Coding without a net

Over the years, I’ve attended a number of talks that show you how easy it is to use a new component, using canned projects, pre-written code that is cut-and-pasted in, and contrived scenarios.

In the early years of .NET, I saw a different sort of talk (which I believe was done either by Scott Guthrie or Rob Howard) – one that started with File->New project, and just involved coding from scratch. It was very impressive, because you could see exactly what was going on, and you knew it was as easy (or as hard) as it looked. I’ve come to call this approach as “coding without a net”, which I will gladly take credit for coining despite the fact I’m sure I stole it from somebody.

In the spring of 2008, I set out to write such a talk for HealthVault, to be presented at TechEd 2008 in late May and the HealthVault solutions conference a week later. I wasn’t totally successful at avoiding pre-written code, partly because I didn’t want to write UI code, and partly because there are a few parts of the HealthVault API that still need a little polishing, but overall, I was pleased with the result.

This is the written version of that talk. My goal is to use the same progression that I did in the talk, and perhaps expand on a few topics that had to be limited due to time constraints.

Installments will appear on my blog periodically, though those who ever read my C# column on MSDN may remember that I have an unconventional definition for “periodically”.

Introduction to HealthVault Development #1: Introduction