VS2010 Launch – The Big Tease

First off for anyone who thinks this is a post to bash Microsoft, you’re reading the wrong blog.

So what’s this about? It’s a little about VS2010, a little about bad design, and a little about JavaScript. Ready? Good.

Alrighty then, today’s the big day when a few products were launched. Nothing big, just most of Microsoft’s developer toolset. Let’s see, there’s:

  • .NET Framework 4
  • ASP.NET 4
  • Silverlight 4
  • Visual Studio 2010

ASP.NET MVC 2 released about a month ago, but those guys are a little off, right Phil?

But I digress. The main lead-up to this was a launch event that is happening in several places around the world and perhaps most notably in Las Vegas in conjunction with DevConnections. Go to Microsoft’s website more than an hour before the keynote and you were presented with a countdown timer to help build the suspense. I for one was in suspense. I had held my laptop in a pristine state since I didn’t want to worry about any hassles associated with previously installed betas or release candidates. So I watched the countdown go to 0, and nothing happened. OK, I’ve seen this happen before and I know how conferences go, so I check back every 5 minutes or so. 5 minutes later, nothing. 10 minutes later, nothing. 45 minutes later, nothing! What the heck?

The final countdown!
Biggest. Tease. Ever.

How could I be watching this timer for over an hour and not the keynote? About then my brain kicked in where someone else’s didn’t. Since this thing was straight HTML and not Silverlight or Flash, I decided to view the page source and see if my suspicions were right. Now, I had the page source ready to show you, but unfortunately my browser crashed while watching the keynote (ironic, I know), so I lost that. However, the gist of it is this. Whoever made this page decided to embrace jQuery (smart move #1) and avoid writing some ad-hoc code when something else existed (smart move #2). Unfortunately that’s where Smart Move Rd. intersected with Not Quite Blvd.

The code that they chose to make use of was a simple jQuery plugin to count down the time left until a specified date. The JavaScript/jQuery code (per Keith Wood’s site and my memory) was setup something like this:

var keynoteTime = new Date();
keynoteTime = new Date("April 12, 2010 08:30:00");
$('#countdown').countdown({until: keynoteTime});

That seems straightforward enough, doesn’t it? Of course it does, and it is. This plugin is great for certain uses, there was just one little detail that they didn’t consider. You see, the conference was in Las Vegas and I’m in Florida. JavaScript is a client side technology, and my client was on Eastern Time Zone time, hours ahead of Las Vegas time. So, I would have been staring a “0 hours, 0 minutes, 0 seconds” for another 3 hours before finally viewing the launch webcast. It sounded like a great idea at the beginning though, didn’t it? Oh well, I only had to wait another 5 hours to have Akamai serve me the VS2010 bits, but I’ve got ’em!

NOTE: I don’t know for sure that the code used was Keith Wood’s Countdown jQuery plugin, just a hunch. Either way, you get the idea.

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