ScottGu Shows Off a Little Silverlight 2

2/22/2008 2:30:57 PM

Scott Guthrie has a post that starts talking about what's new in Silverlight 2 (note, it is not Silverlight 2.0, its just Silverlight 2 --- apparently some marketing voodoo makes that the right thing to do).  Silverlight 2 brings us much, much closer to parity between WPF and what we can do in the browser.  It's very cool and Scott gives some great info to let you get a feel for how close we are getting.  Tick tick tick as we count down to the official beta release.


Headlines | Library

Larry Has Good "I Ain't Going to MIX" Advice

2/22/2008 1:04:11 PM

Larry Clarkin has put together a great list of five things you can do to get MIX'ed even if you are not going to the actual conference.


Slick Thoughts

Interesting InfoWorld Article on the State of Java

2/21/2008 7:51:37 PM

and to by extension, .NET.  This InfoWorld article looks at Java popularity and usage and some of the challenges it is facing moving forward.  Some truly interesting nuggets..

"Info-Tech sampled 1,900 companies, most of which are midmarket companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenues. The study found that 12 percent of enterprises focus exclusively on .Net as compared to 3 percent focused just on Java. Also, 49 percent center primarily on .Net, compared to 20 percent for Java. " --- That meshes with what I typically see.

"Still, the survey did find that the popularity of .Net decreases very gradually as the size of enterprises increases. But Goodall cautioned that in such companies, .Net's popularity decline did not come from an increase in Java usage, but instead from a preference for other development platforms in heterogeneous environments." --- I am not sure I would entirely agree with they "why" proposed for the differences between Java and .NET usage as enterprise size increases.  My experience has been that most larger companies lean more towards Java mostly because that was the first place Java penetrated and became a standard.  Big companies with big application needs five or six years ago predominately turned to Java.  They now have a large Java installed base.  It is not easy to try and change the course of that ship.  I rarely find large Java installs that have Java apps being deployed on multiple platforms - it happens, but it's rare. 

"Hansson agrees that .Net is also threatened by new frameworks, but he noted that .Net nevertheless seems to be taking away mindshare from Java in shops predisposed to use Microsoft technology." --- True to the point that both Java and .NET need to adapt to the changing development landscape.  Having said that, I think .NET is in some ways better positioned to adapt to these changes.  Things like the DLR, Project Astoria, etc., show we can adapt the platform quickly to try and incorporate the new things that are coming from other languages and platforms.  There seems to be some similar types of efforts on the Java side, but they seem more ad hoc and "bolt on" than something really happening closer to the heart of the platform.  Just my impression and I haven't spent a lot of time looking at it in detail so maybe I am wrong.

All in all, the article is an interesting data point.


Slick Thoughts

Goodness Coming For .NET Clients - ScottGu With Details

2/19/2008 5:23:33 PM

ScottGu has a great post covering a lot of the updates that are coming this year to make .NET applications easier to deploy, faster to start, and faster to run.  Good stuff.


Headlines | Library

Mono used to drive Second Life

2/19/2008 2:17:55 PM

Last night I was recording another Minnesota Developer Roundtable podcast (we punted on the MS Roundtable video since it was pretty large when all was said and done and didn't add much) and it came out that Second Life was going to start using Mono (Novell's implementation of the Common Language Runtime and parts of the .NET Framework on Linux).  I forget which of the guys mentioned it, but I hadn't heard that.  Very cool.  So a bit of sniffing and I came across this post announcing the Second Life Mono Beta Launch which then points to this Wiki entry talking more about Mono in Second Life.   I find this cool since it gives me that six degrees of separation feeling to Second Life (.NET -> Mono -> Second Life).  Personally, I don't the Second Life thing - tried it, got bored, never went back - but the technology is cool!



Financial Services OBA Component Library

2/19/2008 1:30:07 PM

clip_image001[5]Some good stuff announced at the Office Developers Conference.  One of the more interesting things is below:

The Financial Services OBA Component Library is a comprehensive set of 90+ OBA components that span across key areas in the Banking, Insurance and Capital Markets industries. This large set of  OBA components aim to solve industry concerns in the FSI verticals. All OBA components are based on both common financial schemas and standard web service protocols. These production grade OBA components accelerate both custom development and partner purchased solutions as they are in line with FS business process payloads.  The components are built in a composite way. This enables customers to assemble OBA components into existing or new business processes. You can check out Mike Walker's blog post for more info.

The Financial Services Component Library will include a set of FREE assets to customers and partners. These will be released over the next month on the Microsoft Financial Services Architecture Portal located:

The following is included on the MSDN site:

- Architecture Guidance – a set of whitepapers that are real world scenarios driven by the financial industry.

- Application Building Blocks -  An installable code base, message schemas and install guides will jump start your development effort

- Hands on Lab –Virtual PC image that allows customers to jump right in!

- Rich Media – WebCasts and PodCasts





Free Software for Academia - Microsoft DreamSpark

2/19/2008 10:39:24 AM

Microsoft is announcing DreamSpark today, which is a program through Channel8 that will offer our developer and designer tools at no charge to college students. The first release is targeted at 10 countries worldwide including China, Germany, France, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, the UK and the US. Microsoft will be adding more countries over time as some details get ironed out. There are also plans to open this up to High School students in the near future - which is awesome IMHO.

The products available include the following:

  • Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
  • XNA Game Studio 2.0
  • 12-month free membership in the XNA Creators Club
  • Expression Web
  • Expression Blend
  • Expression Design
  • Expression Media
  • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
  • Windows Server, Standard Edition

If you want to hear some "from on high" perspective on this, see Channel8 talk to BillG about DreamSpark

The software is available to all college-level students regardless of discipline, major or class. There are some caveats though. This software is provided free of charge as long as the software isn’t being used for commercial purposes. You can build the next Facebook in your college dorm, but once you go commercial with it you need to purchase an appropriate usage license.

There will be challenges in the beginning. As it turns out, there’s no easy way to verify a student’s status. Although 90% of the people who take advantage of this program will have a problem free experience, there may be some edge case that prove to be a little more difficult. We’ll get these ironed out as the program rolls out. You can read the FAQ for more information:



Developers and Designers in WPF

2/18/2008 12:21:34 PM

Josh Smith has an interesting post on the differences of developers and designers when working with WPF.  What makes his post even more interesting is that the designer is/was a developer, but in the example is living purely as a designer.  It's a good insight into the designer/developer world that WPF promotes.  This also ties nicely with some of the observations that Shannon Braun, local Minneapolis WPF guru, related during our interview a while back.


Slick Thoughts

Spaghetti Code 'Almost Live' - Using Reflection with Custom Attributes

2/15/2008 5:57:00 PM
In this episode, I use the custom attribute from the previous episode along with reflection to load data into a given object.  This sets the stage for being able to load all the data needed to begin to process races, and with that, to the first big step in using that data - a Bayesian Filter!  You can get the source for HorseNET up to this point by downloading it here.

Double-click for full screen


SpaghettiCode | Screencasts

BlackJack II Early Review

2/14/2008 7:11:49 PM

I just switched from Verizon and my Treo 700w to ATT and a BlackJack II.  That also means I am moving from Windows Mobile 5 to Windows Mobile 6.  Thoughts so far?  It is a much snappier device, that is for sure.  I miss having a touch screen interface, but mostly when I am browsing the web.  The biggest thing I miss is that the Treo would try and anticipate text recipients and words when I typed text messages.  No such feature in the BlackJack.  The BlackJack II does come with a pre-installed RSS reader and that has been a great addition.  I also was able to enable the GPS feature and it works great with the Live Mobile search app.  The only other thing I miss from the Treo is you could add Speed Dial entries directly to the home screen.  I haven't found a way to do that on the BlackJack II - it could be because that was a touch-specific feature on the Treo, but it would be nice to be able to scroll through pictures of the people you usually call based on your contact list.  But the perf and nice screen seem to balance out the missing features - so all in all things are going well.


Junk | Slick Thoughts

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Jeff Brand Jeff Brand

This is the personal web site of Jeff Brand, self-proclaimed .NET Sex Symbol and All-Around Good guy. Content from my presentations, blog, and links to other useful .NET information can all be found here.

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