What’s Behind Workspaces?

An interview with Jason Pace, GotDotNet team manager, and Shawn Nandi, ASP.NET project manager.

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TECHNOLOGIES: GotDotNet Workspaces


What's Behind Workspaces?

An interview with Jason Pace, GotDotNet team manager, and Shawn Nandi, ASP.NET project manager.


By Jonathan Goodyear


What is the nature of the GotDotNet Workspaces project?

GotDotNet Workspaces is a way to extend collaboration with GotDotNet customers.


What are the major features of Workspaces?

The major features are source control, bug tracking, news headlines, and message boards.


Who originated/spearheaded the Workspaces idea/project?

An intern made the initial suggestion, and the rest of the Workspaces team worked together to bring the idea to maturity.


How long was Workspaces in development?

Development on the Workspaces project started in June 2001.


How and where are the source-control files for Workspaces stored?

The files are stored in binary format in SQL Server tables.


Compare Workspaces with SourceForge.

SourceForge is geared toward the open-source community. It isn't native to Windows, and it is very command-line oriented. Workspaces offers both Web and Windows Forms interfaces and is focused on building a community among .NET developers.


Do you care if non-.NET projects are kept in Workspaces?

We are encouraging .NET projects, but we have no plans to restrict the type of projects stored in Workspaces.


Will it eventually be possible to completely hide a Workspaces listing?

We're not looking at enabling that feature at this time.


Does Microsoft plan to charge for the usage of Workspaces services in the future? What's the real scoop?

We have no plans to charge for Workspaces services. We did not build Workspaces as a commerce vehicle.


Why use a custom source-control system and not Visual SourceSafe? The site mentions that you have linked VSS with Workspaces. Were there problems (perhaps with multiple concurrency)?

In truth, we are experimenting with some different ways to implement source control. The feedback that we get from it will be sent to the Visual SourceSafe team to help them build the next version of Microsoft's source-control product.


Has Workspaces had any performance implications on the GotDotNet Web site?

Workspaces uses the same code base as GotDotNet and is installed on the same server. There have been some performance implications because of the increased bandwidth required to enable Workspaces. We are working through most of those issues, though.


Will the Workspaces source code be accessible via download? If so, when?

We currently have no plans to release the source code for Workspaces. We won't rule out the possibility, though.


What language is the Workspaces code base written in?



Will you be adding its open-source projects (e.g., IBuySpy and ASP.NET Forums) to Workspaces?

We're currently discussing that option.


Will Workspaces eventually be integrated with Visual Studio .NET, perhaps in the Whidby (post-Everett) timeframe?

We're definitely thinking about it and have discussed it with the Visual Studio .NET team.


Several people have complained that the Workspaces licensing verbiage allows Microsoft to steal ideas and code from developers who post their code. Is there any validity to that complaint?

Microsoft has no intention to steal or own developers' code, and we have modified the Workspaces licensing agreement to make this intention more clear.


Will you ever allow commercial application of Workspaces?

Right now, we'd like to focus on non-commercial use. Commercial use remains indeterminate.


How much drive space can be allocated per workspace? Is there a per-user drive space limit?

During the Workspaces beta, each workspace is allocated 20 mb of disk space (10 mb in FileShare, 10 mb for Releases). Unlimited space can be used for forums and/or messages.


When will the production release of Workspaces be?

We're shooting for the spring of 2003. Somewhere in the Everett timeframe (though the two schedules are mutually exclusive).


You're not warranting the safety of the code store, but are you backing it up anyway? Are you scanning uploaded files for viruses?

The code store is backed up regularly, but you should not rely on it. We are currently not scanning uploaded files for viruses.


What are the demographics of current Workspaces users?

We haven't noticed any specific trends among users of Workspaces. Many more developers are interested than we originally estimated, which led us to expand the original scope of the Workspaces beta.


How many workspaces are currently registered? How many workspaces are active?

There are approximately 1,500 live workspaces. We estimate that about one-third of them are currently active.


Will you be purging inactive workspaces?

We are taking inactive workspaces offline, but are being very conservative about purging.


What features do you plan to add before version 1 of Workspaces is released?

Some of the features on our short list are better filtering, ratings, and statistics.


Will you be developing a Web Services API for Workspaces?

We definitely want to and are discussing it now. We're unsure whether version 1 of Workspaces will have a Web Services interface, though.


Jonathan Goodyear is president of ASPSoft (http://www.aspsoft.com), an Internet consulting firm based in Orlando, Fla. He's a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) and author of Debugging ASP.NET (New Riders). Jonathan also is a contributing editor for asp.netPRO. E-mail him at mailto:[email protected] or through his angryCoder eZine at http://www.angryCoder.com.




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