Regarding things we discussed Thursday ("Envisioning")

Oct 5, 2008 at 3:09 AM
We talked towards the end of our meeting on Thursday (which may have been after some of the team had to head to class, which is why I'm rewriting it here) about our next steps. The official step is called Envisioning, and it is a lot like what I described in the Planning post on the discussion board.

In short, we need to do three things for the next week or so:

Write down *any* features you think should be in our project. This is the brainstorming phase. These features can be directly related to the project description given, something that will make the project description run smoother, or something that you'd just really like to see in the product.  The sky is the limit here. We'll go back through when we meet again and narrow things down to what we need to tackle first. Don't worry about that for now. Let's just form some mental images of what we'd like the final product to represent.

All these features requests lead us into our next task: analyzing our development environments. In ASP.NET, there are literally dozens of ways to perform each task we'll complete while building this app.  If you get a chance, run through some of the tutorial videos and documents at to get a feel for each of these different methods.  For instance, if one of your features was to have friends lists, you'd know that we'd need some way to link users together as friends. It would be helpful to look through the different ways to access items in the database to see which one makes object relationships easier to manage. There are many choices, and only a few really stand out. 

Finally, after looking over the environments, we need to go through some spiking exercises. This is where we'll take these new techniques that we've decided could be useful and practice working with them in a completely isolated, usually unrelated environment. Keeping with our previous example, a common way to play around with relational mapping with databases is the traditional Post-Comment relationship on blogs. Creating a quick form that can post blog entries and creating a way to add and display comments is a great way to get used to the techniques need to create Users and Friends. It is also quickly becoming one of the Hello World examples in web development, so it probably won't be hard to find an example of this for each of the methods you discover.

The last two tasks are pretty important, because hopefully you'll not only be looking at the ASP.NET framework, but at the tools you'll need to use.  We have a handful of choices, but they center around Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008. As you're playing with these new toys, be sure to note which one each part of the framework works in, which one it may be a little easier in, or which one it just doesn't work in. This way, when we all meet again (or have discussions here), we can have sound reasons for our IDE and API choices.

Oct 22, 2008 at 4:30 AM
Edited Oct 22, 2008 at 4:31 AM
NOTE: I originally removed this post. This is going back up now that Lee thought it was useful.

IDE / toolset issues

I personally would prefer the Visual Studio 2008/MVC/LINQ organizational paradigm. I ran through a sample MVC framework tutorial and found that things are made really easy in a few clicks of the mouse. See the sample project video here. You will need to view the C# written instructions.

After talking to Dr. Thompson about what he expects of our groups in class, it sounds like we're stuck with VS2005 in the labs.  VS2008 will likely never be deployed before May 2009.  Also, he said we'll likely have to complete more VS2005 based exercises on our lab TFS and probably also show proof of work within that environment.

I'm thinking that as a workaround for this situation, we can probably start what little planning and development we'll be doing this year on VS2005, but at the same time look into developing in VS2008 on our personal PCs.   Personally, I plan to connect to my home PC over Remote Desktop (via an SSH tunnel of course!) and use my VS2008 tools that way.