# Tuesday, 22 June 2010


The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and E.B. White changed my life.

In 1919, E.B. White was a student in William Strunk Jr's Cornell English class. The course textbook - written by Strunk a year earlier - impressed White enough that he decided to revise and expand it 40 years later.

While Strunk's version focused primarily on rules of proper English grammar, White added sections on writing style.

White argued that writing can be grammatically correct but poor quality, if it lacks good style. In his revised edition, White established guidelines by which a writer can improve his or her writing style.

The book has been revised several times over the years as the English language and the audience have changed and evolved.

The major points of the Elements of Style are

  • Know the basic rules of grammar. Be aware of the most common errors of grammar and spelling.
  • Tell your story in a clear and straightforward manner. The message is more important than the style.
  • Be Concise. Wasted words dilute your writing.
  • Excessive adjectives, adverbs and qualifiers detract from your message. Eliminate them.
  • Choose established usage, before deviating

Most of these rules can be broken, White tells us.

The Elements of Style is often criticized because many great writers ignore this book's advice. But White does not claim to preach dogma: He provides guidelines that will improve most writing.

But we should understand the rules that we are breaking and we should break them for good reason.

If you do any writing in English, you will benefit from this book. At less than a hundred pages, the time investment is small but it packs more information than much larger books.

This is a book that I read every few years because it reminds me of the power of strong, concise writing.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010 11:39:35 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 21 June 2010

Episode 95

Jay Wren on Mono

Monday, 21 June 2010 05:29:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Episode 94


In this show, Joe Wirtley discusses how he addressed the challenges in building an e-commerce site.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010 15:52:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 14 June 2010

Episode 93

In this interview, Dr David Truxall describes the features of Microsoft Team Foundation Server

Monday, 14 June 2010 17:35:13 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 09 June 2010

Episode 92

At the 2010 ann arbor Day of .Net, I hosted a panel discussion in front of a live audience.

Michael Eaton, Jay Harris, Patrick Steele, Jim Holmes and Jason Follas described how they cope with the information overload of keeping up with technologies.

Wednesday, 09 June 2010 10:57:39 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 08 June 2010

Interest in F# has risen dramatically with the release of Visual Studio 2010 and Microsoft's decision to include this language with this product.  Many of us are scrambling to understand this new language and how it relates to our software projects.

F# is a functional language, which means that it focuses on giving developers the ability to create functions that consistently return the same value, given the same inputs. It does so by discouraging mutability in its language constructs, thus minimizing side effects that can alter state from one call to the next.

Chris Smith's book Programming F# provides an introduction to and an overview of this language. Because so many of the constructs are foreign, this book can be a bit overwhelming - particularly Chapter 2, which quickly introduces many of the language constructs of F#.

But Smith brings it together after pushing through the language details. He goes through the basics of functional programming; then compares it to imperative programming, showing how you can implement either style using F#. He follows with a discussion of object-oriented programming and its relevance to F# (it is a key to allowing F# programs to interact with programs written in other .Net languages).

The book is filled with examples to illustrate the points made. If you are new to F#, Programming F# is a good book to get you started with the language.


books | F#
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 19:59:33 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 07 June 2010

I had every intention of going to more sessions at the Central Ohio Day of .Net. But one speaker was sick and I was asked to fill in with a second session. So I spent time after lunch preparing and only saw bits and pieces of other sessions.

But I did learn a lot. This conference always attracts smart people and I exchanged ideas on unit testing, code refactoring, Visual Studio 2010 new features and web hypermedia. Many of these conversations took place on camera, so I will be able to share them online in the coming weeks.

And I delivered presentations on ASP.Net MVC (scheduled) and Managed Extensibility Framework (unscheduled).

Many thanks to Mike Wood and the rest of the crew that put on this excellent conference.

  

More photos from CODODN

Monday, 07 June 2010 02:12:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Friday, 04 June 2010

In this Grok Talk, I describe the importance of ASP.Net MVC and walk the viewer through building a simple application using this framework.

Grok Talk | MVC | Video
Friday, 04 June 2010 17:33:10 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 01 June 2010

Episode 91

Matt Van Horn and I began by talking about Expression Blend and the conversation moved toward collaborations between developers and designers

Tuesday, 01 June 2010 20:38:29 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, 27 May 2010

Tonight, I attended the Cloud Camp Detroit, which was built primarily around Open Spaces discussion and a panel discussion in front of an audience. The basics of cloud computing, specific cloud implementations and issues such as security were discussed. The "eyes-front" presentations were limited to half a dozen lightning talks.

I had a chance to interact with a lot of people far more experienced than me in this area. Many of them work outside the .Net world, so talking with them helps me see the software industry in a different perspective.

I filled in for a sick friend to deliver a presentation on Windows Azure. Below are the slides from my presentation. Thanks to Abe Pachikara of Microsoft for supplying the slides.

Thursday, 27 May 2010 05:04:45 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)