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.NET 4, do you know the new features? - Introduction

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Mon, 09/05/2011 - 09:27

imageAs part of my work ahead of Microsoft Tech·Ed Africa 2011 I did a online, anonymous poll to see how well known are the new features in .NET 4, and over the next few days I thought I would share my findings.

The poll asked you to state for feature X: Do you know it? And if you do know it, is it a useful feature?

I listed 61 features that are new in .NET 4 – which pretty much covered the length and breadth of it. There is some consolidation, like ALL of Workflow is one item but WF4 is a rewrite so pretty much is one BIG new feature and some other aspects of consolidation.

I suspected a fairly high rate of known features because .NET 4 was released 16 months ago (12 April 2010) and it has been demo’d and talked about a lot - even I have done a talks on the new features. However the ratio of unknown to known is 1.2 : 1 – so while there is a close parity, there are more are unknown than known, which surprised me a bit.

I have broken up talking about the results into a series, because I want to talk about each feature briefly so a single post would have been MASSIVE.

Below are links to the other parts of the series:

Finally I want to say a BIG thanks to everyone who answered and those who shared links on social networks and with friends!

The raw data can be found below.

Lightswitch is on SALE!

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Fri, 09/02/2011 - 11:23

Nurt img1Very different from my normal ramblings but I thought worth a quick post, Microsoft has Lightswitch on sale at the moment for 33% off the price! This is a world wide offer so you can get it via your distributors, LARS or from the Microsoft Online Store.

So if you are looking to get started in Lightswitch, NOW IS THE TIME!

App.Config Transformations: The community shines where Microsoft drops the ball

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Fri, 08/26/2011 - 08:03

Last year May, I spoke at DevDays Durban about what is new in ASP.NET 4? One of the highlights of that talk is a feature called Web.Config transforms. In short you have a base web.config and then a file per compiler target (i.e. RELEASE, DEBUG). These extra files contain rules on how to transform your web.config when it is published.

In a way of an example you have might your web.config to use your local SQL Server when in Visual Studio, but when you publish a DEBUG build to testing it changes the config to use the test SQL Server. Or when you publish to production it turns off a bunch of logging and shows friendly error messages.

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There is TWO caveats in this process:

  1. ONLY works for ASP.NET* projects as this is something the ASP.NET team built into their publishing tool support.
  2. ONLY works for publish, if you have an ASP.NET* project and hit F5, nothing happens Sad smile

*ASP.NET = ASP.NET Core, and thus systems that build on top of it (WebForms, MVC & WebPages) all get it.

This is something we need in EVERY project type and we need with F5. Thankfully some bright people did just that for us, with the VS add-in Slow Cheetah.

So now you get the full experience on any project type, PLUS you get a brilliant feature missing in the ASP.NET one – PREVIEW. You can see what the resulting config will look like!

Community night in September 2011 - IMPORTANT INFO

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Mon, 08/22/2011 - 10:26

Community Night, the best way to meet, mingle and learn (if you don’t know about it – read here) happens on the second Tuesday of the month… except in September due to an event at the venue on the Tuesday which can’t be moved.

So for September it will take place the Monday before, in other words Monday the 12th September. Please help get the word out to the various user groups and communities!

See you there!

Codename: Roslyn - the next generation of the C# & VB.NET compilers

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Mon, 08/15/2011 - 13:55

277341190_3f098a08a4_oThis past weekend I had the opportunity to present at a fantastic event, Dev4Devs which is a free event where anyone can present on anything (software developer related) for 20min. It is a lot of fun, because of the variety of talks, the variety of people (some new speakers and some experiences speakers) and the HORRID 20min timeline.

This time I presented on a topic I am very interested in, Codename: Roslyn which is the next version of the C# & VB.NET compilers which are fully managed code (C# one written in C# and the VB.NET one written in VB.NET).

Since there is no public bits available I made use of the compiler from Project Mono – which has had similar things (the REPL environment and hosted compiler) for years.

As with all presentations here (or at the end of the post) are my slides, demo notes, demo files and other info!

During my research and prep, I found a bunch of interesting posts and information about it so here is the info I found. I’ve bolded the ones I think are especially interesting.

Image from Ezu

Nugget: Little compiler optimisation

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Wed, 08/03/2011 - 11:28

Found this little C# compiler optimisation which is really cool. Here is start code

int y = 0;
int x = 10;

if (x * 0 == 0)
{
    y = 123;
}

Console.WriteLine(y);

If you know a bit of math, anything multiplied by 0 always equals 0 (line 4). So the compiler optimises that out and then because x is never used that is also optimised out and you end up with

int y = 0;

if (0 == 0)
{
    y = 123;
}

Console.WriteLine(y);
So very smart Smile

Are you using the .NET name correctly & other interesting brand info

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 07/26/2011 - 15:58

Not talking about the technology but various identifiers in the .NET world are often abused. I know this is SUPER pedantic of me, but it is something I come across watching lots of presentations. Getting this right shows a level of polish and knowledge, and getting it wrong shows that either you not paying attention, don’t know what you are talking about or just don’t care.

So here are some brand/naming problems I see:

  • .NET – I often see people use .net or .Net, the correct capitalisation is ALL caps. There is NO excuse for this one, just do it right.
  • .NET Framework 4 – With .NET 4, the marketing people dropped the .0 like we had with 2.0 or 3.5, so stop saying four-oh, it’s just 4.
  • Windows Phone 7 – It is Windows Phone 7, not Windows Mobile 7 (no such product) or Windows 7 Phone.
  • Microsoft Visual C♯ 2010 – I make this one often and call it C♯ 4, it is actually Microsoft Visual C♯ 2010.
  • Should you use ♯ or # with C♯ – either is acceptable. However Microsoft recommends the “Music Sharp Sign” for marketing material.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate – That is the full product name. The issue I see often is people putting .NET in there, ala Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2010. There is NO .NET in the name. There was a release in 2002 called Visual Studio .NET, but that was a specific release and is not the product name.
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 – A lot of people are using the term MOSS to describe SharePoint Server. It is not MOSS in 2010. In 2007 it was Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, but the Office part was dropped for the 2010 release and the MOSS acronym along with it.
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Foundation – Like MOSS above people love to use WSS for SharePoint Foundation. It’s not called that in 2010…. there isn’t even a W in the whole name now.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Documentation – There is a very bad habit (I do it too) to call this MSDN. MSDN is not the help that is install on your machine with Visual Studio! MSDN is a website Microsoft runs for developers which has help on it and also a subscription service where you can get Microsoft software legally and cheap for development purposes. So while it is two things on the Internet, it is NOT on your machine.
  • MacLean – Thought I would just throw this one in, it’s my surname. It has a ‘a’ in the second position and a capital L. It is not Mclean, McLean, Maclean or ‘Hey you, stop kicking my dog…’ Smile with tongue out

Community night in August

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 07/26/2011 - 15:35

Important Notice for August 2011

Community night is normally the second Tuesday of the month, however since that is a public holiday it has been moved to Monday the 15th of August!

What is community night?

For those who do not know this is a FREE event that happens monthly where a variety of user groups get together at Microsoft's offices. User groups are not influenced by Microsoft, they just use the facilities. User groups that are there on a regular basis:

  • Information Worker: Technical focused SharePoint & Office
  • Business User Workshops: User group that looks at the issues that face power users in enterprises. This month the understanding where a portal ends and CRM begins.
  • Game Dev: One of the biggest with plenty of game developers & artists getting together.
  • JavaScript: For all you JS fixes
  • Mobi: My good friend Rudi Grobler hosts this group focused on mobile (iPhone, Android, Symbian and Windows Phone)
  • UX: For those who understand there is more than 16 colours
  • Architecture: For architects of any IT systems!
  • Languages: For developers who are interested in learning the pros & cons of other languages.
  • SQL: The fantastic Gail Shaw runs the best SQL user group anywhere!

There is also FREE beer, cool drinks & pizza!

Where is Microsoft’s offices?

Microsoft Bryanston Office
3012 William Nicol Drive
Bryanston
2191 Johannesburg
South Africa

Click here for map and more details.

Times?

Various user groups starts at different times. I think the first UG kicks off at 16:00 and it can run to 21:00.
However depends if you attend multiple UG, stay for passage conversation, etc…

So up to you, I have nights where I arrived after 17:30 and other times left at 18:00, no pressure!

Presentation Dump - Mid 2011: Windows 7 API CodePack, Development for Nokia, Mercurial, VS Tools, AOP, Multitasking, Cloud

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 07/19/2011 - 14:05

The fact we half way through the year snuck up on me this morning, so it is time again to share some of the presentations I have done in the last 6 months! For those new to the presentation dump, every 6 months or so I share all the slides I can (some I can’t because they contain NDA info, like the one about Microsoft’s Project Double Rainbow) so that you can take these slides and work with them yourself!

So what is included in this dump:

  • Windows 7 API Code Pack: This was a very fun session to do since it was showing off a bunch of cool Windows 7 features.
  • Development for Nokia: This is maybe one of the best looking slides, but one of the worst timed sessions since shortly after it Nokia announced their move to WP7 so not much could be taken away from this Sad smile
  • Mercurial: This is a difficult session, because the demo’s are so boring (how do you make source control sexy?) – however a ridiculous amount of animation about process made this entertaining to create and present.
  • Visual Studio Productivity Tools: This one started off from the idea of answering the question CodeRush vs. Resharper – which is a bit of religious debate more than a this one wins. It includes a bunch of other interesting content about other extensions too. For non-South African’s “Braai Rules” is the same as saying “BBQ Rules” or “Pub/Bar Rules”
  • Aspect Orientated Programming: This is a big one for me as I see general development using more of this and the frameworks, like .NET, moving to it more and more in future. Good to get an early look into it.
  • Multitasking in applications: This session looks at one of the themes of .NET 4 – TASKS. Why should you care, because multi threading is complex, but multi tasking gives the same benefits with less complexity.
  • WebMatrix: Microsoft’s new tool for hobbyist web developers. What is included in that tool? This presentation tells you.
  • Welcome to the cloud: I had a great opportunity to present at Tswane University of Technology with Rudi Grobler on the cloud & mobile. This was a very fun session and allowed me to also talk about why BBD is such an awesome place to work.

Slides available in the post! Click below for more

Windows 7 API Code Pack

Development for Nokia

Mercurial

Visual Studio Productivity Tools

Aspect Orientated Programming

Multitasking in applications

WebMatrix

Welcome to the cloud

YallaApps - Delays in submission!

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 19:33
Updated: This has been resolved, see comments below for details from YallaApps.

YallaApps, the company that submit Windows Phone Apps in parts of the world Microsoft forgets, has a BIG problem at the moment and to make things worse they are not talking about it publically!

In short something is borked between YallaApps and App Hub (the Microsoft submission side) and as such there is a hold on all submissions! So the very purpose for it has stopped, and there is not a mention on the blog or site about this. Very poorly done Yalla!

How did I find out? I emailed them because after 5 days my app hadn’t been submitted! Below is their response.

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