The Latest in .NET Development at VS Live Part 1

   30 Jun 2016

VS Live is a travelling conference in a regular basis providing a mix of sessions in web development, most in the Microsoft world, but not exclusively. Some of the sessions are about news and upcoming things, and others how to write code well, and what to have in mind when you as a developer come across problems. The conference we visited was in Austin, TX, a very nice town in mid-size. Birds, bats, and boats on the river are attractions, and a climate that you usually can’t complain about if you prefer heat, although we weren’t that lucky with the weather this time.

VS Live

The conference had four parallel sessions with everything from DevOps to Azure (of course!), and JavaScript to Xamarin. The venue was nice for its purpose with four rooms close together with easy access and always room. Thought I would tell you some of our reflections from the week.

Xamarin

Xamarin was previously this year bought by Microsoft, and you can understand why when you see the pros of the tool, and its integration in Visual Studio. The idea is to be able to work to a framework, and still have support from all the large platforms; iOS, Android, and Universal Windows Platform (UWP), without losing any performance or functionality. This is not a miracle cure though, since you still need to do special adjustments for every operating system, but the idea is to save time by having an overlaying business layer where common code for every platform is stored. They also have a solution called Xamarin.Forms which will make it easier since you get a set of components that work for all operatives without special adjustments. But you have to be ready to the heavy work in case the component you need is missing in Xamarin.Forms.

Angular

Angular 2 is out with a release candidate and it is looking incredible exiting, especially since they run with the transpiler TypeScript that we have used since an early version here at 3bits. The idea of Angular is to make the development of responsive sites easier, and foremost SPA solutions (Single Page Applications), TypeScripts then helps making the work easier with large code bases of JavaScript. With responsive sites I don’t just mean support for different resolutions (different units), but that the entire site responds when you interact with it, so you don’t need to wait for the page to reload. Angular is based on dividing the code in a MVVM mindset (Model-View-View-Model), making the solution easy to maintain and expand. The first version of Angular was a bit awkward when handling larger code bases, but version 2 with its simplifications and the overall TypeScript mindset should make it considerably easier to work with.

Http Protocol

The http Protocol isn’t something that you constantly have in mind, but it definitely has its limitations that affect the daily work with frontend development. Today we work a lot with concatenation (several css/js files to one), minification (reducing the file size, this can of course still be interesting), and spritening (several images to one), just to work around the exiting limitations. If you have several images perhaps you work with domain sharding, which is dividing the content in several domains. All these ways are pretty hard to work with, the idea of version 2 of the http protocol is that we shouldn’t need these workarounds. The best of it all is that is can be run already. But have in mind that not all web browser support it of course, mainly Internet Explorer before Windows 10. But it will resume to the previous http protocol, so it’s not a catastrophe.

Overall I think it was a nice conference with several interesting sessions, good food, and tempo. The staff and participants were nice to talk to and we always felt welcome, even if we were from Gothenburg, Schweeeeden. The city Batman comes from. If you don’t understand the reference don’t be alarmed, I didn’t at first either.