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Joel on Software

Best Practices: Extending the IBS Portal

I would like to hear you opinions on what the best practices for developing new modules for the IBS Portal are. It seems to me that as we build these modules we need to introduce/alter functionality of the original Portal. That is many of us are making changes to the underlying code and database design and asking our users to do the same.

Consider a minor change in the registration process, you want it to collect FirstName and LastName instead of just Name. Most folks would have no hesitation diving in and making changes to a ton of the underlying code and modifications to the user table and related sprocs.

It occurs to me that at some point these changes are going to start to collide and imagine what would happen if Susan decided to put out a second version ;), upgrade would be a nightmare.

I would really like to hear as many ideas about how we can design and develop modules in a manner that will assure a level of isolation that will keep this framework alive and well for a long time.

I have some gut feelings, but I am sure that there are some folks who have actually tried this out. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Along those lines, if there is interest, perhaps we could collaboratively build out a sample or two that illustrates the design over on the GotDotNet Workspaces.


For those of you unfamiliar wiht the IBS Portal, it is a completely free (as in beer) non-restricted use portal designed by Susan Warren a Program Manager par Excellance on the ASP.NET team. IT is not only a great place to lear about ASP.NET (it is implemented in 4 ways with and with out codebehind and c# with and without code behind) but it is a great little app in it's own right. I would also strongly suggest you check out the ASP.NET forumns done by RobHoward - again one of the great program managers onthe ASP.NET team. Site is currently running only a slightly modified portal at I will be getting the forums up early next month. You can download this and a ton of great stuff at

One thing I have been looking into is using CityDesk as a Content Creation and Publication system for the portal - should be simple  - but I am sure there are some CityDesks  experst who could steer me clear of some potholes.

nick katsivelos
Saturday, September 28, 2002

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