I came across this James Avery post via Mike Gunderloy’s blog.  Avery attempts to make a similar point to one Martin Fowler puts forward about the best developers moving away from the .NET platform.  Beyond the sort of anecdotal evidence I’ve read, I don’t see much abandonment of .NET as a platform.

When I read this post by Dave Laribee, I decided that Avery missed his point.  The point of ALT.NET isn’t as a bridge to a different set of tools, but to recognize two things:

  1. The best solutions on the .NET platform won’t always come from Microsoft.
  2. The best ideas from other software development communities can work very well on the .NET platform.

The existence of tools like NUnit and log4net, frameworks like Spring.NET and rules engines like is more likely to keep developers using the .NET Framework than it is to encourage them to switch to Ruby on Rails.  Because a lot of ALT.NET is free and open source, there’s plenty of incentive to use it instead of the Microsoft alternative (which increasingly comes with hefty licensing fees).

Strongly-typed datasets and queries without matching select clauses

I learned an annoying lesson about these late last week.  I’d created the dataset by dragging and dropping the necessary tables from SQL Server in Visual Studio 2005.  Then I added a query to one of the tables that didn’t include every one of its columns.  Unfortunately, a number of the columns my query didn’t return didn’t allow nulls.  I ended up modifying my query to include those columns, even though I don’t use them.  I didn’t try removing the columns from the dataset, but that probably would have worked too.

Ruby on Microsoft

This piece by Martin Fowler interests me more for his contention that the best technical leaders are abandoning .NET than for what he writes about Ruby. It’s the sort of argument that seems true because anecdotal evidence seems readily available.  I’d be interested to see if there’s more quantitative backing for the assertion.

Some poking around on Google did reveal at least a couple statistics:

“Rails.NET” Revisited

It’s been almost a year since I learned about the .NET Action Pack. Since then, the project has changed names (to SubSonic) and switched to using Google Code as a repository (though they still use CodePlex for other things). The team appears to have enhanced it significantly, including the addition of a command-line utility and support for non-web applications.
Since we’re short-staffed at work, we definitely need to jump on anything that will generate code for us.

Fun with Settings.settings

Apparently this is where Visual Studio 2005 stores connection strings when you add strongly-typed datasets in an application.  Even though I had an app.config file and I’d changed it to point to a new database, I was still getting SqlExceptions when I ran my unit tests.  I just didn’t know the old value was still stored in Settings.settings and needed to be updated.

My 2 cents on the iPhone

This Sunday’s Opus comic strip captures the hype perfectly.

I did get to play with one for a few minutes at an Apple store in Maryland yesterday.  It handles its primary job (being a phone) very well.  The sound quality was good.  The interface really is as clever as the advertising suggests. A quick finger swipe moved whatever you needed in the right direction.

Typing with the iPhone turned out to work better with your index finger than with your thumbs.  Whatever logic they’ve got in there for guessing what you meant when you mistype something works extremely well though.

That said, I don’t see myself coughing up the dough for an iPhone anytime soon.  Functional and attractive as it is, I don’t need that much of an upgrade over the Razr (which while it has plenty of shortcomings, fits nicely in my pocket and only cost me $100).  Besides, if version 1 of the iPhone is this good, imagine version 2 😉