are interested because the session was packed. I kept hearing in the halls that they're planning on releasing it for other platforms, including the Mac OS and Linux. If that happens, it's suddenly a lot more useful.

    There were a lot of bigger picture panels and such that I got a lot out of too, including the revenue model thing and the future of Web advertising. The most interesting opinion on the former was about the validity of subscription models, and they all agreed it was still possible to make money that way. Tim O'Reilly has reason to believe that, in that his Safari online service is 25% of the company revenue now.

    There's a lot to soak in. Hopefully the heavy drinking at TAO Monday night didn't erase some of the day one stuff. :)

    As I mentioned before, I wrote a little more on my personal blog...

  • Mix06: Gates keynote reaction

    Interesting keynote. Kinda cool to be ten feet away from The Bill, despite the scary secret service types near by.

    Anyway, the speech started with the typical marketing stuff, which isn't that interesting, and honestly I think Gates himself wasn't that interested in it. He's a geek first I'm sure, but he has a giant company to plug.

    He brought on the MySpace guys... my God... they're just kids. I clearly missed an opportunity while I was wasting away working for shitty companies. Not a big deal I guess, as I'm not looking to get rich with what I do on the Internet, but it's amazing how relatively simple ideas blossom into amazing things. They showed a crude preview of their next profile management tool, and it was kind of interesting. "Shut up moron" to the guy who yelled out to the MySpace guys to open up their API. Fat stupid idealist Net hippy.

    The guy from the BBC showed some neat stuff based in Windows Vista. Very impressive, and pretty. There's still that part of me that says, "So what, it's tied to Windows," but still very interesting.

    The best part was bringing on Tim O'Reilly, who really did do a no-holds-barred Q&A with Bill. In fact, he forced Bill to say what I've been saying for years. Microsoft didn't crush Netscape, they shot themselves in the foot by giving away their product in the first place. Some competitors are quite good at failing on their own.

    The Q&A stuff was where you could see how excited he gets about tech. I thought it was interesting that he talked about how competitors have vastly different business models. That's something I think about a lot (there's a session with O'Reilly this afternoon), because all of this feel good community, collaboration, "mashup" nonsense (I hate that word), etc., doesn't just equate to money, unless you sell your thing to Google or Microsoft.

    So in any case, a good start to the conference. I actually forgot that I'm in the world's most distracting city. :) Must... resist... outside world...

  • Observations from the hallway

    I'm sitting here on the floor outside of the ballroom where the Gates keynote is happening in about 45 minutes. Let me paint you a picture...

    There are scary guys in suits with earpieces and lapel pins that look like movie secret service people. They're everywhere. I'm not sure why that surprises me, because if I was the richest man in the world, I'd be a little nervous about appearing in public as well.

    There's a German guy here sitting next to me talking via Skype, presumably to Germany. This strikes me as interesting just because people in this community don't even think about using this kind of technology, even though it's not mainstream.

    I'm really surprised by the number of Japanese here. I don't know how the conference was marketed, but clearly they do OK over there. And how appropriate that there are five Japaense TV stations in the rooms.

    More after Gates...

  • VSTS Testing for ASP.NET still isn't where it should be

    After my last post on the subject, I'm sorry to say that I'm no better off than I was before. Unfortunately, debugging tests in ASP.NET simply doesn't work, and there's no good excuse for it.

    Now I ask you, how is it that the team developing the testing framework for VS was allowed to ship the tool without it doing what it's supposed to do? These kinds of head scratchers drive me crazy in the face of what I'd consider brilliance otherwise. I just don't get it.

    To recap, as indicated in this useless article, you can't debug because VS isn't smart enough to attach itself to the process it's creating to run the tests.


    Trying harder to attach to the dev server process, I discovered that it creates a new instance when you run the tests, which is not what is described in the above linked article. My test attributes look like this:

    [AspNetDevelopmentServerHost("%PathToWebRoot%\\PopForums.Test.Web", "/PopForums.Test.Web")]

  • What causes a response lag in IIS?

    In the last month or so, my Web server started to lag in its response. I've done the normal things like check CPU usage and disk activity, and neither one is a factor. Sometimes though the server doesn't respond quickly, and I'm not sure why. The problem exists across all of the sites on the server. I'm annoyed.

  • More Visual Studio pain

    I conceded to use VSTS testing instead of NUnit in order to enjoy the tests running under the ASP.NET runtime, but now I can't debug. This page describes how you should be doing it, but it doesn't work. First of all, it wasn't obvious (and why would it be?) that running tests with debug didn't actually work. If it's not going to work, then why the hell would you not tell the user this?

    In fact, the first time I did this, VS spawned two WebDev server instances, then a third where the tests were actually run. The other two remained active when the tests ended. The one that appeared then disappeared was for the Web project (file-based with testing code), while the second one pointed the same place, and the third pointed to the production Web project (also file-based). Needless to say, it's the one that appeared then disappeared that you have to attach to, as that's the one that is acting as the environment for the tests.

    Why is it that with every step forward, we take a step back?