.NET Developments

February 5, 2008  5:35 PM

Getting a daily dose of .NET perspective

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. Nice, neat, ordered lists of what matters most are therefore wonderful.

Chris Alcock is a British software developer who has taken it upon himself to write a morning roundup of .NET software releases, tutorials and general community news. He started last month and, frankly, has been doing a pretty good job thus far.

His blog is called Reflective Perspective — it’s the latest member of our blog roll — and his newsletter is called The Morning Brew (hey, we all like coffee). You can subscribe to The Morning Brew here.

Keep up the good work, Chris.

February 4, 2008  10:54 AM

Lang.NET Day 3 considers, Ruby, Moonlight, Cobra

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

Ruby was first at bat on Day 3 of the Lang.NET in Redmond. Wayne Kelly and Jon Lam both presenting. Jon Lam’s IronRuby session was a status update on where the project stands, and how Lam’s Microsoft group intends to get to 1.0. He said his group has debugging and stack back-traces working. In his Day 3 report, blogger Ted Neward comments that the time is ripe for a Ruby spec to appear.

Miguel de Icaza talked about Moonlight, how it happened, where it is today, and where it can go, according to a blog post by none other than John Lam. (Moonlight is an implementation of Silverlight for Linux.)

Among interesting elements uncovered as informal stand-ups during the event was Cobra, which is described as an imperative, object-oriented general-purpose language that runs on .NET and Mono. In a single language, it seeks to combine clean syntax as found in Python and Ruby, as well as static and dynamic typing, while exhibiting run-time performance akin to C# and C++. No small task! A nod to Harry Pierson for his link to Cobra.

February 1, 2008  10:26 AM

Wow — Microsoft offers nearly $45 billion for Yahoo

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Woke up to some stunning news this morning — Microsoft made an unsolicited offer to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion. That works out to $31 a share, which is a 62% premium on the closing price of Yahoo stock last night ($19.18).

As Dare Obasanjo put it: “WOW. Just…wow.” Meanwhile, Reuters reminds us that this would be the biggest Internet deal since the AOL-Time Warner merger — which, if you recall, didn’t quite go so well.

SearchWinDevelopment.com has all the details in its story, Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion. Stay tuned for details.

UPDATED Feb. 4 — We’ve added a story that tries to make sense of everything that has developed since Friday morning. It’s called Assessing Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo, and we hope it is more helpful than confusing.

January 30, 2008  11:01 PM

Visual Basic futures, Volta on display at Lang.NET Symposium Day 2

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

As the Microsoft Lang.NET Symposium went into Day 2, the parade of languages and language combos continued. First out of the blocks was Eric Meijer with a discussion of Volta.

Volta uses a shared programming model to allow ”declarative tier-splitting, ” thus parsing apps into tiered-partitions. Volta has been described as a recompiler that works on MSIL rather than on a textual source language, rewriting MSIL into another target language, such as JavaScript. The Volta tools come out of work in Microsoft Research, but are available as downloads from Microsoft Live Labs.

According to Lang.NET Symposium attendee and .NET Languages blogger Jason Bock, Meijer showed a demo of Volta using VB at the event. Meijer wrote a VB client app that was translated into Javascript. Writes Bock: “Asynchronous programming is also mapped in Volta. [Meijer] showed that Volta has end-to-end profiling, which was really impressive.”

Visual Basic meister Paul Vick talked at the symposium about VB, naturally, and the idea of returning scripting to Visual Basic. According to Ted Neward, Vick said the next goal of Visual Basic was to provide the complete range of core/compiler, project and IDE services for people who want to use VB as a scripting engine. Vick demonstrated a simple WinForms app that hosted a single control that exposed the VB editor.

The odd thing is that Visual Basic seemed to take a detour to static approaches and objects just when much of the programmer community was going into reverse, heading away from C++ and Java and toward Ruby. With its appearance as part of the program at Lang.NET, it can be looked at anew.

Here is a sampling of the inimitable Ted Neward, riffing on the Visual Basic struggling under the yoke of the Gods of Computer Science:

I don’t know what Visual Basic did to anger the Gods of Computer Science, but think about it for a second: they were a dynamic language that ran on a bytecode-based platform, used dynamic typing and late name-based binding by default, provided a “scripting glue” to existing applications (Office being the big one), focused primarily on productivity, and followed a component model from almost the first release. Then, after languishing for years as the skinny guy on the beach as the C++ developers kicked sand on their blanket, they get the static-typing and early-binding religion, just in time to be the skinny guy on the beach as the Ruby developers kick sand on their blanket.

Among others appearing on Day 2 was Tomas Petricek, developer lead for the Phalanger PHP language compiler for .NET. Petricek in the past has shown PHP working on Silverlight, and he is said to be moving toward a partial port of Phalanger PHP to the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR).

January 30, 2008  3:11 PM

Visual Studio 2008 availability expands

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Visual Studio 2008 is now available the old-fashioned way — through retail and volume licensing. The new IDE has been available to MSDN subscribers for a good two months now, and MSDN availability has expanded as well.

Microsoft’s US ISV Developer Evangelism team has a blog post about the announcement. The post also reminds readers of Visual Studio 2008’s new features and provides links to a bunch of relevant resources.

If you haven’t given Visual Studio 2008 a spin yet but intend to do so, then here are two things you may want to check out:

Of course, as The Register points out, the Visual Studio 2008 release, coupled with the recent SQL Server 2008 delay, means that the upcoming Microsoft launch event in Los Angeles is even less important than originally intended — which is not at all to say that the VS team should be chided for getting the retail version out a month ahead of the launch event.

January 30, 2008  1:20 PM

Good manners: Unit test syntax and semantics

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

Microsoft MVP Roy Osherove is at work on a book about the art of unit testing. It is interesting to read his site as his thinking evolves and his book moves to completion.

For an example, see a recent post concerning unit testing semantics and syntax. Osherove says he sees a trend that accompanies greater use of Domain Specific Languages (DSLs), in which developers create more readable syntaxes for tests and specifications.

Osherove asks for input and notes that consistent naming conventions for unit tests are still something people are striving to achieve. Learning and relearning test-related languages seems to come with the territory. What do you think?

January 29, 2008  11:03 AM

Lang.NET shows Iron Python with Robotics Studio, JScript on DLR

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

Microsoft’s Lang.NET Symposium 2008 got up and running yesterday. C# father Anders Hejlsberg talked about C# 3.0 features, IronPython guru Hugunin discussed the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) and IronPython, and Pratap Lakshman from the JScript team talked about the new managed implementation of JScript, codenamed Managed JScript.

Hejlsberg, as reported by blogger extraordinaire Ted Neward, told the assembled language heads that the conventional divisions of language types (into categories) covering the functional, the object-oriented, and so on will break down in the years ahead.

IronPython high priest Jim Hugunin did a demo that mixed Microsoft Robotics Studio code with IronPython running on the DLR. Hugunin’s creation, IronPython, was recently updated as IronPython RC 1.1.1 on CodePlex.  Hugunin created Jython, a Java version of Python.

IronPython 1.0 was debuted in September 2006. The latest release candidate is described as a minor update focused on bug fixing. Hugunin’s team has fielded IronPython 2.0 Alpha 1, as well. This is the first release of IronPython built on the DLR, and targeting version 2.5 of Python.

For his part, Pratap Lakshman provided an overview of the managed Jscript implementation originally discussed at MIX07.  JavaScript on top of the DLR became a reality as part of Silverlight 2.0 (then known as Silverlight 1.1).

Surprise guests at the symposium were Java specialists John Rose and Charles Nutter, who discussed Java’s increasing support of new languages on the JVM.

Planned Day 2 discussions at Lang.NET 2008 include Eric Meijer on Volta, Paul Vick on Visual Basic and Karl Prosser ”Powershell Plus. ”

January 28, 2008  3:42 PM

What’s obsolete in .NET Framework 2.0

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

The jump from .NET 1.1 to .NET 2.0 was a pretty significant one, as it involved changes such as new APIs and a new version of the CLR.

Why bring this up now? One, we know there are a lot of .NET 1.1 applications out there, so any programmers looking to migrate those applications will want to know which APIs made it into .NET 2.0 and which did not. Two, .NET 3.0 and 3.5 use the same APIs and the same CLR — remember, those upgrades focus primarily on new libraries and new programming language features like LINQ.

To that end Indian blogger cabhilash recently pointed folks to two rather helpful MSDN documents covering that which is obsolete in the .NET Framework 2.0.

The documents are .NET Framework V2.0 Obsolete Type/Member List (By Assembly) and .NET Framework V2.0 Obsolete Type/Member List (By Namespace). For each member or type, Microsoft provides a sentence or two explaining why it should not be used. There tend to be two general reasons for obsolescence — depreciation in Visual Studio 2005 or, simply, a better way of doing things in VS 2005. Either way, the lists are worth a look-see.

January 25, 2008  1:56 PM

.NET reference posters: Great things come in large packages

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Posters make good conference swag, but they don’t always fit into the suitcase. Fortunately, many of Microsoft’s greatest hits — .NET Framework namespaces, Visual Studio 2008 and 2005 keyboard shortcuts, Silverlight 2.0 Developer References and so on — are available for download on MSDN.

Chris Bowen recently did the world a favor and compiled the most recent .NET reference posters in a single blog entry. As he admits, “I didn’t realize just how many until I searched for ‘poster’ on MSDN downloads.” (For the curious, 22 posters pop up in the search results.)

Bowen points to numerous useful .NET posters, including the aforementioned Namespaces and Silverlight references, keyboard shortcuts for C# 3.0, C++ 2008 and Visual Basic 2008, BizTalk Server 2006 charts and Microsoft Office 2007 features.

Meanwhile, one comment from Bowen’s entry points to the Developer Readiness Program, a South African .NET technology training company. DRP offers dozens of reference posters, with particular attention paid to SharePoint 2007, Team Foundation Server and the .NET 3.0 technologies. In addition, TFS posters are available in Spanish and Portuguese in addition to English.

Nearly all these .NET reference posters are rather large, so go find yourself a nice color printer if you intend to redecorate the walls of your cubicle.

January 22, 2008  10:41 AM

Curl up with a good book on Agile

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Patrick Kua, a developer, trainer and coach with ThoughtWorks, has compiled a nice list of books that he has dubbed The Essential Agile Reading List:

One of the searches that stumbled across my blog was the “Agile Coaching Reading List”. Running the same query returned a huge mish mash of lots of different things so I thought I’d put together my list of essential reads.

Kua’s list is divided into several categories, including methodologies and planning, continuous improvement and development practices. Commenters have added a few volumes to the list as well.

Go check out The Essential Agile Reading List and find a tome for passing the time at work.

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