# Monday, 24 January 2011

Recently the East of Toronto .NET User Group had a Windows Phone 7 presentation (by Atley Hunter) that was very well done, and well attended. (He's blogged about it and included some helpful links, so you should be sure to read his post too.) You would never have known it was his first presentation - he was calm and confident and knew what he was talking about.

At the meeting I met Ashish Kaila, who is working on a toolkit for WPF developers and a Windows Phone 7 library. He showed me the docking panes and some other fun functionality.

To me this is a huge benefit of user group meetings: in addition to the presentations, usually as good as any you would see at a paying conference, you also can meet fellow attendees. I hadn't heard of these tools before, and they could save you a lot of time and effort. The next best thing to coming to meetings, I suppose, is reading blog posts about meetings. Here's where you can learn more about Ashish and his products:

If you're not going to your local user group meetings, why on earth not? We don't bite, honestly, and you have so much to learn and gain from being there. See you next time!


Monday, 24 January 2011 18:17:48 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, 22 January 2011
The revisions to the C++ standard, headed to producing a new C++ standard which is still nicknamed C++0x, are proceeding at their stately pace, and will for months yet. But since a number of compilers are supporting more and more of the functionality and syntax, which are pretty much locked down now, we can adopt much of it today. (I don't know why some people are running around claiming that because the standard isn't released yet, no-one should be using any of it, but when you bump into such people, you can send them to me.)

I came across an interview with Bjarne Stroustrup, the father of C++, at CodeGuru. If you're wondering why the standard is so far behind schedule, what the very first C++ developer thinks about the very newest C++ developers (undergrad students), and how risk feels to a standards committee, then you will enjoy reading this, as I did. The lambda syntax on the first page isn't quite right, but you can fix that up if you need to. There are plenty of lambda examples here in my blog.

Give it a read!


Saturday, 22 January 2011 10:52:40 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, 20 January 2011
One of the things C++ developers have had for ages is a way to see a function's return value in the debugger, even if it isn't kept in a local variable. For example, see tip 29 in this list of Visual C++ tips for VC++ 6.0 - a product released 12 or 13 years ago! Managed developers would like this ability, too. Jared Parsons, from Technical Strategy Incubation, points to a set of requests, and explains why it appears that VB has it already. (And you thought VB6 legacy support wasn't going to help you!)

Take a look and see what you think. Would it be worth the possible performance hit?


Thursday, 20 January 2011 10:28:24 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, 18 January 2011
I don't think I ever linked to this Tech Ed Europe talk. Ale Contenti talked about Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) features for C++ developers. Now it's featured on the Visual C++ Blog. There are useful links in the comments, also.

I saw the talk live and I liked how personal Ale made it. If you wonder whether any large C++ projects rely on Team Foundation Server, you could hardly have a nicer example than this one!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011 10:10:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, 16 January 2011
The SQL Server MCM certification is pretty darn serious. In order to be a Microsoft Certified Master, you really need to know your stuff. As Microsoft describes it:

Individuals interested in pursuing a Microsoft Certified Master on SQL Server 2008 certification typically have five or more years of hands-on SQL Server experience in mission-critical environments, with competencies that include:

  • Designing and implementing high-performance, scalable, and secure enterprise environments

  • Troubleshooting the most challenging SQL Server issues

  • Managing multiple instances of SQL Server, including the use of a variety of features and tasks, with a thorough understanding of SQL Server design and architecture.

  • A thorough understanding of SQL Server core engine components and dependencies, such as online transaction processing (OLTP), high availability, disaster recovery, performance tuning and optimization, the SQL Server operating system (SQLOS), the storage engine, the relational engine, security, manageability, and data distribution.

It's the highest level of certification and perhaps 1% of IT Pros can achieve it. Even if you don't want to go for the certification and sit the exams, you might like to improve your knowledge. So 40 hours of free training videos are bound to help, aren't they? The clever folks at SQLskills have put some together, and provided a handy page of links. See how much you can improve your SQL abilities and understanding.


Sunday, 16 January 2011 09:56:24 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, 14 January 2011
It's a trope of horror movies that bad things happen in the basement. You don't go down there to see why the other people who went down there aren't back yet, and you don't go down there alone. Jan Miksovsky extends the software-as-building metaphor to talk about the scary-basement part of most apps. What I like about the post is that he's not just complaining, "some parts of the app are a real pain to change" but he's also aware of the good part of it, the foundation aspects. Well worth a read!


Friday, 14 January 2011 09:41:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Since midsummer I've been watching the "STL on STL" series accumulate on Channel 9. The lectures appeared as "part 1 of n", "part 2 of n" and so on until, in the bleak midwinter, part 10 of 10 appeared, so they must be done. Here are some links to them all:

There really isn't any universe in which the material this series covers can be called Introductory. When Stephan has finished introducing you to the STL, you will know an awful lot. And in this century, knowing the STL is a vital part of being a C++ developer. Many developers are scared of it: they think it's difficult and complicated. And to be honest, it can be. There's an awful lot going on and there is a lot to learn. Watching these videos, you can see how much Stephan LIKES this material, likes this library, and he's clearly not scared of it or trying to impress you with how difficult it is. He wants you to know all this. And if you follow along (and even do the homework!) you will catapult yourself forward in your STL knowledge and abilities. Take the time to do it, you won't regret it.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011 09:33:08 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, 10 January 2011

The Visual C++ team, in addition to tweeting and blogging regularly, is now accumulating a week's worth of links and stories at a time and publishing them at paper.li. If you don't compulsively check in to the C++ world every day, it can be a great way to stay in touch. Even if you do, you might discover a source you're weren't checking before. It's a little less obtrusive than other ways of sharing links, I think. Check out the C++ Weekly and the team blog post introducing it.


Monday, 10 January 2011 08:44:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]