Tuesday, October 30, 2007

DockPanelSuite: Missing A Window?

DockPanelSuite is a great open source set of dockable window tools which can make your WinForms apps a sweet suite if you’re not able to use the dockable bits in the 3.0 Framework.  (Why am I so limited, you ask?  Think support for Windows 2000 clients.  Let’s not go there.  It hurts.)

I ran into an irritating problem where I shot myself in the foot I mean some idiot missed something which cost me a silly bit of time trying to isolate.  The DockContent.HideOnClose property will keep a DockContent form opened, but inactive (hidden) if you have it set true.  This can cause some serious head scratching if you’re trying to figure out why this one form out of four isn’t closing, disposing its resources, and going away to the closed form graveyard somewhere east of the middle of nowhere.  (That would likely be close to El Nido, California, population 32 when I lived there decades ago.)

DockContent.HideOnClose.  Don’t miss it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Heads Up: VS 2008 VPC Expiring

Are you using the Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 VPC image?  Be forewarned: The image expires on 1 November, 2007, not March 15th, 2008 as originally announced.

You’ve got only a couple days to work on getting your projects and TFS data off that box and on to another location.  Microsoft’s put out some guidance on moving TFS data.

Microsoft put out word of this goof themselves and is asking the community to help spread the word.  If you know anyone using this VPC then please pass word of this problem on to them.

One critical issue regarding this: Your data on that VPC will not be accessible after 1 Nov, 2007.  Get cracking and move your data off to a safe location!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Great Turnout at Dayton .NET DevGroup Last Night

Joe Wirtley gave a nice talk on pragmatic architecture at last night’s Dayton .NET Developers Group meeting.  Joe’s a very smart fellow, passionate about getting software right, and has a lot of experience and hard knocks to share.

We had a world record for attendance at last night’s meeting: 37 souls in the door.  Wooo!

We’re running a membership drive right now and are shooting for 40 at the next meeting on 14 November.  If we hit 40 then Microsoft will donate an XBox to raffle off at the meeting.

Bring a friend to the meeting, or blog about the user group or CodeMash, and you’ll get a chance to win extra swag at the meeting!  Make sure to contact me (link on right sidebar) and let me know the URL of any blog posts you make.

Hitting 37 folks in the door last night was a big deal for me.  Our attendance has been right around 20 - 25 for a couple years and it’s great to see a big jump in attendance. 

Thanks to Joe for presenting, and thanks to everyone who showed up!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ann Arbor Day of .NET Recap

As usual, the folks running the Ann Arbor Day of .NET did a fantastic job putting on their conference. 

I sat in on pieces of a number of good presentations: Jesse Murray’s intro to .NET 3.0, James Bender’s WCF Messaging, Josh Holmes’s bit on the Dynamic Runtime, Joe Wirtley’s Pragmatic Architecture, and several others.  All the content was great, and the audiences all seemed pretty engaged.

I did a talk on Story-Driven Development using Fitnesse.  It was my first time giving that particular talk in a full-length session — I’ve done a couple groks on it in different venues, but never a 75 minute spiel.  The talk went fairly well, but there are several areas I’ll be smoothing up for future talks.

To Jason, John, Chris, and all the other folks who worked their butts off: Y’all did a great job.  I’ve run these events before, and I know how much effort goes in to putting them on.  It was an absolute pleasure to show up and not worry about anything other than snarfing food, complaining about past crashes during presentations, and then just wandering in to my room to give my presentation.

Great job, all!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Access, SQL, VB Wildcards Compared

Here’s a handy quickref I ran across for when you need to figure out wildcards in Access, Visual Basic, SQL Server.  I never can remember the Access ones because I don’t use them but once every thirty or forty years.

(Or something like that.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SubSonic: Empty Generated Classes

I’m just starting to play around with SubSonic, a nifty Rails-like DAL package that handles a lot of the goo for you.  Smart Guy (tm) Steve Harman turned me on to this during a conversation some time ago and I’m just getting around to it.

The problem I ran in to right off the bat was that the wicked cool generation tool was giving me classes from the tables with nothing but using declarations in them.  Completely emtpy classes.  Not helpful.

It took me a bit, but I finally figured out that yes, you do need Primary Keys identified for each table you want to generate code against.  I’d had an ID column created with an identity set, but no primary key defined.  Duh.

I may have missed that in the numerous cool screencasts available on SubSonic’s site.  It’s an easy fix, so now I’m off to finish up a project I’m playing with for my talk at the Ann Arbor Day of .NET.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Books In The Queueueueue

(I spell it that way because I was raised in Jerry Brown’s California educational system and I figure a few extra “u” and “e” characters can’t hurt.)

Here are a few books I’ve partially skimmed but haven’t had time to fully read and report on.  I’ll get reviews out on them shortly.

Implementation Patterns by Kent Beck.  This is a manuscript copy I got before publication because, as I told the publicist, I’d happily read Beck’s grocery list if he published it.  The book is concise and appears to cover patterns to help you keep your code readable and maintainable.  Examples are in Java, but if you can’t get over that then you need to get over that.

Visual Studio Team System: Better Software Development for Agile Teams by Will Stott and James Newkirk.  Yes, that James Newkirk.  I’ve been sitting on this one for months and haven’t gotten a review out for it yet.  It’s a fine book with a lot of great content on how to do Agile (or at least some folks’ version of it) in VSTS.  There’s some jewels in here that don’t get much coverage in works — think FIT/Fitnesse and similar goodies.  I have some quibbles with the organization of the chapters, but overall it’s a very nice book.

Pragmatic Unit Testing in C# with Nunit, 2nd ed.  Andy Hunt.  Dave Thomas.  Testing.  NUnit.  Nuff said.  I’m stoked about getting through this one because their approaches to doing testing look like a huge boost.

Head First SQL  My SQL is weak, and it’s all weak knowledge from Oracle 7/8 and Sybase 10 days.  Barf.  I’m hoping this book will help me increase my SQL karma points.

SharePoint 2007: The Definitive Guide.  Looks shiny.  It appears to be a high- to mid– level guide to many features in MOSS, not a deep dive.  That’s fine because I’ve got other deep dive books.  Appears to be well-written, but I’ve only had a glance or two at it.

Windows Developer Power Tools.  Wait, you’ve heard plenty about that here already…

There are a passle of others in the queueueue, but this is what’s bubbled up to the top.  (Actually, Beck’s book pretty much landed on the top when it arrived last week.)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Off to SharePoint Connections (Las Vegas, 4-9 November)

I got back from a week’s vacation and found that I’m off to SharePoint Connections 4–9 November in Las Vegas!  I am completely pumped about going to this conference for a number of reasons.

0) I get to go to a great conference – the first national-level conference I’ve been to since SD West back in 2003.  That was a life-changing experience and I’m hoping this conference will be the same.

1) I hope to network with a bunch of MOSS smarties and find out their experiences with solving the many pain points in MOSS development.  What build tools are folks using?  What automated testing are they using?  What other tools have been helpful? 

2) I’m hoping to get a moment with Carl and Richard of DotNetRocks and pimp CodeMash something fierce.  We’re starting to campaign to have them at CodeMash v2.0.0.8, and I’m looking for any way to hook them in.

3) I’m hoping to hook up with just about anyone in the community who’d like to gab about anything from software engineering to coffee roasting.   Feel free to ping me via the contact link on the right sidebar if you’re going to be there.  I’ll buy everyone one drink — and a crapload of straws for all y’all to share with… <g>

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Great-Looking ASP.NET Book

Jeff Atwood, Phil Haack, and a couple other fellows banded together to put out The ASP.NET 2.0 Anthology from SitePoint.  I haven’t read the book, but I can heartily endorse it despite that for two reasons:

0) It’s authored by Atwood, Haack, Galloway, and Allen.  All four of those guys are wicked smart, have tremendous experience (the invaluable hard knocks kind), and are fantastic writers.

B) It’s published by SitePoint.  I’ve been awfully impressed with their catalog over the last year.

Atwood’s got a rather ranting post where he actually discourages folks from buying the book.  I don’t know if he’s in the Post-Publication Traumatic Stress Disorder phase — I was so sick of my co-authored book when we finished that it took me weeks to do anything more than have a cursory glance through it — but I’m looking forward to getting a copy of it on my desk at some point.

Monday, October 01, 2007

CodeMash Registration Is Open!

Registration for CodeMash v2.0.0.8 is now open!  Head on over and register for the bestest software conference in the Midwest!

(But don’t register yet if you’re in the process of submitting a presentation for consideration.  We’ll have a separate registration channel for speakers.)

Subscribe (RSS)

The Leadership Journey