Category Archives: Blogroll

More WPF Resources

Walt Ritscher of Wintellect was in our offices this week, teaching us WPF. Great guy, really knows his stuff, and has a blog well worth checking out at

http://wpfwonderland.wordpress.com/

There’s a great training site on XAML/Silverlight called Nibbles. Be warned the site is done in Silverlight, so for now you’ll need to use IE and have Silverlight installed.

http://www.nibblestutorials.net/

Fellow southern blogger Keith Rome has a blog on WPF and Silverlight:

http://www.mindfusioncorp.com/weblog/

Tim Sneath has a lot of good info on Silverlight:

http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/default.aspx

Finally, this isn’t specifically a WPF resource, but our regional developer evangelist and all around swell guy Doug Turnure has a posting of .Net bloggers in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi:

http://blogs.msdn.com/dougturn/archive/2007/08/19/most-popular-bloggers-in-georgia-alabama-and-mississippi.aspx

Update: September 15, 2007 – I wanted to add one more resource. I picked up Pro WPF by Matthew MacDonald (http://www.amazon.com/Pro-WPF-Windows-Presentation-Foundation/dp/1590597826/ref=pd_bbs_3/104-6226587-5048708?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189884771&sr=8-3 or http://tinyurl.com/2pw8z9) I have several of Matthew’s books and have always enjoyed his writing, and this book appears to be another winner. It’s a good companion to the Adam Nathan book, as each book goes into some areas the other doesn’t.

Pro WPF

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New Customer Feedback Program at Microsoft

Microsoft has announced an exciting new initiative, a customer feedback program that allows folks like us to interact directly with the developers and let them know just how we feel. Rory Blyth wrote a really good post on the things that are wrong with Windows, and all I can say is “Amen and pass the crunchy peanut butter!” Read his post at http://www.neopoleon.com/home/blogs/neo/archive/2007/08/24/26758.aspx and see if you don’t feel like saying exactly the same thing.

Anyway, if you want to learn more about the new program from Microsoft, go to http://www.microsoft.com/emea/itsshowtime/sessionh.aspx?videoid=9999 and click the “See a Preview” link.

Rumor has it that Scott Hanselman, Microsoft’s newest employee will be the very first developer they will be trying this on.

WPF Resources

Yesterday I pointed out where to download all the bits you need to get into WPF. Today I thought I’d share some good resources on learning WPF.

First off is Todd Miranda’s site Xperimentality http://www.nxtdimension.com/blog/ . Todd is an MVP and has done many of the videos that appear on the Windows Client site.

Speaking of the WindowsClient.Net site, you can find many of those videos at http://windowsclient.net/learn/videos.aspx , just scroll down to the WPF area.

Todd Miranda’s videos on the Expression suite can be found on the Expression Knowledge Center site, http://www.microsoft.com/Expression/kc/resources.aspx?product=web&type=video . There are also videos by others.

Channel 9 has now reached 100 items on WPF: http://channel9.msdn.com/tags/WPF

Mark Miller recently did a DNRTV episode on Custom Controls in WPF, find it at http://www.dnrtv.com/default.aspx?showNum=72 . Also on DNRTV, Brian Noyes did a two parter on WPF, found here http://www.dnrtv.com/default.aspx?showNum=56 and here http://www.dnrtv.com/default.aspx?showNum=59 .

Another great blog is Lester’s WPF Blog, http://blogs.msdn.com/llobo/default.aspx . Lots of good stuff from the author of XAMLPadX, which I recommended yesterday.

Finally, a book recommendation, I’m finding Adam Nathan’s book on WPF to be a really good read. It’s more than technical enough to keep an experienced reading, and all of the code samples are in color! http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Presentation-Foundation-Unleashed-WPF/dp/0672328917/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-4574773-3941455?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1187125352&sr=8-1

Arcane Links

Some miscellaneous topics to cover for today. First, I had the need to copy several thousand files from one machine to another, about 6 gigs worth. Explorer? No thanks, to slow and unreliable. Fortunately I had recalled reading a post on Scott Hanselman’s blog just the other day on this topic. http://www.hanselman.com/blog/XCopyConsideredHarmfulRobocopyOrXXCopyOrSyncBack.aspx

Since the machine I was using to do the copying was Vista, I used RoboCopy. Worked like a champ. The bad part was I didn’t even know I already had this tool until I’d read Scott’s post. Always nice when you go hunting for a tool only to discover you’ve already got it and it’s ready to go.


On the subject of SOA, Redmond Magazine released an article on Microsoft’s SOA strategy. http://redmondmag.com/features/article.asp?editorialsid=756

It was a long article and interesting, although it seemed to have an anti-Microsoft tone. I picked up a subtle, and perhaps condescending, knocking of Microsoft for not falling into lockstep with other industry players like IBM. While I do agree Microsoft sometimes comes a little late to the party, I don’t think it has to jump on the party boat to be an effective player in the industry.


Windows Communication Foundation Guru Jeff Barnes is planning on some new WCF posts in the near future, so be sure to keep an eye on his site if you play in the WCF realm. http://jeffbarnes.net/portal/blogs/jeff_barnes/archive/2007/08/08/coming-soon-wcf-3-5-posting-blitz.aspx

Jeff’s also working on a WCF Site (http://jeffbarnes.net/portal/blogs/jeff_barnes/archive/2007/08/06/planning-a-wcf-community-site.aspx), another good reason to keep an eye on his blog.


Finally, Scott Hanselman has opened up a forum area on his site, some good info and discussions can be found here. http://www.hanselman.com/forum/

Being a Better Developer… In 6 Months

Scott Hanselman’s show this week was killer. (http://www.hanselminutes.com/default.aspx?showID=90 ). In it, Scott and Carl discuss a thread going around the internet, namely how to become a better developer in six months. They had some excellent ideas, some of which they were passing along from other posters, some were theirs. The post that seems to have started the whole thread was done buy a guy named Justice Gray, back in April. http://graysmatter.codivation.com/HowIAmBecomingABetterDeveloperPart1OfInfinity.aspx or http://shrinkster.com/qvx . Just recently he posted a follow up at http://graysmatter.codivation.com/AnUpdateOnGoals.aspx or http://shrinkster.com/qvy .

I like the whole concept, and am going to implement my own version of it. And the first step is to declare what I’m going to do, so without further ado…

I’m going to start by reading a chapter a week from a book. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like much compared to the plans of others to read a book a week, but it leads to my next step…

I will work all the code samples in the book. Reading is one thing, but doing is even better. Personally, I find I get a better understanding when I actually type in the code samples and run them. And not just run what’s in the book, but tweak it, experiment with it. And then what will I do with my knowledge?

I will teach what I learn. The best way to learn is to teach. I’ll blog, talk with my co-workers over lunch, give presentations, but in some way I will give back what I learned. But I won’t stop this learning process with just books.

I’ll increase my listening of podcasts or videocasts. I recently got an inexpensive MP3/WMA player, which I load up with podcasts. This left the 1 gig card on my iPaq free, which I’ve loaded some videos on. Since the iPaq is portable, it increases my ability to watch these videos. Since I’ve blogged so much about podcasts in the past, I shan’t continue talking about them.

I’ll create at least one new presentation and give it to a user group. Again, the best way to learn is to teach, and there’s no better place than with your peers at your local user group.

I’ll look at the source code for an open source project. This is one I really loved from the show. Look at someone else’s code, see how it works, step through it. Right now I’ve got several in mind, first is the Paint.Net project ( http://www.getpaint.net/index2.html ) since I think the graphics would be interesting, and graphics aren’t something I normally get to play with at work.

Next is RSSBandit, http://www.rssbandit.org with the source at http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=96589&package_id=103276 .The networking concepts in there should be quite useful in many instances. Finally is SharpDevelop (http://www.icsharpcode.net/OpenSource/SD/ ). It’d be interesting to see how an IDE works. I’m not sure which of the three I’ll look at, but these are on my short list.

I will learn a brand new or little used technology. There’s a lot of new technology out there, or tech I don’t read much about. Working a lot with the SQL Server BI (Business Intelligence) tools, the upcoming SQL Server 2008 sounds interesting. Of course there’s Visual Studio 2008. And XAML promises to be a hot topic, between WPF and Silverlight I think this will eventually be a “must” for everyone. Those are just some examples, find something that fascinates you and go learn.

The final two items on my list are suggestions from my manager, who my kids have dubbed “Mighty Mike”. I thought these were really good.

I will learn more about the business. No, not the business of programming, although that’s certainly important. I’m talking about what my company does. Most developers aren’t in a job where their company produces software. Instead our programming efforts help support the production of some product, which our company sells. I will learn more about that product, how it’s produced, what processes apply, and what the difficulties are. And finally….

I will get to know my customers. By that, I mean the people who are using, or are affected by the software I write. For most of us, those will be other employees of our company. Meet these people. Get to know them. Buy them a cup of coffee. Take a non-IT coworker to lunch every so often. Setup a half hour meeting with them every so often to learn and understand more about their job. Find out what their pain points are, find ways to solve their problems, offer them solutions to make their jobs better.

Whew, that’s quite the list. It will take a lot of balancing of my time to carry this off, but at the end of it I’ll be a better programmer.

To wrap this up, I’m supposed to tag four other developers, to challenge them as well. So here goes…

First is Jeff Barnes, http://jeffbarnes.net/portal/blogs/jeff_barnes/default.aspx . Payback time! (He knows why, heh heh heh).

Next is Todd Miranda, Birmingham’s newest MVP. Congrats Todd! http://blog.nxtdimension.com/

I think my next victim will be my brother-in-law, Dougal. Even though he’s not fortunate enough to work with .Net, he at least got to do some cool stuff with WordPress. http://dougal.gunters.org/

My final pick is that perfect blend of lunatic and coding genius, Mark Miller. It’s his fault I got deeply involved in coding again. I was thinking of getting into project management, but after seeing his talk at VSLive 2005 I got so enthused about coding again I jumped in with both feet and here I am. So how about it Miller, put down that McGriddle and blog something! http://www.doitwith.net/

An now I challenge you, the reader of this post to go out and be a better developer. Post a link to your development plan. If you don’t have a blog of your own, feel free to post your plan below. Look at others, take the best of the ideas that will work for you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of work to do!

The Great Font Hunt

My brother in law, Dougal has an interesting post about typefaces for webpages. ( http://dougal.gunters.org/blog/2007/07/05/typography-design-patterns-for-the-web ). You may have seen color charts for web page design, where it lists a primary color and other colors that compliment it. What Dougal is looking for is a similar chart for fonts. Anyone know of anything? If so post a comment on his blog or mine (or both!) and let us know.

Arcane Thoughts: Thanks to you, ArcaneCode made the top 5!

Thanks! Thanks to all of you. In the WordPress Wednesday they were showing how rapidly the list of top blogs changes. For a brief time anyway, the Ubuntu post was #5 on the “What’s Hot” list. Read for yourself at http://www.blogherald.com/2007/03/14/wordpress-wednesday-mandatory-update-reminder-wordcamp2007-instant-upgrade-plugin-sxsw-conference-and-more/ or http://shrinkster.com/mvt.

ArcaneCode has been averaging about 800 hits a day lately, and has had over 24,000 hits at the time I write this.

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has read ArcaneCode, and passed on links to all their friends. That’s what the whole social web thing is all about, helping each other out.

Thanks!