21 Apr 2013

TechEd Africa 2013: Windows Store Apps - Tips & Tricks

On Thursday I presented at TechEd Africa 2013 the third & final of my talks which was very personal in nature as I spent a lot of time talking about what I did wrong & what I wish I knew when I started building Windows Store apps. The title of the talk was Windows Store Apps – Tips & Tricks! If you click more (below) you will be able to grab the slides, demos & my demo script if you are wanting to see what I was doing.

17 Apr 2013

TechEd Africa 2013: What's new in .NET 4.5 & Visual Studio 2012!

Today I presented at TechEd Africa 2013 the first of my talks which is a massive two hour overview of what is new in .NET 4.5 & VS 2012! If you click more (below) you will be able to grab the slides, demos & my demo script if you are wanting to see what I was doing.

For those who could not attend, part one is very similar to this presentation what I did last year!

07 Apr 2013

XAML (Windows Store apps) editing in Visual Studio broken with NVIDIA Optimus

I have a fancy laptop that seems to delight in giving me headaches, and the latest is to do with Windows Store app development. The problem is simple, you edit the XAML and nothing happens! You need to trigger a full redraw of the screen to get it to render the changes, the below video may explain it better:

The issue here is that my fancy laptop has two graphics cards, a low powered Intel one (great for battery – average for performance) & a high powered NVIDIA one (bad for battery – great for performance). Add to this, that it uses a new technology from NVIDIA called Optimus which allows individual parts of the screen to be rendered by each card – the best explanation of this can be found on SuperUser.

So what is the solution to this problem? Disable one of the graphics card – yeah, that is the work around at this point. I am doing this by using device manager to disable the NVIDIA one.

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That fixes the rendering issue and allows Visual Studio to work properly. Not great by any stretch of the imagination.

05 Apr 2013

MVP's @ TechEd Africa 2013

Microsoft_MVP_logoWith TechEd fast approaching, I have been asked a few times who are interesting presenters to see. That is always a tough problem to answer since it depends on what you like. One group of people who are always great are Microsoft MVPs, although I maybe biased, and there are a few presenting at TechEd.

(Click the names – they take you to their TechEd profiles which has, links to blogs etc… & a list of their talks)

There is also a couple of ex-MVP’s I spotted presenting too:
02 Apr 2013

Haven't I seen these presentations before?

imageIn a few short weeks I will be speaking at TechEd Africa 2013 and if you have come to my talks before (previous TechEd’s, TechDays, Hogshead when I have had one too many) you may see that I am giving similar sounding content – so why should you come to these TechEd talks? What will be new and awesome? I am going to give you an honest review of what you can expect from the three talks below.

Windows Store Apps, Tips & Tricks from the field

This is a brand new talk, filled with awesome new content for people developing apps for Windows 8 today & going forward to the Windows ‘Blue’ world. Some of this is from Windows Store app Development Snack series but not all of it, especially in the architecture & tooling sections of the talk.

Note: This is not an introduction to Windows Store apps talk – I will assume the audience has some of the concepts of apps already. So for example, I will talk about background tasks but not explain what they are or where they used in any depth.

What’s new in .NET 4.5 & VS 2012

Same title as my TechDays talk and really this is the version 2 of that talk. So what can you expect different from TechDays?

  • Part 1 is very similar, in fact you could probably just watch the YouTube video of that part & get 95% of the content. I will have some new tricks, especially since we have two updates to VS available now & I have adjusted the emphasis in some places – but that is the only changes in part 1.
  • Part 2 is very different, both the WCF & LightSwitch sections are gone! LightSwitch was dropped because I have an hour long talk just on that :) WCF was dropped since the demo’s were not great and despite it being an amazing tool, the focus for the talk needs to be what’s new – and the new way for API’s is WebAPI. Do not read that as WCF is dead – hardly, just it doesn’t meet this talks requirements. This means I freed up a lot of time, so I am filling it with A LOT of new ASP.NET content. I will show you tricks & tips in ASP.NET land that will blow your mind away!

What’s new in LightSwitch

This session is vastly different my previous LightSwitch talks – we will start in roughly the same way and look at what it does however rather than 1 hour on that, we do a higher level treatment of that in 20min.  So if you never have seen LightSwitch – I am ensuring you are catered for. That is followed by a quick view of the new stuff and then finally we look to the future and the amazing new items coming down the line.

This talk is aimed at those who have never seen LightSwitch, those who have & those we are using it and want to see where it is headed – so basically everyone :)

26 Mar 2013

Presenter Tricks: WOW your audience

imageAs TechEd is fast approaching, I thought it would be a great time to share some tricks I will be using  to make my technical presentations a success. These are five tricks that focus on technical presentations on Windows and they include:

  • ZoomIt: An essential tool to focus the audience & magnify content
  • Turning off Windows 8 notifications
  • Turning on HIGH PERFORMANCE mode in Windows, so everything runs amazingly
  • Turning off presenter view in PowerPoint 2013
  • The amazing PresentOn option in Visual Studio, which makes VS look amazing on stage!

Download links:

26 Feb 2013

Visual Studio Extension Guide

Version: 1 – Feb 26 2013 – Current Count: 24

This page is meant to provide a one stop shop for the Visual Studio Extensions that are available for Visual Studio 2012. Included here will be only extensions from Microsoft that are available on the Visual Studio Gallery. Some maybe betas, CTPs etc…  If you think I have missed any please contact me!

Bing Maps SDK for Windows Store apps

Color Printing

EnterpriseLibrary.Config

GAT 2010 for Visual Studio 2012

  • The Guidance Automation Toolkit (GAT) is a Visual Studio extension that helps build guidance packages, which empower software teams to automate key development tasks (like custom templates, wizards, and code generation) inside Visual Studio.
  • More information
  • Download

GAX 2010 For Visual Studio 2012

  • The Guidance Automation Extensions (GAX) enables Visual Studio to run guidance packages, such as those included in Software Factories, which empower software teams to automate key development tasks inside Visual Studio.
  • More information
  • Download

Highlight all occurrences of selected word

  • This extends the editor to highlight all occurrences of a selected word and place a glyph on the left margin (VS2012 version).
  • More information
  • Download

HTML Spell Checker

LightSwitch Cosmopolitan Shell and Theme

  • A LightSwitch shell and theme with modern and clean UI, inspired by the Silverlight Cosmopolitan theme.
  • More information
  • Download

LightSwitch Metro Theme

Microsoft ASP.NET Scaffolding

Microsoft Parallel Visualization Pack

  • A set of visualizers that allow users to view graphical representations of the data in the Parallel Watch Window.
  • More information
  • Download

Microsoft PlayReady Client SDK for Windows Store apps

Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Feedback Tool

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Feedback Tool allows users to submit feedback about Microsoft Visual Studio 2012
  • More information
  • Download

Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 SDK

  • The Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 SDK includes project templates, tools, tests, and reference assemblies that are required to build extensions for Visual Studio 2012.
  • More information
  • Download

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 Build Extensions

  • The Team Foundation Server Build Extensions provide the ability to execute Ant or Maven builds from Team Foundation Server and publish the results of the build along with any associated JUnit test results back to Team Foundation Server.
  • More information
  • Download

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 Update 1 Power Tools

  • Power Tools are a set of enhancements, tools, and command-line utilities that increase productivity of Team Foundation Server scenarios.
  • More information
  • Download

NuGet Package Manager

  • A collection of tools to automate the process of downloading, installing, upgrading, configuring, and removing packages from a VS Project.
  • More information
  • Download

PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2010

Productivity Power Tools 2012

  • A set of extensions to Visual Studio 2012 Professional (and above) which improves developer productivity.
  • More information
  • Download

Smooth Streaming Client SDK

Storyboard Shapes Authoring Tool - RC Version

  • This tool helps you make storyboard shapes that can be used with PowerPoint Storyboarding (available with Visual Studio 2012).
  • More information
  • Download

Team Foundation Server Integration Tools (March 2012 Release)

  • The TFS Integration Tools is a project developed by the Team Foundation Server (TFS) product group and the Visual Studio ALM Rangers to integrate Team Foundation Server with third party systems for migration and synchronization of data.
  • More information
  • Download

Visual Source Safe Upgrade Tool for Team Foundation Server

  • The official upgrade tool to move your Visual Source Safe repositories into Team Foundation Server
  • More information
  • Download

Visual Studio Tools for Git

  • An extension for Team Explorer to provide source control integration for Git. Enables integration with local Git repositories and provides tools to work with remote repositories.
  • More information
  • Download

image

Download the timeline in Excel: here.

Download the source code for the tool that I used to produce the HTML & data for this post: here.

04 Feb 2013

Is the event log (fast) enough for me?

imageIn a recent project I was required to come up with a suggestion for logging and while the existing view of using a text file is used by many popular applications and is well understood it felt like re-inventing the wheel.

In the past I have used the great libraries of Enterprise Library or Log4Net to ensure I didn’t need to re-invent the wheel but really only to ever write to a log file. I began to question should I use the Windows Event Log rather, since it offers a lot of other features, especially around the viewer.

The viewer can not only provide a simple view, but offers ordering, filtering, exporting, remote connections (you can open the event logs on other machines), monitoring (through tools like System Center Operations Manager) and forwarding.

The big question for me has always been, can it cope with the load I want to throw at it? So to test this I wrote a small application, which is available for you to grab or comment on at Bitbucket. The application spins up a few threads (on my machine 4 is the magic number – above that there is no major improvements) and just writes as much data as quickly as possible to an event log.

Every time I have run it I have managed to get close to 40 000 writes per second! Monitoring CPU at the time, it averages between 30% to 50%, so not minor load but considering how much is happening, understandable.

image

There isn’t much I have that needs that sort of speed, and if I do there is ETW, so help me chant DEATH TO THE TEXT FILE, LONG LIVE THE EVENT LOG!

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