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 Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I've worked at numerous clients who've done offshoring projects, and for the most part I've watched the potential savings evaporate due to various factors (typically a ton of rework on the back end, as the clients ended up spending months "fixing" the software so it would actually meet their needs).

Having watched that happen, I always wanted to write a blog post detailing the issues, risks and costs. Now I don't have to because a fellow Magenicon has done a really nice job with this article: 

Latest in Offshoring to India: Considerations in Evaluating Onshore vs. Offshore Software Development

Interestingly enough, I would be that a lot of that rework I've seen happen at these clients would not have been necessary if they'd recognized the real costs and risks ahead of time - most of which are covered in Matt's article. By recognizing the real risks ahead of time, it would have been possible to put procedures in place, and assign local resources to the project up front to help mitigate or manage those risks. Sure, doing those things does eat into the savings, but would almost certainly help avoid the incredibly costly rework that is otherwise required on the back end of the project.

My brother manages a global team. His team exists in the US, France, India and Japan. They do 24 hour development. He has a lot of interesting stories to tell about cultural communication barriers (missing deadlines because a US phrase meaning "we'll get it done" means "we'll think about it" in another country, that sort of thing). And the joy of rotating conference calls through all hours of the day and night so the team can coordinate and so no one nation's team has to get up at 2 AM all the time. I've stayed at his house when he had to get up for a 2 AM conference call - what fun!

But his team is successful. After years of working through the various issues, and using a high level of process and formalization (he's a Six Sigma Black Belt and instructor), they have been able to get this all working. Prior to having that level of formalization and rigor of process though, I know they really struggled.

So the costs and risks associated with offshoring are very real. Whether they make local resources cheaper or not is a case-by-case thing, but it is clearly ridiculous to expect a huge savings by offshoring after you factor in all the issues involved.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 8:05:03 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Thursday, October 18, 2007

My email provider just emailed me to let me know that emails to my lhotka.net addresses (and in particular my admin @ lhotka.net address) may have been lost between October 10-14.

I am posting this on my blog, because that admin address is the location people email to get support from http://store.lhotka.net.

So if you emailed me for support or help with purchasing my ebooks within the past few days, and I haven't responded, it is probably because the emails were lost. Please email me again and I'll do what I can to help resolve any issues.

Thank you!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 7:47:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Wednesday, October 17, 2007

   

Now available in both VB and C# editions!

CSLA .NET version 3.0 adds support for Microsoft .NET 3.0 features. This ~120 page ebook covers how to use these new capabilities:

  • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
    • Creating WPF forms using business objects
    • Using the new controls in the Csla.Wpf namespace
      • CslaDataProvider
      • Validator
      • Authorizer
      • ObjectStatus
      • IdentityConverter
    • Maximizing XAML and minimizing C#/VB code
  • Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)
    • Using the new WCF data portal channel to seamlessly upgrade from Remoting, Web services or Enterprise Services
    • Building WCF services using business objects
    • Applying WCF security to encrypt data on the wire
    • Sending username/password credentials to a WCF service
      • Including use of the new Csla.Security.PrincipalCache class
    • Using the DataContract attribute instead of the Serializable attribute
  • Windows Workflow Foundation (WF)
    • Creating activities using business objects
    • Invoking a workflow from a business object
    • Using the WorkflowManager class in the Csla.Workflow namespace

Version 3.0 is an additive update, meaning that you only need to use the .NET 3.0 features if you are using .NET 3.0. CSLA .NET 3.0 is useful for people using .NET 2.0!! These features include:

  • Enhancements to the validation subsystem
    • Friendly names for properties
    • Better null handling in the RegExMatch rule method
    • New StringMinLength rule method
    • Help for code generation through the DecoratedRuleArgs class
  • Data binding issues
    • Fixed numerous bugs in BusinessListBase to improve data binding behavior
    • Throw exception when edit levels get out of sync, making debugging easier
    • N-level undo changed to provide parity with Windows Forms data binding requirements
  • AutoCloneOnUpdate
    • Automatically clone objects when Save() is called, but only when data portal is local
  • Enhancements to the authorization subsystem
    • CanExecuteMethod() allows authorization for arbitrary methods

CSLA .NET 3.0 includes numerous bug fixes and some feature enhancements that benefit everyone. If you are using version 2.0 or 2.1, you should consider upgrading to 3.0 to gain these benefits, even if you aren't using .NET 3.0.

See the change logs for version 3.0, version 3.0.1 and version 3.0.2 for a more detailed list of changes.

Using CSLA .NET 3.0 is completely focused on how to use the new features in version 3.0. The book does not detail the internal changes to CSLA .NET itself, so all ~120 pages help you use the enhancements added since version 2.1.

Get the book at store.lhotka.net.

Download the 3.0.2 code from the CSLA .NET download page.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 5:10:06 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Earlier this week I co-presented a session at ReMIX in Boston, with Anthony Handley, a fellow Magenicon. Anthony is a User Experience Specialist, and the two of us have been working on a WPF/Silverlight project (that also happens to use CSLA .NET of course :) ) and in this presentation we discussed our experiences using WPF from the perspectives of a developer and a designer.

Here are the links to the video of the session.

Real World Experiences Building Applications Using WPF and Silverlight

Part 1
http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=346810
Part 2
http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=346812
Part 3
http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=346815
Part 4
http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=346818

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:10:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

I recently branched the CSLA .NET codebase in the svn repository (www.lhotka.net/cslacvs for a web view).

Version 3.0.3, which is the maintenance branch for the current 3.0.2 version, is on a branch now. This is a VS 2005 solution (though ProjectTracker does include some VS 2008 projects for .NET 3.0 concepts).

Active development is still on the trunk, and is for version 3.5. I'll be switching that version to a VS 2008 solution in the near future.

Switching to VS 2008 is a big deal. I realize that many people will be using VS 2005 for a long time to come, and so I don't do this lightly.

However, CSLA .NET 3.5 will include features around LINQ and other .NET 3.5 concepts. As such, I must use VS 2008 to do that work, because that is the tool for .NET 3.5 (and really for .NET 3.0).

If possible, I'll continue to use the compiler directive approach to allow building Csla.dll for .NET 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5. Whether this is realistic or not depends on the level at which LINQ ends up integrating into the framework. If LINQ gets too deep, the complexity introduced by the compiler directive approach may become higher than I'm willing to deal with, at which point I'll drop that idea. But for now, my goal is to continue to allow backward targeting of the framework.

Fortunately VS 2008 itself also supports backward targeting, so it is possible to use VS 2008 to build assemblies for .NET 2.0, 3.0 or 3.5. This may help mitigate some of the pain of having the Csla project switch to 2008, because you can still use 2008 to build for a .NET 2.0 deployment environment.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 11:02:08 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

In CSLA .NET 3.0 I implemented Csla.Wpf.Validator. This control provides functionality similar to the Windows Forms ErrorProvider control, only in WPF. Of course the ErrorProvider relies on the standard IDataErrorInfo interface, which CSLA supports on behalf of your business objects, and so my Validator control used that same interface.

While I was researching and designing the Validator control, I was in contact with the WPF product team. As a result, I had (shall we say) a "strong suspicion" that my control was a temporary stop-gap until Microsoft provided a more integrated solution. And that's fine - we needed something that worked, and Validator was the ticket.

This blog post provides some good, detailed, insight into the real solution in .NET 3.5: 

Windows Presentation Foundation SDK : Data Validation in 3.5

A couple people have emailed me, asking what I think about this. My answer: I'm happy as can be!

As I say, I knew Validator was temporary. WPF is a version 1.0 technology, and it is very clear that Microsoft will be evolving it rapidly over the next few years. And it is equally clear that WPF must evolve to catch up to, and hopefully exceed, Windows Forms. That means more robust data binding support, including an ErrorProvider equivalent.

So to me, this just means that CSLA .NET 3.5 can drop the Validator control, because there's now a directly supported solution in .NET itself. While this will require changing XAML when moving from .NET 3.0 to 3.5, it is a worthwhile change to make.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 9:31:01 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The VB version of CSLA .NET 3.0.2 is now officially available. For details see this post, and to download the code go to www.lhotka.net/cslanet/download.aspx.

The VB edition of Using CSLA .NET 3.0 is in final review and should be available within a few days.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 7:32:10 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
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