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RE: [ASCOM] ASCOM & C# wrapper class

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  • Tim Long
    This is my personal philosophy about new technology. I think you have to make a decision as to whether you re an early adopter or whether you re the kind of
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 22, 2004
      This is my personal philosophy about new technology. I think you have to
      make a decision as to whether you're an early adopter or whether you're
      the kind of person who never loads anything with a version string ending
      in ".0". There are pros and cons to both approaches and I would not
      dream of telling anyone they are wrong for not agreeing with me, but
      here's my take on it. Note that when I say "early adopter" I am talking
      about released products, not betas. There are whole arguments for why
      certain vendors should be adopting beta technology but I'm not going to
      go into that here. Also, I am going to be making sweeping
      generalizations here. As I always say, "to generalize is to be foolish"
      and I'm sure everyone can find specific cases that break my reasoning.

      Things evolve so quickly in computing that, in my opinion, you can't
      afford not to be an early adopter. If you wait until version 1.1, then
      version 2.0 is already in development and by the time you've got used to
      1.1, 2.0 will already be released. In short, its really easy to be in a
      position where you're always obsolete or you never do anything because
      the next version is always imminent. The version numbers I've picked
      were no accident, of course, and they refer to the .net Framework. 2.0
      is already in public beta and a lot of people are only now starting to
      adopt 1.1.

      Now a lot of people are put off from installing the .net framework
      because it is a sizeable download (not a large download by any means but
      nevertheless sizeable, at over 20Mb). I had to smile when one person
      contacted me to tell me he wasn't going to use a piece of my software,
      because of the large download, when my piece of software was 'so small'
      in comparison. He felt the requirements were disproportionate. Of
      course, he totally missed the point that my software was so compact
      because a lot of it was contained in the .net framework. He missed the
      point that every piece of my software is compact because of all the
      useful, reusable components in the framework and that the framework only
      has to be downloaded once and every piece of software benefits
      thereafter. You have to take a little bit of pain up front to reap
      benefits forever. By not adopting a technology, you merely deny yourself
      the benefits of it. If you wait until a technology is "mature" then you
      have to take the same pain but you denied yourself the benefit of that
      technology while you were procrastinating. This is why I think it is
      always best to take the pain of new technology as early as possible and
      why I am an early adopter.

      There is another important aspect to this. Everyone software engineer
      knows that the sooner you fix a bug or problem, the less it costs and
      the easier it is to do. The best kind of bug (and the cheapest) is one
      that gets fixed during development before anyone else knows about it. A
      bug that is discovered in a shipping product can cost orders of
      magnitude more time and money to put right. Well, I think this idea can
      be extended to developing software in what I shall refer to as "legacy"
      technologies. The .net languages and runtime are here to stay. Microsoft
      bet the company on it so you better believe we are all going to have to
      use it sooner or later. Windows Server 2003 has it built in
      'out-of-the-box' and so will whistler, the next version of windows for
      the desktop. So, sooner or later, most developers will have to use .net
      languages if they want to be at all productive and have a chance of
      being compatible with the OS du jour. The .net technologies are now
      several years old, yet a lot of people are busy developing in legacy
      technologies. This is understandable. If the only tool you know how to
      use is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. However, the more
      code that is developed, the larger the codebase you have that uses the
      legacy technology and the harder it will be to justify upgrading. So, in
      a sense, the longer you leave it to upgrade, the harder it will be in
      the long run and the more it will cost you. You spend all your time
      developing in the wrong direction and you will have to re-do it all when
      you upgrade. As John Covey would say, you need to take time out to
      "sharpen the saw". If you don't sharpen the saw, you spend all your time
      sawing and not getting very far. Adopting new technology is like
      sharpening the saw. With the pace of change in the computing industry, a
      lot of saw sharpening is required. I believe it is better to adopt new
      technology as early as possible so that you minimize the amount of
      re-development and maximize the benefit of the new technology for both
      yourself (the developer) and the end user.

      Oh, and new technology is fun.

      I don't expect everyone to agree with this view, as I said it is just my
      personal philosophy. If anyone cares to make the counter-case then I
      would be interested to read it.


      --Tim Long
      http://syd.tigranetworks.co.uk - software for amateur astronomers


      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Bob Denny [mailto:rdenny@...]
      > Sent: Thursday 22 July 2004 01:04
      > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [ASCOM] ASCOM & C# wrapper class
      >
      > I learned long ago not to install MS betas. I'm not a
      > bleeding-edge kind of guy :-) I'll wait till it's past the
      > first few "service packs". I'm very glad I waited to start
      > working with .NET until a couple of years after the year of
      > betas leading up to the first release.
      >
      > -- Bob
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • Tim Long
      Jean-patrick is right, this is going off topic. I ve posted a slightly revised version of this on my WebLog over at
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 22, 2004
        Jean-patrick is right, this is going off topic. I've posted a slightly
        revised version of this on my WebLog over at
        http://syd.tigranetworks.co.uk/TimBlog/default.aspx and anyone who wants
        to is welcome to add their comments there.

        --Tim Long
        http://syd.tigranetworks.co.uk - software for amateur astronomers


        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Tim Long
        > Sent: Thursday 22 July 2004 10:22
        > To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [ASCOM] ASCOM & C# wrapper class
        >
        > This is my personal philosophy about new technology. I think
        > ...
      • Bob Denny
        Jack -- I m not sure I quite understand your note... I was responding to Tim s note about new .NET betas. Since I operate in a production environment here,
        Message 3 of 13 , Jul 22, 2004
          Jack --

          I'm not sure I quite understand your note... I was responding to Tim's note
          about new .NET betas. Since I operate in a production environment here,
          developing products that -must- be reliable, the last thing I want to
          expose myself to is a beta development system, compilers, and library!

          -- Bob


          > I’d reconsider… the number of C Library API’s (e.g., _atoi) have been
          > marked depreciated. Even StrSafe.h has depreciated calls. They’ve
          > literally said screw the std c libraries, we’re tried of your
          > insecurities! Nothing is sacred! DotNet? Same story.
          >
          > I say; Better to prepare your self now with a little knowledge than get
          > slammed by it later. Boy I mean slammed!
        • Jonathan Fay
          Bob, if you don t have a copy of Microsoft Virtual PC then you got to get one. It is the most time-saving and useful product I have used in a long time. With
          Message 4 of 13 , Jul 22, 2004
            Bob, if you don't have a copy of Microsoft Virtual PC then you got to get
            one. It is the most time-saving and useful product I have used in a long
            time.

            With it you can install on one machine Win95, Win98, WinNT, Win2000, WinXP,
            Win 2003 server, DOS and a half a dozen flavors of Linux all without having
            your base system contaminated by any of it.

            It is also a great platform to have a web sandbox that can be safe for
            browsing and downloading.

            The way it works is to simulate a complete PC with Bios, Hardware, display
            and everything else. The IDE hard drives are actually files your host
            computers file system. The machines can access the network, virtual hardware
            etc. So you can install an image of an O/S and boot in into a window on your
            machine (or full screen or a 2nd monitor or even Remote Desktop into it).

            From there your host machine is protected and you can install anything your
            hear desires, including viruses or spyware, and your host is fully
            protected.

            You of coarse can open up traffic to it and share files if you want, as well
            as mount physical drives and read CD-ROMS, but it is your choice.

            I use it at work to simulate entire network datacenters for my software
            development and testing. If I find a bug in that only happens in the
            Japanese version of XP, I just boot up that image in a window and
            rock-n-roll.

            What is also cool is the mode that lets you do a bunch of tests and then
            push a button and it goes back to the beginning like nothing happened. This
            lets you test installs on a known clean environment without mucking a good
            system or having to re-image a box all the time.

            It is sooo cool.

            With it you can play with any beta you want and leave it in its own sandbox
            until you are ready. You can also test client-server software with a server
            OS and client o/s all running on virtual PC on one physical box.

            Jonathan

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Bob Denny [mailto:rdenny@...]
            Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 7:43 AM
            To: ASCOM-Talk@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [ASCOM] ASCOM & C# wrapper class

            Jack --

            I'm not sure I quite understand your note... I was responding to Tim's note
            about new .NET betas. Since I operate in a production environment here,
            developing products that -must- be reliable, the last thing I want to
            expose myself to is a beta development system, compilers, and library!

            -- Bob


            > I'd reconsider. the number of C Library API's (e.g., _atoi) have been
            > marked depreciated. Even StrSafe.h has depreciated calls. They've
            > literally said screw the std c libraries, we're tried of your
            > insecurities! Nothing is sacred! DotNet? Same story.
            >
            > I say; Better to prepare your self now with a little knowledge than get
            > slammed by it later. Boy I mean slammed!






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          • Bob Denny
            Jonathan -- I have Virtual PC and I agree it s pretty cool! But I m not concerned with VS.NET betas interfering with the production/ supported VS.NET
            Message 5 of 13 , Jul 23, 2004
              Jonathan --

              I have Virtual PC and I agree it's pretty cool! \\

              But I'm not concerned with VS.NET betas interfering with the production/
              supported VS.NET version I use... What I was getting at is that, at least
              for me, "playing around" and "learning about new features" are the only
              things I see as uses for Microsoft betas. I learned years ago that using
              Microsoft beta tools and libraries to develop software for delivery to
              paying customers is a big mistake, coming and going.

              Playing around is fun. As for learning about new features, I practice "just
              in time learning" here: When I need to do something, I take the time to
              learn then. Of course this has risks; I could end up doing something the
              old-fashioned/hard way for lack of awareness of some new technology/
              feature. So I survey everything regularly. It's a balancing act.

              Well, Tim pointed out that we're getting off-topic, so I should stop here :-))

              -- Bob
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