Thursday, September 27, 2012

Modern Web and Desktop App Development

Free stuff! Got your attention? Read on to learn more …

Last year I focused on completing my book about enterprise solutions using Silverlight. Since the release of Designing Silverlight Business Applications, much has changed. The book itself was well-received (currently well-rated at Amazon, thanks to my readers who take the time to leave their feedback) but the market itself shifted as executives concerned with the unclear future of Silverlight began to focus more heavily on HTML5. Technology moves fast so companies have had enough time to process the fact that HTML5 was a lot of marketing and hype but failed to deliver on the promise of writing once and running everywhere. Part of the uncertainty was compounded by the release of Windows 8 and the shift to WinRT.

I’ve been fortunate to have projects that have allowed me to focus on both aspects of leading edge technology. In addition to working “behind the scenes” with Wintellect founders Jeff Prosise and Jeffrey Richter on Windows 8 as it evolved over the past year, I’ve also been heavily involved in a large enterprise web-based application that is built on HTML5 technologies and follows a Single Page Application (SPA) paradigm which means lots of client-side JavaScript code. The project integrates libraries like Backbone.js, RequireJS, AmplifyJS, and leverages controls and MVVM features from Kendo UI. We are using the latest Visual Studio 2012 and TFS Server 2012 features to manage an agile project with a large development team located literally around the world.

I learned the hard way that JavaScript is difficult to manage and scale almost a decade ago. It was one of the reasons I shifted to Silverlight and was delighted to discover the teams could produce quality code about 4x faster than using the traditional web stack. The focus has shifted back to JavaScript but the problem with scaling applications based on JavaScript is not unique so a number of amazing libraries and solutions have been created to make it easier to control the quality of applications that have a heavy client JavaScript component.

On the other side of the spectrum, as I work with companies moving their existing technologies from Silverlight and WPF to Windows 8 and smartphones, the common question is how to leverage as much of the existing codebase as possible. I’ve had plenty of experience working both with the Portable Class Library (PCL) and the team at Microsoft driving that project to help build portable assemblies that can provide 80% of the functionality required across multiple platforms without recompiling. I think the PCL is one of the least understood and most underused features of Visual Studio 2012.

The reason I’m sharing all of this is because I’m excited to present on both of these topics next week at Wintellect’s own Devscovery conference. This is an event that is unique in many ways. First, the focus is less on presenting and more on training … it’s a subtle difference but the sessions dive deep into technologies including Windows 8 and WinRT, HTML5, jQuery, JavaScript, ASP.NET MVC, .NET 4.5, C# 5, Visual Studio 2012, advanced debugging and testing, and more. You can view the full agenda here.

The second reason this event is unique is because of the expert presenters. It’s one of the few places you’ll find Jeffrey Richter, Jeff Prosise, and John Robbins under the same roof and not only attend sessions but meet with them one-on-one to get your questions answered. You can view the full list of presenters here. Add to that a powerful keynote and what’s not to like? I’ll be there as well, presenting on Enterprise JavaScript and the Portable Class Library.

I mentioned free stuff at the beginning of this blog post. Registration is still open for this event, but I realize for some it may be short notice, so I’ve got a special offer. If you can swing the travel, we can swing the entrance fee. I have two free passes to give away on a first come, first serve basis. These are for new participants who have not yet registered but are interested in attending the event. You have to be committed and able to attend, so if you think you can swing it and would like the pass, please tweet the hash tag #DevHouston12 with your pass request and the link to the agenda (http://bit.ly/Pvityp) … for example, “I would like a pass to #DevHouston12 – check out the agenda http://bit.ly/Pvityp” – you must include the hash tag and a link that ends up on the agenda page. Our marketing director will monitor the hash tag and the first two to tweet and verify they can attend will get the passes.

Thanks!

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