For the second session I decided to go to a talk titled, “Developing Data Driven Applications Using the New Dynamic Data Controls in ASP.NET.” I should have known better than to go to this. Every time someone from Microsoft demonstrates the “power” of a grid control, detail control, or similar control they use the most trivial example and make the rest of us look like morons because our apps seem to require hundreds of lines of code to produce results. This was no different. Polita Paulus* demonstrated a way to build an entire data driven application with no code at all. Someone in the audience asked her about reality and what to do when you have business logic creating objects that you need to display in a grid of some sort. Her answer is along the lines of this, “Well we’ve been thinking about that, and let us know in the newsgroups if this is important to you. To do that you’d need to use Linq and we are going to explore that for the next version.”
Now I know that you have to walk before you can run, but it seems like all of Microsoft’s ASP.NET data controls have this problem. At least most of the ones in 2.0 can take an object exposing IEnumerable (so a generic collection would work here), but it’s still frustrating when they claim that they’ll do it in the next version when the history is that they won’t do it, they’ll expect someone like Infragistics or Telerik to do it.
Needless to say I wasn’t very happy with their answers. Especially when they pointed us to their web site to download these controls. The controls are part of the ASP.NET Futures program. That means they are not productized, PSS doesn’t support them, they may not be production level quality (read bugs may include performance and security, but we aren’t responsible). Wait for the next version, what about getting the current version out before telling us to wait for another version.
*Polita Paulis was Polita Huff until recently. She seemed very happy in the fact that she was recently married and went to Fiji for her Honeymoon. She showed us pictures and video from it. It made for a good demo because it illustrated pictures and video as well as data, but really I feel like I know too much about her. Oh, and she’s the Senior SDE who is responsible for bringing us the grid view, the detail view, etc.