Tools & Apps

Visual Studio 2012 Update Guide

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Mon, 02/25/2013 - 13:43

Version: 2 – March 4 2013

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

VS_Purp256_rgb (1)Visual Studio Update 1

VS_Purp256_rgb (1)Visual Studio Update 2 CTP 4(NEW/UPDATED!)

Git-Icon-1788CGit Tooling for Visual Studio

VS_Purp256_rgb (1)Productivity Power Tools 2012

NuGet_project_logo_svgNuGet

web essentialsWeb Essentials 2012

AzureVS2012_LogoASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2

AzureVS2012_LogoWindows Azure SDK for .NET (VS 2012) 1.8.1 - February 2013

VS_Purp256_rgb (1)Microsoft Office Developer Tools For Visual Studio (NEW/UPDATED!)

WFM-128pxWorkflow Manager Tools for Visual Studio 2012

expressWindows Phone SDK 8.0

sql-option-aSQL Server Data Tools for VS 2012 December Update

odatalogoWCF Data Services 5.0 for OData v3

Want more extensions for Visual Studio? Check out the 31 extensions created by Microsoft for Visual Studio 2012 on the Visual Studio Gallery

Timeline (out of date)

Since I like to visualise these things here is a timeline of the updates:

image

Download timeline in Excel

Is the event log (fast) enough for me?

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Mon, 02/04/2013 - 23:10

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!

How to update git-tf?

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 01/17/2013 - 21:03

I love Git – it lets me work the way I want and where ever I may be. I love TFS – it has everything companies need for development projects. This is why I love Git-tf, it gives me git but with all the professional tooling from TFS serious development needs. However I have found that upgrading Git-tf isn’t obvious and in fact you may get it wrong without knowing!

I was doing it wrong

Since it is just a file copy deploy (i.e. drop files in a folder), I had assumed that you could just do a file replace of those files when a new version – however I noticed recently the version numbers after an “upgrade” didn’t match up.

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Solution

The solution is to delete all the files in the folder FIRST – then you copy the files into that folder. Once you do that it just works!

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It is odd to me, but it works and that is what matters.

Special thanks to Richard Banks for pointing out this solution to me Smile

NDepend + Windows Store apps = WINNING

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 12/13/2012 - 09:49

I <3 NDepend, it is an amazingly powerful tool that is brutally honest & unforgiving, and the rewards it brings are massive. Building Windows Store apps without it has always worried me – how do I know if this is going right? Thankfully yesterday the NDepend team released 4.1 which includes support for Windows Store apps, which includes the ability to analyse the .winmd files too!

This not only means I have personal benefits, but it is a sign of something too. NDepend really is cutting edge, and so the sign that they professional tools are arriving for Windows Store apps really shows commitment from the community to the platform! This means it will get easier and better to develop Windows Store apps in the future!

You can download a trial of NDepend at http://www.ndepend.com/NDependDownload.aspx

How rich are you?

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 11/15/2012 - 23:57

How rich are you? Did you ever wonder that? I did, so I built this little tool to tell me exactly how rich I am! The tool uses data from the South Africa 2011 Census1 and nothing is sent or stored when you use this tool.

The tool

Enter your current MONTHLY income:

My thoughts

What really hit home to me is just how much better off I am than many people in South Africa. It is very sobering.

Footnotes

The numbers may seem off from the 51 million people that StatsSA reported, that is because I have removed people who answered "not applicable" or "not specified" which lowered the amount of the population to 46 867 063 - still enough of a data set to play with.

If you want to understand how this works, you can see the code (in a very messy state) at BitBucket.

English to Afrikaans to English

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 11/15/2012 - 08:12

image

South Africa, the amazing country I live in, has 11 official languages including the language of Afrikaans which I can muddle my way through speaking. However often I struggle and that inspired me to create an app to help with a phrase book that helps you translate English to Afrikaans & back again!

I see some real value in this on a tablet, when people come to South Africa on holiday as they will be able to quickly find out what “jou ma se…” means and take the required action (ducking is generally the required action at that point).

While I did some planning for this app before hand (finding content, prototyping UI’s etc…) the app was mostly built at the recent WowzApp event, which is an event aimed at students (although we had professionals & even a 13 year old).

This app is also in the Apptivate competition so please go there and vote for it by clicking the image below:

apptivate

Video

Screen shots

screenshot_11112012_221229screenshot_11112012_221241screenshot_11112012_221250screenshot_11112012_221321screenshot_11112012_221636

Image Grabber

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Fri, 10/26/2012 - 16:02

svg2raster - pink-190x190This is really a simple app, find images on a website and pull them down to your machine so you can browse them, save them or share them. There is some special logic for some websites – such as Tumblr blogs where it will pull down using the API rather than raw scraping of the pages.

This was the very first app I built and tried to publish – it took numerous attempts to get through certification and in the process I learnt a lot.

You can get the app from the store using the download link below!

Download

This app is also in the Apptivate competition so please go there and vote for it by clicking the image below:

apptivate

Video

Screen shots

South African Postal Codes

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Sat, 09/29/2012 - 15:09

Mailbox-190-white-solid organge background

South Africa, as with many countries in the world, uses a numerical postal code system to help work out where to delivery mail – however besides some high level consistency there really is very little rhyme or reason in the numbers.

This little tool allows you to search, share, browse & pin the postal codes you need – when you need it!

This tool was inspired by my Postal Code apps for Windows Phone 7 – and really allowed me to experiment with the concept of how you can take & share development resources (including code) between two platforms.

Download

This app is also in the Apptivate competition so please go there and vote for it by clicking the image below:

apptivate

screenshot_09152012_093250screenshot_09152012_093337

South African Postal Codes makes use of icons created by the awesome (& free) Metro Studio 2.

Portal 2: Lab Rat for Windows 8

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Sat, 09/29/2012 - 12:00

aperture-190I love Portal, both the first & second games were amazing but what happened between them is never clearly explained in the games. Valve released an amazing comic book called Lab Rat a while ago that explained it! I enjoyed it so much I created a Windows Phone app for it. One of the things I had to do in that app was use very LOW resolution images and I was never happy with that.

Now I am proud to announce not only have I solved that but I also get to share my second Windows Store app – Lab Rat!

This is a GREAT Microsoft Style experience – high resolution images, full screen, touch – it all just works amazingly well together (see images below).

Having a new platform let me bring in ridiculously high resolve images too (which is why this download is over 250Mb worth of content), but not only the original English images but also the images without text (as in the Windows Phone app) and, for the first time, the Russian version too!

Download

As with my previous Windows 8 apps, this app is in the Apptivate competition so please go there and vote for it by clicking the image below:

apptivate

screenshot_09162012_195444screenshot_09162012_195509screenshot_09162012_195518screenshot_09162012_195459


Updates

Release 2 - 9 October 2012

  • Added the ability to zoom & pan images
  • Minor tweaks

Amazing Lock Screen

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 09/27/2012 - 10:29
Having issues with the app? Need support? Want to just say thanks? Please use the feedback page!

This app was previously named Bing my lockscreen but has now been renamed to Amazing Lock Screen

Lock TimeI am very proud to announce my very first Windows 8 application: Amazing Lock Screen – which does pretty much what the title says it does. In short: Bing has the greatest images & now you can get use them for your lock screen!

Bing My Lockscreen allows you to select from the eight most recent Clipboard01Bing images and quickly select which of them to set your lock screen to use.

In addition Amazing Lock Screen allows you to automatically have your lockscreen updated daily with the latest image from Bing - thus ensuring a constant supply of inspiring and interesting new content for you!

 

You can get the app from the store using the download link below!

Download

Bing my lockscreen makes use of icons created by the awesome (& free) Metro Studio 2.