Thursday, September 28, 2006

Using Generic types in DataContracts

In a short post titled "DataContract names for Generic Types
", Sajay Antony provides a wonderfully useful snippet of code to allow you to use generics in your WCF data contracts. Short, sweet and useful.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Debugger bites man

In this blog entry, Anson Horton holds his hands up as being (at least partially) responsible for a feature of the VS debugger that is at once invaluable and incredibly frustrating - Function Evaluation.

He also describes the problem very clearly, which is an effective reminder about not writing code that can self-substantiate unless that is essential.

Of course, when you're writing complex OO architectures, self-substantiation is a real temptation - but with this clear reminder, it should be easier to spot those occasions when self-substantiating objects have masked the fault condition.

Required reading.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Plip does it again!

Wednesday saw another well-organised, interesting and informative VBUG event - this one a "SPECIAL NON-MEMBER EVENT" entitled "Flirting with AJAX with Gary Rowntree".

The location was once again QA Training in Stockport - a great little venue apart from the very hard seats!

Gary did a great intro to ATLAS - Microsoft's AJAX technology libraries - easing those who'd not played with it before through the concepts and basic techniques whilst fielding deep technical questions from others in the audience. Finishing the session off by writing a simple chat application from scratch was a definite crowd pleaser.

It was nice to be able to chat to other developers and guage their experiences with the technology, and I think that the informality of these events is a definite positive.

Kudos to Phil Winstanley (plip) for organising another event - the prize draw was a nice surprise, even if I did win the CodeZone hat. Still, my 20 month old, Daniel, thinks it's great!

Now when's the next one?

Footnote: This was written using Windows Live Writer running on Vista RC1. I'm such a beta-whore! :-)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Change is a-comin'

I've been watching the progress of Mono for a while now, but until quite recently it's not been feature-rich enough to support porting my ASP.Net projects.

In this blog entry, Miguel de Icaza highlights how SplendidCRM was ported in a couple of hours thanks to a VMWare image of a fully-configured Mono development environment.

This is something I'm going to HAVE to install and play with - being able to deploy ASP.Net web sites on Linux, or even better virtualised Linux instances is going to be a very cost-effective and scalable solution - particularly if you add Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud for dynamic scalability.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

ATLAS going mainstream (and other entertainment)

In this blog entry, Scott Guthrie gives us the low-down on Microsoft's plans for actually releasing ATLAS as a supported product. This can only be good news, as it means that the technology will now get 10 years of support from Microsoft. The only down side is that to accelerate the release schedule, what's currently available as two products (ATLAS and the ATLAS Control Toolkit) will get busted into 3 or more - the balancing act being that of having a slightly harder maintenance process versus much better support.

On a related note, I'm looking forward to the VBUG Special Non-Member Event at QA Training in Stockport tomorrow evening . Titled "Flirting with AJAX with Gary Rowntree", it promises to demonstrate how to develop an IM application using ATLAS.

I wonder whether anyone's done any worked examples of integrating intranet-based applications with Sharepoint, Communications Server et al for presence management and embedded communications - seems to me that this is exactly what "joined up" applications are about. If you're going to be at the event, give me a wave.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Visual Studio .NET 2005 Keyboard Shortcuts

In his blog, "mapo" (a Microsoft consultant) links to handy Visual Studio .NET 2005 Keyboard Shortcuts as well as to a macro to generate the printable crib-sheet.

This has been around for a while, but kudos to Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror for this handy helper. His "recommended reading" is excellent too - its contents will be gracing my Amazon wish-list shortly, and should do for any serious / professional developer. Although, as one commenter points out, it doesn't include the "Gang of Four" book, nor my recommendation, Howard & LeBlanc's Writing Secure Code.