Mar 31 2007
Last day of training
I simply cannot believe how fast the week went, and how interesting it was. Yesterday, we all gathered at IdentityMine HQ. We first had a cool (but fast) demo of Expression Blend by Nathan, who really knows what he is talking about and has a huge experience with the tool and WPF in general. The tool is really quite good, and should allow even developers to work faster, because of the help it provides. I really want to learn Expression Blend. I see myself quite close to the designers, actually closer than probably most of my developers colleagues. That’s why I really enjoyed the afternoon discussion about the workflow designer-developer, which is quite a new topic now that WPF enables designers to work on the actual same CSPROJ and XAML files as we do.
What IdentityMine recommends is to use a 3rd role in the process, named an integrator (or other names). What we’re talking about here is actually a devigner (or as I call that, a werewolf, part designer and part developer). Actually, what we’ll have in the project are developers who understand design. This 3rd person owns the XAML code, and (in big projects) possibly also the code-behind. He is in charge of checking with the devs when the application’s new feature is ready for design. He communicates that code to the designers, and listens to their complaints (sorry, constructive comments) about missing dependency properties or other features. Once the designers are done with the skinning/templating/theming/whatever it is they do, the integrator/werewolf is in charge of getting the whole thing to run properly, which may include checking the code, possibly modifying it slightly, checking the bindings, and making sure that everything looks like it should. He then complains (sorry, comments in a constructive manner) to the des about what doesn’t work, or what could work better (for example animation performances, etc…).
I like that role a lot. I think I can be a good integrator. I like that coordinating role. I think it can be very rewarding (though taxing sometimes), and definitely needs a good communicator. Actually, in our first attempt to make that work, I’ll be the integrator. That’ll be an interesting experience for sure.
In our case, the situation is quite complex, because we have very few designers, and a lot of developer teams. Additionally, we have multiple development locations on 3 continents, and the time difference can be a bitch. But hey, what would life be without challenges, right?
In this afternoon session, we were joined by Robbie Ingebretsen. I first saw Robbie in Mix06 last year, and I really enjoyed his sessions. I think that if someone writes a Wikipedia entry for devigner, they’ll put his picture to illustrate the article. Seeing him speak (moreover in the private session we had yesterday) is truly an experience. You can see the sparks. I was so happy to have a chance to talk to him and all the other guys at IdentityMine privately on quite a few subjects. I know you guys read that, so I want to reiterate our thanks for the great week, the lessons learned, and most of all the wonderful attitude and desire to help us with our challenges. We’ll keep in touch for sure, and see you at MIX!
So that’s it, I am leaving Tacoma and Seattle. I had a blast here. Everything was great, including the hotel, the food, and even the weather! Well, today it’s raining so it makes leaving easier. I’ve been seduced by Seattle and I’ll make sure to come back soon. And now for a 15 hours trip back home!