Mind The GAPP

Last week, we had the GAPP come into town for a “retreat”.  Actually, it was more like an airlift in that we were briefing them on what we were working on and the stuff that is impending.  For those of you who don’t know, the GAPP is “Guidance About patterns & practices”, a group of third-party experts that we’ve enlisted to help us spread the word of patterns & practices material by providing "guidance about the guidance."  We’ve got a tremendous lineup, including Keith Pleas, Rocky Lhotka, Billy Hollis, Fernando Guerrero, Chris Kinsman, and Ted Neward.  You may recognize these names in connection with p&p as they are the ones who usually drive our p&p Summits (including the upcoming ones in Silicon Valley and Norway).   It was a great chance to hang out with a great group of guys and get some unadulterated feedback.  These guys are the best combination you could ask for in a customer: smart and not shy.   Rocky had a great idea about creating a repository of code fragments that help show best practices for doing specific tasks.  Rather than bundling it in application block form, just provide something similar to CodeZone, but with more “editorial discretion” on behalf of Microsoft to validate the practices being showcased. Billy Hollis was showing some of the cool work he’s done with the Tablet PC and suggesting we think about extending our work to this space (while I don’t know if this is going to happen for us, as a guy who still think Tablet is a breakthrough waiting for its “Tipping Point”, his app definitely caught my eye).  Both Billy and Rocky put in votes for more VB.NET (surprise, surprise :->).  Fernando talked about some of the key concerns he has around making sure developers are ready for SQL Server 2005 (aka Yukon)—especially in the area of understanding the use of Transact-SQL vs. the SQLCLR.  Chris made a push for our need to reach out to the Compact Framework audience (stay tuned on that one :->) as well as the suggestion to provide true instrumentation in the next version of Enterprise Library (the contention was that the Logging and Instrumentation Block was really just a Logging Block).  And, of course, Ted roasted us at every opportunity with his superior Java skills (just kidding Ted).  Actually, Ted brought me a copy of his recent book on “Effective Enterprise Java”. Having read a couple of chapters, I must admit it is not bad for a book about an inferior platform.  😉


This was the first time we had done something like this where we brought in the GAPP, but I can’t stress how important these types of events are.  I always appreciate the opportunity to connect with the world outside of Redmond and, while I spend a decent amount of time on the road, I love to be able to bring road back with me so that the entire p&p team gets exposed to what’s going on out there.  Plus, there’s nothing like unleashing an open forum where you get a group of really sharp people sharing thoughts and opinions to help get the creative juices flowing.  The feedback overall was pretty good, though they all wished we would release some more stuff more often and some of them kidded us about our “guidance drought” (for the record, the App Block Test Guide was just released and Enterprise Library is right around the corner).  And admittedly, as they all pointed out to me after spending three days with practically the entire team, there are still a few people on the p&p team that they believe “just don’t get it”.  Still, I think they enjoyed their time and were pleased with a lot of things we have coming (including a pretty strong sense of excitement around Enterprise Library) and gave us a great target for the future.  Plus, I am even more excited about the upcoming Summits as they’ll be set upwith even more inside info to help their sessions get even stronger.  Thanks for a great week guys.  See you in Mountain View



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