Day 2 of the MVP Summit was spent in building 43 on the Microsoft campus, the home of the Connected Systems Division. Right away what I liked about their approach to the event was that the sessions CSD delivered were not targeted to a single MVP focus (BizTalk for example) but rather to a larger group that included Solutions Architects and others. In essence the sessions were designed to give us the broad picture of how everything in the division interconnects, which, if you think about it, should be a primary focus of their division.
Just a quick note on last night's activities. The attendee dinner was held at The Museum of Flight
south of downtown and it was a fabulous event. For some reason I had never made it to the museum and was absolutely floored by the quantity and quality of the exhibits. What was particularly interesting to me were the myriad examples of fighter planes from World War I up to the current day with brief but informative descriptions of each. The exhibits were also grouped by time period so a British Spitfire was next to the German Messerschmitt and the planes the US Navy flew were next to the Japanese versions which allowed you to compare and contrast them. The displays were also interesting in that along with a description of a specific kind of plane a brief blurb about the founder of the various aircraft companies as appropriate and the history of the museum's particular example of that aircraft.
In any case the first talk today was given by Sonu Arora, Program manager in CSD and Jesus Rodriguez, the Chief Software Architect of a company called Two Connect. Their topic was titled "Line of Business Adapter with WCF Deep Dive". Essentially the LOB Adapter is a new SDK for building adapters (termed the LOB adapter SDK where LOB refers to any backend application such as SAP, PeopleSoft and even custom databases) to integrate LOB applications with WCF clients. To that end the result is integration with your line of business applications that are…Surfaced as WCF BindingCan be consumed using WCF channel/service programming model
The strength of this approach is that it moves the adapter out of BizTalk and the other Microsoft products (for example Microsoft today has five SAP "adapters" strewn about their products) where it can be reused. In all, very interesting stuff.
The second session of the day was given by David Hill PM Tech Lead in the UI Framework regarding a topic that is still under NDA but is related to the existing client application block (CAB), Smart Client Software Factory, and WPF work being done and targeted for the post Visual Studio Orcas timeframe.
The third session was given by Jack Greenfield of Software Factories fame
where he first discussed the current state of the software factory and software product lines and then moved on to the plans (under NDA) for this space under Rosario.
One of the things I did find interesting in his review of the current state of things is when he showed a slide that include a continuum of guidance evolution. The evolution starts with written guidelines, moves on to standard patterns, evolves to templates that can be reused in tools, then to frameworks that templates often rely on, and finally to visual designers that are integrated into the tool. This is interesting since in our project we're entering the template and frameworks stages by developing a set of CodeSmith templates to drive the development of new services by hooking into our existing service provider and service consumer frameworks. I'm not certain we'll ever get to visual designers or that we'll ever need to, but the topic reminded me that there is a continuum here and in my experience there is a large gulf between guidance/patterns and templates/frameworks and that is where you can really drive adoption. Until there is some actual help outside of the printed word, it is difficult for developers to adopt a new framework.
Next, we were off to building 5 and the home of the Patterns and Practices group where we took a tour of their agile-enabled redesigned space. In a nutshell the P&P group worked with a team of architects over a three to four month period and ended up rearchitecting their space for their teams that doing a mix of Scrum and Agile development.
The space, which accommodates up to 50 people, is now split into five team rooms wrapped by a ring of offices on a raised floor where literally the walls of all the team rooms and the offices are moveable. Each of the team rooms has desks with low dividers that can be configured in any way the team likes to the extent where the power coming from the floor can be moved along with the tables. The walls of each of the team rooms is double pane glass with a white material between them so they can be written on from floor to ceiling. Each of the team rooms was configured differently with some teams working in a circle sort of like a traditional conference room while others were staggered throughout the room. Not all of the walls had the white surface, however, and neither did the glass doors since one of the design criteria was that no matter where a team member sits, they can see outdoors. Each room also had a projector and conference phone and each phone at the workstations use IP and so can be moved as developers move around. The workstations themselves are all dual monitor (every team member uses a laptop) as well with their own lighting.
The outside offices are used for a variety of purposes ranging from a dedicated customer room where customers have a place to call home while working with the team to a series of offices some of which are actually dual offices for product managers and others. Interestingly, they also have a dedicated "quiet room" (my term) where a developer can get away from their team in order to make a phone call or otherwise take a break from their teammates. From the feedback I've gotten from the team I worked on who worked in a war room environment for several months, this is probably an essential aspect of this kind of team environment.
In taking the tour it was also noted that the P&P group of course uses Team Foundation Server but does not use MSBuild but rather CruiseControl to do their builds. They're also working their way through how to use the process guidance in TFS as the different teams have used different templates and use those different templates in various ways.
Labels: Microsoft, MVP