More Microsoft Updates

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Welp, the next two Microsoft breakout sessions weren’t so hot. The first was on “Putting the User Back into SOA”. SOA (or Service Oriented Architecture) is the idea of using enterprise-wide services to provide functionality internally and externally within your organization. They function sort of like functions in traditional programming but run across the network (usually through Web Services — i.e. port 80, standard HTTP POST/GET operation). The idea is a great one (and SOA is probably the biggest buzz-word in the software development world right now.The focus of the session was that the whole point of SOA is not to just provide data when asked but to provide it in a meaningful way to the user. The power of SOA is that it can integrate quite nicely with web applications. The example given was of writing a nice web application (in this case using ASP.NET — surprise, surpise) to access a clunky legacy web system. The frontend can pass information easily to the old clunker without any major rework but the interface can be completely revamped to make it much more user-friendly and generally efficient.

I guess that’s good — it’s boring though. User Interfaces are the bain of my existence as a software engineer since so often I’m expected to design them (and I don’t tend to do that well). The problem is that designers (graphic/layout designers, that is) are really the people to do this sort of job. There’s sort of a breakdown between “architecture” of a UI and the layout, design, etc. Basically, it’s really hard to write code without having the layout in place and it’s hard to make a layout without the code working.

Anyway — maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention but I didn’t get many answers from that.

The next session I attended I really disliked. It was regarding Windows/Linux Integration. It was extremely high-level and was basically an advertisement for the speakers book (“…and in my book, you’ll see how to do this”). Very annoying, very uninformed speaker. The worst part was that it basically said that that there were some technical differences that needed to be bridged to get Linux and Windows to play nicely but it didn’t really address just what the advantages of each system were. There were some broad sweeping statements like “Linux isn’t good with desktop applications” that were bandied about, but nothing of any real substance. The overall feeling was that you can get Linux and Windows to work, and please buy his book. Somewhat of a waste. This session doesn’t even get it’s own blog entry.

All for now,

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