Comparing Windows Vista with Apple OS X Tiger

Microsoft will be launching the long awaited and overdue next generation of Windows, formally known as ‘Longhorn’, but will reach the shelves named ‘Windows Vista’, sometime in 2006.

What might surprise Apple Mac OS X Tiger users is how similar this new version of Windows is compared with Tiger. ‘My Documents’ and ‘My Computer’ become just ‘Documents’ and ‘Computer’ as they are in Tiger. Vista’s folder windows will have a ‘search as you type’ feature, which Mac users have had for some time now.

Some nice additional features in Vista include the document preview on desktop icons, so you can see an overview of the document content on the icon itself. Just how practical or useful this will be without the icons occupying a sizable area of your desktop remains to be seen.

One of the most interesting and innovative features for Vista was dropped from the first planned release of Longhorn some time ago. Microsoft started making a lot of noise about how they are going to replace the MS-DOS hierarchical-style file system with a file storage system based ontop of a version of SQL Server. This sounded very promising, given the size of hard drives today, and how it is becoming nearly improssible to find anything on your drives. Unforntunately though, WinFS, as it was to be called, may not see the light of day in this first release of Vista.

To Layer or not to Layer – part 2

I had a great response from my article last week on the pros and cons of architectural layering, and it prompted quite a heated discussion on (and as a result took quite a few hits on my server that day!)

I think some people missed the point entirely though. I would never suggest for one minute that we should abandon architectural layering in the development of a large enterprise system, and even for smaller systems, layer is still good practice. My main point (and some people did pick up on this), was that as software architects and developers we need to be thinking how we can increase productivity by removing or hiding the plumbing code and overhead introduced from developing applications with multiple layers. My example of Ruby on Rails is achieving exactly this, and I think we have lessons to be learnt from looking at this approach.

I noticed after I posted the article last week that there is a project on called Trails, which is a Java-based project similar in goals to Ruby on Rails. I haven’t looked at it in detail yet, but this looks like a promising step in the right direction.