Christchurch .Net User Group Architecture Chat

Today was the third CHCH DNUG Architecture Chat’s. Once again at the Bohemian Cafe.

We had seven attendees today, with a couple new faces.

Topics discussed:

  • Google Analytics, and general site performance feedback systems. Bryn discussed the power of monetizing the cost of down time on a production server, and using this to improve development processes.
  • Windows Workflow Foundation, I inquired weather anybody had any experience with it yet, Gary said he was starting to look at it, but had some useful articles from the web about others findings.
  • Office Ribbon and task oriented customization, we talked about the office ribbon, and about other methods of solving the task oriented activities. I was firmly in the ribbon makes sense, “let-go of your fear luke” camp.
  • SOA, followed on from the ribbon.
  • A little gadget wars.
  • And generally Bryn telling good tales from the dark places.

There was a standing in the door discussions also, where I partook in about TDD, and more WWF/WCF/DCOM architecture stuff.

A Whip around Workflow Foundation

Chris Auld gave the Christchurch .Net user group a presentation on Windows Workflow Foundation today.

The highlight for me was the Rule Engine demo. As at work we are about to built a configuration tool, with the configuration elements defined in XML, but what I hadn’t solved was how to manage the dependency rules, and relations between elements. Ta-da problem solved.

The plan is to build at runtime a class that has properties per element, like enabled, mandatory. Then the rules XML can be loaded, and as elements are set, the related elements can be disable, or flagged as mandatory. Then the UI can be data bound to the dynamic property object, for displaying the changed state.

Oh, I’m just so excited. Now I have to download and prototype that general case and see how it goes. All up, I’m very excited!

Chris mentioned the wf.netfx3.com site, and the Rules Engine demo’s can be found on this page

Christchurch DNUG Ron Jacobs World Tour of NZ

Last night I attended the last DNUG for the year. ARCast host Ron Jacobs was speaking on application security. Ron has a good speaking style and the meeting was enjoyable. The material was more security 101 level than I had expected, but it’s always good to be reminded of the fundamentals.

I have subscribe to the ARCast podcast, we will see how that goes. We got handed out a CD with 50 ARCast shows, so I look forward to listing thought that backlog.

I volunteered to present a Generics 101 session next year. Quite excited about it. Spent ages thinking of what could/should be covered, once home. I feel that I have a few angles that would be interesting to discuss, so am feeling amped, even though it won’t be till March/April.

Microsoft Connect ‘06

Well it was a week ago that I went to the Microsoft Connect ’06 event here in Christchurch.

My very first impression was it took me three weeks to register for it, as there where problems with the registration server. Darryl mentioned it on the 13th of April, and the site did not work until Nathan mentioned it on 3rd on May.

Second impression was, when you have yummy chicken at home, and you’re going to a Microsoft event, leave the chicken in the fridge. Do not make the yummiest chicken sandwiches, because Microsoft caters the event. Yes I heard complainers about the quality of the food, but put that aside, keep you beloved chicken safe at home. I plead for the reset of you not to make this same fatal mistake. Also without the need to put my sandwiches in something I would have left my bag at home, and thus looked professional like every one else, and not like some student. <zen> But then we are all students in life.</zen>

Third impression is that big screen TVs are big, and that Sean‘s Xbox 360 looked sweet on the big screen. It (the Xbox 360) looked even better once it was turned onto high definition mode. I played a few games, and Peter opinioned on the mailing list I was hogging the unit, I rebut this, but noticed for the second half of lunch he was standing in the foyer talk to Brent and Andrew.

So after been impressed by all the non-core things at Connect I come to the day’s topics, Vista and Office 2007.

I mainly went to this to see the Office ribbon bar that I’d heard a bit about and see all the new gleam in Vista. The key note was key notey. Darryl’s talk on Office was interesting, but I have no problems to solve, so the open API and architecture of the docx format earns brownie points, but not really a must buy feature for me.

What I did enjoy though was Jeremy’s two part talk on Vista. I had heard a lot of complaining from developer circles about the new security system in Vista, but I think it’s great. For the average user, who does only log on as Admin (mom and dad type, oh and me), you now get asked. Yes to admin things will be more annoying, and for some forms of dev work you’ll have to turn it off, but that’s fine, you are then taking power users steps to declare responsibility for the machine. Fare enough. I also found the WCF demo impressive.

Afterwards the Christchurch .Net user group had a small (4 people plus 2 later comers) gathering at Spagalimis. Where Peter handed out some developer magazines, we chatted about the day, and any impacts this may have.

So in summary: Vista looks really cool, XBox 360 is fun (especially Geometry Wars), and leave your chicken at home.

Pushing Data to Mobile devices.

On the .NetUserGroup Compact Framework mailing list, Derek Ekins asked about syncing work. At work we currently use a pull method, but are moving to a background thread pull method.

Nic Wise pointed out a MSDN paper I’d read a while back, about differed response HTTP messages as a push mechanism. This seems quite a clever method.

We also use a really great piece of software MobiControl by Soti Inc, that sends hello’s to the sever so the server can do true push, but this requires public IP addresses.