18 Dec 2004 slamb   » (Journeyer)

.NET seminar

I attended a .NET seminar for U of I developers today. Jeff Brand was the speaker.

First half: Worthless. Marketing. He acted apologetic, but he still spoke the jargon like a native marketroid. He even brought up the pet store example. While he did admit the line counts were questionable, he really drove in the number of hours spent on tuning the stupid, convoluted EJB version. He didn't mention the good Java implementation. And he made the strange assertion that Microsoft's VM is better because it uses JIT. He hedged a little, saying there are implementation differences on the Java side, but he implied that JVMs do not use JIT. (He might have simply deceived by saying the Microsoft JIT-compiles everything for near-native speed. Sun is smarter than that; their hotspot JVM doesn't bother JITing infrequently used code.) I wanted to ask him to name a single major JVM that does not JIT...but I remembered the cardinal rule of seminars: never heckle before they feed you.

Lunch: A disappointment. Microsoft didn't understand how much food we eat. And it was almost all older, full-time developers - I wonder what would have happened if more student/developers showed. We would have eaten his laptop. They ordered more pizza, but it did me little good - had to jet right afterward. Maybe I should have heckled after all.

Second half: Very interesting. He focused on web development with real demos. The controls they have save a lot of work (even the simple ones - a database-driven table that sorts based on clicking the column names and pages, in a themeable way), and the development tools are unbelievable. Eclipse is nice, but after what I saw today, I don't think it's at the same level. I'm sure something similar to the controls they showed exists in the Java world; I will have to find it and design AXP taglibs to interface with it. Maybe JavaServer Faces; I've put off investigating them for too long.

I wouldn't want to use the .NET functionality as-is, though. You'd lose all the advantages if you go a little off their path. For example, the post-back functionality he described as coming in .NET 2.0 is IE-only. No good technical reason why; Google can pull off similar things on any modern browser. This is where open source shines; an OSS framework could do the same partial implementation and I wouldn't care because it'd be easy to hack the source myself.

Update: Jeff Brand just emailed me. They do support the post-back functionality in other browsers. He was thinking of early alpha releases when he said it was IE-only.

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