XboxFriends and ASP.NET vs. WinForms
Spent the weekend trudging through ASP.NET working on bringing some of the features of the XboxFriends desktop application to the browser. Currently there are only two people using the new version of the software [don't ask, it's not ready just yet ;-)] to help populate the server with some useful data. Now that this data exists, I'm bringing the *global* XboxFriends list to the web site. In addition, there is a profile screen for each gamertag that shows the various shared information provided by each individual person (some of this information will only be available to those who are signed in - whenever I get around to that feature - since it's a given that you only want to share certain pieces of information with those on your personal friends list).
I have to say, now that I'm actually getting my hands deep into ASP.NET; although it's better than ASP or anything else out there, it's still no where near WinForms for productivity and flexibility. Don't get me wrong, it's nice and I'm having fun... and the limitations I'm experiencing aren't the fault of ASP.NET... it's just with targeting the browser in general. I feel like I'm writing code to produce over glorified Word documents. Needless to say, even though there will be features available via XboxFriends.com... to get the most out of XboxFriends you'll want to actually get the desktop version. Besides, without people running the desktop, there'd be no web data to view ;-)
I'm also experimenting with some ideas related to helping curve the costs associated with keeping XboxFriends alive. There are a couple of advertising banners within the ViewFriends area... so if your going to buy online anyway, why not help keep XboxFriends free <hint><hint>.
Keeping in mind that it's still very early in the development, you can view what I'm working on here.
I want to publicly thank Erik Porter, Drew Robbins and Doug Thews for taking the time to point me in the right direction regard a couple of ASP.NET and complex SQL issues I ran into.