Introduction to Volta

On today's show we talk to Live Labs Program Manager Dragos Manolescu [bio *] on the basics of Volta. Volta is a tier-splitting and re-targeting toolset for .NET developers aimed at taking the pain out of building distributed applications.

NOTE:  During our chat Dragos mentions an article he wrote where he demonstrates how Volta declaratively handles tier splitting: Tier-split Refactoring WinForms Applications with Volta


There are many great resources available on Volta, here are but a few to get you going:

Cynicism & Resistance

When I mention my Volta interview to some of my .NET friends I heard a few grumble. I can see it in thier eyes (of course, these conversations were done over IM usually though). I can see the pain from those who've been around the block a few times more than I have. The comments are short, but the gist is that the promise of a silver bullet has often been promised and never been delivered. I even saw a blog post around to the same effect, but I wasn't able find it.

Perhaps Mike Parsons who commented about Volta's retargeting features on Sam Gentile's post about Volta summs it up best:

Ok ... turn on fiddler and try one of the sample apps and watch what comes down over the wire ... you have got to be kidding me.


10's of thousands of lines of Javascript code in over 130 downloaded JavaScript Files weighing in @ over 2 megs for the simple echo my name to the server sample

This is an abstraction nightmare

I think two points are important to keep in mind before you make any judgements:

  1. Microsoft Labs: Sure there are a lot of outstanding issues, sure there is a lot you might like to see done differently, but this is a labs project and not even in CTP yet. What's nice is to see engineers busing themselves with trying to make the developer experience simpler not more complex.

  2. Emerging Strengths: So perhaps in the end the retargeting features of Volta still generate reams of code you don't want in your application - that doesn't mean there won't be a lot of value in the tier splitting features. If I can inspire you with two over-used cliches, don't throw the baby out with the bath water and use the right tool for the right job.

Note: It's just a good thing I didn't read Dragos' bio before our interview. I think I would have been too intimidated to go on ;)

Other "Stuff" Mentioned on the Show

New Media Evangelism

I haven't talked about it much yet, but things are starting to heat up over at Infragistics. I've been hard at work building the "new media" efforts and am amazed at how its coming together. I had a crazy day last week where I looked at my inbox and saw three messages from huge geek heroes of mine! I can't wait to share!

Why the ambiguity? Well it wouldn't be fun without a little mystery, right? Besides, we are making our big annoucement and launch at MIX. I can say that what we are doing is probably much of what you would expect, but with a few wrinkles that will really set us apart from what others are doing in our space. [You may set the secret decoder ring down now.]

Please let me know if you plan to be at MIX. If there is any interest I think it would be fun to setup a meet-n-greet with you! Let me know if you are interested in recording a spot, in giving suggestions for the show or just tosay "hi".

Staying Connected

Some have asked about other places I post content to the web. Below are some links that will help us stay connected. It would be great if you could follow me on Twitter so I can give you some notice about interviews I am doing to give you a chance to suggest some of your own questions!

About the Business of Wasting Time

The following links are great places to take a break or watch at lunch. We can all use a little foolishness from time to time :)