Quick Review – Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update

Intact Partners Inc is a Tallahassee, Florida company that I work in.  It’s hard to separate the job and the personal life when you are a fully immersed code and software junkie.  So if you read stuff on this blog site, it is not the “official” company line; but hey, who cares if you get the facts and/or an opinion.

Alright, so I installed the Windows 10 Enterprise Creator’s Update.  Since my Surface Pro 3 is a company device I had to use the subscription download which took forever to locate on Microsoft’s site. I checked their site this morning and they have that fixed.  Just log into your MSDN (now called VisualStudio.com) and type “Window 10” in the search box then look for “Windows 10 (multi-edition) VL, Version 1709 (Updated Sept 2017)”.  OK, hopefully you have it installed.

So here is my “Quick Review“: It’s great, I love it!  Works like I hoped and didn’t wreck anything when it installed. (You can stop here if you only want the short version.)

If you want more, read on…  What I have noticed since installing Windows 10 are simple things, but important to me.

  1. It is faster.  No really, noticeably faster on app loading.  Performance overall is definitely improved.  I use Visual Studio Ultimate all the time, along with a 5 node Service Fabric virtual machine cluster, SQL Server 2016 instance and a bunch of other apps at the same time.  I also have my tunes – Pandora going.  That is a fair load on any machine.
  2. It starts up now in less than a second. NOW THAT IS WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT!  Before I would push the button and sit watching the word “Surface” and a bunch of spinning dots for a couple minutes while all my background apps started up. This is the single-most improved experience I see.
  3. Security,  I know all the stuff I’ve read about in the security area but here is the one thing sticking right out.  The DNS server routing has never worked right.  You could by-pass the company’s DNS servers or get nowhere if the company blocked you.  Now Windows 10 actually uses the company’s provided DNS even if you have specified different servers.  This is very good since I am always in different customers’ networks when working.  I also have parental protection on my home network router so I want it observed no matter what.
  4. There are subtle changes in menus and that seem to simplify things.  This is an Easter Egg hunt, go find things.
  5. Finally, while technically not a Windows 10 OS change, the Edge browser has major improvements in user experience.  But under the hood, Edge now fully supports the CSS 3 standard for CSS Grid Layout.  Chrome, Firefox, and others supported CSS Grid Layout for a while as the standard developed.  You can look here to check the support.  Why is this important? Developers can simplify code, increase speed, and offer more app-like features.  (I could go technical on you here, but I won’t. Go read for yourself.)

Parting words.  I’ve been using the latest update for several days with no issues.  I think Microsoft did it right.  The changes, for me at least, are fantastic (your mileage may vary.)

Reviewed on my Surface Pro 3, i7 – 8gig – 256gig SSD. I have subsequently installed on two home computers.  Surface Pro 3, i3 – 4gig – 64gig SSD. Installed with no issues, about one second start-up.  Apps load subjectively faster. Sony All-In-One, i5 – 4gig – 256 HDD.  Again no issues with install.  This is a major improvement in the start-up time for this machine. While it took about 15-20 seconds to start it did not peg the disk drive for literally 10 minutes like before which made the Sony almost unusable.  I believe the relatively “long” start compared to the Surface devices is due to the Sony’s HDD vs the SSD drives in the Surface devices.


Developer Help: There’s Open Source and then there’s Snippets

Open source has its issues as I have posted about.  On the flip side there are the true code jockeys. I love these guys and gals who fix real issues and then are kind enough to post real code with real documentation.  Code Projects  is a real source of this type of full solutions with documentation. Then there is Stack overflow – every developer lives on Stack overflow.  If you are a developer and not using these resources then you are working too hard!

Finally I have found sources of code that really fit my needs.  There is this guy Rick Stahl (http://www.west-wind.com) who writes code and documentation that anybody can understand.  I have followed Rick for years.  In my estimation he has to be one of the most prolific developers out there.  I have no idea how he is able to create code and documentation at such an incredible rate.  I envy you, Rick.  Thank you for helping we the less talented look great!


jQuery UI – blank

As is the case with a lot of open source – complete working samples that actually demonstrate the code are few and far between.  The jQuery UI is no exception.  It is just about unusable because it lacks any serious documentation.  I try to use it in projects to save time and money.  The truth is, I save neither time nor money and take on a load of stress.  Open source, as I have said so many times is *not* free.  It has a high cost.

Almost all contracts where I partner with a larger company include language that prohibit open source libraries and code.  There are good reasons for this.

  • Lack of support
  • Lack of documentation
  • Cannot verify compliance with applicable laws
  • No one to hold accountable
  • Can’t meet legal indemnification clauses
  • License issues

I am sure there are other issues.  It is a shame that so much effort is put into an open-source effort only to have it rendered practically unusable because the developer doesn’t make credible documentation and samples.  I’m guilty too.  That is why I don’t publish much in the way of open source.  So if you are a developer and want to create open source code, do everybody a favor and document or don’t publish!  By the way this is my opinion and I don’t care about yours.

Microsoft .NET Core 2.0 and .NET Framework the Future

Well I have predicted the demise of the now very old .NET Framework model for several years.  However its demise is not total.  It is true that .NET Framework as we have known it for so many years is at end of life – Long Live .NET Core!

If you care and read about such things and you are interested it cloud computing and you are a Microsoft developer then .NET matters.  So I will get straight to the point.  If you are running a Windows OS in the future you will have a version of .NET Framework automatically installed.  The reason is simple, Microsoft has used it as part of the Window 10 and Windows 2016 Server OS’s.  It is baked in. It is part of the OS, meaning it is not “installed” as it once was.

So what is the deal with .NET Core 2.0?  Simply, .NET Core 2.0 Standard is a “standard”.  Starting with .NET 4.7.1 Framework the full .NET Core 2.0 Standard is implemented.  The key work is implemented. .NET Core 2.o Standard is not an actual implementation its is the standard by which companies including Microsoft can build on.  .NET Core 2.0 Standard is an open standard.

All these standards and implementations mean something.  I as a developer want to create code that is valuable to my customer and earn a living.  With .NET Core 2.0 Standard, I can develop code to deploy on a Windows 10/2016 and know that all the necessary libraries will be present.  If I am running on another OS (eg Linux) and I develop on .NET Core 2.0 Standard, I know that all the necessary libraries for that OS will be deployed to that environment.

This is very good.  From a business owner’s perspective, I should have a “requirement” in my statement of work that requires developers to adhere to .NET Core 2.0 (or higher) Standard.  This will assure that my project can be run on any supported environment, cloud, local, or whatever is dreamed up next.

Happy developing!

Visual Studio Code – Clearly a New Direction

I use Visual Studio Code for simple things – because its fast!  I am a die-hard full version Visual Studio IDE user, VS Code seemed to be just another “text” code editor – nothing more.

I obviously had not given it a real opportunity.  This week I have had to jump back into client-side web development; the full gambit: CSS, JQuery, Bootstrap, HTML, JavaScript.  I really don’t have any passion for this type of coding.  I prefer deep framework/platform development where we “hardcore” programmers like to dig into problems that nobody else wants.

I was covered in “client code-rust” not having touched this type of coding in several years.  I still don’t like it.  HOWEVER.  Visual Studio Code made the re-introduction to web code development actually pleasant.  I figured out that you must install extensions for pretty much anything you want to do beyond text editing.  To be honest that is about all I did until the “fun” started.  Orchestrating all the moving parts (libs) is no trivial exercise.  Things have changed quite a bit in the last several years on the client-side of the code world.

Once I figured out the Visual Studio Code debugging environment things began to move more smoothly and the pace picked up.  It is really a fairly serious tool and it seems to be improving constantly.  There are lots of extensions out there for VS Code sure to make your development process easier.

I will be using it more to be sure.  I recommend that you give it a chance too.

Reaction to Microsoft’s Inspire from a Gold Microsoft Partner

Intact is focused on Microsoft Cloud services.


It has been a week since returning from the Inspire 2017 conference.  My staff had several days to digest the input and to have informal office discussions before our company planning meeting.  We have also gathered input from other partners.

To cap it off here is my take-away:

  1. Microsoft is a different company; in a different world with a different vision.
  2. If you are not on par with Microsoft corporately, align your company vision with Microsoft’s or be well positioned with multiple companies in this space.
  3. Be prepared to invest in new people, new products, and new thinking.
  4. Make new “friends” inside Microsoft. Cultivate strong partner relationships with Microsoft.
  5. Microsoft has determined that “partner sellers” is the future which I think means developing very strong partner-to-partner alliances.

Our strategy is simple, be indistinguishable from Microsoft to customers. We are an extension of Microsoft, integrating our “PowerLine on Azure” product suite into every opening we can in the new Microsoft 365.

To customers there is an impact because of the, new Microsoft.  There must be adjustments on the part of customers.  The customer is like Intact or “in the same boat” as the saying goes.  Our realization is the world of technology changed allowing the iPhone to come into existence.  The arrival of the iPhone “event” is commonly pointed to as the pivotal moment when the “consumer” became aware of the “cloud”.  There is no going back!  Nor does anyone really want to.

I heard the most important statement (advice) a business owner could possibly hear from an employee this week, “Hire college students.  They have no knowledge of the past.”  The conversation sparking this statement came from a business analysis 20 years my junior having 20 years’ experience.  She understood people holding jobs/positions will not admit their talent is no longer necessary.  These entrenched/experienced workers will thus, “fight you and your new Code-Robotics.”

Intact is aggressively marketing Microsoft 365, while understanding that we must allow the old to pass-away with dignity and grace.  We understand that technology change is a process not an event.  We must assist customers through the death process of their trusted and beloved old systems.

At Intact we know that the future belongs to the children and we must help them achieve their place in this world while we assist those who hold it now to let go.  Life-spans of technology products is more like that of your pet than a building, just a few years.  We made the decision with conviction, in 2014 to follow the Microsoft re-invention and are already very well aligned and are improving alignment daily.

Inspire didn’t really launch anything new or demonstrate any new technology breakthoughs.  As large events go it was almost “ho-hum” – almost.  Microsoft Inspire 2017 will likely be the event where your company itself starts the process of dying or catches the real message of inspiration; become new.


DevOps and Why You Need a Managed Code Team

Cloud Computing is complex.

I have focused on cloud computing since 2007, nearly 10 years.  I write a lot of code myself for Azure Cloud and I also pay the bills giving me a real perspective.  Whoever told you or intimated that cloud computing would make your life easier as a developer, ISV, systems integrator, failed to tell you the truth.

My company Intact, is dedicated to your success. Cloud is not easy.  Read on to learn more…

If you want or expect to have it easy in a cloud world then you need to use “Software as a Service” (SaaS) apps where somebody else owns, maintains, and supports your IT needs.

If you are an IT Pro, developer, or IT manager that has mission critical applications that you support for your customers and you are already “saturated” at the team level then expect a long day when shifting to cloud.

EDIT: Azure has more than 50 individual services and growing.  There are at least 5 different ways to configure each of the majority of those.  That means that there are more than 5 million combinations to configure Azure.

Cloud over the past ten years has expanded exponentially in its service offerings.  The number of different items to contend with in porting workloads, developing new services, and maintaining control simply overwhelms whole teams.  I wrote several years ago, “No jobs would be lost due to cloud.  The jobs would change and the responsibility would change but it will still require people with new skills to run cloud applications.”

My friend (let’s call him Joe), is an IT Pro and manager who wants to learn cloud computing for his team.  I admire Joe for his desire to make the transition.  Joe’s problem is the team skills deficit in general.  Joe desires to learn cloud and implement it as he would have past projects.  My company and my team are immersed 100% in Azure Cloud.  We don’t do AWS or any other cloud for a very simple reason.  Being an expert means focusing on one thing.  Intact is focused on business applications for Azure Cloud – nothing else.  Believe me when I tell you, there are too many moving parts to cloud to think that you can “tinker” with it.  Obsolesces is measured in months not years.  You must have a continuous integration mindset about your applications.

DevOps – development and operations.  In raw form this means that the developers are responsible for the operation.  In my experience very few teams are configured for this type of computing model.  Currently responsibilities are spread across many different teams: developers, testers, security, administration, release management, maintenance, network, systems and so forth.  I have been in the hundreds of meeting where all the team leads discuss the weekly and monthly issues list.  The structure of organizations is wrong for cloud services.  You still need all of those skills but the “who” is responsible and delivering is completely different.

Intact helps teams through automation reach cloud application maturity in DevOps by supplying the missing skills.