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About Alastair Revell
Alastair Revell is the Managing Consultant of Revell Research Systems, a Management and Technology Consulting Practice based at Exeter in the United Kingdom.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, 04 September 2007

I was interested in Hans-Eric Grönlund's post on the decline of Delphi and (implicitly) its predecessor Turbo Pascal. I used Turbo Pascal extensively in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly versions 4.0 and 5.5, and then later Turbo Pascal for Windows 1.0 and 1.5.

Version 5.5 introduced me to objected-oriented programming (OOP) in practical terms and I fondly remember the OOP guide that was part of the documentation for version 5.5.

I stopped using Turbo Pascal for Windows in favour of Visual Basic and never really adopted Delphi, which I always thought would have faired better if it had been called Visual Pascal.

A considerable amount of my original code library built in Pascal survives today as part of the internal Revell Research Systems code library, having been ported to the .NET Framework. Indeed, much of my thinking around bannering emerged while writing code in Turbo Pascal and 6502 Assembly and was much influenced by Lance Leventhal's approach to documenting assembly code.

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Tuesday, 04 September 2007 08:26:43 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, 22 August 2007
I've just read an article on Hans-Eric Grönlund's blog, which discusses how close Java and C# are as languages. He concludes that "C#.NET is the best platform for Windows based systems since it was in fact designed for it. Java on the other hand is the only option for systems that are targeting other operating systems." I would agree that Java is probably the only realistic option for systems targeting non-Windows environments. However, I would be reluctant to assert that C# was the best language for Windows development, although I would certainly agree that .NET is now the best platform for it.
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Wednesday, 22 August 2007 11:54:58 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Saturday, 07 April 2007
I understand from Tom Hollander's Blog that Microsoft's Pattern & Practices team have just released Enterprise Library 3.0.
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Saturday, 07 April 2007 12:56:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Thursday, 18 January 2007

I have been porting our code library to the .NET Framework 2.0 and have been using the new generics feature in many places to improve the code.

I've generally been impressed by the functionality offered by generics, but was a little disillusioned when I realised that they would be of little or no use in refactoring our matrix and vector maths libraries.

Perhaps, as a graduate mathematician, I had been more excited than most by the prospect of being able to write generic matrix and vector classes that could be instantiated just as easily on a built-in Double type as a custom Complex number type.

However, the gradual realisation dawned that the built-in types in the .NET Framework don't share any common numeric ancestor type and don't implement a common interface such as IArithmetic that might be used to constrain the generic matrix and vector classes to being instantiated ONLY over numeric types.

Rüdiger Klaehn, a German freelance programmer, has proposed that Microsoft should augment the basic numeric types in the .NET Framework with an IArithmetic interface that would define the basic arithmetic operators on these types. This would allow generic types to be defined over types that guarantee this interface, allowing such classes as a matrix or vector to be built that can be constrained to types that support basic arithmetic.

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Thursday, 18 January 2007 13:05:42 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Tuesday, 31 October 2006
We've recently started porting our large .NET class libraries from .NET 1.1 to .NET 2.0, which has to date been a fairly smooth process. We've also been revising and enhancing classes as we go and I stumbled across a rather nasty catch during this process.
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Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:52:39 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Sunday, 18 June 2006

I note from Somasegar's blog that Microsoft are to rebrand their forthcoming WinFX technologies as .NET Framework 3.0. (S Somasegar is Microsoft's Corporate Vice-President of the Developer Division.)

This is essentially the existing .NET 2.0 Framework combined with the new WinFX technologies. The new technologies are Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) and Windows Card Space (WCS), together with some supporting new base class libraries.

It is apparent that this name change has not met with universal approval from the developer community.

However, it is equally clear that many people were finding it difficult to understand exactly how WinFX fitted in with Microsoft's overall strategy. In particular, a number of people seem to believe that WinFX was to replace the .NET Framework. In technical terms, WinFX has only ever been an extension of the existing .NET Framework 2.0.

I actually think that in some respects WinFX is a better name for the .NET Framework, since it is clear that the .NET Framework is destined to be the new way of programming Windows. WinFX is really the next step in the Win16 and Win32 series...

Ultimately, I'm happy with Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 (WinFX).

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Sunday, 18 June 2006 12:01:41 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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Review Entries for Day Saturday, 10 June 2006
I believe that bannering, along with other coding standards, makes code more approachable and therefore more valuable. It especially helps with maintenance and re-use, where the current programmer may not be the original developer. Making code more approachable is important to commercial organisations looking to maximise their return-on-investment (ROI). However, such standards tend to be derided by developers who predominantly work on their own because they cannot see the value.
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Saturday, 10 June 2006 12:07:15 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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