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Sunday, April 25, 2004
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[NOTE: For my non-US readers, Tylenol is a very popular medicine that is taken for headache and fever relief in the US]

I am an unabashed fan of the PAG!

For those who do not know the acronym, the PAG is the Platform Architecture Guidance Group at Microsoft. They are the folks who put out the Patterns & Practices series of books as well the .NET Application Blocks among other things. In a sentence, these are the folks who provide you with the tools and information that demonstrate and document the best practices for implementing the current shipping technology.

Best Practices for Current, Shipping Technology. This is an important distinction.

In a lot of ways the Product Teams at Microsoft live a Rev ahead. They are already working on the next generation (and the one after) of the current technology. When speaking with them the focus often is on what is coming and not on what is currently here. While that is very cool and exciting, it does not address the working concerns of the current technology implementers.

Pop open the latest issue of MSDN Magazine or any of the other .NET trade rags. What do you find these days? Coverage of Visual Studio .NET 2005! Generics in C# 2.0! The magic and the wonder that is Longhorn! Yet these technologies are at best more than a year out. Are you deploying PRODUCTION apps on this technology? Is any Enterprise (other than ones that Microsoft directly supports via its Early Adopter Programs) implementing this technology NOW? The answer is NO! The pain points and the headaches that Enterprises are experiencing are with the current shipping 1.0 or 1.1 .NET Technologies… Heck, many folks are only now thinking of moving to .NET (More on this later..). They have little to no interest in alpha/beta technologies. They have issues that need to be addressed now.

This is where the PAG comes in. They produce the prescription that solves the headaches that Enterprises have RIGHT NOW! They produce the best practices and architecture guidelines that showcase Microsoft technology as being seriously Enterprise ready. Here is a sampling:

  • Application Architecture for .NET
  • Building Secure ASP.NET Applications
  • Enterprise Solution Patterns for .NET
  • Improving Web Application Security
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Operations Guide
  • .NET Application Blocks
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2000 High Availability Series
  • Shadowfax SOA Reference Application
  • and more…. @

I personally don't think that they get the credit or visibility they truly deserve. The reason of course is that they are not out in front talking about and playing with cool tools and sexy technologies. They are the people who provide the basic blocking and tackling that allows the Quarterback to be a shining star. They do what they do so OTHERS can get the work done. And in that goal, they are immensely successful.

I've been meaning to write about this for some time, but this came up front and center for me very recently. I am currently in the midst of an Architecture consulting gig with a firm that is moving to .NET. I've done this sort of thing before (first time about 2 years ago), when I was the Architect/Technical Lead tasked with implementing .NET for the Fortune 500 Enterprise I was then working at. At that time, a lot of the practices that were implemented were a direct result of my personal knowledge of .NET from working with it from the early beta phases and knowing the right people to ping at Microsoft to get advice on particular issues that I needed help with. What is different now is the breath and depth of material I can tap into from the PAG that make mine and my client's life so much easier. I don't think a day has gone by when we have not reviewed some best practice or implemented something that came out of the PAG. The resources the PAG has provided has allowed my client to have the comfort factor that we are doing the right things with .NET Technologies.

So Kudos and Thank You to Sandy, Shaun, JD, Tom, Ron, Ed, David and the many more folks at PAG.

If you take away one thing from this entry, it is that when you run into issues or need guidance on current technologies, do go over to the PAG site @ and browse over their offerings. I would not be surprised if you come away with answers or pointers to answers that heal YOUR pain!

[Now Playing: Ek Pal Ka Jeena - Kaho Naa Pyar Hai]

Tags:: Architecture
4/25/2004 11:13 PM Eastern Daylight Time  |  Comments [4]  |  Disclaimer  |  Permalink   
Sunday, May 8, 2005 12:06:47 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Thanks for the pointer! I've occasionally stumbled across the PAG's Application blocks, but now I checked out their front page, and they have some really useful stuff up. Particularly, the guide to improving web application security (900+ pages!) looks to be indispensable.
Staffan Malmgren
Sunday, May 8, 2005 12:06:47 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Completely agree, Staffan. Improving Web App Security is probably the best reference on building Secure Apps on the .NET framework.
<br>BTW, you can find a complete listing of the AppBlocks here @ <a target="_new" href=""></a> . Currently, the PAG site is a bit hard to navigate :-). They are hard at work on redoing the site, so stay tuned.
Anil John
Sunday, May 8, 2005 12:06:47 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Joe Stagner - Frustrated by Design !
Sunday, May 8, 2005 12:06:47 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
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