Devdays 2006 & MIX06

December 26, 2005

Seems like march 2006 is going to be conference time. Grab your agenda for :

Microsoft Dev & IT Pro Days 2006 on the 7 & 8th of March. Good decision to move this back to the ICC of Ghent where it was also organized two years ago. The accommodation is great there as well as the conference rooms. And yeah, the evening activities in the student-neighborhood of Ghent can also be fun. This conference is the place to be to get in touch with your Belgian colleagues.

MIX06 in Las Vegas from 20 till the 22nd of March. This is Microsoft’s answer to the Web 2.0 conferences organized by O’Reilly and, to my knowledge, their first conference that is almost exclusively about UI. From the website :

The MIX conference is a 72-hour conversation between web developers, designers and business leaders. When you attend MIX you’ll learn the latest about IE7, Windows Media, Windows Live!, as well as “Atlas”, Microsoft’s new AJAX framework.

Pity that I will have to miss both of them cause I will be hiking in New Zealand around that time. Alas, one cannot have one’s cake and eat it too.

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A great read is Nikhil Kothari’s latest blog entry which describes the fundamental changes in the integration of server controls with the client side Atlas framework in the December build. This switch seems to be inspired by the RefreshPanel project, pre-Atlas work of another ASP.NET team member, Bertrand Le Roy. Compare the new Atlas UpdatePanel control described in Nikhil’s blog with the RefreshPanel of Bertrand. The major difference is that in the RefreshPanel xmlhttp communication was encapsulated by the ASP.NET 2.0 ClientCallback mechanism while in the UpdatePanel control this is done by the Atlas framework.

Anyway, this new way of integrating server controls with the Atlas framework will allow developers without JavaScript knowledge to use some Ajax-style functionality like refreshing part of a page, autocomplete textboxes and draggable panels just by using the new server controls. This is very good news for development teams that want to avoid the complexity of writing pure client side JavaScript/Ajax applications and still want to have some of the benefits.

Have you already been in the situation that you had read an article or blogentry before that has the answer to a problem you are facing now but that you cannot find it back ? Even when trying to find it again by guessing the right keywords with google it escapes you in this huge cyberspace ? To me it happens quite regularly and I guess to everyone who is reading blogs it happens from time to time too.

A solution would be to bookmark all the interesting pages you are reading in your browser and that is what I used to do. But after a while this starts to get quite messy. One reason is that you can only categorize your bookmarks in a hierarchy. Some browsers also allow keywords to be added to bookmarks but using that feature can be pretty cumbersome. Another disadvantage is that we are all working on several computers and then you have the problem of keeping these bookmarks in sync.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have kind of online service where one can store all his bookmarks so that they are synched and that with a good support for keywords ? Seems such a service already exists. It is called ‘delicious’ (what’s in a name ?) and you can find it at http://del.icio.us. About two weeks ago they were acquired by Yahoo and that is how I got to know about them. Some people use it extensively and have hundreds, if not thousands, of bookmarks online. Using it is free, just creating an account and you are ready to go. Oh yeah, there is one caveat, your bookmark list is public, for everyone to read (http://del.icio.us/srillaert). Just something to be aware of…

Hello world!

December 17, 2005

Hi everyone,

during the last couple of years I have been reading quite a lot of .net weblogs, some of them through my fateful aggregator, SharpReader, some of them while googling to find a solution for specific problems. It is amazing how helpful the blogosphere has become during this period and how much faster information flows through the .net world thanks to it. So now, just before we go into the holiday period at the end of 2005, I thought it would be nice to contribute a little bit by starting my own blog. To David, Tom, Wim and Yves, thanks for encouraging and helping me !

For the people who don’t know me (it is amazing you are reading this), I am a freelance .net developer specialized in UI stuff. During the last year and a half I have been working almost fulltime with asp.net 2.0. Yes, I have been lucky to work on a project where they build a custom framework based on Whidbey, sorry, Visual Studio 2005 🙂 , from the first week that Beta 1 was available. So most of my posts will be about UI development with the latest version of asp.net and about the great things that are coming like windows presentation foundation and Atlas.

I hope you’ll find some interesting reading here and in the meantime, have a nice Christmas and a happy new year !

Stefaan