October 2009 Entries
So long Microsoft Office Accounting…

It seems that the financial software business at Microsoft is slowly being pushed off the cart. First they discontinue Microsoft Money and now, according to a PC Pro article, Microsoft Office Accounting is getting the boot as well. I found this quote on the Microsoft Office Accounting page:

“Microsoft Office Accounting will no longer be distributed after November 16, 2009.”

I’ll admit its been a while since we did any custom development work using the Microsoft Office Accounting developer tools but still, I am a bit disappointed to see it go. I’m sure the existing customer base and organizations that specialized in helping customers use it are not going to be happy about this.

Have a day. :-|

Posted On Friday, October 30, 2009 10:59 AM | Comments (1)
Microsoft is opening the Outlook .PST format to developers

From this blog post:

"In order to facilitate interoperability and enable customers and vendors to access the data in .pst files on a variety of platforms, we will be releasing documentation for the .pst file format. This will allow developers to read, create, and interoperate with the data in .pst files in server and client scenarios using the programming language and platform of their choice. The technical documentation will detail how the data is stored, along with guidance for accessing that data from other software applications. It also will highlight the structure of the .pst file, provide details like how to navigate the folder hierarchy, and explain how to access the individual data objects and properties."


Have a day. :-|

Posted On Tuesday, October 27, 2009 1:02 PM | Comments (0)
Silverlight Toolkit October 2009 Released

The Silverlight Toolkit October 2009 release was posted on CodePlex this week. You will find a complete list of changes between the October 2009 release from the July 2009 release here. Among the significant changes are support for Visual Studio 2010 and drag & drop support.

Have a day. :-|

Posted On Thursday, October 22, 2009 9:23 AM | Comments (0)
CSS Designed for Readability or Excuses Not to Comment Your Code

I saw a link to this article (5 Rules To Write More Readable CSS Files) on Twitter this morning, checked it out, and felt the need to share, so here I am sharing. :-)

It also reminded me of a funny full-page ad I tore out of a programming magazine many years ago that listed excuses for not commenting your programming code. I think the ad was for an COBOL comments generator or some type of utility like that. I’m sure I kept that magazine page and have it somewhere around here but where it is today is escapes me. Anyway, I’ve remembered some of the excuses. While I’m sure I haven’t got these word-for-word correct, you’ll get the gist. Anybody else remember seeing the ad in question?

Excuses Used to Avoid Commenting Code

1) I’ll be on this project forever, I promise. I won’t grow tired of it, I won’t wish I was working on something else, or decide to go find a better paying job. I promise.

2) I’ll add comments after we get the project completed and into production.

3) Comments are for sissies and wussies.

4) Don’t worry, its my code so I’m sure I'll remember exactly what it does and the reasons why I wrote it the way I did.

5) Once this project is complete this code won’t ever need to be changed.

6) Management pays me to write code, not comments.

And lastly my favorite:

7) My code is so intuitively crafted and self-documenting that anyone having trouble understanding it might want to consider another line of work.

Wow, that last one almost applies to my code… almost. :-)

Do you have any others to add to the list? Have you ever gotten out of commenting code by using any of these??

Have a day. :-|

Posted On Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:09 AM | Comments (0)
Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit

Wow, this looks like a fantastic learning resource for coming up to speed with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2.

Yeah, I’m lazy and just grabbed the following text from the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit page:

“The Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit includes presentations, hands-on labs, and demos. This content is designed to help you learn how to utilize the Visual Studio 2010 features and a variety of framework technologies including:

  • C# 4.0
  • Visual Basic 10
  • F#
  • Parallel Extensions
  • Windows Communication Foundation
  • Windows Workflow
  • Windows Presentation Foundation
  • ASP.NET 4
  • Windows 7
  • Entity Framework
  • ADO.NET Data Services
  • Managed Extensibility Framework
  • Visual Studio Team System

This version of the Training Kit works with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 and .NET Framework 4 Beta 2.”

You can download VS 2010 B2 here.

Have a day. :-|

Posted On Tuesday, October 20, 2009 6:40 PM | Comments (0)
Simplicity comes to the Visual Studio 2010 SKUs and its about time

Before I can get into the meat of this post I need to make sure you’re up to date on a couple items:

Item 1: In case you missed the news yesterday, Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 was released for download. You can get it here.

Item 2: Microsoft has announced that VS 2010 will be released on March 22, 2010.

What I think is one of the more significant items to come out of this announcement is that Microsoft has simplified the product marketing structure for Visual Studio 2010. Instead of the myriad ( yeah, I said myriad! :-) ) of choices with prior versions of MSDN and Visual Studio, customers will be able to choose from three versions of Visual Studio 2010 with MSDN. What is also significant is this quote taken from Soma’s blog posting announcing VS 2010 B2:

Team Foundation Server is now included in all versions of Visual Studio 2010 with MSDN.  For small teams that need only core development features such as source control, bug tracking, and build automation, TFS Basic offers a simple, streamlined install and runs on server or client machines.

This is fantastic news! I think Microsoft has overlooked smaller dev teams in the past by pricing Team Foundation Server out of their reach. I am very pleased to see that TFS Basic has been created to provide small dev teams with the source control, bug tracking and build automation tools they need.

Here are the three versions of VS 2010 to choose from:

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate

This the “yeah, it’s in there” version. It includes a comprehensive suite of application lifecycle management tools for teams to ensure quality results from design to deployment.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium is a complete toolset for developers to deliver scalable, high quality applications.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional is the essential tool for basic development tasks to allow developers to implement their ideas easily.

Head over to the Visual Studio Products Roadmap page for feature details on each of the three versions. I welcome the marketing changes and think it will make selecting the right version of Visual Studio much easier for developers.

Update: Here is another page outlining the differences between the three VS 2010 versions. Check out the “Compare 2010 Products” tab.

Have a day. :-|

Posted On Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:28 AM | Comments (0)
Toolbox Essentials for a Web Developer – Your Suggestions?

Imagine some newbie or junior web developer walks up to you and says, “What tools would you suggest I use to become a better web developer?” Assuming they’re already using either Visual Studio or Web Developer Express, what utilities or resources do you find indispensible for working with ASP.NET or just web development in general? Maybe you have a favorite online resource site that you recommend, Stack Overflow for example, or maybe you have a favorite utility like Chris Pederick’s Web Developer browser extension toolbar. I’ll start the list with a few of my own and based on responses from the web developer community I’ll continually update this post to reflect the input from you.

Firebug:  Firebug integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.  Great online resource for learning web technologies like HTML, XHTML, CSS and much more.

StackOverflow: Stack Overflow is a collaboratively edited question and answer site for programmers – regardless of platform or language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Web Developer Browser Extension: The Web Developer extension adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with various web developer tools.

jQuery: jQuery is a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development. The website says “jQuery is designed to change the way that you write JavaScript.” I’ll revise that to say that JQuery WILL change the way you write JavaScript.

Fiddler: Fiddler is a Web Debugging Proxy which logs all HTTP(S) traffic between your computer and the Internet. Fiddler allows you to inspect all HTTP(S) traffic, set breakpoints, and "fiddle" with incoming or outgoing data.

ELMAH: ELMAH (Error Logging Modules and Handlers) is an application-wide error logging facility that is completely pluggable. It can be dynamically added to a running ASP.NET web application, or even all ASP.NET web applications on a machine, without any need for re-compilation or re-deployment.

So what are your favorite utilities or must visit websites?

If you’re sitting there thinking “what? how could he not mention [insert name here]?” then shoot me a comment and I’ll get your suggestion added to the list. Got a problem with one of my suggestions? Let me know that too!

Have a day. :-|

Posted On Monday, October 19, 2009 9:28 AM | Comments (0)
Visual Studio Documentary – The History of Visual Studio on Channel 9

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for the last week or so and I’m finally getting to it. Ever wonder where Visual Studio and the rest of the Microsoft development tools like Visual Basic, C++, and so on got their start? A two-part Visual Studio Documentary on Channel 9 pulls back the curtains on the history of your favorite development environment going waaaay back in time to the beginning. You’ll see interviews with Microsoft employees and industry veterans as they recount their memories of the early days of Visual Basic, Visual Studio, and .NET. This is a very worthwhile and interesting look back at where things used to be and how we got to where we are now. I highly recommend you check it out.

Have a day. :-|

Posted On Sunday, October 18, 2009 10:20 PM | Comments (0)
How Do Your .NET Applications Know If They’re Running Under Windows 7?

Sometimes it’s the little things that seem to drive ya nuts while developing an application. This is a follow up post to a my How Do Your .NET Applications Know if They're Running Under Vista? post from September 2008.
There are features in Windows 7 that are NOT available in earlier versions of Windows so there may be times when you need to know what OS your application is running under. Determining the OS version is as simple as checking a few properties on the the System.Environment.OSVersion object. For Windows 7 you will want to confirm the build number as well as the major and minor version values.

If System.Environment.OSVersion.Version.Build >= 7600 And 
    System.Environment.OSVersion.Version.Major >= 6 And 
    System.Environment.OSVersion.Version.Minor >= 1 Then 
     ‘Windows 7 specific code here
End If 
Seems simple enough.
Have a day. :-|

Posted On Sunday, October 18, 2009 1:07 PM | Comments (0)
Windows 7 Developer Learning Resources on Channel 9

If you’re looking to jumpstart your Windows 7 developer skills then check out the Windows 7 Developer Learning Resources available on Channel 9. You’ll find videos, hands-on labs, and real-world coding samples to help you ramp up your skills on the new developer features in Windows 7.

Have a day. :-|

Posted On Sunday, October 18, 2009 11:29 AM | Comments (0)
ASP.NET MVC - Why, How & What Videos (and other resources)

If you’re a web developer using Microsoft technologies then, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’ve probably heard of ASP.NET MVC.

If you’re not sure what it is, how it works, or why you would want to consider using it, you’ll find three videos on the ASP.NET MVC page that will answer most, if not all, of your questions.

Video #1, titled “Why Use ASP.NET MVC?”, is a 3 minute video which provides a high-level overview of ASP.NET MVC for decision-makers. I especially like the motor cycle / minivan comparison between ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Webforms. Take a look at this one and then show it to management if you’re ready to move to ASP.NET MVC.

Video #2, titled “Technical Overview”, is a 10 minute short overview of what it's like to work with ASP.NET MVC. This one will walk you through creating a new ASP.NET MVC project, working with a data model, creating views, and creating the controllers to feed those new views. This one will give you just an enough insight into working with ASP.NET MVC to get you ready for the video #3.

Video #3, titled, “Technical Deep Dive”, is a 1 hour and 20 minute in-depth tutorial on building an application with ASP.NET MVC. In this video you learn the basics of and cover issues such as Unit Testing, Javascript (using jQuery), and how to use the new tooling features for Visual Studio 2008 which are installed with the ASP.NET MVC project templates.

I think you will find these three videos will give you the jumpstart you’ll need to start working with ASP.NET MVC.  Once you’ve worked your way through these 3 then you’re ready to checkout the additional learning resources available at the ASP.NET MVC learning page.

If you’re more of a “give me something to read” kind of developer then check out this nearly 200 page FREE PDF which walks through the site.

Ok, you’ve got plenty to keep you busy learning ASP.NET MVC so get going!

Have a day. :-|

Posted On Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:19 PM | Comments (2)