As with any technology, you’d be foolish not to be concerned about moving your organization to Blazor. Let’s clarify what’s worth worrying about. Also: Why you shouldn’t worry.
But it’s not just code: Because it’s “just another” .NET toolset, Blazor lets shops share expertise and toolsets across the whole application. Azure DevOps, for example, has (through Azure Pipelines) supported Blazor since 2019. Lately, because Blazor upped the stakes for Microsoft to develop an Ahead of Time solution for .NET, Blazor is actually driving Microsoft’s efforts in evolving its application delivery systems. And, if we’re going to talk about “available expertise,” it’s worth remembering that .NET has been around longer than any of Angular, React or Vue (or even jQuery, for that matter).
But, just to make sure that frontend developers could easily migrate to Blazor, Microsoft designed the Blazor framework using the components-routers-views model that the other major frontend frameworks (Angular, React and Vue) implement. You can see that reflected in the evolving third-party tools market: The toolset that (for example) Telerik UI for Blazor provides to make Blazor developers more productive is almost identical to the toolset that Telerik products provide for other frontend frameworks.
Is It Safe?
But if the question is whether Blazor is “safe” for you to bet your enterprise on, then you can’t think just about the benefits—you must also think about what’s wrong and/or dangerous with the technology: the “problems.”
There is at least one famous “awkwardness” (let’s call it) in Blazor: its initial large download size, something that almost every iteration of Blazor and/or .NET Core has reduced. However, the issue may never go away: It’s possible that Blazor’s initial download will never get down to the size of, for example, of the base React library (not that anyone builds an application with just the base React library).
But it’s also doubtful that size difference matters. Try it out for yourself: Build a Blazor application and download it. Then build an equivalent React app with all the supporting libraries (Redux, React Bootstrap, Axios, etc.) and download it. See if you can actually detect the difference in start-up time (and if you care).
But “safe” also causes you to think about security issues. Unlike existing client-side tools, Blazor started life based on a W3C standard (WebAssembly): Both Blazor and WebAssembly have been implemented using contemporary approaches to security. Blazor probably does a better job of managing authorization claims than any other client-side platform (again, thanks to Blazor’s integration with .NET).
Does that mean Blazor won’t ever have security issues? It probably will. The world is a big, scary place and stuff happens. But, because Blazor is based on a W3C standard and is an integral part of .NET 5, the likelihood that Blazor will have a unique vulnerability is both small and unlikely to be systemic (i.e. if one crops up, it will require a patch, not a rewrite).
It’s not just Microsoft who believe that WebAssembly, the foundation that Blazor builds on, is safe: The Mozilla team is converting components of their Firefox browser to run inside of WebAssembly.
Worrying About the Future
But what about the long term? “Safe” also means something like, “Will we be sorry sometime in the future?” or “Will this decision make me look like a fool/get fired?”
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other issues to be concerned about with Blazor. For example, in general, Blazor’s performance is fine. However, right now, you should be concerned if you’re going to be displaying tables with hundreds or thousands of rows using Blazor on the client. You can make those problems go away either by using server-side Blazor or adopting Microsoft’s new component virtualization support.
But what if Microsoft hadn’t addressed that UI rendering problem? And what if that’s just the tip of the iceberg? What if there’s some other deficiency in Blazor and a solution is never provided? Alternatively, what if there’s some new “must have” feature that you need to include in your application and Blazor isn’t extended to support/provide it?
We count on two groups to address those problems: First, Microsoft (while Blazor is an open-source project, Microsoft is plainly the primary driver for the technology, like Google is with Angular and Facebook with React); second, an ecosystem that includes tool providers, a pool of expertise on Stack Overflow, and affordable contractors. What if Microsoft loses interest in Blazor (
</cough>) or that ecosystem doesn’t develop as it has with other client-side development tools?
On Microsoft’s side, it’s obvious that the company is making a major bet on Blazor. Not the “bet the company” kind of commitment it made with the original .NET Framework, but Microsoft is still committing a lot of future-oriented resources to Blazor. Microsoft is, for example, just getting started on improving Blazor performance; Microsoft has projects both for integrating Blazor with Xamarin to create smartphone apps and building desktop applications with Blazor. The Uno Platform is already demonstrating that Blazor can be used to deliver a single set of code and associated UI to the Android, iOS, Mac, Windows and web platforms.
Growing an Ecosystem
But what about the ecosystem? If we knew that Blazor would have an effective open-source ecosystem, this post wouldn’t be necessary. Growing an ecosystem depends on developers adopting Blazor… which depends on a viable ecosystem. Like the gingerbread man, an ecosystem can’t run until the technology gets hot, and the technology can’t get hot until the ecosystem is running.
But, having said that…
Let’s sum up: Is Blazor safe to bet your enterprise on?
Author: Peter Vogel
Peter Vogel is a system architect and principal in PH&V Information Services. PH&V provides full-stack consulting from UX design through object modeling to database design. Peter also writes courses and teaches for Learning Tree International.
Leadership demands a variety of qualities and traits: guidance, diplomacy, creativity, and grace under pressure, to name a few. However, an often overlooked and misunderstood skill is the common link between all components of leadership: thought. Thinking might appear to be an obvious activity in one’s daily and professional life, but Thought Leadership is a standalone concept, one that lends itself to many definitions and therefore, confusion. Being a Thought Leader requires another level of specialty, and is much more complex than being merely a “deep thinker.” In this article, we’ll examine the nuts and bolts of effective Thought Leadership, and how using it effectively can be a powerful tool for your business and your personal value.
What Exactly is a Thought Leader?
A true Thought Leader is an expert in a given field or subject, namely, the go-to for ideas about trends, logistics, and the complete knowledge about a product, idea, or a way of achieving a certain goal. A Thought Leader can be someone who is widely published in journals and trade publications, or is officially certified as an expert in a field. Or, it can be someone with enough knowledge to answer any questions and be looked to as the first resource for a given topic or trend. However, a Thought Leader doesn’t stop at knowledge, they push innovation and new ways of thinking about their specialty.
Some sources liken Thought Leaders to influencers; however, it’s best when it’s less clinging to passing trends and more knowing the ebbs and flows of your particular business. This may mean being able to identify passing but profitable trends, but also knowing even the smallest details about your given specialization. While this may sound like a trendy phrase, Thought Leadership is complete, thorough expertise and the ability to conceptualize existing concepts in novel ways.
What Isn’t Thought Leadership?
While knowledge is crucial, a Thought Leader wouldn’t be someone with just a passing interest in, for example, automotive trends. An enthusiast would know about upcoming makes and models, but a Thought Leader would know which cars and trucks are primed to be the bestsellers, based on past research, trends, and time spent in an automotive career. If someone wanted to advertise a new car model, or wanted to know the best value, they would immediately go to the Thought Leader before anyone else. In addition to concrete knowledge, a Thought Leader can also anticipate intangibles and unknowns due to their deep immersion in the subject.
While we all have specialties and core knowledge, Thought Leadership takes this to a purely expert level, to the point of influencing choices and habits based on their knowledge. And Thought Leadership isn’t just about opinions, but rather, complete and continuing knowledge to the point of high regard.
How Do I Become a Thought Leader?
This all depends on your industry, but in the business world, there are ample ways to specialize in given fields. You can be a Thought Leader on a product, or a concept, or even leadership itself. However, it will not happen overnight. It takes time, commitment, and effort to become a Thought Leader. A few key steps to start are:
- Be adaptable to new information and developments; don’t assume your field or specialty won’t change as time goes on and new outlooks become available.
- Use current trends, online information, and notifications to your benefit. Research your Thought Leadership field at least monthly, if not weekly, to learn what developments and information may have come about recently. Even if you think you know everything about your topic, you likely don’t, and that’s a good thing. Even if no developments have happened, it’s always a good idea to continually refresh what you already know.
- Over time, be willing to be the source of new information. If you’re truly an expert, and can gauge shifts and new ideas, you’ll have potential learners and future Thought Leaders looking to you for the information, much like you studied the works of others.
Why should I be a Thought Leader?
Being a Thought Leader will put you in high demand, both internally and externally in your business. By setting yourself out as someone who knows the ins and outs of a focal point, your acumen will lead to further opportunities, as well as an enhanced reputation, even among your competitors. As a walking resource for valuable information and outlooks, you’ll be counted on to help forecast developments, changes, and opportunities in your field, and being engaged fully in a topic will naturally lead to growth and education in other areas. They may not be your Thought Leader specialities, but you’ll feel more responsive to new environments and changes. If your title gives you multiple responsibilities, there’s no reason you can’t be a Thought Leader in one area and not have it at least trickle to other areas. As long as all the responsibilities are being met, Thought Leadership can only be a positive.
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Article reposted from HERE Asynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive. Async isn’t just for remote teams.
What’s not entirely clear is why.
Yes, people gain back time (and sanity) by avoiding rush hour commutes. They avoid the distractions of the office. They regain a sense of control over their workdays. They have more time to dedicate to family, friends, and hobbies.
But apart from the commute, all of those benefits aren’t necessarily the result of location independence, but rather the byproduct of asynchronous communication — giving employees control over when they communicate with their teammates.
While I think remote work is the future, I believe that asynchronous communication is an even more important factor in team productivity, whether your team is remote or not.
Many company leaders are asking themselves if they should embrace remote work. Very few are asking themselves if they should embrace a more asynchronous workstyle. While I think remote work is the future, I believe that asynchronous communication (or async, for short) is an even more important factor in team productivity, whether your team is remote or not. Not only does async produce the best work results, but it also lets people do more meaningful work and live freer, more fulfilled lives.
Drawing on the experience of my own remote and largely async company, Doist, this article will explain what asynchronous communication is, how it drives team productivity, and the concrete steps you can take to start building a more asynchronous workplace.
What is asynchronous communication?
Simply put, asynchronous communication is when you send a message without expecting an immediate response. For example, you send an email. I open and respond to the email several hours later.
In contrast, synchronous communication is when you send a message and the recipient processes the information and responds immediately. In-person communication, like meetings, are examples of purely synchronous communication. You say something, I receive the information as you say it, and respond to the information right away.
But digital forms of communication, like real-time chat messaging, can be synchronous too. You send a message, I get a notification and open up Slack to read the message and respond to what you said in near real-time. Even email is treated largely as a synchronous form of communication. A 2015 study conducted by Yahoo Labs found that the most common email response time was just 2 minutes.
Before we dig into the benefits of a more async approach to teamwork, let’s take a look at why we should question our current, largely synchronous ways of working and communicating.
The problems with real-time-all-the-time communication
If employees are consistently more productive when working away from the office, there’s something broken about the modern workplace.
According to the Harvard Business Review article “Collaborative Overload”, the time employees spend on collaboration has increased by 50% over the past two decades. Researchers found it was not uncommon for workers to spend a full 80% of their workdays communicating with colleagues in the form of email (on which workers’ spend an average of six hours a day); meetings (which fill up 15 percent of a company’s time, on average); and more recently instant messaging apps (the average Slack user sends an average of 200 messages a day, though 1,000-message power users are “not the exception”).
As one office worker told New York Magazine, “I used to wake up and turn off the alarm and check Tinder. Now I wake up and check Slack.”
This trend toward near-constant communication means that the average knowledge worker must organize their workday around multiple meetings, with the time in between spent doing their work half-distractedly with one eye on email and Slack.
To make matters worse, the rise of mobile technology means that workplace communication is no longer limited to the physical workplace or work hours. We can, and do, check email and respond to messages at any time, day or night. As a result, we’re never fully off the clock. As one office worker told New York Magazine, “I used to wake up and turn off the alarm and check Tinder. Now I wake up and check Slack.”
This highly synchronous way of working would be understandable if it produced results, but there is more and more evidence that all the real-time communication overhead makes it hard to focus, drains employees’ mental resources, and generally makes it more difficult to make meaningful progress on work.
I’ve written before about why we’re betting against real-time team messaging apps, but it’s worth summarizing the core problems and generalizing it to most forms of synchronous communication:
🛎It leads to constant interruptions. Interruptions split people’s attention and make it more difficult to make meaningful progress on work. High-value, cognitively-demanding activities — like coding, writing, designing, strategizing, and problem-solving — require long periods of deep, focused work. Synchronous communication makes creating large, uninterrupted chunks of time during the workday impossible.
🗣It prioritizes being connected over being productive. In real-time environments, you’re incentivized to stay connected and available at all times. If you disconnect, discussions will move on before you even had a chance to respond to, or even see, them. To avoid missing out on crucial decisions and discussions, people try to always be online and in as many meetings as possible, hurting both their wellbeing and productivity.
😰It creates unnecessary stress. The expectation to be constantly available means that workers lack control over their schedules. They spend their workdays reactively responding to requests rather than proactively setting their own agenda. One study found that people compensate for the time lost to workplace interruptions by attempting to work faster, leading to “more stress, higher frustration, time pressure, and effort”. This type of synchronous culture can quickly lead to burnout.
😣It leads to lower quality discussions and suboptimal solutions. When you have to respond immediately, people don’t have time to think through key issues thoroughly and provide thoughtful responses. Your first response to any given situation is often not your best response.
The benefits of a more asynchronous workplace
Most people accept distractions and interruptions as just a part of doing business, but some companies — like Doist, Gitlab, Zapier, Automattic, and Buffer — are embracing a more asynchronous approach to collaboration. Here are some of the core benefits of giving employees more control over when they connect to communicate with their team:
⏰Control over the workday = happier and more productive employees. In an async environment, there are no set work hours. Employees have almost total control over how they structure their workdays to fit their lifestyles, biorhythms, and responsibilities (like childcare!). Some Doisters work during the night as it suits them the best. I spend an hour with my son every morning, and no one inside my async organization notices.
🤔High-quality communication versus knee-jerk responses. Async communication is admittedly slower, but it also tends to be of higher quality. People learn to communicate more clearly and thoroughly to avoid unnecessary back-and-forths. They have the time to think through a particular problem or idea and provide more thoughtful responses. Instead of knee-jerk responses, people can reply when they’re ready. (As an added benefit, when people have the time to think through their responses, there tend to be fewer unthinking outbursts. Over the last 8 years, we didn’t have a single serious HR issue.)
💆♀️ Better planning leads to less stress. When last-minute, ASAP requests aren’t an option, advanced planning is a must. People learn to plan their workloads and collaborations more carefully to give enough time for coworkers to see and respond to their requests. This leads to less stressful collaborations and ultimately higher quality work.
🔍Deep work becomes the default. Because employees don’t have to stay on top of each message as it comes in, they can block off large chunks of uninterrupted time to do the work that creates the most value for your organization. They can come back to process their messages in batches 1-3 times a day instead of bouncing back and forth between work and messages or meetings.
📝 Automatic documentation and greater transparency. Because most communication happens in writing, key discussions and important information are documented automatically, particularly if you use a more public tool than email. It’s easier to share and reference those conversations later. For example, at Doist instead of asking for or explaining why a certain decision was made or the status of a particular project, we can search for and/or link to the relevant Twist threads.
The 2015 Elite 100 companies are applying emerging technology in practical ways that will rewrite the rules of business. For 27 years, as Information Week celebrates the very best in tech innovation, our focus has always been on practical, measurable use of technology to drive real business value. We’re not impressed by gee-whiz tech for tech’s sake, and that continues with this year’s Elite 100 ranking.
But don’t confuse practical use cases for humdrum technology. You want virtual reality, big data analytics, Internet of Things, and mobile apps used in breakthrough ways? The Elite 100 companies are applying all these and more, in ways that will rewrite the rules of business.
I emphasize this point as an antidote to the misuse of the “consumerization of IT” idea of recent years. Consumerization is undeniable — the average person can buy NASA-worthy personal and mobile computing power off the shelf and connect it to world-class online resources.
The colossal blunder of consumerization, though, is thinking that IT’s role is remotely diminished by this trend. Here are a few examples of how this year’s Elite 100 are applying emerging technology in new ways:
Virtual reality: Boeing is testing an augmented reality system that lets a mechanic look through a tablet’s camera at an airplane’s torque box and see the actual box overlaid with digital elements such as assembly instructions. Big data analytics: ConocoPhillips is collecting and analyzing data to understand how effectively the oil and gas company is using new hydraulic fracturing techniques to tap unconventional oil fields. Data from just a single well can include more than 100 million records. UPS, the No. 1 company in this year’s ranking, is constantly analyzing an ever-rolling stash of near-real-time operational data to spot potential package-delivery delays as they’re happening.
[ Want more innovation ideas? Read about all the Elite 100 winners. ]
Mobile apps: Allstate has put its driver-monitoring system in a smartphone app, giving people feedback on their car-handling skills — and parents updates on their teenagers’ driving. Intermountain Health has put a myriad of healthcare app functions into one location, along with medical record data, for its patients. Cloud: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab is using public cloud computing resources to make critical calculations like what functions the Mars Curiosity Rover has enough solar power stored up to use. MetroHealth is using online medical records, combined with online video consultations, in treatment of Cuyahoga County inmates, reducing the costs of caring for prisoners and the risks involved with moving them. Internet of Things: You can’t have an Internet of Things without a good Internet connection.
Royal Caribbean is using a new generation of low-orbiting satellites to bring fiber-like connectivity speeds to a part of the world that has never had it — the middle of the sea. Royal Caribbean is expecting a bonanza of free publicity from social media posts direct from the ship, and crew members are enjoying being able to Skype home to family for the first time during their months at sea. There’s a potent mix in all of this, combining still-emerging technology with painful business problems, plus a ruthless pursuit of ROI.
Add it up, and you get business applications of technology that are changing our world.
Chris Murphy is editor of InformationWeek and co-chair of the InformationWeek Conference. He has been covering technology leadership and CIO strategy issues for InformationWeek since 1999. Before that, he was editor of the Budapest Business Journal, a business newspaper in … View Full Bio