Tools and productsIE9 developer preview ready for download
This week, Microsoft made a first developer preview of Internet Explorer (IE) 9 available for download from http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/. ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley has more details about this announcement.Check out the related galleries: A visual tour of IE9 preview, First Look: Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview, and IE 9 Preview is rough, faster than IE 8. Test versions of Windows Phone 7 tools available
Microsoft has made available for download test versions of some tools that developers can use to build apps for Windows Phone 7 devices. A CNET News.com gallery offers a look at Windows Phone development.tc Server Spring Edition to be released
SpringSource will release the Spring Edition of its tc Server product in the first week of April. I recently spoke with the SpringSource team to learn a bit more about what makes this a unique product compared to other Java application servers. They explained to me that it gives system administrators and developers a lot more control than other J2EE app servers, particularly in terms of performance and operational status. For example, instead of telling you that a particular request is slow, it can break down the request and tell you why it was slow, such as the SQL query being the issue or perhaps something else. The product is centered around making it easier to deploy and operate the kind of lightweight applications with an Agile development methodology that the Spring framework enables. There is a free edition for developers.Google Apps Marketplace opens
Google has opened a new Apps Marketplace, which gives developers a place to sell applications that integrate with Google apps. There are already a number of applications, so check them out to see what is possible.Mylyn to expand
The Eclipse Foundation is supporting efforts to add sub-projects to Mylyn, the ALM system that integrates with the Eclipse IDE. Mylyn has proven popular in Agile shops.
Appcelerator released version 1.0 of its Titanium mobile development platform. The new release comes in two flavors: Community, which is free but applications will have a splash screen on them, and Professional for $199 per month per developer, which includes full support, in-app analytics, and provides access to the early adopter program. (For more about Titanium, read my post Android development fundamentals: How to get started.)Windows Server AppFabric Beta 2 released
Microsoft released the second beta of the AppFabric system, which is currently scheduled for a final release in Q3 2010.Visual Studio 2010 deals
Somasegar has information about some new deals for purchasing Visual Studio 2010, including a free one-year membership to MSDN Essentials for people who buy Visual Studio 2010 Professional.URL Rewriter 2.0 released
Microsoft released URL Rewriter 2.0 for IIS. The URL rewriting module can also be used as a reverse proxy.
Language/library updatesPHP 5.3.2 released
PHP 5.3.2 has been released. It is a maintenance release with a few security fixes and a number of patches.ASP.NET MVC 2 RTMs
ASP.NET MVC 2 has been released with a number of new features. ASP.NET MVC is definitely a technology to keep an eye on. In addition, much of the source code is available as open source, and more may be coming.Microsoft's strategy for C# and VB.NET
Scott Wiltamuth has written a nice, in-depth post about the thinking behind Microsoft's strategies for VB.NET and C# and what those strategies are.
Tips and tricksIntroduction with WPF and Silverlight
Pete Brown has a simple guide on how to get an initial handle on WPF and Silverlight development.New Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) book
James Johnson, writing at Simple-Talk, has a very good introductory piece for Entity Framework. His tutorial definitely makes it seem less complex than it previously felt to me.Notes on covariance and contravariance in C# 4 and VB.NET 2010
Alexandra Rusina has a detailed look about covariance and contravariance in C# 4 and how you can use both in your code. Binyam Kelile, writing in MSDN Magazine, has the same information for VB.NET 2010.Google indexing AJAX
Events2010 MVP Global Summit highlights and MVP program updates
I recently got to do a phone interview with Toby Richards, the general manager of Community and Online Support at Microsoft, to catch up on the MVP program. Last year when we talked, I learned a lot about the MVP program, including how you become one; this year, we talked about where the program fits into Microsoft's development and support ecosystem, and how the MVPs have been crucial in improving Microsoft's products.
For instance, at last month's 2010 MVP Global Summit, there were more than 700 product feedback sessions; this makes it Microsoft's largest "listening event" all year. The biggest session was the U.S. developer session, with about 400 developers; another session had approximately 100 attendees. The majority of the sessions were about 6 - 12 people, which Toby said was the sweet spot for getting a good dialogue going. These sessions, which are mostly Q&A sessions with some presentations, allows Microsoft engineers and MVPs to get the "in the trenches" story from each other; Microsoft learns what it is really like to use the products, and the MVPs learn more about how the products work and why they do what they do.
Toby also told me about other ways the MVPs have been great for the community. Here are several examples:
- For SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010, 22% of the bugs during the technical betas came from MVPs, but MVPs were only about 10% of the beta users.
- More than 41,000 posts on the Windows 7 answers forum have come from MVPs.
- 53 MVPs recently put together a book entitled SQL Server MVP Deep Dives, and the proceeds are going to a charity.
I know a number of MVPs, and almost all of them are highly involved in community events such as attending users groups, writing articles and blog posts, and so on.Eclipse Spring Training
Spring training isn't just for athletes; the Eclipse Foundation and some of its member companies are having a training series in April and May 2010.Stir Trek coming to Columbus in May
The second Stir Trek event will take place May 7, 2010 in Columbus, OH; it will feature tons of Web and mobile development sessions. After the event, there will be a screening of Iron Man 2.Silverlight Day scheduled for May in Boston
There is a Silverlight Day on May 14, 2010 in Boston. Registration is now open.Contest from Microsoft and NASA
NASA needs to find ways to classify imagery, so it's having a competition in partnership with Microsoft. The winner of the Pathfinder Innovation Challenge gets a trip to see the Mars Rover launch. Good stuff!Business of Software conference in October
The Business of Software 2010 conference will be happening in Boston from October 4-6. The two conferences I would love most to attend are Gel and BoS, and I suggest you get to BoS if at all possible.
J.JaDisclosure of Justin's industry affiliations: Justin James has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides; he has a contract with OpenAmplify, which is owned by Hapax, to write a series of blogs, tutorials, and articles; and he has a contract with OutSystems to write articles, sample code, etc.
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.