Archives / 2007 / September
  • MIX UK 07: Day 2 - .Net 3.5, New controls, Live Services.

    Tags: .NET 3.5, User Group

    MIX is over and this is the first of two posts covering the final day.  I am currently on the train home with my lappy in power saving mode, minimum CPU etc etc.  1.5 hours left so I should get enough time to say what needs to be said!

    Today I decided instead of going the main stream route all the way I would slip off to a smaller session.  After a chat with Scott Guthrie (!) I decided to miss the first of his two part session on VS 2008 and 3.5, I read most of the content on his blog and have been using VS 2008 since beta1 so decided I knew enough to miss it.  I attended a session titled "All Of Us Experience Design", the MIX website gave no info on it but I just fancied it (IronRuby does nothing for me!!), anyway, nothing like I expected, it was a company called "AllOfUs" showing off their design project (when I realised this I was a little pissed but more than anything I found it very funny!! and still do!)  Turned out this session was awesome, those guys at AllOfUs really do rock in the design world, not just in software but in general design project, take a look for yourself.

    Going back to the safety of main stream sessions I attended ScottGu's VS 2008 part 2, he covered some new controls like the DynamicDataSource and DynamicFilter.  He brushed over the new ListView control which I think deserves a great deal more, basically its like a gridview in terms of events that is throws but it outputs compliant CSS markup to the page. "Blimey" says I :)  Although I missed most of the LINQ stuff from part 1, he did discuss how to validate properties with LINQ, using partial classes and an OnValidate event handler (I am gonna have a play with that because we have started using the Enterprise library validation block in our framework)

    Live services part 2 was next, the main focus on this was using the Live authentication on your own site. This seems to be in early stages and needs some polishing before you can go full steam ahead with this.  They also showed of other API's and controls that the Live Services team have been working on, like access to messenger contacts.  I would go and check out to see more - that where they were directing us!  Again Angus Logan did a grand job of entertaining me!

    The day ended with a Sneak Peeks session - I am gonna leave that for a separate post, it deserves it!

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  • MIX UK 07: Sneak Peaks and Free Stuff!

    Tags: User Group

    The final session of Mix:UK 07 was a sneak peeks session.  This covered about 8 new things that we can expect to see from Microsoft and a partner or two.

    The pick of the bunch were (in my opinion):

    A product called SeaDragon that will be released as part of Silverlight 1.1 next year, its a way a handling/rendering/doing something with high res images so you can use very high res images in your Silverlight app to enable the user to zoom right in and still be clear without having huge performance overheads, not sure exactly of the magic going on here but something to do with it only downloading and rendering the part of the image that the user can see.

    Simon Peyton Jones from Microsoft Research in Cambridge stole the show really with a super fast and totally enthusiastic presentation on how MS are solving the problem of working with "in memory" data on different threads which is more poignant now that Intel are dedicated to more cores rather than faster cores.  This was seriously techy stuff.  Loved it.  The guy reminded me of Johnny Ball (those in the UK will know exactly what I mean - others, think the professor from Back to the Future - with less anger!)  Without going into great detail (I cant remember and didn't understand all of it) they solved the problem in the same way database guys do it with optimistic concurrency, try and log all the data writes, if OK, do it.  Look out for a new keyword atomic.

    Showed a real life (urm!) demo of Halo 3, someone actually playing it!  Looked pretty awesome, to be expected really though I think, I would have been surprised if I was anything but in awe.


    We got full retail copies of Expression Studio and Vista Ultimate - pretty awesome but I am a little gutted we didn't get Expression Encoder, this app got center stage in a couple of demo's and seemed that without it, video in Silverlight would be that little bit more difficult!

    Also got a disk with loads of trial software.

    Ohh....and a MIX T-Shirt!

    So, that's it.  MIX:UK is over, totally glad I went, learnt lots, met a couple cool peeps and its always good to get £100's worth of free software.


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  • MIX UK 07: Panel Discussion - Cloud versus Client

    Tags: User Group

    The final session yesterday was a panel of developers including ScottGu, Angus Logan, Danny Thorpe from MS and some guys from other companies associated with MS (sorry I forget there names, perhaps someone would be kind enough to leave them in the comment so I can add them in?!).

    This raised some interesting points regarding, single point of failure for all web applications (being the users connection), this was then a fall guy for things in the cloud never being "as good".  Points raised around security, like who owns the data I have stored in the cloud? Do google own my mail because they store them? What about passwords, who owns/what happens to my really sensitive data like banking login if the bank goes out of business, for example?

    Personally I am not so sure its a easy as Cloud versus Client, I believe in(and one of the panel raised this) that use the right tools for the right job.  When I worked in construction I had, and still do have, several different types of saw for cutting wood, each perfect for their own job, I could, given enough time cut a piece of 2x4 with a coping saw but not as good as I could with a regular saw.  I digress but you get my point!  Google docs is a cool app, can be handy, but it doesn't hold a candle to the feature set and usability of Word 2007.  Yes its "always online" (see single point of failure above) and its free but that's like saying "I prefer to drink tap water that bottled!". Yeah, nuts!



  • MIX UK 07 - Day One! Silverlight, hosting, Live Services and ants!

    Tags: .NET 3.5, AJAX, Personal, Silverlight, User Group

    Day one is over at MIX UK.  As my first experience of a Microsoft conference I must say I was not disappointed :) The conference opened with a keynote from George Moore and Scott Guthrie and lots of small demos from third party companies and the little apps they have developed using MS technologies, mainly Silverlight, which is the main theme of the conference, well day one at least!!

    In the first and second session I stayed with ScottGu and watched as he ripped through the power of silverlight, present and future.  As well as the basic XAML shapes and textblock, he covered some features of the *special* silverlight CLR.  He also stated that there will be a set of controls (50 was the quoted number!), from basic input controls like the Textbox to more advanced controls like the DataGrid - this for me as a business application developer is fantastic, I have enjoyed playing with Silverlight but didn't really have a "real life" use for it without the ability to databind to controls.  These will be distributed in a similar format to the AJAX Control Toolkit, with full source downloadable which is pretty cool.

    I have a silly little jotter pad I have written as my first silverlight application - I must post it up at some point.  I know, I am gonna get the FREE 4gb of silverlight hosting MS offer and then I'll post the link! You should check out the silverlight hosting - if you plan of hosting video in silverlight to stream then this will save you a fortune in bandwidth etc.  There are limits like only a 10min video can be uploaded (this is due to and MPEG licensing thing apparently - video is not my thing!) You can only upload 30MB at a time.  There is also a limit on the number of minutes streaming you can have but its very high!

    Next, I opted to go for the "Developing Next Gen Web Apps with Windows Live Services", this I regret, not because it wasn't good, Angus Logan and Danny Thorpe did a good job (Angus was pretty humorous) but I just knew most of what they demo'ed (Virtual Earth stuff), I guess I took the safe option as a pose to going to "A nice cup of tea and a sit down" which may or may not have involved interaction from myself - heaven forbid!

    Also didn't help being sat next to someone with an entire colony of blood sucking ants having a carnival in his pants, the chairs are linked together, it got a little hairy at times!!

    We'll see what tomorrow brings!  We have been advised to hang around till the end when swag bags will be distributed...but the contents are yet to be revealed!


  • No Javascript intellisense or colour in VS 2008 beta2

    Tags: .NET 3.5

    I just noticed that there was a serious problem with my javascript editor in VS 2008, goes to show how much JS I write! I have had VS 2008 installed since beta 1 :)

    Anyway, I had no intellisense or an colour at all, all the text was just black. After a little searching I found this blog post from the webdevtools blog.  You need to change a couple of values in the registry...


    "CodeBase"=file:///C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\\Common7\\IDE\\Microsoft.JScript.AuthoringServices.dll



    "CodeBase"=file:///C:\\Program Files\\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\\Common7\\IDE\\Microsoft.JScript.AuthoringServices.dll

    I then noticed after the above didn't work that I don't even have that file! ARGGHH!! :-|  Reading the comments on the above post I found out that this relates to upgrading from beta1 to beta2, they recommend to run the beta2 install again and hit repair but I found that copying that file from another install works just as well!!! And saved going through the rather time consuming repair process :)


  • Live Mail catching up : Mail in Outlook for Free

    Tags: Personal

    One of the biggest draw backs of using Live Mail versus Gmail, in my opinion, is that you cant use Outlook for Live Mail unless you pay for the premium services and paying for an email service seems nuts to me.

    This morning I was greeted with an email from Live Mail which had this in it...

    Windows Live Hotmail and Microsoft
 Office OutlookOutlook Connector Update to Windows Live Hotmail and you can manage your Hotmail account in Outlook – for free! With Outlook Connector, you can easily manage your Hotmail messages, folders, and contacts alongside your other e-mail accounts in Outlook 2003 and above.

    I installed in and it works a little like an IMAP folder in Outlook, which is OK because its nice to have separation between email accounts but why I could just choose to setup a POP3 or IMAP email account myself in outlook and Live Mail work (like Gmail) is still a mystery.  With the paid subscription you can sync and manage your Live Calendar, Notes and Tasks.

    After listening to a Podcast from Scott Hanselman on moving email into the cloud I did look into both Gmail domains and Live Mail Domains but didn't like "G Domains" because "iGoogle" is a considerable cut down version when using "G Domains", Live Domains however didn't have outlook access, problem solved MS, Cheers!