Thursday, October 30, 2008

PDC announcements....

LINQ to SQL  being killed off ?

As per Tim Mallalieu's blog, We’re making significant investments in the Entity Framework such that as of .NET 4.0 the Entity Framework will be our recommended data access solution for LINQ to relational scenarios.  We are listening to customers regarding LINQ to SQL and will continue to evolve the product based on feedback we receive from the community as well.

That seemed to be the message we've been decoding for a while, so lucky we didn't go down that route.

PDC Summaries

Ayende gives his first impressions of using the CTP - Ayende on VS2010

Martin Fowler gives his impressions of Oslo based on a sneek preview prior to the release at PDC

Sam Gentile's points to his  trusted folks summary for PDC day 2

Silverlight & WPF seem to be coming together according Andres Aguiar's report

The Velocity team have announced Velocity CTP 2.  Microsoft project code named "Velocity" provides a highly scalable in-memory application cache for all kinds of data.

Silverlight has Visual State Manager, but it's not yet in WPF.  However the Expression Blend team tell us how to expose it  - Blend 2 SP1 + WPF Toolkit = Visual State Manager for WPF - see previous blog entry.

P&P Guidance

J. D. Meier's Patterns & Practices team has been busy with releases of paper guidance

and this comes on top of the App Arch Guide book that I blogged about earlier in the week.  I've started reading it, and it's definitely recommended reading material.  We'll be following and using it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Versions of Unity, EntLib, WPF data grid

With all of the futuristic announcements at PDC, it's easy to miss some significant (for us) dot point releases of tooling we're using.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fire Hose Drinking Time

Well it's PDC time and time to have truck loads of emerging technologies thrown at us.

Shannon, Nick & John will be able to give us the view direct from LA, but so far some of the blogger geeks have kept me up to date.

The announcements that have caught my attention so far (and some of them we knew were coming, so they're not entirely new) are:

  • Azure - "Build new applications in the cloud - or use interoperable services that run on Microsoft infrastructure to extend and enhance your existing applications".  Ok, we've heard all about cloud computing for quite a while, and this looks like a down payment on the promise.  The CTP is up now.
  • The next Rosario CTP - Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 - is up.  It's still just a VPC image, but we'll get this up and running soon.  The marketing dudes have had a field day with the hype - enough to make you puke : "Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 mark the next generation of developer tools from Microsoft. Designed to address the latest needs of developers, Visual Studio delivers key innovations in the following pillars:
    Democratizing Application Lifecycle Management
    Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) crosses many roles within an organization and traditionally not every one of the roles has been an equal player in the process. Visual Studio Team System 2010 continues to build the platform for functional equality and shared commitment across an organization’s ALM process.
    Enabling emerging trends
    Every year the industry develops new technologies and new trends. With Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0, Microsoft delivers tooling and framework support for the latest innovations in application architecture, development and deployment.
    Inspiring developer delight
    Ever since the first release of Visual Studio, Microsoft has set the bar for developer productivity and flexibility. Visual Studio 2010 continues to deliver on the core developer experience by significantly improving upon it for roles involved with the software development process. .NET Framework 4.0 contains numerous improvements that make it easier to develop powerful and compelling applications.
    Riding the next generation platform wave
    Microsoft continues to invest in the market leading operating system, productivity application and server platforms to deliver increased customer value in these offerings. With Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 customers will have the tooling support and the platform support needed to create amazing solutions around these technologies.
  • Windows 7 - our guys will get an alpha edition Tuesday
  • Office 14
  • C# 4.0 and beyond
  • Oslo - more marketing hype : “Oslo” is the code name for our platform for model-driven applications. The goal of “Oslo” is to provide a 10x productivity gain by making model-driven applications mainstream with domain-specific models, a new language and tools.  It's all there on MSDN at the
  • Oslo Developer Center

          I'm following jb's blog for some early highlights - and he's got articles about most  the above.  He's from Mindscape who are giving us awesome service for their WPF property grid (thanks Ivan).

          App Arch Guide

          J. D. Meirs and the patterns and practices team have release ver 2.0 of the P&P Application Architecture Guide book.  I've downloaded it, and it's on the reading list.

          Sunday, October 26, 2008

          Prism, WPF and Scrum

          There's a community contribution project on Codelplex for Prism (Composite Application Guidance for WPF and Silverlight).  New stuff includes a WindowRegionAdapter, bootstrapper extensions, and the use of Castle Windsor instead of Unity.

          We're on the lookout for a docking control for WPF.  Here's what I've found so far:-

          Haven't checked them out as yet - but looks like we'll have plenty to choose from.

          An oldie but a goodie - I came across an intro to Scrum by Ken Schwaber - worth a read.  I'm also off this Wednesday 29th Oct to the first meeting of the Brisbane Agile/Scrum User Group.

          Friday, October 24, 2008

          25th Oct weekly trawl

          Vista, Windows 7, .NET 4

          Winston tells us to expect Vista SP2 -

          And more speculation about release dates for Windows 7 around end 2009 -

          Dave Bost shows off the new logo for .NET -

          WPF related

          Prism v2 drop 4 is out and has a focus on composition -

          Rockford Lhotka is sold on SL / WPF.  Sure there's a learning curve, but once you're there, it's no turning back  -

          Karl Shifflett puts forward ideas for building WPF LOB forms.  He wants a solution that:

        • enables RAD GUI layout and maintenance of LOB forms
        • is toolable
        • leverages the intrinsic power of WPF & Silverlight
        • can be styled
        • lays itself out
        • responds well to localization

          Sounds like just what we're after :-) -

          James Kovacs has posted a slide deck on composite apps and Prism in particular -

          John Stockton is also pondering on the designer / developer interaction for Silverlight / WPF projects - just like we are -

          Glenn Block provides good insight with, and also reports on bringing Prism to Winforms - - not that we'd go that way.

          Josh Smith has released Crack.NET, a tool which allows you to inspect and manipulate the managed objects in the memory of another process. Also it allows you to write scripts in IronPython and have them run in Crack.NET allowing you to do all kinds of manipulations - and

          The source code for much of WPF, as in .NET 3.5 Sp1 has been made available at -

          Shane Morris tells of a SilverLight designer & developer network just set up (in Melb) -


          Iron Python 2.0 RC1 is out -

          Soma announces DevLabs - an initiative to showcase innovative new stuff -

          One of the first projects is Pex - automated white box testing for .NET.  It will be in .VS2010 (Rosario), see and

          Following on from Scott Hanselman's T4 list of resources - here's another one -

          Some neat TFS tools are at

          Gareth Jones of the DSL team points to some new screencasts -

          Steve Cook points to some new videos on Visual Studio 10 architecture features Now I wonder what the marketing people are going to do with this - not much value if it just gets squireled away in an "Architecture Edition"

        • Steve Cook is co-author of seminal book on Software Factories : : Assembling Applications with Patterns, Models, Frameworks, and Tools, together with Jack Greenfield, Keith Short & Stuart Kent.  After a drought of over 2 years, Keith Short has surfaced to tell us he's been working on Oslo, so I wonder if Jack has also?  Has the software factory initiative morphed into Oslo?

          And because we'll be using some LINQ stuff on one of our current projects, here's some links to some useful tools.  They're not exactly new, but I think we'll find them of use  - a visual LINQ query builder - and LinqPad -

          Sunday, October 19, 2008

          20 Oct 08 - Interesting Stuff

          WPF & UX finds

          Karl Shifflett has a good blog about WPF matters, and has developed what looks to be a useful set of XAML Power Toys - and

          On Codeplex there's a Microsoft project for a  Health Common User Interface

          The Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines (UX Guide) has been updated for ribbons, touch, pen and printing - see

          The guys at Querdenker Software have posted their WPF helpers, etc on Codeplex - so might be worth a look -

          Joel Bennett has posted code to allow a WPF window to snap to the screen edge -

          Michael Wasserman has posted his Touchless SDK on Codeplex.  This allows a webcam to be used as an input device to for instance track the movement of a physical object - see - and

          Windows 7, SQL Server & .NET stuff

          Scott Hanselman has compiled a list of T4 templating resources, and asks why more people are doing code gen from templates Codesmith style -

          The Parallel Programming team are gearing up for their offerings being released as part of .NET 4.0 -

          The gos seems to be that Windows 7 will be here much sooner than most might expect.  Here's yet another teller of this story -  This lines up with what a colleague who now works for Microsoft has been hinting at.

          The RTM for Microsoft Sync Framework v1.0 has been released -  So what will the Armenian steak lovers think of it?

          Pinal Dave has an intro article - Simple Example of CLR Stored Procedure -

          And finally there's release of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Report Builder 2.0 -  From the download page:

          Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Report Builder 2.0 delivers an intuitive, Office-like report authoring environment enabling business and power users to leverage their experience with Microsoft Office 2007 products. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Report Builder 2.0 supports the full capabilities of SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services including:

          • Flexible report layout capabilities of SQL Server 2008 Report Definition Language
          • Data Visualizations including charts and gauges
          • Richly formatted textboxes
          • Export to Microsoft Office Word format

          Features specific to Report Builder 2.0 are focused on simplifying the process of creating and editing reports and queries and include the following:
          • Easy to use wizards for creating table, matrix and chart data regions
          • Support for directly opening and editing reports stored on the report server
          • Support for using server resources such as shared data sources
          • Query designers for multiple data sources including a Microsoft SQL Server-specific query designer

          Thursday, October 9, 2008

          Back after a holiday

          Had a great holiday in Melbourne and Tasmania recently, so missed out the weekly blog entry :-(

          Ayende Rahien is a prolific blogger, usually worth a read, and he's been writing a book on Domain Specific Languages - specifically for Boo, yet another .NET language.  He's using the Manning "Early Access Program", which means you can buy the electronic copy and read it as it's being written.  I've read the first (free) chapter, which gives a very good overview of DSLs.

          Lots of content about parallel programming in the latest MSDN magazine.

          The Patterns & Practices people continue to add to the "App Arch Guide 2.0 Knowledge Base".   To quote : The App Arch guide provides design-level guidance for the architecture and design of applications built on the .NET Framework. It focuses on the most common types of applications, partitioning application functionality into layers, components, and services, and walks through their key design characteristics.This guide is a collaborative effort between patterns & practices, product teams, and industry experts.  Certainly worth a look for "How Tos" such as

        • How To - Structure Your Application
        • How To - Design Presentation Layer
        • How To - Design Business Entities
        • How To - Design Business Components
        • How To - Design Business Workflow Components

          The MSBuild Extension Pack codeplex project provides some useful additions.

          Glenn Block announced a Codeplex project "to leverage IoC containers / service location mechanisms without taking hard dependencies", and he has a nice article on what is MEF - Managed Extensibility Framework.

          We have also been pondering over when to use Unity versus MEF versus MAF (System.AddIn).  Our conclusion is that we use Unity as our IoC / DI container, we consider MEF as a solution for extensibility, and where we need security / isolation then we look to MAF or VSTA.  Glenn explains this on a Codeplex thread.

          The "Morning Brew" from Chris Alcock is a really good distillation of news which should be on your blog roll - it's where much of my content comes from.

          Paul Stovell, who's been working with us, has a new article Architecture: Five tips for Low Friction Projects, some of which are somewhat controversial.

          Back in June, I blogged about PostSharp - AOP for .NET.  Ayende has had a look and was very impressed.