A journey to .Net

Back from DevTeach 2010

Thursday, 18 March 2010 21:39 by mBerube
(Also available in: français)

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend DevTeach 2010 in the "wonderful" city of Mississauga (it's so lovely to spend 4 days in an industrial zone at 1 cab hour from downtown). Anyway, we weren't there for the beautiful landscape but to get some refresh on .Net stuff and to learn about improving our processes and products. We got a lot of informations and you can check the conference  site to have an overview. There's the main subject covered:

Rich Internet Application

Rich Internet Application are now part of our daily live and for developper, RIA means Javascript. In the last few years, Javascript framework like JQuery have simplified developers life because before, every line of working javascript could be a potential bomb in another browser. Modern browsers now use stronger standards and JQuery shims the last differences. Also, JQuery is used to keep HTML to its purpose, describe document structure. All the work to style and manage page events is delegated to JQuery. DevTeach site contains an excellent example of that use of jQuery in the session material of James Kovacs, Convention over configuration in a web world. We should make sure that this code is managed as carefully as our .Net code (using good file name conventions and comments) so the javascript doesn't became an unmanageable mess.

.Net 4.0

It's been 5 years since we did got a new CLR but now it is. .Net 4.0 comes with a lot of improvements and novelties. My favorites are:

  • Dynamic language integration into the plateform. Gives a lot of flexibility, allow interop with purely dynamic languages like ironPython et ironRuby. But it also allow creation of really messy code so it's a feature to use with care.

  • Improvement in client coding. With ASP.NET 4.0, many controls have been corrected like menus to render cleaner HTML easier to style with CSS and client tools. Also, it's now possible to control how the client ID's are generated, really useful when you use Javascript.

Visual Studio 2010

The new release of Visual Studio contains some really interesting things:

  • A better integration (well, an integration) with Sharepoint. It's now possible to develop, test and deploy on Sharepoint directly from Visual Studio, on the developer workstation. It seems obvious but if you've done some Sharepoint development prior VS2010, you know that it was not that simple.

  • A better deployment system, mainly for web application. I can now manage many deployment profiles in VS for all the environment (ex: DEV,QA, PROD) you have. It was possible before with 3rd party tools and a bit of scripting magic, it now fully integrated with the addition of a web.config transform tool if some values change between environment, what is happening most of the time.

  • Code navigation has been improved with, for example, the possibility to get the call tree of a methode (who am I calling, you are calling me). Really useful to quickly evaluate the impact of a change. You can also use the TAB key on a field, property or method to navigate to every place this element is used.


Finally, a full day was dedicated to Agile methodologies and how we can use some of there principles to add some "agility" to our process, estimates, customer relations and team relations. It's a bit though to resume all that information here but I advise you to take a look at the material on the DevTeach web site. I personally began to practice some of these simple but interesting ideas. For example, focus on 2 or 3 really important tasks to do each day (no more) and do whatever you can to at least complete these tasks. It keeps you focused on the work you have to do and keep you from the impression of running all day long without accomplishing anything. I've been trying it for a couple of days and results are pretty good (for productivity and mood). I continue on then experiment and I'll blog about it later.

Also, we has a discussion on how implement new practices I a team. It's been suggested to select a small number of objectives, work on it an when the practice is fully understood and integrated, insert new ones. Create the habits. I'll try to pratice that idea by reserving 1 hour a week in my agenda to work on this blog (no more for now, just to create the habit). We'll see if it lasts ! 

That's it for today. Take also a look to the favorites page, I've added new things. Check them and make your suggestions.

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Categories:   Programmer life
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