Articles from March 2007

Visual Studio Pro Gains Unit Testing

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:07 PM :: 966 Views :: .NET :: Digg it!
Looks like Visual Studio Professional will be gaining unit testing capabilities in the next release. I find this pretty interesting. I'm somewhat curious how this came to be, but I can't say I think it's a bad idea. Honestly, I'm surprised code analysis wasn't the first to trickle down. Nonetheless, this is a great feature for VS Pro users. I don't know how many will adopt it, given the vast number of open source unit testing solutions, but this will definitely open people's eyes to the in-box solution, which is better than nothing. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for code analysis, tho.

Apple's First Pro-Vista Move

By Michael Flanakin @ 7:43 AM :: 1034 Views :: Technology :: Digg it!
Apple just opened up the beta for a Vista-capable version of Boot Camp Mobile-ready link. I find this funny, because it's Apple's first "real" effort to support Windows Vista. Of note, iTunes still doesn't fully support Vista. Gee, that's not anti-competitive.

Announcement at Mix '07

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:20 AM :: 1687 Views :: Development, Microsoft, Predictions :: Digg it!

Everyone who knows about Mix '07 Mobile-ready link most likely knows that we're expecting a big announcement. I have to admit that I don't know what it is, but I have a couple of guesses. If I had to pick one, I'd have to say it'll be the announcement that the Expression tools will be available on MSDN. This has been a complaint I've heard from countless sources and, I honestly don't think Microsoft will drive too much adoption without this. I understand Microsoft's logic behind not putting the tools on MSDN, but I think it makes more sense to put it there.

I will say some of the talk I've heard leads me to believe my guess isn't big enough of an announcement. Trying to think of what else might be on the horizon is kind of hard, tho, seeing how open Microsoft is. Perhaps the biggest announcement I could see would be the release of Visual Studio codename "Orcas". In the same breath, I don't see this being released at a mixed developer/designer event; especially considering this event has a lot of designer-friendly content. With that, I'm left with the announcement of WPF/e and/or a friendly WPF/e design/development tool. If that's it, all I can say is I hope they come up with a nice, "cool" product name. I wish they'd just fall back on the codename, Sparkle. Beyond these ideas, I can come up with a few small possibilities, but nothing that is too big of a deal. I ultimately decided to skip out on this conference, so I won't be there to get the announcement, but I'm excited to find out what it is.


Shall Statements are the Devil

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:11 PM :: 2580 Views :: Development, Patterns & Practices, Requirements :: Digg it!

I read a post about requirements Mobile-ready link and there was a brief mention of using shall statements to manage requirements. I have to say I absolutely abhor shall statements. If you ask me, a use case represents a functional requirement. A shall statement just doesn't cut it. Every time I see a shall statement, I just shake my head in disappointment. Luckily, it's been pretty easy to get people to switch sides in the past. I just don't understand why people still use shall statements today, tho. Bleh...


Auto-Postback on TextBox Control

By Michael Flanakin @ 2:27 PM :: 1093 Views :: .NET :: Digg it!

Someone recently asked me how to make a textbox automatically post-back in ASP.NET, so I figured I'd share the info. As one might imagine, the first thing he did was set AutoPostBack="true". Guess what. That didn't do it... not alone, anyway. Admittedly, I've never done this, so I had to guess what was next. Luckily, I guessed right. The AutoPostBack property only does its job (on a TextBox control) if the TextChanged event is being handled. So, all he had to do was wire-up the event and he was good to go. Not a huge deal, but I figured I'd mention it.

<asp:TextBox id="Username" runat="server" AutoPostBack="true" OnTextChanged="Username_TextChanged" />


FoxPro Moves On

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:27 PM :: 1033 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!
I have to say that this is something I didn't see coming. Microsoft is planning to stop officially supporting FoxPro and migrate the project over to the open source community Mobile-ready link. I'm very happy to see this happening. If you ask me, this should've been the approach for VB classic, but I can partially see the reasoning behind not doing that. Either way, this is a bold move for the company everyone loves to hate. Official support will be cutting back in 2010 and finally dropping the line in 2015. That's 8 years to get support from Microsoft. Of course, just because Microsoft isn't supporting it doesn't mean it won't thrive in the community. I'm sure partners will pick up that ball and provide an excellent level of support for both the open source project and as services to those in need. Kudos to Microsoft on this one. I'm glad to see such a move.

My Start++ Startlets

By Michael Flanakin @ 8:36 AM :: 1660 Views :: .NET, Technology, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!

I love me some Start++ Mobile-ready link -- thanks to Brandon Paddock Mobile-ready link! It's a tool I've been wanting for quite a while Mobile-ready link. Now that I have it, I had to add my favorite keywords to it. The built in keywords are a great starter, but there are 4 more I wanted: .NET class library on MSDN, IMDB, TV.com, and Netflix. I created two startlets for this so others can use them: MSDN startlet and TV/Movie startlet.

I started with Brandon's MSDN startlet and added the ability to go directly to .NET base class library classes and class members. For instance, if you type, dn system.web.ui.control, you'll go directly to the Control class' documentation page on MSDN. I tried to set it up with an alias of net, but that conflicted with another program. I don't use MSDN's search, but I left it in for good measure. I thought about adding other startlets for .NET, but decided not to since I just use Live Search to find everything.

The tv/movie startlet allows you to search for tv shows and/or movies on your my favorite sites. It's just as easy as imdb 300, tv pretender, or nf king kong. These are pretty simple, but I get a lot of mileage off of them Mobile-ready link.


document.createElement() in IE

By Michael Flanakin @ 2:07 PM :: 1098 Views :: Development :: Digg it!

I just ran into a very annoying bug in IE7. This may be a known issue, but it's the first time I've run into it. I added some JavaScript to dynamically add a <link> tag to a page. When adding a known element using document.createElement(), IE creates a non-XHTML-compliant element -- the tag name is uppercase, not all attribute values are surrounded by quotes, and the element isn't closed. This might be ok in some situations, but it's obviously not kosher when you're using XHTML.

var = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
if 
(!h) return;
var 
= document.createElement('link');
l.rel 'stylesheet';
l.type 'text/css';
l.href 'my.css';
h.appendChild(t);

I haven't found a way around this, yet, but hopefully I will later. For the time-being, I'm gonna set this one aside. If anyone knows of a work-around, I'd love to hear it.


Virtual Earth (Live Maps) Simplicity

By Michael Flanakin @ 1:18 PM :: 1087 Views :: Development :: Digg it!

I've been meaning to post about my great experience with the Virtual Earth SDK, so I guess I'll take this opportunity to share something that came up recently. A question came across one of the internal email groups asking whether or not Live Maps supports specifying lattitude/longitude Mobile-ready link. While I can't say whether or not the official Live Maps site can take this input, I do know from experience that the Virtual Earth platform definitely supports it. The code for this is very simple, too. It's all JavaScript, which can be good or bad, depending on your point of view. Here's a truncated code snippet of what you'll need...

<script src="http://dev.virtualearth.net/mapcontrol/v4/mapcontrol.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
<!--
var map = null;
var 
pinID 1;
function 
showMap() { 
  map 
= new VEMap('map');
  
map.ShowDashboard();
  
map.LoadMap();
  var 
ll = new VELatLong(38.13, -112.17);
  
map.AddPushpin(new VEPushpin(pinID, ll, null'My pushpin''This is pushpin number '+pinID));
  
pinID++;
  
map.SetCenterAndZoom(ll, 10);
}
-->
</script>
...
<body onload="showMap();">
...
<div id="map"></div>

All of this is documented on the Virtual Earth interactive SDK, so have fun with it. After seeing this, I was very excited at what was available to me. I'd love to get this tied into an application someday, but just haven't had the opportunity, yet. Maybe one day...


MSN vs. Windows Live

By Michael Flanakin @ 7:44 AM :: 1040 Views :: Technology, Microsoft :: Digg it!
I know there's been some confusion around why Microsoft has two consumer-focused services, MSN and Windows Live. A lot of people seem to think Windows Live is a rebranding of MSN, which isn't true. Let me say that I'm not in the Online Services Group, the parent organization MSN and Windows Live fall under, so this shouldn't be considered a Microsoft's official position. I'm merely sharing observations I've come to realize over time. From what I've gathered in the past, MSN is Microsoft's answer to Yahoo and AOL and Windows Live is Microsoft's answer to Google. This, of course, is just the top level and doesn't really speak to the purpose and intention of each platform. Perhaps a better way to think about it is MSN is Microsoft-driven and Windows Live is user-driven. When I say "Microsoft-driven," don't take that to mean Microsoft is creating or modifying the content. Just like all reputable news vendors, online or off, MSN is Microsoft's medium to share content with the world. I don't know who exactly decides on what information is shown on MSN, but if I had to guess, I'd say it's probably a third-party. Microsoft is a huge fan of divvying out responsibilities to third-party experts and, believe it or not, isn't trying to stick their hands into everyone's business. Again, I don't know for sure, but this seems to be the most logical mode of operation to me. Windows Live, on the other hand, puts the user in the driver seat. You see what you want and only what you want. The idea is that, if you want it, you'll find it, create it, and/or share it. The analogy I saw recently, which spurred this post, was MSN is for those who want content pushed to them and Windows Live is for those who want to pull the content they're interested in.

MacWorld Plays on Words... 9 Years Later

By Michael Flanakin @ 12:35 PM :: 1092 Views :: Technology, Microsoft :: Digg it!

MacWorld Mobile-ready link has an article that brings a 9 year-old email to light... with a twist Mobile-ready link. The article tries to imply that Bill Gates wanted to shutdown the Mac Office product in an effort to hurt Apple and that the only positive to having it around was to test new features on the unsuspecting user-base. Plain and simple, Bill Gates made no such comments... not even in part. Ben Waldman did, however, but not in the context MacWorld would have you believe. Reading the email, it seems as tho Waldman is simply trying to sell his ideas in a way any salesperson would: he makes comments he assumes will be pique the interest by his readers. The fact is, if I saw an email like this today, I'd talk to the person offline and tell them not to do that again. Is there any record of this? No, of course not. This is merely an attempt to put a negative light on Microsoft, even if the best they can do is pull up something almost a decade old. C'mon, MacWorld! Is that the best you can do?


Windows Vista Wallpapers

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:40 AM :: 1367 Views :: Technology :: Digg it!

The first time I found a nice wallpaper Mobile-ready link, someone asked me for it and I had to re-scour the web to find it again. Well, I just came across two more nice wallpaper images Mobile-ready link, so I figured I'd put them somewhere I know I'd be able to find them.

vista wallpaper by michael ott of rusty lime.com 
Windows Vista Wallpaper Mobile-ready link by Michael Ott Mobile-ready link -- widescreen, 5 colors

Vista Ultimate Start wallpaper by Microsoft
Windows Vista Ultimate Start Wallpaper by Microsoft -- widescreen Mobile-ready link and standard Mobile-ready link

Vista Ultimate Strands wallpaper by Microsoft
Windows Vista Ultimate Strands Wallpaper by Microsoft -- widescreen Mobile-ready link and standard Mobile-ready link

If anyone knows of others, I'd love to see some good ones! I've seen a number of nice ones on DeviantArt, but I never kept track of them.


ODF Debate

By Michael Flanakin @ 11:40 AM :: 1605 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!
iTWire Mobile-ready link pulls together its less-than-factual reporting skills together to get some attention by posting an article claiming standardization of the Open Document Format (ODF) is a threat to Microsoft Mobile-ready link -- because this is the only one you can find on the web nowadays :-P First, off, I have a big problem with ODF and the stance of its backers: they are professing the need for one and only one standard in this area when they know the format doesn't fit all circumstances. For instance, ODF does not have a way to embed custom data, if I remember correctly. This is one of the [many] big advantages to Open XML, which is used in Office 2007. The article goes on to claim that Open XML is a proprietary format, which is absolutely not true. In fact, Open XML is an Ecma Mobile-ready link standard Mobile-ready link. Yes, that's an international standards body; the same standards body that standardized C# and the .NET Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) Mobile-ready link. The last thing I'm going to say about this [for now] is that Microsoft acknowledges the fact that Open XML may not fit every situation and is actually promoting choice here. Sound familiar? This is what the open source community has been saying for years. Now, it seems the tables have turned. Microsoft is suggesting choice is good and typical open source backers are saying you, the consumer, should have no choice. As proof of Microsoft's dedication to choice, there's an add-in to add ODF support to Word Mobile-ready link. When has the ODF community done anything to support consumer choice?

ScriptResource.axd Not Found

By Michael Flanakin @ 9:44 AM :: 10399 Views :: .NET :: Digg it!

When I first started playing with ASP.NET AJAX back in the "Atlas" days -- yeah, like that was so long ago -- I remember having a problem where the app couldn't find the ScriptResource.axd file. I can't remember the exact error message, but someone else mentioned they were having the same issues. I mentioned the fact that it was a common problem and suggested they search for the error. I guess it turns out this didn't resolve their problem. They were thinking the problem might be related to the fact that authentication was changed from Windows to forms authentication, but I was pretty sure this wasn't it. Admittedly, it's theoretically possible, tho. Ok, fine... I didn't test that thought, but I can see how adding an authorization denial to all files by default would cause the file to be denied. After digging into the problem, tho, it turns out they only applied their changes to the web.config of a subdirectory of the application. This was the problem. Once the required web.config changes for ASP.NET AJAX were made to the application's web.config file, all was good. Not sure if anyone else has run into this, but I figured I'd mention it since I haven't seen this anywhere else.


Virtualization in Windows Server "Longhorn"

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:17 PM :: 936 Views :: Technology :: Digg it!
For those of you interested in virtualization in the next version of Windows Server, codenamed "Longhorn," take a look at this video on Soapbox Mobile-ready link. The video covers some of the virtualization features and also has a very brief peak at System Center Mobile-ready link Virtual Machine Manager Mobile-ready link, which I've been somewhat curious about for a while, but not curious enough to find more info on it. I'm not a server guy, but it was mildly interesting. I think someone who has more interest in system administration and/or virtualization would get more out of it than I did. Either way, enjoy.