Morning Coffee 131

  • On a recommendation from my mother-in-law, I’ve been watching Torchwood. Sort of Men in Black, the series and set in Cardiff. Since it’s made in England, it’ll be one of the few shows still running in the new year due to the WGA strike.
  • A while back I pointed out that many DotNetKicks articles were submitted by their authors. I submitted a few of my own, just for kicks (har har), with mixed results. Today, I discovered that the parse buffer post from my Practical Parsing in F# series was submitted, picked up some kicks, and made it to the home page. That’s pretty cool. I guess writing more dev-focused articles is the way to go to get attention on DNK.
  • Amazon has rolled out a limited beta of SimpleDB, which appears to be S3 + query support. Cost is based on usage: 14¢/hour for machine utilization, 10¢/GB upload, 13-18¢/GB download and $1.50/GB storage/month. I’d love to see SimpleDB software that I could download and install, rather than hosted only. Even if I was going to use the hosted service, I’d like to develop against a non-hosted instance.
  • Research for sale! I was checking out the MS Research download feed and discovered a link to the Automatic Graph Layout (MSAGL) library. This was previously called GLEE (Graph Layout Execution Engine) and was “free for non-commercial use”. Now, you can buy it for $295 from Windows Marketplace (though the previous free version is still available). The idea of directly commercializing research like this strikes me as pretty unusual. It must be a really good library.
  • Scott Guthrie shows off the new Dynamic Data Support that will ship as part of the ASP.NET Extensions. I’m like, whatever. Scaffolding wasn’t that that interesting to me in RoR, so it’s no surprise that it’s not that interesting in ASP.NET.
  • Jeff “Party With” Palermo blogs about the IoC support in the new MVC Contrib project. Also looks like they’re porting RoR’s simply_restful. (via Scott Guthrie)
  • I need to try out some of Tomas Respro’s VS color schemes (also via Scott Guthrie)

The DevHawk 2007 World Tour

After spending almost all of fiscal year 07 (July ’06 thru June ’07) not traveling and not presenting, I’m going to be doing a few public talks to finish out the year. If you, dear reader, are going to one of these please drop me a line. Invariably, it’s the side meetings and discussions that are the most valuable at these conferences.

IT Architect Regional Conference 2007
October 15th – 16th, San Diego, CA

I’m a huge fan of IASA, so I’m thrilled to be doing their west regional conference. I’ve presented to a packed house for the local chapter before, so I think these folks will put on a good conference. They sure have a good selection of topics and speakers.

My session is called “Moving Beyond Industrial Software“. Here’s the abstract:

Computers have been instrumental in ushering in the post-industrial age. Yet, most enterprises today are run with an industrial mindset and the IT department is organized like a factory. This creates a tension between the forces of industrialization that define the organization and the forces of post-industrialization that define today’s marketplace. For example, our post-industrial world is becoming more decentralized by the day. Yet many organizations believe the key to a successful service oriented architecture – a very decentralized system design – is to have a central service repository.

In this session, Harry Pierson will examine this tension, get you thinking outside the industrial mindset and help you think about software development in a post-industrial way.

I’m very excited about this talk.

MS SOA & Business Process Conference
October 29th – November 2nd, Redmond, WA

I’m not presenting at MSSOABPC (that’s a mouthful) but looks like most of my team is going. So if you’re going and want to hang out with the guys who are doing this stuff in the trenches @ MSIT, let me know. Also, I put out the call for anyone interested in a geek dinner. From the agenda, looks like they’re keeping us busy until 8pm every night Mon-Wed, so we can either a) have geek dinner Thursday or Friday or b) have geek beers after one of the receptions in the early part of the week.

patterns & practices Summit USA West
November 5th – 9th, Redmond, WA

I did the p&p Summit back in 2005, a very successful debut of my Developer 2.0 talk. (I’m doing that talk at a different conference this year, details below.) This year, I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to talk about yet. I’m currently slated to talk about the Rome project that I’m doing in MSIT, but given our current slow progress on that project, I’m probably going to talk about something else. I’m thinking either the “Moving Beyond Industrial Software” talk described above or the “Facing the Fallacies of Distributed Computing” talk described below. Any other suggestions?

DevTeach Vancouver 2007
November 26th – 30th, Vancouver, BC

This is a brand new experience for me. Frankly, I’d never heard of DevTeach before my friend Mario Cardnial suggested I submit a couple of sessions. Since it’s only a few hours drive away, I’m bringing the family along. We’ll see how that goes. And when I’m not doing my sessions or hanging out with the family, I might take in a session or two in the XNA track.

Here are the sessions I’m doing:

Developer 2.0
Finding Your Way in the Future of Software Development

The one constant in software development is change. Software development in 2007 is dramatically different than it was in 2000, which was in turn dramatically different than in 1993. You can be guaranteed that the platforms, languages, and tools will continue to evolve. Learn how Harry Pierson, Architect in Microsoft IT, believes software development is going to evolve in the next five years and what you must do today to remain competitive.

Facing the Fallacies of Distributed Computing
Sun Fellow Peter Deutsch is credited with authoring “The Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing”. These are near-universal assumptions about distributed systems that “All prove to be false in the long run and all cause big trouble and painful learning experiences.” In this session, we will examine these fallacies in depth and learn how to avoid them on the Windows platform by leveraging Web Services, WCF and SQL Service Broker.

Morning Coffee 97

  • For the first six months of 2007, I posted 158 times in 181 days. I’m obviously off the pace I set in January of averaging a post a day, but I am averaging just under nine tenth of a post per day. Not bad. At this rate, I’ll post almost as much this year as I did the last two years combined.
  • It was a great family weekend. Saturday, three of my friends helped me move an upright piano that we got used for a great price. Luckily, one of said friends is also a physics teacher, otherwise I don’t think we could have gotten that heavy thing in the truck. To say thanks, we BBQed for them Saturday evening. Then yesterday we took the kids to see a Sesame Street Live show. Both days were beautiful, which my wife greatly appreciated.
  • The Caps hit the free agent market running yesterday, picking up Tom Poti (four years, $14 million) and Victor Kozlov (two years, $5 million). They weren’t the A-list free agents, but they both seem like solid pickups. According to Japer’s Rink, the Caps were about $6.5 million under the new cap minimum. These two signings just about close that gap, but it doesn’t sound like they’re done. That’s good news for Caps fans.
  • Scott Guthrie continues his series on LINQ to SQL. While I’ve seen most of this before, the cool thing Scott shows is hovering over the LINQ to SQL result and bringing up the exact SQL statement in a debugger window. That’s pretty cool.
  • Nick Malik is now “Mr. SOA” inside MSIT. As you might imagine, I’ll be working with him fairly closely. Actually, he’s late to a meeting with me as I type this.
  • John Shewchuk announces a new version of BizTalk Services coming soon. The big new feature is access control for services exposed via the BizTalk Services. If you can’t wait, you can try out the new stuff in their pre-production environment right now, before it’s live. Is this a beta of a beta?
  • Soma announces the MSDN Small Business Developer Center. I took a quick look thru the site. Strangely enough, it doesn’t cover Dynamics – Microsoft’s business software primarily targeting small and medium size businesses.
  • Ted Neward called object/relational mapping the “Vietnam of Computer Science“. David Chappell gives us our next war / technology analogy, declaring that the REST vs. WS-* war is over, ending in a truce like the Korean war rather than “crushing victory for one side”.
  • Like Jeff Atwood, I didn’t realize About Face has been updated, twice. I am a huge fan of the first edition, but Jeff calls About Face 3 “the best edition of this classic yet”. I just ordered a copy for myself.
  • David McGhee transcribed a fantastic session with Dr. Don Ferguson at the Australian Architecture Forum on SOA/ESB integration in the real world. Go read the whole thing. Udi Dahan pulls out the quote “there is no such thing as a centralized ESB.” Amen to that. My other favorite quotes from this discussion is “The temptation is often to get everything in a repository, but often you cannot rely on people to put everything in the registry” and “there is sometimes the “Highlander” philosophy of there can be only one service”. If you’re design depends on centralization and/or significant change in human behavior, it’s doomed from the start. Frankly, it’s amazing how often that happens.
  • In response to my What is the Rails Question post, Hartmut Wilms wonders why “the .NET community (for the most part) ignores Open Source Projects”. I wonder the same thing, though I don’t think you can lump the whole .NET community together on this. While some parts of the community ignore anything they can’t download from MSDN, other parts strongly embrace open source projects.

Morning Coffee 24

  • Congrats to the Colts on winning the ugliest Super Bowl ever. Pouring rain, eight turnovers, missed PAT and field goal and the opening kickoff TD return. Ugly, but fun to watch.
  • Now that we’ve had our first poor-weather Super Bowl, I think it’s time to start rotating through cities that have never gotten it due to expected weather conditions. Obviously, I’d like to see a Super Bowl at Qwest Field. But most of all, I would love to see the Super Bowl played in Green Bay on the “frozen tundra” of Lambeau Field.
  • Was it just me, or did the Super Bowl ads suck this year?
  • There’s a sweet looking pinball game coming to XBLA. I love pinball, so unless it completely stinks I’ll be buying it.
  • I commented on the Windows Live SDK last week, but I missed the Windows Live ID Client SDK alpha release. It looks like you can use this SDK to build desktop applications that use Windows Live ID for authentication. Fairly cool, but does it work with non WL services? (via Dare Obasanjo)
  • I saw this post on the home page of DotNetKicks today. It claims that locating the ASP.NET App_Data directory by calling AppDomain.CurrentDomain.GetData(“DataDirectory”) is a “dirty hack”. I left a comment on the original post, but I wonder if the correct information will ever make it’s way back to DNK?
  • Architecture Comix? Yep, on Skyscrapr, an architect community site run by my old team. Sorta funny, but I’m guessing Scott Adams isn’t worried about the competition yet.

Morning Coffee 21

  • With this post, I will have posted 31 times in January. I doubt I will average a post a day for the rest of the year, but I’ve averaged less than half a post for a day for the past two years.
  • LINQ to whatever is the new hotness. The ADO.NET team blogged about LINQ to DataSet last week. Of course, there’s also LINQ to SQL, LINQ to XML, LINQ to Entities and LINQ to XSD. Am I missing any other LINQ’s? (Would that be the missing LINQ? har har har)
  • Joe McKendrick writes on “rogue” systems in the enterprise. In typical pundit fashion, he doesn’t bother to take a stand on the subject, going so far in this case of having a reader poll rather than offering up his own opinion (wouldn’t want to be wrong, would we?). However, I thought it was interesting that the three poll answers were “No rogue services”, “Sometimes rogue services are OK” and “Why fight it?”. Where’s “Yes, let’s directly empower the users” in that list?
  • I finally got around to installing PowerShell on both my laptop and workstation. I love the concept, but so far I just haven’t had the time to dig into it or found a good problem to solve with it.
  • Windows Live now has it’s own SDK. According to the Windows Live Dev News, the new and updated areas of the unified SDK include Search, Alerts and adCenter. (via DotNetKicks)
  • Speaking of DotNetKicks, is it just me or are a lot of the links submitted by their original authors? Steven Cohn on Service Layer Transparency, Keyvan Nayyeri on How to Write Validators for Custom WF Activities, Mads Kristensen on Universal Data Type Checker just to name three of the top four articles currently on the DNK home page. Seems fishy to blow your own horn like that, but since SNK shares advertising revenue with story submitters, it sorta makes sense.