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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.

Published Sunday, October 3, 2004 10:11 PM by CorySmith
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# re: XboxFriends and ASP.NET vs. WinForms

Monday, October 4, 2004 3:03 AM by Richard
Good to see you are starting to make some progress on updating Xbox Friends Thing. I look forward to trying out the new version whenever you get it ready. The website is looking good also. Keep up the good work.

# re: XboxFriends and ASP.NET vs. WinForms

Monday, October 4, 2004 5:42 PM by T. Bradley Dean
"since it's a given that you only want to share certain pieces of information with those on your personal friends list"

Not necessarily. I think one of the strongest uses of having XBoxFriends info on the web would be the ability for users to start putting their status in their signatures, forum icons, web pages, etc. This will really get the word out about the software.

ICQ did this, you could put a graphic on your webpage that was either a brown flower or a green flower depending on whether or not you were currently online. I think this would be a perfect idea for XBoxFriends.

# re: XboxFriends and ASP.NET vs. WinForms

Wednesday, October 6, 2004 1:41 AM by Cory Smith
Allow me to clarify that statement. What I mean by "certain pieces of information" is that maybe your real name, address, email, etc. You may not want the whole world to know this information. As you can see, your presence information will be publicly available (assuming you have a friend running the application as well). I've been asked by several people for the ability to bring their own presence information to their personal websites. I'm looking into various methods to allow for this while balancing the server load. I have a very finite amount of cpu/memory/bandwidth to handle a potential of over 1,000,000 Xbox Live subscribers worldwide. Will I have that many, maybe not... but I do need to keep that number in mind on anything I'm working on.

My goal is to make this service free to Xbox Live subscribers... which means the cost of the development, server(s) and bandwidth has to come from somewhere else. EAServe has been kind enough to step up to bat and provide the server and bandwidth up to this point. However, without coming up with some additional source of funding; I'm limited to a single cpu... and as such have to be very careful with what features are made available. Trust me, if someone wanted to come out of the woodwork to provide adequate funding for this project... I'd be all ears. I've got a pretty grand vision of what I would like to see; but unfortunately reality is staring back at me ;-) Right now, I'm looking at affiliate programs... don't really have a lot of faith in them; but hoping I'll be proven wrong.

So, to get to the real point... will there be some way that I can leverage XboxFriends presence information to reflect that in a way as I see fit. Yes, I'm confident there will be some mechanism. As to what it will be and what format it will take, I can't answer that just yet. It may just be a page formatted as a text document with what your current presence is to possibly being an image that is generated or somewhere in between.
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