TechEd Boston - Day Four: Modeling and Sea Levels

Today I had no speaking “duties” (L), which meant that I had more time to talk with folks (J). I started the day discussing modeling and tooling techniques and mechanisms for architecting services (an approach not too different from the Service Factory in principle, only a lot more graphic).

Writing software is just too hard. The systems that we’re building today are more complex, tie in more moving pieces, and we’re expected to deliver them at a more rapid pace than ever. WF is (among other things) bridges the gap between the business process person and the software person. Other modeling techniques will eventually help us write software that is easier to architect, understand, develop, and most importantly - maintain. DSL is one building block, and there are others, but as an industry we need to embrace modeling and bring it to the mainstream. I am not talking about modeling in the UML sense of the word, where the model and the implementation are 2 separate disjoint languages and in most cases you can only translate one-way between them. We need the model to be the solution, and to have high fidelity correlation between the visual representation of the solution and the solution itself – just like we do with WF. Now, don’t go telling me about particular tools that do the job today with UML and the like. The fact is that they are not mainstream, and many folks that I talked with said that they were simply too hard to learn and use.

After lunch I met with 2 guys from a financial institution for an impromptu whiteboard design session for a scalable, reliable, transacted, load-adaptable, client-presence-aware, pub-sub system using MSMQ and WCF. We also discussed optimization technique for minimizing latency, mechanisms to transition clients off a system that needs servicing, and other things. I have to tell you– some days I just feel like I have the best job in the world! (Shh… don’t tell my management I said that, I like to keep them on their toes J)

I went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. A large group went into the elevator and every person pressed a different button. Vadim suggested they add a new button to the elevator – Select All J

I had dinner with Iain and Alex, 2 blokes from one of WCF’s early-adopter-partners, at Legal Sea Food. The food was superb and the service excellent, but the company was even better. Iain even managed to find a white wine that I liked. We had a jolly good time (they are British J) and I learned that due to the way that the water flow around that island off of the coast of France where Terry Pratchett lives, the see level (high and low tide-lines) is not the same all around the island.

We had so much fun that I completely missed the Train concert (people said it was fun). I got into Fenway Park just as the band was playing the last notes of the last song. Oh well, I still got to walk on field (but not on the grass – the picture should explain why J). After that Vadim and I met up with a group of WCF folks at Westin’s Bar 10 but I ended up spending the evening with a group of brokers who were there for a conference – you cannot believe how entertaining these guys can be once in the right mood! J