Category Archives: Microsoft

Visual Studio 2008 Loadfest – Birmingham

On Thursday night, January 24th 2008 the BUG.NET group in conjunction with Microsoft is sponsoring a Visual Studio 2008 Loadfest. Bring your laptop or desktop and lets load VS 2008 on it! The first 75 people to register will get a free copy of VS2008. In addition there will be some fun and games, there will be several XBox 360’s and huge TVs to play games on. (Sorry, no give aways of the XBoxes or TVs, but you still get to have fun with them.)

The event will begin at 6:30 pm across from the New Horizons training center,  and will last about 2 hours. (See the link below for more details and directions).

To attend and get your free copy of VS2008 you must register! Go to

https://www.clicktoattend.com/invitation.aspx?code=124185

No cost, but like I said you must register. See you there!

An Early Christmas from Redmond

They’re here! Today Microsoft released Visual Studio 2008 RTM. If you have an MSDN subscription you can download today and start producing all those new .Net 3.5 applications.

Also released today via the connect.microsoft.com site is CTP 5 of SQL Server 2008. It’s my understanding in this CTP most of the features are working, except for clustering.

I can see I won’t be getting any sleep tonight.

.Net University – BizTalk

Earlier this week I was privilidged to attend the first .Net University for BizTalk. It was a very informative day long session, I feel like I now have a grasp on at least the fundementals of BizTalk and can talk intelligently about it. I have a long way to go, of course, but this was a great launching point.

If you are not familiar with .Net University, you need to check out their website http://www.dotnet-u.com/ . All of the slide decks, labs, and other courseware are availble not only for you to look at, but to use in doing your own presentation. Your user group or business could put on it’s very own .Net University using the supplied materials. Don’t worry if you are not a guru, they are even publishing videos of the sessions for you to watch and see how the “pros” did it. Currently courseware is available for .Net 3.0 and BizTalk, and the video sessions for .Net 3.0 were just released. They videoed the presentations at the BizTalk session I was in, so I would expect them to be released in the near future. Coming soon will be courseware for Sharepoint and Silverlight.

.Net University was the brainchild of Microsoft Developer Evangelist Doug Tunure ( http://blogs.msdn.com/dougturn/ ). Recently he and Mark Dunn of Dunn Training (http://www.dunntraining.com/) went to TechEd in Asia and used .Net U there. Mark Dunn recorded interviews and talked about it in a recent Dot Net Rocks episode (#288: http://www.dotnetrocks.com/default.aspx?showNum=288 ). Take a listen, they do a better job of explaining it than I can. Mark, by the way, was also one of the presenters at the BizTalk session I was in.

If your user group is looking for a good opportunity to reach out to the community, consider putting on your own .Net U. You can do it in one day, or break it into two or four sessions. Looks like there will be a lot of good material to get you started, and you can even get certificates to present to your attendees.

A Developer’s Guide to Installing SQL Server 2005 – Part 1 – Selecting a version

As a developer of applications that use SQL Server in some way, it can be valuable to have a database local to your box. It can be used for development, testing, or debugging in an off line environment. While there are many versions of SQL Server 2005, there are only two versions that are really suitable for the developer’s computer: SQL Server Express With Advanced Options, and SQL Server Developers Edition.

The first, SQL Server 2005 Express, is free. There are actually two versions of Express, the standard and the one entitled SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services SP2. It can be a little hard to find, so here’s a handy link: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/express/bb410792.aspx The standard edition does not include Full Text Search, Reporting Services, or the SQL Server Management Studio Express. These are all features that you, as a developer will want.

The other version of SQL Server that’s geared toward developers is the SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition. This version has the same features as the Enterprise Edition, but it’s only licensed for a single developer to access. It also comes with the full blown BIDS (Business Intelligence Developer Studio) tools. It’s not free, however it’s not expensive either. At only 49.99 it’s priced so even a small one person development shop can easily afford it. This link has more info, including a link to purchase:

http://www.microsoft.com/products/info/product.aspx?view=22&pcid=f544888c-2638-48ed-9f0f-d814e8b93ca0&type=ovr

If you have an MSDN License, the SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition is included with it and can be downloaded via your subscription.

So as a developer, which version version should you install? That answer is easy. Both.

Yes, both. The Express edition will allow you to perform small scale testing, let multiple users bang away at your solution and let you perform some small measure of scalability testing. With it’s database size limited to 4 gig, it may nor may not be big enough to hold your entire database, but it’s certainly large enough for a good hunk of your data. The Developer Edition will give you all of the tools and let you emulate your Enterprise system, at least in terms of the database sizes and structures. However since it’s licensed only for the developer, you won’t be able to have multiple users access it.

So you’ve decided OK, you want to install. If you’re not a trained DBA there a few gotcha’s you should know about when installing SQL Server. By default, not all of the features are installed. In the next few posts, I’ll show step by step instructions on how to install SQL Server for your development workstation.

Apple – The New "Evil Empire"

First, in the interest of disclosure let me state right up front that I’m a “Microsoft fanboy”. Sue me. As a professional developer for the last 20 plus years, I think they make some really great stuff, and do a lot to get the word out to the developer community.

I say this because I really get tired of the gushing lately over how wonderful Apple is and how evil Microsoft is. Hmm, let’s contrast a moment, and I think the recent product announcements of the new Zunes makes a good place to do so.

For those who haven’t heard, Microsoft has just announced the release of some new Zunes, the Zune 80 (80 gig HD) and the Zune Flash series, which will have flash drives and come in 4 and 8 gig sizes. The original Zune will now be known as the Zune 30. There are a lot of cool new features in the interface, such as Podcasting, and the removal of the 3 day limit on listening to wi-fi shared songs, not to mention it just looks easier to use.

What’s really nice is all the early adopters of the original Zune 30’s won’t be left in the cold. There will be free upgrades so the older Zune 30’s will have all the same new software features as the newer Zunes.

Let’s contrast that with Apple and its iPhone and iTouch units. The iTouch, supposedly just a stripped down iPhone, yet there are many features such as e-mail that could be there, but are lacking for no apparent technical reason that anyone can explain.

Then there’s the iPhone itself, locked down worse than Fort Knox. For those who believe that when they plunk down 600 plus dollars for something it should be theirs to do with as they want, the very first upgrade rendered the iPhone into a brick. And once it’s bricked, expect no help from Apple.

Now, I wouldn’t expect them to try and restore everything, but the least they could do is a factory reset to brand new condition. I’d say that was very reasonable. But nope, you’re just stuck with a brick.

From everything I have been able to gather, there’s no real technical reason for the upgrade to force the phone to brick status. I could understand perhaps forcing a reset to “new” status, or that some apps would not work, but the complete paper weight scenario seems like nothing more than punishment on Apple’s part.

Before someone points out there are online sites with “debricking” software, my point is not about the phone, but about the attitude from the company that puts it out. Further, I also realize that ‘hacking’ the iPhone falls outside the terms of service. Cancel my account, make me reset to factory new condition, maybe charge me a twenty five or fifty dollar service fee to do the reset, OK those all sound reasonable. But bricking my expensive phone? Seems a little harsh don’t you think?

So let’s see here, on one hand we have a company that is rewarding it’s early adopter customers by making sure their devices will have all the latest greatest features at no extra charge.

On the other hand we have a company that requires you to use your phone with only they software they approve of. Fall outside that use, and your punishment: to have the sexiest, sleekest brick around.

Hmm, now who is sounding evil?

Microsoft to Release Source Code to .Net Framework Libraries

Holy Frameworks Batman! The news is spreading quick, Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing the source code, complete with comments and debugger support. Now you and I will be able to step into those framework classes in an effort to debug our apps and maybe even learn something. This will be part of the VS2008 Orcas release.

Check out the announcement on the ScottGu blog at

 http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2007/10/03/releasing-the-source-code-for-the-net-framework-libraries.aspx

Shawn Burke has details on his blog:

http://blogs.msdn.com/sburke/archive/2007/10/03/making-net-framework-source-available-to-developers.aspx

Channel 9 video at:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=345805

Scott Hanselman also has the scoop on his podcast:

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/HanselminutesPodcast83MicrosoftToReleaseNETFrameworkLibrariesSource.aspx

This ranks in the uber-cool category.