2015: A look back

This is the first of two posts on my thoughts for the coming year. This is a mixture of personal and global ideas. It’s my perspective, based on my experiences. In this post, I look back at the important trends and events I saw and experienced. (Part II will look at the year to come.)

The Growth of Humanitarian Toolbox

I’m very happy with all that has happened with Humanitarian Toolbox in the past year. We’ve continued to work on two different applications: Crisis Checkin and AllReady. The .NET Developer Community has really come together to help us achieve important milestones.

Crisis Checkin is being enhanced to support Operation Dragon Fire which will provide better data sharing during crisis. Watch the Github repo for updates on new feature requests to support this effort.

While Crisis Checkin has been moving along at a reasonable pace, AllReady has been moving incredibly fast. I need to thank our friends and colleagues on the Microsoft Visual Studio team for the incredible contributions they’ve been making to your effort.

The Visual Studio team started development as a showcase for many of the new features that shipped with Visual Studio 2015. They recorded a series of videos that documented that initial effort. HTBox took over the code and open sourced it shortly thereafter. We continued to work with community members over the summer, at ThatConference, and remotely to add features. Fall came, and we worked with Microsoft after the MVP Summit to get the application ready for Beta. You can see some of the experience at that sprint here.

We successfully hit our beta milestones, and our next step has been a pilot with the Red Cross in Chicago. The pilot has been successful, and we’ve been generating new tasks and feature requests from the pilot.

The success we’ve had building software has also brought an increase in contributions. We’re by no means a large charity, but we’r past the bootstrap phase and well on our way to a successful startup venture.

We owe a lot to everyone that has contributed:

  • The .NET Developer Community members that have contributed to our projects.
  • The Microsoft Visual Studio Team that adopted and help launch development of AllReady.
  • The donors that have made us a financially viable organization.
  • But most of all, my fellow board members at HTBox. I’ve never worked with a stronger and more dedicated leadership team.

I’m confident that we’ll continue this momentum over the next year.

C# 6 / Visual Studio 2015

Earlier this year, we saw the release of Visual Studio 2015, and with it the 6.0 version of the C# language. This is the first release using the Roslyn Codebase. I’m super excited about the rejuvenation of the C# and .NET community as the team reached this important milestone.

We have the Roslyn APIs to create analyzers, code fixes, and refactorings.

We have numerous new language features to support modern development.

We have an IDE and compiler that share more code, and thereby use less memory and have better performance.


Open Source all the things

The code for the C# and VB.NET compilers are Open Source (Apache 2.0 license) and stored on Github. Want to learn more about how it works? Look in the source. Want to participate? Grab an up-for-grabs issue, submit your fix. Want to experiment? Grab the source and try it out.

It’s also very instructive to see just how many tests and gates there are for the source code in the compilers.

But it doesn’t stop there. In addition to the Rosly source, many other parts of the .NET framework are currently, or are planned to be, Open Source as well. The full list is quite long, view it here.

The model of Open Source development is becoming the norm. Apple even responded by making Swift Open Source, also with a permissive license.

I believe the Open Source model is one of the key reasons for the rejuvenation of the .NET ecosystem.

Which brings me to…

.NET Foundation

The .NET Foundation is an indepent organization to support Open Source development in the .NET ecosystem.

While it was announced in 2014, its growth really started in 2015. (I’m biased, as I’m on the .NET Foundation Advisory Board).

The foundation nw includes parts of the .NET Framework, with source originally from the Microsoft product teams. It now also includes projects that started in the community, and have been brought under the .NET Foundation umbrella.

And, this post was written with the newest .NET Foundation project: Open Live Writer.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the topics that I think will be key in 2016.

Created: 12/31/2015 8:09:58 PM

Current Projects

I create content for .NET Core. My work appears in the .NET Core documentation site. I'm primarily responsible for the section that will help you learn C#.

All of these projects are Open Source (using the Creative Commons license for content, and the MIT license for code). If you would like to contribute, visit our GitHub Repository. Or, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for improvement, please create an issue for us.

I'm also the president of Humanitarian Toolbox. We build Open Source software that supports Humanitarian Disaster Relief efforts. We'd appreciate any help you can give to our projects. Look at our GitHub home page to see a list of our current projects. See what interests you, and dive in.

Or, if you have a group of volunteers, talk to us about hosting a codeathon event.