2008 : Year in Review

As 2009 starts, I thought I’d take a quick gander at the 2008 posts I enjoyed writing the most, and a few of my favorite (non-technical) blogs that I discovered this year.

Early last year I embarked on a 9-part series of articles about how BizTalk and WCF integrate.  I learned a lot in the process and finally forced myself to really learn WCF.

Throughout the year I threw out a few ideas around project guidance ranging from getting started with a commitment to the BizTalk platform, how to determine if you’re progressing in your SOA vision, a checklist you can use before migrating projects between environments and another checklist for ensuring that your solutions follow SOA principles.

I also enjoyed digging into specific problems and uncovering ways to solve them.  Among other things, we looked at ways to throttle orchestrations, aggregating messages, putting data-driven permissions on SharePoint lists via Windows Workflow, doing contract first development with BizTalk, implementing an in-memory resquencer, and comparing code generation differences between the BizTalk ASMX and WCF wizards.   Another highlight for me was the work with RSSBus and investigating how to use RSS to enable real-time data mashups.

The most fun I’ve had on the blog this year is probably the interview series I started up over the summer.  It’s been insightful to pick the brains of some of our smartest colleagues and force them to answer an increasingly bizarre set of questions.  So far, Tomas Restrepo, Alan Smith, Matt Milner, Yossi Dahan, and Jon Flanders have all been subjected to my dementia.  The next interview will be posted next week.

I read too many blogs as it is, but there’s always room for fun new ones.  A few (non-technical) that I’ve grown attached to this year are …

  • It Might Be Dangerous… You Go First.  This is the blog of Paul DePodesta who is a front office assistant for the San Diego Padres (baseball).  He’s a smart guy and it’s really cool that he has an open, frank conversation with fans where the thought process of a professional baseball team is shared publicly.
  • Anthony Bourdain’s Blog.  If you watch the Travel Channel or have read Bourdain’s books, you’ll appreciate this great blog.  Tony’s the coolest, and when I watch or read him, I feel a bit like George Costanza around Tony the “mimbo“.
  • We the Robots.  The comics here just kill me.  For some reason I always chuckle at perfectly-placed obscenities.
  • Photoshop Disasters. Great blog where every day you see a professional image (from a company’s website, etc) that demonstrates a shocking Photoshop mistake (missing arms, etc).
  • The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks.  Title says it all.  If you hate people putting quotes in “strange” places, then “this” is the blog for you.
  • F*ck You, Penguin.  I wish I had thought of this one.  This guy posts a picture of a cute animal every day and then proceeds to put these bastards in their place.  I love the internet.

I hope to keep the party going in 2009.  I found out yesterday that my MVP was renewed, so hopefully that keeps me motivated to keep pumping out new material.  My book on SOA patterns with BizTalk 2009 should be out in the April timeframe, so that’s something to watch out for as well.

I’ve appreciated all the various feedback this year, and hope to maintain your interest in the year ahead.



Categories: BizTalk, General

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