Taking a Long View 2 – Where We at After 6 Months?

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In one of my previous posts in the beginning of this year I’ve blogged about my study plans for 2010 (Taking the long view). As today I’ve started my holiday and a little bit more than six months have passed since then, I thought it would be a good idea to sum up what I’ve achieved so far, halfway through. There are some things I’ve already managed accomplishing, some of them I’ve started but didn’t get to finish them yet, some definitely are not going to happen this year. So, let’s quickly see how it goes:

  1. application for managing books – there’s a skeleton. Database design is there (to some extent, given the functionality assumed for starters). There is a book importer, based on Amazon’s Web Services (fully working). There’s UI, where you can browse books in both – SQL db or using Amazon’s WS. A few nice things that happened and worked, but halfway through colleagues I was working with on this project didn’t feel like continuing. Too much stuff to do at work, not too wide audience for the application, not much to learn by pushing it forward. So it would be hard to call it a success, but I think it’s not a total crap, at least Amazon WS part is working ok (and so is the database part using Fluent NHibernate). Anyway – if you’re interested, take a look at where we’ve stopped at Google Code Book-the-Book.
  2. Custom ADAM Membership Provider – this is actually complete and used in production in my company. We’ve also received permission from our boss to publish it as a open source. Before we do that, there are still some clean ups we need to do (process wise) and some things we need to figure out. But – the work is done and hopefully we will be able to share something with you soon.
  3. Identity Lifecycle Manager – with at least 4 connected data stores. I must admit it – it was ambitious. But another thing I got to confess – I didn’t even make an attempt to do it. Basically because it is a lot of effort to set everything up – prepare virtual machines, install all of the necessary software, prepare scheduled tasks, write vb scripts to actually run the agents, thousands of things to do. So I decided – having some work experience working with ILM (MIIS) I decided to prepare for the Windows 2008 Server exam (Active Directory) rather than doing this exercise. I think it’s not going to happen this year, but this is definitely something I’d like to look into.
  4. Stepping up my C# game. Ok, here I can honestly say I’ve made a huge progress over these last few months. I’m reading shitload of books, writing a lot of code, reading some more. But no point to kid yourself – it’s going to take a lot much effort, hard work and time before I’ll be happy with what I know. But at least I was able to spot a few programming role models showing me where I’d like to be one day. Or die trying. Rather the latter. Well, anyway – the whole fun is in chasing the rabbit not actually catching it. Here’s a handful of my rabbits: Eric Lippert, Jon Skeet, Jeff Moser or not that famous but probably the best dude (haXX0r) I’ve been working with - Erlend Oftedal
  5. Client side development in general. HTML mastered, CSS – decent. Right now I’m trying to focus on JavaScript and jQuery. Good news is I already have an idea for a project, which will require a lot of client side programming, which is basically an awesome news, since there is no better way to learn than actually taking part in a war. We’ll see how it goes.
  6. MVC 2 – I’ve read two books, implemented a few sample projects – NerdDinner, MVC Music Store and a few smaller projects. What drives me nuts when it comes to ASP .NET MVC is that there are many voices in .NET Community the technology itself isn’t good. Or some converted individuals, once Microsoft’s worshipers, now believing Ruby on Rails is the only God. But I’ve never read any good argumentation. An essay saying something like “Ok – here’s how you do it in ASP .NET MVC, here’s how it can be done with Rails, and the latter approach is better because this, this and that”. No, no such thingy. So I say – fuck you. I like the approach Microsoft took on this one – often releases, asking people for their input, listening to the crowds, supplying tons of sample applications, sample materials, good documentation, very good tooling. For me ASP .NET MVC is a great alternative for Web Forms. I’m not going to get into the debate whether Microsoft is right saying “You have Web Forms and you have MVC. Both take a different approach, but we will support you either way, no matter what you pick, and both technologies are here to stay” or if Web Forms are good or bad, or how many developers got brain-damaged from HTML generated by GridView control in ASP 1. Truth to be told – ASP .NET MVC is looking really promising, and there’s already a new release on the horizon - Scott Gu about ASP .NET MVC 3 (preview 1).

All in all it was a really good half of a year for me. I’ve managed to do a lot more than I thought I could. I guess what really help me was the ability to work with really exceptional people I got at my workplace. But also the fact I’ve finally learned how to be persistent. I really read a lot, write a lot and really try hard. It really makes me happy and gives me encouragement to push even harder. So as David Gallo says, “Push yourself. Physically, mentally, you’ve gotta push, push, push.” (Richard St John - What really leads to success ?). So that’s what I plan on doing – push, push, push. Even harder.