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November 2007 Blog Posts

Finally I did it

Today, taking advantage of the International version of the Black Friday, I finally ordered a MacBook.

I went for the mid version, which is the 13", 2.2Ghz SantaRosa-based Core 2 Duo, 120GB HDD and 2GB of RAM. So now I'm officially joining the ranks of the cool people developing .NET apps on a Mac.

Now the difficult decision is: Parallels or VMWare Fusion?

JD went for Fusion, Damien Guard for Parallels, Andrew Butel is using Parallels. Hammett did some testing compiling Castle on Bootcamp, Parallels and Fusion, and the winner was Fusion, which was even faster then Bootcamp.

I used Parallels a few days when I was developing the demos for my Vista Gadget presentation back in September, so as soon as I get my hands on the Mac I'll try Fusion, and than I'll be able to make a decision.

But there is more: I'm going to buy also a Cinema Display 20"... it's impossible to use Visual Studio on a 13" display.

Silverlight 1.1 renamed to Silverlight 2.0

A lot of talking went on in the last months whether 1.1 was a good version number for Silverlight vNext, the one that will support managed code, a more extended BCL. And almost everybody agreed that, since the "next" Silverlight was a completely different beast from the currently released 1.0, a point release didn't give the feel of the differences between the 2 versions. Today ScottGu announced that Silverlight 1.1 has been renamed to Silverlight 2.0:

Previously we've been referring to this .NET-enabled Silverlight release as "Silverlight V1.1".  After stepping back and looking at all the new features in it (the above list is only a subset - there are many more we aren't sharing yet), we've realized that calling it a point release doesn't really reflect the true nature of it.  Consequently we have decided to change the name and refer to it as "Silverlight V2.0" going forward.

The first beta release of this managed Silverlight will be in Q1 2008, and will support a Go-Live license.

This next release will feature:

  • Richer WPF UI: with layout manager, data-binding, skinning and control template
  • Rich Controls: the next version will have the common controls like button, textbox, radio button, check box, etc.
  • Network Support: REST, POX, RSS, WS* and cross-domain network access
  • Extended BCL support: LINQ to XML, HTML DOM API, and more

But I fear that it will not be released for the Silverlight Challenge, actually my guess is that it will be released for the MIX08 in March 2008.

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ListView breaking change strikes the VS2008 Training Kit

The same day VS2008 was released, Microsoft released also a training kit with 120Mb of PPT, demos and code samples.

Among the many demos there is one about the new features of ASP.NET introduced with the framework 3.5: LinqDataSource, DataPager, and ListView.

But the code for the sample on the ListView contains an error, probably because it was developed with the beta2, and it happens that the RTM has a breaking change on this.

With Beta2 you could do (warning, this won't work with VS2008 RTM):

<asp:ListView ID="ListView1" 
runat="server" ItemPlaceholderID="itemContainer">
    <LayoutTemplate>
        <ul id="itemContainer" runat="server">
        </ul>
    </LayoutTemplate>
    <ItemTemplate>
        <li>
          <%#Eval("Name")%>, 
           <%#Eval("Count") %>
        </li>
    </ItemTemplate>
</asp:ListView>

Now, with the RTM, you have to do:

<asp:ListView ID="ListView1" 
   runat="server" ItemPlaceholderID="itemContainer">
    <LayoutTemplate>
        <ul>
         <asp:PlaceHolder id="itemContainer" runat="server">
         </asp:PlaceHolder>
        </ul>
    </LayoutTemplate>
    <ItemTemplate>
        <li>
          <%#Eval("Name")%>, 
          <%#Eval("Count") %>
        </li>
    </ItemTemplate>
</asp:ListView>

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Today is a good Silverlight day

... at least for me, at least in Italy.

First there is the release of the alpha version of the Silverlight 1.1 Tools for Visual Studio 2008 RTM, which allows me to uninstall the beta2 and go with the VS2008 RTM also for testing out Silverlight development.

And second the release of the Italian site of the European Silverlight Challenge, which marks also the beginning of the National phase in Italy. The deadline for submitting a Silverlight 1.1 application is January 28th, so I'd better run and work something out with Daniela which is a UIX.

The most appealing prize is the MIX '08 ticket & travel. Let's see if we can build something interesting and win a trip to Vegas.

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VS2008 is out!!

After the initial release of the Team Suite on the MSDN, I just saw that also the VS 2008 Express Editions and the trial versions of VSTS (Professional version still to come) have been released.

In addition also the .NET Framework 3.5 is available as standalone download.

And while we are talking about VS2008 related downloads here are a few others I think are quite useful:

And as usual ScottGu just wrote a Quick Tour of the New Features of VS2008 and .NET 3.5.

And now, waiting for my download to complete.

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Hammett on ASP.NET MVC

Hammett, founder of Castle, the father of MonoRail, went to Redmond invited by the ASP.NET MVC team, to review the new framework, and give his opinion based on his experience having built a similar framework.

You can have a look at the blog post where he wrote his opinions, but I'd like to quote here the ones I feel are the most impressive:

[...] surprisingly - at least to me - is how MS is approaching this framework. They are not in a rush, they are more concerned about getting it right than getting it done fast. My overall impression is that they are really crafting a framework.

[...] for folks with lot of expectations, the CTP might be a turn off. That’s because what you’re going to see is a very small framework, with a lot to be done to be useful.

Which means that when it comes out it will be a very well crafted framework, not just something rushed to ride wave of the ALT.NET movement and trend. So the CTP that will come out in the next months will be just an overview of what we will be seeing in the future, but probably not really useful.

MonoRail 2.0 is pending their implementation. If the final MS MVC rocks, and provides so many things, I’d vote for forget the MR 2. If the final MS MVC has clearly something lacking, MR 2 could reuse the infrastructure and provide some nice extensions.

That's a really good approach by Hammett: no point building the exact same thing if it works.

Impressed and overloaded

Since many of you asked me about it, I thought I should write a short recap on my first week of work at Avanade. I'd like to be short, so I'll comment with just 2 words: impressed and overloaded.

Having worked always in small and unstructured companies I was impressed on how many well established procedures there are, especially in the project management and project development area.
After installing software on my laptop
I went through a 3 days long virtual course on the project management and development: it my first time in a virtual class room, and I really liked it.
Another thing that really impressed me is that Avanade developed its software lifecycle platform (SLP) on top of Visual Studio Team System. There is a nice paper on the MSDN about this as well (in PDF).

And overloaded because after being impressed by the procedures, I also have to try and assimilate all of them.

But at least I'm not alone in this: Daniel Moth, Compact Framework guru, felt the same when joining Avanade in 2005, and my friend and Subtext founder Phil Haack, when joined Microsoft, had the same feelings about working in a big company, that thinks about long term achievement instead of just getting things done "by yesterday" as (kind of) always happens with small companies. Avanade might not be Microsoft, but the approach is the same.

And last, I'd like to greet all the new hires that attended the introductory course with me: I hope you will subscribe to my blog .

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ASP.NET MVC

This afternoon, while I was installing for the 4th time this year the Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2005, I printed the first post by ScottGu about the new ASP.NET MVC framework.

It's a long article (28 printed pages excluding comments) that details quite well the process behind the development of a simple website using all the default behaviors of the framework.

I just want to highlight a sentence I really liked:

You can use any unit testing framework (including NUnit, MBUnit, MSTest, XUnit, and others) with the ASP.NET MVC Framework.

We'll also be shipping project template downloads for NUnit, MBUnit and other unit test frameworks as well, so if you prefer to use those instead you'll also have an easy one click way to create your application and have a test project immediately ready to use with it.

I really like this opening to the opensource world by Microsoft. Does this have something to do with Phil and ScottHa both working on this product?

Now I'm looking forward to download the CTP.

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My first day at Avanade

After a long period in New Zealand and a few months working from home, today I started working in Italy again.

I spent the last 3 "sabbatical" weeks doing almost nothing related to programming or IT in general: I went climbing, I took David Silverlight around Milano and took him climbing as well, and also started going on bicycle again after I had a bad injury ten years ago.

Too early to give an opinion (today I just filled forms and installed my laptop), but it seems to be a nice place to work: I even found out that a colleague lives only 20 meters from my house, but I never seen before.

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Temporary disabled ping/trackback

Today I was hit by a massive spam attack, both here and on my Italian blog: here I received almost 1000 spam trackback in one day, and on my Italian one I reached the incredible number of 30.000, and almost all passed as approved.

I guess Akismet is having some problems these days.

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ARCast meets LightSpeed

I just stumbled upon a video that has just been published on channel9: Ron Jacobs interviewing JB and JD of Mindscape about their domain model framework LightSpeed. Congratulations Mindscape!!

At the moment I'm still (unfortunately for the last week) at the lake with hamsters powering my Internet connection, so cannot check it out, but if you have a normal Internet connection speed, go and check it out on ARCast.TV. (Too bad that Channel9 doesn't offer video encoded for the iPod format).

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MacBook with Santa Rosa and GMA X3100

There were rumors back in the beginning of October said that Apple was going to update the MacBook around the beginning of November.

And as usual, this promptly happened, and the first of November Apple quietly unveiled the new specs of the MacBook:

same price, but new processor 2.2Ghz based on Santa Rosa and the GMA X3100 graphic card. All the other specs remain unchanged.

Now it's really time to buy my new laptop.

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