Craig Rowe

Techlead / Developer

23rd November 2008

Developer Day 7

Back from Developer Day! and once again inspired to code. It's a great day for getting you excited about technology and web development even if you don't necessarily bring away specific techniques that you want to try out. So here's a breakdown of the talks I went to:

DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper: Speaker / Thoughts
Alan Dean (Charteris)

Essentially a detailed discussion of what is and is not valid REST. The talk was labelled as discussing why REST might be important to you. However that aspect did not seem to come through over the more pedagoguish yes and no's of REST. The yes' detailed via the following 6 points:

  1. Style = nil
  2. Style += Client/Server
  3. Style += Stateless
  4. Style += Caching
  5. Style += Uniform Interface
  6. Style += Layered System
  7. Style += Code on Demand

The no's detailed as anything that does not subscribe to those six.

Separating REST Facts from Fallacies
Mike Hadlow (Freelancer)

A talk with a lot of code, which is both a benefit and a small downside. It's always more helpful to see the use of a technique in a real world example but at the same time it can be difficult to get to grips with the code as it is being displayed on screen between slides. Akin to sight reading music you need to get hold of the code yourself and have a play.

Given that, this was an engaging talk particularly in regard to the use of Generic Repositories using extension methods.

Using an Inversion of Control Container in a real world application
Dave Sussman & Phil Winstanley (ASP.NET Insiders)

Unfortunately this talk opened with the disclaimer that some things that were intended for the talk had to be removed as Microsoft had decided not to release certain information yet. However the information on VS2010 was enough to keep my interest. In brief:

  • VB and C# are to be equal so anything you can do in VB you should be able to do in C# and vice versa (including loss of the VB line continuation character in 90% of cases!).
  • Built in parallel processing support so you can run loops and linq statements across processors very simply
  • Cleaner HTML output! let's hope it's as clean as clean can be (there was also a warning of blanket upgrading prior .net projects as the HTML output will be different)
  • HTML Snippets - bringing the snippetness of vb and c# into the markup window. Didn't really excite me but I can see some minor productivity gains
  • Client ID Control! OMG I almost wet myself (Ok I'm not that sad, but from my point of view this was excellent news). One of the biggest stumbling blocks I found when I moved from PHP to asp.NET was losing that control over client IDs if you wanted to take advantage of the server control goodness. Being able to set client id behaviour to static is a big bonus in terms of no longer limiting your css/javascript to unnecessary html containers (that could use normal IDs) or targetting classes alone.
  • A number of small but nice changes to VS such as fast quick search and full page variable highlighting when the cursor is placed on one
Ben Hall (RedGate)

A discussion and demo of a Microsoft Research project is always worth a go, and this didn't disappoint.

The best summery of Pex comes from the talk description itself:

"Pex is a project from Microsoft Research which automatically generates a traditional unit testing suite with high code coverage from hand-written parameterised unit tests."

Thoroughly interesting and impressive in equal measures the Pex VS Plugin will explore your code based upon a hand written test and return tabular results including the ability for you to include business rule based assertions.

This shouldn't be used to the exclusion of other testing but looks like it can/will provide an excellent toolkit addition.

Microsoft Pex - The future of unit testing?
Jon Skeet (Google)

It's a shame this talk came at the end of the day as tiredness had caught up with me making it tricky to keep up with Jon's blistering pace through re-creating LINQ to Objects himself using generics and extension methods including the awesome (although seemingly unknown by some) yield keyword.

Theres little to say without trying to redescribe how this implementation was done, which would increase the size of this post dramatically! However the power of Generics and Extension methods was clear to see. As Jon said the implemention is simple because of this. It is the design of linq that is so impressive.

Implementing LINQ to Objects in 60 minutes

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