I am very pleased to be able to write this blog post! GiveCamp is an event in the USA that was founded to bring developers together to help out charity. It has been running successfully there since 2007.
Late in 2010, Rachel Hawley had the idea to try and bring GiveCamp to the UK. Through sheer hard work and determinism it’s happening and today we are proud to release our new GiveCamp UK site:
Why did we choose the October 21 - 23? Its the date of the National GiveCamp in the US! What will you be doing on the weekend of October 21 – 23? I know what I will be doing. You should come along! We could all be part of something very special in the UK. Special thanks goes to Gareth Barker at Union Digital Media for helping with the design of the site. Already people have signed up to contribute – thanks to Leankitkanban, SaaSMadeEasy, Github, HasBean and DiscountASP.NET. More are needed :)
If you have any enquiries about GiveCamp UK then you can get in touch with the team on twitter via @GiveCampUK or via #GiveCampUK or email!
I have seen a lot of job adverts in the past few months. I have even written a few myself for some roles at my current company. As we know job adverts tend to be boring! They suggest the things that the developer needs to be to work in a company.
As a potential employee I sometimes don’t think that’s a great way to attract me to your company. I could pass the interview and take the job then after a few months feel as though the environment doesn’t suit me. What do I do then?
I have just today seen a new recruitment drive by The Site Doctor which aims to cure that exact issue. They have released a new site to help them attract new employees – this is a chance for them to sell their company to you rather than the traditional what can you do for us!
I wish more companies done things like this – its a great way for them to show they are head and shoulders above the rest! Please have a look at the site – I was truly impressed by their attitude!
I have to start by saying this post is subjective. These are my thoughts regarding WebMatrix and what I think it will do to the industry. It is not meant as a jibe against any groups and it is not reflective of my attitude towards any companies. I’d also like to say that I know I’m very late to the WebMatrix party but I have just started using it since OrchardCMS made it appeal to me
What is WebMatrix?
To quote Scott Guthrie - “WebMatrix is a task-focused tool that is designed to make it really easy to get started with web development. It minimizes the number of concepts someone needs to learn in order to get simple things done, and includes and integrates all of the pieces necessary to quickly build Web sites.” From my investigations to WebMatrix and the creation of some OrchardCMS sites, I have to agree with Scott. The is really easy to get something together with WebMatrix.
What do I think is good about WebMatrix?
- WebMatrix has a lot of our of the box templates for CMS sites, blog sites etc.
- It is a lightweight IDE for developing on.
- Has automated deployment out of the box
- Comes bundled with IISExpress
- Comes bundled with NuGet It has a lot going for it. I was able to open WebMatrix, choose a new site from gallery and have an OrchardCMS site running in like 5 minutes. I initially thought this was fantastic! I still do in some cases but I can see this may cause us some problems as well.
- Doesn’t have a drag and drop interface for creating pages :)
What do I think is bad about WebMatrix?
- WebMatrix seems to store dependencies in the bin only so when opening in Visual Studio and clicking rebuild then bin files are lost
- Lack of intellisense support
- Seemingly lack of Webforms support – you cant seem to be able to deal with code behind files
- Data Access is a bit of a delicate issue in WebMatrix but I’m not jumping on that band wagon - EDIT: This needs a post of its own
So is WebMatrix a threat to the role of a professional developer?
According to Microsoft, WebMatrix is targeting those who currently write PHP, Classic ASP and who are new to web app development. I think its a great tool to be able to give new users to get started. This is where I also see a downfall in the product. WebMatrix has certainly made quite an impact on professional developers. More and more high profile figures are starting to talk about WebMatrix. 2 of the most high profile are Scott Hanselman and Rob Conery. They have used WebMatrix as a base for the development of their podcast site – This Developers Life.
From my experience, sometimes companies want web applications delivered fast. IF the company is not a native software company (their main product isn't software) then they sometimes don’t care how it gets made or what is used to make it. From companies I have worked for, if they knew there was a way for less skilled developers, who can be paid less, to create sites fast and get it deployed then they would do it. Those companies don’t really care how a site pieces together or care about its maintainability – once its released its done. There is also the cost – WebMatrix is free. It has site templates out of the box for free – VS2010 Professional is $1k (or thereabouts). Would a company struggling for cash be able to choose the $1k product for one of their developers? OR would they just use the free product that a junior developer can use?
WebMatrix is a great product – it just works! Its nice to use and has a lot of features out of the box. For smaller companies I truly believe that this tool will become very important. They cant keep up with the larger enterprise products. This is why I think that WebMatrix is a threat to software developers. Developers who work for smaller companies either need to start getting used to WebMatrix or companies may look to replace them in order to survive this harsh economic climate. For larger enterprises, if WebMatrix is a good fit for a job then I’d suggest to use it – right tool for the right job and all that. As I said its just easy! It does exactly what it needs to. Its just a tool I know and you still need a good grounding in development practices but lets see what has happened in 1 years time after it has been more widely trialled.
I’ve been meaning to write this post for months now to talk about my work with PostSharp and Attribute Based Caching. PostSharp is an AOP tool – I won’t get into too much detail about AOP and PostSharp as I have provided links to them
I used PostSharp to remove the amount of code required for the caching of my calls in a legacy application. Traditionally I would have had to write code such as this:
I was able to change the way this was done with AOP. This makes the code snippet look as follows:
I have effectively removed 2 lines of code from EVERY method call and replaced it with an attribute over the method declaration. In order for this to build, I had to either install PostSharp or run it as an import target manually in my .csproj file. So what does the output of the IL look like when decompiled?
You can see that the IL has had Aspects added to it. The 3rd party dll I used (CacheAspect) then knows what to add to the code and this is then IL woven using PostSharp. This means that the results of the MyMethod call will be added to the Cache with the key of StoredProcedureResults.
This has been majorly useful for me since I can invalidate the Cache on specific method calls
This method works by Invalidating the cache (key “StoredProcedureResults”) when the AddMethod is called. This scenario can be very useful when a list of users are cached and a new user is added to the list. It cuts down the code and is easy to read in my opinion.
I have posted before about how to hook PostSharp up to my CI server. AOP is not everyone's thing. It has been very useful for me on a small project. It has impacted the build time but I think its worth it for DRY code
It was announced last week that Guy Smith-Ferrier will be providing a free speaker training day in the UK on May 27th 2011. The details of the free training are located on Guy’s blog. I believe that this is a very popular event so if you are interested then please get in contact using the contact details on Guy’s blog post. In summary the day will cover the following details:
- How To Explain Absolutely Anything
- Planning Your Presentation
- How To Give Great Demos
- Getting Your Laptop Ready For Your Presentation
- Presenting Your Presentation
The training will be lead by some very well known speakers in the UK community – Steve Sanderson, Dave McMahon, Ross Scott and Chris Myhill. This is a FREE event so please do try and take advantage of this if you can and are interested in speaking at user groups or regional events in the UK.
If you are like me, however, and cannot make that speaker training day then Guy has released speaker training videos. They are available on the technical community site. After speaking with Guy about this he has suggested that you would not need to watch the videos if you are going to the training day as they cover the same topics.
Saturday 7th May was DDD Scotland in Glasgow. I was fortunate enough to be speaking at the event so obviously had to travel up there for the weekend :)
There were a range of good tracks available – agenda is here – and I started the day going to see Kendall Miller talking about How to Grow Your Own Software Company. Kendall is a very good speaker and delivered a very useful session. I really enjoyed the fact that he was able to relate his talk to his own experiences. If you can get a chance to see this session then I would recommend it – especially if you are thinking about setting up your own company!
I flitted in and out of a few other sessions throughout the day and really enjoyed the day as a hole. Got some great feedback on my session and Guy Smith-Ferrier very kindly critiqued my session for me so I can improve my delivery of my session.
Had a great day, met some great people and enjoyed having a day of being a geek. Thanks to the organisers – Colin MacKay, Craig Murphy, Andy Gibson and Barry Carr. Thanks again!