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November 2007 - Posts

XNA v2?

I know I've mentioned before that Xbox game development interests me. So they're doing a new console update, and the features are listed here. Note this one...

Added support for XNA Game Studio Express V.2

This led me to research a little, and I found this blog post that confirms my biggest wish... Xbox Live support! I still think that the greatest innovation in this space, with the indie developers, will happen online. I look forward to looking into it a little.

Speaking of which, I can't believe that the Xbox 360 Scene It? has absolutely no online component. What the hell were they thinking? With those controllers you've got the equivalent of bar-style NTN triva at home. Duh.

 

ReSharper: It's too hard to go without

The cats at JetBrains imply that ReSharper 3.0 works in VS2008, but really, well, not so much. It seems to have a hard time seeing properties in a code behind of objects on the page. I swear I remember encountering that in 2005 as well, but I don't remember how it got resolved.

Anyway, turning it off reminds me how incomplete Visual Studio really is without it. I mean, you get zero indication if you've got something in your code that doesn't work until you try to build. I'm talking about the goofy stuff like misspelling a class. When it doesn't turn red, that's just weird now. Seriously, I'm not sure how I got along without ReSharper. Ever.

One of the guys I work with seems to know every strange key combination to get things done quickly with ReSharper, and I'm not quite there, but even the basics make such a huge difference in doing things quickly, and doing them the right way. I will gladly fork over whatever money they want for the product. Please, just get that EAP release out soon. It's hard to live without! 

Developer snobbery again and again

Wow, this is a topic that I first visited more than three years ago, and it still comes up over and over. This time, it comes to light through this post (though I'm not calling out Frans, as he's just a messenger), and ultimately by this post. I just don't understand why people spend so much time trying to neatly categorize everyone and, in the process, imply some level of superiority. People who do that suck, and they're not fun to work with.

Personally, I think that 80% of software development is boring and mundane crap that most anyone can do. But the funny thing about most of the other 20% is that someone else has probably already figured out how to solve those problems, so with a little creativity and investigation, you can derive your own solutions. More to the point, you don't need to be a ninja, you need to be a problem solver who delivers quality work, on time. It's not more complicated than that.

The whole Linux and open source religion is like the DOS and Windows thing revisited. Some people thought they deserved some kind of trophy because they were able to do anything from a command prompt. If you're one of those people, hey, good for you, but I'm busy getting real work done.

Specific to the ASP.NET world, yes, visual tools can create a "crutch" of sorts, but who cares? If those crutches keep people walking and work gets done, whatever. Sure, these tools don't act as a free pass from understanding the underlying frameworks and performance implications, but so much of software development has no such implications to begin with.

The religion surrounding programmer types is a lot like platform religion. Sure, there are different levels of experience and such, but you use what's appropriate for the situation, just as you would use the appropriate platform. I can't understand people who waste time trying to categorize such things.

Command line jockeys are worthless when they can't even wrap their head around the business case for creating software in the first place.
 

Some initial impressions with VS2008

What a difference a couple of years makes. When Visual Studio 2005 was in the works and I was writing my book, I spent a lot of time following the development of the product in the year prior to its release. This time around, I really didn't. On one hand that kind of bums me out because I simply didn't have the time, but on the other hand, I was doing a lot of satisfying coding in my day job. Heck, just having a day job I liked was a great change of pace!

Anyway, I've played a little bit with Visual Studio 2008, and so far I like a lot of the changes. I hate that ReSharper hasn't quite caught up with it, but the kids at JetBrains say they're planning to get early access previews out in January. It's hard to go back without that plug-in.

One of my fellow code monkeys did a proof of concept for JavaScript debugging, and I have to say that's pretty cool. ListView and the data pager are interesting, but like a lot of general use controls I suspect aren't that useful for non-trivial, high-performance use. I dig the CSS stuff, but I really need to find that demo or tutorial on the "right" way to use it to keep CSS clean and elegant. Mind you, if you do anything with themes, that seems to break down unless you can specify a default theme for the designer to work with, and therefore CSS from that theme.

I'll agree with the general anecdotal observations about it being generally snappier too. Not that 2005 was a dog under Parallels on my Mac Pro, but there is a certain amount of responsiveness that impresses me.

One thing that I am curious about is a matrix of assemblies and namespaces and versions. I noticed that many of the references when you build a project point to 2.0 or 3.0 assemblies, which makes sense to me, but sometimes it's just nice to know.

Overall, looks like a winning effort. The .Net framework is generally pretty solid and robust, and I'm glad to see the tools improving like this.
 

Microsoft mystery site of the day

http://www.defyallchallenges.com/

What morons put this up? Tell me if you can figure out what it's for in five seconds or less. If you can't, then what's the point of it being there?
 

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