Just received the confirmation that I will be attending the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas :
In the meantime, for those who cannot attend, there are already some information from MS about the new version of SharePoint. Not a lot, but it is a start....
It was a tough night to prepare the demo for the TechDays in Bern. Installing the PDAs and struggling with some of them on which it was not possible to install the CRM. Fortunately, after some hard-reset, everything was ready for the H-Hour.
Have a look at the install in the Hotel room :
Thanks to Julien and Didier for the PDAs !
The next version of the framework will be more focused on dynamic languages and will keep the C# and VB.NET in parallel.
It also introduces extensions to support the parallelism in a declarative and imperative way. In that extensions, we will have PLINQ (for Parallel LINQ) to parallelize LINQ queries, TPL (Task Parallel Library) and CDS (Coordination Data Structure).
One of the new feature is the ability to install the client profile on every configuration whereas for the previous versions, it needed to be installed on a clean infrastructure.
Among other things, new controls for WPF, multitouh support under Windows 7 and an easyness to develop user interface based on datasource even though the Entity Framework is not yet supported in the presented version. The MVC will be implemented with a dynamic data support.
On the WCF side, some enhancements have been implemented such as SOAP over UDP and more WS-* support. Moreover, building a RESTfull application will be simplified.
With the .NET framework 4, WF and WCF will work together as they will be completely integrated. Nevertheless, and big change, workflows will be defined in XAML-only by default. On the other side, more activities will be available in the toolbox.
A lot of improvements in terms of performance and scalability have been done and and a new workflow type is now available : FlowChart. Now, activities can receive arguments and return values.
When developing custom activities, it will be possible to define a custom design using a WPF designed
Basically, and in short, the 4th version of .NET allows a workflow (WF) to be exposed using WCF (interface), while, on the hosting side, it will rely on Dublin which is a Windows Server 2008 Application Role extension.
Once again, I have the pleasure to participate to the TechDays in Geneva at the CICG. This year, not only I will be present at the booth of CTP, but we will be one of the Premium Sponsor of the event and we also have a speaker on stage to talk about Velocity. Before saying too much about this new technology coming out really soon, just note that it will be the distributed cache solution from Microsoft. Be there at the session to know more of that new technology.
Today, during the setup of the booth (by the way, come to us to participate to our Multi-touch contest and see a multi-touch application running), I had the possibility to talk with people from Wygwam and playing with their Microsoft Surface. That is just unbelievable. So much that, to appreciate it, it must be tested... As an example, there was a drum playing game which allows to have a lot of fun. I want one of them At least, it is a good way to have guests every day at home
For tomorrow, a bit of Visual Studio 2010 with the .NET framework 4 and ASP.NET, Geneva - the identity management system, not the city - SQL Data Services, Mesh and WF with Dublin. Sounds promising.
I am just coming from the UNIL where I gave a presentation at the Forum Horizon 2009 about the day-to-day work of a computer science engineer. The Forum Horizon is organized by the Office cantonal d'orientation scolaire et professionnelle in order to present the different possibilities of jobs to second year gymnasium students, from the air controller to the scentific police.
It is the 6th year in a row I present this topic and this year I decided to change radically the format of the presentation. Rather than having a bunch of slide with bullet points, I took the option of have big pictures on the background and very few words highlighting the subject. At then end, it was not easy to fing the correct pictures to illustrate the slides, but I think I have been quite successful. The most difficult is to understand what the audience want to know. The goal is to be non-technical and to try to explain clearly what we do as an engineer (and software architect). Moreover, the people in the room still don't know what they want to do. The idea is to help them to make their choice and not necessarily to make them selecting this job.
I posted the presentation here.
F# is a new language that is coming in the pipe of Microsoft for the Visual Studio platform. It aims to tackle the functional programming paradigm eventhough it is possible to use the imperative or object oriented programming.
Robert Pickering starts his book by explaining the basics of F#, how to get and how to use the tools. Then, the book describes the F# syntax to be used in the three language paradigm, functional programming, imperative programming and finally object oriented programming. Among other things, the notion of type inference is presented. Once the syntax is presented, the book describes the way to develop web, windows or even WPF applications using the .NET framework. Data access is also addressed using the current technologies available, such as ADO.NET or LINQ. Then, a quick look at DSLs, compilation and code generation is given, presenting the lex and yacc tools coming with the language. Finally, a full chapter is dedicated to the interoperability between .NET and F#, because even if F# is based on the CLI, the language introduces several types that are not available in the other .NET languages (C# or VB.NET).
Discovering a new language is really interesting and with F#, it is the occasion to see a new paragigm, functional programming. In really short, with F#, everything is a value, even a function. It means that you can use a function as a function parameter. The concept of type inference is also very attracting. The book is very easy to understand and a lot of little examples are explained in details, making the reading very fast. The first half of the book is dedicated to the language itself. The second half is more on using the .NET framework and I would say that it is the less interesting of the book. Indeed, during the first part, you have came across various examples using types and classes of the framework and user interface development being web or windows, or data access meaning that the second part does not bring a lot a information. Once you know these topics from the .NET documentation or from another book and once you have read how to access the .NET BCL from F#, then this part is pretty straightforward and not really useful. Moreover, the examples used to depict the topics are more explaining how to use the BCL classes than the language itself. Nevertheless, the last parts discussing the interoperability and the possibility of generating DSLs are more interesting.
My final words are that it is a very intersting book if you want to see another land (functional programming). Unfortunately, on my bookshelf, I also have "Expert F#" that I just opened to see what is inside and I saw that it takes the explanations and descriptions of the language from the beginning. If I had knew that before, maybe I would have bought this one instead. So, if the goal is just to scratch the surface of F#, "Foundations of F#" is the best suited, otherwise, if the goal is to go really deeper in the topic, then prefer "Expert F#" (a review of that one will be posted).
Yesterday, the Microsoft's CEO Steve Balmer announced the public availibility of the first beta release of Windows 7. I had a chance to have a quick look at it and the first impression I had was : "it's fast. And ?".
Stop kidding, but if you don't like the Aero style user interface, be prepared to be a bit overloaded. They have put one more layer of Aero and the new glassy toolbar simplifies the application navigation by replacing the multiple application icon by only one and allowing the user to see a preview of the running application when hovering the mouse on the icon.
I played few minutes with it, using minesweeper as well and I like pretty well the user interface, the rapidity and also the fact that it did not crash during the hour I tested it.
A nice little feature is the possibility to display the desktop by just moving the mouse. On the other side, Microsoft says connecting home devices will be really easier than before (home computer). That are only few features that will be in Windows 7. This new version of Windows will probably be released earlier than originally expected in order to try to make people forget about the Windows Vista flop.
Back to business from some vacations...
First of all, I would like to wish a happy new year and all the best to the readers.
As it is the case every year, people are trying to take resolutions for the new year and I am afraid that I am one of them.
Regarding this blog, I have a couple of points I would like to address this year.
The very first one is to make some cleanup in the blog, such as clearing the spam in the trackbacks and reorganizing the categories.
Then, I would like to upgrade to the last version of the engine, v2.2, released last october.
One goal I would like to achieve this year is to be more active and posting more regularly. Once a week for example. This is going to be quite challenging, I know that already, because the goal is to produce content but not only for the sake of writing stuff.
Finally, and this is something pending since few years now (since I left LooKware in fact), the main web site really needs to be put online. On this side, some work needs to be done to find the right look and feel and also to write the content.
Quite a lot on the plate, and I hope that at the end of 2009, most (all) of the points will be addressed.