6/01/2007

Microsoft's "Shared View" likely to be a Hit -- and "Less is More"

Microsoft has come out with a beta of it's Live "Shared View" application. This will probably seem reminiscent of Remote Assistance (Terminal Services, Remote Desktop, whatever name you may be familiar with).

However, it offers some interesting new features. First off, the program is advertiser - supported (at least in this iteration) and is free to download and use (that's right - free - as in "beer").

You can share just an individual application, or your entire desktop, with up to 15 other participants. You can invite attendees via Live Messenger or email. It works very nicely - in fact I tried it out today with a work partner and it worked seamlessly right through the corporate firewall -- and doesn't seem to take up a lot of resources. Plus, when you are connected, users can switch control - one user can share their desktop, and then the other user can choose to switch "sharing" and share their desktop instead with the first user.

I predict this is going to be an instant hit! Currently, this only is supported on 32-bit platforms.

Go snag yourself a copy at the above link and have fun sharing!


Less is More

Recently I got off an IM conversation with MVP friend Rick Strahl. Rick and I were ruminating about how much "stuff" has been coming out of Microsoft, and how much of it you are actually going to end up using in production. I mentioned that my goal was to use WCF for a production app this year. I'm still trying, but honestly I confess that sometimes I wonder what it is going to buy me. I also mentioned that I'm currently working on a web application for a major national client where one of the inbound data feeds is "POX" - plain old xml - no SOAP, no webservices, just a REST-ful API. Rick agreed, explaining that he's been doing stuff that uses REST with FLASH api's and that it is easy, and FAST. One of the things I respect Rick for the most is that he is not only a very smart developer who is capable of intense innovation, but is also willing to openly question anything -- even if it goes against the grain.

Less is more? Think about it. I'm not an evangelist of APIs or frameworks, but I've been saying this for a long time. What I'm saying, I guess, is that it's great to have all these wonderful new frameworks and bleeding - edge stuff to glue apps together with. It's not always easy to put them into the pot without it blowing up in your face. Sometimes, the simplest is the best. You just have to look at the situation, educate yourself as best you can, and make a decision.