Microsoft MVP Summit 2008: Day Two

Here are the stand-out sessions I attended today (and what I see as the three big technologies Microsoft will be promoting to developers in the coming months):

  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data – “Why have I never heard of this?” This product is a well-designed, highly configurable scaffolding engine for ASP.NET Web Forms. Essentially, you create a database, generate the Linq to SQL or Entity Framework data model, and ASP.NET Dynamic Data generates your admin screens. The key is the next step: nearly everything is configurable via code (look & feel, behavior, etc…) It’s really well-designed, and something I’ve been trying to find for years with no luck (and believe me, I’ve tried tons of code generation and scaffolding tools over the past 4 years). Scott Hanselman has a good write-up of ASP.NET Dynamic Data here.
  • Deep Dive into ASP.NET MVC (Phil Haack and Scott Hanselman) – Scott Hanselman is hilarious, and has a knack for explaining complex concepts in plain English. Microsoft is pushing ASP.NET MVC, and while it’s also still young, I think it has the potential to be the dominant non-enterprise ASP.NET development model within 2 years.
  • Silverlight 2.0 Overview (Scott Guthrie) – Silverlight is an interesting technology that seems like it’s going to have an impact on web development, but not for a year or two. It’s still a very young product, and while useful for displaying media and really cool, interactive demos, it’s still too young for me to get too excited about. I’ll start putting some time in when 3.0 comes around.

Off to day three…

[tags], mvp summit, microsoft, silverlight, mvc[/tags]

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#1 Danimal on 04.16.08 at 1:00 pm

Color me jealous! Sounds like you’re having a good week.

#2 Matt on 04.16.08 at 3:52 pm

I’d like to know more about where they are going with the MVC stuff. Is it just a “me too” vs. Rails? And why do you say non-enterprise?

#3 Rob on 04.17.08 at 4:01 pm

@Matt – I think the MVC piece is more due to customer requests to provide a framework that provides more testability, and greater control over the rendered HTML (since WebForms lacks in both areas).

With these goals in mind I think they looked at the patterns that exist today and chose MVC as the best option. There are definitely similarities to RoR, but having never coded against it I’m not sure what they are.

In terms of my enterprise comment, I was referring to hard-core enterprise LOB (Line of Business) apps, where they have years of legacy WebForms code, developers who are more familiar and comfortable with that paradigm, and UI testability and the control over HTML are lower priorities.

IMO, MVC is well-suited for shops looking to do Agile and Test-Driven Development, and, although this is a judgment call, smaller startup-type scenarios are ideal for using MVC since they integrate so well with the open source AJAX and JS frameworks available (WebForms has a heck of a time doing this).

In the end, I think the Agile/TDD/ALT.NET community will adopt MVC quickly and leave WebForms behind, whereas the big enterprises will either not adopt it, or will take years to migrate.

#4 Peter Blum on 04.17.08 at 4:17 pm

Boy, Rob is keeping his description of the conference all business. People, let me tell you that he can sing up a storm! Last night (day two), we had a party at the Experience Music Project here in Seattle. They featured a performance space setup with Rock Band on a huge screen. Rob took the mike, had two guitarists and a drummer. They certainly knew their Nirvana. (Rob’s the second coming of Kurt Cobain. Nahhh… He should keep his day job.)

#5 Microsoft MVP Summit 2008: Days Three and Four | Software by Rob on 04.17.08 at 7:04 pm

[…] I couldn’t believe how many people were tearing it up at this game. And yes, I am guilty, as Peter Blum pointed out, of singing a few tunes for old time’s sake, including Nirvana’s In Bloom. We were in […]