Thursday, March 17, 2011

NuGet - Why Should You Care?

Traditionally the .NET community, or more appropriately the users of .NET framework relied on products from Microsoft - so, in a product stack you are likely to see almost everything coming from Microsoft. However, some community contribution made its way into the main stream - for example, NUnit or Log4Net. But you can literally count the number of such main stream non-Microsoft products in your development stacks with your fingers (sparing a few)!
NuGet makes it easy to share your reusable library/utility code to the community. So, if you've done something cool that you wanna share, you should utilize the platform.
One important difference between your and Microsoft's contribution is, whatever you are contributing is likely to be a piece of software extracted from one of your real world projects. On the other hand, Microsoft attempts to produce something based on public interest and their imagination - often missing the real pain that you or I have. So, this mismatch between the designer and the actual consumer of the product often leaves a lot of opportunity for you. If you did something to solve your own pain on a project, its likely you're not alone. So, share it with us.
NuGet official feed and website is a great place to get feedback.
Did something cool? Well, you should feel good as people will use and appreciate your work. More importantly, they will provide you with interesting ideas and reviews that you haven't thought about. Does this sound useful to you? People will go even further - they will directly contribute to the project with code!
NuGet will challenge you with competition from other contributors.
A healthy competition is a great way of learning from others too. You'll see other contributors attacking the same pain you are solving in a different approach, often directly challenging you! You love challenge, don't you?
If you need hard numbers to get motivated, here's some data from my MvcMailer project:
  • Downloaded 600+ times in less than 2 months.
  • Received 60+ emails from people using MvcMailer, mostly encouraging feedback.
  • 300%+ increase in my blog traffic.

Bottom line is, you should publish your NuGet package if there's any cool project you have done. Or, look out for what others are doing and possibly contribute with your code/suggestions. If you need an idea, look for StackOverflow questions, you'll see there are solvable problems that people are fighting against time and again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My 2011 Q1 developer roadmap

For me, 2011 Q1 has so far been a good exposure to new techniques, tools, articles and books, thanks to ThoughtWorks book allowance! However, if you are interested, here's what's keeping me busy:
  1. User Experience: I find a good user experience is THE thing that you want in anything you design, and if you are writing a software, its even more important. After I read a few books, I have a feeling that its not just a common sense approach, it takes some education and a deep care to produce something usable. Check out my reading list at
  2. HTML5: HTML5 is so more than just knowing How To Meet Ladies (HTML)! The popular browsers are all way ahead of the official HTML5 release date, so if you are building something on the web, its time you give it a real shot. Again, I shared my reading list on my website.
  3. .NET NuGet: Microsoft .NET just got a major component, NuGet package manager, that greatly simplifies the sharing and consuming of reusable libraries. Already there are tens of thousands of downloads for the popular .NET libraries and I believe its just a start. So, if you've done something cool in your project and want that to share with the .NET crowd, you should consider NuGet as a distribution channel and get some traction on it.
  4. MvcMailer: MvcMailer has got all my developer attention in the recent past. If you haven't checked already, I highly encourage you take a look at its features at this page and you'll see its a full stack elegant emailing solution that you need in your ASP.NET MVC projects. However, while working on this, I got familiar with the internals of the ASP.NET MVC source code and I consider this as a good experience.
  5. Functional Programming: Did you learn one? Which one? Please suggest me your favorite functional language. In the remaining of this Q1, I want to spend some time on a functional programming language, probably F#.
Its inspiring to see Calgary getting warmer these days - hope we get some outdoor soccer by the end of 2011 Q1, that would be awesome!

Monday, March 07, 2011

MvcMailer 1.0 Released

Just released MvcMailer 1.0 as promised in my previous post. Download your copy using the following:
Install-Package MvcMailer
Of course, you will find a comprehensive tutorial at: this github wiki page.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Whats Coming in MvcMailer NuGet 1.0?

Thanks to 365+ downloads of the MvcMailer NuGet before it hit version 1.0 and now its time to wrap up the NuGet package for an official first release. I got several encouraging feedback on this package and here's what you get from this first release:
  1. Use Scaffold Mailer to generate your mailers with views.
  2. Compose rich emails using your favorite ASP.NET MVC view engine.
  3. Use master pages and pass data using ViewData/ViewBag.
  4. Send multi-part emails for both text and html email readers.
  5. Put images inline so that they are visible even when email client is offline.
  6. Write unit test for your mailers and controllers that use the mailers.
  7. Send attachments.
  8. Send emails asynchronously.
To my knowledge, MvcMailer is gonna be the first full stack ActionMailer like Emailing library for ASP.NET MVC 3. If you are an ASP.Net MVC programmer who deeply care about high quality work and maximizing efficiency - you gotta try MvcMailer 1.0 for writing pretty email sending code.
The github wiki page has everything you will need to know about MvcMailer. Version 1.0 comes out on Monday. Stay tuned.