Tuesday, 31 July 2007

SilverLight 1.0

On 27th July version 1.0 of Silverlight was released, this came as small surprise to me as after all the hype and the ‘download now to look’ that it was not already a released product. The 1.0 release includes around 2000 bug fixes and work items, they have also put this release through rigorous stress testing making the product more robust than the beta version released at MIX 07 and faster in the magnitude of two to three.

Along with version 1.0 being release the Microsoft team have also made some improvements to the 1.1 version, the one with the .NET framework, these are mainly to the core runtime in reflection of the 1.0 development changes.

You can download the runtime from the following locations

Silverlight 1.0 RC1 / Windows
Silverlight 1.0 RC1 / Mac

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

A bed-time sleeping aid

I am a self titled Geek and I know it, I find nothing better at the end of a hard day coding than sitting down with a good book and reading it, I am sure your now thinking ‘Harry Potter’ or some similar. Well you are wrong I sit in bed before I sleep and read ‘Code Complete by Steve McConnel’ or ‘Writing Secure Code By M. Howard’ two of the most influential books I have ever read. The first tells me how to be the best programmer I can, the second makes sure I do not write code which can be easily hacked, I call them my ‘Coding Bibles’.

I recently head about a new book released by Microsoft not one which you can buy from Amazon a free one, this one is titled ‘SOA in the Real World’, it is a 196 pages of in depth discussion on what SOA actually means and the theories around the term. The author has drawn on knowledge taken from the industry and Microsoft experts to present what SOA is and how it can be implemented in its many forms. To some, not me, this may not be the most interesting book but if you are still unsure what SOA and the methodologies that should be implemented with it, then this may be work a look.

To download the book go here http://www.microsoft.com/

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Opposition to Congestion Charging in Bristol

I try to keep this blog purely dedicated to technical content but if I may, I would like to tell you about an e-petition which opposes bringing in congestion charging to Bristol without a referendum. I believe that with Bristol’s poor public transport infrastructure a congestion charge would be no more than an extra tax, and if you think the same then please use the link to add your name to the list.

For those of you who think that something like this cannot do any good, 1.8 million people signed the ‘Travel Tax’ petition earlier this year which prompted a response from the PM and a re-think of their ‘pay-as-you-drive scheme’

Stop Bristol Congestion Charge here : http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/NoBristolTolls/

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Object Design Theory

For those of us who have not spent our lives immersed in Object design theory it can be quite confusing to find out there is a whole universe of techniques and design styles and acronyms when creating your code. Usually on closer inspections of the theories you normally find out that the latest pattern of design guidance is something you have always done the only difference is that you did not know what it was called, which is always reassuring however you do ten to feel overwhelmed until you find out this fact.

Sometimes when you listening to Object design theorists you also hear new techniques of design which you had always thought where no-no’s but now seem to be acceptable in the right place. For example I recently heard someone tell me that using public fields is acceptable when you never plan on doing anything special when the value is set or got, something I had burned people for doing!

The more I follow the path of investigating coding theory the more I am coming to the conclusions that there is no one rule which covers every situation, there is no all encompassing pattern of design its what ever fits the situation, which means we need to understand every situation and have a pattern or design style to fit it. However do not get me wrong there is never an excuse to write bad code.

On the topic of object and code design the guys at dnrTV have just finished a two part screen cast coving some of these techniques, they call it ‘Fundamentals of Agile Design’. Do not be put off by the agile design title as it’s a very informative discussion and presentation of how best to design your code for flexibility and future proofing, it also talks a lot about some of the design theories and acronyms. Have it on while you work, trust me there is not so much to watch but a lot to listen to.

To watch or download part 1 go here : http://www.dnrtv.com/default.aspx?showNum=73

To watch or download part 2 go here : http://www.dnrtv.com/default.aspx?showNum=74

Before you watch the video (if you download them) you will need the Techsmith Video Codec (160 K)

Monday, 16 July 2007

Community Events

At the last '.NET Developer Network' meeting I heard some more news about the UK version of MIX 07 but like all pre-release information nothing is yet confirmed. However the guys from the NxtGenUG are planning to attend and hold their own game show in family fortunes style event. The rest of the line up is subject to change so I will not discuss it any more.

There is currently an estimated cost for the two day event which currently sits at £150 to £200, so get saving those pennies.

To register your interest in the event go here http://www.microsoft.com/uk/mix07/

Also at the last .NET Developer Network meeting, Guy Smith-Ferrier (organiser of the group), mentioned that there will be another DeveloperDay event in November. It is so good to hear that we have another great community day not to far in the future.

I cannot help thinking that the committee which organises these events is relentless in offering us great community events, something which I am very grateful to them for.

Add the feed from this site onto your RSS aggregator to hear the latest news : http://www.developerday.co.uk/ddd/default.asp

To find out about the .NET Developer Network events in Bristol (UK) go here http://www.dotnetdevnet.com/

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Hotmail Case Study : Testing with VSTS

The team responsible for developing Hotmail have just released their case study of testing the Hotmail web site using Visual Studio Team System. For anyone (like me) who is using Team System, you will find it an interesting read to see what they found and how they used it in their environment.

It’s a 10 page word document so set yourself some time to read it.

To get the document go here http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies

Silverlight Top 50

Silverlight is gaining a lot of ground so much there are now a number of sites and example sites dedicated to silverlight alone, Tim Sneath from Microsoft recently put together a list of 50 sites using silverlight and the Alpha version to see the list go here http://blogs.msdn.com/tims

Thursday, 5 July 2007

SQL Server Best Practices Analyser

Microsoft have just released the next version of their Best Practices tool for SQL Server 2005. This tool is a great help to anyone who has to administer a SQL Server as it will scan your SQL instances and any selected databases against a list of best practices settings.

Once the scan has completed you will be presented with a report, ranked by severity, detailing recommended changes and detailed information on where to get more information on the recommendation.

To download the tool go here : http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=da0531e4-e94c-4991-82fa-f0e3fbd05e63&displaylang=en&tm