New week, new toy

I’ve just found this cool app that allows you to post to blogs, including our own one.

http://windowslivewriter.spaces.live.com/

go ahead and try it! I’m writing this article in it! As cool as WordPress is, it’s writing editor sucks. I don’t tend to write often, but when I start, my articles usually take more than a page and if in the process I accidentally press the shortcut for the browser go-back… I’m crying! I also wonder if you’ve ran into the 1000 miles long line bug in the WordPress editor? It seems to sometimes make all spaces in the line non breakable, there is a solution to this, which is to press enter and then go back to the line again and delete and re-insert all the spaces again… which makes me cry some more! I am also just not a big fan of Web interfaces for something so interactive as creating documents or calculations (hint, hint Google). I think Web is more suited for presentation whereas desktop is for creation.

It has a spell checker and all the cool stuff the app that I’m writing has, and it’s free. It’s in beta but seems to work pretty well so far.

As a side note… It’s written in .Net, which is soooo… expected (but nice).

ok so if you want to use it in our blog use this:

http://blogs.cognifide.com/adam/xmlrpc.php

as your blog URL, naturally, replace adam with your blog name, fill in the user name and password and enjoy!

Last final test – let’s see how does it deal with images from disk…


(c) Mother Goose and Grimm by MIKE PETERS

Posted in Blogging, Lifestyle, Software, Web applications
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ClickOnce

The new project is really exciting. Not that we didn’t expect that, the number of new technologies we get to explore is incredible.

I’ve just finished setting up an automatic build and deployment (of a desktop application) environment consisting of SVN+Nant+CruiseControl+ClickOnce. The system is centered around CruiseControl which detects any commit in the trunk in the SVN repository and every time it’s changed, it calls Nant to pull source code from our SVN, at which point it compiles the source into binary artifacts and put them up on our release server. This means that every time you change anything and commit it to the repository – a minute or two later – any tester can get a working copy of your build to look at, without any intervention on your part, but there’s more…

The app can check on every start whether there is a new build available, so you can basically be pretty sure the tester has the latest copy of your app rather than wondering if they failed to update it. This alone takes a lot of pain off of the testing. It should also help out customers in the deployment of the highly distributed system that we’re working on.

It even installs a shortcut on the user’s Start Menu.

One caveat, which should not be much of a problem once we have the release page properly implemented is that even though you may get an initial feeling that it should work in your preferred browser, unless the preferred browser is Interned Explorer or derivative (or one of multiple of wrappers around IBrowser). The biggest problem as I see it now is that the bootstrap setup app looks like it should work but is broken on the server, while this is not the case.

You may also need to alleviate security restrictions on the site that you’re pulling the app form since it looks like it has a problem even with IE for one of our co-developers.

Some links I’ve gathered while implementing it:

Posted in .Net Framework, C#, Software Development
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Learning C#

I’m about to help a few guys here with their transition from Java to .Net, namely to C#. 

I thought it may actually be a good idea to gather a few helpful links together for you. Stuff I found useful while I was phasing into the joys of the .Net framework a while ago.

The official stuff

First and foremost C# is an ECMA regulated standard. And as such is pretty well documented. ECMA allows you to download PDF e-books regarding the standardized part of the language:

The books are a free download, you could theoretically request the books in printed form (for free) which I did back in my time when I was learning C# but it looks like they have a strict publications ordering form with a combo box of publications which… surprisingly do not list entries 334, 335 or 372. I suppose there was a big number of those smart guys who smelled free books… and the trees were crying.

There is also a good explanation (although highly redundant) on MSDN pages.

Hint: I highly suggest that you read the Garbage collection part of that. It REALLY helps in your day-to-day problems.

I have to say I’m really impressed by the official documentation. I was initially trying to shop around for some C# books back in my days of learning but since there seemed to be none that were both accessible here without waiting for a month or so for delivery and worthwhile I reverted to official docs. And I can tell you, THEY ROCK.

For all your ASP.NET need visit… surprise, surprise… ASP.NET official page.

You may also want to read up on the IIS official page for getting accustomed with IIS. For what it’s worth, there are some articles here.

I would say… don’t buy any books for it, it’s all there and it’s written really well.

All in all, I’m really impressed at how well this stuff is documented, Microsoft really did a great job here. Makes me feel taken care of. But after all… when in doubt – throw money at it.

The good stuff

It looks like for almost every problem you may have there is a simple, clean and not-quite-accurate solution out there.

For those I usually look at CodeProject. Amazing how many of those unique problems you may have, are not so unique. Just put up a proper filter (C#, .Net, ASP.NET) and fill in a few words. Amazing stuff there.

.Net framework does not fully cover all the old stuff of the WinAPI. I do not suspect we will need much of it here, but if you ever needed to use some legacy windows DLL access for stuff not directly supported by the platform (like e.g. speedy reading INI files, or manipulation of Windows handles to get a per-pixel translucent windows ) there is a cool site that helps, which is called exactly like the gears that are used to do it – Pinvoke. There are other marginally useful sites like CodeGuru, DevX or C#Corner but I don’t use them nearly as much as CodeProject or Google.

Hint: when on Google try to use Google Groups rather than just the Google Web search engine.

Posted in .Net Framework, ASP.NET, C#, Software Development
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