Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Disappointing Austin Dot Net User's Group

The XBox racing game pumped up the 75 people attending yesterday's .Net meeting. The wireless controllers were passed around the room. (Afterwards someone asked "Where are the controllers?" to which the answer was "EBay!".)
The new Microsoft developer Evangelist, Caleb, presented on the new ASP.Net AJAX component (nee Atlas). Caleb went over the basics and then showed a demo of using VisualStudio 2005 for developing applications. What happened was a parable of development with Microsoft tools. He built the application and it failed because of a JavaScript error - a class was not properly scoped. So Caleb had to go under the covers of the code that VS generated and try to fix what was wrong. That sounded so familiar to me. Too often the cool WYSIWYG tools of Microsoft take you 90% of the way, and then leave you dangling. The tools demo so well, but in actual development, they leave many things lacking. So as developers we end up having to know all the plumbing underneath applications anyway. This is in addition to how to build applications with the graphical tools.
I really liked Caleb and he'll be good for our area - too bad he doesn't have better tools to demo.

Other tidbits from the night:
75% of the attendees programmed in C#, the rest VB.
ASP.NET AJAX has hooks to transfer data using JSON in addition to SOAP for speed.
Browsers (IE?) use only 2 connections to a domain. To speed downloads put images in diff sub domains.
Fiddlertool.com is some tool for doing HTTP debugging like Firefox's Tamper.
Devtoolbar is available for IE (like Firefox's Developer Toolbar) at Microsoft's site.

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