To COM+ or not to COM+ ...

That is the question.I'm working on the architecture for my company's Next Generation platform (code name yet to be decided).  We've already decided on a handful of important things such as:Visual Basic.NET for all User InterfacesC# for everything else.Test Driven Development for at least the non-UI portions of the site.Alot of Extreme Programming concepts, but scaled back for a small shop.Now, coming from a Visual Basic background, and having done ALOT of web development, I love COM+.  I love the transactionality, I love visibility on components, etc.  I like Queued Components for an easy level of asychronous processing.But COM+ is still COM.  I realize that this will require InterOp, etc, but it seems to me that pure Managed Code lacks the ease of development that COM+ provides for certain aspects.  For instance, to do a “Queued Component” without using COM+ I'm going to have to write my own serialization routines, I'm going to have to write my own listener service, etc.  Is this really worth not having to deal with InterOp?  Thoughts?

Who said learning isn't fun ... I won an XBox

Had a chance this week to go check out a talk by David Chappell held at the Las Colinas office of Microsoft.  The subject of the day was BizTalk Server 2004.I've worked with BizTalk Server since before it was publicly available.  While working for HealthAxis I was on a team of two developers who were working with an Alpha version of BizTalk Server (before they even settled on the names ports and channels).  I've since worked with BizTalk Server 2000, and 2002.  I'm hard to impress when it comes to BTS, they've made lots of promises in the past, and all have fallen short.  That said, all I can say about BizTalk Server 2004 is ... WOW!They seem to have actually gotten Orchestrations to the point where I won't cry every time I have to use them.  The complete integration with Visual Studio is very nice, no more swapping between fifty different tools.  The EDI solutions are better, and their partnership with COVAST means that if you're willing to lay out the dough, you can make BizTalk a real EDI solution.The speakers as a whole were ok, David Chappell was the best, though a close runner up was the ever animated Terry Gore.  Terry's presentation also proved you not only could do stuff with BizTalk, but you could do it fast.  His presentation created Message definitions from scratch, wrote an orchestraion to handle some logic and conditionally return 1 of 2 documents. The he re-wrote the orchestration (from scratch!) to use the Business Rules Engine, and demonstrated how to setup rules in the BRE.  Then he published that orchestration as a Web Service, used InfoPath to create a form to submit to that Web Service, and finally published the Infopath form to Windows Sharepoint Services forms Library.  All in an hour and a half.  Impressive, and I feel confident I could repeat that process, though it might take me 2 hours.Anyway, comes the end of the long day of training and the infamous drawings.  Top prize was an XBox ... and I won it!  Very cool, of course now I need to get a Wireless-G connector for it, and another copy of HALO.  HALO2 is November 9th, according to my local GameStop, and I can't wait.

Working Again

I’m happy to announce that I am once again among the gainfully employed, working as the Senior Software Architect for Global Healthnet, Inc.  The interview process was quite the blitz, as they had an immediate need to employ someone with BizTalk and Visual Studio.NET experience to knowledge transfer from the departing Developer.  It’s going to be a bit of an uphill battle at first, learning all of the existing systems and training the rest of the departments, which are all still being hired.  They have subsisted on one developer for some time, and now are hiring a couple of developers, with an eye towards more in the near term. I’ve begun to put together my “Best Practices and Patterns” document, so that at least the next-generation system which is going to be my primary task will be developed using some sort of guidelines.  There may not be an immense need now, but if we see the spurt of growth we are supposed to in a few of months, then I’d rather have these set in place now, then try and fit them in later.