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July 29, 2013 / stevebaer

MonkeySpace 2013

MonkeySpace ( is the only conference I make sure to go to every year. This was my third year attending and it was just as good as ever. It is a group of smart and friendly people who share an interest in promoting the concept of open source .NET projects. I would highly recommend going if you get a chance.

One thing that I really get out of this conference is an idea of what technologies I should spend a little more time learning. So many new technologies come out all of the time that you just can’t learn them all and actually get your active work projects done. Of course all of these projects have a .NET slant, but hey it is one of the primary frameworks we use at McNeel (along with C++ and python).

There were a ton of things that I learned about, but I boiled things down to a list of potentially rhino related topics that I need to learn more about this summer.
Here’s my personal summer reading list:

  • Reactive Extensions (Rx)
    I didn’t quite get why people were excited about this, but I’m sure it was because I just didn’t understand it’s purpose yet. Needless to say, there was enough mention of Rx that I need to figure out what it is used for.
  • async/await in .NET 4.5
    Conceptually, I understand what async and await are used for and I think it is going to be a standard part of a .NET developers toolkit from now on. I just haven’t personally sat down and used this in practice, so I don’t have a deep understanding of the technique yet.
  • nuget (
    Nuget is the package manager that ships with VS2012 and is also an open source project. We absolutely need to get projects like the stand alone version of RhinoCommon (Rhino3dmIo) packaged and available on nuget in order to make developing with RhinoCommon as pain free as possible.
    Another part to nuget that we should explore is to potentially re-purpose it as a package manager for Rhino plug-ins. I want to type something like

    rhinoget selcommands

    and have my selcommands plug-in downloaded and installed for Rhino

  • netduino
    arduino boards that can be programmed with .NET. This looks really fun.
  • Extending Xamarin Studio
    I was able to steal a bit of Michael Hutchinson’s time (he knows all when it comes to extending Xamarin Studio) and after talking to him I’m pretty sure we can make a great experience for developers writing Rhino plug-ins on Mac.
    I also think we could use Xamarin Studio as a remote debugger for python scripts on Mac; now that would make quite a few Rhino.Python scripters happy.
  • TypeScript and angular.js for javascript development
  • Being a better open source project maintainer
    Phil Haack ( and several other speakers gave great presentations that made me feel that I just haven’t gotten projects like RhinoCommon to a level where it needs to be. I want to make it easy for people to use RhinoCommon and potentially contribute to it to improve it as a geometry toolkit. Here were a few things that I need to think more about.

    1. Make sure the landing pages for projects like RhinoCommon and Rhino.Python describe what they are useful for instead of focusing on the programming details. These details can be on “sub” pages.
    2. Give commit access to people who have submitted pull requests
    3. Make the license clear for our projects so people can use them without concerns ( has a good tool for this)
    4. Create bugs/feature requests that are not too difficult to implement, but don’t implement them yourself right away. This gives people a chance to begin participating if they want to.
    5. Simplify the developer setup. Once it is simplified, try simplifying even more. This really should be worked on for RhinoCommon plug-in development.
    6. blog, blog, blog, wiki, wiki, wiki. Write things down and take time to put good effort into the content.

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