Category: OffTopic

On a more positive note

Posted by – July 9, 2010

I went on a bit of a tangent in my last post. I focused more on negative things than what it was I was really trying to get across. So today, let’s take a look at some of the good moves they’ve made in the last couple of years.

 

Powershell

Yes, I know I whine about it a lot. But it is a step in the right direction. From a technical standpoint, it is exactly what users in the Microsoft world needed. The main reason I complain is because I like the way that unix shells work in general compared to the way windows shells do. It’s a cultural/ease of use thing. It was a welcome, though LONG OVERDUE tool.

Asp.Net MVC

Once again, a very welcome release. As I said in the last post, it still lacks compared to other MVC frameworks, but it is absolutely a step in the right direction. Maybe you will never even convince WebForms guys to use it, but at least it’s there and it seems to be taking off. You’ll never get rid of webforms from the standpoint of legacy apps that are too big/expensive to rewrite, but going forward we’ve at least got a choice.

My biggest concern with this one is that they shipped MVC2 with Visual Studio 2010. _If_ this means that ASP.Net MVC releases are going to be tied to the Visual Studio releases, they’ve just shot themselves in the foot big time.

The Big One – JQuery

Let’s face it, this was probably one of the biggest announcements MS has ever made. It (could possibly) signify a shift in MS’s stance on open source and community projects. Instead of going out and writing yet another half baked framework, they went out and found a way to package (arguably) the best one with their framework. I understand there are other frameworks out there (and have even used them), but none seems to be nearly as popular as JQuery. In fact, JQuery has basically become the Kleenex of Javascript. Often time’s we on our team will say “I’m gonna JQuery that up” or “Throw some JQuery there”. It’s a noun, a verb… whatever it needs to be for us to say “Use Javascript”.

In fact, I don’t think there would be very many open source libraries with more acceptance and use than JQuery.

Razor

Okay, so maybe I don’t get it, but it does seem a lot better than webforms. But why release it just to throw into webmatrix? Unless I’m missing something here and it’s going to be in ASP.Net MVC next week, or V3.0 (when will that get released?) then it’s ridiculous that it isn’t integrated already.

The big picture

So, though I may not exactly like all the techs I’m about to list, let’s look at them from a high level. MS now has it set up that they can offer an MVC Stack (ASP.Net MVC), a great Javascript Library (JQuery), an IoC container (Unity), an ORM (Entity Framework) and a decent command line environment to deploy it with (using psake and Pstrami if it ever comes out ;) . Again very positive.

So why the big rant?

My biggest point in my last post was “What took so long?” I’ve heard two stories regarding why MVC came to fruition. One is that they were worried about all the MVC frameworks and finally decided to build their own. The other (way cooler) one is that the Gu was given a demo of rails at a conference and loved it so much that he wrote the humble beginnings of ASP.Net on the plane ride home.

Either way, imagine if, instead of a reactive release in 2009 we had gotten a more proactive release even in 2006? Imagine if RIGHT NOW we had in our hands what ASP.Net MVC is going to look like in 2013. Look at the other frameworks. Whenever someone gets something right, they copy it almost immediately. Imagine we had a framework like that.

Or what about entity framework. I haven’t used it yet. I don’t have a need. But in talking to people I have found that EF4 is a huge step forward. Not great yet, but not bad either. It works, but still has shortcomings. Once again, imagine if instead of a 2008 release we had something more along the lines of, i don’t know, 2006? Imagine if EF were nearly as mature as NHibernate.

All I’ve been trying to say is that MS is always late to the party and then tries to get people to push these tools when they know there are better ones out there. There may come a day when an MVP who knows both EF and NHibernate will push  EF before NHibernate (it may even happen already) but it will not be common for a few more releases of EF.

But once again the positive

All these releases seem to be coming closer and closer together now. The IIS Express, Sql Server Compact Edition, Razor announcements recently are examples of that. It seems as though MS is paying attention to the developers and seemingly even other developer communities again. If they can continue to do that and continue shoving resources towards improving the development story on Windows, things are bound to improve. Hopefully quickly.

Let’s face it, outside Visual Studio, windows development is second rate compared to everything else, and I hope they change that because I don’t want to be second rate.

Look who finally showed up! — An Ode to Microsoft

Posted by – July 4, 2010

 

I’m going to start by saying that the first part (and majority) of this post will be negative. Not the whole thing, but you’ve been warned.

With the introduction of the Razor view engine today and the subsequent very expected questioning and praise, I’m feeling the same way I do about so many releases that Microsoft has made since I’ve been a .Net developer:

At best, a little pissed off. But let’s get to that later.

Let’s start with Razor. High level, is it:

  • New? Check.
  • Different? A little bit.
  • Ground breaking? No.
  • Revolutionary? Not even close.

If you take a look at the example’s in Scott Gu’s introductory post and the examples for the Spark View Engine, you’ll see why people are commenting about the similarity.

The fact of the matter is, it’s been done. So really, why be upset when people question the use of it? It’s this attitude that starts me on my rant.

ASP.Net

Let’s start way back on January 5, 2002. Love it or hate it, Microsoft introduced ASP.Net Webforms. Whether you agree with it’s methodology or not, you can’t deny that it was:

  • New.
  • Different.
  • Ground breaking.
  • Revolutionary.
  •  

    In fact, it was so revolutionary, that it took until March 17, 2009 before they even released the ASP.Net MVC framework that acknowledged there was another point of view on web development. Now was ASP.Net MVC:

  • New? That’s a big fat no.
  • Different? Maybe to webforms developers.
  • Ground breaking? Far from it.
  • Revolutionary? Way too late for that.
  •  

    Yet there everyone the pure MS developers were finally being enlightened on what web development could be like. And we were supposed to be grateful. Grateful that literally years after other developers figured it out, MS did. Java got struts in 2000. Ruby got Rails in 2005. There’s numerous others, but to finally get to the subject of my annoyance:

     

    WHAT IN THE F@%& TOOK MICROSOFT SO LONG?

     

    Powershell

    Yet another leap forward…. at least for the Microsoft world. How does it stack up:

    • New? Nope.
    • Different? A little.
    • Ground Breaking? Maybe if you include the .Net Integration.
    • Revolutionary? Not at all.

    There’s literally hundreds of shells. Microsoft finally got up to creating a real one. Reaching at least as far back as 1971, shells have a long and storied history. Probably the most celebrated of the shells, the Bourne Again Shell (bash) was first released in 1987, and was blowing the Microsoft world out of the water in terms of usability, capability and power from even back in the days of DOS. So why is it that it took until 2006 for Microsoft to take the next step?

    The obvious omissions for me are: a real history search and a preserved history. Two of the most beneficial tools in a bash user’s aresenal. Credit where credit is due though: The .Net integration story in powershell is immensely intriguing.

    Are you seri-OSS?

    Bad pun, I know. But the problem is so bad that the developer community has had to take it upon themselves to solve these problems and innovate themselves. There is too many for me to go into each one so I’m going to short list it:

    And the four point system of New, Different, Ground Breaking and Revolutionary is going to look the same for all these. Even the aforementioned items had OSS precursors (MonoRail vs MVC and cygwin/bash vs Powershell).

    So why all the acclaim?

    Instead of looking from the outside in, let’s take a look at these from the average Microsoft Developer who never strays from the walled garden. Every single technology mentioned would answer something like:

    • New? And shiny too!
    • Different? Mind bendingly so.
    • Ground Breaking? I’ve never seen anything like it!
    • Revolutionary? Unbelievably so!

    I’ve been an avid *nix user and had at least one or more *nix based systems in my house for 10+ years. I’ve been working (very casually) on a Rails site since 2006. I was a Java developer before I was a .Net developer. To me it always feel like we finally are arriving at the party, years after everyone else.

    Better late than never

    Truth be told, there _is_ a bright side to all this. Microsoft is finally starting to provide their developers with tools that other platforms have had for decades. Is there a push to be more developer friendly again? I’m not sure. All I know is that finally, they are attempting to move in the right direction. This is very positive. They aren’t there yet.

    In fact, currently Microsoft is playing catch up. But it seems like once you awaken the sleeping Beast of Redmond that things start to get done.

    It’s not all a miss

    I’ve personally used some Microsoft Techs with great success in projects. The ones that come to mind immediately to mind are Prism and WPF. Though both could be improved (we rolled our own Event Aggregator in Prism) and WPF’s INotifyPropertyChanged is frustrating, both are a great step over what we previously had.

    In fact, I think that the Framework itself is, overally, extremely impressive. I love C# as a language. I enjoy it and enjoy using it. It’s in many ways, far ahead of most other static languages, combined with VS and R# it’s a dream to use too.

    But…

    What happens if tomorrow the python devs make some huge leap forward that no other platform has? I would put money on the Java/Ruby/etc communities to mimic it almost immediately. Probably even the .Net OSS community will get something out. But will Microsoft have to wait for “the next release cycle”?

    Grateful?

    I’m going to be honest, I’m not happy with being second rate. In fact, I’m downright insulted that second rate is shoved in our faces and we’re expected to act like it’s the greatest thing ever. Yes new framework X IS much better than what we’ve got, but it’s still years behind what the other guys have. It’s a classic grass is greener situation, except for that the grass is measurably greener. You want to know why so many leaders are leaving .Net? It’s because Microsoft is behind the times and seemingly refuses to outright acknowledge it until people whine, bitch and complain for YEARS.

    Here’s an idea

    Wow me. Let’s go back to 2002. Do something. ANYTHING. Don’t just play catch up. Take it to the next level. Be the innovator. Beat the OSS community to the punch. If nothing else, Microsoft is putting itself in the position to do so. But intentions don’t keep developers on your platform.

    I’ve been saying it for the last few years: .Net is in many ways stagnant, old and behind the times.

    But I couldn’t be happier if they just came out and PROVED ME WRONG.

    So prove me wrong. PLEASE.

    Humor in Canadian Politics

    Posted by – December 5, 2008

     

    I’m not typically one to outright throw my beliefs in the faces of others just to be noticed, and that isn’t the intent here either. For those of you who haven’t heard or don’t know, Canada has a parliamentary form of government which you can kind of boil down to the fact that it’s possible for someone to run the government, but without a clear majority. This week in Canada, the left wing parties have decided to try and form a Coalition Government to overthrow the Conservatives.

    As well, some of you may notice the reference in my blog to The Dead Milkmen a humorous punk band from the 80′s and 90′s.

    Well a friend of mine and I have taken this opportunity to show not only a tribute to the Milkmen, but also to make light of the situation in the country. So here, for all posterity I give unto you my version of Beach Party Vietnam:

    Bloc Party Quebecois

    Duceppe and Bouchard with Michaëlle Jean
    When Duceppe got a letter from Mr. Dion
    Said get Layton and everyone
    We’re gonna start a co-ali-tion.

    With the Bloc Party Quebecois
    Parle anglais? Je ne c’est pas!
    Seperatists eating foie gras
    It’s a Bloc Party Quebecois!

    Hey Duceppe! Aren’t you gonna try and be PM?
    I’m afraid I can’t do that Bouchard.
    Why not?
    Because I don’t have any support in english Canada!!!
    (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!)

    Bloc Party Quebecois
    Parle anglais? Je ne c’est pas!
    Seperatists eating foie gras
    It’s a Bloc Party Quebecois!

    Duceppe he wants Harpers head
    Harper wants the Bloc dead.
    Hangin on the east side
    Gonna be some party genocide

    It’s a Bloc Party Quebecois
    Parle anglais? Je ne c’est pas!
    Seperatists eating foie gras
    It’s a Bloc Party Quebecois!

    YEAH!!!