Sandcastle - NDoc's Replacement?

posted on 07/27/06 at 10:40:33 pm by Joel Ross

This week, the lead developer on a major open source project, NDoc, resigned. His reasons are valid, if not disappointing (not in him, in the community of NDoc users), but that's not the point. Coming on the heels of this announcement is the announcement about the pending availability of Sandcastle.

What's Sandcastle? Well, the preliminary announcement is a little light on details, but there's a few tidbits that give you a clue that it could be a replacement for the now defunct NDoc: Produces MSDN-like documentation, Build Assember includes syntax generation, and that it's used internally to generate .NET Framework documentation.

I'm interested - if for no other reason than it supports Generics! Anywya, a CTP should be released shortly.

UPDATE: The Sandcastle blog now has a power point revealing a little more information about the project. It definitely looks like an NDoc alternative.

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Categories: Development


Google Code: Now They're Taking Down SourceForge

posted on 07/27/06 at 10:31:22 pm by Joel Ross

What's the Slashdot crowd going to do now? Everyone's favorite Microsoft Killer (Google) is going after everyone's favorite Microsoft Killer (SourceForge - the home of Open Source Software)! What am I talking about? Google Code - where Google will host your Open Source projects for you - bug tracking, discussions, and source control.

I wonder how well this will be received in the community - Google used to be the golden child, but more and more lately, the community is looking deeper, and starting to see their faults.

Oh yeah - Google Code's Project Hosting's slogan, borrowed from the mob days of Chicago: Release early, release often!

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Categories: General


SSW's Rules For Successful .NET Projects

posted on 07/27/06 at 10:09:00 pm by Joel Ross

SSW has a list of 41?rules that they've put out there that can be used as guidelines for running successful projects. I perused the list, and for the most part, they're spot on.

One item I hadn't seen was number 5 - about synching up development vs. production web.config settings. SSW uses an approach based on machine name - so if you have a key for WebServiceUrl, you'd have DevLaptop_WebServiceUrl for your local machine, and DevServer_WebServiceUrl as the key for your dev server. I've never done it that way, but it's an interesting approach - and could see some use for it in the future. I've typically used either the ability to have a developer.config file that's not checked into source control (file attribute for appSettings), or, more recently, using a web deployment project to make our dev, staging, and production builds, and use the built-in ability to swap out sections with other files - we have a production.appSettings.config, staging.appSettings.config, and dev.appSettings.config, and those get put into the appSettings section in our web.config when the build happens.

Others that I hadn't seen? Database tools. I use Red Gate's SQL Compare to do our database upgrades, but it's not part of our build process. Having some sort of SQL deployment tool in our build process is a goal, but a lofty one at this point.

I like the point about referencing projects over DLLs. Even for stable DLLs, if I have access to the project, I'd rather have the project reference, if for no other reason than when I'm debugging, I can still step through the code if I need to - not swap out my reference for a debug DLL - because if you reference a DLL directly, it should be the release version!

By the way, the actual author of this list looks like it's Adam Cogan, who's been on dnrTV for the past four weeks talking about SQL Reporting Services (part 1 |?part 2 |?part 3)?and Visual Studio Team System (part 1).

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Categories: Development Web 2.0 Wars Winner Announced

posted on 07/24/06 at 11:00:00 pm by Joel Ross

Kent Newsome has been doing the Web 2.0 Wars for a while now - he's reviewed 200 applications thus far - and he's finally crowned the winner - YouTube.

Which is ironicly fitting, considering the recent talks around YouTube's future - no real revenue (yeah, ads on the site are great, but most videos are viewed in the embedded players on people's blogs), and, with increasing traffic (up 300% this year, and reportedly 60% in the last week), rapidly rising costs. Basically, YouTube, while serving up 100,00,000 videos a day (that seems high, but that's what this week's TWiT said) is rapidly making themselves unacquirable?- traffic doesn't guarantee revenue, despite what the Web 2.0 hype says.

So, while YouTube's burn rate increases on a weekly basis, how long can they survive? Could they be the first in Bubble Burst 2.0?

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Categories: General


Script# - Javascript in C#

posted on 07/21/06 at 09:35:24 am by Joel Ross

I'm way late on this, but back in March, a lightbulb went off for me, and I wondered why we couldn't write Javascript in C#. I got a lot of positive feedback about that, and that's pretty much where it ended for me.

Until I saw that Nikhil Kothari released Script#. What's Script#? Well, you write code in C#, run it through the Script# compiler, and you get a .js file. It's not exactly what I was talking about, but it's very close, and accomplishes roughly the same thing. I've played with it a little bit, and it's very cool. if you've ever had to write javascript and run into the issues that most developers do, then you should definitely give it a go!

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Categories: C#


Voltroning Up

posted on 07/20/06 at 09:56:00 pm by Joel Ross

I was listening to session 12 of BloggerCon IV (Video Blogging) the other day, and someone mentioned the term "Voltroning Up." I don't know who. Maybe Dave can answer that one.

Being a child of the '80s, I liked the term. If you're not familiar, Voltron was an animated show first seen in 1984 where a bunch of smaller machines eventually joined up to become a larger, stronger machine.

The term was used in terms of the need for smaller video bloggin?companies joining together to fight the large players (Google, etc.), but, since I'm a consultant, I naturally tried to apply it to my profession as well. Guess what? It works there too! As part of a small company (150 definitely isn't huge!). We team up with lots of partners to help on projects, depending on what our needs are. Sometimes it's web hosting. Other times it might be design work.

Anyway, the end result is that we can compete against the big boys by "Voltronning Up" - and not only that, but because we can choose the parts we bring to the table, we're at an advantage. We can bring "best of breed" companies to the table.

Or maybe it just sounds cool!

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Categories: General


My House Is For Sale!

posted on 07/20/06 at 09:28:15 pm by Joel Ross

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were camping in Bay City. On the way home, we decided that we wanted to build a house. That part is still out in the future - we will probably start next fall or the following spring. But, to be in a position to do that, we needed to sell our current house. So, we decided to do that now - well, at the time, we decided to do it by the end of August, since there were a?few projects to do first.

Over the past two weeks, we've both worked our tails off to get them done, and as of Monday, our house is officially for sale! So, if you're looking to move to the Spring Lake area, let me know - we're selling!

The best part is that it's been online for all of 2 days now, and we've already had a showing - and have 3 more scheduled!

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Categories: Personal


Virtual PC For Free

posted on 07/13/06 at 01:19:02 am by Joel Ross

I'm sure you've probably seen this by now, but if not, Virtual PC is now free.

If you're a?developer and you haven't used either Virtual PC or VMWare, you're definitely missing out. The freedom to explore different software environments is worth the cost of either piece of software - especially now that one is free!

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Categories: Software


RossCode Fantasy Football League 2006

posted on 07/11/06 at 12:15:11 am by Joel Ross

That's right! It's getting to be that time of year! Well, actually, it's really early this year, but better to get it out there early than late.

Anyway, I've set up a fantasy football league at Fox Sports again this year (yeah, yeah, I remember all of the issues we had last year, but I'm chalking those up to first year bugs. It was pretty solid by the end of the year), and it's ready for teams. If you're interested, here's the sign up info:

League ID: 11987
Password: rosscode

I've made a few changes this year: The biggest change is the number of teams. I'm limiting it to 10 this year. Last year, it was 12, and, for a casual league, I think owners had to dig too deep to find talent - especially at wide receiver. The year before, I had 8 owners, and teams were (I felt) too stacked. This year, we'll try 10, and see how that works out.

Other rule changes? Last year, something screwed up, and rosters ended?ended up requiring 3 wide receivers and a WR/TE. That was too much. This year, it's 2 WR and one WR/TE. The scoring numbers have been adjusted (mainly based on MSN's recommendations. I also added bonuses for 100 yards rushing, 100 yards receiving, and 300 yards passing. Playoffs is 4 teams, and we'll be divided into two divisions, just like last year. One last change: All free agents are on waivers at the start of the week, meaning that you'll need to scout talent ahead of time, and not be able to grab players who have a great week?early Monday morning?- everyone has an equal shot at them, even if yuo can't get to it early on in the week.

As always,?the league is first-come, first-serve, so if you want to be a part, sign up now! The draft will by Sunday, September 3rd (pre-season finishes up the previous Friday, so it gives you time for any last minute changes). It's an auto draft, so there's no time commitment there. If you do sign up, please leave a comment here letting me know what team you are!

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Categories: Football


Back From Vacation...To Find No Blog?

posted on 07/10/06 at 02:46:58 pm by Joel Ross

Over the past week, I've been pretty much disconnected. Hence, no posting!

But what I didn't expect was no blog! I came home last week to find my blog completely gone - the database just wasn't there. Not good. As it turns out, WebHost4Life took the opportunity to change my database IP apparently right about the same time I left for my vacation, without notifying me (I checked my older emails - nothing!).

Fortunately, it wasn't a complete loss. At least I didn't get any comment spam while I was gone!

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Categories: Blogging


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