# Thursday, 25 November 2004

I'll be at the December 2nd meeting of the Canada's Technology Triangle .NET User Group to show everyone Smart Clients, VSTO, and Infopath. I did this session in Winnipeg and saw Derek Hatcher do it in Toronto so I know it has good content. Please register at http://www.cttdnug.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=68 and come out to the meeting. My only worry, based on the many years I spent living in that area, is that I'll have to drive in a blizzard. But we aren't going to let a little snow stop us, are we?


Thursday, 25 November 2004 07:22:40 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, 08 November 2004

Over on Developer.com, Brad Jones has summarized the TIOBE Programming Community (TPC) Index for October 2004. This is a measure of how many web pages and newsgroup postings mentioned a programming language name in conjunction with the word programming. So if I say “For serious programming, C++ is way better than Java” then that is a hit for both C++ and Java. These hits are going to include people's resumes, job postings, ads for courses, how-to pages, book pages, and so on. It gives a rough indication of popularity that people are talking about a language. After all, I rarely compare C++ to Fortran or to PL/I. I certainly can't remember the last time MATLAB (to pick a name from the table) came up in conversation. Job seekers trim their resumes all the time to include only the “relevant” languages they know.

There's a table of results, and a sorting of languages into “A languages” and “B languages” but I was really intrigued by the graph. A first glance reveals a fairly steep Java fall this year. But the C++ line is more interesting because it falls too, though not as steeply or as far, and then climbs back up again starting in March of this year. Is this people talking about C++/CLI? I think it is.


Monday, 08 November 2004 13:46:12 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, 05 November 2004

Last night I spoke to Carl Franklin (my fellow RD) for Dot Net Rocks. Over the course of an hour and a quarter we talked about C++ (I think I'm converting him :) ) VSTO, VB, sockets, what I have for breakfast, Carl's Westminster Abbey experience, and assorted geeky things. It was a lot of fun. Here are some links stolen from the site:


Friday, 05 November 2004 09:53:38 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, 04 November 2004

Long ago, before search engines added automatic spell checking to their bag of tricks (did you mean to search for MASSACHUSETTS?) I knew people who used Google (or before that, Altavista) as a spell checker. Just search for the word spelled one way, then another, and compare the number of hits. If you get 125 hits for one spelling and 13,456 for the other, you have a pretty good idea of which is right.

Today I found myself using Google News as a sort of voting fact checker to establish (forgive my ghoulishness) whether Yasser Arafat has or has not died. You can count votes from different news organizations. The main news.google.com (or .ca for me) gives you a handful of stories, but click a link under “In The News” and you see a lot more. For example, http://news.google.ca/news?num=30&hl=en&ned=ca&ie=utf-8&q=Yasser-Arafat.  Perhaps not what they had in mind, but an intruiging thing to be able to do.


Thursday, 04 November 2004 14:25:36 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 02 November 2004


I'm going to kick off the Smart Client User Group Tour with a talk in Winnipeg. I'm expecting a slight contrast between South Africa in late October and Winnipeg in early November :-). The talk is November 10th, details on the Winnipeg UG site.



Tuesday, 02 November 2004 16:23:13 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Friday, 29 October 2004

 For November, the Toronto-area user groups are combining our meetings to participate in the MSDN User Group Tour.

Building Smart Client Application using Visual Studio Tools for Office Version 2003

This session provides an overview of how you can use the Visual Studio .NET 2003 project templates provided by Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System to create Smart Client solutions that use Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and Microsoft Office Word 2003. This session will also show the value of InfoPath, how to build solutions and review many of the new features and managed code support. Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003 is a hybrid tool that combines the best of a traditional document editing experience, such as a word processor or e-mail application, with the rigorous data-capture capabilities of a forms package.

The speaker is Derek Hatchard, and the meeting is at 200 Bloor St East in downtown Toronto. For directions and to register, please visit http://www.metrotorontoug.com/User+Group+Events/116.aspx. This meeting is being held on the regular East of Toronto meeting date, November 16th. Doors open at 6 and presentation starts at 6:30. Please register in advance not only for the usual food reasons, but to simplify the job of the door security at this downtown building.

See you there!



Friday, 29 October 2004 15:23:30 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 27 October 2004

I had a thoroughly enjoyable but oh-too-brief time here. My third talk, this morning, went well like the others, and now I'm at the airport with about 27 hours between me and my own home -- and it's 4 hours since I walked out of the conference centre.

I'm going to put the code from my sessions on the SA Developer website when I get home.


Wednesday, 27 October 2004 12:01:33 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [3]

My latest whitepaper is on MSDN now.

Summary: This article is for C++ programmers who are (at least for now) not targeting the Microsoft .NET Framework in new or existing applications. It provides some guidelines for moving to the .NET Framework without leaving behind the investment in existing code, and explains why you should consider moving to the .NET Framework not only for new development, but for existing applications as well. (9 printed pages)


Wednesday, 27 October 2004 06:10:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]

As a presenter, I use the /fs switch on Visual Studio quite often. It makes the product come up with larger fonts in Solution Explorer and other “chrome” that you can't control with Tools, Options. If you present, do everyone a favour and use this switch yourself. Also change your highlighted text from white-on-darkish-blue to black-on-yellow and crank your editor fonts to at least 14 points.

Well, Scott Hanselman alerted us all that the /fs switch is gone in Whidbey and urges us to vote on the importance of this omission. It's not just about speakers, it's about accessibility. My firm has done quite a bit of accessibility work, and we're sensitive to it. How can one team be changing ASP.NET so it emits accessible HTML while another removes a working switch that wasn't hurting anyone and that made programming feasible for someone with low vision? It must just be an oversight, right? Well give the bug a vote and the oversight is more likely to be corrected.


Wednesday, 27 October 2004 04:57:30 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 26 October 2004

It's still gorgeous, sunny, and HOT here. I did two talks today -- the C++ and the VSTO ones. I was really pleased with the C++ attendance, and people saying “I'm going to switch back” after seeing what Visual C++ 2005 is going to be like. And that was with no demos! VSTO is a very fun product, and easy to demonstrate too. So two pleasant sessions with very nice audiences and great logistics.

One more day, one more talk, but first I think I'm going to go for a swim...


Tuesday, 26 October 2004 10:31:44 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]