Category Archives: Software Development

Cloud Computing in Plain English

rPath put together a brief, informative and entertaining overview of cloud computing in the video “Cloud Computing in Plain English”. Take five, and watch the video below.

CIOs are Rethinking Their Software Strategies

There’s been a change of thinking among CIOs, a new openness to alternative software models such as Google’s online e-mail and productivity suite. That’s the idea behind this week’s InformationWeek cover story. This rethinking is driven by new capabilities in the cloud, but even more so by the grinding recession of the past year, which made the tradeoffs of online software more palatable.

That opens the door for Google. But Google needs to prove once and for all that it’s deadly serious about enterprise IT business. It’s time for one of the company’s founders, Sergey Brin or Larry Page, to take personal responsibility for the enterprise business. One of these leaders needs to lash his incredible intelligence and creativity and passion and personal credibility inextricably to making Google Enterprise a multi-billion dollar business.

Google can be an effective service provider to businesses without this level of leadership commitment. Or, with it, it could become a strategic partner to businesses, one of the four or five vendors that IT works hand-in-hand to solve entirely new problems. To be that strategic partner, the world’s largest CIOs want to know someone like Brin or Page is right there with them, that his future is tied just as firmly to this effort as the CIO’s.

Click here for the full story.

Novell Releases First Solution to Build iPhone Applications Using C# and Microsoft .NET Languages

WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Novell today announced the availability of MonoTouch 1.0, the industry’s first solution for developing applications for the iPhone* and iPod* Touch using the Microsoft* .NET framework, including C# and other .NET programming languages. Until now, developers primarily built iPhone applications using C and Objective-C, putting iPhone development beyond the reach of most .NET developers. With MonoTouch, the creativity of millions of .NET developers worldwide can be unleashed to build a vast array of iPhone applications.

The incredible popularity of the iPhone and iPod Touch has created a huge market for iPhone applications. According to Scott Ellison, vice president of Mobile and Wireless at IDC, in the first year the Apple Apps Store has more than 50,000 available applications, and well over 1 billion downloads with an average of more than 140 new applications launched every day(1). However, developers previously used the more complex C and Objective-C programming languages to design iPhone applications.

Engineered by the Mono(R) Project, an open source initiative sponsored by Novell, MonoTouch simplifies iPhone development by allowing developers to utilize code and libraries written for the .NET development framework and programming languages such as C#. Individual .NET developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) can now sell their products into a massive new market, while corporate developers and IT organizations can deploy their applications in a new mobile computing environment.

“The iPhone has experienced tremendous adoption in both consumer and business markets,” said Al Hilwa, program director, Application Development Software at IDC. “Given that applications are a key reason for the iPhone’s success, a solution that allows .NET developers to use existing skills to build iPhone applications is an exciting and consequential milestone in the evolution of mobile platforms.”

The iPhone developer program license restricts developers from distributing scripting engines or Just-In-Time (JIT) compilers, which are required by managed runtimes such as .NET for code execution. As a result, the world of iPhone applications had been previously closed to .NET and Mono developers. Developers can now use MonoTouch while fully complying with these license terms because MonoTouch delivers only native code.

“Developing our award-winning mobile forms solution on multiple platforms before MonoTouch from Novell was time-consuming due to the diverse technology platforms,” said Simon Guindon, mobile solution developer at TrueContext. “With MonoTouch, we can now optimize development for the future and enrich the Pronto Forms product offering at a faster pace.”

MonoTouch from Novell is a software development kit that contains a suite of compilers, libraries and tools for integrating with Apple’s iPhone SDK. Microsoft .NET base class libraries are included, along with managed libraries for taking advantage of native iPhone APIs. Also included is a cross-compiler that can be used for turning .NET executable files and libraries directly into native applications for distribution on the Apple Apps* Store or for deployment to enterprise iPhone users. In addition, Xcode integration enables application developers to test on the device or in Apple’s iPhone Simulator and ship applications to the Apple Apps Store for distribution.

“The vast majority of Windows-centric developers, ISVs and IT organizations have chosen the C# language and .NET for development,” said Miguel de Icaza, Mono project founder and Developer Platform vice president at Novell. “As such we have seen tremendous demand for tools to build .NET-based iPhone applications. We developed MonoTouch in response to this demand, giving both individual developers and businesses a solution that breaks down the barriers to iPhone application development.”

MonoTouch Pricing and Availability

MonoTouch Personal and Enterprise Editions are available now through MonoTouch Enterprise Edition is available for US $999 per developer for a one-year subscription, which includes maintenance and updates. A five-developer Enterprise license supports five concurrent developers and is available for US $3,999 per year. For individuals only building applications for the Apple Apps Store, MonoTouch Personal Edition is available for $399 per developer for a one-year subscription. For more information about MonoTouch visit To learn more about the Mono Project visit

GL-SPIN – Agile Software Development

Agile groupies recently posted a video from January 14th’s GL-SPIN Agile panel discussion that took place at School Craft College.  If you live in Michigan and you’re not familiar with Agile Groupies or GL Spin, and you’re interested in learning more about Agile principals, you should check them out.

You can watch the Agile panel discussion video here: – it runs about 1.5 hrs.

CodeMash 2009 – precompiler

Got an early start for the CodeMash 2009 precompiler (day 0)  – despite the fact i didn’t get much sleep, partly due to my iPhone SDK crash course last night.  After talking with others, seems I wasn’t the only one staying up late, not surprisingly, many of the folks here are pretty active into the late evenings, whether checking in with the office, coding, playing games or hanging at the bar..  Either way, I was excited to check out the iPhone session first thing.  I paired with Nayan in the iPhone 101 session, whereas we literally had a [simulated] iPhone application working in 15 minutes!

I have to admit, I was quite a bit outside of my comfort zone, Nayan seemed to keep up a little better than me, the ENTIRE environment was new to me, as I had never programmed anything on my mac (despite me owning one for nearly a year) instead, i’ve used it to dual-boot mac/vista, but thats another story..  The 1.5GB SDK was pretty well organized and included xCode which is Apples development IDE.  After a few intro slides Chris Adamson helped to walk us thru a quick sample application whereas we built a quick browser, hooking up a simple UI with a textBox, button and webView.  We dabbled with a little objective-C and Cocoa, which was a bit of a hurdle for me, not having any ‘C’ roots, but other than syntax ignorance, everything made good sense.  

With this as my first iPhone exposure I’ve got along way to go before producing anything of value, but my goal at this point was to get exposed to it and better understand what, when and how we may look to embrace it over at Billhighway.

In the afternoon I bounced between two sessions, 1.) test driven development with .NET by Leon Gersing & 2.) turning the ship, by Dave Donaldson.  Both were good, TDD is a hot subject and am on a fact-finding mission to overcome the mental hurdles i have before we can begin the practice internally, but I’m off to a good start.  Dave spent time educating folks transitioning to Agile, while we’ve been doing it for a while, there’s always more to learn and improvements to be made – iterate right?

I wrapped up the day listening to a RIA panel, WWE style between the Silverlight, Flex and yes, javascript camps.  The winner?  Based on the emotional tone of the room and intellectual debate, I’d have to say JAVASCRIPT.  That said, as with everything in technology, each situation is different, and we’re best served by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of all available tools, technologies and processes so that we can implement the right tool for the job, when it crosses your plate.  I then shared a few adult beverages with some great folks I met; Vlad, Butch, Becky, and Wayne.  

Day 0 was a great pre-compiler and looking forward to the next two days at the actual “conference.”

CodeMash 2009 – underway..

I just arrived at Kalahari – driving like a mad man out of Detroit to beat the “ice storm” – i felt like those guys you see on tv chasing storms, only I was trying to outrun one, and effectively did.  I made it in record time < 2 hours (again).  That said, i did nearly slide thru the intersection trying to turn in, so roads are getting bad out there.

After checking in, I made my way down to the registration area to see some familiar faces, Brian and Jim helping distribute badges and programs, just before 10pm.  Bumped into a few others, like Patrick of Pillar on my way to the room – everyone seems excited to be here, including me.  A quick glance of the program and a personal challenge on the back of my mind.  Lots of great content here, unlike my fact-finding mission around Agile last year, this time around I’m looking to roll up my sleeves and get back to coding!  Am most excited about iPhone development, starting with Chris Adamson’s iPhone development 101 session in the morning at the “precompiler” (day before the actual conference.)

Currently, I’m a total newbie to mac (*nix) development, so this should be interesting. I downloaded the iPhone SDK last night and started combing over the help docs, have yet to even fire up xCode, Apples development IDE, and I’m starting to feel like a non-techie, overwhelmed by a new wave of acronyms, completely outside of my domain expertise – but what the hell, that’s what codeMash is all about!   With any luck, or if I follow along properly, I should have a “useful, running iPhone application” by this time tomorrow.  Sounds too good to be true! 🙂

Other topics of interest include RIAs, (rich internet applications) including silverlight, and flex.  Ruby folks always have something interesting to say, but I’m not sure how much time I’m going to devote to it this time around, as I’m hoping to get up to speed on a few other subjects, such as  TDD (test driven development),  functional programming, Azure, VS 2010, and .net 4; oh, and I’m always looking to dive deeper into Agile and want to check out lean guru Mary Poppendieck.  Keynotes and Panel discussion tomorrow night also sound good.

So much content, so little time..  CodeMash does a good job balancing session tracks with break out rooms, “un-conference” formats and lots of social opportunities, movie night (dark knight @ 9:30) and even stuff for the kids (kidz mash) – and as always, it will be great to catchup with others, learning about the new and exciting things they’re working on and what challenges they may have around the corner.  Going to be an exhaustive couple of days..

Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0

The news out of Microsoft includes a taste of what’s cooking with Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0, plus a look at Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) 2010 (previously code named Rosario).Here’s what senior vice president of the Developer Division, S. “Soma” Somasegar says about these upcoming releases, “With Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0, we are focused on the core pillars of developer experience, support for the latest platforms spanning client, server, services and devices, targeted experiences for specific application types, and core architecture improvements. These pillars are designed specifically to meet the needs of developers, the teams that drive the application life cycle from idea to delivery, and the customers that demand the highest quality applications across multiple platforms. You can expect to hear a lot more about Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 in the coming months.”

Jim Holmes of CodeMash also recently announced, Microsoft’s Software + Services (S+S) and Development Platform Evangelism (DPE) teams have joined forces and will be using CodeMash 2009 to showcase some upcoming technology releases! CodeMash attendees will have a chance to learn about the just-announced Azure cloud computing platform, Visual Studio 2010, and the .NET 4.0 framework and languages.

If you’re in the MidWest you owe it to yourself to attend CodeMash (Jan 7-9)