Architecture Chat #45

Smallish turnout - but it was right before the start of a 4 day weekend here in NZ, so hardly surprising.

Topics discussed...

  • Architecture group structure / communication channels / website etc.
    • Building a better website for the Architecture Chat (Wiki etc.).
    • Taxonomy / themes our discussions often take (i.e. Business, Education/Training, Local/Central Government, ORM's & Domain Driven Design, WPF/Silverlight etc.)
    • Distributing the workload of "write-ups" - by having each discussion topic as a page on the wiki, with each discussion extending that topic - and the ability to continue the discussions outside of the fortnightly meetings.
    • Possibility of somebody donating some design time to set up the structure for the site.
    • Group library
    • Swag / prizes (not sure how this would work just yet).

  • Beer & Bytes - Peter went along, and noticed how few people had even tried a "hello world" in WPF or Silverlight, and the difficulty of succinctly defining just what WPF is / it's value proposition in a few short sentences (perhaps this is a good question for stack overflow?).
  • The generally false opinion (with some anecdotal evidence from Peter) of thinking it's easier to quickly throw a prototype/small UI for an app together in Windows Forms vs. WPF when you're in a hurry, or trying to avoid the additional issues of deploying the 3.5 sp1 framework along with your application.
  • Commercial controls for WPF vs. Rolling your own, and the general decline the number of commercial controls you need to build an application.

After that the conversation veered off into boatin stories for the remainder of the meeting - so we decided to call it quits and head to lunch.

I look forward to seeing the rest of our regulars back in a fortnight, and hope everyone is having a good Easter break!

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2009-04-08 - Architecture Chat Tomorrow

Architecture chat tomorrow, pretty topic-light this week.. some quick things that have taken my interest recently:

  • ALT.Net Podcast featuring Jeremy Miller - An interesting follow-up after the Scott Bellware discussion last week, and probably more inline with how I see ALT.Net.
  • Loads of azure info coming out over the last few weeks.. I think this OakLeaf Systems post sums it up best.
  • Mauricio Scheffer has an interesting blow-by-blow post on using Castle Windsor's fluent interface with F# - and the fact that it's... not so fluent.  Definitely something to give thought to when crafting fluent interfaces - are there going to be F# or other language clients, and just what is their experience going to be like?
  • Interesting ncommon library - a generic framework for Unit of work, generic Repository, validation and business rules etc.  Supports NHibernate, Linq2Sql & EF. See the Steve Gentile post for more details.  Though obviously a Repository
    isn't to everyone's tastes or necessarily a fit with repositories being a business concern.
  • Alex James has been posting a bunch of EF tips (11 so far).
  • Got a couple of books from O'Reilly for review / the group library - Let me know if anyone at the chat would like to read them / review them - they are: 97 Things Every
    Software Architect Should Know
    and Beautiful Architecture.  Or if there any books they'd like the group to get to read/review.

Also wouldn't mind discussing the Architecture group itself - i.e. Possibility of North shore meet-ups, setting up a dedicated website, what the name of the group should be, handing out swag etc.

Last of all - would be interested to see if anyone made along to the Beer & Bytes this week (unfortunately I was stuck in a meeting that evening) - looking at Preet's blog post I suspect a few of you did.

We'll be meeting at the usual time of 11:30am @ Garrisons, Sylvia Park, Tomorrow (Thursday 9th April 2009) - and the topics above are just there in case we run out of anything else to talk about (which is rare).

For more details on the location and write-ups of previous sessions you can consult the associated wiki.

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Architecture Chat #44

Average turn out today - with 5 of us showing up, had some interesting discussions though - here's a list of some of the stuff we talked about:

  • Field naming... giving up the habit of underscores, then taking them up again to avoid the additional wordiness of this.whatever, and the practice of avoiding adornments for fields etc. in unit tests to improved the readability/scanability of tests.
  • Method naming, the move towards more readable/unique names vs. less descriptive heavily overloaded methods, i.e. Find vs. FindByName, FindById etc.
  • Inner classes used to firewall logic inside a class or hold shared context for a set of operations, the inherit difficulty in testing this, and whether it's a logical refactoring, or a design decision you tend to make up front when writing the outer class.
  • The survey on how relevant computer science teaching is (i.e. how does the curriculum compare with the real world).  Being run by Tony Gorschek, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden & Ewan Tempero, Auckland University, New Zealand.
  • Approaches to testing applications which depend on a large number of small islands of configuration loaded at run time (i.e. xml etc.) which are interdependent - the challenges of validating individual snippets, and issues with snippets potentially relying on other snippets etc.
  • Redgate taking over, and interesting new debugging product coming out as a result.
  • Rolling your own licensing frameworks, the mixed reaction of being a target for crackers (someone likes me product, but someone doesn't want to pay for it), realities of they'll never pay anyway, common mistakes made when building your own licensing (putting all your license code in a separate assembly, not signing it, not obfuscating) and things like using ILMerge with internals.
  • Native compilation tools and all-in-one framework bundling tools for .Net (thinstall,
    remotesoft salamander, Mono etc.).
  • CouchDB and scalability/query qualities (unfortunately more questions then answer, Peter B & Myself need to have a play with this stuff and report back next time) - interests in insertion costs when you have lots of views, are queries against views really a cheap operation/linear cost.
  • SEO & Silver light tips and tricks - also discussed hacking browser history in the same was we do with ajax.
  • Web crawlers pretending to be mobile clients.
  • Protocol buffer & .net implementations such as protobuf-net which you can use with classes marked up with data contracts.
  • Groking IoC, what are the lights on moments - the difficulty some have with jumping from the principles of DI/IoC to using a container.
  • Discussed if there might be some value in presenting on practical use of an IoC container at a local user group, as the DI/IoC conversations we've had in Auckland over the last few years tend to stop short of that point, and it's often hard to make the jump from manually doing DI verses using a container to wire everything up and the advantages/disadvantages of doing so.

Thanks to all who came, see you in two weeks.
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Architecture Chats #42 & #43

Architecture Chat #42

Quite a good turn out, fairly rambling - we talked about:
  • Rolling your own caching, approaches, what's currently offered by EF and the pitfalls etc. of attempting to substitute database caching with action caching/memoization or partial view caching.
  • General discussions on financial situation, current challenges for people running development shops etc.
  • Scaling applications, and affects of coding for a non-relational backing data store.
  • Continuous integration, Jamie mentioned the interesting Continuous Deployment at IMVU: Doing the impossible fifty times
    a day

Architecture Chat #43

Small turn out - 3 people, Peter B & Tim Barnet (from Hamilton) & Myself.

Most of the discussion was around the .net community in New Zealand, we talked all things community related in NZ- mailing list (including the hamster), what's going on in the user groups, what could be done better, wiki's, collaboration etc.  Also contrasted NZ's community with what's happening elsewhere in the world, the current decline of regional mailing list interest compared to growth of stackoverflow and other more internationally focused development communities.

Also discussed the recent conference, some of the outcomes, the challenges of really getting mainstream developers interested and the difficulties developers have in getting productive in the .Net community verses others such as php, python or ROR.

Also briefly discussed the lack of a package management solution for .Net developers to make managing interdependencies etc. easier.

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2009-03-25 - Architecture Chat Tomorrow

Apologies for the late posting, there is in fact an Architecture Chat tomorrow, at the usual time of 11:30am @ Garrisons, Sylvia Park (Thursday 26th March 2009).

Some topics that have interested me lately which we might want to discuss:

Also we only had 3 people including myself turn up last time, a new low (a flight of the
band meeting basically ;o) - but one of the participants had driven all the way from Hamilton just to attend, so well done there!

..which also means I'll be recycling many of the previous topics we didn't cover last week as well:

  • Relational data features to come to Azure (via TDS no less, so nhibernate/lightspeed/EF etc. on Azure are a reality) and REST to go away. My first thought is will it scale, or do we still need to fall back to an EAV approach when dealing with huge datasets?
  • T4 Support in Mono. I'd also be interested in talking about who's using T4 and for what.
  • Moq 3.0 has gone RTM.
  • DevHawk has an interesting series of articles on writing an IronPython debugger.
  • Ivan Porto Carrero is making good progress on his IronRuby MVC implementation.
  • Gem/package/dependency management tools for .Net emerging and existing/dead - ngems, rockshornnmaven, NPanday, Byldan or even just using ruby gems itself...  What's going on in this space, how it might improve .Net adoption (and some of the thoughts people have blogged about the subject after the conf).
  • Casey Charlton is starting to blog about a sample DDD application, the DDD Parcel Service, which should be an interesting exercise to follow.
  • Dr Dobb's Journal (DDJ) is dead - though I haven't bought an issue in a few years, and really they were too expensive in NZ currency terms for what little you got, it seems a little sad... are there any print magazines left for the developer?
  • Roy Osherove is surveying to see what unit testing / mocking frameworks people are using - hopefully this will get enough responses to be somewhat
  • Recent Conference in Seattle ... what went on, some interesting thoughts from people like Scott Hanselman, Ayende, Simone and an interview on the podcast with Scott Bellware.

We'll be meeting at the usual time of 11:30am @ Garrisons, Sylvia Park, Tomorrow (Thursday 26th March 2009) - and the topics above are just there in case we run out of anything else to talk about (which is rare).

For more details on the location and write-ups of previous sessions you can consult the associated wiki.

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