Experiences and Experiments in Programming

 Saturday, April 08, 2006
A few days ago, I found a site which I thought I would pass on.  Community Credit was created by David Silverlight and Alex Januschewsky.  They are both Microsoft MVPs.  The site is dedicated to recognizing and awarding people who are active in the technology community based on their contributions. They give away prizes to those who have been most active each month.

But beyond the prizes, "community credit simply highlights your contributions and is one way of seperating yourself from the crowd and showing that you are a serious professional".

If you are really serious about contributing to the technical community, visit Community Credit.
Friday, April 07, 2006 11:09:59 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Thursday, April 06, 2006
I am a member of Internet Professionals Society of Alabama (IPSA). Today's meeting is on Digital Imaging and it is obviously a hot topic since attendance has been limited. Although I was late getting my RSVP in, someone had to cancel so I am going to be able to go. Digital Imaging, while not code, is a huge part of web design that facilitates the web experience! I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006 8:50:19 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I have submitted my presentations for the Huntsville .NET Code Camp on April 22. I have finalized presentations on CSS2, and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).

One of my presentations is on CSS2 and ASP.NET. I will discuss how to effectively design a web page to use CSS (specifically the CSS2 spec). The best way to achieve separation of content and presentation. The talk will actually be beneficial regardless of server technology. The same basic premise could be applied to a static page.

The first of my WPF talks will focus on getting started with XAML and integrating with the server. The presentation would stand well on its own, but I will also use it as a springboard for my second WPF presentation which is a little more advanced.

The second WPF presentation will be more advanced. I am still not sure how far I will go with this one. My thought is to create a video jukebox using the carousel concept from Microsoft's North Face demo. We shall see!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 1:10:15 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Thursday, March 30, 2006

I have gotten a number of questions lately about Atlas. What exactly is it? What do I need to run it? What are the requirements for begin able to use it? So I thought I would post some information here in an attempt to help others who may have the same questions.

First of all, if you have not heard of Ajax, you have been living under a rock. However if you prefer to live like Patrick the starfish, Ajax is simply a term given to the use of multiple technologies (ie. Javascript, DHTML, CSS, and others) used in conjunction to achieve a more rich browser-based user experience. Granted, there are plenty of other definitions you can find if you don't like that one. Since Ajax is not really a technology so much as a technique, it does not belong to any one person or company. Plenty of people have created Ajax libraries. It should be no surprise that Microsoft has created their own Ajax framework, Atlas.

Atlas has 2 components: a set of Javascript script files which give you a similiar type of development platform for client-based Web pages that ASP.NET offers for server-based pages, and a server library that extends ASP.NET to integrate with server-based services. Do what? Effectively, you can have most of your work done on the client using the script files, or you can have most of the work done on the server utilizing ASP.NET.

"Ok, great"...you say.  "Sounds like it is a Microsoft ASP.NET technology. Not interested, I use PHP!" Well think again! You can use the client scripts with any back-end data provider you choose. If you use Visual Studio 2005, the Atlas .msi file will give you the option to install the Atlas web site templates. The Atlas web site template will give you a new Atlas web site option when you do a File..New from the menu. There is nothing magic here, the template creates a couple directories for you, references the Atlas library, and copies the Javascript files into your project.

The Atlas client scripts also include some really nice DHTML tools you can use as well. So what are you waiting for? Go download it and start playing.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 2:30:37 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Friday, March 24, 2006
Since my return from MIX06, my mind has been racing with a more hightened concept of the web as an experience. I have always thought that web design and public facing web applications should invoke an emotional response as well as an intellectual one; that browsing the web should be an experience more so than just a mundane task. This, in my mind, is what keeps an audience returning to a site.

Some of the things I have seen at MIX06 have solidified and hyped this feeling of the web as an experience. So I have decided to personally embrace this "experience the web" concept and let it drive me. I have changed my blog warmer to reflect this, and plan to reflect it in my blog content as well. I look forward to getting more feedback on how we as developers can inject the "experience" into our development.

Friday, March 24, 2006 9:10:26 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Well, now that I have been back for a day and tried to absorb all the material presented at MIX06, I have to say that it can be overwhelming. I thought I had a pretty good handle on Atlas and WPF. But as a web developer, I realized that there was so much more than what I had previously thought was coming down the pipe.

Web developers are having, truely, a brand new world of possibilities handed to them. The richness of the web experience, for it will soon be truely an experience, is exploding! We are going to have to learn to think and design without limitation. That is the only way we will be able to take advantage of all the capabilities soon available. For so long we have had many limitations. Recently, there has been a push to go beyond some of the more common and burdensome limitations, but nothing on the scale of what is to come.

All I can say is this: Throw off your shackles and chains and get ready for a whole new freedom...get ready to not just browse the web, but to experience it!

Friday, March 24, 2006 8:58:54 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Well, it is over for me at least.  I am here at the airport waiting for my flight. I had to leave the event a little early to make sure that I wasn't running like a chicken with my head cut off.  I missed some of the first session and had to leave in the middle of the last session so I spent some time in the sandbox this morning.  For those who weren't there, the sandbox is a room where they had lots of computers set up to do labs, browse online, and play with some of the technologies presented on. I did attend

Breakout 2:
Building Components and Services for the Programmable Web presented by Nikhil Kothari

I have to say that this was one of the best conferences I have been to. Not the typical marketing being done. I got a lot of good information about the technologies available to us as developers now, but that are more forward looking! I am excited about what is coming down the road. Now it is up to all of us to begin changing the state of web applications, to embrace a new model and new possibilities.  I personally can't wait to see where we go!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:44:00 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Well...I have found my first casualty of dasBlog with the new IE7!  I was testing here at MIX06 in the compatibility lab for IE7.  I was working on Vista with the latest build of IE7 and found that the admin bar for dasBlog does not show up once logged in.  All the other admin icons show up fine, it appears to just affect the admin menu bar.

Not sure where the problem actually exists. I am going to set up a test environment and do some more looking. If anyone else has seen this problem, let me know.  Otherwise, I will see what I come up with and post another entry.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:28:55 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Well day two was just as informative as day one.  I went to the following presentations:

Breakout 1: Lessons From the Trenches:Engineering Great AJAX Experiences presented by Scott Isaacs.  This one hit close to home since he talked a lot about some of the things that are of great interest to me and are some of my soap box topics!

Breakout 2: Designing a Better User Experience with AJAX and "Atlas" presented by Brad Abrams and Rick Spencer

Breakout 3: A First Look at Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/E): a Cross-Platform subset of WPF presented by Joe Stegman

Tuesday night I had some free time with no sessions and no formal event (although there were some informal events going on here and there). I managed to see some of Vegas including a great show...;)
Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:19:32 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
 Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Saw the latest IE 7. For those of you who know me, you know that I am a big Firefox guy. I won't knock IE, and use it sometimes, but there are just some things about Firefox that, in my opinion, can't be beat.

Having said that, I like this latest IE 7. I had looked at the previous IE 7 Beta and was not impressed at all. But let me say that this latest one looks more like what I was expecting to see.  From what I have seen so far, I could see me using IE 7 a lot more!  I am going to use this new beta for a while and see what I think.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 4:07:33 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Who Am I - Todd Miranda
MVP Visual Developer - ASP/ASP.NET
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