Monday, August 29, 2005

This Week: Wireless, RSS, Ajax, Acrylic and PDC

August 29, 2005

> From the Editor: Recently noted
> Site Highlights
> This Week from the Windows Network:
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Recently noted

Big technology breakthroughs like .NET don't come every day. But
small breakthroughs come at a regular clip, and keep things
interesting as the bigger breakthroughs percolate. has
been glad to be able to cover some of these doings of late.

RSS - let's say it stands for 'RDF Site Summary' - seems like one of
those smaller steps forward, although RSS could yet turn into a
stampede, and change the way the Web is navigated. As writer Mike
Gunderloy pointed out earlier this summer in "Microsoft joins the RSS
party," RSS and information syndication are not all that new. A few
of us remember Pointcast, which fed information over the Web to
subscribers using proprietary 'push' protocols. What is new these
days is use of XML standards, which can be applied far and wide.
There is no question that Windows developers are being asked to
incorporate RSS into applications, and that they want to play with
the software ahead of Microsoft's adoption of RSS in next year's
Windows Vista client operating system. Assistant Editor
Brian Eastwood last week posted an "RSS Learning Guide" to our site,
so that implementers can get going with RSS.

Wireless technology goes back as far as Marconi. Again, it is nothing
new, but integrating e-mail and data entry with wireless devices is
gaining momentum, if the Blackberry key pokers we see on the street
and the white-smocked Windows CE users we see in hospitals are any
measure. Of course, we come to wireless integration development today
after a few false steps. One of the big mistakes a few '90s apps made
was to insist on total synchronicity between device and home station
- something hard to achieve in the real world of dropped signals and
underpowered handhelds. If you need to get up-to-speed fast on
wireless integration technology, we invite you to visit our newly
minted "Mobile and Wireless Development Learning Guide," which was
created by Brent Sheets, long familiar to faithful.

When looking at technology that is neat and recent, let's not forget
AJAX - let's say it stands for 'Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.' was glad this week to feature content from sister site, in which writer Colleen Frye previewed
AJAX-technology due to be demoed by Microsoft at the upcoming
Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles. As Frye
points out in "Microsoft to preview Ajax technologies at PDC," we
have seen AJAX before in XML HTTP and other manifestations. Some
might add lonely Curl (using Perl and XML) as an antecedent. AJAX
seems to be the right mix of standards effectively addressing a
system bottleneck (application lag time) using the magic of
asynchronicity at the right time. Look for more on the topic here in
coming days.

Have you heard about Acrylic? It is a new Microsoft software preview
that allows user interface designs to be exported to XAML (extensible
application markup language) used by the Windows Presentation
Foundation. This is a technology in the early stages of development
that could bring 'software through pictures' back into the
mainstream. Read about it in "Microsoft Acrylic graphics tool churns
out XAML."

Acrylic and AJAX and much more will be on display at PDC. But much at
PDC should be viewed as technology previews, not as
ready-for-prime-time tools, says our columnist Mike Gunderloy in "VB
9.0 and beyond: Tea leaves from PDC agenda." Such advice is welcome,
because it is important not to get carried away with the technology,
as cool as it is, but, instead, to keep an eye on what is deliverable

With that in mind I close out this letter with a note that the
long-troubled Denver airport automated bag handling system is going
into mothballs. The system has long stood as a warning as to what can
go wrong when implementing technology, although the reasons the
system failed will long be argued. Such arguments are worth perusing.
At the least, they remind us to damper down the hubris and keep and
eye on risk when we implement cutting-edge technology.

Microsoft joins the RSS party,289142,sid8_gci1106031,00.html?track=NL-150&ad=526436
RSS Learning Guide,289142,sid8_gci1119092,00.html?track=NL-150&ad=526436
Mobile and Wireless Development Learning Guide,289142,sid8_gci1119129,00.html?track=NL-150&ad=526436
Microsoft to preview Ajax technologies at PDC,293826,sid8_gci1118337,00.html?track=NL-150&ad=526436
Microsoft Acrylic graphics tool churns out XAML,293826,sid8_gci1116635,00.html?track=NL-150&ad=526436
VB 9.0 and beyond: Tea leaves from PDC agenda,289142,sid8_gci1119854,00.html?track=NL-150&ad=526436

Denver airport to mangle last bag
Software's Chronic Crisis
Denver airport baggage thread-

* RSS feeds in the VS.NET Info Center
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Recent advice from our .NET resident expert:
Starting a new development project often prompts questions about
skills, resources and other needs. In times like these, the best
remedies come from pros who have been there before. At,
several experts stand ready to answer your Visual Basic, Visual
Studio and .NET development questions. Read Mark Belles' recent work.
> MORE:,294296,sid8_gci1000724_idx0_off20,00.html?track=NL-150&ad=526436



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