Wednesday, February 13, 2008 : 4:29 AM
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It's been very difficult to spend time on Eels in the past few months as we've been very busy with "work work". But I'm glad to say that I'm a good half way through the re-write, and there are some nice new features on the way that will help developers learn about new technologies, and (most importantly) find the best resources for them.
New Categories: WCF, LINQ, C#
We're adding a few more categories (including the three mentioned above). The original five categories (SQL, ASP.NET, Architecture, Security and Standards) are good, but they don't cover all areas that a developer (or even web developer) should be looking at. As a result, a lot of articles have been written that don't have a proper home, and usually end up in the "Standards" section.
The addition of some new categories, as well as the new way we are handling categories (articles will be able to be a part of more than one) will allow a reader to more easily find the article he's looking for. Also, it will broaden the imagination of the authors to write on specific topics that they mignt not have considered as a "first class citizen" in the past (such as WCF - Windows Communication Foundation).
Find The Right Resources
Another new feature, and basically the "theme" of the redesign, is the notion of "People to Follow." As we spend time reading articles, blogs or other technical resources, we begin to identify a specific individual (or website) that proves to be the best (or one of the best) authorities on a particular subject.
We will be adding those people to our database and provide links to their sites/blogs when you are looking at an article, category or blog post that is on a topic that those people are known for. This is a neat feature that encourages learning and community growth (even if it's beyond the SingingEels community).
Back End Updates
Lastly, probably the biggest update on SingingEels won't be seen at all by most people. We've switched .NET 3.5. Now, while that doesn't say very much, it basically means that we are determined to keep up with the latest technologies so that we don't fall behind. Also, it's one thing to write an article "in theory", but it's another thing to practice what you preach. I tend to find that people who write about technologies that they are actually using have the best understanding of the subject.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008 : 1:49 PM
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I've gotta say that while I am impressed with Silverlight, and I'm very excited about Silverlight 2.0 coming out soon... what I see so far in the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha refresh is missing the BIGGEST thing ever when it comes to the .Net framework... and that's WCF!
With WCF you can create beautiful two-way (DuplexClientBase) remoted objects, and communicate with a server as if you were making native calls. What's the big deal you might ask? Well, when you keep in mind the fact that Silverlight will be coming with an extremely trimmed down version of the .Net framework, you are going to be missing a lot of functionality that you may need to tap into. So, if you could make a call to a server component (via WCF), then you could tap into the full framework there, and send the results back to your client.
Not a Perfect Solution
I do realize that making remoted calls to a service on your server doesn't really open up the Framework completely (as much of the framework wouldn't make sense unless it was local to your application domain), but the possibilities would be huge.
Silverlight vs Java Applets
Java Applets can open up a "Socket" connection and connect to a server component using a TCP protocol, whereas Silverlight cannot (at the moment of me writing this rant/post). That's why there are some MMORP games out there that are built inside of a Java applet. The heavy processing of the code is done on the server, and simple bits of data are streamed back.
If Silverlight could utilize WCF, then the world of the internet as we know it would change, guaranteed.