Morning Coffee 173

I’m on my way out the door for New Zealand and Australia, but I wanted to push out a few things.

  • F# August September CTP is out! Don Syme has the announcement, Jomo Fisher has the link roundup and details are on the brand-spanking-new MSDN F# Dev Center. Major congrats to the F# team. I’ve been running a pre-release version of these bits, and they are a huge step forward if you’re an F# developer.
  • I’ve got an article on IronPython in the latest issue of CoDe magazine. Also check out Brad Wilson’s IronRuby article, Ted Neward’s F# article and Neil Ford’s Polygot Programming article.
  • Via Michael Foord I discovered that IronPython tester Dave Fugate is back on the blog. He starts with a couple of posts about measuring IronPython performance.
  • Speaking of blogging teammates, I think the dynamic languages team has the highest percentage of bloggers in any group at MSFT. All four Program Managers (Dave (lead), John, Jimmy and me), four of five developers (Shri (lead), Dino, Curt and Oleg) and all three Testers (Jim, Dave and Srivatsn). The only non blogger right now is Tomas – who at least has a home page – and  the lead tester which is an open position right now. 11 bloggers out of 12 team members equals 91.67% team blogger coverage.
  • I was really impressed with Newspeak when I saw it at Lang.NET so I’m very excited to see they have a new website. No public bits yet, but I like the part where they point out Newspeak “can be implemented independently of Squeak, Smalltalk or any particular VM or IDE”. How about implementing a version on DLR guys?
  • Maurice de Beijer shows off embedding IronPython inside a WF application. Kinda cool, but he’s primarily showing off implementing a CLR interface in IPy. How about a WF activity that execute arbitrary IPy code. That would be cool. (via IronPython URLs)
  • Ironclad has reached their 0.5 milestone, being able to import numpy from IronPython. BTW, guys – I’m not sure commenting out one line that appears to be unreferenced qualifies as a “monstrous caveat”. Congrats guys! (via IronPython URLs)

Morning Coffee 96

  • My friend David “LetsKillDave” Weller writes a long post on corporate blogging, responding to comments on the subject from Penny Arcade. Andre “Ozymandias” Vrignaud also responds. David is specifically talking about blogging within the gaming division, but they apply pretty broadly to Microsoft as a whole when it comes to blogging. “I don’t want to get fired”, “I don’t want to do things that needlessly hurt my company” and “We can say things that PR or marketing people can’t.  Or won’t.” all ring true to me.
  • Speaking of gaming, there seems to be more that your average cool games coming our for Xbox 360 this summer. I just picked up Forza 2 which rocks with the Racing Wheel. The Darkness looks very cool and I laughed my ass off playing the Overlord demo. Both shipped this week and have gotten good reviews. On their way in August are Bioshock and Blue Dragon. Of course, there are a few other big games coming this holiday. A good, but expensive, year to be a gamer.
  • I laughed my ass off reading Larry O’Brien’s Top 10 Things To Do With Your Petaflop Supercomputer, esp. #9.
  • WSDL 2.0, it’s official. Nick Allen has the news. Personally, WSDL seems to be the spec most responsible for driving RPC-style request/response web services, so let’s just say that I am not a fan.
  • Joe McKendrick thinks something is “holding back SOA”? I don’t think it’s any one thing, but certainly the RPC style that most web service toolkits pretty much force down your throat isn’t helping.
  • Nick Malik thinksAcropolis is promising as a SOA service consumer, but Udi Dalan thinks it doesn’t support multi-threading well enough. I lean towards Nick on this one since I see multi-threading as a language problem, which a library like Acropolis can’t solve on it’s own.
  • Jon Flanders has been busy building the BizTalk Server 2006 extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation (June CTP) SDK Sample. I’m not sure why the marketing folks gave this such a long and involved name, but the sample does look pretty cool. Paul Andrews has the project overview and demo video. However, given that the WF workflows are hosted in BTS, is it accurate to say “No Biztalk Experience Required“?
  • Speaking of WF, Tomas Restrepo takes a detailed look at the new WF service hosting in .NET FX 3.5. Mostly, he likes what he sees. I have the same problem he does with the message correlation IDs. I’d like to have other options here, including support for what I call “message data correlation” (Tomas describes this as “natural correlating identifiers”) and “address correlation” which is basically the REST model.

Morning Coffee 95

  • New version of dasBlog is out, the final version on ASP.NET 1.1 (unless this release “kills a kitten” as per Scott Hanselman). I don’t have the time (make the time?) to run daily builds, but I do try and upgrade to new major releases in a timely fashion. I’m also moving hosters, so expect a little downtime around here at some point in the near future.
  • Matt Winkler is doing a series on alternate WF execution patterns. His first is the N of M pattern. While I can nitpick some things in WF – especially the limitations of transaction flow – WF’s support for variability and extensibility of execution patterns is fraking brilliant. (via Sam Gentile)
  • Joe McKendrick is all excited about a SOA built without web services! We’ve been “doing SOA” since the EDI days without web services, so I’m not sure this level of excitement – with an exclamation point and everything – is warranted. But it is good to see people realize web services != SOA. Instead of web services, CERN is using JMS to move messages around. I don’t know much about JMS, but I do know it supports async and durable messaging, two things I think are critical for enterprise services.
  • I saw on LtU that there’s a new paper on Singularity out. For those who don’t know, Singularity is a MS Research platform designed for reliability instead of performance. But there’s more than just a new paper. According to the project home page, “Singularity Version 1.0 is complete. We’ve shipped the Singularity Research Development Kit (RDK) to a small number of universities for their research efforts.” I wonder if I can get my hands on that RDK?
  • Jeff Atwood is starting to show ads on Coding Horror, but he’s donating “a significant percentage” of the ad revenue back into the programming community. He’s starting with $5,000 and Microsoft is matching for a total of $10,000 to be donated to open source .NET projects. Go tell Jeff which projects you think he should donate to. Castle seems to be an early favorite.
  • On Monday, Nick Malik posted what he called the Simple Lifecycle Agility Maturity Model (aka SLAMM) as a way of measuring your “agile factor”. Surprisingly, the community response has been zilch. After Nick’s comments on Agile last week, I figured someone would have something to say about it, even if only to slam it. (Slam SLAMM, ha ha.) Maybe nobody opened the spreadsheet and saw Mort has an agile factor rating of 71%? Personally, SLAMM seems like a rather coarse tool for measuring how agile you are, but coarse tools are better than no tools at all.

Early Afternoon Coffee 81

These morning meetings are really cramping the “morning” style of these posts. But better late than never, I guess.

  • Politics 2.0 Watch: Democrats pwn Republicans online. (via Balloon Juice)
  • Roger Wolter writes about integrating SSB with WF, something I’ve experimented with myself. I didn’t find the integration quite as natural as Roger did – transactions are a real PITA, and Roger apparently he hasn’t looked into that yet - but I agree 100% with the idea that “most SSB programs end up looking a lot like a workflow.” Looking forward to seeing your code, Roger.
  • Pat explains his Newton vs. Einstein view of distributed systems and then rants about Consistency, Availability and Partition-tolerance. In particular, he discusses the evolution of what consistency (and to less extent availability) means in the face of loose coupling. Do yourself a favor and give up on distributed transactions now. Also, Pat points to another paper from CIDR dealing with isolation in services. Haven’t read it yet, but I’ve added it to “the pile”.
  • David Chappell writes about Service Component Architecture vs. Service Oriented Architecture. Since I don’t “do” evangelism anymore, I don’t spend much time watching what our competitors are doing. According to the SCA website, SCA is supposedly a “a model for building applications and systems using a Service-Oriented Architecture.” But according to David, SCA 1.0 focuses on “portability, not interoperability, and so they don’t fully define the interactions between components necessary to create composites that cross vendor boundaries.” I realize that we don’t industry agreement on all the details of what SOA means, but I think we all agree that it’s cross platform and cross vendor. Or maybe we can’t even agree on that much.

Morning Coffee 40

  • My boss let me borrow a Tecra M4 that he scavenged from his boss. The display is fairly twitchy, I think it’s a motherboard issue. But it’s very intermittent and I’ll get help desk to take a look. In the meantime, it sure is nice to driving a Tablet PC again. And it’s Vista ready to boot.
  • Speaking of Vista, Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista. It’s a mouthful but it’s now available. Soma answers questions about the new release on MS PressPass.
  • The DSL tools team keeps on rolling with the power toys. First it was the Designer Integration PowerToy, now it’s the DSL Tree Grid Editor PowerToy. Jeff Santos has the details.
  • I missed the TechFest keynote yesterday, but it’s available on demand. They also have descriptions and videos of some of the technologies on display. (well, only one video so far, but I assume since the page is labeled “TechFest 2007 Videos” that more are on the way.)
  • There’s new support for integrating WCF and WF coming in VS “Orcas”. Moustafa Khalil Ahmed has the details on what’s new for WF & WCF in the latest CTP drop. For me personally, the WCF/WF integration is some of the most important stuff coming in Orcas, second only to LINQ.