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January 2010 Blog Posts

When will WebForm vs MVC become like ListView vs Repeater?

Lately I’ve been reading again lot of discussions going on about whether WebForm is a much wiser choice for developers, if it will die in favor of ASP.NET MVC, or how much ASP.NET MVC brings productivity away because it forces you to learn another framework or because it makes you think more about pattern, or name-your-other-rather-random-opinion.

Even if I wrote a book about ASP.NET MVC, I’ve to say I’m getting pretty bored about this discussions: like it or not many big companies cannot afford to rebuild their whole web applications on ASP.NET MVC, even if they want the TDD experience or the fine control over HTML markup. The only possible outcome is that projects will be a mix of both WebForms and ASP.NET MVC: probably it has been marketed in the wrong way by Microsoft itself (you remember the “4 pillars of ASP.NET”?), or probably it was the only way to do it at the time since ASP.NET MVC and Dynamic Data came out as OOB release and as part of a Service Pack.

But with the forthcoming ASP.NET 4 and probably even more in the next version (either they call it 4.5 or 5) we are starting to see a lot of cross pollination between the 3 UI frameworks:

  • ASP.NET WebForms gained a lot of the good things that were born with ASP.NET MVC: routing, cleaner html, cleaner client id, less ViewState, SEO specific APIs. And you can easily put a Dynamic Data control inside a WebForm.
  • ASP.NET MVC got the Templated Helpers, model validation, inspired by Dynamic Data. And it already got MasterPages and some of the good things of WebForms

And probably we will see even more for ASP.NET vNext; to the point that in 2 years we’ll probably decide whether to use ASP.NET MVC or WebForm in the same way we had to decide between a ListView and a Repeater back in the ASP.NET 2.0 days.

UPDATE: Just noticed that Jimmy Bogard wrote a similar post: My picture of an MVC-WebForms marriage.

Looking back at 2009, and looking forward at 2010

I know it’s already 13 days into the new year, but a year cannot start without the usual  retrospective on the year that just ended and with the resolutions for the year that is coming.

Who did 2009 go

Let’s start with evaluating how 2009 go and let’s see if it went as I hoped at the beginning of last year. I already did 2 intermediate checkpoints, one at the end of Q1 and one in mid Summer.

  • Personal Resolutions:
    • Go Back Climbing - I climbed during Q2, but then when we came back from our summer holidays in Hokkaido we didn’t go climbing any more. Overall I did a bit of climbing, but not as much as I wanted to. NEUTRAL
    • Take Part in one Triathlon Competition - part of the reason why I didn’t climb a lot after summer is because I trained for a triathlon. Actually I even did two of them, one at the beginning of September in Locarno, Switzerland and one at the end of September, in Alba. I didn’t finish in last position, but around the middle of the ranking, which is not bad since I train when I can, and don’t follow a strict planning. My best part is the cycling one, and I’m really bad at running. GOOD
  • Blogging and community involvement Resolutions:
  • Technology Resolutions:
    • Enhance my .NET skills – I planned to study more jQuery, more Linq, more Expression tree and IoC. At the end of the year I didn’t studied anything about the Expression tree and Linq (but now I can do it with the help of Justin Etheredge and his Mastering Linq series on TekPub), but I worked a bit on WCF and lately I’m playing with NHibernate (that even if used it 2 years ago I had to “relearn” it) and FluentNH. GOOD
    • Start developing for Mac/iPhone – I did a prototype of a e-banking application for Avanade in the first months of 2009: enough to see that developing on the iPhone is great for the usability stand point, but a bit strange and complicate from the coding stand point (Objective-C is a bit weird). GOOD
  • Unplanned:
    • UserGroup Meetings – I organized 2 UGIALT.NET events, I spoke at 3 different UserGroup meeting, and I attended the StackOverflow DevDays in London.
    • ASP.NET MVC Book - the book took longer then expected and was available in stores only in August. Also, a free refcard has been published in September.
    • Trip to Hokkaido – I didn’t expect I would have gone to Japan, but at the end we did it, and Hokkaido is a great place. I really like Japan.
    • Cross-Country Skiing: I already started xc-skiing in 2008, but only in December, when I bought a new set of skating ski I really got fond of XC-Skiing.

So, just 1 FAIL, 3 GOOD and 4 NEUTRAL. 2009 didn’t went great, but at least aligned with my expectations after all.

My resolutions for 2010

This year I want to reiterate the experiment: I think it helped me evaluate how the year was going and helped keep me focused with what I planned to do.

  • Personal Resolutions
    • Climbing - Last year I didn’t climb as much as I wanted (even if more than the year before): in 2010 I’d try climb a bit more.
    • Triathlon - Last year I really enjoyed doing triathlons, lots of nice people at the races. And I think it’s also a good way to stay fit: know, running,cycling and swimming. I don’t want to get too mad about this, but doing the Locarno race again and maybe another one would be great. And I’ve to focus more on the running leg of the race since my current 5 min/km (8:03 min/mile) takes me to the bottom of the run leg ranking.
    • XC-Skiing – I just started using the skating technique, and I hope I can go XC-Skiing more and acquire a bit more of technique (and hopefully stamina) before the end of this skiing season.
  • Blogging and community involvement Resolutions:
    • Redesign my blog – number one priority is finalizing my new blog design before it becomes outdated. Daniela was very proactive and last year she designed it following the 2010 design trends, but not sure if they will last till 2012.
    • Write an eBook – Last year I helped publish one, but this year I’d like to publish one myself: maybe about ASP.NET MVC v2 or about
    • Be more constant in my blogging – Even if I published a good number of technical post, in 2009 I was not very constant: I had prolific periods followed by one month or more of less technical blogging. This year I’d like to be more constant.
    • Make a better blog - Last year I bought the book 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, I read it, followed some of its advices, but never stuck to a plan. (BTW, if you are interested, if you buy the book by Tuesday 19th you get 3 cool bonus)
    • Subtext – One of the reason I started working on Subtext 5 years ago is because I wanted plugins: two years ago we kind of added them, but then something bad happened, we had to revert back, and we lost everything: next year I want to add plugin support to Subtext.
    • Produce more content in Italian – Last year I did only 3 screencasts, but Italian people don’t like reading in English, so I should try harder and helping them.
  • Technology/Work Resolutions:
    • JavaScript/jQuery/CSS – I used to be quite good at these when I worked in my first job in a web agency, but since I moved to New Zealand and then to Avanade I’m not doing any real web development any more. I’d love to work more in the client side of web site
    • HTML5 – Find the time to experiment with HTML5 and all its new API and elements.
    • Work on public B2C web sites – This doesn’t really depend on me, but more on the kind of projects my company finds on the market,  but I’d love to work on a project where the problems of the client side (good javascript, client side optimization, performances) are as important as the backend ones.
    • NHibernate – I used it 2 year and half ago, but then I stopped using it when I moved to Avanade. In my latest project I started to use it again, and in the next year I’d love to get deeper into it.
    • Be an agent of change in my team – I’m a strong believer of quality vs the “do it quickly” approach, of agile methodologies and “craftsmanship”. I’d like to introduce this way of thinking into my team as well.

Is this too much for just one year? I guess it’s not. We’ll see at the beginning of April when I’ll do my first update on how my plans for 2010 are going.

[Ilanaaq, the inukshuk by Tim on Flickr]

Tortoise SVN tip: Repair move

Did you ever rename a file from inside Visual Studio? Did you ever move a file from one folder to another from inside Visual Studio? I think you did.

And what happened when you tried to commit your changes to a SVN repository with Tortoise SVN?

You probably got this:

Tortoise doesn't recognize the two files as one

Here I moved a file named MonitoringControllerTest.cs file from the root to the Controller folder: Tortoise SVN didn’t recognize the file as just moved, but instead it found a new file in the Controller folder, and a missing file in the root folder.

If you want Tortoise to understand “moves” you have to do it from the File Explorer, dragging the file to the destination folder with the secondary mouse button while holding the Shift key. But this is annoying because you always have to move back and forth between Visual Studio and Explorer.

A few days ago I found this feature, maybe I was the only one in the world not aware of it: Repair Move.

If, from inside the commit dialog, you select the two files that are supposed to be the same, and right click on them, you will find this new menu command: Repair Move.

Repair Move command in the contextual menu

When you click on it, Tortoise SVN will recognize the two files as a move operation instead of a new file and a delete, and the commit dialog will show it in the way it shows moved files (a delete and an added +).


The same command also fixes rename operations.

I don’t know since how long this feature is available, but if I had found it out before, this would have saved me quite a few time.

Another option would have been adding something like VisualSVN or AnkhSVN that will automatically marks moves (together with a lot of other things). But I don’t like the integrated SVN clients.

Public Service Announcement: email not working (or why Aruba sucks)

UPDATE: My DNS have now been updated, email seems to be working fine, also from Exchange servers, sorry again for any problem that might have caused.

If you sent me an email in the last days and you got an error back, please try it again now in a few day, or contact me on twitter @simonech. Same problem happened if you contacted my through the contact page of my blog.

Also, if you are sending emails through an Exchange server (like if you are from Microsoft) you probably got a similar DNS error since the beginning of December: I'm really sorry for this and please sent the me your email again, and I'll try to answer it immediately.

If you are interested in why that all happened continue reading...

Why that all happened

During last autumn I decided I would have discontinued my WebHost4Life account

to moved everything to Linked Labs: websites, blogs and DNS. And I also decided to move all the domain registrations I had shattered around various registrars and hosters to the same one, the one I already used to register my .it domains: Aruba.

I thought that moving sites was difficult, but transferring a domain to another host is even more: the biggest problem is when you cannot afford to have a single moment without having the correct DNS records for your domain, especially for your email service to keep on working.

I had to contact Aruba via a support ticket to ask them to pre-configure the DNS with my records, because they change the authoritative NS to they own (instead of keeping the old ones) and they don't let you do it yourself before the domain has been successfully transferred to them. They probably screwed something up, and I was not able to receive emails from people sending from Exchange.

I discovered this problem just before Christmas, and yesterday, when I finally had time to sit down and try to fix the problem I asked them to move the authoritative NS to the one of Linked Labs, which is holding all my other DNS records. The problem is that they immediately deleted all my DNS records on their servers ( is not working either). This wouldn't have been a problem if the NS change was done automatically upon the request from the admin tool. Unfortunately for me it seems like NS changes have to be manually approved. So, as result, I'm without email for the weekend because, obviously, their support team is not working on weekends.

I hope everything goes back to normal in few days. Sorry for the problems

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