April 2008 - Posts

Speaking At Tallahassee, Fl. .Net User Group May 1, 2008

I will be heading back to Tallahassee, Fl. tomorrow to speak at the Capital City .Net User Group about WF. I was just there last week speaking at the Architecture SIG on tips for gathering requirements and designing architecture, however this week I will be discussing and demonstrating how to complement existing internal frameworks by migrating to Windows Workflow. My examples will focus on integration with current services, using transactions, implementing policies, persisting and tracking workflows and finally I will wrap up with an example of hosting WF within WCF.

If you are in the Tallahassee, Fl. area, please drop by. You can register here.

Save on Orlando's VSLive 2008 Registration

I can help you save on registration for VSLive! Orlando 2008! Attendees who register for VSLive! Orlando using priority code SOWHI will receive the Gold Passport all-access pass for just $1,895, a savings of $300.00 off the standard price. Register today!

Experiencing MVP Summit 2008

I finally made it to Seattle, Wa this morning for Microsoft's MVP Summit, and I must say that Microsoft knows how to host an event. Everything has been first class. I have met a bunch of really nice fellow MVPs and finally Mark Clagett, our MVP Lead for Connected Systems...I have never felt so much at home.

While adjusting to the time change this morning of about a 3 hour difference, I went ahead and made my schedule for today based on some open slots that we could choose from on certain topics of interest. One of the sessions I attended was open panel and invoked such a discussion that they decided to repeat it into the next hour of sessions. Little did I know I was going to be asked to facilitate the topics and run the 1 1/2 hour session...What an honor but also quite nerve racking since it was "spur of the moment" and I was speaking with fellow MVPs. After the session was over, I found out a Microsoft employee was tucked in the corner during the session, when he introduced himself and congratulated me on doing a good job. This was very rewarding!

Jacksonville,Fl. Architects SIG Meets April 22, 2008

Our local architect SIG will meet April 22, 2008 and we will have one of our own, Gábor Lipták, doing a presenation on Enterprise Service Bus(ESB). Here are the bullet points that will be covered.

  1. ESB Technology
  2. ESB Functionality
  3. ESB Patterns
  4. Custom Services
  5. ESB Clients
  6. Hands-on demo of Sonic Workbench. The software site is at: SonicSoftware

Please register here and drop by if you are in the Jacksonville, Fl. area because this is going to be a very interesting topic. Directions to this event can be found in the registration.

Speaking At Tallahassee, Fl. Arch SIG April 24, 2008

The Tallahassee Arch SIG has changed their meeting date this month because of some minor confusion(probably my fault). It seems they had me scheduled to speak April 17, 2008 however that did not fly with my schedule because I will be in Redmond that week for the MVP Summit. So to prove how great those guys are, they decided to change their meeting date to accommodate my short-comings.

April 24, 2008 I will be speaking on how to make projects successful, with a presentation titled, "Requirements To Architecture In 60 Minutes". This presentation was a huge success at Jacksonville's Arch SIG, so I figured I would share it with Tally. Please come by and check out the presentation if you are in the Tallahassee, Fl. area that day. You can register here. Here is a description of what I will be speaking on...

What are the steps for successfully architecting a solution? What makes software projects successful? Have you heard these questions before? In 60 minutes, I can show and tell you what makes software projects successful from gathering requirements to providing a stable architecture! This presentation will give you a better idea as to the processes that should be followed and artifacts that should be produced to be make a project 360 degrees successful.

WF/WCF Enterprise Solution In Final Stages

It has been 6 crazy months, but my team is finally getting notification that our maintenance solution is almost ready for production. In a nut shell, a Florida agency needed a maintenance solution to manage maintenance for dorm rooms internally and externally to its tenants. For example, if a tenant had a leaky faucet, he or she could punch out a maintenance request and it would get assigned and worked, with the tenant being able to verify the request's progress. The cool thing is that the dorms have visually impaired tenants so it was real important to make sure the interface was not only 508 compliant, but added custom functionality to make the UI even more user-friendly. Other than making sure that HTML was well formatted with metadata, we also used AJAX to take care if postbacks. One scenario called for building custom cascading dropdowns that were fed via SQLServer. In fact, the agency used this functionality as a standard for other applications.

In addition to being 508 compliant, the solution also called for the ability to manage a maintenance request. This is where WF was used to handle these long running processes. Here is the flow

  1. Maintenance request is created.
  2. Maintenance request is assigned.
  3. Maintenance work is completed.
  4. Maintenance work is approved.

After a request is created each of these states could only be changed based on the role of the user logged in. The roles were as followed...

  1. Requestor - Requests maintenance
  2. Supervisor - Assigns work and approves the work
  3. Staff - Completed the maintenance work provided within the request.
  4. Admin - God rights(could do most of the above)

However we also used policies for when a request could transition. For instance,

  1. A role could not create and assign a request to themselves.
  2. Work done by a supervisor or staff could only be approved via another supervisor or admin, however even an admin could not work and approve maintenance for a single request.

I could go on and on about the business rules of this solution and how WF simplified the requirement, however the important part is the role that WF played with helping us meet our deadlines through

  1. Automation
  2. Tracking
  3. Simplicity of modeling the process.
  4. Flexibility as business rules changed.

The true art of WF being a framework can be observed by doing a project of this size, because you see where all the pieces fit. From changing the flow to changing the business rules via policies, everything is compartmentalized so you can specifically go to the modulated area to implement or manage change.

This project took a ton of my time and soul to architect and build, but don't they all? Especially when you build something that is used for such a tremendous cause. I will be speaking at VSLive next month, and some of my experience based on this project will be shared in my presentation and demos, so if you get a chance to attend my session, come up afterwards and let me know you read this post!