Seasons Change… Greener Pastures?

After spending several months figuring out how to automate the build of a Java app in using Maven, CruiseControl and myriad other tools, I took a job where I can return to working with Microsoft technology. However, little did I know, the greener grass wasn’t mowed and disguised the morass that is web development anyway. So, instead of learning Java, I have had to learn ASP.Net, Javascript and AJAX, Telerik RadControls for Ajax and more. It turns out that with ViewState, Session State and a Stateless environment, everything gets confused. Add in Server side, Client side, Postbacks, AsyncCallBacks and it’s a royal mess.

Having recently having my eyes opened to Open Source, the first area I pursued was the Data Layer. I started with NHibernate, but it turned out to be a bad fit. SubSonic was MUCH better, but it didn’t support Oracle very well. I did start making changes to the SubSonic source to get it to work for us, but then the corporate gods heard “Open Source” and decreed that SubSonic had to go. Nevermind that we had spent five months using it. I was given two weeks to come up with a new, homegrown, data layer. Well, two months later, we had our data layer. It reads the Oracle tables, views, functions, procs and packages and generates classes that can read/write/execute as appropriate. It turned out pretty well and is delightfully easy to use.

Next, up, the UI. The chosen toolset is Telerik RadControls for ASP.Net AJAX. (My previous experience is with Infragistics Windows toolset, so this was an interesting transition.) Users wanted the grid to be multi-edit. Teleriks grid does not support this natively, but it can be configured and coded to do it. But that is for another post.

Now, we are investigating MVC and Silverlight. I am hoping that my posts here will be of benefit to some as I explore these new technologies.

Tech Change – Again

Well, I have moved on.  After nearly eight years as the Lead Developer, and upgrading the App from Access 97 and VB 6 through SQL 2000, Access XP, VB.Net  to end up with SQL Server 2005 and C#, the company went after Java.  I completed my apprenticeship in the arcane arts of Maven, Ant and Cruise Control.  Getting our rather complex GWT build process fully automated was a challenge, but one I met.

Now, I am back in greener pastures.  However, nothing is ever easy.  After working on n-tier Windows based Enterprise Apps, I am now being introduced to the wonderful world of ASP and ASP.Net.  I am back with VB.Net.  The great news is that we are using VS2008 and .Net3.5.  I am still hoping for Silverlight, but I will not hold my breath.  I am happy with what I have to work with.  (Although, the back end is Oracle and that brings a whole new set of issues to the table.)

So, I have had my eyes opened to the wonderful world of Open Source.  (I can’t decide if my tongue is in my cheek on that “wonderful”  or not.)  So, of course, when I realized we had no ORM, my first thought was NHibernate.  I set up an example.  But the company is nervous about open source.  So, I tried Ideablade DevForce again.  Last time we looked at this product (a year ago), it was phenomenal.  I wish that every Developer Tool company would take a look at Ideablade’s Developer Concepts manual.  It is Excellent.

Anyway, it turns out the Ideablade is VERY n-tier app-centric.  There is some undocumented support for ASP but it is really an after thought.  So, I am back to NHibernate and it is working nicely.

The last tech change is from Infragistics to Telerik.  Apparently, Infragistics support for their web products was not very responsive, and because of that they lost a customer.  Now, we are using Telerik’s Ajax (Prometheus) Web Controls.  It took forever to figure out what properties to set to get the RadGrid to connect up to an ObjectDataSource that is in turn bound to an NHibernate data class.  In a future post I will explore this topic further and document the steps necessary.

Until then, I’m off to the hobby store.