Google Alerts made me laugh :)

I subscribe to Google Alerts. I have an alert set up to look for the word ObjectSharp. This has worked great over the years, pointing out blogs and articles where people have made reference to ObjectSharp.

This morning I received an Alert that made me laugh.  I started reading a news article titled: Here's how and where 'cutters' can get help

Perhaps its someone talking about our training, I thought to myself. As I began to read the article it made no sense. Then I found the source of the Alert. :)


You understand, it made me laugh because of the mix up , not that the article is funny. The Article is very serious and I hope these people get some help.

Dundas Charts in the .Net Framework 3.5 SP1?

It's true. We were looking at using Dundas charts for a client project. One of our associates mentioned that Dundas sold the rights to their Data Visualization packages to Microsoft last year and have added them as a separate installation for .Net framework 3.5 SP1. Read more about it here.

What do I need and where do I get it?

For some help using them check out Chart Forums and Chart Samples

DevTeach Montreal

Have you heard the news?

Every attendee to DevTeach Montreal will get Visual Studio 2008 Pro, Expression Web 2 and Tech-Ed DEV set in their bag!

DevTeach believes that all developers need the right tool to be productive. Therefore you will get,  free software, when you register to DevTeach or SQLTeach. Yes that right! They are giving over a $1000 worth of software when you register to DevTeach. You will find in your conference bag a version of Visual Studio 2008 Professional, ExpressionTM Web 2 and the Tech-Ed Conference DVD Set. Now that is a good deal? DevTeach and SQLTeach are really the training you can’t get any other way.

Register now.



Windows 7

At PDC everyone got a Windows 7 DVD. I used it at the conference on machines that were set up for people to use and it seemed pretty good. I have an older laptop I was going to get paved to use as a back up when this one has trouble. So I thought I would try it out on that machine, nothing to lose.

I was very impressed with the easy install. I have installed pretty much every version of windows since version 3 at one time or another. I would have to say this was the quickest and most pain free ever.

After playing around with it a little (keep in mind there is very little software on it to play with so far) it's snappy. I mean really responsive.

It seems like a much better Vista rather then a new operating system.

So far I give it a big thumbs up. :)

Microsoft Research Part II

On the plane going to PDC Bruce mentioned a new product from MSR that he had downloaded called Pex. Then when the Expo hall opened at PDC we eventually made our way to the MSR section of the hall. There was Pex. We watched an excellent and very enthusiastic demo, at the end we were told there would be a session first thing Thursday morning. That would be the last thing we do before heading for home.

Thursday morning we arrive at the Convention centre for Breakfast, randomly select a table and settle in for breakfast with four other PDCer's. Turns out two of them work for MSR and are giving the talk on Pex this morning. :) It was meant to be, how many signs does one need.

As it turned out Bruce decided to find out how MS uses VSTS internally instead of both of us attending the Pex talk. so we split up.

The Pex talk turned out to be two talks.

Code Contracts

Code contracts will be coming in 4.0 and will allow you to add contracts to your classes and methods to express assumptions about the code. These contracts can be used to:

    1. Improve testing via runtime checking
    2. Static contract verification
    3. Documentation generation

    public virtual int Add(object value)
            Contract.Requires( value != null );
            Contract.Ensures( Count == Contract.OldValue(Count) + 1 );
            Contract.Ensures( Contract.Result<int>() == Contract.OldValue(Count) );
            if (count == items.Length) EnsureCapacity(count + 1); 
            items[count] = value; 
            return count++;


Pex is an automated white box testing tool, that will interrogate your code and build a table of possible inputs to your code that would execute all code paths. From this table of possible test cases you can generate unit tests. If an unhandled exception is found it will show up in bold, once you create the unit test you can then run the test and debug directly into the code path that causes the exception. All from the Pex UI. Very nice demo.

This is definitely worth a look. There are two versions you can download today. One works with the 2010 CTP and an academic release that works with VS 2008.

Microsoft Research Part I

This year at PDC Microsoft Research was here in force. I have seen them at PDC before, I'm sure of it, Although they tell me it was just a smattering. This year they had a section of the Expo Hall, The Wednesday Morning key note was done completely by MSR. Here are some of the highlights for me.


This is a very cool surface project. The demonstration showed images being projected onto a surface. Where the presenter could rearrange, and resize them, using multiple touch technologies. Then it got cool. Holding a piece of tracing paper above the surface showed a second projection coming through. This image was text that explained the first image. The whole thing is done by alternating between two separate projections onto a surface that can alternate at the same time between transparent and opaque.When the surface is opaque the first image is projected onto it. When it's transparent the second image passes through and can be seen only when a second surface is introduced.


At the Expo hall there was a booth where a chap showed me some software that was available from MSR right now called AutoCollage. This software will take a folder of images and meld them together as a collage for you, taking the attributes of the image into account. This is one I made after downloading a trial version.


Deep Intellisense:

Deep intelisense is a tool that helps you find information about a piece of code. It's a quick reverse chronological reference of everything and everyone that have touched this code. Including work items, change sets, Share Point documents. It's used internally at MS but is not ready for external release.


Blogging and Beer!

I have not blogged anything for the past two days. I've had very little time between key notes breakout sessions and visiting the Microsoft Booths in the Expo Hall, I could Blog and do all that but then add client work to the mix and there goes the extra time. I sat through a session yesterday and know nothing that happened I ended up catching up on email and having several conversations with people back at home via MSN.

Enough excuses, Bruce and I have split up this morning. He went to a session titled TFS: How we use it at MS and I have gone to a session put on by MS Research on PEX (More Later).

Last night was the only night this week we actually went out for dinner. Attached to our hotel is a Micro Brewery  Bonaventure Brewery  So we went and had the sampler. 5 different beers served on  tray with the type of the beer written on the matt under the glass. (Nice Touch)

IMAG0011 IMAG0012

The Stout was good no Guiness but good. The Pale Ale was as expected from a Micro Brewery. That is what I ended up selecting as a pint after the tasting. The Blond and Strawberry Blonde  were very good also light and lots of flavour. The beer of the day was good also, although my least favourite. I can't recall the name of it. :(

PDC Show Off

Last night we went to a PDC event called Show off. Where people submitted videos of cool stuff they had written using Microsoft Technologies.

The best was Brian The Build Bunny I may just have to buy one of these wireless build notification appliances.

More VSTS 2010

The new VSTS 2010 has me so excited that I sat in on another session. Now I am sad because I have to go back to work and use VSTS 2008. :(

In 2010 you can:

  • Have multiple Build Agents on one Build server
  • Use a Workflow designer to completely Customize you build type
  • Each build can have a server and private or gated build drop location
    • In a previous post I mentioned no more broken builds. That is by using a Gated build to verify what you are about to check in will not break the latest build.
  • Another thing that helps with this is branching.
    • Branches are first class citizens now.
    • You can visualize your branches
    • Conflict Resolution is in the pending changes not a modal dialog.
    • You can now Rollback without a command line powertool
    • Because Branching is a real player History and Annotate know about it.
  • You can create hierarchical workitems.
    • User Story
      • Task...
      • Test Case...
  • Better workitem queries
    • Query across workitem hierarchy relationships
    • Query by TFS Group (Bugs assigned to everyone in UI Dev Group)
    • Compare two fields (Remaining work = estimated work)


After lunch there was only one session that interested me. C# IDE Tips and Tricks.It seems everyone else wanted to see this one also. I went a few minutes late and was sent to an overflow room. From there I was sent to another overflow room, which was full. At this point I gave up and decided to call home. :)

Since I didn't get my C# fix there I next attended The Future of C# with Anders Helsberg. There were two things I found interesting.

  • According to Anders the C# and VB teams are going to work together to keep the two languages in line and up to date together.
  • The other part of the talk I found interesting was around the Dynamic Language Runtime.. C# and VB will have support for the DLR soon. Essentially there will be a new type called Dynamic. :)