Soo, I stated in my goals when I started this blog (not long ago at all) that I would post one general web dev related post a week and one code sample/tutorial style post per month.
So does this mean I failed my goals already?
I guess so....
A strange thing happened and I've actually realised something about myself in the last couple of weeks, that I possibly knew but I don't think I'd really fully realised before.
The team running http://www.asp.net/ had decided to open up for a number of new bloggers, a whole bunch of people jumped on the chance, me included. I read the Term of use and off I went, something that struck me right away was, is that it? Yes, that was it, as easily as that I now had a blog on weblogs.asp.net!
However of course it wasn't as easy as that, there was quite quickly an outcry from the existing community. All these new people were posting all sorts of things, many of them not tech related. These posts, helped by the default functionality in community server, got posted to what's called the weblogs.asp.net "Main feed", a lot of people subscribing to that feed, pretty quickly got pretty sick of these "off topic" posts and the solution was to split the feed and cut the "new bloggers" from the main feed if "you made a non technical post and included it in the main feed, and it got some negative attention".
Sorry if this seems a bit long winded, I'll get to my first point.
WHAT DID THEY ECXPECT??
You give all these people access to this awesome tool, but you don't give them any directions whatsoever in how to use it, of course people are going to post whatever pops in to their head! They're excited, they're on weblogs.asp.net! So although I fully appreciate the irritation from the people subscribed to the main feed etc. I must stand up for all us "new bloggers". No one tolds us these things, I didn't even realise that there was such a thing as the main feed, until all these people got all up in arms, leaving nasty comments on peoples blogs etc. Sure you could argue that as a "new blogger" you should research this kind of stuff but honestly, come on, that would be like asking a guy to read the manual before setting up and starting to play with his new 50 inch plasma TV.
Being a pretty cautious type of guy I held off a while before I started posting and, once I did I tried to keep my posts technical and to provide some valid opinions etc. and not just link to what others put up or to old msdn articles etc. etc.
And this is where things started getting interesting, I had set up a blog, as it happened it was on asp.net and there was an easy way to reach A LOT of people. This was never part of my initial motives or idea when I was planning to set up my blog. However the power of wanting to be recognised or whatever you might call it, is amazing and already after a couple of posts I found myself checking my stats at least a couple times per day.
And after I had read about the issues people were having with the new people posting non technical posts and taking that to heart. I all of the sudden was cut from the main feed! I was devastated or more like quite annoyed (to put it in modest terms), but then again maybe devastated might not be such a bad word for it. I had been rejected, my content and my opinions weren't good enough to be in the all mighty main feed. So I didn't make any more posts....
I find this a really curious thing, although I'd not even considered how many or who would read my blog when I decided to start blogging and I would have said I didn't care. Put on the spot, I started caring very quickly and was brought down to the point of considering just simply not bothering, when facing an in reality quite small set back. So I guess what I've come to realise, is that however much I'd like to thinks I am, I'm not imune to such human flaws as pride and self-importance. And that it's really important to keep track of your goals and why you're doing something.
Well, as you can see from this post, I have decided to (as they'd put it here in Western Australia) "toughen up" and get over it.
With all the stuff going on in the webdev area and with Silverlight 2.0 just around the corner there's just too many exciting things to post about, to worry about what other people think. Hopefully someone will find my rants and ravings interesting and maybe even useful, if not with any luck I will have gained some better understanding of the things I post about by putting my thoughts down in writing. Which as it happens was one of the main goals with me starting a blog anyway.
I link to a lot of Joe Stagner's content in this post, this is not meant to be a personal criticism of Joe in any way, and Joe has actually several times made it a point to ask the people complaining to be considerate and have patience with the new bloggers etc. And he's tried to keep a positiv spin on things, which I think he deserves credit for.
However as he's been the outward facing contact of asp.net in all of this, it's easiest to refer to him. As he states in his blog, "Growing an on-line community is hard" no doubt this is the case, I think though that providing the "new bloggers" with some, at least basic guidance on what's appropriate and what not etc. when they signed up, would have been a really good idea. Nothing too big or too detailed (remember my point about reading manuals). Just a few basic main pointers, which could possibly have saved a lot of people a lot of grief.
Sharepoint and MOSS seems to be the buzz at the moment and I've seen more and more developers around me move over to the MOSS camp and I must say I've never been overly interested. I've probably viewed it as many others, too much point and click, not enough code writing...
However, last week I actually started a MOSS/SharePoint course and I guess I've had to reevaluate my views somewhat, there is actually a fair bit of coding to do, actually too much! One of the big things that struck me with Sharepoint development (and this has given me a new found respect for the people who do it I must say) is the lack of tools. Soo much of the work has to be done manually, update this piece of XML (by hand), copy this guid from here to there, recycle the IIS app-pool, refresh the site. Pheew, feels like I'm back in the old gray days working on some remote server with ftp access. And the slightest mistake and you get a almost totally meaningless error message thrown in your face.
So those were the negatives, are there any positives? Sure there is as a development platform it's got an incredible amount of pluming already done for you. Security, collaboration tools, exposing RSS, etc. etc. most of it readily available to be enabled with a few clicks. And it seems that once you get your head around the object model etc. you can do almost anything with it.
I must say thought at the end of the day, being a developer mainly focusing on Internet sites and (at least not at this point in time) not doing much work in the intranet space. I'm still not convinced that Sharepoint is for me.....
The course I'm taking is in two parts so no duobt this rant is "To be continued" after the next installment ;)
The TFS 2008 product keys have just been shipped and as I've just gone through the procedure of upgrading our trial version install. As there has been quite a few questions floating around about it. I thought I'd point out this excellent post by Martin Woodward on the topic of upgrading a TFS 2008 trial install to the full standard version.
He goes through the whole procedure step by step with screen shots and all and then points you in the direction of Brian Harry's VersionDetection tool so that you can make sure everything worked as it should.
I must say that I as many other have had my doubts about if this would work or not, when the day came to upgrade from the trial version, however after going through and upgrading our TFS install yesterday, I'm happy to say it worked perfectly. This was very nice to see after all the various problems that was associated with installing/upgrading TFS 2005.
Well done Microsoft and the Visual Studio/TFS Team!