Tony Lombardo

  • The illusion of Competence

    Working as a contractor opened my eyes to the developer food chain.  Even though I had similar experiences earlier in my career, the challenges seemed much more vivid this time through.  I thought I’d share a couple of experiences with you, and the lessons that can be taken from them.

  • Hacking Web Services; Security and Telnet

    If you’ve built a web application in ASP.NET chances are you’ve also consumed or even created your own web service.  Web services are an easy way to share data, and even commit actions across technology lines.  I recently ran into an application that used a web service that captured my curiosity – enough so that I thought I would share my experience.

  • Can’t Touch This

    Touch seems to be the latest craze in software, but astonishingly, it’s nothing new.  Most applications out there will work perfectly well in a single touch emulated environment.  Basically, a hardware device turns your finger touch into a mouse action.  Yet, even though those interfaces and devices have been around for years, it really wasn’t until the iPhone, that people got reacquainted with touch.  Here’s the reason why. 

  • Silverlight UX: Sum Of The Parts

    When talking about Silverlight, it is only natural to compare it to standard web based applications (ASP.NET, PHP, JSF, etc.).  Silverlight has some clear advantages when dealing with large quantities of data, or speed and performance in say grid operations, but there’s another aspect of Silverlight that may be hard to notice at first.  It’s the ‘little’ things.  I call them little, because alone, each of these features isn’t something that will shock or amaze you.  But combined, these features create a User Experience that is specific to Silverlight.  Let’s take a look at a few examples.

  • The Chains that Hold Us Back

    I’m not sure there’s ever been quite as much activity in the world of Web development as in the past couple of years.  The browser ‘wars’ have been re-ignited, and technology is advancing at a frantic pace.  It’s almost too much to keep up with.  Right now as a web developer you have Silverlight 2 at your disposal, and a beta of Silverlight 3, with talks of Silverlight 4 already taking place.  Then there’s the CSS 3 specs, HTML 5 specs.. it’s almost too much to comprehend.  I guess we’re lucky in a way, that there are currently significant barriers keeping us from these technologies.

  • Visual Designer : A Developer’s BFF

    Developers are often cast into a group and stereotyped as "visual design challenged”.  The fact is, a true Visual Designer picks colors and creates designs for applications that make my attempts look like grade school arts and crafts project.  But that doesn’t mean developer’s don’t care about design.  Actually, I think most developers put a tremendous effort into trying to make their applications look good.  It’s just that the results aren’t always award winning..

  • MVC vs. WebForms, A Clear Loser Emerging

    Working with WebControls and WebForms for the past 8 years has taught me a lot about web development.  The one thing that I learned above everything is that the onus is on the developer to write good code.  Now that may not sound like something revolutionary, but the fact is that ASP.NET WebForms makes building web applications easy by abstracting away some of the difficulties of a stateless protocol.  And it also makes it easy to forget about what’s actually happening behind the scenes to make everything possible.  Does that mean WebForms is flawed?  No.

  • ASP.NET 4.0 & Why it Matters

    I hear a lot of overused and overloaded terms these days like “leaky abstraction” when talking about WebForms.  As people repeat these items like robot drones, I wonder if they truly understand what it means, and more importantly how it affects a developers ability to build software.  But whether it’s a group of robot drones, or an increasing number of well educated software engineers, we’ll leave for the subject of another debate.  Back to the matter at hand.  Of all of the WebForms complaints, it usually boils down to a few key issues – ViewState, ID generation and HTML Markup & Postbacks; each of which is undergoing changes in ASP.NET 4.0.

  • Surveys, Polls, Voting, and why they usually stink

    I’ve never been a big fan of surveys or polls.  Not because I don’t like them, but because I always disagree with their validity and the conclusions that are drawn from the results.  Lets take a look at a couple of examples.  Readers Choice awards were recently handed out.  I received an email from a customer who wanted to let me know that he was contacted by a component vendor to go out and vote for them, and he didn’t even own their product.  To my surprise, he wanted to know where the Infragistics email was.  My answer – we make a very conscious effort to limit the number of emails we send out to our customer base.  At the end of the day, our decision to keep spam out of our customer’s inboxes also meant that we were at a disadvantage in the survey/poll/award.  Does the poll actually show which product is the best?  Or does it show who spent more time and energy on campaigning for votes?