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Michael Flanakin's blog Food for thought... Development
Versioning with NAnt
Download UpdateVersion I've been looking at NAnt pretty hard lately. The biggest problem that I've had so far is creating and updating version numbers. NAntContrib has a <version> task that will read in and update a version number specified in a text file, but that doesn't quite give me what I'm looking for. NAnt 0.85 is supposed to come with a method for reading assembly the version, but again, this falls pretty short of what I'm looking for. After looking around, I found a pretty good solution: ......

Posted On Monday, August 16, 2004 2:04 AM

Implementing the Front Controller Pattern (1.0)

Anyway, while working on this solu

Posted On Sunday, February 1, 2004 8:49 PM

Xen (X#)
This is interesting, but at the same time, I don't know what to say about it. Microsoft is looking at extending C# to include XML and SQL features in the language (not thru classes, as it is now). You have to look at the pros and cons of it, tho. I mean, what will you benefit from it? Pros Less code Cons Harder to read code Complex variable initialization Unclear focus - what does MS recommend, class or code? I just don't see the overall benefit. I don't think that it is so bad that I would shun ......

Posted On Sunday, January 18, 2004 5:50 PM

...But Who's Counting?
I saw an interesting pie chart identifying the top corporate web servers based on a survey done by Port80 Software... I may be wrong, but just so everyone knows, this doesn't necessarily mean that Microsoft-based technologies are used more than J2 technologies. These are just the web servers. As I'm sure you know, J2EE requires an app server as well. So, theoretically, one could have an IIS web server with an Oracle or IBM app server driving the content. I still think it's an interesting bit of information, ......

Posted On Friday, December 19, 2003 10:24 PM

Letters to the Editor Pt 2
Next up, Löwy Guest Op Generates More Response by Robert Teixeira of Tampa. Robert, like me, seems to like a lot of Juval's input into the community, but I think he's made the same critical mistake that a lot of people made after reading Juval's article. I've talked to Juval and a number of Microsoft employees about this topic and I believe that I have a firm grip on what Juval was talking about. First of all, the Microsoft teams that determine what features will be added in the next version of each ......

Posted On Saturday, January 24, 2004 9:53 AM

Letters to the Editor Pt 1
Wow, I don't think that I have ever had an issue of VSM that was as “thought provoking” as this one. First up: Special Issue 2003 or 1983 by Mark Nelson of Seattle... So, Mark points out some problems with his experience with what seems to be architects. First off, I'd have to say that everyone should question any sentence with the word “architecture” in it - I know I do. For those who understand what architecture and design principles are truly about, I'm sure you know what I mean. I've met a lot ......

Posted On Friday, January 23, 2004 5:30 PM

More Predictions
Well, here's another set of Gartner predictions...“Predicts 2004: Developing Java and .NET AD Strategies.” For most Microsoft-centric enterprises, a move to .NET technology will be a question of when, not if. Meanwhile [J2EE] will span a range of projects, including high-profile e-commerce infrastructures. Here are the key predictions: .NET technology adoption will increase significantly The gap between increasingly mission-critical [J2EE] AD efforts and developer skills sets will grow J2EE will ......

Posted On Sunday, January 18, 2004 6:29 PM

Markup Validators
Here are a few nice markup validators. Let me know if you have any favorites/preferences. CSS HTML RSS 2.0 XHTML Then again, a lot of tools provide support for this. Visual Studio is ok, but questionable - we'll see if it gets any better. I'm sure someone has probably built a plug-in to validate code from within VS ......

Posted On Sunday, January 18, 2004 6:12 PM

The Soul of VB
Well, I'm behind on my reading, so excuse the belated commenting... Patrick Meader, Editor in Chief of VSM, made his monthly comments in the December 2003 issue of the magazine. I couldn't let this one pass me up, though... Patrick talks about how VB will be getting a bit of a face-lift to bring it back to what it was intended to be from day one: a developer tool for non-programmers. Of course, those weren't his words, they're mine; but, let me clue you in on some of his words: ... the next version ......

Posted On Friday, January 23, 2004 4:52 PM

Applied IT Forum was a Success
AITF was a success! Juval Löwy, Michael Wheaton, and Dan Malks came and spoke to a group of developers and managers, and they all loved it. This forum was more focused on software development than I'd like for the future, but I had to minimize the scope because of other things going on at work. I must say that if you haven't experienced one of Juval's talks, you're missing out. Juval is very eccentric and opinionated, which is always a good thing in my book. He's worked with Microsoft on a number ......

Posted On Monday, January 19, 2004 11:21 AM

Visual Studio for Non-Admins
Here's an article on MSDN that talks about how to develop apps when you're not an administrator on the machine. I haven't read thru the whole thing, yet, but it looks pretty good. I don't have this problem right now, but I know my organization is thinking about moving this way. From an enterprise point of view, it makes sense...I still hate it, though. I have had problems in other areas most Microsoft developers take advantage of. For instance, not having administrator access to SQL Server or not ......

Posted On Sunday, January 18, 2004 7:21 PM

Challenge to Open Source
I saw this a while back and thought it was pretty funny. The post basically smacks some open source developers in the face. Personally, I've always questioned open source development. While, I think it's nice that the community gets together to make some good tools, I just don't know about it. Anyway, the author takes note that when open source projects are created that mimic existing applications, they take away from the job market. Now, I don't know how much this actually affects US work, but I ......

Posted On Sunday, January 18, 2004 6:48 PM

Predictions for 2004
Gartner predicts a few interesting things in its document entitled “Predicts 2004: Microsoft Application Platform vs. J2EE.” You should check it out if you have a chance. Of course, without an account, that'll be kind of hard. Sorry. Here's the overview... Although the J2EE application server market is mature and the Microsoft application platform is more technically sound, changes and risks will remain part of the application platform landscape for enterprises in 2004 and beyond. And, here are a ......

Posted On Friday, December 19, 2003 10:02 PM

Coding Standards
One thing that I've always seen, but never understood was the use of spaces over tabs. Does anyone have any good reasons for this? I prefer tabs because they are easier to use. For instance, if I need to delete an indention, I press backspace. If I need to move left one indention, I press the left arrow...both ONE time, not four. Different editors work in different ways, but I think that tabs completely ensure the same functionality. If it's a tab, it's treated the same way, no matter what. One person ......

Posted On Monday, December 15, 2003 9:32 AM

Total Eclipse
Maybe I'm just in the dark (haha...get it? the dark), but I just found out that Eclipse, IBM's open source J2 IDE, was given its moniker to symbolize its intent to overshadow Sun's own open source development tool, NetBeans. Well, that's what Sun officials claim, anyway. Personally, I like this sort of thing. I'd liek to see more of it, as a matter of fact. Here are a few of my ideas... Sun Block Sun Screen Sun Shade Visual Studio .NET SPF 120 (hehe) This all came about when IBM started ......

Posted On Saturday, December 6, 2003 11:30 PM

CIO Faith in Web Service Platforms
Ain't it beautiful? 369 CIOs were asked which platform is preferred in building Web services Microsoft .NET 46.5%IBM WebSphere 19%Sun One 8.2% Thanks to Rebecca Dias for the slides. Check them out if you get a chance. Good stuff, but I would have preferred a little less marketting-type info...then again, it's really not that bad ......

Posted On Thursday, December 4, 2003 11:42 PM

Coding Conventions
There was a recent survey on the Code Project website that asked, “What notations do you use when coding?” I was surprised to see that nearly 53% of the respondants claimed to use Hungarian notation, with all but a few of those using prefixes (i.e. m_ for member variables). Now, I'm sure none of the respondants use only one naming convention, but I thought it was refreshing to see that Hungarian hasn't died - I am still a big fan. Generally, I use the following... Local variables: Hungarian ......

Posted On Tuesday, December 2, 2003 4:54 AM

Corporate Web Logs
I've been thinking of good ways to increase inter-project communication within my organization. I work in the software architecture office and get a chance to talk to most of the software developers. A lot of them ask questions and/or have a lot of comments to make on random topics. I've been planning on setting up a couple of forums, when I get a chance, but I don't think that's going to be any time soon. I've also wanted to setup .Text for news and possibly event blogging on the architecture site. ......

Posted On Sunday, November 30, 2003 7:29 PM

All About VB (Not a Religious Post)
Keith Pleas talks about a few VB issues in a recent blog post. He points out that most VB developers are RAD-centric and C# developers are code-centric. I agree with this 100%...and I know Microsoft does, too. He also mentions the move of old VB6 developers to .NET: “...return of the VB programmer who glued together a bunch of stuff...” I think that this is the essence of VB. And, I also think this is why VB has so many problems gaining respect among users of more complex languages. Let's ......

Posted On Thursday, December 4, 2003 11:30 PM

It's All in the Name
I'm looking for a good name for a software development conference-summit-forum-thing. This is an internal event to help share information as well as bring in good people to talk about software issues/innovations. Does anyone have any suggestions? Here are some of the ideas I've been mulling over: Application Development Forum (ADF) Applied Technology Forum (ATF) Applied Information Technology Forum (AITF or “8F”) Information Technology Forum (ITF) Software Development Forum (SDF) Software ......

Posted On Thursday, December 4, 2003 9:28 AM

Corporate Web Logs Pt 2
I'm not sure if web logs will be successful communication tool or not. I guess what I'm worried about is that a number of people within the organization have mentioned that they don't know how much it'd be used. When people have questions, they usually call select individuals to answer their question. Everybody knows: programmers are hard-headed - especially the good ones. Most programmers don't want to accept someone else's opinion when they have one of their own. And, for problems with projects, ......

Posted On Tuesday, December 2, 2003 7:02 PM

QuickCode.NET Suggestions
I recently took a look at the QuickCode.NET tool and found it to be pretty interesting. It's definitely worth looking into, but I have a suggestion... Personally, I like to keep my code very organized. I have templates that I use for VB6/ASP, .NET, and Java projects. I think that it would be very helpful to tie something like this into QuickCode.NET. If for nothing else, to try and provide a standard way to organize classes would be outstanding. I'm not saying that my way is perfect - if anyone has ......

Posted On Sunday, November 30, 2003 9:45 AM

J2 Improvements

I was rummaging through the web and found an old article that touches on the topic of one of my old posts. I thought the article was pretty good. Check it out, if you get a chance.

Posted On Friday, November 21, 2003 6:33 AM

Null vs. Zero-Length String ("")
I had this problem when I used to work with VB and VBScript apps and was hoping that there would be a good way to deal with this, but I guess not. When you have a string and you do not know whether it will be null or zero-length, you need to handle both. Well, what I've always done is: if ( strValue+"" == "" )... I haven't ever heard anything for or against this method, but was wondering what the best route was. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've seen posts that mention a possible IsNullOrEmpty() ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 19, 2003 5:39 AM

Rich UI's
Jon Udell recently wrote an article about "rich" GUI's. In this, he covers a good amount of ideas that I've been thinking of for a while. If you get a chance, go check it out. I'm not sure what everyone else thinks about this, but Microsoft is re-focusing on desktop applications. I've talked to a lot of people about this, and it seems that the majority of people want to stick with what they're used to - whether it be desktop or web apps. I've done development for both platforms, and personally, I ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:46 PM

C#-VB Rivalries
I don't know how many times I've read articles and opinions on the whole VB vs. C# conflict, but it's really getting ridiculous. This latest spat (1, 2) seemed to be started by three articles in Visual Studio Magazine: Patrick Meader's Why C# Developers Earn More, Juval Löwy's Pick the .NET Language for You, and Kathleen Dollard's VB.NET Provides Power and Productivity. Each article is a good read, but I must make a minor point: The guest "opinion" made by Juval is not an opinion. I have talked ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:34 PM

Take That, Open Source!
I don't mean to pick on anybody in particular, but I think most developers share this concern: deprecation of functionality. I'm sure that everyone who's been in the software development business for a few years has had to deal with this in one form or another. The reason I wanted to talk about this now is because of the up-and-coming Java Server Faces (JSF) release. And, while I recognize that this isn't necessarily a deprecation of functionality from a Java standpoint, the open source community ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:22 PM

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