Monday, October 27, 2008
Now the fun begins.
If you were there, or watched it streaming, did you wonder about the shoes?
Azure and its subsystems had a number of code names, one of which was "Red Dog" and the team got red shoes (dogs being a slang term for feet) in honour of the name.
If you missed the keynote, you can watch it at http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/KYN01/
I had heard some of this before, but not all of it, and I need to digest it a bit, but I think the key difference between Azure and hosting, between Azure and the Amazon offerings, is this: it's one thing to offer you a machine (real or virtual) and tell you "feel free to remote desktop into this and do what you need to do, install things, configure things, it's a machine" but it's a completely different thing to publish your app to the cloud and to configure the cloud rather than your target machine. I like it.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
What can I tell you about Day 0? Well I am not allowed to tell you much, the RD side meetings on Day 0 are always strictly NDA. But I can tell you I am getting excited, I'm really glad I came, and I'm changing my IM display picture for the week to this:
LA is warm, the convention centre is as huge as I remembered, and I am pumped up!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
My Tech Ed Europe sessions are confirmed (have been for a while actually) so I had better tell you about them:
See you there!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Here's a brand new blog, written by someone I work with from time to time at Microsoft. Well, that's who's name is in the URL, but the first post has talk of "we" so perhaps it's a team effort. The mission is
...this blog will be a “one stop shop” on the road to get yourself familiar with what Windows 7 has to offer for developers and how you can “Light-Up” using Windows 7 features in your application.
Nice. I'm reading!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Actually I know what it is ... it's a large code base, fully available, very graphical, and with reasonable performance demands. So many years ago, Vertigo ported Quake II to managed C++ to show how performant the app was and how easy it was to integrate something that is quick to do in managed code - a partially transparent bad-guy locator if I remember correctly. That was five years ago, before C++/CLI, so it was a thicket of underscores and general hard-to-read misery.
About a year ago, Greg Dolley did it to C++/CLI. And then in January of this year he did Quake III Arena.
Well, now Julien Frelat has done it in Silverlight! He was apparently inspired by someone who did it in Flash. This is Quake I, but he has plans for II. Adam Kinney has an interview and video.
What else can Quake be ported to?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Rico, who like me wonders from time to time "am I old?", muses about how things tend to come on around again. Is C++ too old to bother learning now? Rico says no. But he also says:
...the real need facing C++ programmers is somewhat the same as what faced COBOL programmers say 25 years ago. It's not that the language is out of joint -- it isn't. I mean, ok maybe you like or don't like COBOL syntax but that doesn't doom a language and surely C++ syntax is not the zenith of wonderfulness. But that isn't what's holding C++ programmers back. The biggest problem, at least in my opinion, is one of accessing new/modern runtime features that may have a different programming environment from the context of an existing environment.
Now, what does that translate to in terms of action items for you? Good question.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
As you know if you attended the talks at Tech Ed USA and Tech Ed Europe, or listened to me on DotNetRocks, MFC now supports a Ribbon user interface. You can take some MFC application you haven't touched for a decade or more, add a few lines of code, leave all your command handlers and such untouched and -tada!- you can have a user interface from this century.
But it's one thing for me to demo for you what a tiny amount of code it takes to add a ribbon, and another for you to design a sensible ribbon that will lead your users effortlessly through your UI. Some guidance has now been released. For example, they are very clear that this is a bad ribbon:
There are tons of images and annotations to help you devise something your users will enjoy using. Please read it before doing any Ribbon work, whether in MFC or not.
Monday, October 20, 2008
WPF lets you build truly beautiful user interfaces and user experiences. To do a good job, you need to think differently than a typical "grey boxes on a grey background" form based UI. Once you do that some ideas may come to you - wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to write a lot of code to achieve the things you think up? Using effects is one way to jazz things up without doing it all yourself. Jaime Rodriguez blogged about the release of a library of effects on Codeplex. His blog includes still pictures, but really you need to see these on video. There's also a Channel 9 interview. Take a look and start to think about how users process information from your applications.
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