Monday, November 7, 2011

Celebrating Steve : Here’s To The Crazy Ones

A special event ‘Celebrating Steve’ @ Apple campus on 19th of October, 2011.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. - Apple Inc.

Watch the ‘Celebrate Steve’ event here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Design Sense : ASP.NET New Website Design

A few days back I stumbled upon Scott Hanselman's blog post about the availability of new Beta ASP.NET website. I hated ASP.NET website for a long time and even complained a bit earlier. My biggest complaint was about the lack of RSS Feeds with Video files as enclosures. There is no easy way to get updates on new videos and watch and/or download from any RSS feed reader. (Hated it so much that during one of our training classes, I built a web crawler to create RSS Feeds with enclosures and in a later session, built a web application that will let anybody create a RSS feed from resources any where on the web).  And then, I haven't visited the site a for a long time. So, I was eager to check it out and did it at last.
On a related note, there were many properties, particularly around Microsoft, did not offer such RSS feeds with enclosures. I complained about MIX and PDC 2010 some time back. I think they offered RSS Feeds later on for some of those. I was particularly taken aback when I saw this note on MIX site.

If you’d like to download all of the keynote and session content, download a recent build of cURL (~250K), and extract it to your folder-of-choice. Then, download (1.39KB) and extract the MIX10Downloader.bat file to the same folder. From a command prompt, start MIX10Downloader by passing it one of the following parameters: WMVHIGH, WMV, MP4, PPTX. Then wait. For files that aren’t available, cURL will download a file that is around 1,245 bytes in size (if you change the extension to .htm and open it, you’ll see that the file is simply an HTML "not found" error page).

To rename the files, first, download (4.09KB). Then, extract the MIX10Renamer.bat file to the folder that contains your downloaded files, and from a command prompt, type MIX10Renamer WMV to rename all of the .WMV files to the full session title. By changing the parameter, you can also rename your PPTX and MP4 files.

Anyways, here is what I thought when I looked around the new (still beta) website. I am not a designer and currently learning about interaction design on web applications. So take my comments with a pinch of salt.

As highlighted in Scott's blog, information has been re-positioned quite wonderfully in the 'Learn' pages of the site. Oh, no, you will not find a link to 'Learn' on the front page. Click on any topic links on the top (say Web Forms). Nice and clean grouping of content organization into tabs, chapter menu and quite a clean list. Pluralsight videos have been featured as 'Essentials', rightly so.

Just one quirk though. I kept clicking on each of those tabs to view the content in each section. But once I hit 'Forum', suddenly I felt like totally lost the context.  No more header, no more tabs. It totally feels out of place. The only way, you can comeback to context was to use the back button. It should have been a link rather than a tab. Semantically, I expect the content to be opened within the tab, preserving the tab position in the tab group.

Community Page is also organized quite cleanly with variety of content from the community eco system. Floating navigation bar at the left deserves to be mentioned too.

Other than that, I did not find any thing impressive. But here are some more thoughts on how it could be done better.

Front page is Wasted

Copywriting is quite essential for any web application. If somebody new visits the page, there is not much to take away from the page. Leave alone, impress the user to explore further. The front page totally fails in this aspect. There is no conversation started and no conversation to continue. This is the least expected of a Web development community.
If somebody visits the front page, the first question that should have been answered is what is ASP.NET is all about and why it is worth exploring.

This is what ASP.NET site looks like. Visit the page and Try to answer the question, What is ASP.NET?
Compare it to RoR (Ruby on Rails). View the following snapshot or Visit the page and try to answer what is RoR?
Or Compare it to jQuery. View the snapshot or visit the page and then try to answer what is jQuery?
If you are not convinced, visit the front page of ASP.NET site, visit Ruby On Rails Front page and Visit the jQuery front page. Quite obvious. Isn't it?

I think the front page is totally wasted. I do expect a much seriously higher bounce rate from the top page than any other page.

Why Community Spotlight so important wide, front and loud on the front page? And two large banner ads to go with it? I don't understand why Microsoft has to resort to dumping so many ads on the community site.

A little test of Usability and Information

Have a friend of yours that doesn't know anything about ASP.NET and visit the site and see what he/she can say about ASP.NET. Try the same with jQuery, Ruby on Rails or any other site for that matter and see what they can gather. I did. I tried with two friends who have been working in a Telecom industry for about 10 years and haven't heard of any of these : ASP.NET, RoR and jQuery.  Now they are obsessed with RoR and jQuery in that order, but couldn't scratch the surface yet when it comes to ASP.NET.

And lastly, ASP.NET still doesn't seem to have RSS Feeds with enclosures. It seems, they have lot more interest in eye balls rather and still care so much about advertisers.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Shortage of .NET Developers

I have been telling all this year that we couldn't find good .NET Developers. It appears, its an industry wide trend across the US.

According to technology job board Dice’s October report, there’s one particular tech talent now in short supply across the U.S.: Microsoft’s .NET. Job postings requiring .NET are up more than 25% year-over-year, the company says – faster growth than the total job postings on all of -- Techcrunch 

Looking for a job, make your search faster here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

EnhanceJS : Progressive Enhancement For CSS and JS

Great toolkit for progressive enhancement for CSS and JavaScript.

EnhanceJS, a JavaScript framework designed specifically to deliver a usable experience to the widest possible audience, by testing the browser to determine whether it is capable of correctly supporting a range of essential CSS and JavaScript properties, and delivering features only to those that pass the test. -- EnhanceJS

Related :  Modernizr for HTML5 and CSS3.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eric Sink : Version Control By Example

If you want to learn key concepts of a  Version Control system with an example or would like to have a nice and handy reference manual for Git, Subversion, Mercurial and Veracity, here is a book from Eric Sink, called “Version Control by Example”. 

This book uses practical examples to explain version control with both centralized and decentralized systems.  Topics covered include:

  • Basic version control commands and concepts
  • Introduction to Distributed Version Control Systems (DVCS)
  • Advanced branching workflows
  • Strengths and weaknesses of DVCS vs. centralized tools
  • Best practices
  • How distributed version control works under the hood

The best part is that the book is absolutely FREE.  You can read it online or download the book in various formats. If you prefer a Printed copy, you can request for one, for FREE as well.

Read it online and request for a FREE printed copy if you like it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Links : HTML5 Boiler Plate for Google AppEngine Projects

While searching for something on Github, I stumbled upon a pretty comprehensive HTML5 Boiler Plate for Google AppEngine Projects. Looks great to use as the default Google App Engine project template.

App Engine Boilerplate is a versatile yet minimalistic setup for new App Engine projects.
  • html5-boilerplate 2.0
  •  (including it's automated build toolchain for minification and concatenation of js+css)
  • Memcaching setup for requests and responses
  • Flexible user-preferences model (with Gravatar link)
  • Templates and template addons
  • Tools such as is_testenv() and slugify(url)
  • app.yaml
  •  configuration for admin areas, static files
The source is available on Github. Will be using it in an App Engine project that will be kicked off towards the middle of the week and will share more about it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

How To Start A Business In India

Information Technology, Knowledge Workers and Business Process Outsourcing are few keywords that may come to your mind whenever you hear about India. But that only tells a fraction of the evolving Vibrant India's story.

India has the largest 'younger' population in the world. India is the largest living democracy in the world. Indian Economy is growing at a phenomenal rate. The fact that Indian Economy could tolerate the worst global recession we have ever witnessed, tells the story of strong financial markets, its trade independence and a raising middle class with increasing purchasing power.

There are a variety of factors, many analysts believe, that will make India a Global Destination for Research & Development, Trade and Innovation in the years to come.

In this strictly informational session,
  • Learn how to start your business in India.
  • Learn about organization structures including the new LLP
  • Learn about various policies and special economic zones.
  • Learn about essentials of Tax structure and more.

Please note that we are not Legal experts. We would like to share the Vibrant side of India and why you can't miss out one of the best global trade destinations. This session is strictly informational. The session will be presented 
Online, in a Webinar Format
On 3rd of September, 2011 from 9.00 AM to 11 AM
Join the session to explore more. Please send an email to with a note on "what you do, your interests and any specific aspects your would like to know in detail" to register. We will send the URL for the webinar 48 hours before the session.