Schedule Games

Check out this the Schedule Games series from Johanna Rothman at Managing Product Development (found this via Daily Grind 617):

  1. Schedule Chicken
  2. 90% Done
  3. Bring Me a Rock
  4. Hope is Our Most Important Strategy
  5. Queen of Denial
  6. Sweep Under the Rug
  7. Schedule Dream Time or Happy Date
  8. Pants on Fire
  9. Schedule == Commitment
  10. We’ll Know where we are when we get There
  11. The Schedule Tool is always Right
  12. Acknowledgements

Lots of great advice here. Luckily I have not yet had the misfortune to fall into any of the described situations too seriously…but it’s good to know what to look out for.

Grokker

Cool new search visualisation from Groxis. Displays the results of a search graphically, grouping similar search results into specific areas by subject. Try out these searches for ASP.net, Bill Gates or Object Oriented. See the NYT article (reg required).

Currently displaying results of Yahoo! searches only, it is only a matter of time before more innovative displays of results appear on other search engines. Of course, others are already taking advantage of the the open-ness of Google Maps to do some pretty funky stuff.

The Code Project

The Code Project is a site that is home to a large community (approaching 2 million members) of .Net Articles (and Web/Scripting, General Reading, ASP.net, C# and more). Article topics range from tutorials in specialized areas of web technologies to custom designed controls. The good news is that there are many very informative articles hosted on CodeProject, and lots of free code, controls and ideas. The only catch is that there is no apparent quality control other than the user-feedback rating section. So be sure to keep an open (and analytical) mind before adopting advice from some random article. That said, I have found lots of good stuff here.

DataReader vs. DataSet

In a 4 Guys article entitled Why I Don’t Use DataSets in My ASP.NET Applications and in a blog post, Scott Mitchell discusses the merits of using DataSets to retrieve data in an ASP.net application (or lack thereof). Here’s the gist of it:

Although DataSets provide many useful builtin functions, they add a large amount of overhead (which will increase the more data is retrieved). Check out A Speed Freak’s Guide to Retrieving Data in ADO.NET for more conclusive numbers backing this up. The increase in performance using a DataReader (or SqlDataReader if you are using Sql Server) more than offsets the loss of functionality. So Scott concludes (though many of his other readers disagree).

Personally, I agree. So far I have exclusively used SqlDataReaders in my development efforts. (Though as soon as I start working more with Web Services, XML and Desktop I will probably start to delve in to DataSet-land).

Update: Scott has posted a new article on 4Guys: More On Why I Don’t Use DataSets in My ASP.NET Applications, responding to 60+ comments that were made on the original article. If anything, he is now even more adamant that DataReader is the only way to go.

A Call to Arms

In this article, Jim Gray and Mark Compton discuss the future of databases. A good view of the progression from primitive database structures → relational databases → the introduction of objects, stored procedures, integration with programming languages → where will it go from here. This is somewhat dense reading; however, it is easy understand even for relative DB-newbies like myself. They give a very good treatment to the ways in which we can look for databases to evolve in the future, including: the tighter integration between programming languages and databases, the changing role of the database as the Internet becomes more dynamic and the needs for information change, and the way in which databases will need to improve in order to handle the tremendous ammounts of data that will be stored, as well as to take advantage of increasingly cheaper storage space and computer. A very worth-while read.