December San Diego JS Meetup Trip Report

I finally got a chance to go to the San Diego JS meetup last night.  I have been wanting to go for months but I finally made it!  This was also my first chance to visit 3rdSpace.   Loved both.  Todd Bashor of The Starter’s Academy gave a great demo of using casper.js as a way of automating phantom.js sessions for testing and more.  It was very interesting. 

Of course, I also got a chance to chat with local JavaScript developers about their impressions of Microsoft both good and bad, as well as their interest in developing on the Microsoft stack.  Here is some of the feedback I received and my hopefully not too defensive sounding response.


IE 10 Updates

I got feedback from a number of the HTML5/JS devs about the way that IE 10 get’s updated.  Overall the feedback on IE 10’s functionality and standards support was positive, but one of the biggest frustrations devs seem to have with IE 10 is how the browser is updated.  With Chrome devs can see when an update is available by looking for an up arrow on the Chrome menu button on the toolbar. Once they see that an update is available they can click on the Chrome menu button and select “Update Google Chrome”. 

I think part of the frustration may be perception issue.  With IE 10, devs just need to have Windows Update enabled and then can choose to either automatically apply updates, or manually choose the ones they wish to apply.  It seems very similar to Chrome, it just isn’t done in the browser, but rather through Windows Update. 

IE 10 Trident vs Webkit

Another common comment was regarding IE 10’s Trident layout engine vs. the open source alternative WebKit.  Granted Trident has been around for a long time (going back to 1997) it has matured over the years and IE 10 is now one of the most standard compliant browsers available.  Still, for devs focusing on webkit, or using tools based on it, the difference is noticeable.

Windows 8 Installation Options

Bootcamp vs. Parallels: When I asked devs if they have tried developing for Windows 8 yet, I found that a common problem was in how they were running Windows 8.  Yes, you can virtualize Windows 8. Yes, Windows 8 will not perform as well Virtualized as opposed to running on bare metal.  That is true of any operating system. If devs are looking to try out Windows 8 on their Macs, bootcamp is probably a better choice that parallels. 

Boot-toVHD: For devs that have an existing Windows 7 installations, another great choice is Boot-to-VHD.  My Teammate Harold Wong has a great blog post on installing Windows 8 using Boot-toVHD.  I also have a slide deck that covers the basic options that existing Windows 7 developers have when looking to install Windows 8.

Use of Windows 8 WITHOUT touch:  No doubt, Windows 8 shines on devices that have touch screens.  But I have been working and developing on Windows 8 for months now using my Lenovo W520 that does NOT have touch.  I Love it when I get to play with something like a Surface or some other touch device, but I in know way feel impeded by the mouse and keyboard interactions with Windows 8. 

Windows 8 HTML5/JS Apps

I asked a lot of the devs last night if they had looked at developing HTML5/JS apps for Windows 8, and nobody had.  The feedback seems to be that they just don’t understand what they heck an HTML5/JS Windows 8 app is, and how they might go about building one.  Towards that end, I talked with Jarrod about presenting at one of the upcoming meetups about Windows 8 HTML5/JS apps.  In fact, I will be doing just that at the talking about Windows 8 HTML/JS Apps at the HTML5 meetup on January 8th. 

PhoneGap Hell

While PhoneGap promises cross platform app development, the reality seems to be not as rosy as the hype would suggest.  This isn’t really a Microsoft issue, but because Windows 8 and Windows Phone are PhoneGap  targets it is still relevant. 

Not sure I have a response to that, but I wanted to make sure to get everybody’s grievances listed. 

Summary

I had a blast last night, and was so happy with everybody’s honest feedback.  As an evangelist I have a responsibility to help overcome the negative impressions, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect everybody’s opinion.  It was very refreshing to have some clear comments on both the good and bad people see in Microsoft. 

I’m looking forward to getting out to more meetups like this.  Come tell me what you think!

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