Wednesday, 30 June 2010
I'm recording some videos again (I'll announce when the project is live) and I'm doing it, as I really like to these days, in a bootable VHD. I've got the environment set up just the way I like it, without messing with my day-to-day setup, and as an extra bonus I avoid the distractions that Outlook, Instant Messenger, Skype, and the Favorites menu in my browser have to offer. When I went to record the first video I realized I had forgotten to install Camtasia in the VHD so I quickly downloaded a trial from www.techsmith.com. I got to work recording my video, editing it, and so on. Then I rendered the video. This can take a few minutes, but I don't complain because I know it's doing a lot of work. But I got a great surprise ... this latest version uses the taskbar progress bar overlay, so that I can put the rendering into the background and work on something else full screen while it renders. I can still see at a glance how it's doing, but I don't have to keep the little progress window on top. It's a really nice touch.
Then as serendipity would have it I spotted this video on Channel 9 that calls out this and other Windows 7 features in TechSmith products. It's only 9 minutes long, so go and watch it. And if you haven't added Windows 7 features to your client apps yet, why not? It really makes a difference.
Monday, 28 June 2010
With summer finally under way for real it seems like a million years until the fall. But in the world of event organizing, autumn is just around the corner. Session selection for TechDays is in the final stages and I'm looking forward to seeing the completed list. In the meantime, the Early Bird pricing is still in effect.
There will be an event roughly every two weeks from mid September to mid December. In each city (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax) it will be two days, and while most of the sessions will be the same in every city, a new Local Flavours track will vary from location to location - just as the local tech folk vary! You can register now - go ahead! If you have some questions, Damir has answers for you.
Saturday, 26 June 2010
If you use the Microsoft Visual C++ debugger, the team would like to hear from you. They have a quick (6 questions!) survey they would like you to take. Here's the survey
, and the team's post
about it, if you'd like to leave them a comment.
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Interested in playing with extensions to Visual Studio 2010? You should be, just for the fun and productivity of it. But in case you need extra incentive, how does this sound:
What will you create with Visual Studio 2010?
Enter the Summer of Extension Competition and let the US and Canadian Developer community know! Show your peers what kind of extension you can build for Visual Studio 2010 for your chance to be featured on the ReadWriteWeb website. Other prizes include a one-year MSDN Embedded subscription license (a $1,199 USD value!), an Xbox Elite prize bundle and a Natural Wireless Ergonomic Desktop 700 Keyboard and Mouse. Prizes will be awarded to winners in both countries.
Just create your extension, upload it to the Visual Studio Gallery, and tag it with rww to enter. (ReadWriteWeb and Microsoft are sponsoring the contest.) More details at ReadWriteWeb, where you'll also find some handy resources and links.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
The last (at least for now) in my series of articles
on Visual Studio Extensions is live on Code Project. This one is on creating your own item and project templates
. Like all the articles, it's really a train-the-presenter package designed to help you deliver a talk on this topic at a user group or Code Camp. If you care about the topic and would just appreciate the shortcut of a deck, working demos, and speaker notes that combine to hit a good talk length, then this is just what you need. It's all highly supplemented by videos - of all the demos and in one case of the entire talk. A quick reminder of the 7 articles I have there:
- Introduction - explains the other talks and also has extensive notes on how to prep to deliver a talk someone else wrote.
- For Visual Studio 2008:
- For Visual Studio 2010:
If you would rather learn the material than deliver the session, I suggest you follow the first few steps I recommend in the Introduction for a presenter:
- If there is a recording of the entire talk, watch it from start to finish.
- If there are only recordings of the demos, open the slide deck and read the
slides to myself, pausing to play the demo videos at the appropriate points in
- Read through the speaker notes to see what the author suggests I add to each
slide as I present it.
You owe it to yourself to learn about extensions. Honestly, creating an item or project template will save you time the very first time you use it - it's quicker to make an use a template than to copy an old project and hand edit the file, project, and class names. And the astonishing array of free extensions on the Visual Studio Gallery
is sure to include something that will save you time and frustration. Give it a whirl!
Sunday, 20 June 2010
The Windows API Code Pack
is a wonderful library. It wraps many Windows 7 and Vista features so that you can use them from managed code without learning any interop techniques. I've made extensive use of it in demos, presentations
, and training materials
. I've also blogged about it extensively, primarily in my Client Development
category and Windows 7
Folks who've seen the Code Pack in action tell me they are going to use it in their Windows 7 applications immediately, and they're right to do so. Well now I'd like to do a bit of a headcount. If you have a real application (not a demo written to show how Windows 7 features work or how the Code Pack works) please drop me an email (you can see my domain, right? well my address before the @ is just my first name) and tell me who you are, where you work if you made the app for work, what the app does, and whether it's for sale or for internal use. Plus anything else you want to tell me like the Code Pack saved you weeks of work or got you promoted or helped you win the lottery
. Unless you specify in the email that you're only telling me this, I will be passing it along to some other people, so keep that in mind. I really want to hear what you're using it for, so please let me know!
Friday, 18 June 2010
I was visiting a mentoring client today and we wanted to look at the config file for an application that is deployed with ClickOnce. So I needed to know where it was installed. I know that you can get to installation locations pretty quickly from the start menu:
So I took a look at the ClickOnce app in the start menu:
That's a problem - no Open File Location. I tried a little web searching but wasn't happy with what I found. Then I remembered.
Start the app - simple enough, since it's on your start menu. Then bring up task manager. If you right click the app on the Applications tab, there's no joy:
But ... if you choose Go To Process (or just switch to the process tab and look for the right EXE name) then we're in business:
The very first choice, Open File Location.
And when we get there, sure enough, there's a config file (among other things):
Completely obscure path, but who cares, I can confirm the config settings for the running app and that's all I needed.
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
I've written about banned APIs before
- for security reasons
some C Runtime functions like strcpy should not be used, and instead you should use replacements like strcpy_s that perform some checking before trusting the strings they're handed. You might also know that I really like
the extension capabilities in Visual Studio 2010.
So how can I resist a Visual Studio extension that gives you wigglies if you use a banned API?
You even get a handy tooltip suggesting replacements. This is a must-install for any C++ developer. You can get zip of the source (you'll need the Visual Studio 2010 SDK to build it) with a prebuilt VSIX in it from the Security Development Lifecycle blog
. It doesn't seem to be on the Visual Studio Gallery yet, but it should be! If you haven't met the VSIX format yet, prepare to be pleasantly surprised - it's a self contained one step installation vehicle for a Visual Studio extension. Just double click it and Visual Studio does the rest.
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