The future, that nice place we’re looking to be as fast as we can get there... It may seem like an unknown territory, but our thoughts and choices may actively affect the outcome.
While working on a project for my partner’s @RockmarkZg bookstore, I’ve been doing some research on some lighter tools and frameworks lately, aiming to increased productivity, especially on smaller projects and for prototyping.
Exploring the alternative
First, I’ve gotten into Rails, a really interesting stack to work with. Nice framework choices make it really easy to build high quality web applications from the architectural standpoint, as well as write clean code. It actually makes it harder to mess things up, than to follow the right path. And the productivity - it seems really high. Looking forward to do some serious project in Rails soon.
On the lightweight side, there is a Sinatra movement in Rails, but it would be a bit too distracting at the moment to move away from .Net that much, so I’ve picked up a Sinatra inspired .Net framework called Nancy to play with. A nice little thing for creating several pages wide web sites that need some dynamics in it (and also supporting the Spark View Engine, yay!), aiming for more. Looking forward to it in the future, too.
Together with Nancy, there is a need for a light-weight data access library, as I don’t want to take that NHibernate gorilla around with me everywhere. There is a sweet library by @markrendle called Simple.Data, built on top of .Net 4 dynamic features.
Besides that, @robconery is building Massive, also a lightweight data access library, but more oriented towards SQL than ORM-like approach. Worth checking out, especially if you have a DBA that doesn’t like your ORM-generated SQL queries. I’ve also caught the information that the StackOverflow team’s Dapper was released as open source, targeting and optimized for real high performance.
A touch of mobile
In the meantime, I also got caught on a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet offer, where RIM was giving out a device to each developer that builds an application for the new tablet that gets approved into the AppWorld.
This was a chance to tackle Adobe’s tools for building mobile applications, so I got familiar with (mobile) Flex. It took me less than four days, with exploring the new environment, to build a simple, default looking, but usable application (unavailable at the moment, waiting for re-approval after the app signing process) for the contest. Not bad at all.
Node.js - a new paradigm
The future will show will some real killer applications happen for this platform. I got some beta server accounts on services like Nodester, but I’ve been too busy lately to do anything about it. I’ll try to play around with it more in the near future.
So, this is it. The overview of my past, present and future from the current standpoint. This is something I see myself working and having fun with on future projects, be it my own or hired to do it for clients.
Explore as much as you can, you never know where it may take you... It may even turn better than you expected.