It’s Been a While

Well, hello there. Miss me? Well, I’ll just pretend that you did. 😉 The past few months have been quite eventful for myself as well as my company. Company wise here’s a couple things that have happened:

From a development perspective:

  • We finally delivered our new platform based almost entirely in C#/.NET 1.1 except for some small portions that still rely on some legacy COM components, ISAPI extensions/filters and third party applications. This included:
    • An in-house Enity Framework to abstract away the need to worry about anyone writing any risky SQL
    • A System Framework on which we build all of our core business systems (thirteen or so in total right now)
    • A complete rewrite of our customer web site which involved not only ASP.NET, but also a big push for web standards use such as XHTML 1.0 transitional, CSS 2.0 and JavaScript. There’s some things I hate about the design still such as fixed page and font size, but I’m pushing hard for that to change too. Our application is also a poster child for AJAX techniques across the board, so we’re already experimenting with Atlas.
  • We are in the process of applying agile development across the board and have already begun our first project based on MSF Agile with Visual Studio Team System, though for a lot of our projects we feel Scrum might be a better match. We have roughtly 40 individual projects that we plan to deliver over the course of the next year with a small development team. The only way it’s going to happen is to strictly adhere to the fundamentals preached by agile methodologies.

From a business perspective:

So, like any proud parent, I had to brag a bit about my child first. 😉 Now it’s time to talk about what I’ve been up to recently:

  • Learning the particulars of MSF Agile and implementing within the Mimeo technology organization.
  • Learning Team System and implmenting within the Mimeo technology organization. We’re currently up and running on the RC and have begun using it for our live projects. We’re using the majority of Team Foundation services, but we haven’t migrated our source control or builds yet for a couple reasons. The main one is we’re not ready for VS2005 yet, which leads me to…
  • In the process of figuring out migration from .NET 1.1 to 2.0 for our codebase. The biggest issue is with Web Projects. What a big mistake they made changing that model. *tsk* I’m looking at going straight to the “new” Web Project Model.
  • Investigating how we’ll leverage Atlas to make the user experience with our application far richer than it already is. We have thousands of lines of JavaScript already, but it’s all based on proprietary plumbing technologies. We also have a very rich document designer that’s super interactive already that we’d like to look at redoing with Atlas eventually as well.
  • Learning MSBuild+Team Build and figuring out migration path from nAnt.
  • Constantly learning about WinFX. WPF is my pet technology these days. I recently earned one of three MVP awards for the technology, so I’m very active in the newsgroups and MSDN forums. WCF on the other hand will probably have more of an impact on my business before WPF and that’s an area that I need to focus on more. Finally, WWF has huge potential for us because our entire production floor runs on custom code that was cobbled together back in the day to do the workflow for document production. We’re nearing the point where it’s time to overhaul that logic with everything we’ve learned and WWF is going to be the key technology for us to to really nail all that down.

This year is going to be an exciting! Lots of projects, all new processes, lots of new tools, etc. I’m really looking forward to building on the foundation we’ve spent the last year or so laying down and so far we’re off to a great start. FYI, we’re planning on getting some new hires in here in Q1, so if you’re looking for an exciting career change keep your eyes peeled for more details on that.

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