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The Great Migration

Sunday, December 4, 2005

I popped into the Central Penn Code Camp this weekend and did a presentation on ASP.NET 2.0. There are plenty of presentations on the new features of ASP.NET - membership and master pages, web parts and wizard controls, the list goes on forever.

I took a different approach.

The problem is, you don’t get all the new features for free. 1.x programmers need to unlearn a few concepts, and migrate their existing code. The changes catch people off guard because the changes don’t get as much attention as the bells and whistles. Migration makes people angry. I know, because I have angry people on my contact list (names withheld to protect the angry).

Ms X: why did they change it
Scott: it gets better after the migration
Ms X: it teases you
Ms X: you think you have it done and then it finds more errors
Scott: i know it’s frustrating
Ms X: what was microsoft thinking? were they thinking at all?
Scott: of course they thought about it
Ms X: im pretty close to never switching
Ms X: tell microsoft they just lost one developer
Scott: it will work, don’t give up
Ms X: do you know anyone else who converted a production app?
Scott: yes
Ms X: who wasn’t an MVP or part of some microsoft whitepaper?
Scott: yes
Ms X: i dont trust you
Ms X: i think ur biased
Scott: dont attack me, im trying to help

My presentation was about what you should know before making the transition / migration. I used 5 minutes of slides and 70 minutes of Visual Studio. Here are some of the online resources I mentioned during the presentation. If you arm yourself with this information before jumping in, the water won’t seem so deep.

Scott Guthrie: VS2005 Web Project System: What is it and why did we do it? Yes, Microsoft did think about the changes.

MSDN: Step-By-Step Guide to Converting Web Projects from Visual Studio .NET 2002/2003 to Visual Studio 2005. Don’t go in blind, go in with a plan.

MSDN: Common ASP.NET 2.0 Conversion Issues and Solutions. The migration tool is still undergoing some improvements. This document explains some of the pitfalls.

Scott Guthrie: HTML Validation Checking (and how to turn it off). I recommend you turn off HTML Validation checking when migrating a project and concentrate on getting a working application. Once all the migration issues are resolved, turn validation back on.

MSDN: Web Deployment Projects. This is an invaluable tool for moving bits into production. It is still a beta preview. Most of the issues I’ve seen with the tool revolve around merging assemblies.

Rick Strahl: Understanding Page Inheritance in ASP.NET 2.0. Rick provides excellent coverage of the how the new model works, why the new model is an improvement, and what to watch out for.

Me: Debug & Release Builds in ASP.NET 2.0. This post also covers a lot of the compilation differences.