What has the Web Client Team been doing recently?

I have not been blogging much recently since I have been leading the Client team here at patterns & practices in working on the Web Client Software Factory vNext. 

You may have noticed the (almost) weekly code drops on the WCSF CodePlex site.  These drops have been in the CodePlex source control system (with a few exceptions).

Recent Blog Posts

You may have also noticed blog posts by Glenn and Blaine about WCSF, like these:

WCSF vNext

What you have not seen, is any discussion of what is coming in vNext.

Before discussing vNext, however, I want to let folks know we have been listening to feedback. We have seen a lot of feedback on the WCSF and SCSF, where people say things like:

  • "It is too complicated"
  • "It is over-engineered"
  • "It is too complex"
  • "I am overwhelmed"
  • "Where do I start?"

We are trying to address a few of these issues in the we way that we release, and with what we release.  This has shaped what we are doing for vNext. As a result, we are experimenting with what we ship.

This is an experiment, and we will happily take feedback on this approach over at the WCSF CodePlex discussion boards.

We are planning on releasing five "guidance bundles".  Here is an excerpt from the WCSF CodePlex Page on bundles that describes a bundle better than I can in a few sentences:

What is a Guidance Bundle?

A Guidance Bundle is a small package of guidance whose purpose is to allow users to quickly, conveniently, and easily learn and evaluate a concept.

Although a Bundle can contain any type of guidance, it typically includes the following elements:

  • Source code: QuickStarts and related artifacts.
  • Binaries: Application block binaries required by the QuickStarts .
  • Written documentation: QuickStarts description and How-To topics.
  • Guidance Package: Visual Studio Automation for performing development activies in accordance with our guidance.
  • Reference Implementation: Applications that illustrate usage of our guidance in real-world scenarios.

Glenn has a great post on the bundle strategy, Announcing Web Client bundles.

What will you find in a bundle?

Basically, a bundle may include any or all of the following:

  • a CHM file (documentation)
  • A solution that exhibits the core concept as simply as possible
  • Acceptance tests for the code in the bundle
  • The minimum compiled and signed Application Blocks needed by the sample code

A bundle may not include any of these things, and have completely different types of content inside. This will depend on what is most effective at sharing each type of guidance.

So, what is WCSF vNext?

As I said, for WCSF vNext we are shipping five of these bundles.  The theme around all five of these is "Creating a responsive, composable line of business web application using ASP.NET and ASP.NET Ajax."  The five themes for the bundles are:

  • Contextual AutoComplete Guidance
  • Validation Guidance
  • Web Client Application Blocks
  • Sample Web Application (reference implementation)
  • A Guidance Package for building composable, LOB applications that are ASP.NET Ajax enabled.

These names are all unofficial (really how I think of them).  Expect something a bit more refined than these names soon.

Stay tuned for more information and releases from Blaine, Glenn, and myself.