ALT.NET - Are You Ready for the Red Pill


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Talk given at Øredev, November 17-21 2008.

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ALT.NET - Are You Ready for the Red Pill

  1. 1. ALT.NET - Are you ready for the red pill? JOAKIM SUNDÉN 1
  2. 2. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. 2
  4. 4. BODEN 4 Born and raised.
  5. 5. 5 But now I live in Stockholm.
  6. 6. Kul bild här 6 Where I work at Avega.
  7. 7. 7 As a consultant.
  8. 8. 8 Now you know me. So, who are you?
  9. 9. 9 Microsoft is catering for all your needs so why should you leave the comfort zone? Besides, “no one ever got fired for choosing Microsoft”.
  10. 10. 10 Lots of tools and practices out there not originating from Redmond. Some open up entirely new possibilities in how we can work. Some of Microsofts tools are great as well - the important thing is to use the right tool for the right job, not just the same old tool you happen to know or that a vendor throws in your lap. To be able to make that choice, you have to keep an eye out for alternative and better ways.
  11. 11. Continuous Improvement 11 Popular slogan for describing ALT.NET. David Laribee, the guy who coined the label “ALT.NET”, recently proposed two criteria for determining whether or not you belong in “this little movement we’ve got going on”.
  12. 12. 12 1. Do you write software or otherwise work in a team using the .NET Framework?
  13. 13. 13 2. Are you interested in learning and improvement?
  14. 14. 14 That is really not all there is to it.
  15. 15. 15 At the Microsoft MVP Summit, March 2007, Daniel Simmons presented the upcoming Entity Framework.
  16. 16. So, in a little cluster in the center on the right, I called them the NHibernate Mafia; and it was James Kovacs, Scott Bellware, Jeffrey Palermo, Jean-Paul Boodhoo, all in a little cluster, and they are just hammering these guys... So, these guys -- I mean they buy ORM in a very deep way; and they are all NHibernate believers -- they are in there. and so, they are looking at this product in its very early stages, which I get -- they are just getting started on this, it’s just coming along now, been thought through a few times, and they are comparing it to NHibernate and just boom, boom, boom. And Dan, I’d never met him before; he was sitting in the left, right at the front, and I figured out because there was couple of his guys in the back that it was him. And when the session broke, he made the mistake of popping up a couple of times and answering questions. So now they knew who he was; he had the target pinned on his head. When the session broke, it took him an hour to get out of the room. The boys were just on him; and even when he got out of the room, they were still on him. (Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin, .NET Rocks podcast #226, April 5 2007) 16 Passion. Entity Framework critique: not object-first, not persistence ignorant.
  17. 17. We may have sung a couple NHibernate arias at the Summit, but they were all part of the greater TDD opera. Scott Bellware 17 Scott Bellware, “On Being the NHibernate Mafia”.
  18. 18. Agile folks It’s not the tools, it’s the solution. Maintainability David Laribee 18 David Laribee: “the meeting between the Agile folks and Microsoft’s ADO.NET team” “If there has to be a label I’ll propose a new one: ALT.NET”
  19. 19. ALT.NET according to David Laribee 1.You’re the type of developer who uses what works while keeping an eye out for a better way. 2.You reach outside the mainstream to adopt the best of any community: Open Source, Agile, Java, Ruby, etc. 3.You’re not content with the status quo. Things can always be better expressed, more elegant and simple, more mutable, higher quality, etc. 4.You know tools are great, but they only take you so far. It’s the principles and knowledge that really matter. The best tools are those that embed the knowledge and encourage the principles (e.g. Resharper.) 19 ALT.NET “manifesto” Next milestone: ALT.NET Open Space conference in Austin, October 2007. Mailing list created.
  20. 20. ALT.NET: agile + object-orientation + patterns + TDD + DDD = OOPSLA school of software development Mainstream Microsoft != OOPSLA School Martin Fowler 20 “The mind-set is one that is very familiar to me. It has that mix of agile + object-orientation + patterns + Test-Driven Development + Domain-Driven Design which is very much the school of software development that I favor. (Lacking a proper name for it, I'm inclined to call it the OOPSLA school of software development.) There is certainly a belief that there is a mainstream Microsoft orthodoxy at the moment, one that doesn't fit the OOSPLA school. And there's some frustration with that. But the point here is that it's not that the community thinks that the perceived mainstream Microsoft route should be erased, but that the Microsoft world is big enough for different approaches.”
  21. 21. 21 MSDN Way: Rapid Application Development (“demoware”), visual programming, data-centric. APIs and framework details, not design and coding fundamentals.
  22. 22. 22
  23. 23. 23 Maintainability, how easy it is to change and evolve the solution. Much of our time is “maintenance”. OO design = maintainable
  24. 24. 24 Robert Martin, “Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#”
  25. 25. S ingle Responsibility Principle O pen Closed Principle L iskov Substitution Principle I nterface Segregation Principle D ependency Inversion Principle 25
  26. 26. DRY 26 Don’t Repeat Yourself Martin Fowler: “I often find that a nice design can come from just being really anal about getting rid of duplicated code.”
  27. 27. 27
  28. 28. 28 Encourages a good maintainable design and enables change. BDD, Behaviour-Driven Development. “TDD done right” + new vocabulary (behaviour not tests) + more.
  29. 29. 29 Popular tools oriented at fulfilling the values, principles and practices of ALT.NET. NHibernate. Object-/relational mapper for persistence ignorance etc. Castle Project: MonoRail - MVC framework for web applications ActiveRecord - an implementation of the ActiveRecord pattern on top of NHibernate. MicroKernel and Windsor - Inversion of Control containers.
  30. 30. 30 CruiseControl.NET - Automated Continuous Integration Server. ReSharper - Great Visual Studio productivity add-in. NUnit and MBUnit - open source unit test frameworks. RhinoMocks - Dynamic mock object framework.
  31. 31. ALT.NET in summary • Continuous improvement • Pragmatism • Principles and practices, not tools • Maintainability • Agile • TDD/BDD 31
  32. 32. 32 Criticism
  33. 33. 33 Nothing new. Exactly, that’s the point. Learn from mistakes, history, proven principles/practices. Still unknown to majority of ,NET community.
  34. 34. 34 Sam Gentile: “ALT.NET is a divisive thing. No matter what they tell you, they are full of negative energy, they sneer at others that don't buy into their view and sneer at the ‘enterprisey’ folks. I know, I was there. I am not going to be part of it any more.“ Roy Osherove and others: dogmatic. Promoting certain tools, categorically denying the value of other tools, e.g., TypeMock. David Laribee: “we are discarding politeness for the sake of efficiency”. Sam Gentile is now back on the mailing list and Roy Osherove is still a very active member of the ALT.NET community.
  35. 35. 35 Alternative != in opposition to Microsoft Alternative == something that embraces choice. Scott Bellware: “the ALT.NET movement has to be seen as anti-crap. ALT.NET is anti-Microsoft when it is necessary, and it’s very pro-Microsoft when it isn’t.”
  36. 36. 36 What if I am alternative (continuous improvement etc) but not agile/OO? Don’t like ReSharper and NHibernate? That’s ok, but avoid certain topics on the mailing list...
  37. 37. What do you want? 37 What does ALT.NET want?
  38. 38. 38 Change. Separate ALT.NET groups or influencing existing ones? Both. Jeremy Miller, The Shade Tree Developer blog, sees ALT.NET as a second pole of leadership and thought in the .NET community, complementary to the traditional leadership, such as book authors, MVPs and INETA speakers focused on existing and forthcoming Microsoft tools. The void that ALT.NET will fill is information and leadership on: OOP fundamentals, development processes and practices and alternative tools.
  39. 39. What has ALT.NET accomplished? 39 So what has ALT.NET accomplished so far? Difficult to tell if ALT.NET should be credited for individual steps of progress. But Microsoft has changed since the inception of ALT.NET. Entity Framework. Advisory council: Martin Fowler, Eric Evans, Jimmy Nilsson and others. New persistence ignorant, object-first version announced @ PDC. ASP.NET MVC was first demonstrated at the first ALT.NET conference i Austin. Microsoft is shipping the JQuery open source JavaScript library with the next version of Visual Studio. Microsoft is taking an active interest in the community. Microsoft employees like Glenn Block are active participants in the ALT.NET community. The ALT.NET crowd is growing. Tracks at conferences. National and local user groups.
  40. 40. Why bother? 40 Why bother?
  41. 41. 41 Because you care. Because you are passionate about what you do. And because you are a professional developer. People want to do a good job. In order to do that you have to use the right tool for the right job.
  42. 42. 42 “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a thumb”.
  43. 43. 43 Same tool == same solution, no matter what the problem is
  44. 44. What can I do 44 What can YOU do?
  45. 45. 45 Inform yourself. Read books and blogs, make connections, join the mailing list. Learn on the job. As Abraham Lincoln said: quot;If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I would spend three hours sharpening the saw.”
  46. 46. 46 ALT.NET Open Space conferences in USA, UK, Sweden.
  47. 47. 47 Swedish ALT.NET user group. Coding dojos in Stockholm and Sundsvall. Ask for a group close to home on the mailing list. Start your own local user group! If you need help you can contact me or just drop an e-mail to the mailing list. Your local .NET User group.
  48. 48. ALT.NET Resources Altnetpedia, ALT.NET mailing list, altdotnet/ Ayende Rahien, Jeremy Miller, David Laribee, Glenn Block, Sweden ALT.NET Sweden Google Group, sweden-altnet Jimmy Nilsson, (in English) Torkel Ödegaard, (in English) 48 Somewhat arbitrary list. Jimmy Nilsson wrote THE ALT.NET book, “Applying Domain-Driven Design and Patterns: With Examples in C# and .NET”.
  49. 49. Thank you for listening! Questions? Thanks to Peter Hultgren, Ulrika Johansson, Pontus Frendin, Håkan Alexander and Torkel Ödegaard from the Stockholm ALT.NET User group for helping me with this presentation. Joakim Sundén 49