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So many new technologies… where to start?

June 12, 2007 Comments off

The past few months have kept developers hopping with new technologies.  It’s actually difficult to know what cool new technology to latch on to and learn—because it seems that they are coming and going overnight.  Summertime is typically a bit more quiet at my office, so what’s on my list to play with this summer?  The ( ) numbers are somewhat the priority I have for learning them… 1000 is something that is my high priority and it tapers down from there.

Skills:

  • Scrum (1000) – I’d love to take some time this fall and go to a ScrumMaster course in Denver, CO and really surround myself in it.  Many of the practices are odd to apply here, but over the next few months, we’re slowly going to be adding more developers into the mix; and more collaborative working.
  • TDD (800) – Even on the small scale that I’ve used, I see so much value to TDD; I just need to find a way to work it into our environment and methods.
  • Interactive Testing (400) – I’ve been rolling out NUnit tests for quite a while now, but never really saw the value in tests that I had to KNOW the answer to… The mocks (Rhino) look pretty interesting.
  • Architecture (600) – A lot of what I do now focuses more on building architecture and laying out rather than the actual coding (I code my own projects still, yeah…).  I am NOT as educated on this as I’d like to be, but honestly am not sure where to go beyond books and reviewing how others do it.  There are no leaders in our organization for this.  Hmmm.

Tools:

  • ReSharper (1000) – I’ve used it for … hmm… two years now for C#; but the more I read, I’ve never “used” it, I need to change that.
  • Orcas (500) – Not really a “got to know,” but I just need to explore everything that’s changed in Orcas.

Technologies:

  • WCSF (800) – I’ve only used the Web Client Software Factory a few times, and for nothing that went into production. 
  • Acropolis / SCSF (600) – Ehh, this is a case where it seems like one technology is beating up another.  Acropolis looks VERY cool and slick on Vista for little applications, but I haven’t narrowed down what it offers yet besides “slickness”.
  • NHibernate (800) – I need to figure out what the pros and cons are to NHibernate or if I just want to focus on LINQ for SQL/Objects/everything.
  • Windsor/Castle/MonoRail (400) – While not things that I see getting implemented here at the office, the technologies greatly interest me.  I’ve been a bit captivated with RoR for a while now, just not the time to investigate it. 
  • Silverlight (500) – Just coolness factor.  I’ve loathed Flash for years and welcome a replacement. 
  • .NET  3.x (1000) – 3.0 came and went without much notice and now we’re to 3.5.  I hope to tackle some WPF, WCF, (D)LINQ before it’s already passè.
  • SharePoint 2007 (400) – We’ll eventually migrate from SPS2003 to MOSS2007. I need to spend some time with the technology and learn it.

Looks like a busy summer.

Acropolis – WPF Clients Made Easy?

June 7, 2007 Comments off

Brad Abrams posted up information regarding Acropolis; a somewhat CAB-on-steroids for smart clients.  The concept appears to be to take the work off of developers shoulders in regards to presentation design and allow more focus on developing business logic and connecting that logic to modular components. 

Acropolis CTP 1 Download <— Remember, you must be running Orcas to install these bits.

Acropolis Forums

Digging through the existing forums, a few have asked what the difference between Acropolis and CAB/Smart Clients really are (besides the cool name and XAML support), Benjamin Wulfe, a Development Lead from MSFT responded:

The Acropolis framework is explicitly targetting CAB scenarios and is adding:

  • Full .Net Fx support.  The Acropolis framework (unlike the CAB) will be an integrated part of the .Net Client framework and will be a fully supported product.
  • First class support for a WPF front end — including new features such as pluggable transitions and themes and view switching.
  • Full VS/Tooling support.  We are building out a designtime experience.  We know the CAB is popular and powerful, but its lack of tooling can make it unapproachable for a large number of folks
  • Other new features — such as Xaml declarative support, document management and navigation.

I’m working up a virtual environment now to get this loaded up and start dinking with it on my free time (hah, right, what’s that?).  This will be a big jump for me as I haven’t worked much with the SCSF—most everything I do is ASP.NET/Web-centric.  Has anyone out there had time to install the bits and see how well it flows?

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