Archives / 2008 / October
  • Azure Deployment Portal - Use IE

    Ran into a small bug in the Azure deployment portal today using Firefox.  The "swap" button to swap out a staging with a production environment was non-responsive.  Switched to IE and it popped up an "are you sure" alert box as expected.  I'm sure this will be addressed quickly but if you're trying out Azure you may want to be aware of the issue. more

  • PDC 2008 Keynote Demo: Boku

    At Wednesday's keynote by Microsoft Research VP Rick Rashid, one of the demos showed of Boku, a project designed to bring programming and logic to children in game form.  The coolest part about it is that everything is graphical and the UI is a game controller - no keyboard.  The gist of the "language" is something like this: When - Saw - Tree => Do - Move - Toward + When - Bumped - Fruit => Do - Eat - Fruit This would send a character toward the nearest tree, eating any fruit encountered along the way.  All of the verbs and nouns are chosen from icons via the UI, which simply uses a game controller. In the course of the demo at PDC (which you can watch here), Microsoft … more

  • New Look for Blog

    Craig, Lake Quincy Media's Creative Director, updated my blog from the generic theme I'd been using today.  Let me know how you like it (if you're reading this in an RSS reader, click here).  I like it but I'm a bit biased.  I'm also curious, as a reader, do you prefer seeing full posts on the home page or just summaries (for example: Rob Howard or ScottW's blogs). Please post a comment with your thoughts!  Thanks! more

  • PDC 2008 Rollup After 2 Days

    It's the morning of Day 3 of PDC 2008 and as I'm waiting for the next keynote to begin, I thought I'd summarize what I've seen announced thus far this week. On Monday, Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie announced Windows Azure, Microsoft's new cloud services platform that provides scalable, available application hosting and supporting services.  Azure, combined with other services such as Windows Live Services and Live Mesh, can create some very compelling business value, especially for startups and organizations with applications that require burstable scalability.  That is, they require large amounts of scalability during brief or seasonal periods, intermixed with … more

  • Windows Cloud Platform - Azure Thing?

    So they announced the name for the Windows cloud platform, formerly code named Red Dog (and briefly Strata) - introducing Windows Azure.  I like the name, personally, although even during the keynote at PDC there were issues with pronunciation (AZ-ure or uh-ZHOOR), the fomer being the accepted one, apparently. What does this mean to you?  Well that really depends and since I don't necessarily know you I'm going to just leave the question aside and tell you what it means to me, and maybe that will help some of you. Lake Quincy Media is a small but growing advertising company dedicated (at present) to Microsoft Developers.  We're a big sponsor of PDC and at this point most of … more

  • Graffiti History Widget

    Graffiti CMS doesn't ship with an archive/history widget to display the number of posts published by month, as is common in many other blog engines.  I've been looking for such a widget for several months and Keyvan pointed me to one a few days ago that I got up and running in just a few moments today.  You'll find it linked from this forum thread, which I'm quoting the relevant post below to make things easier for you: Okay, here is the binary.Here is a VS2008 Solution.And here are the view and layout files that I used.Again, I based this on Jon Sagara's original Archive Widget.  Jon included several Plug-ins for cache invalidation.  Honestly I did not look into these … more

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  • Range Errors Not Just In Software

    A common area to test in software are ranges of values and off-by-one errors.  But this problem certainly isn't limited to programmer code.  I just wrapped up a survey by TNS for customer satisfaction that ended with this question.  Note that I have 10 employees in my company (trying to pick the invisible radio button between the first and second one didn't work). more

  • Speaking at Dog Food Conference in Columbus Ohio November 2008

    I'm giving an overview of ASP.NET MVC at the "Dog Food" conference in Columbus, Ohio, next month.  The details and schedule are as follows: Date: November 20, 2008 Location:  · Floor 4: Suite 400 · Floor 5: Classroom 501 and 502 8800 Lyra Dr Columbus, OH 43240 Dogfood Developer’s Conference: A commonly used word by  developers and MS employees: Click to Register ** Track 0: MS Multipurpose Room ** 8:00 to 9:00 AM Register 9:00 to 9:45 - Software + Services, MS Roadmaps, PDC Announcements Speaker: Brian Prince, MS 9:55 to 11:35 - MOSS: ECM, KnowledgeLake, Imaging Capture Speakers: Mike Miller and Mark Oman, KnowledgeLake Noon to 1:00 PM: Lunch 1:00 to 2:20 PM - MOSS … more

  • Incenting Behavior

    Ayende recently commented on Spolsky's latest Inc. column about how commission schemes typically backfire for companies due to local optimization by those seeking to maximize their commissions.  Both make good points; read them, I'll wait. As it happens, I was just getting to my notes on this from Lean Software Development, which describe a compensation scheme that I think works very well and that I'll be sure to implement when an opportunity presents itself.  Refer to page 118 if you have the book and wish to follow along... In discussing Nucor and its ability to motivate its employees to be productive without falling victim to the min/maxing behavior that typically goes along … more

  • Insidious Dependencies

    In the last year or so I've really seen the light on how to really write loosely-coupled code.  I thought I knew something about this concept before - I mean, I knew loose coupling was good, generally speaking, and I knew data abstraction was one of the key ways to limit dependencies between classes.  However, I didn't realize that I was unintentionally adding all kinds of coupling into my applications despite my best efforts to the contrary.  Let's talk about some dependencies, including some obvious ones, as well as some insidious dependencies that lurk in most applications I've seen. Big Fat Obvious Dependencies Let's assume you're working with a .NET application.  … more

  • Fiddler for Firefox

    In my tools talk at DevReach earlier this week I mentioned that I use Fiddler with IE and FireBug with Firefox to see HTTP traffic involved in loading and working with a given web page/site.  I said in the talk that Fiddler only works with IE, but that's not entirely true as Ivo Evtimov was kind enough to point out to me.  You can configure Firefox to work with Fiddler, but you have to do so manually each time you want to do it (whereas Fiddler just works with IE, and Firebug just works with FF). In order to configure FF to work with Fiddler, you have to set it up as a proxy server.  You'll find this under FireFox's options, which in FF3 is under Tools -> Options -> … more

  • DevReach 2008

    I spent most of the last week speaking at DevReach in Sofia, Bulgaria.  This was DevReach's third year, but was my first time speaking there, as well as my first time visiting Bulgaria.  The conference is sponsored primarily by Telerik and Martin Kulov of  The organizers did a great job, I thought, and the sold out conference went very well by all accounts, with I think a little over 450 in attendance. I was originally scheduled to give two presentations but due to one speaker not being able to make it, I ended up giving three.  The first two were Pragmatic ASP.NET Tips, Tricks, and Tools (Parts 1 and 2) and the last one was ASP.NET Performance and … more

  • Search Trends October 2008

    PDC is fast approaching and Cloud Computing is the theme - and all the rage for everyone else in the Industry media.  Amazon recently announced they'll be extending their compute cloud to support Windows and real databases.  Here's a look at some recent trends in the tech industry, using Google Trends. Daylight Savings Time The topic of DST is likely of at least marginal interest to most software developers, as working with DateTime constructs is a frequent requirement for us (and often a source of frustration).  I wanted to confirm when it was this year and that led to the rest of these trend searches (I once missed a flight due to a change in the date of DST that my alarm … more

  • Reducing SQL Lookup Tables and Function Properties in NHibernate

    One of the points made in Jeffrey's agile development boot camp last week that struck a chord with me was that many database-centric designs have lookup tables that aren't really just data.  That is, tables that hold values such as statuses that, if modified, can easily break existing code or won't function as expected without the addition of code.  We have a lot of these in our codebase, and we've been struggling with the questions of how to address these values in our system.  Do we use Enums?  If so, do we try and keep the enums in sync with the database values?  If not, do we want to use magic numbers/strings to refer to these codes?  It's a real PITA to … more

  • Installing VisualSVN Subversion

    Wrapping up HeadSpring's Agile Boot Camp class this week, we're installing VisualSVN Server locally.  Running the setup is just a matter of hitting Next three times - it's very simple.  Running the visual server window yields this opening screen: Next, right click on VisualSVN Server and select Properties: These are basically the same settings you had available from the installer.  Assuming these settings are fine, the next step is to create a user.  Go back to the main screen and right click on Users, Create User. Once a user is created, the next step is to create a repository.  Be sure to check the box to set up the default structure. At this point, the … more