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Scott Dorman Microsoft MVP, Software Architect, Developer, Author July 2008 Entries
Reminder: July 2008 Tampa Bay IASA Meeting
Just a reminder that the Tampa Bay IASA March meeting is tonight starting at 6:30 PM. We have a great group of members with a variety of experience, so bring your architecture problems and leverage those experiences and creativity to help solve them. This is an open discussion format and depending on how many people we have and how many problems we may split up into small groups or try to solve problems one at a time. When & Where: Thursday, July 31, 2008 from 06:30 PM - 08:30 PM (ET) Kforce ......

Posted On Thursday, July 31, 2008 11:23 AM

Windows Vista UX Guidelines and Visual Studio
Whether you like Vista or not, the user interface aspects of the operating system are here to stay. Overall, I think Microsoft did a good job with the core interface guidelines, as presented in the Windows Vista User Experience Guidelines. From the guidelines, The goals for these official Windows Vista® User Experience Guidelines (or "UX Guide" for short) are to: Establish a high quality and consistency baseline for all Windows Vista-based applications. Answer your specific user experience questions. ......

Posted On Friday, July 25, 2008 9:50 AM

Outlook Connector
The last time I wrote about the Outlook Connector it was to talk about the lack of Calendar synchronization and the fact that a new version of the connector was in internal Microsoft testing. I am happy to announce that the new version is out of internal testing and is available as a public beta. This new version synchronizes with your Windows Live Hotmail or Microsoft Office Live Mail accounts, including e-mail, contacts and calendars. I installed the new version and so far it works great. It remembered ......

Posted On Thursday, July 24, 2008 8:38 PM

Updated Outlook Macro for Creating Meetings from an Email
Only a few hours ago I posted and Outlook macro for creating meetings from an email. I’ve already updated it with some new features (requested by me, of course). The new version is available on my SkyDrive account and has the following new features: You can now create either a meeting or an appointment – there are two macros now. The reminder time has been changed to 10 minutes (bug fix). The original email message is now an attachment, which means the body of the appointment or meeting is blank. ......

Posted On Sunday, July 20, 2008 11:48 PM

When Should You Use WPF?
It’s pretty clear that Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is here to stay. In fact, use of WPF is becoming more popular and frequent, particularly now that Silverlight 2.0 is on the horizon. The problem is that there has been very little guidance available to help you decide when to use the various UI technologies available. There is however, some unofficial help in the form of this blog post and this white paper. Here is the comparison matrix from Michael’s blog post: WPF WPF XBAP Silverlight ......

Posted On Sunday, July 20, 2008 1:52 PM

Historical Evolution of C# Code Style
Jason Allor, the developer behind the Microsoft StyleCop tool has an excellent blog post about the historical evolution of C# code style. The post came about largely in response to some criticisms about the code style enforced by StyleCop and how it doesn’t match C/C++ style or that it differs in some areas with the Framework Design Guidelines. As Jason points out, most of the differences are historical and are there because the of two reasons: The original development team for the CLR consisted ......

Posted On Sunday, July 20, 2008 1:32 PM

Shared Projects and Solutions between Visual Studio 2008 and 2005
There are still a large number of developers that have both Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 installed on the same machine and probably an even larger number of development teams that use a mixture of VS 2008 and 2005. DJ Park, one of the PM's on the Visual Studio team has a great blog post that explains the possibilities and limitations of using solutions and projects between both versions of Visual Studio. To quickly summarize: Solutions created in Visual Studio 2008 cannot be opened in Visual Studio ......

Posted On Sunday, July 20, 2008 12:17 PM

Outlook Macro for Creating Meetings from an Email
I just came across a post by Michael S. Scherotter about his Outlook macro to create an Outlook appointment from an email message. This is a feature that Outlook really should have, and this macro fills that gap very nicely. I cleaned up the code a bit and made some improvements to Michael’s original version: The appointment type is now set to “Meeting” by default so it shows the participants. The Importance and Sensitivity are now set based on the corresponding property in the email. The Busy Status ......

Posted On Sunday, July 20, 2008 12:07 PM

Consolas for a Command Prompt
This actually came out a while ago, but if you like the Consolas font that ships with Vista and Office 2007 you can change the Command Prompt (CMD.EXE) settings to allow you to use Consolas. If you don’t have Consolas installed, you can download from the Microsoft Download Center. In order to add Consolas to the list of fonts available for the Command Prompt, you need to run the following command (run this in an elevated command prompt in Vista): reg add "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWAR... ......

Posted On Sunday, July 20, 2008 9:40 AM

PDC for Novices, 2008 Edition
I started doing these a few years ago for Tech·Ed (2008 and 2007) and received a lot of good feedback so I decided to continue the series for PDC as well. Session Types This year PDC is offering a slightly different mix of session types with what they are calling “UnSessions”. The bottom line is that UnSessions are everything that isn’t an official breakout session. If you’re still a bit confused, keep reading to see the differences. There may be some other session types once the schedule has been ......

Posted On Saturday, July 19, 2008 2:51 PM

Twitter is an interesting phenomenon. I first started using it in April at the MVP Summit. Since then, as anyone who is following me has seen, my use has been intermittent at best. The biggest reason is that I haven’t found a Twitter client that I liked that allowed me to use Twitter in a way that was not only natural (at least for me) but from within tools that I was already using and in front of me. The other day I decided to download OutTwit and have found it to fit almost all of my needs. There ......

Posted On Saturday, July 19, 2008 11:32 AM

Product Review: uCertify PrepKit
I recently took a look at the PrepKit offerings from uCertify. If you aren’t familiar with uCertify, they make practice exams and test preparation packages for a pretty extensive range of IT certifications including Microsoft, Oracle, CompTIA, Cisco, and Sun. The interesting thing about the uCertify PrepKit is that they are completely exam/quiz oriented. You can download a trial version of the PrepKit which includes 30 questions and then purchase the full PrepKit directly from within the “PrepEngine”. ......

Posted On Saturday, July 19, 2008 11:08 AM

PDC 2008
I just registered for Microsoft PDC 2008 in LA, October 27-30. This will be my second PDC and the first one I’ve been to as an MVP. There are supposed to be a lot of really interesting things announced at this one, so it should be an exciting time. I know I will be at the Party with Palermo on October 26, and there will probably be a Florida (and Friends of Florida) MVP geek lager one night as well. Not sure what else is going on, but if you’re going look me up. Technorati Tags: PDC ......

Posted On Friday, July 18, 2008 4:41 PM

Visual Studio 2008 and TargetFrameworkVersion
A question was asked yesterday in one of the CodeProject discussion forums by someone looking for a way to easily change the Target Framework version of all projects in a solution. If you don’t know, the Target Framework version is what tells the compiler which version of the .NET Framework to compile against (more information is available here) and can be set to one of the following values: .NET Framework 2.0 .NET Framework 3.0 .NET Framework 3.5 This can be easily accomplished by editing the project ......

Posted On Friday, July 18, 2008 12:36 PM

Developer Tools
I recently went through the exercise of reinstalling all of my developer tools on my home development system. This involved uninstalling everything, including Visual Studio and SQL and then reinstalling. While this wasn’t exactly a painless experience, it was good to get back to a relatively clean slate and re-evaluate all of the various tools and add-ins I’ve accumulated. I posted a similar list about 2 1/2 years ago, so it’s interesting to see what’s changed in that time. This time, I’m just listing ......

Posted On Thursday, July 17, 2008 12:05 AM

Microsoft and monetizing developer products
I’m catching up on blog posts and saw this one from Brian Harry about the TFS Power Tools and Software Assurance. In that post he asks “How are Power Tools monetized?” and goes on to mention that there is a possibility that the power tools will become a paid feature and part of the Software Assurance (SA) program. My response (which I tried to post as a comment, but since it didn’t save I’m turning it into this blog post instead) is this: Absolutely not! While I understand the desire to monetize ......

Posted On Sunday, July 13, 2008 9:38 AM

Standard and Custom Format Strings
I was recently asked by a co-worker what the format string was for formatting a DateTime object in an ISO 8601 format. The way to do this is passing a format string to the ToString() method on the DateTime object. The question becomes, what is that format string? There are two ways to do this: DateTime.Now.ToString(“yyyy... DateTime.Now.ToString(“o”) At this point, you might ask how you would know to use the “o”. This information is available through MSDN, but it ......

Posted On Friday, July 11, 2008 2:57 PM

Tampa Bay IASA – July 2008 Meeting
"Fix the Architecture" - Open Discussion We have a great group of members with a variety of experience, so bring your architecture problems and leverage those experiences and creativity to help solve them. This is an open discussion format and depending on how many people we have and how many problems we may split up into small groups or try to solve problems one at a time. If you have a question/topic to discuss please let me know by Monday, July 21 or when you register for the meeting. After the ......

Posted On Sunday, July 6, 2008 10:56 AM

Null Object pattern follow up
My earlier post on the Null Object pattern led to a few critiques about the fact that I was presenting an extension method to do what is essentially a very simple logical test, and, as a result, doesn’t provide much value. For reference, here is the original extension method from that post public static class NullObjectExtenstions { public static bool IsNull(this object source) { return (source == null); } } Yes, this is an extremely simple method and performs a very basic logical test. However, ......

Posted On Friday, July 4, 2008 9:51 AM

What is “Defensive Programming”?
My post on the Null Object pattern has generated some interesting dialog. One of the trends that I have seen is the idea that defensive programming means your code should fail as early as possible. I couldn’t agree less. According to Wikipedia, Defensive programming is a form of defensive design intended to ensure the continuing function of a piece of software in spite of unforeseeable usage of said software. The idea can be viewed as reducing or eliminating the prospect of Murphy's Law having effect. ......

Posted On Friday, July 4, 2008 9:26 AM

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