Tools & Apps

TechEd Africa 2013: Windows Store Apps - Tips & Tricks

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Sun, 04/21/2013 - 17:13

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.

TechEd Africa 2013: What's new in LightSwitch 2013?

Today I presented at TechEd Africa 2013 the second of my talks which is my personal favourite What’s new in LightSwitch 2013! 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.

The one item I gave the LEAST amount of coverage to was the SharePoint story, which is really amazing and deserved more. So if you would like to know more about it have a look at Brian Moores blog post on this. Of course, no LightSwitch talk is complete with a mention to Michael Washington (who is Mr. LightSwitch – if he was born in the UK, he would Sir. LightSwitch already) but I never showed his website URL, so here it is: www.lightswitchhelpwebsite.com

Download the completed demo

Robert MacLean Thu, 04/18/2013 - 15:53
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!

Robert MacLean Wed, 04/17/2013 - 11:07

Haven't I seen these presentations before?

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 04/02/2013 - 15:38

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 :)

Visual Studio: Auto-load changes, if saved

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 03/28/2013 - 08:32

Visual Studio is great, but if you are using external tools like Git or Blend at the same time, the constant prompting to update/reload files can be annoying. In this short video I show a great option, that you can enable in Visual Studio that will make the experience a lot more pleasurable.

If you want this option to work with project & solution files in future, please vote on it at User Voice.

Visual Studio: PRESENTON!

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Wed, 03/27/2013 - 11:36

It sounds a bit like something Inspector Gadget may say: PRESENT ON! but this is a command in Visual Studio that makes VS shine for presentations. I spoke about it in my video on presenter tricks but love this so much, it needs it’s own blog post too! Simply put, it makes the entire of VS look better:

image

To show this I took a photo (with camera phone) when off & when on during a talk I recently gave. Just looking at the difference – the second is easier to see what is going on.

While it does lots of things, let me highlight some of the critical differences:

image

image

So how do you use this?

First you must download the productivity power tools extension from Microsoft. This is a free extension & not only gives you this, but also gives you a lot more AWESOME functionality. Next you need to go to the Quick Launch box in Visual Studio 2012.

image 

Now type: PRESENTON and hit enter (or click the item in the list when it appears). BOOM! Done! Happy Audiences!

image

When you are finished, just type PRESENTOFF in Quick Launch and you are back to normal.

Presenter Tricks: WOW your audience

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 03/26/2013 - 18:05

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:

Visual Studio 2012 - LightSwitch: The selected project was created by a newer version of this application and cannot be opened.

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 03/05/2013 - 02:06

imageYou may have run into this annoying dialog when creating an HTML application with Visual Studio 2012 LightSwitch after installing Update 2 CTP 4. The issue does not appear when creating a “normal” application.

The cause of this is a conflict between the old bits that came with the Office Dev tools update and the new bits that came in the Visual Studio update.

Prevent it in future!

You can prevent this by following these steps [source]:

Before installing CTP 4 you must uninstall HTML Client Preview 2 and clear the Application Manifest cache:

  1. Open Add\Remove Programs.
  2. Select the entry for Microsoft LightSwitch HTML Client Preview 2 for Visual Studio 2012.
  3. Right-click the entry and select Uninstall.
  4. Select the entry for Windows Azure Tools for LightSwitch HTML Client Preview 2 for Visual Studio 2012 – June 2012 SP1.
  5. Right-click the entry and select Uninstall.
  6. Clear your application manifest cache by deleting the following folders:
    • %localappdata%\Microsoft\MSBuild\VSLS\11.3
    • %localappdata%\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.3

How do I fix it?

While the above is useful information ahead of time, it is is not helpful after the fact. So how do you fix your Visual Studio to be able to get into the fantastic new LightSwitch bits?

works-on-my-machine-starburstYour mileage may vary with this since this is been found with a bit of trial and error as I fixed on my machine.

First shutdown Visual Studio and then follow the steps above. Once done, run the CTP 4 installer again and chose the uninstall option. Once it is completely uninstalled you then reinstall the CTP.

Finally make sure you may want to make double sure you have cleaned the manifest cache (step 6 above) – it won’t hurt to do it again either. Just make sure Visual Studio is close when you do it.

Do not try a repair

You may think a repair is as good as an uninstall/reinstall of the CTP. It isn’t, since it gives you this lovely fun:

image

Creating a timeline chart in Excel 2013

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Wed, 02/27/2013 - 08:43

My last two posts have both contained an timeline chart in them which I create in Microsoft Excel 2013. Since it is a fairly awesome trick, I have created a short 10min video showing how you can do it too!

imageWhile this in itself is pretty awesome to do, because it is Microsoft Office – you can easily copy and paste it into PowerPoint for presentations. Then by simply changing the Effect Options ► Sequence to By Category you can get a great effect where each event pops in one by one.

3

(click the above image to see a higher resolution version of it)

Visual Studio Extension Guide

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 02/26/2013 - 14:55

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.