November 30, 2004
Visual Studio Team System: What's an Admin to do?
So here's basically what a VSTS install looks like:
The clients have Visual Studio 2005. The App Server has a bunch of stuff, including ADAM, IIS, Sharepoint, etc. The back-end is a SQL 2005 with a number of databases that support Team Foundation Server. All this runs inside of a domain (so I'm guessing if you're a dev working from home, you would have to RAS in to connect to your foundation server).
One question: How do you "backup" Team System? I know this is really early, and the VSTS functionality isn't nearly baked yet, but I'm very curious what's being planned for administrator tools to manage all of this. Also, what's being planned to train administrators to keep all this up and running?
November 27, 2004
Tech Blender Report - 2004.11.27
And the Winners Are: Mike Gunderloy serves up the best links submitted by his readers. Lots of great stuff.
Microsoft gets serious about good code: I was already pretty upset about the "This had better just be a prototype." compiler warning that VS 2005 is always throwing at me, but now with an exception like this, I think I'll just have to hang up my keyboard for good.(via Kieran Lynam)
Living la-vida Outlook: If you're like me, Outlook essentially is your shell. Shawn Morrisey recently experienced the forcing function of leaving your InBox to it's own devices for a week, and presents a short review of various tools that will let you reign in the savage beast.
SCOAB: One problem with Smart Client development is the synchronization of data. Another is the queuing of messages when you're offline. Rick Childress talks about how the latter is solved with the Smart Client Offline Application Block. (I'm still looking for a great solution to the former)
November 25, 2004
Tech Blender Report - 2004.11.25
Plugins to the Google Deskbar: Jonathan Wells points to the Google Deskbar API, which lets you write add-ins using .NET.
Amnesty International: Chris Sells also points to a Microsoft program that would give amnesty to people who are running pirated copies of XP (and would provide them with licensed copies). It seems Microsoft wants to hold the OEMs responsible who sold the machines, but not the end users who bought them.
November 23, 2004
For a second, I thought
Enterprise Performance Tool: I love the open to this article, "Fast code is still in vogue"
Hidden VS2005 Feature: Guidelines (via Sara Ford)
Allen Stewart blogs on: to talk about SOA, DSI, and Infrastructure Security.
Broadband penetration reaches 20% of US households.
Stuart Celarier has a blog
Stuart has a big brain, and uses the whole thing. I'm looking forward to what he blogs about.
Using AI for Recognition on the Tablet
Interesting article about converting strokes to waveforms, and then recognizing them using a neural network.
November 22, 2004
No refactoring for VB.NET: Is it really that big of a deal?
I've been reading a lot about VB and refactoring, and here are some of the more interesting blog posts I've seen on the subject.
Lack of refactoring means that Microsoft isn't serious about VB for enterprise development.
Makes the statement that VB.NET isn't ready for the enterprise (although I don't think Sam has ever been a huge VB fan)
"Refactoring is one of important thing for creating literate code. VB.net must have it... Maybe even instead of EnC..."
Ok, after reading about this for a while now, I've come to the conclusion that this is mass hysteria much more than substance. The last comment really cinched it for me. The tone is that refactoring is just absolutely critical, especially when it comes to writing "enterprise" code, almost to the point where it's impossible to do good coding without refactoring.
Just one question, is anyone writing good .NET code today?
Are you refactoring, even though the IDE doesn't currently have explicit support for it? By the outcry, one would have to surmise that it's really impossible to write enterprise code with today's tools.
The thing that really surprises me isn't that VB developers are upset that they don't have refactoring. In fact, I have to wonder if it's really people who primarily develop in VB.NET who are doing most of the complaining. What really surprises me is that C# developers are so satisfied with the list of refactorings that they're getting compared to, say, this.
Look, when .NET 1.0 came out, there was all this ranting about VB not having XML comments, or unsigned types (which aren't CLS compliant). This was apparently, the end of the world. However, now that VB.NET is getting those, I just haven't seen a lot of "OMG, I'm so glad I'll have XML comments and unsigned types. I'm just counting the days until Whidbey ships because I can barely stand to get up each morning without them." Yes, they'll be nice to have, but people have been writing a lot of VB.NET code without them just fine.
In the end, I don't think lack of refactoring will kill people as much as the current clatter would indicate. Would it be nice? Sure. Would I trade E&C for it? Absolutely not. Would I trade My for it? Again, no, as My makes many developers instantly more productive.
Final question. How long are you willing to delay the shipment of Whidbey to get refactoring? As I spend more and more time in Whidbey (in VB.NET, without refactoring), it gets progressively more painful to go back and use VS 2003. There's so much goodness in Whidbey, it's hard to quantify. Ship it.
Tech Blender Report - 2004.11.22
Using Avalon with the Express SKUs: If you want to use the Express SKUs with the new WinFX (Avalon) CTP, then you should check out this workaround for a known issue.
Avalon only for XP and Windows Server 2003: Mary Jo points out that the WinFX (Avalon) CTP only works on WIndows XP and Windows Server 2003 (not currently any of the Longhorn builds.) That makes sense, as you can't exactly replace the .NET Framework, willy-nilly, on an operating system that depends on it.
Installing Visual Studio Team System Saravana list 10 important things to note before you start.
A conversation on the factory floor: Software factories: a conversation with Ward Cunningham and Jack Greenfield.
SDL Landscape: Christopher Bowen has a great list of tools that he says will be affected by VS2005 and/or Visual Studio Team System. Honestly, this is just a great list of software development lifecycle tools. (via Scooter)
What would the world do without Sysinternals? Sriram Krishnan uses a number of tools to figure out much of how Google Desktop Search works.
Tech Blender Report - 2004.11.21
GOTO: A fun post (and comment) about GOTO in various .NET languages.
MSBuild today: Something I missed, but this tool is a wrapper for devenv that lets you do command line builds. Best thing, the syntax is apparently being kept compatible with MSBuild.
What's the difference: between XAML, Avalon, and Aero. Tim Sneath explains.
November 20, 2004
Refactoring in VB
It's official, there will be no Act of Soma coming that will get refactoring into VB for Whidbey.
So, since the VB.NET team has some extra time to put in thinking about refactoring, I have some suggestions on how it could be made more VB-like than the C# implementation.
To some degree, right-clicking on code to get a refactoring menu is a little clunky (voice in my head says "Jeeze, Mr. Swigart, Whidbey hasn't even shipped, C# refactoring rocks, and already you're complaining!" Hey, you sound a lot like that voice that said "Go ahead, stick your pinkie in the electric pencil sharpener. It will be fun.") So complaining I am. How about:
- Right-clicking on code to factor it out and make it a method is fine, but I would like to be able to just high-light code, and drag/drop it to a file in the solution explorer (or class designer). In other words, maybe drag code out of a form, and onto a class. You get prompted for a name, and the call gets inserted in the code. Also, maybe it's smart enough to look at the code you're dragging, figure out what variables it's using, and automatically have those passed in as arguments. (Background compiler to the rescue again?). A lot of time, I prototype right in Form1, figure out how to get it to work, and then pull everything out of the form, and put it into classes.
- Auto-detect duplicate code. Let's just say that some programmers copy and paste a little excessively. If the IDE could detect that exactly the same code block was in multiple places, and recommend that you factor that out, it would do a lot for the casual (non-professional) developer.
- Maybe when you declare a field, a smart-tag appears that lets you turn it into a property. Or better yet, just have a syntax like:
Public Property UserName as String
And, it generates the private backing field automatically with compiler magic.
- I'd also like to be able to move one class from one project to another, and have all the namespace stuff fixed, and references added as needed.
Anyone else have any ideas for refactoring that would have more of a VB feel?