Tech Days 2014 – Shared thoughts

14 tech·days

Two days of new technology

Last week, I went to the tech days. I would like to share some thoughts and impressions with you. Feel free to comment, share your own thoughts.

wo 16 april 2014

Massive.js [key note]

Erich Gamma showed Monaco, the online development platform of Microsoft. It was quite impressive to see such a huge application written in JavaScript. The focus of the talk was in how to manage this code. The Monaco team faced big issues passing the 100kloc. JavaScript is really (too) forgiving. That, combined with the lack of interfacing and strong typing, the introduced TypeScript. The concluded that TypeScript saved there day, and should always be considered when you’re adding more than just some lines of JavaScript code.

Some TV crew took my by surprise after the session:

New and improved ASP.NET MVC 5/Web API2

This was a nice – and nothing more – talk about the new MVC(5) stuff. MS added a nice feature to MVC5/API2: The routing attribute, a real improvement imho. The focus was more on Web API, than on MVC. I think this is a good thing. Personally I would not recommend the use of MVC in the traditional serverside approach at all. Furthermore, I would not be surprised if Web API 3 (or a later version) will be released independent from MVC (or without).

Fundamentals guide to HDP & HDInsight

This talk was about HaDoop, an open source framework developed by Yahoo. It allows you to analyze Big Data using map/reduce. For .NET the allow querying using Linq. Really interesting stuff!

See: hadoopsdk.codeplex.com

Using NuGet the way you should

I was really looking forward to this this session, and it was a nice talk. Unfortunately (due to continuous crashes of Visual Studio) there was not enough time for questions (I had some). In general: if you distribute code and/or libraries use NuGet. Not only because it can speed up development (by reducing the compilation time), it also forces you to think about versioning and separating concerns.

Using Orleans for building scalable cloud applications

Orleans is a MS platform that is developed to make (the game) Helo more scalable. The way it works by creating factories (Silo) that supply proxy references (grains) to the actual instances. Orleans decides where the real instances live, and can handle the up and down scaling. It is a powerful framework, but more suited for applications like Helo, than for applications like Exact Online. But maybe at some point It can become interesting for us too.

See: research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/orleans

do 17 april 2014

Xamarin: native apps for iOS/Android in C#

Two years ago, I went to a Xamarin session, and I was quite impressed. I downloaded it and tried to get started. Unfortunately, the evaluation version was so limited that you hardly could do anything with it. What a deception that this is still the case. Furthermore, the development experience for iOS is still (a little) hell. But, and that is the good thing, what can be accomplished with Xamarin is great. If you have to develop native apps on commercial base, Xamarin should be your choice if you have a C# background.

Using MVVM so you can write better code and less code

MVVM (Model-View-View model) is approach that has a lot of strong advocates. In fact, a lot of client side frameworks (like Knockout and AngularJS) are MVVM. This session used (server side) MVC.NET, but it was not about the framework, it was about the methodology (and that was good!). The view model is the key in this approach. It fills the gap between the model (and data) and the view. It handles changes of the model (and therefor the view). When the view model changes, it notifies the view, so that it can update, if the view needed new data, the view model delivers. Calculations needed for the view are done by the view model too. The claim of the speaker that this results in less code is discussable, the first one is not. This will definably improve your code quality! If you did not already use this pattern, you start using it right now.

Event processing at all scales with RX

Bart De Smet is a phenomenon. If he speaks somewhere, I always want to be at least at one of his talks. Therefor I ended up at an RX (Reactive Extensions). De Smets is working on Cortana, an digital assistant or Windows Phone. It serializes expressions and enables the handling of the RX events in the cloud (Azure). It was a nice talk, but not as good (imho) as earlier talks I went to. Still, if you missed it, you should watch the video.

Games Services and Telemetry Processing in MS Azure

I have to admit that I was triggered by “Games”, but in fact this talk was on telemetry processing, and not on gaming. It was really good talk, and showed some nice ways of processing Big Data using Azure.

Conclusions

By going to the cloud (whatever cloud that is) means that code becomes async. Depending on you requirements, data, events, and/or computing can be moved to the cloud. There are no free lunches there, so you always have to do the math first.

JavaScript is only becoming more important, so get your hands dirty and do a lot of JS coding. Try AngularJS, Knockout (also for hands on experience on MVVM), and of course TypeScript.

One Response to “Tech Days 2014 – Shared thoughts”

  1. […] visting the TechDays in 2014, I’d was pleased that a good friend – and former colleague – tipped me about […]

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