Ready for a New(d) Day…

February 22, 2007

Ok, so the title is juvenile and I know it but I just couldn’t help myself. All joking aside, yesterday’s Microsoft launch event was a great time. There was plenty of content showing off what is probably the biggest launch in Microsoft history. Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 headlined the show but the .Net 3.0 sessions were where my interests lie.

Yes, I know Vista’s great looking and all but I have yet to really get into it – mostly because running it in a VM means you don’t get the “wow” expereience (read: Aero/Glass) but here’s my take on thing thus far. Sidebar widgets don’t do much for me since I have Yahoo Widget Engine (nee: Konfabulator) and it’s works ok. The search to launch on the start button seems like a nice feature to have baked into the OS but I have Google Desktop and SlickRun so I’m doing most of that already. Those were the two main features that I got from the demos and maybe I’ve missed something but that’s not a good enough reason to drop my cash for an upgrade. We’ll see how this progresses.

So on to the good stuff – .Net 3.0. So let’s not quibble about why it’s 3.0 versus 2.5 since it really is just dropped on top of the 2.0 framework let’s get to what’s cool. Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is basically providing a unified way to utilize previously disparate protocols – WS-*/WSE, Web Services, .Net Remoting, et al. while hosting them in a variety of processes so that you’re no longer tied to IIS. Very nice. I like to think of this as similar to the data access portion of the applications.

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) provides a framework for creating workflows within your applications without having to roll your own every time as well as the ability to put workflow into your interface. We’ve all had to do this at some point or another, since all applications have this to some degree but now it’s significantly easier and standardized. I tend to think of this as a piece of the business logic for the applications.

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is the big one. WCF and WF are “nice” but they lack the visual impact of WPF. In the past few years, the web movement has come a long way in getting the message out about separation of presentation and content (I’ve you’ve missed this, I recommend you go read Designing With Web Standards by Jeffery Zeldman IMMEDIATELY). By keeping the CSS and the XHTML separate we’re able to manage change much easier and a re-tooling of the “look and feel” doesn’t (generally) require changes to the underlying data. This lesson has apparently been learned in Redmond and so they’ve given us – XAML. I’m not going to get into it since I’m giving a presentation on it at the Dallas .Net User Group on March 8th so you can come see that or just wait until I post on it but it’s really a vast improvement.

These events are so much fun and I really enjoy getting to meet and see various people, in addition to the nice swag as we don’t always have faces to put with the names that float around our communities. Speaking of “community” – Caleb was wondering about with his camera taping for so I’ll put a link up here once he gets it edited and up on the site. And I told him I would put a link in for my t-shirt so here it is: yp != mp (and a few others I’ve made for fun).

Book Review: “Please Don’t Just Do What I Tell You!”

February 14, 2007

When my father gave me this book and mentioned that he was tempted to send out the letter found on page 9 to all his folks, I wondered what could be in a letter that would cause him to want to share it with so many folks. Usually, you pick up management tidbits here and there – a piece for this person, a little for that one or maybe a nice catch phrase to motivate the “laggers”. To find something that fit everyone wholesale sounded a bit to good to be true. Well – it wasn’t. As a highly motivated and driven person myself, I didn’t find the book to be revealing as much as it was a reinforcement of my current habits and feelings as well as a good explanation of what factors push me along. While it’s not a cure-all for slackers by any means, it puts in plain terms and examples what makes the difference between a good employee and a great one. It’s formatted for speed reading and an average reader could easily get thru it in a night or two.

Book Reviews A Coming…

February 13, 2007

I have a confession to make: I’m a very prolific reader but a pretty crappy writer. Normally, I read about 2-3 books a month (although I have been known to go on a “6 book bender” once in a while), about a half dozen magazines, too many blogs to count, and the label of nearly everything I eat. In contrast, I probably only post about a half dozen times in that same timeframe. I’d like to remedy that situation so I’ve decided to play off my strength to improve my weakness (isn’t that what we’re supposed to do??) by…writing book reviews.

Ok, so these aren’t going to be Mrs. Thompson’s 2nd grade book reports or anything, just a short bit about the book and what I got (or didn’t get) from it. I’m going to link to them on Amazon because I really like their reviews and generally use them to purchase my books. I’m not going to rate them because, quite frankly, that’s arbitrary and SHOULD be explained in the short bit about the book. If it isn’t, then see confession above, and leave me a comment so I can work on it.

UPDATE: I’ve also added a sidebar called “Currently Reading” that I’m going to attempt to keep updated so you know what reviews should be on the way – yeah, it’s called “psychic weight” (guilt, if you’re Catholic) and it seems to work for me.