ALT.NET Seattle Day Two

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Day two of ALT.NET is over and I’m already pooped (for you non-English speakers, that means tired, not something else that might come to mind).

Once again, photos by our Chronicler, Brad Wilson. As a testament to how engaging the sessions were, there are a lot fewer photos from day two in his photostream.

Encouraging Open Source on .NET by Brad

The first session I went to was on the topic of Encouraging Open Source in the .NET Space as seen above, which veered all over the place. Many felt the industry is shifting towards more and more Open Source software so those who can leverage that will be better off than those who can.

One interesting idea that came out of it was there’s a need for more education regarding Open Source. For example, understanding licensing is very challenging. It’d be great to have simple tools like a compatibility matrix or a license chooser (ala Creative Commons license generator).

In the meanwhile, I’ve tried to do my best to explain what little I know of software licensing in the past.

Another interesting point tied into our TDD discussion later on in the day related to the fact that for many shops, it doesn’t exist unless Microsoft endorses it.

.NET on the Mac, Linux, and iPhone by Brad

The next session I attended was “.NET/Mono on the Mac, Linux, and iPhone” facilitated by the always entertaining Miguel De Icaza and Joseph Hill. I’m quite certain that everyone was there because they wanted to pull in $10,000 a day writing the next Fart app for the iPhone using C#.

TDD and Microsoft by Brad

Later in the day, Karen Liu (a PM on the Managed Languages/IDE team), Euan Garden (PM for Visual Studio Test), and I (photo above) gave a wide ranging session on TDD and Microsoft, which covered investments we’re making across Developer Division to help make the experience for writing proper unit tests better for developers such as ASP.NET MVC, WPF’s Model-View-ViewModel, Visual Studio improvements, Silverlight, etc….

The focus of our efforts has been addressing the need for our tools and frameworks to support all developers who write automated tests. But the bar set by the expectations of a TDD developer is typically very high, and by striving to meet those expectations, we feel all developers benefit.

I showed off a few slides to set the context for what groups we’ve talked to and what improvements we’re seeing start to happen for the next wave of products.

Karen Liu gave a few demos of how Visual Studio 2010 greatly improves the workflow for a test-first developer and Euan Garden led a discussion about the Visual Studio unit testing framework.

We discussed where we’d all like to see Visual Studio take unit testing in the future. There were quite a few voices who said they’d like to see Visual Studio include something like xUnit.NET, much in the same way that ASP.NET MVC includes jQuery, because for the places where they work, for better or worse, it doesn’t exist unless it’s part of Visual Studio. This is a common theme I’ve heard when it comes to people wanting to promote a development tool at their workplace for which Microsoft does not have an alternative.

To illustrate this point, one person came up to me and told me he had never used jQuery (and didn’t write a lot of JavaScript) until it was included in ASP.NET MVC and now he’s very happily using jQuery with ASP.NET MVC.

To me, that’s a great testimonial for how leveraging Open Source in smart ways can make customers happier.

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9 responses

  1. Avatar for Mike
    Mike March 1st, 2009 should support the built in runner though. But then you guys could include it in the ASP.NET project template and give support for it etc. It's really the best unit testing framework out there right now. And while you're at it, how about Moq too?
    Would be pretty awesome, I think it's a win-win...

  2. Avatar for haacked
    haacked March 1st, 2009

    @Mike, convince Jim and Brad to do it. There's problems though in that some of their features wouldn't work with the built-in runner. Thuogh I think it may still be worth it.

  3. Avatar for Brad Wilson
    Brad Wilson March 1st, 2009

    Obviously, if it were to be "shipped in the box", then it would support a native Visual Studio runner.
    We've evaluated hooking into the existing runner, but it means a compromise in terms of performance and features. Plus, the APIs have been (and continue to be) in flux, so we need to figure out which version of Visual Studio we intend to target. Right now I believe our plans are to have Visual Studio support in the VS 2010 time frame.

  4. Avatar for Ren
    Ren March 1st, 2009

    So Good!

  5. Avatar for Yusuf
    Yusuf March 1st, 2009

    I am sorry but I'll ask off topic;
    Is the guy with red t-shirt in 2. pic; is he Miguel de Icaza?
    He is wearing a Turkish Flag T-Shirt, hmm... I am from Turkey, hi all!!!

  6. Avatar for mike
    mike March 2nd, 2009

    @haack, well there's already a ticket, so everyone vote vote vote!
    However, 2010 is eternity, so maybe vote this one up too (stand alone runner):
    @Brad: seems like a better investment of time and resources. I don't think you should expect much from Microsoft (unless they put Haack on the Visual Studio team... ;)

  7. Avatar for haacked
    haacked March 2nd, 2009

    @Yusuf, yes, that's Miguel.

  8. Avatar for Andy Stopford
    Andy Stopford March 2nd, 2009

    As Euan points out during the demo the Me, Jeff and the MbUnit team worked with Euan and his team to integrate MbUnit via Gallio into VS08 and VS10 so one framework other than MSTest already has that support. As Euan also points out Gallio also supports MSTest and enables that framework to run in all of its other supported runners, ReSharper for example.
    VS shipping XUnit would indicate that that framework is favoured in a market where stable and popular frameworks such as NUnit and MbUnit also have a considerable following. Such action would only cause further confusion, as I have said many times in the past what I would rather see is all the framework teams being engaged to see how and where we can help all our users collectively.

  9. Avatar for Adron
    Adron March 7th, 2009

    Just wanted to say thanks for that session. I really dug the conversation and it was kewl to converse with others who would like to see the same things happen. Namely the inclusion of other testing tools or even ms-test being open sourced to some degree for greater acceptance of the other tools.
    Karen, Euan, & u Phil. Thx for the session - it was good stuff.