Monday, February 23, 2009

Looking at WebOrb

We are starting to look at a product that looks very compelling in the .NET/Flex interaction arena. The product is called WebOrb and it looks like it takes .NET POCO objects and transports them to Flex in AMF3 or RMTP format. I downloaded the .NET client and started installing away using their own post about how to install the product in Vista and IIS7.

Once completed, I tried to start up the site but all of the non .aspx pages wouldn't load. This confounded me for most of the weekend and today as I'd just get back an empty page with nothing in it. I tried to post a question to the WebOrb forum about this and they were helpful in trying to troubleshoot the problem.

Finally in desperation, I started Googling about problems delivering HTML pages in IIS7 and came upon this helpful post. I went in and made the changes indicated and problem solved. I posted my own version of the fix here (you may need a Yahoo Groups account to view). Now on to the testing! Will post my impressions here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

RIAsults may vary

Well here goes yet another foray by a wayward web developer. Another RIA blog, you ask? There's already so many! I figured I could add my two cents worth and maybe from another perspective.

I've always been a Microsoft weenie. Like I always tell people, "Bill Gates has earned me a paycheck for many years now." I cut my teeth a LONG time ago on dBase and other micro applications but quickly went over to the now defunct FoxPro. Since then I've never looked back, reading the tea leaves and converting to Visual Basic 5/6, then on to .NET as soon as it was available. Somehow I gravitated towards ASP.NET instead of fat client and have been working in the web world for years.

Silverlight really got me thinking about the next stage of RIA development and how we could implement better applications inside and outside of my organization. The whole place seems to want web apps to do everything - no deployment headaches and fat client acceptance testing. But the bubble was about to burst on my Silverlight adventure.

Being in a large organization (almost 6,000 people) we have almost every type of machine and OS conceivable (kudos to our IT staff for trying to handle all of this!). My team has been tasked to create an application to let photographers handle photos and their requisite metadata better. Silverlight's up to the task and is probably the best option, I thought.

So I called one of the photographers and walked him through the Silverlight goodness. "Go to Hard Rock and look at their memorabilia collection," I asked him. "It won't install," he said. Come to find out, he's got a PowerPC Mac powerhouse and won't be switching anytime soon. Knocks Silverlight right out of contention. So now what?

When I started looking at Adobe products, Flex looked nice. Runs on everything pretty much, Actionscript looks sort of like C#, markup resembles XAML. What's not to like?

So ride along with me as my team and I figure this all out and make the switch. We'll be working with WCF, maybe some WF, SQL - the whole nine yards. I want to post information and goodness to share with all the rest of my dev colleagues and maybe pick up some good tips from others along the way!