Big news since my last Morning Coffee post was the announcement of Live Mesh. I’ve been running it for about a month, and I’m really digging it. Make sure you check out the team blog and watch the developer tour video (be on the lookout for IPy about half way thru the video)
I had a great time @ the ALT.NET open space conference last weekend. I was somewhat distracted on Saturday as due to a family communication mixup, I had to bring my son Patrick with me. Jeffrey Palermo shot a cute video of him (3 minutes in) where he explains that he’s at the conference “to be with my dad”. Having a five year old is a little distracting, but everyone was amazingly cool with having him around. When he gets a little older I have no doubt he’ll be attending conferences and leading open sessions.
I did a session on F#, but it felt kinda all over the place. I hadn’t touched F# in a few months and it showed IMO. Matt Podwysocki was there to help keep the session from devolving into mass chaos. Thanks Matt.
My favorite session of the conference was Scott Hanselman’s “Are We Innovating?” talk, which I think originated from a question I asked him: There are many examples of large OSS projects in other dev communities that get ported to .NET (NHibernate, NAnt, MonoRail, etc). Can you name one that’s gone the other way? I can’t.
Martin Maly posts about how dynamic method dispatches are cached in three different layers by the DLR. You shouldn’t care about this stuff if you’re a DLR language user, but you will certainly care about it if you’re a DLR language builder.
I’m really excited to see Phil Haack (whom I met F2F @ ALT.NET) is experimenting with IronRuby & ASP.NET MVC. True, I’d rather it was IPy, but his Routes.LoadFromRuby would work with Python with very little code change.
Everyone seems to be jumping on the functional C# coding bandwagon. Bart De Smet’s series on pattern matching in C# is currently at eight posts. Now Luca Bolognese is in on the action, with three posts so far on functional code in C#. I like how Luca keeps writing that the C# syntax is “not terrible” for functional programming. Again, why suffer thru the “not terrible” syntax when you could be using F# instead? (via Charlie Calvert)
There’s a new version of FolderShare out and I’ve got mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I’ve been a regular user of FolderShare for a while so it’s nice to see it get a face lift. On the other hand, it’s been over two years since Microsoft bought FolderShare and we’re only just now getting a new version, which is literally nothing more that a face lift – this version introduces no new functionality at all.
I was hoping to geek out vicariously via someone else’s hacking around with Singularity. Luckily, Matthew Podwysocki provides just such an opportunity.
Looks like “Prism” is the new CAB. Glenn Block has two extensive posts covering a project overview and their first drop. I think it’s interesting that the Prism team is focused on building a reference implementation, and letting the framework eventually fall out. Reading thru the description, it sounds awesome. However, based on the massive increase of inbox throughput I’m experiencing since I accepted the new job, I can’t imagine I’ll have time to play with it. Maybe Matthew will start playing with Prism too! (via Sam Gentile – btw, thanks for the kind words on the new job Sam!)
Speaking of Sam, he points to a series by Bob Beauchemin entitled LINQ to SQL and Entity Framework: Panacea or evil incarnate? With a title like that, who can resist reading the whole series? Err, I can because LINQ 2 SQL & EF performance just fell off my radar entirely. However I gotta agree with Sam’s point that he “can’t think of anyone more qualified than Bob” to tackle these questions.
I wonder if Ted Neward will get jumped for admiring Mort the way Nick Malik did. Given that Ted called himself Mort while Nick compared Mort to agile developers, I’m guess Ted will have to go back to his Vietnam analogy if he wants to create controversy.
Speaking of Ted, I agree with his point that conferences are about people. As a python pre-newbie (I figure I’ll reach full newbie status by the time I actually start my new job), I spent most of my PyCon time connecting with people rather than trying to learn technical stuff. Also, I love Ted’s WHISCEY acronym.
Speaking of PyCon, my soon-to-be new teammate Srivatsn Narayanan blogs his thoughts on PyCon. I’ll try and get to my PyCon thoughts soon.
I was slammed Friday, so I didn’t get a chance to post the results of last Thursday night’s hockey game. I’m sure you’ve all been eager to hear. We lost, bad, 8-2. Personally, I was -3 and had no points, but I played much better than last week. We had three full lines of forwards, which was a big help, but I have started to find my ice-legs so to speak.
Chris Tavares blogs about a distributed source control system called Bazaar. Unlike most version control systems, Bazaar is distributed which means you can use it without a server. According to Chris, you can share branches as easily as mailing a file. I wonder if you could make Bazaar work over a P2P network.
While looking up the MSDN link for the previous coffee item, I noticed an entire new section in the MSDN Library for Open Protocol Specifications. Not much to add, just wanted to highlight their existence.
Yesterday was the NHL trading deadline, and the Capitals were very busy. They obtained Huet from Montreal, Federov from Columbus and Cooke from Vancouver. Given they are fighting just to make the playoffs, going for three soon-to-be unrestricted free agents seems like an odd choice. However, the consensus (among my parents anyway) was that it’s critical to get this very young Caps team some playoff experience. Even if all three walk at season’s end, it’ll be worth if the Caps make a playoff run. Besides it’s not like we gave up much: an extra second round pick in ’09, a 19 year old defensive prospect (who was apparently 14th on the depth chart) and an underachieving winger.
Speaking of the Caps playoff chances, they are currently one and a half games back of the division leading Hurricanes and two games behind the current eighth seed Flyers. Yes, I rank hockey teams using baseball’s standings system. Otherwise, you have to talk about games in hand (i.e. the Caps are five points behind Carolina with two games in hand).
The writer’s guild ratified the new contract, so Hollywood labor strife is now officially behind us. At least until July when the the actors may go on strike.
It seems like a slow week for Microsoft geek news, which is odd since WS08, VS08 and SQL08 all launch today. I’m guessing it’s the calm before the Mix storm next week.
After going dark for six months, Linq to XSD has been re-released to work with the RTM version of VS08. Scott Hanselman demonstrates Linq to XSD by applying it to OFX, an XML Schema he calls “goofy” but apparently helped develop. OFX uses derivation by restriction, which has no direct corollary in C#, but Linq to XSD’s is able to translate between XML and objects without loosing any of that type fidelity. Nice to know Linq to XSD can tolerate OFX’s level of goofiness, though I’m guessing most people use much more straightforward schemas.
Speaking of Linq, I discovered LINQPad via a comment on Rob Conery’s blog (which I found via DNK). It’s basically a code snippet IDE for C# 3.0 and VB9, with it also has built in database connection support, so it can fulfil much the same role as SQL Management Studio. I only played with it for a few minutes, but I was really impressed. This is definitely going in my utilities folder. I wonder if they’re interested in supporting F#?
Not sure how I missed this, but you can get MSDN Magazine via same Syndicated Client Experience as Architecture Journal. Unlike AJ which is divided into issues, the MSDN magazine client is divided into topics which is harder to square with the physical magazine. On the other hand, since MSDN Mag has been around longer, perhaps topics + search is a better discovery mechanism.
Soma announces the Visual Studio Gallery, a repository of VS Extensions. It’s kinda cool, but the whole discovery mechanism is clunky. I might like to experiment with some free or even free trial products, but there’s no way to filter on cost so finding them is a hassle. Also, there’s no way for community members to vote, rate or comment on the products in any way.
Nick Malik can’t answer the question “how does Enterprise Architecture demonstrate value?” I could be snarky and say “it doesn’t”, but that’s only half the answer. It doesn’t, but it should. My opinion, since you asked Nick, is that EA fails to deliver value because it tries to control the uncontrollable. Trying to gain efficiency thru establishing standards and eliminating overlap via reuse are pipe dreams, though literally millions of $$$ have been poured into those sink-holes. There are a few areas where centrally funded infrastructure projects can solve big problems that individual projects can’t effectively tackle on their own. EA should focus their time there, they can actually make a difference. Otherwise, they should stay out of project’s way.
Note, I somehow duplicated Morning Coffee 135. So I’ve skipped 136 to make up for it.
Congrats to Hillary Clinton for her unexpected win in the New Hampshire primary. As I said last week, I think Obama has a better chance of winning in November, but I’ve got nothing against Clinton or her politics.
Speaking of winning, congrats to LSU on winning the BCS. Are they the best team in college football? Personally, I don’t think so – there are at least three other teams (Georgia, West VA and of course USC) who can make a persuasive argument that they should be #1. But losing to teams like Penn Pitt and Stanford, neither WVA and USC have an argument they should have been in the championship game. But that’s what makes the BCS such BS. If nothing else, at least the “we need a playoff” meme is picking up steam.
This is sort of cool: Eye-fi is a wireless enabled SD card so you can wirelessly upload pictures from your camera to your PC or favorite photo service. However, I think the price needs to come down a bit. I recently bought a 2GB SD card for my wife’s new camera for $20. A 2GB Eye-fi card is $99. Not sure wireless upload is worth 5x per card.
With all the focus on LINQ providing type-safe queries, it’s easy to forget that some apps do need to build their queries at run time. Scott Guthrie points at a Dynamic LINQ C# sample (also available for VB) that builds LINQ expression trees from strings. It kinda takes you back to the bad-old-days of embedding SQL strings in your code, but there are scenarios – especially BI scenarios – where you need this capability.
Speaking of cool libraries, check out C5 (aka the Copenhagen Comprehensive Collection Classes for C#). It’s basically a complete redesign of System.Collections.Generic (or SCG as they call it). I’ve read thru their online book and I’m very impressed. Of course, with me focused on F# of late, I’m primarily using immutable collections, so I’m not sure how much use I have for C5 right now.
There was a free CoDe magazine in my DevTeach bag back in November with a fascinating article on where LINQ goes from here – LINQ 2.0 if you will. One of things the article discusses is tier-splitting, which has seen the light of day in Volta. Will Volta also deliver External Relationships, Reshaping Combinators and Join Patterns or will those come from different projects?
I had to pave my workstation yesterday. I was running an interim build of Vista x64 SP1 and I couldn’t make Virtual Server work with it. As part of the repave, I discovered I needed to update the firmware of my SCSI controller, but the update had to run under DOS. Freaking DOS? My workstation doesn’t even have a floppy drive to boot DOS from! However, I was able to boot from a USB thumb disk instead. That’s damn useful.