Archive for August, 2007

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make your day.   Double-click a *.SLN file with Visual Studio 2005 running on Vista and nothing happens.  Fixed in VS 2008.  Quiet sigh of happiness.


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After spending many months fighting the Visual Studio 2005 XAML editor it is nice to work in VS 2008

There are lots of little extras in Visual Studio 2008. Here is a nice improvement in the XAML editor. When adding an xmlns attribute (mapping) there is a dropdown showing your project and all the .NET assemblies.  Picking an item from the list will stub in the correct XAML.  Once you have the namespace mapped you get Intellisense when using the tag.


-Walt Ritscher

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I’m using Visual Studio 2008 more and more each week.  It’s installed side by side with VS 2005 on my primary laptop and I’m going to start using it for my WPF presentations.  Until recently all my presentation have been on either VS 2005 or on VS 2008 running in a virtual machine.

There is a lot to like in the new IDE.  Yes, there are a few annoyances too.  The XAML editor window no longer stubs in the end tag when entering an element.  It also doesn’t enter the two quote marks when adding an attribute to an element.  Both these omissions drive me crazy.  The good news, from Mark Boulter on the Cider team, is that these issues will be fixed before the next interim release.

Design Specs

I found this link today.  It is a Microsoft site that list some of the design specs for the Orcas project.  BTW, all the docs are in the new high fidelity XPS format.

Quote from Visual Studio Settings Migration document

Many features in Visual Studio expose “control points” which allow some aspect of that feature to be customized by the user via some UI. A typical example of this is the options exposed in Tools Options (e.g. Fonts and Colors, Keyboard mappings, editor preferences and much more). Furthermore, aspects of the user interface can be customized, such as toolbars, window layouts, etc. These settings are persisted across sessions so that the next time the user launches their IDE, the “state” of their IDE is restored. This experience is critical to developer’s productivity, since it affects almost every aspect of their interaction with the IDE. Visual Studio also ships with a set of canned Settings (called “Profiles”) which customize the IDE out of the box to suit specific developer personas. Over time users change these default settings as part of their daily use of the IDE. 

Since Orcas is intended to be a “zero impact” upgrade experience from Whidbey, it is important that we provide a mechanism by which the user’s current Whidbey settings can be applied to their Orcas IDE, thereby providing a familiar environment in which to continue their work.  

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It’s turning out to be a busy month for WPF and me. Last week I was at Devscovery Redmond.  This upcoming week I’m going to be in Silicon Valley. I’ve scheduled a WPF talk during the week at the Bay.NET User Group.   Later this month I’ll be teaching my WPF course at Microsoft.  Plus I’ve got a couple other WPF commitments in August that I’ll tell you about later.

A couple weeks ago Oliver Nguyen emailed me and asked if I could give one of my WPF talks to the Bay.NET group.  It turns out I’m going to be in the Bay area in August so I agreed to give my ‘WPF – Microsoft’s Magnificent New Graphics Engine’ talk. Bay.NET UG asks that you register prior to coming to the event.  See this page for more details.

See you there.

I’ll be in Silicon Valley from  8/19 – 8-24.  Any interesting events happening while I’m in town?

Note: The Bay.NET registration page doesn’t appear to be working.

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I was talking to John Robbins about debugging .NET applications today during lunch at Devscovery.  He answered a question I had about the infamous ‘CLR has been unable to transition from COM context … for 60 seconds’ error. 


This occurs for me when using a Debugger.Break statement in my Winform code while demonstrating examples during a workshop.  One fix for the problem is to go to the Debug -> Exceptions -> Managed Debug Assistants  menu in Visual Studio and uncheck the ContextSwitchDeadlock


I already knew about this Managed Debugging Assistants checkbox and had unchecked it in the past.  The big revelation for me was that this setting is saved in the abc.suo file and is not a global Visual Studio setting.  That means I have to remember to change this for every project I use in my classes!   

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Tomorrow (August 14, 2007) is the first day of Devscovery.  This conference is presented by the Wintellect crew and it looks like it will be full of great content.  I’m biased, of course, because I’m one of the speakers.  But check out the agenda for yourself.

What’s the first thing you notice?  Mark Russinovich is giving the keynote.  That’s a good reason to come to the event don’t you think?

Next I see that Jeffrey Richter has an all day workshop called Multicore CPU Revolution: Architecting and Building Responsive and Scalable .NET/C# Applications and Components.  Jeff _loves_ threading.  Just ask him, he’ll tell you.  You can read about threading in his Concurrent Affairs column for MSDN magazine or experience it first hand at Devscovery.  He’s also talking about C# 3.0.

What else is on the agenda? Jeff Prosise, Bryan Sullivan and Jason Beres have a number of talks about Silverlight.  Prosise also has a few talks on ASP.NET and AJAX. John Robbins, Mr. Debugger, will show you the secrets of profiling, debugging and performance tuning your code.

Scott Seely has a ton of things to say about WCF and Paul Mehner will show you how to use Windows Workflow.

What about me? I’m talking about WPF.  Are you surprised?  I’ve got four sessions in which I try and cram as much WPF information into your head as is humanely possible.

There are still some seats available.  Cost is $900 for three days.  You can register online or just show up at the Microsoft Conference Center at  8:00 AM tomorrow.

 See you there?

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You had to know that the aftermarket vendors are working on Silverlight controls.  Silverlight, after all, has no controls in the the current versions.

ComponentOne is showcasing their ‘Sapphire’ Control suite on their new Control Gallery site. There are more than thirty controls available including:

  • Buttons: Repeat, Checkbox,Group,Radio
  • Containers: Flow, Stack, Dock, Hyper, Split, ScrollViewer
  • Date/Time: Calendar, DatePicker
  • Lists: Listbox, Treeview, Menu, Accordian
  • Sliders: Slider, Ranger, ProgressBar, Scrollbar
  • Text: Label, Link, Textboxk, NumericTextbox, Masked
  • Other: Cube, ColorPicker





-Walt Ritscher

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