I was paid to attend Microsoft Tech Days here for the last two days. Besides free beer and beautiful women there were some interesting technical stuff and observations there.
ASP .NET 4.0
They are bringing MVC support to ASP .NET in the next release. They seem to be trying to catch up things like rails and django which were even mentioned as their competitors in the slides. It’s not likely that I would be selecting their MVC stuff over rails any time soon but whatever rocks your boat and many times you are not the one making the decisions.
On Thursday the last session was kept by a MS Evangelist. A nice contrast to some other talks done by developers or product managers. He was very energetic and the talk was less technical and he kept using the term asynchronous quite weirdly in my opinion. I would hope that not many people were exited about using Silverlight for web development. Of course if you are doing intranet stuff for a MS using company it does provide you nice eye candy. The next version even has 3D support. The session was titled Silverlight for Business Applications any way (of course in Finnish but any way). Likely that these guys are quite effective in selling their slides to the managerial level.
Many talks referred to codeplex. It was fun that they never mentioned the words open source. They kept mentioning that source for this and that is freely available and you can modify it. One talker said that GNOME is a window manager but I did correct him after the talk. Of course it’s not that easy to use the right terms if you never touch Linux but then you should probably not try.
Quoting their web page F# is: “A succinct, type-inferred, expressive, efficient functional and object-oriented language for the .NET platform.” There’s potential there for making better use of the multiple cores that we have. I wonder how long it will take for a mono implementation to show up. If you want to try it out, the binaries should work with Mono but I haven’t tried yet.
Pex is a really nice tool for .NET that can automatically generate unit tests. It works on MSIL and can generate you tests based on analyzing the execution with very good coverage. They shoved for example a demo exercising a poor regexp email address validator for which Pex was able to generate test cases that matched the regexp but were not really valid email addresses. I haven’t tried to find out if there are things like this available in the open source world but we really should have and use them. The license here requires a Visual Studio so trying this is in practice might not be something that most of you will be doing any time soon.
Another cool tool for testing. CHESS is able to work with the thread scheduler so that your code gets tested with different scenarios. Again something very useful. CHESS also needs a Visual Studio. Of course if you are a student you can get licenses for free via DreamSpark.
Summer of Code is approaching so maybe there is some potential for projects for students here. Probably not enough time to fully implement things listed here but shouldn’t be a problem to define a project around these that fits the allocated time.