When will YOU plan an AltNetConf?

First, go read Bil Simser’s post about planning an AltNetConf in your area, and then go read Martin Fowler’s post about his take on Alt.Net.

Ok.  if  you came back, read on:

Everyone can be a community leader.  You don’t need permission.  There is no one who is going to tell you “no”.  You just have to decide for yourself that you are going to do something great in your own area.

I’ll close with a direct quote from Bil Simser:

On the heels of the first one in Austin there are a few good ideas that you could use when you’re building your own AltNetConf:

  • Keep the size manageable. I think the 100 person limit was great for the Austin one. This also helps you locate a place for it.
  • Self-organizing
    agenda. Rather than pre-canned agenda of topics, the first day/night of
    the conference is the time to collaborate and drill out what people are
    passionate about. What bugs people, what do they want to talk about.
    This is an agenda driven by both speaker and speakee (as I would
    consider everyone a speaker for each session, with someone keeping the
    conversation on topic rather than coffee-talk, much like a Scrum Master
    does during the daily standups)
  • Nothing but .NET. This isn’t
    Alt.JAVA so the conversations follow building on Microsoft platforms
    using the most appropriate tool, technology, and technique that makes
    sense for the problem at hand.
  • Don’t turn it into a vendor
    fest. While it may be Microsoft related, I think the last thing an
    AltNetConf needs is “Brought to you by [insert .NET vendor product
    here]”. True, it should be free and things cost these days, but there
    are too many ideas that spiral out of control and become product
    showcases rather than guys and girls talking about software development.
  • Follow the OpenSpace approach to organization and flow. Just resonates on the ideas above.


altnetconf links and buzz


The above is a link to the altnetconf tag in del.icio.us.  I’ve been tagging every blog post I find related, and so have others.  Here’s a quick list:

  1. altnetconf – Alt.Net kicks off with clarification of “What is Alt.Net”

  2. Flickr: altnetconf pool

  3. altnetconf: Blogs, Photos, Videos and more on Technorati

  4. Flickr: Photos tagged with altnetconf

  5. altnetconf – Google Code

  6. altnetconf – Google Code

  7. AltNetConf Day2 – Agile and MVC Goodness – Rod Paddock

  8. altnetconf – Scott Guthrie announces ASP.NET MVC framework at Alt.Net Conf – Jeffrey Palermo [MVP]

  9. altnetconf – Scott Guthrie announces ASP.NET MVC framework at Alt.Net Conf – Jeffrey Palermo [MVP]

  10. ALT.NET – Home


  1. ALT.Net first day impressions

  2. There and Back Again : ALT.NET Conference, Day 2 – Taking the Good With the Bad

  3. Random thoughts on Open Spaces fishbowl

  4. Luke Breuer: Webpage Index

  5. Another reason for Rhino Mocks Generic Constraint

  6. Ryno’s Blog: More Blog Sites

  7. Summary and opinions regarding the Behaviour Driven Design session

  8. ALT .NET Open Space Conference

  9. MVP Framework for ASP.NET

altnetconf – AltNetConf is over, here’s the follow-on information

Wow!  AltNetConf was great.  There were so many positive people from all over the country and some international folks.  Of course, having Scott Guthrie and Martin Fowler there didn’t hurt either.

The discussion continues.  Join the altnetconf Yahoo group here:  http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/altnetconf/

Pictures!  Join the altnetconf Flickr group here:  http://www.flickr.com/groups/altnetconf


Also, for you attendees, please tag your content altnetconf so that the content is easy to find.  We worked through a lot of great issues over the weekend, and it would be great to be able to share that information easily.

Photo of me talking with Rod Paddock (chief editor of Code Magazine).



[tags: altnetconf]

altnetconf – Scott Guthrie announces ASP.NET MVC framework at Alt.Net Conf

asp.net mvc framework 

Note:  Much more MVC information coming.  Subscribe to my feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/jeffreypalermo Subscribe to email feed.

Scott Guthrie proposed a topic at the Alt.Net Conference today, and the topic was an overview of the MVC Framework his team is working on.  His topic is actually the first timeslot of the conference at 9:30am tomorrow morning.  Just about everyone showed interest, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see most of the folks just listening.

Scott and I had supper after the opening, and I received a personal demo of the prototype.  First, here are some of the goals:

  • Natively support TDD model for controllers.
  • Provide ASPX (without viewstate or postbacks) as a view engine
  • Provide a hook for other view engines from MonoRail, etc.
  • Support IoC containers for controller creation and DI on the controllers
  • Provide complete control over URLs and navigation
  • Be pluggable throughout
  • Separation of concerns
  • Integrate nicely within ASP.NET
  • Support static as well as dynamic languages

I’m sure I missed some of the goals, and more people will blog their takeaways since this all is public information.

The first question might be: Is webforms going away?  Do I have to rewrite my web applications?  Some people might wish, but no.  Both models will be supported and even be supported within the same web application.  I, for one, after seeing this, think it is very good, and my company will be recommending it to our clients.

We might get a public CTP by the end of the year, and it will be released in a similar fashion as ASP.NET AJAX was, as an add-on after the Visual Studio 2008 release some time next year.


The default URL scheme will look something like this:


where RouteName is configured to map to SomeController.  Multiple routes can map to the same controller for the purpose of providing more URLs (think SEO).

The developer can completely override the URL processing also by providing an implementation of an interface. 


Controllers will inherit from a base class by default, but it doesn’t hinder unit testing, and it’s not even required.  I’ll probably use the option of implementing the IController interface instead and creating a controller factory to support controller creation using my IoC container of choice (currently StructureMap).  In this manner, I implement an interface with one method that accepts IHttpContext (yep, we have an interface now), and RouteData, a simple DTO that includes the action and parameters for the web request (parsed from the URL scheme you are using).


Like I said before, NVelocity, Brail, etc can be bolted on as view engines, and ASPX is provided as a view engine (the only thing that has been changed is that the code-behind will inherit from ViewPage as opposed to the current Page).  Controllers can either using IViewEngine (I think that’s the name) to request a view by name (key) or using a helper method on the optional controller base class RenderView(string, viewData).  The default model uses a DTO for the objects passed to the view, so it is similar to MonoRail’s property bag except it’s a strongly-typed DTO (using generics for that), so when you rename stuff with Resharper, you don’t have to worry about any string literals lying around.

My impressions

I first saw the early prototype in March of this year, and I was encouraged.  I was able to give some early feedback, which has already been encorporated into the product.  I’m not one to promote a Microsoft offering just because it’s there (I have never recommended the use of MSTest over NUnit, for instance), but I will say this: As soon as I can get my hands on a build, I will be building something with it.  I am very encouraged by this, and I think they are going in the right direction.  While they have chosen a model to use with demos, they have broken down the walls.  Interfaces abound, and none of it is sealed.  I will start by swapping out the controller factory so I can get my IoC container in the mix, but it’s easy to do.  For testing, there is no coupling of the controller.  The views are decoupled.  The httpcontext is decoupled with the new IHttpContext interface.  The actions are simple public methods with an attribute attached to them ([ControllerAction], I think).

Isn’t it just like MonoRail?

Someone using MonoRail for more serious project than me can comment more intelligently, but here goes.  MonoRail is MVC.  This is MVC, so yes, it’s very similar but different.  This gives us a controller that executes before a view ever comes into play, and it simplifies ASPX as a view engine by getting rid of viewstate and server-side postbacks with the event lifecycle.  That’s about it.  MonoRail is much more.  MonoRail has tight integration with Windsor, ActiveRecord and several view engines.  MonoRail is more than just the MVC part.  I wouldn’t be surprised if MonoRail were refactored to take advantage of the ASP.NET MVC HttpHandler just as a means to reduce the codebase a bit.  I think it would be a very easy move, and it would probably encourage MonoRail adoption (even beyond its current popularity).


[tags:  altnetconf, asp.net mvc] 

altnetconf – Alt.Net kicks off with clarification of “What is Alt.Net”

Alt.Net kicked off this evening with the setting of the agenda.  We have so many topics, there are going to be a LOT of great discussions.  I feel privileged to be a part of a conference that is potentially shaping the .Net community. . . and I enjoyed meeting Martin Fowler for the first time.  We have plenty of space for all the discussions thanks to St. Edward’s University in Austin.  St. Ed’s has been very supportive of the developer community here.

First and foremost, we established that Alt.Net does NOT mean anti-Microsoft.  Earlier, I gave some values and principles as an attempt to clarify somewhat how _I_ think of Alt.Net.

Alt.Net does not mean tools.  Alt.Net is a way of thinking, a value system.  At its core, we want to be passionate about our craft.  We want to use the best tools for the job (we know those tools change every 2.5 years).  When a new tool that is better comes along, we will happily drop current tools (and that’s a good thing).  We want to keep an open mind about how to write software because we know there is no _one true way_.

Another key point is that Alt.Net encourages the challenging of every assumption we make.  Assumptions can turn to habits, so we must be aware when context changes and rechallenge our assumptions to ensure we are working in the best way.

We intentionally limited the defining discussion because that discussion will be going on all weekend.  Alt.Net is a very positive message, and everyone at the conference is looking for ways to improve the .Net community, not whine about it.  The opening was very positive and upbeat.  There are a lot of smart folks in the room, and I look forward to learning from them over this weekend.

In short, we don’t have a definition.  Sorry folks.  We have 100 or so people at AltNetConf, and we have almost as many definitions, but we all share a passion to develop better software and educate others in the same.  While there are some folks using completely different platforms, most are using .Net and want to continue building on .Net, so Alt.Net does not mean finding an alternative to .Net.  On the contrary, I want to learn the best ways to fully leverage the platform.

For all bloggers, we are tagging content as “altnetconf” to help make this stuff more searchable.


[tags: altnetconf, agile, alt.net]