The .NET Sweatshop

Working day and night to help .NET users get the most out of programming the coolest platform on the planet.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

For the past five weeks, I have inherited the role of patterns & practices marketing dude. Steve Elston, a long-time MS employee and one of the coolest people I met here, finally stepped down and decided to lead the chill life with his wife and kids. Good for him, but unfortunate for our team--those are some big shoes to fill. p&p made some major strides in the past year. Still, we're not on a lot of radars and people don't recognize us universally just yet. Admittedly, our catalog is still growing and I expect us to gain better traction in the future, but we really need to rachet it up. Last year, we got millions of hits and hundreds of thousands of people downloading our guides, but I believe that's our dedicated fan base and some word of mouth--people need to find us in the first place. Hopefully, anyone reading this blog has taken a peek (another shameless plug:, but if we are to continue building more of this stuff, we need your help. Post to our newsgroups. Mail to the alias for this blog (see the about us page). Pass feedback to MSDN. Remember when MTV first came out? Sting, Pete Townshend, Pat Benatar all screaming "I want my MTV!". Well, if you really like us, tell MSDN. Tell Notify your favorite Microsofties. Tell them "I WANT MY PATTERNS & PRATICES". Meanwhile, share the secret--with your friends, your family, even your german shepard. We're still the underdog here and we need your voices to be heard to get us the resources to build more and make it more easily accessible. OK, off my soapbox. Next post will be more oriented to the content and I won't try to start any revolutions. Well, I don't think so...

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Hi folks,

Sorry to be slow on the blog, but the last month has been extra hectic. We've been churning stuff out left and right and now we are in event mode as well. We're heavy into TechEd season, we've got our internal field meeting coming up next week, and plans are already underway for our big partner event and PDC, the king of all events! But, I thought I'd fill you in on some nifty new releases we have just had coming out (I've been reading Richard Feynmann lately and he keeps using the word "nifty", so I stole that one from him). Here are three new blocks for your development pleasure:

User Interface Process Application Block

Simple yet extensible framework for developing user interface processes. It is designed to abstract the control flow and state management out of the user interface layer into a user interface process layer. This enables you to write generic code for the control flow and state management of different types of applications (for example, Web applications and Windows-based applications) and helps you write applications that manage users' tasks in complex scenarios (for example, suspending and resuming stateful tasks).

Configuration Management Application Block

A simple yet flexible solution that you can use across all your applications to manage configuration data. Specifically, it provides a set of methods that allow you to read and write application configuration data without the need to instantiate objects or perform complex data conversions in your code through a flexible data model that allows you to use any in-memory data structure to represent your configuration data.

Application Updater Application Block

A .NET solution that provides a "pull model" solution to automatically download application updates from a central location, designed for organizations who want the rich functionality of Windows Forms applications with the centralized manageability of Web-based applications. By using the Updater Application Block to download application updates, you can overcome the security "sand box" limitations of downloading Windows Forms applications through a browser, while still maintaining control and security over the application update process.

Lots of stuff to help devs do stuff on the web tier or with the celebrated "smart client". Ron Jacobs, a colleague of mine here at PnP wrote some code that showcase them. Visit his site at:

The World of Ron Jacobs

Let us know what you think about the blocks. We've got plenty more in addition to these that I will cover in the near future.