Tag Archives : Visual Studio


Morning Coffee 150

  • Yesterday was the NHL trading deadline, and the Capitals were very busy. They obtained Huet from Montreal, Federov from Columbus and Cooke from Vancouver. Given they are fighting just to make the playoffs, going for three soon-to-be unrestricted free agents seems like an odd choice. However, the consensus (among my parents anyway) was that it’s critical to get this very young Caps team some playoff experience. Even if all three walk at season’s end, it’ll be worth if the Caps make a playoff run. Besides it’s not like we gave up much: an extra second round pick in ’09, a 19 year old defensive prospect (who was apparently 14th on the depth chart) and an underachieving winger.
  • Speaking of the Caps playoff chances, they are currently one and a half games back of the division leading Hurricanes and two games behind the current eighth seed Flyers. Yes, I rank hockey teams using baseball’s standings system. Otherwise, you have to talk about games in hand (i.e. the Caps are five points behind Carolina with two games in hand).
  • The writer’s guild ratified the new contract, so Hollywood labor strife is now officially behind us. At least until July when the the actors may go on strike.
  • It seems like a slow week for Microsoft geek news, which is odd since WS08, VS08 and SQL08 all launch today. I’m guessing it’s the calm before the Mix storm next week.
  • After going dark for six months, Linq to XSD has been re-released to work with the RTM version of VS08. Scott Hanselman demonstrates Linq to XSD by applying it to OFX, an XML Schema he calls “goofy” but apparently helped develop. OFX uses derivation by restriction, which has no direct corollary in C#, but Linq to XSD’s  is able to translate between XML and objects without loosing any of that type fidelity. Nice to know Linq to XSD can tolerate OFX’s level of goofiness, though I’m guessing most people use much more straightforward schemas.
  • Speaking of Linq, I discovered LINQPad via a comment on Rob Conery’s blog (which I found via DNK). It’s basically a code snippet IDE for C# 3.0 and VB9, with it also has built in database connection support, so it can fulfil much the same role as SQL Management Studio. I only played with it for a few minutes, but I was really impressed.  This is definitely going in my utilities folder. I wonder if they’re interested in supporting F#?
  • Not sure how I missed this, but you can get MSDN Magazine via same Syndicated Client Experience as Architecture Journal. Unlike AJ which is divided into issues, the MSDN magazine client is divided into topics which is harder to square with the physical magazine. On the other hand, since MSDN Mag has been around longer, perhaps topics + search is a better discovery mechanism.
  • Soma announces the Visual Studio Gallery, a repository of VS Extensions. It’s kinda cool, but the whole discovery mechanism is clunky. I might like to experiment with some free or even free trial products, but there’s no way to filter on cost so finding them is a hassle. Also, there’s no way for community members to vote, rate or comment on the products in any way.
  • Nick Malik can’t answer the question “how does Enterprise Architecture demonstrate value?” I could be snarky and say “it doesn’t”, but that’s only half the answer. It doesn’t, but it should. My opinion, since you asked Nick, is that EA fails to deliver value because it tries to control the uncontrollable. Trying to gain efficiency thru establishing standards and eliminating overlap via reuse are pipe dreams, though literally millions of $$$ have been poured into those sink-holes. There are a few areas where centrally funded infrastructure projects can solve big problems that individual projects can’t effectively tackle on their own. EA should focus their time there, they can actually make a difference. Otherwise, they should stay out of project’s way.

Morning Coffee 146

  • The writers strike is officially over. Everyone goes back to work today. Thomas Cleaver has what I thought was the best post summarizing how the writers won. TV Guide has a rundown of how and when various shows will resume. I can’t wait to see Daily Show and Colbert Report tonight. Lost – aka the best show on TV – looks like it will be getting five more episodes (in addition to the eight shot before the strike).
  • Speaking of TV, Battlestar Galactica Fans: circle April 4th on your calendar.
  • Obama won all three “Potomac Primaries” yesterday, and is now the Democratic front-runner, though there’s a long way to go before the convention. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame has a great take on presidential experience – I’m guessing he’s an Obama fan.
  • In minor acquisition news, Microsoft is acquiringCaligari, makers of 3D modeling tool trueSpace. The Caligari folks are joining the Virtual Earth team, though I wonder what the XNA folks think of the acquisition. This isn’t the first 3D modeling product Microsoft ever acquired – we owned Softimage for four years in the ’90s.
  • Scott Hanselman and Tomas Resprepo both write about PowerShellPlus, which I saw week before last @ Lang.NET. Scott really likes it, for both PS novices and gurus, but Tomas thinks the UI is busy, based on the screenshots. Personally, I’m not doing much PS work lately – occasional one off stuff, but that’s it – so it doesn’t seem worth the effort.
  • Speaking of Scott & Tomas, Scott also has a nice gallery of VS themes. I’m partial to Tomas’ Ragnarok Grey. Is there a VSThemesGallery.com site somewhere?
  • Still speaking of Scott, he points to the new ASP.NET Developer Wiki (beta). I poked around, but didn’t find anything shiny. I was very surprised that searching for “MVC” returned no results.
  • Speaking of MVC, Scott Guthrie has a rundown on what’s coming in the MIX preview release of ASP.NET MVC. Biggest news IMO is that it’s /bin deployable – i.e. you don’t need your hoster to do anything special to support MVC (assuming they already support ASP.NET 3.5). Also big news, they’re releasing the source so you can build and patch (and enhance?) it yourself.
  • Chris Taveres continues is ObjectBuilder series and Tomas continues is DLR Notes series. BTW, my F# based DLR experimentation continues, albeit slowly (frakking day job). Hope to be able to post on this soon.
  • One of the things driving my interest in F# is manycore. An interesting tangent to manycore is general purpose programming on graphics processing units (aka GPGPU). MS Research just released a new version of Accelerator, just such a GPGPU system. I personally haven’t played with it – I’ve been focused on writing parsers, not parallel code.
  • Is XQuery really “a promising technology of the future” as Don Box suggests? I see exactly zero demand or use for it in my day-to-day work. Of course, Don’s paid to build future platform goo, so maybe it is promising and Don’s afore-mentioned goo will leverage it, though I remain skeptical. As for XML being “Done like a well-cooked steak”, I’d say XML is like a great steak cooked perfectly, except it’s done exactly how you don’t like it. You can appreciate its quality, but you don’t really enjoy it as much as you could have.

Morning Coffee 142 – Wishful Catchup Edition

  • After spending most of the last four days away from my desk, I was planning on a quiet day to catch up on a variety of things. Then I heard the oh-so-minor news that Microsoft is offering to buy Yahoo for almost $45 billion. Hasn’t been much reaction on the dev, architecture, politics and hockey-oriented blogs I read, but you can get a ton of reactions on TechMeme.
  • Lost is back. Finally. I stayed up late last night reading Lostpedia, catching up on Lost Missing Pieces and the Find 815 ARG.
  • Alex The Great had four goals and an assist in last night’s victory. Coughing up three goal lead and letting the Canadiens tie the game in the last 30 seconds isn’t encouraging, but a win is a win. The Caps are currently one game behind the SE leading Hurricanes and two games behind the current eight seed Rangers. Alex was named first star for January.
  • Ted Neward has a nice summary of Lang.NET by day: one, two and three. I wonder if my talk qualifies for the exception to Ted’s rule that “A blog is not a part of your presentation, and your presentation is not part of your blog”. I had 15 minutes to discuss something I’ve written about over ten posts  (so far).
  • John Lam points to the latest DLR hosting spec. I’m much more interested in the DLR code generator, but at least the hosting interface is documented.
  • Scott Hanselman has a nice post on fluent interfaces. Note to self, find out if Beautiful Soup works with IronPython.
  • I wonder if the VS Source Code Outliner PowerToy works with F#? (via Sam Gentile)
  • Chris Tavares has an extensive post Deconstructing ObjectBuilder? I’ve poked around inside OB before, but I’m really looking forward to Unity (also via Sam Gentile)
  • NVIDIA finally updated the drivers for the video card in my Tecra M4. That only took a year.

Morning Coffee 131

  • On a recommendation from my mother-in-law, I’ve been watching Torchwood. Sort of Men in Black, the series and set in Cardiff. Since it’s made in England, it’ll be one of the few shows still running in the new year due to the WGA strike.
  • A while back I pointed out that many DotNetKicks articles were submitted by their authors. I submitted a few of my own, just for kicks (har har), with mixed results. Today, I discovered that the parse buffer post from my Practical Parsing in F# series was submitted, picked up some kicks, and made it to the home page. That’s pretty cool. I guess writing more dev-focused articles is the way to go to get attention on DNK.
  • Amazon has rolled out a limited beta of SimpleDB, which appears to be S3 + query support. Cost is based on usage: 14¢/hour for machine utilization, 10¢/GB upload, 13-18¢/GB download and $1.50/GB storage/month. I’d love to see SimpleDB software that I could download and install, rather than hosted only. Even if I was going to use the hosted service, I’d like to develop against a non-hosted instance.
  • Research for sale! I was checking out the MS Research download feed and discovered a link to the Automatic Graph Layout (MSAGL) library. This was previously called GLEE (Graph Layout Execution Engine) and was “free for non-commercial use”. Now, you can buy it for $295 from Windows Marketplace (though the previous free version is still available). The idea of directly commercializing research like this strikes me as pretty unusual. It must be a really good library.
  • Scott Guthrie shows off the new Dynamic Data Support that will ship as part of the ASP.NET Extensions. I’m like, whatever. Scaffolding wasn’t that that interesting to me in RoR, so it’s no surprise that it’s not that interesting in ASP.NET.
  • Jeff “Party With” Palermo blogs about the IoC support in the new MVC Contrib project. Also looks like they’re porting RoR’s simply_restful. (via Scott Guthrie
  • I need to try out some of Tomas Respro’s VS color schemes (also via Scott Guthrie)

Morning Coffee 124

  • While my blog was down last week, I finally finished Gears of War. I played thru on hardcore, but had to throttle back to casual to beat the last boss. I’d like to try and finish on hardcore, but I’ve moved on to Dead Rising – another game from last year I never had time to finish. I’m almost done the main play mode, though I understand there are other play modes that get unlocked when you finish it.
  • I’m forbidden from buying any new games before Christmas, so Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed and The Orange Box will have to wait. My next game will either be Blue Dragon, which a friend let me borrow, or R6:Vegas, yet another (but the last) game from last year I never got time to play.
  • I’ll skip the “giving thanks” jokes and point out that Visual Studio 2008 and .NET FX 3.5 have shipped.  Soma has the announcement and both Scott Guthrie and Sam Gentile summarize what’s new. The Express editions are available from the new Express Developer Center. The VS SDK doesn’t appear to be released yet, but I’m sure it will be along in due course.
  • Speaking of VS SDK, CoDe Magazine did an entire issue on VS Extensibility which you can read online or download as PDF.
  • Nick Malik took a bunch of heat back in June for what some thought was a redefinition of Mort, one of the Developer Division personas. Now Paul Vick thinks it’s time to retire the Mort persona, primarily because of the negative connotation the name carries. His suggestion for a replacement is Ben (as in Franklin). And did you notice how similar Paul’s description of Mort is to what Nick described? I’d say some folks owe Nick an apology.
  • I said Friday I was going to take a closer look @ OpenID and OAuth. There’s an intro to OpenID on their wiki and Sam Ruby’s OpenID for non-SuperUsers seems to be the canonical source on implementing OpenID on your own blog. Frankly, reading the OpenID intro reminded me a lot of WS-Federation Passive Requestor Profile. Does OpenID have the equivalent of an “active” mode?
  • Likewise, the Beginner’s Guide to OAuth series of posts by Eran Hammer-Lahav is a good intro to OAuth. The phrase “Jane notices she is now at a Faji page by looking at the browser URL” from the protocol walkthru makes me worry that OAuth is vulnerable to phishing. Having one of the OAuth authors call phishing victims careless and wishing for Karl Rove to “scare people into being more careful and smarter about what they do online” makes me think my fears are well grounded. I’m thinking maybe OAuth and OpenID aren’t quite ready to nail down WS-*’s coffin.
  • In researching OpenID, I came across this presentation hosted on SlideShare. I had never seen SlideShare before – it’s kinda like YouTube for presentations. Sharing basic presentations is kinda lame – there doesn’t appear to be any animation support, so the slides are basically pictures. However, they also support “slidecasting” where you sync slides to an audio file hosted elsewhere. That I like. I have a bunch of old decks + audio, maybe I’ll stick them up there.