Archives / 2008 / March
  • Outlook Performance Tips

    I've been living with Outlook 2007 since it shipped, and it's been pretty painful, but my life is in it so I'm stuck with it.  I've posted some Outlook tips in the past about how to deal with it not shutting down properly, and that has grown into a fairly sizable post with dozens of comments (and #1 for the search term outlook did not shut down properly.  Nice.).  Anyway, I have some additional tips that I thought would be worth sharing. Use Exchange If You Can In general, most of the people I've talked to say that Outlook 2007 doesn't have any huge performance problems when it is working with Exchange.  This makes perfect sense to me since I'm sure Microsoft uses … more

  • LINQ and the new DevExpress Grid

    Mehul has a couple of screencasts up on his blog that demonstrate how to use their new LINQ datasource to do optimized paging/updating of their ASPxGridView control.  At just over 2 minutes, the screencast does a very good job of showing how easy it is to set up LINQ to SQL (not that that hasn't been done before, but the more times you see it, the more likely it will stick).  That's more than half the time, then there's just a few mouse clicks to wire up the Grid control with the DataSource control, and you can see the thing in action. I've seen demos of DevExpress's data transfer technology and it's really sweet because it only sends the bare minimum of data on the wire both to … more

  • TechEd 2008 Birds Of A Feather

    If you'll be attending Tech Ed 2008 (Developers, USA), you may want to come to some Birds of a Feather sessions, which allow you to join a discussion with peers on a topic of interest.  How are the topics chosen?  Well, funny you should ask that - you get to help choose them by voting for the sessions that are of greatest interest to you.  The thing that differentiates BOF sessions from the usual technical presentations is that the organizer is there to moderate the discussion, not to lecture and present.  There are typically no projectors or powerpoint decks involved in a BOF session, just a bunch of chairs and perhaps (if you're lucky) some whiteboards.  It's a … more

  • Two Kinds of Knowledge

    Rick posted earlier today about how he's having a tougher and tougher time remembering the exact syntax and details of how to do relatively simple programming tasks, and instead finds that he's going off to find past code he's written (or blogged about) all the time.  Is it the early onset of senility, or is this typical?  It's the same for me, and it reminds me of something I learned in high school about things one knows.  There are two kinds of knowledge (and this predated the Internet so the latter was not nearly as easily accessed): Things You Know and Things You Know Where To Find. Things You Know Things you know are stored "by value" in your brain.  I call this … more

  • Tweak web.config To Set Compilation Debug False

    ASP.NET applications should never run with <compilation debug="true"> in production.  It can have drastic performance implications (of the negative kind).  Obviously, in a perfect world, developers would always remember to verify this setting whenever they upload changes to production, but unfortunately many organizations utilize fallible humans in their deployment process, and this is something that is easily missed. As part of an automated build process, this problem can be eliminated fairly easily.  Most sections within web.config can be extracted to separate files (using the configSource="{path}" attribute), and separate files can be pulled in for TEST, STAGE, and … more

  • Book - Cryptonomicon

    One of the things I want to blog about periodically is what I've been reading, and a few of the things I've read lately have actually not been about software development (which is a good thing, if somewhat rare the last few years).  One book I finished last year is the Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon: Cryptonomicon This was a wonderful, very intelligent book.  It did a pretty good job of making me feel like my vocabulary was completely inadequate, since it seemed like every few pages the author was using words I was unfamiliar with, or lengthy metaphors which were at times difficult for me to follow.  Very humbling - if you find this book an easy read, I bow down to your … more

  • SQL 2005 Tools Install Experience is the suck

    Just finished building a couple of ultimate developer rig machines for the office for Brendan and me, and was adding software today.  So I installed Office, Visual Studio 2008, and then SQL Server 2005.  I'd forgotten that installing SQL 2005 client tools seems to require sacrificing a chicken under the right lunar conditions in order to get it right!  I've blogged about this same issue before, but apparently it gets [sarcasm]better[/sarcasm] with x64.I did my due diligence and searched for the answer after the previous steps Brendan outlined failed with Vista 64 and SQL 2005 x64.  I found a blog entry that sounded promising, that involved running setup.exe with … more

  • Gotta Love Orcsweb

    Does your host do this?  Today I got an IM from one of my support folks at ORCS Web, asking me about one of my dedicated servers on which I have installed SQL Express for a few small web apps.  She had noticed that I'd forgotten to set up any kind of backups for these, and wanted to know if I wanted any.  When I admitted that I'd forgotten to set them up, she just took care of it for me.  How cool is that?  They're also good about letting me know when I have stuff I'm paying for but no longer using - that's called awesome customer service and that's how you can turn customers into fans and evangelists. more

  • MVC Source Code Available

    The ASP.NET MVC library's source code has been made available on CodePlex, ScottGu announced today.  The project itself is still very much a work in progress, but with this you should be able to get a much better idea of how everything is laid out and working.  I think it's great the Microsoft is being this transparent with their development efforts, and the amount of community feedback they are accepting and acting on with this project is outstanding.  For a variety of legal reasons they are not accepting patches to the code directly, but that doesn't mean that reproduced bugs and even blog entries noting changes you'd like to see will not be used to improve the … more

  • Visual Studio Shortcuts

    I was doing a bunch of Silverlight last night on a new machine and once again set up my shortcut to basically arrow left in order to let me type in attributes without taking my fingers off of the keyboard and go hunting for arrow keys.  I described this shortcut (and the reason for it) here, and I have to say it increases my speed in typing XAML tremendously.  Whenever you find yourself within quotes and you really want to jump to the next attribute (which happens, oh, every 5 seconds when typing in large amounts of XAML by hand), you can just hit Shift-Space or Ctrl-Space or whatever you configure and it will move the cursor past the closing " of the attribute you're … more

  • Continuous Integration Setup with MSTest

    I'm working with a client this week to set up Continuous Integration for their development environment.  They're a small shop who are using Visual Studio 2008 Professional, and don't intend to upgrade to Team Suite or Team Edition any time soon.  The build environment would therefore be running CruiseControl.NET, not Team Foundation Server.  They're not doing unit testing at the moment, but that's something that's being added as part of the project, so the question because whether to use MSTest, which is built into VS2008 Pro, or another unit test framework like NUnit or MbUnit or csUnit or abcUnit or xyzUnit or whatever.  They were leaning toward MSTest because it's … more

  • Verizon Crippled My Blackberry Pearl

    A few weeks ago I upgraded my phone to a Blackberry Pearl 8130.  Overall I was (and am) very happy with the phone.  It's small, light, has enough battery power to last about two days given my usage, and it's a breeze to check email and the web.  However, one of the reasons I liked this phone (which I mentioned in my previous post) is that it comes with a GPS.  I'm an ex-Army guy and I've always had a thing for GPS's and navigation - they're just fun, and quite often, useful.  So I was looking forward to seeing how fast the GPS said my car was going or finding out the exact coordinates of various places, etc. Unfortunately, after trying in vain to get my GPS to work … more

  • Silverlight 2 Beta 1 Installation Tips

    BradleyB has some great tips for troubleshooting installation problems with Silverlight 2 Beta 1, released at MIX last week.  I'm trying to avoid posts that don't do much more than link to someone else's blog, but in this case I was running into issues with my own Silverlight 2 upgrade and Brad's post had one of the things that I needed to get going.  In my case, for some reason the first time I tried to install it didn't even prompt for media but it failed and the log indicated it needed something from VS2008.  The second time, it did prompt me for the VS2008 disc, and once I pointed it at the disc location (via DAEMON Tools of course), it proceeded without a hitch.  … more

  • Three Requests for ASP.NET 4 and VS 2010

    I have three things that have been on my wish list for ASP.NET and/or Visual Studio that I'm curious to know what others think.  I've mentioned some of these before on my blog or elsewhere - they're not exactly earth shattering and I'm not saying that I want them more than any other feature they might add.  But each one would make my life at least a little bit easier, if they were included by default. So, in no particular order, here they are: Support For Generics in ASPX Markup Eilon posted not too long ago about this topic.  The idea here is that you should be able to write controls that take advantage of generics, and be able to declaratively specify them within your … more

  • Book Recommended To Me

    I just ordered this book on the recommendation of a couple of MVC people: Working Effectively with Legacy Code (Robert C. Martin Series) Also testing out RoyO's Amazoner tool, which appears to have worked correctly.  Nice!  What is Amazoner? Amazoner was designed to make one thing very easy if you're a blog writer who's also an Amazone Associate:The abilty to recommend books that you like using your associate ID EASILY. Note that I don't actually have the book yet, so I can't tell you how I like it.  But I will.  Some day. more

  • Software Design Best Practices Debate

    I've been following the discussion on Phil Haack's blog surrounding how best to introduce polymorphic objects into the MVC framework as part of the framework's interface for developers to work with.  In .NET, there are basically two ways one can build in this polymorphism: interfaces and abstract base classes.  There is a very vocal set of developers who seem to think that the answer must always be interfaces, and while I think interfaces are great and have their place, I think Phil makes some excellent points about their limitations when it comes to versioning.  In particular, his post on The Cost of Breaking Changes describes the scenario wherein a breaking change in the … more

  • MIX08 Day One

    After some difficulty getting to MIX, due to freezing rain in Cleveland Tuesday afternoon that resulted in all flights being cancelled, Craig and I arrived at MIX Wednesday morning in time to catch the last 20 minutes or so of ScottGu's keynote.  It was worth watching, as Scott was being cast for a performer position in Cirque du Soleil, for which he demonstrated his mad juggling skills.  The bit was entertaining if nothing else.  Unfortunately, we missed the advertising demos that Vertigo had put together which were shown earlier in the keynote, but I'll be sure to watch them later as the keynotes and sessions are all available on the MIX website. Most of Wednesday I spent … more

  • Finally Trying Twitter

    I finally gave in and got a Twitter account and have basically used it primarily to whine about cancelled or delayed flights and let people know where I am at MIX this week.  I'm not sure whether I'll stick with it but it does seem worthwhile at least for following a large group of friends at a conference.  If you're interested in my inane 140 character messages you can follow me here. more

  • Blackberry Pearl 8130

    On Friday I finally broke down and upgraded my aging Samsung i730 PDA phone.  I've been with Verizon for some time and have been pretty happy with their coverage and such, and they were giving me there "new every two" deal of $100 off a new phone (with a 2 year contract...) so I figured what the heck.  I'm probably the last person I know who hasn't at least tried a Blackberry, but now that I have this phone I'm really, really happy with it compared to the Samsung. My Samsung i730 First, let me tell you about the things that were pain points (and some of the good things) with the Samsung.  I bought it in October of 2005, and went through some pain to make it do some of the … more

  • Spring ASP.NET Connections Sessions

    I'll be speaking again at the spring ASP.NET Connections show, in Orlando, Florida.  We're driving down from Ohio with the family again, something we haven't done since four years ago, when we returned to find out I was being called up to go to Iraq.  I'm completely out of the Army now (resigned commission - honorable discharge - as of December 2005), so at least we don't have to worry about that. I'm fortunate enough this go-around to have all of my talks in one day.  I don't recall that's ever happened before in the last 7 or so years I've been speaking at this show, but I'm looking forward to it as it means I'll be able to spend Wednesday with the family.  However, the … more

  • AJAX Control Toolkit Update Released

    Yesterday (Leap Day), the Ajax Control Toolkit team released an update to the toolkit.  This release comes in two flavors, one for the 3.5 framework (which has AJAX baked into ASP.NET 3.5) and one for the AJAX 1.0 release that is an add-on to ASP.NET.  As always you can run through the live demos of the controls here.  This release does not add any new controls, but does include a number of bug fixes and improvements, including a bunch of user-submitted patches (learn how you can submit you own patches). My favorite controls in the Ajax Control Toolkit remain the AutoComplete, the CollapsiblePanel, and the TextBoxWatermark.  I use this a lot in my applications.  I … more