.NET Developments

December 19, 2007  3:52 PM

Vick and Yuknewicz on VBX, meta programming and dynamic languages

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

VB team members Paul Vick and Paul Yuknewicz appeared on a Scott Hanselman podcast to talk about directions for Visual Basic. They talked about the popularity of the language, which still surpasses all others in Microsoft’s yearly developer survey.

Vick and Yuknewicz talked about VBX, the next rev, which should get going in earnest with the shipment of Visual Studio 2008. There has been much talk about VB returning to ‘dynamic roots’ in the version beyond that. Vick said he was talking with IronPython originator Jim Hugunin.

Hanselman probes for more on the dynamic side, as well as signs of what some call ‘meta programming.’

”If you look at some of the things we do in our language, ” responds Paul Vick, pointing particularly at declarative event handling, ”really that is just like meta programming that we’ve built into the compiler.”

”It would be great to open that up and let other people extend it and ship new libraries and do cool stuff like that,” he continued. So go to the podcast and prepare to do cool stuff!

December 19, 2007  9:52 AM

Jackass 2.5, first Web-only studio film, powered by Silverlight

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Just in time for good tidings of comfort and joy, Jackass 2.5 has hit the browser.

Aficionados of Steve-O, Johnny Knoxville and their whimsical shenanigans can take in the third installment of this cinematic wonder that is Jackass free on Blockbuster.com from today (Dec. 19) until Dec. 31. It marks the first time a full-length, studio-backed film has appeared free on the Internet. (The film offers footage left on the cutting room floor after the final edits were made to Jackass Number Two — hence the 2.5 in the title.)

Viewing the movie requires two things — 17 or more years as an inhabitant of Earth and the Silverlight Media Player.

Silverlight, for those just joining us, marks Microsoft’s foray into wide world of the Rich Internet Applications. Demonstrations of Silverlight in action have popped up at numerous Microsoft shows in the last few months, and can be seen at sites as varied as World Wresting Entertainment and the city of Cerritos, Calif., which streams public meetings live on the Web.

This, though, will give that wide world a chance to see how Silverlight handles full-length features — not to mention outrageous, painful stunts that you absolutely, positively, under no circumstances should try at home.

If you’re interested in watching Jackass 2.5 — you know, as a demonstration of the power of Silverlight — first make sure your boss isn’t coming around the corner and then click here. Consider yourself warned.

And we would be remiss in not linking to the press release from Limelight Networks, the content delivery network that partnered with Microsoft and Blockbuster to bring such an important film to the digital masses — so here it is.

December 18, 2007  12:37 PM

.NET Framework 3.5 re-released to include .NET 2.0 SP1 and .NET 3.0 SP1

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Forgive our gratuitous use of .NET in the headline there, but Microsoft has re-released its download of.NET 3.5 so that it now includes the Service Pack releases of .NET 2.0 and 3.0.

Here’s the latest .NET Framework 3.5 download, date-stamped yesterday,  and here’s the readme document for .NET 3.5.

These next two Knowledge Base documents outline what is in the older .NET Service Pack releases that have been bundled into the new .NET 3.5 release.

Finally, if you have separate implementations of .NET 2.0 or 3.0 running somewhere out there, the links to those Service Pack releases are below. All contain “prerequisite feature support” for .NET 3.5; in the case of the .NET 2.0 SP1, said support also covers .NET 3.0.

Happy downloading.

December 14, 2007  2:14 PM

Julie Lerman on ADO.NET Entity Framework Beta 3, MVC, more

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

SearchWinDevelopment.com’s recent story on Entity Frameworks missed some worthwhile commentary by DataFarm’s Julie Lerman. When we were pulling that together, data architecture expert Lerman was on the road, taking part in a variety of interesting projects and events, including the heralded Bloggers Roundtable with Bill Gates. (Check out the picture here.)

Lerman took some time at the end of her trip to e-mail us with some thoughts on the Entity Framework.  Read these comments by Julie Lerman, and read ADO.NET Entity Framework Beta 3 ships; ups LINQ to SQL performance too.

On LINQ-to-SQL performance – Lerman discussed updates to Entity Framework that improve performance. She notes, too, that performance comparisons can sometimes mislead. She wrote:

If you are comparing LINQ to SQL with something like streaming data into a dataReader in ADO.NET, you will get different performance, but this is not at all comparing apples to apples. I do know that using Compiled Queries in LINQ to SQL will result in major performance improvements. Entity Framework now has Compiled Queries as well.

ASP.NET, EF, and the Model View Controller – She wrote:

While you can plug EF into ASP.NET very easily, there are two scenarios that take a bit of finagling – caching data and moving data across tiers. The n-tier issue is not only for ASP.NET of course, but is only really an issue if you are dealing with concurrency and need to maintain the state of data with respect to original values and current values.

And, regarding the Model View Controller for ASP.NET

It has huge appeal to people who were doing web development before ASP.NET came out because of the return to the purity of stateless pages vs. all the hair-pulling around trying to fake persistence across post backs.  Right now LINQ to SQL seems to be the DAL of choice for MVC but it will work with any ORM tool that exposes .NET Objects, so LINQ to Entities falls into that category as well. I haven’t played with any of these bits yet.

We also asked Lerman if she had any general comments on Entity Framework. She wrote:

I’m really pleased that Entity Framework Beta 3 is finally out along with the new CTP of the tools. I hope that at this point, people have stopped worrying that Entity Framework will go the way of ObjectSpaces, because it absolutely will not. The team has been very responsive to feedback and the v1 of Entity Framework will be a lot further along than they had originally planned for v1.

December 14, 2007  11:56 AM

The biggest, baddest list of .NET user groups ever (on this site)

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

The Shameless Plug Dept. would like to call your attention to SearchWinDevelopment.com’s .NET User Groups Learning Guide.

As you’ve noticed, we try to avoid promoting in the blog anything and everything that our parent site publishes. (This helps explain why the Shameless Plug Dept. is so poorly staffed.) This learning guide, though, is a bit of a special case.

First, it’s about user groups. If you aren’t a member of one, you should join — and not just for the free pizza and swag. You get to network, learn about job openings in your area and take in presentations by .NET experts.

Second, in our effort to finish this learning guide in a timely manner (read: before the next New England blizzard does us in, once and for all), we certainly missed some important .NET, Visual Basic, C#, C++ or SQL developer user groups.

So, if you are so inclined, we’d appreciate it if you could take a moment or three to check out the .NET User Groups Learning Guide and let us know which groups we missed. You can either leave a comment here or, as instructed on every page of the learning guide, send us an email. Either way, we’ll add your user group to the list.

December 13, 2007  10:34 AM

Free book! No, really, a free book on C# and VB code guidelines

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there are free books — and this one is definitely worth a look.

SubMain, which makes refactoring and code documentation products for .NET Framework applications, is hosting on its site a free book by Steven Sartain. Professional C#/VB .NET Coding Guidelines covers everything from naming guidelines to exposing functionality to COM, from common design patterns to time-out usage, from formatting standards to code reviews. 

Check out the book here on SubMain’s site.

(Thanks to old friend Mike Gunderloy for indirectly referring us to this book.)

December 12, 2007  2:57 PM

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates talks pasts and futures with blogger roundtable

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

Sports stars of renown sometimes announce a retirement year and then make the proverbial victory lap around the league, receiving accolades and honoraria as they go from town to town. Sports for Bill Gates seems pretty much confined to bridge – although he is probably a mean Mine Sweeper player too. In any case, his last hurrah is getting into motion. He is due to retire from a day-to-day role at Microsoft next year, and his recent sit-down with a group of notable bloggers – including the redoubtable Julie Lerman, Rob Howard, Keith Peters, and others – gives a sense of themes from the upcoming farewell tour.

Kip Kniskern of LiveSide was among those in attendance He blogged about the experience, and even posted a  full downloadable transcript of the conversation with Gates.

During the roundtable conversation, Gates looks at the technology world, today, the past and the future. There follow some quick takeaways.

The Past: The GUI revolution – At several times he recalls the advent of the GUI as a significant event that Microsoft seized upon. For example: “WordPerfect was late.  We were early … we didn’t win in word processing until people bet against graphics user interface[s], and we bet on graphics user interface … People didn’t believe in graphics user interfaces. They thought, oh, this is too slow; it’s too hard to write the software. It took a lot of evangelization, going out convincing people to do things.”

The Present: On openness, the Internet, blogging – “Our success is not based on any type of secrecy about what we’re doing. Apple likes secrecy, but good luck to them. It’s not a period of time where it’s that easy to keep secrets.”

The Future: Microsoft Research as a view to what is next –  “[If] you want to know what Microsoft is doing five years from now, go to the Microsoft Research Web site and see what [is appearing] about social computing, or see what the 3D graphics guys are saying about how that pipeline will change, or look at how the translation guys, the breakthroughs they’ve made recently in being able to take documents in different languages and translate them in different directions.”

Oh, Gates also let drop that the next version of IE would be called IE8. We would stop the presses but this is the Internet.

December 12, 2007  9:52 AM

Office 2007 SP1 released; includes SharePoint updates

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 1 is now available. This includes updates to MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0 so that they can support Windows Server 2008 and IIS 7. (Naturally, there are a few Hotfixes as well.)

Joel Oleson, senior technical product manager for the SharePoint group, has put together a blog entry to walk folks through the process of first researching and then downloading the service packs.

Said research includes the brand spanking new TechNet page, SharePoint Products and Technologies SP1 Resource Center, and a white paper that briefly outlines how to install SharePoint 2007 on Windows Server 2008 and IIS 7. There are also separate documents to guide y’all in the processes of first updating Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and then planning and deploying Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 SP1.

Once you have done the required reading, you can download WSS 3.0 SP1 and MOSS 2007 SP1. (If you are using MOSS 2007, then you need to install WSS 3.0 SP1 first.)

Meanwhile, as per usual, Mary Jo Foley has the lowdown on everything you need to know about Office 2007 SP1.

December 11, 2007  1:39 PM

ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions — Silverlight, Astoria, the MVC, oh my!

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Microsoft is taking this season of giving thing pretty seriously.

First there was Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5. Then there was ParallelFX, an update to the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit and a toolset for programming Silverlight 1.1 — oops, we mean Silverlight 2.0 — in Visual Studio 2008.

The latest contribution is the ASP.NET 3.5 Extension CTP. This, as Scott Guthrie explains, includes a bunch of stuff. There’s better history support for ASP.NET AJAX, tools for speedier development of data-driven Web sites and support for Silverlight.

Two things in particular jump out.

One is the ASP.NET MVC, or Model View Controller. This is a much ballyhooed framework for dividing the components of a Web application into models (which maintain state), views (which display UI) and controllers (which handle end user interactions). As Guthrie puts it in his introduction to the MVC, “Maintaining a clean separation of concerns makes the testing of applications much easier, since the contract between different application components are more clearly defined and articulated.”

The other is ADO.NET Data Services, previously known as Astoria and intricately linked to the forthcoming ADO.NET Entity Framework. Astoria’s appeal is its ability to take relational data and make it a service that can be consumed by client applications in networks and across the Internet. More information about this release can be found in our story, ADO.NET Entity Framework Beta 3 ships; ups LINQ-to-SQL performance.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

December 10, 2007  1:10 PM

On Visual Studio and SQL Server 2008

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Two years ago, Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 were released simultaneously. This time around, as you well know, Visual Studio 2008 is ready now, but SQL Server 2008 will not be out until the end of February.

As a result, Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Developer, has recently posted a roadmap of sorts for getting Visual Studio to support SQL Server 2008.

Two notes here:

  • Visual Studio 2005 already supports the November CTP of SQL Server 2008, which came out before Visual Studio 2008 reached RTM.
  • When the next SQL Server 2008 CTP is released, a patch for Visual Studio 2008 support will accompany it. Full tool support, meanwhile, is in the works for the RTM version of SQL Server 2008.

More specifics on Visual Studio, .NET Framework and SQL Server compatibility can be found in the Data Programmability group’s blog entry, Connecting to Pre-Release Versions of SQL Server 2008.

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