Saturday, December 16, 2006

XNA: The new way of creating DirectX applications with .NET (2.0)

If you build DirectX applications or serious games using DirectX and want to use the benefits of the .NET Framework, then XNA is the way to go.

The XNA Framework is a class library built upon the .NET Framework 2.0. Right now only the Express Edition of the Developer IDE is available. XNA can target Windows as well as XBox.

(Note: the previous Managed DirectX class library was depricated by Microsoft.)

  • Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express 1.0
    XNA Game Studio Express enables hobbyists, academics, and small, independent game developers to easily create video games for Windows and the Xbox 360 console. Requires an Express Edition of Visual Studio.
  • Microsoft XNA Framework Redistributable 1.0
    The XNA Framework Redistributable provides game developers with the XNA Framework runtime libraries that they can include with their product for redistribution on Windows XP.

Multi-Tasking: Good or Evil? or: Do one single thing at a time!

Well, I guess we all knew it somehow that we waste time when working on more than one project.  Jeff Atwood has the proove and some interesting figures on his blog [1].

[1] http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000691.html

WPF: Build true 3D user interfaces

As Tim Sneath puts it [1], the WPF team made a very special announcement in their WPF3D Team Blog [2] and released the 3D Tools for the Windows Presentation Foundation [3] as a free, open-source download on CodePlex.

These tools allow you to create WPF applications with 3D user interfaces - where you can use the well-known controls like sliders, text boxes, etc. and hit testing, hovering etc. just works!

Hopefully people we will not get the same effect which appeared after the first version of Visual Basic where all buttons got pink just because all of a sudden it was extremly easy to specifiy a color for it...

So use the new feature set wisely and in a decent manner!

[1] http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2006/12/13/new-in-wpf-build-a-true-3d-application.aspx

[2] http://blogs.msdn.com/wpf3d/archive/2006/12/12/interacting-with-2d-on-3d-in-wpf.aspx

[3] http://www.codeplex.com/3DTools

Vista: Keyboard Shortcuts for more Productivity

Noah Coad [1] posted some new Vista keyboard shortcuts [2]:

New Vista Commands

  • ALT + Up Arrow
    Move up a folder (to the parent folder)
  • ALT + Left Arrow
    Move back in history
  • ALT + Right Arrow
    Move forward in history
  • Backspace
    Move back in history
    (was move up a folder in WinXP)
  • CTRL+N
    Open new explorer (a file must be selected)
  • ALT+Drag&Drop
    Link to item (creates a shortcut)

More Vista-specific shortcuts can also be found at [3].

[1] http://blogs.msdn.com/noahc/default.aspx

[2] http://blogs.msdn.com/noahc/archive/2006/11/14/vista-keyboard-shortcuts-for-windows-explorer.aspx

[3] http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/Help/2503b91d-d780-4c80-8f08-2f48878dc5661033.mspx

Windows Vista: Keyboard Shortcuts for more Productivity

e4197e44-3446-4e47-bc09-7c82213a03b4 Noah Coad posted some new Vista keyboard shortcuts:

New Vista Commands

  • ALT + Up Arrow
    Move up a folder (to the parent folder)
  • ALT + Left Arrow
    Move back in history
  • ALT + Right Arrow
    Move forward in history
  • Backspace
    Move back in history
    (was move up a folder in WinXP)
  • CTRL+N
    Open new explorer (a file must be selected)
  • ALT+Drag&Drop
    Link to item (creates a shortcut)

More Vista-specific shortcuts can also be found here.

Wanna print this? A printable version can be found here.

Update (Aug 12 2009): All Windows 7 shortcuts can be found here.

Friday, December 15, 2006

At the horizon: What are Microsoft's plans for the next version of Visual Studio - code-named ‘Orcas’?

"Orcas" is the code name for the next version of Microsoft Visual Studio - "the next generation development tool for Windows Vista, the 2007 Office System, and the Web" as it says here.

What's planned for "Orcas"?

So far all the content links to Brian Harry (MS)'s blog.

 

Want to try it early?

[Download CTP] (it's a VPC of the Visual Studio client)

FIX: .NET Framework 1.1, SendKeys and Windows Vista

Microsoft released an update for enabling .NET Framework 1.1 applications to use the SendKeys command under Windows Vista without experiencing the "Hook cannot be created" error message (as explained in this KB article).

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Download Tips: Do more with your Visual Studio 2005

Visual Studio 2005 is finally released, but there's more you can add to your Visual Studio for free to do be able to achieve even more.

Here are my findings so far:

  • Visual Studio SDK
    This is the final release version of the Visual Studio 2005 SDK for use with the RTM versions of Visual Studio 2005. Includes the SDK as well as the Team System Extensibility Kit (with Team Foundation Server PowerToys).
  • Refactor!™ for Visual Basic® .NET 2005 (by Developer Express)
    Refactor! is freely available to all Visual Basic .NET 2005 developers and offers a comprehensive suite of tools that enable you and your team to simplify and shape complex code - making it easier to read and less costly to maintain.
  • Visual Studio Team System Customization Toolkit
    Used to graphically manage process templates, work item types, and global lists.
  • Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 for Microsoft .NET
    The Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 for Microsoft® .NET is an add-on to Microsoft Visual Studio® 2005 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 that enables developers to build secure Web services based on the latest Web services protocol specifications.
  • LINQ Project (Preview)
    The LINQ Project is a codename for a set of extensions to the .NET Framework that encompass language-integrated query, set, and transform operations. It extends C# and Visual Basic with native language syntax for queries and provides class libraries to take advantage of these capabilities.
  • Windows Workflow Foundation Beta 1.2 for Office "12" (Preview)
    Provides developers with support for building Windows Workflow Foundation applications with release versions of .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005, as well as Office "12" (Beta 1).

Application Blocks & Samples

  • Composite UI Application Block for .NET Framework 2.0
    This application block is [...] provides proven practices to build complex smart client user interfaces based on well known design patterns such as the Composite pattern, in which simple user interface parts can be combined to create complex solutions, but at the same time allowing these parts to be independently developed, tested, and deployed.
  • Enterprise Library for .NET Framework 2.0
    The patterns & practices Enterprise Library is a library of application blocks designed to assist developers with common enterprise development challenges. Application blocks are a type of guidance, provided as source code that can be used "as is," extended, or modified by developers to use on enterprise development projects.
  • Visual Studio 2005 Automation Samples
    These code samples show you how to build VSMacros projects, add-ins, and wizards to make your teams more productive and to customize Visual Studio 2005 to the ways you like to work.

IntelliSense XML Files

  • IntelliSense XML Files for Visual Studio Tools for Office Developers 
    Adds summary descriptions of types, members, and parameters to IntelliSense ToolTips in code and in the Object Browser for Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Excel 2003, Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, and Microsoft Office 2003 Shared PIAs in Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 and Visual Studio 2005.
  • SharePoint Portal Server 2003: IntelliSense XML Files
    This download includes updates of the XML files used to produce IntelliSense® information about the Microsoft® Office SharePoint Portal Server and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services managed object models within the Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET integrated development environment (IDE).
  • Windows SharePoint Services: IntelliSense XML File
    This download includes an update of the XML file used to produce IntelliSense® information for the Microsoft® Windows® SharePoint® Services managed object model within the Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET IDE.

Code Snippets

Language Packs

Community Projects

This post will be constantly updated as new extensions are available.

Your Feedback requested!

Found a VS2005 extention you want to be mentioned here? Drop me a comment!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

[TechEd: Developers 2006] Keynote Impressions

Certainly the most interesting statement by Eric Rudder [1] at the TechEd: Developers 2006 keynote [2] in Barcelona, looking from the developer's perspective, was the promise that all Microsoft server products will get web service interfaces. A clear step in the right direction!

Day 1 - Registration

Keynote speaker and 11-year-old MCP (2x) and MVP...

 

"Arfa Karim from Pakistan, is only 11yrs and Microsoft’s youngest MVP --- hear Arfa talk about how she got into technology and her passion for the subject..."

Office, Vista, and Exchange launched

Eric Rudder hold the keynote

Building Great Applications

".NET is the way to connect"

After all the discussion in the past months about why there is no managed code in Windows Vista and only a sample showing how to use the new API's from .NET, it is an interesting note, that Eric said ".NET is the way to connect": The Microsoft technology No. 1 when it comes to consume (web) services and offer own services to the rest of the world.

 

Next Step for Web Applications

.NET 3.0 [3] and an updated web site [4] were launched simultaneous

 

The Keynote Demo

       

[1] www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/ericr/

[2] www.microsoft.com/emea/msdnshowtime/sessionh.aspx?videoid=333

[3] www.netfx3.com

[4] msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio

Saturday, November 11, 2006

[Virtual PC] Ever wondered why the Wireless Network Adapter is not recognized?

Wireless network adapter support is not turned on by default, but can be done by following a few steps outlined by the Virtual PC Guy  [1].

[1] blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2006/10/24/why-doesn-t-virtual-pc-2007-recognize-my-wireless-network-adapter.aspx

Why not let your customers test-drive your application in a virtual image?

Not only that the Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) file format is now part of the Open Specification Promise (OSP), there is also a program that allows you to give a VHD to your customers with Microsoft and your software installed for evaluation purposes [2].

I think that is really cool and hat makes it very easy and comfortable for the potential buyer: no more installations, and you can put some sample data in there as well.

[1] www.microsoft.com/interop/osp/default.mspx

[2] www.microsoft.com/technet/try/vhd/partners.mspx

[ClickOnce] Using the ClickOnce Publish Wizard on Windows Vista

The ClickOnce publishing Wizard on Windows Vista generates the following error message:

"Failed to connect to 'http://localhost/WindowsApplication1/' with the following error: Unable to create the Web 'http://localhost/WindowsApplication1/'.  The Web server does not appear to have the FrontPage server extensions installed."

To solve this you need to do two basic things (thanks to my thinktecture colleague Dominick Baier):

  • Configure IIS to run in IIS6 Compatibility Mode.
  • Run Visual Studio as an Administrator.

Read the whole story (at Brian Noyes' Blog).

Make sure your Word, Excel and PowerPoint can handle the new file format

... by downloading:

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats

Open, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations in the file formats new to Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007.

from here.

Friday, November 10, 2006

[TechEd Developers 2006] Post Conference Material for DEVWD17 Team System Adoption Best Practices

As promised you will find our slides as well as links to the questions that were raised during the session in this post.

Additionally here's a copy of the links from the slide deck:

Something missing?

You can find more information on Ognjen's blog. If you think something is missing, don't hesitate to contact me.

Your Feedback

Many of you told us though the feedback forms that there were not enough sessions on Team System in general and that you were missing a session which deals with the "first steps" of driving towards a Team Foundation Server deployment in your companies. We clearly heard that and I will pass this on to the TechEd content team.

Need training or support with your adoption process?

In case you are interested I also offer professional training on Team System (either on-site or at various locations in Europe) or individual adoption support.

Technorati-Tags:

[TechEd Developers 2006] Post Conference Material for DEVWD17 Team System Adoption Best Practices

As promised you will find our slides as well as links to the questions that were raised during the session in this post.

Additionally here's a copy of the links from the slide deck:

Something missing?

You can find more information on Ognjen's blog. If you think something is missing, don't hesitate to contact me.

Your Feedback

Many of you told us though the feedback forms that there were not enough sessions on Team System in general and that you were missing a session which deals with the "first steps" of driving towards a Team Foundation Server deployment in your companies. We clearly heard that and I will pass this on to the TechEd content team.

Need training or support with your adoption process?

In case you are interested I also offer professional training on Team System (either on-site or at various locations in Europe) or individual adoption support.

Nächste Woche: PRIO conference in Baden Baden

Bekanntlich wird gut, was lange währt. Das kann man der prio conference [1], der "ersten durchkomponierten" Entwicklerkonferenz unter Obhut der dotnetpro [2] nur wünschen. Auch alte Bekannte tauchen auf. Ralf Westphal [3] kümmert sich um den Inhalt, den die 17 sorgfältig ausgesuchten Sprecher kundtun sollen. Darunter unter anderem auch Miguel de Icaza [4], der "Erfinder" von mono [5]. Und organisieren tut's das e-Team [6], welches von zahlreichen früheren BASTA sowie Microsoft-Veranstaltungen, wie den MSDN TechTalks [7] und Technical Summits, bekannt sein sollte.

Meine Themen werden sein:

  • Tag 2, 16. Nov, 13:45 - 15:00
    Code bauen: Continuous Integration
  • Tag 2, 16. Nov, 15:45 - 17:00
    Code bewegen: Deployment

Die Lokation ist alles andere als langweilig: das Kurhaus Casino Baden-Baden [8] und am Abend kann man sich dem Glücksspiel hingeben... Ich bin gespannt und freue mich darauf viele bekannte Gesichter dort wiederzutreffen.

[1] www.prio-conference.de

[2] www.dotnetpro.de

[3] www.ralfw.de

[4] de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_de_Icaza

[5] www.mono-project.com

[6] www.event-team.com

[7] www.techtalk.ms

[8] www.kurhaus-baden-baden.de

PowerToys for the Class Designer and Distributed System Designers now finally work with non-English versions of Visual Studio 2005

There were a lot of requests in the past months since the PowerToys for the Visual Studio 2005 Class Designer and Distributed System Designers were released, because there were issues with localized, non-US versions of Visual Studio 2005 that these add-in handle correctly.

The great news comes directly from the author dmitriv:

I've just uploaded a Nov 2006 update to release section which should fix the language dependency issue.
To verify that, I did a clean install of Visual Studio 2005 Professional (German) on top of German Windows XP SP2 and verified that it works.

Download the November 2006 release

[TechEd: Developers 2006] Post Conference Material for DEV001 DEMO: Adopting ClickOnce for Real World Applications

In the official slide deck you will find a book recommendation as well as a set of interesting link around ClickOnce technology. Unfortunately there were technical difficulties during the session that did not allow me to switch back to the slides, but you can download them from here.

More Information on ClickOnce

Here is a copy of the "Resources" slide:

And a new one:

Windows Installer

Additionally there's a great comparison between ClickOnce and Windows Installer by Michael Sanford available in the MSDN Library.

You're feedback was heard!

I passed on your feedback to do two sessions out of the topic so that there is enough room for advanced topics as scalability and reliability to the TechEd team.

-Neno

 

Technorati-Tags:

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Barcelona - TechEd: here we come

Next week the TechEd Developers 2006 [1] takes place in Barcelona [2] and I will be holding one "Demo Extravaganza" (DEMO) on ClickOnce technology and two Whiteboard Discussion (WD) sessions on Team Foundation Server best practices together with my Team System MVP colleague [3] Ognjen Bajic [4].

Demo Extravaganzas are similar to regular breakout sessions, but there is one big difference: there is only one slide allowed. The introduction slide with the name of the speaker. From that moment on the complete talk is a demo with chances for the audience to interact. Usually these kind of sessions are quite high-level, but in my case I discovered that this is not really the case for the whole 75 minutes, so I'm quite excited how the audience will react. :-)

Whiteboard Discussions you might already be familiar with. They are held in pretty small rooms (max. 60 people) to allow discussions. No one (not even the speaker) is allowed to dominate in terms of speaking time. It usually starts of by asking the audience about their questions in respect to the session title and from this the agenda gets generated on the fly and the speakers will try to make a story out of it and answer as the questions to maximize the benefit for the attendees.

Here are the session abstracts:

DEVWD17 Team System Adoption Best Practices

Neno Loje, Ognjen Bajic 

Thu Nov 9 09:00 - 10:15 , Thu Nov 9 15:45 - 17:00

It's a common mistake to think that installing the Team System products is enough to get started and unleash the full power. In fact Team System gets really useful and unfolds its effectiveness by being customized and tweaked to the needs of your organization. Since this is vastly an individual task this session covers the top 10 customizations from the consulting experience of the speaker such as Continuous Integration, enabling rich formatting in the description field for work items, writing a comfortable work item quick entry tool.
Neno Loje will host this whiteboard discussion jointly with his fellow Team System MVP Ognjen Bajic.

DEV001 DEMO: Adopting ClickOnce for Real World Applications

Neno Loje

Wed Nov 8 13:30 - 14:45

Do you think installations must result in heavy headaches? ClickOnce solves a lot of the typical problems by enabling .NET applications to be installed and transparently updated over a server. After a quick overview of what ClickOnce is and how it works we will drill down into the details and cover a number of common real world scenarios: bootstrapping, servicing updates for 5000+ users, scalability, reliability, different versions for different users (or groups) and many more. Make sure to come to this session if you have a WinForms application that you need to deploy or where you want to simplify the current deployment solution.

Additionally you can meet Ognjen [4] and me [5] at the Ask-The-Experts (ATE) booth at the following times:

  • Wednesday, 8 November 2006 16:30 - 17:00
  • Friday, 10 November 2006 10:15 - 10:45

And also make sure to step by the newtelligence AG [6] booth in the exhibition hall if you are interested in high-quality Team System training [7] and consulting. You will find me there occasionally as well. :-)

Hear me speak at Tech Ed Europe

[1] www.microsoft.com/europe/teched-developers/

[2] www.bcn.cat

[3] mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile=B3883A23-2E77-4228-975D-1AB7C0925DD0

[4] ognjenbajic.com/blog/

[5] mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile=05D78C24-90DB-42E9-A68A-386B3FFCE244

[6] www.newtelligence.net

[7] www.teamsystemworkshop.com

Synchronize your files and folders with SyncToy for Windows XP and Vista

SyncToy [1] is a free PowerToy for Microsoft Windows XP and Vista that provides an easy to use, highly customizable program that helps users to do the heavy lifting involved with the copying, moving, and synchronization of different directories. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without adding complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of directories at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another. Unlike other applications, SyncToy keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder.

[1] Download: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e0fc1154-c975-4814-9649-cce41af06eb7&displaylang=en

[2]  Article: Synchronizing Images and Files in Windows XP Using Microsoft SyncToy

Updated: for SyncToy V1.4 for Windows XP and Vista (based on .NET Framework 2.0)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Friday, May 5, 2006

When I send an e-mail message, it doesn't leave my Outbox or why I repaired my relationship with Outlook :-)

outlook_logo I love Outlook, but there are times where it gets really hard to love it. But there's hope!

Here are solutions that solve two of the most annoying things I encountered with Outlook:

and

Have fun loving your Outlook again!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tip: Disable Restart Prompt from Automatic Updates (Win XP Pro, Windows Server 2003)

  • Windows Update In the Start Menu go to Run type "gpedit.msc" and press Enter
  • Now a Group Policy editor will open. In this window navigate to: Computer Configuration » Administrative Template » Windows Components » Windows Update
  • Double click on No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installations
  • In the settings window choose Enabled and click OK
  • Double click on Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations
  • In the settings window choose Disabled and click OK
  • Close Group Policy Editor