Monday, January 28, 2008

clip_image001Hear ye, hear ye!  MIX08 to debut the first ever MIX UX Track which is 3 days of solid content dedicated to creatives / designers.  Lou Carbone, David Armano, Dan Roam, Kim Lenox and others will speak.  In conjunction with Adaptive Path, the User Experience track is just one of the many great reasons for all types of designers and creative professionals to attend MIX this year.  http://visitmix.com/2008/mixux.aspx

clip_image002 The deadline for this year’s CSS contest, RESTYLE, has been extended.  Folks can still clip_image003restyle the MIX08 Homepage and win a pass to MIX08, 3 nights at the Venetian, $$ and more, more, more! http://visitmix.com/2008/restyle/

clip_image004Have you been listening to The Signal?  Each week a new episode debuts featuring a speaker or MIX crew member talking about some of the upcoming coolness happening at MIX08.  Listen to their interviews with Molly Holzschlag, Kip Kniskern, Jonathan Snook and others as we countdown to Vegas.  http://visitmix.com/blogs/TheSignal/

clip_image006 Perhaps you remembered last year’s MIX, in which we featured Flotzam, a WPF screensaver mash-up that showed MIX07 feeds from Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and blogs. Well, we are doing it again this year with a twist: we are running a contest and will feature community created skins of the application on the big screen and on the screensavers of the computers available to attendees at the show.  The best skin will win an XBOX 360.  Entering the contest is easy: everything you need to know can be found here http://www.visitmix.com/blogs/News/403/ including links to screencasts and instructions that show how easy it is to do the restyle.  

Monday, January 28, 2008 9:35:45 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

Just to let everyone know, there's a CSLA .NET training class coming up in Atlanta Feb 18-20. The class is organized by Dunn Training, who has been delivering this quality training for over a year now, with great feedback from attendees!

Click here for details.

Monday, January 28, 2008 9:32:49 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Thursday, January 24, 2008

I reader recently sent me an email asking why the PTWebService project in the CSLA .NET ProjectTracker reference app has support for using the data portal to talk to an application server. His understanding was that web services were end points, and that they should just talk to the database directly. Here's my answer:

A web service is just like any regular web application. The only meaningful difference is that it exposes XML instead of HTML.

 

Web applications often need to talk to application servers. While you are correct – it is ideal to build web apps in a 2-tier model, there are valid reasons (mostly around security) why organizations choose to build them using a 3-tier model.

 

The most common scenario (probably used by 40% of all organizations) is to put a second firewall between the web server and any internal servers. The web server is then never allowed to talk to the database directly (for security reasons), and instead is required to talk through that second firewall to an app server, which talks to the database.

 

The data portal in CSLA .NET helps address this issue, by allowing a web application to talk to an app server using several possible technologies. Since different organizations allow different technologies to penetrate that second firewall this flexibility is important.

 

Additionally, the data portal exists for other scenarios, like Windows Forms or WPF applications. It would be impractical for me to create different versions of CSLA for different types of application interface. In fact that would defeat the whole point of the framework – which is to provide a consistent and unified environment for building business layers that support all valid interface types (Windows, Web, WPF, Workflow, web service, WCF service, console, etc).

Thursday, January 24, 2008 8:01:56 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Tuesday, January 22, 2008

in a recent email thread someone was wondering why component vendors are being so slow in coming out with grid controls for WPF/XAML.

One obvious reason is that grid controls are hard to build, and WPF/XAML is radically different from Windows Forms or Web Forms. But still, it is fair to wonder why these highly experienced control vendors haven't overcome that challenge.

I think the reason is that technology isn't the issue. At least not in the raw "learn how to use XAML" way. I think the real issue is much bigger!

Consider the incredible risk a vendor would assume by creating a grid control now.

Microsoft hasn’t come out with a WPF grid, and so there are no standard interfaces in .NET to support data binding to a grid. Certainly the current interfaces used by WPF are not nearly powerful enough to get in-place grid editing like we have in Windows Forms – and that’s a requirement if WPF is ever going to replace Windows Forms for business development.

Windows Forms and Web Forms both have benchmark grids from Microsoft. They set the standard, and define the core interaction used by data binding. The other vendors can then build around that core to do cool stuff. In particular, Windows Forms defines a whole set of powerful interfaces to allow in-place editing so the user can navigate freely in a grid, edit cells, add rows and delete rows – and press ESC to cancel changes to whatever row they are on. All features most users would consider critical to the in-place experience. The majority of those interfaces are not used by WPF today!! Nor does WPF have replacements for them. And if they do replace those interfaces then you can’t bind to a DataTable, which shuts out most developers from WPF again – probably a bad idea.

The WPF team has already shown that they’ll supersede existing interfaces (INotifyCollectionChanged was invented even though IBindingList was already there). So it is somewhat hard to predict where Microsoft might go in this regard. It is quite possible they’ll do the “worse of all worlds” and support the DataTable (all the existing Windows Forms interfaces) and invent a whole new model as well… (again, see INotifyCollectionChanged – invented for WPF, but IBindingList is also fully supported by WPF)

So in WPF the poor component vendors are really stuck. There’s no defined standard for this kind of data binding, so they need to invent it. They’ll each invent something different from the other vendors – and NONE of them will likely match whatever Microsoft eventually does. That means they are all in deep trouble when Microsoft does set the standard. And so are all consumers of those grids (all of us!).

This is very much like pre-ODBC database access, except in this case it is a very safe bet that “ODBC” is coming (in the form of some standard grid definition) and so investing in building a proprietary solution is a known dead-end. A waste of money and very likely a way to make many, many angry customers who may hate you forever.

Nasty business just now… :(

WPF
Tuesday, January 22, 2008 12:17:53 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I have refreshed the CSLA .NET 3.5 download with much more recent code. (www.lhotka.net/cslanet/download.aspx)

The C# and VB versions of the framework and ProjectTracker are now very comparable. The only difference is that the VB framework doesn't have the LINQ extensions yet (though the C# version doesn't have the coolest parts yet either).

Some highlights:

  1. All the new property/field/child management code is in both versions. The result is code reduction of ~35% per property and no more string literals for property names.
  2. All the new child object code is in both versions. The result is no more plumbing code for child objects, "automatic" lazy loading support and consistent persistence for root and child objects.
  3. Both versions have seriously enhanced type coercion that is used by the new property scheme and by DataMapper.
  4. Both versions have much improved type casting for SmartDate, allowing much more flexible use of this type.
  5. Check out the new ConnectionManager and ContextManager classes in Csla.Data for simplification of data access code with ADO.NET or LINQ.
  6. ProjectTracker.Library now uses an external data access assembly, which was created using LINQ to SQL.

There are many other changes/enhancements/fixes - check out the change log for details. Or look at all the green items in the wish list, because that's all in 3.5.

I am still planning to do a beta release around January 25, so this is probably the last preview release before the beta.

I'm still working on a number of issues, and have more testing to do in general, but this is getting reasonably close to the final 3.5 feature set.

If you have comments/questions/concerns, please voice them now! Once the beta starts I'll be doing bug fixes only.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 2:50:53 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Monday, January 07, 2008

You are invited to join Magenic at a complimentary webinar,
designed as a resource for IT decision makers.
Listen in and bring your questions for the Q&A.

Get More from BI with Integrated Performance Management (January 9)
For business and IT managers that rely on business systems to form insightful decisions, we’ll show you how to take your BI systems to the next level with Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server. view details


How to Break Through Software Development's Million-Dollar, 18-Month ROI Barrier (January 15)
There's no law that says custom software development projects must take 18 months and a million dollars to deliver ROI. There is a better way!  view details


How to Use CSLA .NET to make Building Object-Oriented Business Layers a Breeze (January 24)
In this technical overiew of CSLA .NET, Microsoft legend Rockford Lhotka expands on last month's webinar about the tremendous advantages of CSLA .NET. A must for technical professionals who want to master this development technique! view details


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Monday, January 07, 2008 5:34:32 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |