Daily Archive: February 26, 2005

XForms and InfoPath

Momentum is building around forms.  At a recent panel discussion Bill Gates was asked about all of Microsoft’s different forms technologies and indicated that the InfoPath technology was the best long term bet.  Here is the full text, but this is the crucial snipit:

BILL GATES: No, I think that hits it. They- today, a little bit you have to think of HTML, and then our rich forms where InfoPath is the one that’s definitely on the rise there. What we want to get to is where InfoPath’s at the high-level, then we have all these rich controls you can use, and underneath we have the Avalon runtime. We have a roadmap for InfoPath where it gets richer and richer, embraces our rich controls, and sits on the latest presentation system. We also have some ways that if you do your work in InfoPath in future versions, we’ll be able to project that onto classic HTML, although today you have to think, do you want to be pure HTML or be able to assume InfoPath? That’s the one that will rise in usage even as we’re compatible with everything we’ve got.

As Chief Software Architect, drawing these roadmaps and …

Decision Making

As a person who likes to research it’s always worried me how rapidly some people make decisions.  At the same time I have also found that my gut feel and instinct is very accurate and so that has given me some comfort.  There are a couple of books that address this topic and Thinking faster discusses both, as well as adding its own perspective.

What I did not understand until last night was that I had established in my own mind the amount of information I needed to begin making a decision.  I went with some friends to see Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote The Tipping Point and Blink.  In Blink, his latest book, Gladwell evaluates how people make quick decisions based on less than complete evidence, and the risks and opportunities that present themselves in making decisions like that.  What I took away from his talk were two things:  first, people do make good decisions with over a short period of time with little information if they have a lot of experience in the topic, and two, most of us have biases that color our decision making that we may not even be aware of.

The future of support

Me and some of my friends have been debating the subject of “how to” support, which represents a significant amount of a service providers costs.  We have tried the approach of centrally managed knowledge bases, but they only take us so far.  My view that the virtual Internet community and the internal intranet community of peers will become increasingly important.  Also the richness of the support experience will increase as well.  Eric Mack provides a great example with his pod cast on delegated task management, and even better a discussion thread has started that refines his advice.  Others are going beyond the podcast to video and screen-casting.  The progress in this area can be tracked monthly, which is really quite amazing.

The future of technical architecture

I work in a group that works a lot on technical architecture.  Having just watched this video I now see the potential of the next generation of design tools.  Its a Microsoft centric view but its compelling viewing none the less. 

Even better it makes the physical server configuration of your deployed service just as easy.  Combined with utility computing automated provisioning model it makes many technical architecture activities almost point and click.

I guess the next step is to do the same for configuration and instrumentation of the applications themselves.  The IT world starts to look a lot simpler.  Just makes me pleased that my focus is on how to use and exploit the IT and not how to deploy it!