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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

.NET: Whitehorse is Part of the Newly Announced Visual Studio 2005 Team System! 

Well, from my latest blog readings, it appears that everyone is at TechEd 2004. There has just been a huge amount to posts about the conference. But, here's the most important announcement that you'll see throughout the entire conference...

Whitehorse is shipping as the Architect and deployment pieces of the newly announced Visual Studio 2005 Team System. If you'd like to read an in-depth account of what that means check out this post by Keith Short.

Sitting at home; wishing I was in San Diego...

Friday, May 21, 2004

MISC: Learning Large Bodies of Code 

Matt Warren gives an excellent description of what it's like to learn and absorb large blocks of code into your mind. I can certainly relate to Matt's description and have felt the same way myself (I was never able to express the way he has though).

Once you reach a certain level of familiarity, it is almost like you can see the shape of the code (whether an app, component, library, ...) in your mind. I can't tell you how many times I've found and solved an error in my code while in the shower or driving home all without ever needing to run any tests on it. The scary part is that sometimes I don't actually remember the drive home.

BOOK: Wil's Latest Bookcover 

Check out the bookcover for Wil Wheaton's upcoming book -- called "Just A Geek" (you can even pre-order it on Amazon).

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

BOOK: Angels & Demons 

Although this one came before "The Da Vinci Code", I read "Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown afterwards. And, to my surprise, I actually like "Angels & Demons" even more than I liked "The Da Vinci Code" -- even if it is a more popular novel.

This book also features Robert Langdon, a symbology professor. This ones give a little more detail into his background and character development than the Da Vinci Code, in which it was glossed over.

Again, this was a fast paced novel. The pace kept things intriguing as Langdon sped through four different churches trying to stop the cardinals' assassinations. And, the art mysteries at every stop were good. The puzzles in this novel didn't seem as complex as the ones in Da Vinci, but they were still very entertaining. The least believable parts were that Langdon was able to survive three different encounters with the assassin. Each time, he should have probably been killed (at least most professors I know would have been :).

Brown did an excellent job of providing background for the church intrigue and the Illuminati. Let's face it, they're a great group to develop as the bad guys. And, all of the conspiracy theories around the Illuminati helps fill background information in people's minds. (also if you like Illuminati stories, check this out)

Also, Brown seems to like have extreme plot twists at the end of his books. I'm not sure if this one was more predictable than Da Vinci's twist (but I was able to see it coming) -- reading Da Vinci first may have put me on greater alert and expecting it though.

Overall, another good read by Dan Brown. And, as I said the background story and Vatican intrigue made it even more enjoyable for me than The Da Vinci Code. So, here's a question to other readers: are Brown's other two novels worth reading? Has anyone read those? And, if so, what do you think about them?

Monday, May 17, 2004

.NET: Objects and Components and Services, Oh My! 

Michael Platt talks about the differences between objects and components. I think he has a good defintion of the differences between objects and components. And, then applies the same analogy in comparing models and services.

There's been a lot of talk lately about model-driven development. And, there's no end to discussion about the forth-coming Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), so it would be most helpful if people kept these straight.

It looks like Mike likes to taunt other architects with these metaphysical questions.

HUMOR: What is Evil? 

Here's a very interesting "proof" (as in geometry proof) about what is really evil. Sure, it's sophomoric humor, but still quite fun...

[via Dave Winer's blog]

Sunday, May 16, 2004

.NET: Deconstructing ASMX and Whitehorse preview 

Don Box goes into great detail about the benefits and shortcomings of using ASMX to develop Web Services. It's a definite read for anyone working with ASMX today.

Also, Don mentions the upcoming features in Whidbey that will alleviate some of the problems with the development model for "contract-first" development of Web Services that currently exist. He even goes so far as to call Whitehorse "a fancy ASMX contract designer". Well, that's a large over-simplification of the Whitehorse feature set, but one of its designers will allow developers to design the contract for web services and their interaction with other components, services, and applications. And, it also goes on to generate all of the ASMX and language code for them. Here's some more information about the Whitehorse features.

Well, any mention of Whitehorse is better than none at all. So, being part of the Whitehorse team, I'm glad for Don's mention.

Friday, May 14, 2004

.NET: Auto-Incrementing Unique IDs in XML. 

Here is a good discussion by Sonu Kapoor on how to create auto-generated unique ids for XML files. There are lots of times when you're creating data files that you may run across this need to provide a unique id. This post has the C# code on how to do just that.

BLOG: RssBandit Reads Atom Feeds 

Well, I mentioned in a previous post that I was converting my Atom feed to RSS, so that news readers could handle them. I was told (thanks a lot Stephen) that the latest release of RssBandit now supports reading Atom feeds as well as RSS. This is great news. I just installed the new build, and it works beautifully.

I know some of the other news aggregators also read Atom, and hopefully the rest will follow suit by providing the ability to read both. That way, whichever feed format is published doesn't really matter. And, we can stop seeing the endless flood of blog posts about which one is better.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

MISC: Unexpected Results from Open Source Projects 

People have been touting the benefits of open source development projects for quite some time now. However, they like to present a rosy picture that all in the open source projects is great. Although there are some very attractive aspects to open source (like the price is right and developing solutions faster by extending and using an existing codebase), there are other pieces that open source developers don't like to talk about. Here is a blog about some examples of things that aren't discussed some times:

  • The myth that the community will fix the bugs in a project. The study found that there is a core group of developers who fix most of the bugs (about 70-80%) in an open source project. The vast majority of users just report bugs that are fixed by the core (which is very similar to the way closed source products work). This is because most people on the periphery don't have the necessary debugging skills and architectural knowledge to fix the bugs themselves.

  • Open source projects are not more maintainable. The study tracks some code usage and patterns in several projects and finds that over time they could end up even less maintainable and more tightly-coupled than paid products.

Remember there's a cost for everything. The only question is how much and when you pay it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

BLOG: Blogger's New Features 

Well, I 've had a chance to try out a couple of Blogger's new features, and all seems to be going well so far. The new Comments feature works really well. You can set that on in the Settings tab by selecting the Comments link tab (and then updating you blog template to include the comments tags). Like other comments services, it allows your users to leave to their thoughts about your post. I like having the option to allow anyone to comment or only those that sign in. This provides a slight barrier for folks out there that just want to do bad things in the comments. Here are a couple of helpful topics on getting Blogger comments working:
Adding comments to posts
Removing old comments services

Another feature I really like is having a single page per post, which is hidden in the Archiving settings page. That way when a reader clicks on a permalink of yours (where on a webpage link or from news aggregators), they go to a page just for that post. This integrates very well with comments because all of the comments associated to that post are also shown. I like this so much, I made all of the titles on my posts hot, so they could link to the single post page.

Also, there are lots of new templates for blogs. I'm sure people on Blogger will be moving over to some of these new looks and making up even more of their own.

Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad -- or at least other things that I would like to see. Comments are only turned on for new posts not old ones in my blog, so readers can't go to old posts and add comments. Actually, I can turn this on if I go repost each post, but I don't have the patience for that.

Also, there is still no RSS support. We get Atom instead. I'm sure it's a fine syndication format, but my news aggregator (RssBandit) only supports RSS, so I'm left having to use a third party service to do the conversion. I really wish Blogger would allow you to post both. Dave Winer talks about this a bit on his blog, but he didn't mention that there are conversion services like 2Rss that will convert it for you.

Oh yeah, and I couple of other minor things. I really like the new Blogger image (find it in my navigation panel), but the new "I Power Blogger" tag-line has just enough marketing crud to make me want to hurl.

Monday, May 10, 2004

BLOG: Testing Blogger Comments 

The new Blogger release includes a comments feature. This post is just a test to see if it works.

It looks like the Comments feature is up and running. I'm switching over to use their comments service rather than the third party one that I've used to this point, so the comments on my old blog posts will no longer appear.

If this doesn't work out, I may switch back to the old service I was using.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

.NET: New Developments for WinForms 2.0. 

There's been quite a few interesting posts in the last week about new functionality coming for WinForms 2.0. That's pretty exciting because I'm a big fan of WinForms for writing Windows client applications, and I spend a lot of time at work doing just that -- plus some of my "free" time too. So, here are a couple of links that I ran across in some blogs:

Winforms designed code and C# partial classes
In Whidbey, the WinForms designer takes advantage of a new C# language feature called “partial classes”. This allows them to pull out the designer generated code into a separate file. This will be great because it will separate and hide the code that's produced by the WinForms code generation.

The WinForms team has posted screenshots and overviews of some new features in WinForms 2.0. There's a lot of good new features coming, so have a quick look at what to expect.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

BLOG: OneNote Will Import OPML. 

Dave Winer is commenting on Microsoft's OneNote importing OPML in its next version. It's actually nice to hear him give Microsoft some credit for adopting existing formats and standards rather than starting from scratch. He even goes so far as to hold that up as an example that Google should follow. That's quite a different tone from the way Microsoft is portrayed (not necessarily by Dave, but just on the Net in general).

XBOX: Doom 3 Only on the XBox. 

It looks like Id Software the makers of Doom have announced that Doom 3 will be exclusively released for the XBox. That's really great news for the XBox. It's finally starting to make some real in-roads against PS2, and it looks like some title developers are starting to notice. I can't wait to play Doom 3 with some friends on XBox Live -- that will be awesome.

[via Scoble's blog]