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August 2010 - Posts

September preview of POP Forums v9 for ASP.NET MVC3 posted to CodePlex

Here it is, the third preview release of POP Forums v9. It's starting to smell like a real application now. New since the last release:

  • Text parsing of HTML and "forum code"
  • Dropped in TinyMCE text editor (still needs some customization and option for plain text)
  • Security logging
  • User profiled editing, for the users and admins, including avatar and photo uploads
  • Admin pages for most of the forum settings, including category and forum management
  • E-mail confirmation for new accounts, with verification mechanism
  • View counting
  • Runs on ASP.NET MVC3 (see notes below)
  • Lots o' refactoring and more unit tests (now over 400)

Other notes

Keep in mind that this is still a preview, it's way rough around the edges, and it's in dire need of additional refactoring.

This release requires ASP.NET MVC3, which is itself in preview mode. The views have not yet been converted to use the Razor view engine (because it's slightly hard without the tooling), but the dependency injection features are used here, and that's some delicious goodness that allowed for the destruction of much code. Look for the Ninject implementation of the service locator interface to see how it works. The unfortunate piece of this is that it throws exceptions on every request (and eats them) because the interface requires the throw when it doesn't find an implementation of the controller factory. That's how it knows to use the default factory. It sounds like this will likely change in the next release, so it's a bit of a moving target right now.

Also new to MVC3 is the use of global action filters, and they too are all kinds of awesome. In this app, they're used to new up the user information, in lieu of doing it via an HttpModule or something. Another great feature that allowed me to abandon a Controller base class.

The road map from here out hopefully means a feature rich beta next, but probably not until some time after the next MVC release. The hope after that is to do another beta with evolving UI. The speed all depends on Seattle weather, family time and other real life factors. Stay tuned!

POP Forums v9 preview is going to be a little late

I mentioned with the July preview of POP Forums v9 that there would be an August preview. There will be, but I'm not sure it'll hit in August. It's really starting to feel like an actual app now, and I'm very excited to see it coming along. Unfortunately, I haven't found enough time lately to deliver the things I said would be in this preview. Being a new dad can be like that!

On the up side, it is running on MVC3. On the down side, it's running on MVC3, and that's a moving target until it goes from preview to beta.

I'll still shoot for this week, and then we'll move on to beta versions. Hooray!

Microsoft is...

It sounds like something to write in a one year anniversary post, but I have to say that I get slightly annoyed at what people say Microsoft is. It's the typical news story and blog comment noise, and I probably shouldn't care, but it still annoys me. The company is simply too huge and diverse to make a lot of generalizations.

I don't entirely understand what motivates the haters. What is it about the company that makes some people get so angry about it? On one comment thread about Windows Phone's developer scene, for example, people are going on and on about how the tools will be terrible (without having used them) because "Office sucks." That's about as valid a connection as saying that they suck because "MSN sucks." I mean, the only person shared in those organizational reporting lines is the CEO. They have almost nothing to do with each other. How can you make that conclusion?

Don't get me wrong, I can tell you now more than ever that I don't think Microsoft is perfect. I've seen it first hand, and there are things that drive me nuts about the company. Parts of it are just as slow and dumb as people assume, but there are other parts that execute so fast, with lightweight, agile processes in place and excellent releases. And just as there are people who are apologists for the company and refuse to use anything not made by Microsoft (which goes against the company mandate to avoid the "not invented here" syndrome), there are iPhone lovin', open source using technology enthusiasts like me who see the bigger picture and believe the company can work hard and make its products world class. I'd like to think I'm in that group, and like minded people all over the company have a very loud voice. That's what's exciting about it.

In about three months or so, I can write that "first year" post, but even then, my experience could hardly be described as generally similar to everyone else's. The company is too big for that generalization.

My first Nerd Dinner

I went to my first Nerd Dinner today. For those of you not aware, our fearless community ninja manager, Scott Hanselman, organizes get togethers for code monkeys and the Microsoft folk that love them. It's a great chance to get out and meet people, find out what they're doing, swap stories, and get a little insight into what's going on around Microsoft as well.

Scott made this a "daily build" meeting, encouraging people from The Empire to bring the absolutely latest bits of whatever it was that they were working on. I didn't get up long enough to find out what other people had, but there were quite a few laptops (and Windows Phone 7's) out. Since the latest build of the MSDN/TechNet forums isn't exactly something to marvel at (we've been concentrating on a lot of back end optimization stuff), I brought POP Forums v9, my open source project on CodePlex, to show and tell, mostly because I've ported some of the more interesting bits to MVC 3. MVC is not "my" product, but it was a lot of fun to share with folks how this new version, even in the preview stage, makes MVC so much easier to test and decouple, with less code! I hope to get some of that code up to CodePlex very soon.

It was really interesting to hear about how people are using our stuff, and it really makes me appreciate the wide range of people involved. I was also very surprised at how excited people are over Windows Phone 7, and we were lucky enough to have one of the WP7 PM's there. There's a lot of excitement over some of the newer and forthcoming stuff too, like IIS Express and SQL Server CE for Web apps.

I really enjoyed meeting some of you! If you're not from the Puget Sound region, but plan to visit, check the Nerd Dinner site to see if there's a meet-up. You can even take your picture with Hanselman!

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