Microsoft announced today (Jan 31, 2012) that the Microsoft Certification program is now 20 years old, and that "over 7 million" people now can add MC-Something to their business cards.
Desktop developers have it so easy. All you have to do is pick your development platform, and everything else flows from there: you know what you'll have to use for your screens, you have a pretty good idea about screen resolution, and what operating system your program will land on. Not so with Web development. Even after picking a development platform, you still have to deal with multiple languages, standards, and the whims of the client browser. Not to mention that users may disable certain features, or they may have installed some other plug-in that might interfere with your precious code. Bah.
It usually comes from marketing, "Here's a screenshot of the bug". The email has a 4MB PowerPoint file attached. Inside that file is a single slide, with an embedded graphic.
Windows Phone 7.5 (aka "Mango") has been released to manufacturing and will soon be available on a phone near you, so perhaps we should look at our racing forms to decide which smart phone operating system(s) to target.
A few weeks back (yes, it's taken me too long to write this), Microsoft held their mini-PDC for 2010. I'll leave my larger opinion of the conference for another time, but for the most part it was an interesting view - as PDCs are usually - at what Microsoft feels you should be developing for "in a few years". However, some people noticed a particular technology missing from the keynotes: Silverlight.
There are two types of developers.  For some developers, it is a craft: they carefully write (and hopefully follow) requirements documents, tests and/or study patterns. For these developers, the application is more about the careful design steps required to guarantee an application that works (and is maintainable) today and in the future.
Interoperability is a big thing™. Applications, and indeed even platforms, have succeeded at least in part due to their ability to get things in and out easily. One of the main reasons WordPerfect became the standard in word processing was the fact that it could communicate with almost every printer in existence at the time.
Yes, I know I'm beating on this whole discussion on "Is Silverlight dead?", but please bear with me.
In my ongoing role of attempting to get everyone to prove me wrong, I've decided to write down a few predictions this year about where I think our little corner of the industry will be this year. Then, in December, I can either brag about the no-brainers that I got right, or ignore this entirely as I got too many wrong.
Well, now that we really know for certain that Visual Studio 2010 won't be launching at PDC, it's time for my annual look at what we can learn from looking at this year's PDC session schedule.
Say what you will about Joel Spolsky, one thing he is really good at is starting a discussion.The latest discussion is about Duct Tape Programmers vs. Architect Astronauts. While the discussion is valid, many are getting confused by the analogy, so I dare to join in.
It used to be that a sample from Microsoft was guidance that would be copied into thousands of programs. Now, not so much.
With this year's PDC (Professional Developers' Conference) only a few days away, I decided to go looking at the session list to see the topics. PDC is traditionally Microsoft's future-looking conference, as opposed to TechEd, which traditionally is intended to help developers and IT professionals understand currently shipping software.
Mark your calendar: Dec 4 marks Winnipeg's episode of TechDays 2008. For only $124.99 (until Oct 15), you get a full day of in-depth coverage on the products you use (or should be using), and enough software to build your future.
Winnipeg has a long history of great participation in User Groups, so it's good to see a new Biztalk User Group forming in the city. Details are a little sparse at the moment, but stay tuned to this blog and http://www.winnipegdotnet.org/ for details.
Like a lot of other people lately, I've been having a botnet play with my Web site. I decided to take a closer look at the attack, and how I can minimze its effect using the free tools LogParser and URLScan.
I have to admit that I really like the upcoming ASP.NET MVC ("It will ship in a month ending in -ber") Web framework. It's not as mature as the existing Webform model, but I like how it gives more control over the pages, and navigation of the site. Now, to prepare, Microsoft has negotiated five free chapters out of some of the upcoming books on ASP.NET MVC. Definitely worth taking a look at if you're planning (or developing) a site using that technology.
By now, I'm sure you've heard that Service Pack 1 is out for Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5. The arrival of SP1 for a development tool is often a sign that it is the moment that it is safe to start working with the product; so if you've been holding off, it's time to take another look at 2008.
I have to admit: I've been a little slow to have a close look at Linq. I blame this on two opinions I developed on first looking at it. The first is: "Why is there yet another data access solution from Microsoft?"
New Media Manitoba is organizing a DemoCamp. It will be held on July 29th at the King's Head Pub in Winnipeg. For more details, see the planning site, or register.
Are you test-driven? Agile? Are you up on all the latest three letter acronyms (IoC, BDD, DRY)? Or are you just a curious sort who wants to know more about developing using these technologies?
Give Microsoft a problem, and you'll soon find them developing multiple solutions. Take synchronization. We've already covered the Synchronization Services, but there are many other teams working on this problem.
Just about every application you can imagine needs some way of storing data, thus the importance of tools like Access, Oracle and SQL Server. Lightweight applications can make use of a simple text or XML file, while larger, more complex applications need a full-fledged database.
While not every application needs some degree of database flexibility, the need to change your database does happen some times.
Web developers have always had a harder time than desktop developers. The standards behind Web pages have been – until relatively recently – supported differently by different browsers. The standards themselves change, and the tools used to create Web pages are often little more than text editors.
You frequently need to store important information in your application's configuration files, such as connection strings, user IDs or paths to files. Therefore, it would be a good idea to secure these files – or at least the sections needing security.
While many developers are comfortable creating Web sites with ASP.NET or other technologies, users continually want more responsive applications, as they are used to from desktop applications like Microsoft Excel.
The latest version of Visual Studio and the .NET Framework launched on Feb 27, 2008. Since then, there have been numerous articles and presentations to showcase the new features, and developers will feel the pressure to immediately install the new release and get developing using the latest features.