Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Design Guidelines for Extension Methods and LINQ'ers

I'm a huge fan of the .NET 3.5 language extensions. I want more: give me mix-ins, please!

Ingrate that I am, I think perhaps we should celebrate what we have before resuming our whining ways. And we should take stock too ... because new technology invites abuse.

"With great power comes great responsibility". My spidey sense is tingling already as villainous extension methods threaten the city. Wanna fight back?

Check out these new design guidelines, specifically for extension methods and LINQ implementations, from the good folks at Microsoft who brought us the invaluable Framework Design Guidelines: Conventions, Idioms, and Patterns for Reusable .NET Libraries.

Don't have this book? Go get it and discover not just what is recommended but why. The guidelines are not perfect ... as evidenced by recent debates on the relative merits of interfaces and abstract classes ... but I love 'em nonetheless. 'Nuf said.

Monday, March 17, 2008

From PowerBuilder to .NET

They say all good things come to an end. It looks like PowerBuilder is one of those good things.

Rapid application development has always been important to business and PowerBuilder has to be among the most successful RAD products of all times. But it's time to move on. "PowerBuilder for .NET" doesn't seem to be gaining traction. What's a career PowerBuilder jockey supposed to do? Do you have to take a big productivity hit and also climb the whole .NET learning curve all at once?

Maybe it's not so bad. My company, IdeaBlade, is hosting a MSDN Webinar on Migrating from PowerBuilder to .NET It's a panel discussion among some experts who've been down this path before. I can vouch for two of them personally, Sean Flynn and Chuck Miller, having spent long hours with both. I haven't met the Microsoft guy, Terry Clancy, but I've heard good things about him. The fourth fellow, Jay Traband, is our CTO so you know I've got to be kind despite the fact that he and I have been jawing at each other since 1986 :-)

If PowerBuilder is your cup of tea, you definitely should register and attend on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

First drops of Prism

I wrote before about how Patterns and Practices is taking the lessons of CAB and applying them to a new project - the development of a compositional application architecture for WPF. The project is called Prism.

Prism is catching the first rays of public sunshine. Glenn Block announced the a Prism drop in his blog post today. It comes with a reference implementation (RI) to motivate the design decisions and demonstrate Prism at work.

I'm looking forward to digging in. I've seen some earlier Prism facets and been pleased with the direction.

I'll repeat Glenn's caveats: these are not real Prism bits - not beta, not CTP. They are more like spikes. Assume almost everything will change. Don't even dream of using it in production.

On the other hand, I think it's well worth examining to see where Prism is headed and to confirm for yourself that "by gosh, they might actually deliver something useful and intelligible in reasonable time." They've made no delivery promises - not about content, not about timing. But the auguries are very good.