If only I were

Building Great Software


with 3 comments

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Chrome wiped out Firefox’s market share, ended up with 10-20% of the market and relegated Firefox to an Opera-like status while everyone else stayed with Internet Explorer?

I like Firefox by the way, I want to see it thrive because of its extensions like firebug and its standards compliance.

In the late 90’s Internet Explorer soundly beat Netscape. Now Netscape’s descendant who has been working tirelessly to gain marketshare for several years could be in jeopardy.

Do you think Chrome poses a real threat to Firefox?

Written by Chris Sutton

September 29, 2008 at 10:56 am

Posted in Technology, Thoughts, Web

jQuery and ASP.NET MVC

with one comment

I just saw Scott Hanselman’s announcement that jQuery is going to be packaged with ASP.NET MVC. If you haven’t already been using this Javascript library with ASP.NET development you are missing out on a great library.

For more about this announcement see Scott Guthrie’s post and John Resig’s post.

This doesn’t change anything for me as I’ve been using jQuery in my ASP.NET and ASP.NET MVC projects for about 8 months, but having it packaged in will bring much wider adoption to this library. I think there will be a lot of happier web developers because of this choice.

Written by Chris Sutton

September 28, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Posted in Technology

Tagged with ,

Looking Back at the MVC Pattern – Prologue

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Looking back at original writings surrounding an idea is important when you are trying to take your understanding deeper.

My goal in this series is to draw attention to some of the original documents and highlight what people said about MVC in its inception.

It’s been noted before that naming a pattern is important. With the MVC pattern you really need to start with Trygve Reenskaug’s writings since he named and described MVC.

In my next post we’ll look at his original MVC paper called Thing-Model-View-Editor.

Written by Chris Sutton

September 27, 2008 at 9:52 am

Please stop using Visual Source Safe

with 2 comments

I’ve had this kind of error dozens of times in the last 8 years. Does this inspire confidence? If any other database that you work with corrupted itself this frequently and this drastically would you keep using that database?

If you answered ‘no’ in both cases (and I hope you did), then consider something better, stable and free like Subversion and TortoiseSVN. Or if you have the money and you need to stick with Microsoft technologies then consider Team Foundation Server. At a very minimum both of these options have atomic commits where Visual Source Safe does not.

This is a fraction of the error message by the way. I cut out 9/10 of the error message for brevity.

Visual SourceSafe Analyze Version 8.0
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Database analysis in progress @  7/16/08;11:18a.
Unable to open file ‘\\nhdev\nhvss\data\G\GGBAAAAA’.
File “\\nhdev\nhvss\data\G\GGBAAAAA” not found
The project User references a child whose physical file (GGBAAAAA) is missing or corrupted.
Unable to open file ‘\\nhdev\nhvss\data\H\HGBAAAAA’.
File “\\nhdev\nhvss\data\H\HGBAAAAA” not found
The project User references a child whose physical file (HGBAAAAA) is missing or corrupted.
The file ‘web.config’ (LEBAAAAA) lists ‘ZDBAAAAA’ as its parent, but that file does not reference it as a child or is missing/corrupted.
The item ‘Registration’ (ZDBAAAAA) is orphaned and needs to be removed.
The item ‘User’ (WEBAAAAA) is orphaned and needs to be removed.
Analysis complete @  7/16/08;11:19a
Potentially serious errors or inconsistencies were found: run ANALYZE -F to fix these problems.
To fix the database problems, you can restart the analyze using the following command:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual SourceSafe\analyze.exe” -F -V3 -D “\\nhdev\nhvss\data”

Update: If you are not the admin for VSS then you may not have seen these messages, but you see them fairly frequently if you are the admin.

Written by Chris Sutton

September 25, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Technology, Thoughts

Tagged with ,

Chat with Sarah – the future of automated help

with 12 comments

PayPal has a virtual agent that is supposed to help field questions. Maybe it is helpful in some cases, but for a significant question it is useless. Here is the actual text from our “conversation.”

Sarah – PayPal :
Hello, I’m Sarah, and I’m here to answer questions you have about PayPal. Just type into the box below and click Submit to get started.
I’m in training now, so if I don’t know the answer to your PayPal question, I’ll try to learn it for next time!

You :
I forgot my password and I can’t get it reset, can you help me?
Sarah – PayPal :
If you have forgotten your PayPal login password, or if your password has been locked, you can reset your password by confirming your identity.

1.  Visit the PayPal website at https://www.paypal.com/
2.  Click the Forgot your Password? link.
3.  Enter the email address you used to register.
4.  Enter the code shown in the security text box.
4.  Click Continue.
6.  Confirm your account ownership and click Continue.
7.  Confirm additional account information and click Continue.
8.  Create a new password and click Submit. Anything else I can do to help you?

You :
I’ve already tried that.
Sarah – PayPal :
Ok, what’s your question?

You :
I already asked my question, you need to give a better answer.
Sarah – PayPal :
I was trained to give personalised answers, which sometimes means that I may have to ask a private question or two! If you think of anything else I can help you with, I’ll be here.

You :
Can you help me?
Sarah – PayPal :
As a virtual advisor I’m here to help you with questions about PayPal.

You :
Can I talk to a real person?
Sarah – PayPal :
I may be able to help with your request. However, if I can’t answer your question, you can visit the Help Center, or Contact Us.

You :
Do you know anything about Alan Turing?
Sarah – PayPal :
I don’t understand. If you think of anything else I can help you with, I’ll be here.

You :
That’s what I thought.
Sarah – PayPal :
If there’s anything else you’d like to ask me, I’m here 24-7 to answer any questions you might have.

Written by Chris Sutton

September 16, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Iowa Code Camp – Des Moines

with 3 comments

The summer is just about over and it’s time to ramp up for our second Iowa Code Camp of the year. This year’s code camp is going to held at the DMACC campus in West Des Moines on November 8th.

Greg Wilson put out a call for speakers a while ago. If you weren’t included on that email and want to speak, then email him at greg at solidrockstable dot com and he can help you out.

Javier Lozano has already lined up DMACC as our facility. If you haven’t been to their campus check out their website here. It’s an excellent high-tech facility and I think it will be a fantastic location. If you are interested in sponsoring the event please contact Javier Lozano as well at javier at lozanotek dot com.

To round out the list of leaders there is Greg Sohl (master of logistics), Bryan Sampica (marketing), Tom Burns and myself.

Written by Chris Sutton

August 31, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Speaking at CodeApalooza

with 4 comments

I’m doing a talk at CodeApalooza called “Rendering Great Client-Side Controls with ASP.NET MVC“.

The idea behind this talk is that the latest crop of browsers have significant boosts in their Javascript speed. Because Javascript is faster and is becoming more consistent in its implementation, some innovative libraries have matured significantly. YUI, jQuery and many others can now save you much effort. You can now easily offload the rendering of your client controls to the browser and just send the controls raw json or xml data.

One of the main examples we’ll build is a really slick pageable and sortable grid. I think you’ll be pretty impressed with what you you can accomplish if you haven’t tested any of these libraries.

CodeApalooza is happening in Wheaton, IL (think Chicago) on September 6th. If you haven’t signed up already, do quickly before it fills up.

Written by Chris Sutton

August 21, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Microsoft in Iowa

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It looks like Microsoft just picked Des Moines, Iowa for it next data center location. That is pretty cool for Des Moines and the state of Iowa. Des Moines is on I-80 which is close to some very high speed/high capacity fiber lines which I’m sure helped Microsoft make the decision.

Written by Chris Sutton

August 21, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Posted in Iowa, Technology

Interview Question

with 6 comments

I was asked today in an interview what I thought a company was responsible to do for their employees. Or, “what does a company owe its employees.”

What would you say?

Written by Chris Sutton

August 21, 2008 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Life, Technology

CRIneta goes to Brazil

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Eduardo Bottcher, a .NET Architect for HNI in Muscatine, was recently back in Rio de Janeiro for some vacation and took part in a podcast with the guys from MSRio.NET.

In the second half they discuss the CRIneta.org, the 2008 launch event we did this spring and Iowa Code Camp. If you speak Portuguese or can at least understand it, definitely listen to their third podcast to hear more.

É muito bacana isso!

Written by Chris Sutton

August 19, 2008 at 10:06 pm