Monday, March 31, 2008

Great new laptop, but woes with Vista

dell-xps-m1330Life seems full of swings and roundabouts, or if you like, ups and downs. So I have been getting used to my shiny new Dell XPS M1330 laptop and enjoying the unbridled pleasure of being able to work when mobile. But at the same time I have been discovering how little Vista loves developers, or at least the software tools I'm using to develop in.

The problems I've had have been numerous, but I'll restrict myself to describing the ones I've got an answer for.

  • VS2008: Must run as admin
  • Indexing Service is now legacy code and not installed (by default)
  • IIS6 metabase and configuration compatibility (see here for more info)
  • Watir needs windows-pr (gem install windows-pr)
  • Watir conflicts with Office 2007 Groove
  • IIS7 suffers from the same 'usability facelift' woes as does Office 2007
  • Explorer keeps crashing ... actually I don't have an answer for this one

In addition I set the ruby.exe and rubyw.exe files to run as admin and did the same for Aptana Studio and java.exe. That was on the way to finding out that the Groove DLLs had some sort of conflict with Watir/Ruby. I also set nearly everything to run in Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode and disabled UAC along the way.

As usual, once you have everything up and running you forget about your setup woes, however the near constant Explorer crashes are getting on my nerves. It's especially frustrating when you have 2 or 3 Explorer windows open to various important directories (some on other machines) and then have Explorer crash because you opened Control Panel ...


UPDATED: Added link for IIS metabase issue.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

They're just making it up ...

In Sydney for Sun's TechDays James Gosling (his blog), creator of Emacs and Java (you might have heard of it), has a chat with the SMH:
“People you think are oracles of wisdom - they're just making it up.”
Preach it bro' ...

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's the software that matters!

James Shore, creator of NUnitASP and author of The Art of Agile Development has recently announced that he's no longer supporting NUnitASP development, citing his increasing lack of interest in it and pointing interested parties to Selenium or Watir (or perhaps WatiN, although that has received some criticism from Scott Bellware, others are not so sure).

It's a shame we're not getting more choices in this area of testing, but James is right to focus on his own current projects. He has left it open for someone else to take over the project, although the way ASP.NET MVC will expose HTTPRequest as an interface might make it superfluous.

Back to the point of this post. James has a great blog with some very thoughtful articles. I found this great quote in It's the Software, Stupid! It summarises for me the problem with simply implementing Scrum and thinking that makes you Agile.
“your team is expected to self-organize and define its own practices”
“It's time we brought back the early emphasis on great engineering practices. If you're using Scrum or another agile method that doesn't include engineering practices, realize that your method is incomplete. Scrum, for example, intentionally creates an environment in which your team is expected to self-organize and define its own practices. If you aren't doing that--if you aren't talking about engineering practices, what's working, what's not, and how to improve--you're going to run into trouble someday. Probably someday soon.”

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Are VB's XML Literals an XSLT killer?

The VB Team have released the first in a series of XML Cookbook recipes. This one covers how you can use VB's new XML literal support in Visual Studio 2008 to replace the W3C's rather cumbersome XSLT (eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) language with much simpler VB code.
“To sum things up, we’ve seen how Visual Basic, XML Literals and LINQ can be used in place of the <xsl:copy-of>, <xsl:for-each>, <xsl:template>, <xsl:if>, <xsl:value-of>, and <xsl:attribute> elements as well as using XML Axis Properties in place of XPath to create a powerful, yet simple tool for XML transformations.”
As someone who once developed a web site completely using Java servlets spitting out XML data using XSLT files to transform that into web pages, I've got to say that anything that gets us away from XSLT is a good thing. The way you can use LINQ to query the XML data is inspired, and this has the potential to make VB the language of choice for developers needing to glue together SOA.