Monday, 24 September 2007

Devexpress – Refractor! Free (ASP.NET)

Last week Devexpress released an update to their popular Refactor! For ASP.NET. This tool provides a number of refactorings to ASP.NET developers using VB.NET or C#.

Refactoring is the method of taking existing code and reducing its complexity. This may sound scary to some especially as you used to have to be very careful refactoring as you could disable your whole program but Refactor removes the risk and gives you some time saving methods.

The tool integrates with Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 and provides the same refactoring that C# already supports and more, and the best thing is it’s faster and uses animation to show you the result of you refactor before you commit to it.

To download this great free tool go here

Thursday, 20 September 2007

.Net Developer Network : Team Foundation Server with Richard Fennell

Last night I attended a great presentation on Team Foundation Server, at my local user group '.NET Developer Network'.

Being a leader in this technology and responsible for its implementation and administration at my company, I have spent a lot of time watching sales videos on how this is ‘Complete Solution’ to my development project needs, yet the actual knowledge on the day-to-day use information is very thin. However Richard brought his own experiences to the presentation and gave a real insight in to the pains and joys of using Team Foundation Server 2005 and the Orcas verson.

Richard started from the begging of the implementation with how to setup your Team Foundation Server and the pitfalls associated with this, something I have first had knowledge of, then took us through how a developer would actually use the system. The later part of the presentation was give us an overview of the many Power Tools available which fill the gaps in Team Foundation Server.

It was a great presentation, with well thought out content, aimed squarely at the developer who needs an insight into this mammoth technology.

Richard has made his slides available and has included a number of speaker notes in the Power Point slides, which is a great help as it is the detail of what is said that you usually need when you look back at these things.

You can download the slides from

Richard is an active blogger and you can find his blog at

If you think this presentation sounded interesting then the .NET Developer Network User Group hold free monthly meetings available to anyone, all you need to do is register at

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Beginners Guide to Silverlight

I know everything coming out of Microsoft at the moment is Silverlight-this-and-Silverlight-that and I have tried to keep clear of being another voice in a sea of thousands saying the same thing, and at the risk of falling on def ears I thought I would tell you about a short article which should give you a background to what Silverlight is all about.

This is a concise article detailing what you need to know about Silverlight, so if you have not had time to watch a video or listen to a Podcast yet then you may want to give this a read.

The article is written by non Microsoft staff so gives a more rounded view, you can find the article here

Debugging ASP.NET Server Requests and Response

How often have you gone to a client site or worked with your production server and wondered what is IIS receiving? This sort of information, like all information needed, is in the memory of the server but you cannot see it as you would need to interrogate the servers memory using something like WinDbg and workout at what position (memory address) the request and response are and work back to re-piece the information into a form you can read.

Now do not get me wrong this would be great thing to do and I would learn so much but like you, I have a heap more things to do with my day like actually creating that new web widget.

However do not fear as someone has already done the hard work for you, Tess Ferrandez, who works for Microsoft in Sweden is the person you want on your side as she spends her free time working out how to debug code. If you want to read how to get the request and response data from IIS or just copy the scripts, read her blog article here

Monday, 10 September 2007

User Interface Design

When I learnt about how to program and application design in College we spent a lot of time reading old books and using them as our reference for assignments, as I my knowledge increased I left a lot of that text behind me in the notion that is was all out of date and not valid in an industry which seem to move at a million miles a minuet. Although technology has moved on how we actually design software and the problems we have to overcome when doing so are quite old and in their simplest form date back to the early years of Computer Science.

For example take interface design, it is still the same as it’s always been, present an easy to read interface which is intuitive to the users business function while presenting any information to the user in a structured and ordered manor. This idea has not changed since Clayton Lewis and John Rieman wrote their book on User Interface design in 1993.

The book covers the theories and methodologies of user interface design with step-by-step guidance on how to create the best user interface for your application, after all, without a good interface no amount of well structured class will help you. The book is now over ten years old but is still as relevant as it was back then.

You can read the book on line at or download a PDF version. You are not charged to read this great resource but you can donate $5 to the authors through the site.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

ASP.NET Performance Tips

I spend my life reading as much as I can about how to squeeze that little bit of extra performance out of my applications and in the Web deployment world there are so many areas you need to be aware of, the client browser, the server config and your ASP.NET application. So when ever there is a list of techniques to employ or avoid when developing ASP.NET I lap it up especially as each time I developer I like to do as little boilerplate coding as possible and use the framework controls which are not always the most efficient.

Miguel Angel Carrasco has just release 20 ASP.NET development tips on his blog at The list is short but comprehensive with some very useful tips on ASP.NET do’s and don’ts.