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Architecture best practise

 
 
Rich
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      06-30-2006
Hi,

I would welcome any opinions on the best approach to developing a web
app in order to meet the following requirements:

a) the user interface can be easily styled by a graphic designer.
b) the content pages can be embedded in other apps if needed (E.g.
Outlook).

My personal view (being heavily biased to ASP.Net) is to make full use
of all the MS controls, master pages, skins & themes etc. We also
currently use the NetAdvantage toolkit which has all the nice Ajax
features built in.

However, we have been given external advice (somewhat old ASP biased)
to avoid all but the basic controls and stick to HTML where possible.
I.e. a designer gives us what is essentially an HTML page and we hook
the code to it.

The other bit of somewhat odd advise was that 'web sites with
applications behind them are old fashioned'.

Our current web app is written in ASP.Net 1.1 and sits on top of a set
of core business objects. It's a bit ugly looking (which is why our
directors have sought external advise) but does what is in effect quite
a complex job very well. I am, however, coming under presure to recode
it as what amounts to an old ASP app using framesets and lots of pure
HTML.

Any thoughts, opions, suggestions welcome.

Rich.

 
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Nick Malik [Microsoft]
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      06-30-2006
Hello Rich,

"Rich" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) oups.com...
> Hi,
>
> I would welcome any opinions on the best approach to developing a web
> app in order to meet the following requirements:
>
> a) the user interface can be easily styled by a graphic designer.
> b) the content pages can be embedded in other apps if needed (E.g.
> Outlook).
>
> My personal view (being heavily biased to ASP.Net) is to make full use
> of all the MS controls, master pages, skins & themes etc. We also
> currently use the NetAdvantage toolkit which has all the nice Ajax
> features built in.
>
> However, we have been given external advice (somewhat old ASP biased)
> to avoid all but the basic controls and stick to HTML where possible.
> I.e. a designer gives us what is essentially an HTML page and we hook
> the code to it.
>
> The other bit of somewhat odd advise was that 'web sites with
> applications behind them are old fashioned'.
>
> Our current web app is written in ASP.Net 1.1 and sits on top of a set
> of core business objects. It's a bit ugly looking (which is why our
> directors have sought external advise) but does what is in effect quite
> a complex job very well. I am, however, coming under presure to recode
> it as what amounts to an old ASP app using framesets and lots of pure
> HTML.
>
> Any thoughts, opions, suggestions welcome.
>
> Rich.
>



first thought: fire your consultants. They are idiots.

Why do you want to hire graphic designers who cannot work within the .Net
framework? ASP.Net pages with CodeBehinds are pretty close to pure HTML
already. You should have no problem creating a wire-frame page in ASP.Net
with codebehinds (the default in Visual Studio) and giving the page to a
graphic designer.

Graphic designers who don't know Javascript... now THAT'S old fashioned.
These days, designers are better at Javascript programming, by an order of
magnitude over the past, especially with the advent of
Ajax/JSON/REST/Mashups.

In fact, interview your consultants. Ask them about REST. Ask about
mashups. Ask about web 2.0. If they are clueless (and it sounds like they
would be), then can them. Even better, put together a little sting. Prep
your managers with concerns that the consultants are feeding out of date
information and that, if they don't mind, you'd like to find out what they
think of some modern technologies. Bring articles from CIO and Business
Week on web 2.0. Then set the consultants up in a meeting with your bosses.
Ask them about these things.

That should end the discussion.

Your consultants are fools.

BTW: ASP.Net pages can easily be hosted in Outlook.

--
--- Nick Malik [Microsoft]
Enterprise Architect
MCSD, CFPS, Certified Scrummaster
http://blogs.msdn.com/nickmalik

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this forum are my own, and not
representative of my employer.
I do not answer questions on behalf of my employer. I'm just a
programmer helping programmers.
--


 
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Rich
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Posts: n/a
 
      06-30-2006
Nick,

Thanks for the reply.
My thoughts entirely! (although I couldn't possibly use the word 'fool'
in connection with friends of the boss of course).

 
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Rich
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-10-2006
An update...

Our directors have been convinced to farm out our web development to an
external company. Although it's a weight off my back (sparse
requirements documentation and short timescales) the example of how it
is now going to be implemented took me back to the eighties

The new developers use (if that is the right word) classic ASP and code
using notepad. The ASP page itself is pure 100% VBScript (no markup)
and any HTML is templated in a separate text file. The page loads the
template into a string and substitutes values in place of tokens and
then does a response.write. Localization? - simple just substitute
different values in the script (case statements). Folder secuirty? -
what's that all about? Events? - What?

The notion is, apparently, that the UI should be completely separate
from the code (ASP.Net?) so that HTML designers can specify and amend
it. I threw in references to Ajax, REST, Mashups and Framesets and got
dismissive blank looks - except for framsets which are obviously the
future

The interesting thing will be seing how they will interface a VBScript
into our object model which is pure .NET. Something tells me a set of
COM wrappers is going to be requested - yuk!

Rich.

 
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Alvin Bruney [MVP]
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      07-10-2006
i'm sure they will get it to work. and that's what keeps programmers
employed - maintenance!

--
________________________
Warm regards,
Alvin Bruney [MVP ASP.NET]

[Shameless Author plug]
Professional VSTO.NET - Wrox/Wiley
The O.W.C. Black Book with .NET
www.lulu.com/owc, Amazon
Blog: http://www.msmvps.com/blogs/alvin
-------------------------------------------------------


"Rich" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) oups.com...
> An update...
>
> Our directors have been convinced to farm out our web development to an
> external company. Although it's a weight off my back (sparse
> requirements documentation and short timescales) the example of how it
> is now going to be implemented took me back to the eighties
>
> The new developers use (if that is the right word) classic ASP and code
> using notepad. The ASP page itself is pure 100% VBScript (no markup)
> and any HTML is templated in a separate text file. The page loads the
> template into a string and substitutes values in place of tokens and
> then does a response.write. Localization? - simple just substitute
> different values in the script (case statements). Folder secuirty? -
> what's that all about? Events? - What?
>
> The notion is, apparently, that the UI should be completely separate
> from the code (ASP.Net?) so that HTML designers can specify and amend
> it. I threw in references to Ajax, REST, Mashups and Framesets and got
> dismissive blank looks - except for framsets which are obviously the
> future
>
> The interesting thing will be seing how they will interface a VBScript
> into our object model which is pure .NET. Something tells me a set of
> COM wrappers is going to be requested - yuk!
>
> Rich.
>



 
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Nick Malik [Microsoft]
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-11-2006
"Rich" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) oups.com...
> An update...
>
> Our directors have been convinced to farm out our web development to an
> external company. Although it's a weight off my back (sparse
> requirements documentation and short timescales) the example of how it
> is now going to be implemented took me back to the eighties
>
> The new developers use (if that is the right word) classic ASP and code
> using notepad. The ASP page itself is pure 100% VBScript (no markup)
> and any HTML is templated in a separate text file. The page loads the
> template into a string and substitutes values in place of tokens and
> then does a response.write. Localization? - simple just substitute
> different values in the script (case statements). Folder secuirty? -
> what's that all about? Events? - What?
>
> The notion is, apparently, that the UI should be completely separate
> from the code (ASP.Net?) so that HTML designers can specify and amend
> it. I threw in references to Ajax, REST, Mashups and Framesets and got
> dismissive blank looks - except for framsets which are obviously the
> future
>
> The interesting thing will be seing how they will interface a VBScript
> into our object model which is pure .NET. Something tells me a set of
> COM wrappers is going to be requested - yuk!
>
> Rich.
>


The thing that worries me, Rich, is that your directors have lost faith in
members of your team to solve their technology problems in a reliable and
speedy manner. They bought this story because they didn't have a compelling
internal story to use instead. They couldn't believe that their in-house
folks were more 'expert' than the outside 'experts' that they hired.

So... bigger problem than ASP Classic with templated HTML: what are you
going to do to restore trust, faith, and confidence in you and members of
your team? What can you do to make your manager look like an eagle and not
a turkey?. Screw the code. That doesn't matter. What matters: have you
/earned/ the respect of your management? If not, why not? Chart a course.
Make a plan. Then follow it. Destination: earned respect.

--
--- Nick Malik [Microsoft]
MCSD, CFPS, Certified Scrummaster
http://blogs.msdn.com/nickmalik

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this forum are my own, and not
representative of my employer.
I do not answer questions on behalf of my employer. I'm just a
programmer helping programmers.
--


 
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