Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit Available For Download

The Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit includes presentations, hands-on labs, and demos. This content is designed to help you learn how to utilize the Visual Studio 2010 features and a variety of framework technologies including:

C# 4
Visual Basic 10
Parallel Extensions
Windows Communication Foundation
Windows Workflow
Windows Presentation Foundation
Windows 7
Entity Framework
ADO.NET Data Services
Managed Extensibility Framework
Visual Studio Team System

This version of the Training Kit works with Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.

You can download the training kit here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/confirmation.aspx?familyId=752cb725-969b-4732-a383-ed5740f02e93&displayLang=en

Saturday, January 16, 2010

SQL Server 2008 Express Edition Service Pack 1 released supports .NET Framework 4 Beta 2

SQL Server 2008 Express Edition Service Pack 1 has bee released, SQL Server 2008 Express Edition Service Pack 1 now supports .NET Framework 4 Beta 2

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express is a powerful and reliable data management system that delivers a rich set of features, data protection, and performance for embedded application clients, light Web applications, and local data stores. Designed for easy deployment and rapid prototyping, SQL Server 2008 Express is available at no cost, and you are free to redistribute it with applications. It is designed to integrate seamlessly with your other server infrastructure investments. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express Service Pack 1 (SP1) is now available in the following two formats:

1. SQL Server 2008 Express SP1 with the Microsoft .NET Framework version 3.5 SP1 support
2. SQL Server 2008 Express SP1 with the Microsoft .NET Framework version 4 Beta 2 support

There are no functional changes between these two formats

Download it here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=01af61e6-2f63-4291-bcad-fd500f6027ff&displaylang=en

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Microsoft Ignites New Opportunities for Web Professionals With WebsiteSpark Program

Building upon its commitment to foster innovation and success for professional Web developers and designers, Microsoft Corp. today announced the WebsiteSpark Program, an initiative designed to create a partner network and help enable business growth for professional Web development and design companies with up to 10 employees and owners. In addition, Microsoft announced the release of the Web Platform Installer 2.0 and the Windows Web Application Gallery 2.0, furthering the success of the Microsoft Web Platform. Together, these initiatives make it easier for Web professionals to build richer, more compelling Web experiences.

As the latest initiative in the Spark family of programs, which includes Microsoft BizSpark and DreamSpark, Microsoft is building upon a legacy of working with key communities and providing the additional support, tools and resources needed to help them thrive. The WebsiteSpark Program provides Web professionals with Microsoft software and solutions, together with related tools, training and support, to help their businesses succeed. The WebsiteSpark Program also helps drive new business opportunities by connecting Web professionals and hosters with an ecosystem of customers, partners and other professionals with complementary technologies.

“Developers are the lifeblood of our business, and we are wholly committed to ensuring their success,” said Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business division. “WebsiteSpark makes Microsoft’s Web development tools and support more accessible to developers and designers at small companies as they create inventive applications for the Web. Our third Spark program, WebsiteSpark furthers our commitment to ignite innovation among key communities and individuals.”

Web development and design companies with up to 10 employees and owners can participate in the WebsiteSpark Program for three years with no up-front cost. There is only a $100 program offering fee, payable at exit, with no other costs or obligations. Once approved, these companies can have access to the following:

Microsoft Web design and development tools, including three licenses of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, two licenses of Microsoft Expression Web 3 and one license of Microsoft Expression Studio 3

Four processor licenses for production usage to Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available) and four processor licenses for production usage to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Web Edition

A third-party premium Web site control panel (DotNetPanel)
Participating companies also will receive the following professional support and training:

Two technical support incidents per company

Access to community support through connections with Network Partners, Hosting Partners and peers with complementary services and technologies

Unlimited access to technical managed newsgroups on MSDN

Unlimited program support for nontechnical issues
In addition to software, solutions, training and support, the program will extend the reach of participating companies by featuring their offerings in a WebsiteSpark marketplace, supported by Microsoft marketing vehicles. This marketplace, available this fall, will help them connect with new prospective customers worldwide.

Furthermore, the WebsiteSpark Program provides a powerful global partner ecosystem to help support Web professionals’ success. Around the world, partners such as Aruba Networks Inc., Bitrix Inc., Elance Inc., Ikoula, PEER 1 Network Enterprises Inc. and Strato are providing business guidance and technical services to help these companies jump-start their development projects.

“BizSpark has been one of the best partner programs in the industry for helping startup businesses get off the ground, and the WebsiteSpark Program provides an even bigger opportunity for hosting companies and the Web community,” said Robert Miggins, senior vice president of business development for PEER 1. “We see a lot of Web developers and Web agencies choosing the Microsoft platform to build their Web applications and Web sites, and we are committed to help them be successful.”

Build Applications More Quickly With the Microsoft Web Platform

Available today as part of the Microsoft Web Platform, the Web Platform Installer 2.0 provides developers with a simplified installation of Microsoft products and technologies that helps reduce download complexity and includes new additions such as IIS Media Services and a Windows Azure software development kit (SDK). Improved package handling enables developers to download components of the Microsoft Web Platform once, and deploy or redeploy component packages on multiple machines, saving bandwidth and time.

With the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, developers also can access dozens of free, open-code, ready-to-install Web applications to help build their Web sites and applications, whether they’re developing in ASP.NET or PHP. This includes more than 20 new applications, from both Microsoft and the larger community, via the Windows Web Application Gallery, such as WordPress, DotNetNuke, Acquia Drupal, SugarCRM and Umbraco. In addition, the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, the Windows Web Application Gallery and http://www.microsoft.com/web, Microsoft’s core Web site, is now available to an international developer audience in nine languages.

Enroll in the WebsiteSpark Program

Microsoft’s WebsiteSpark Program is now available worldwide. Interested Web professionals can learn more about enrolling in the program by visiting http://www.microsoft.com/web/websitespark.

Download the Microsoft Web Platform Installer Today

The Microsoft Web Platform Installer 2.0 is available worldwide and can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/web.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

linked server queries could case memory leaks in SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008

The Microsoft Customer Service and Support (CSS) SQL Support blog has a post describing how you can get memory leaks in SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 when using linked server queries

Here is the summary

SQL Server 2008

  • ANY remote stored procedure execution will leak memory for each execution on the local server (the server where you initiated the remote procedure execution). The leak is not large for each execution (around 40 bytes) but over time this can add up. This specific problem involves the RETURN status of a stored procedure so there is no way to avoid it (even if you don’t use RETURN in your proc a return status is sent back to the client) if you execute remote stored procedures.
  • If you use sql_variant SQL Server data types you could also face a different memory leak (again on the local server only). These leaks can occur under the following conditions: 
    • If you use a sql_variant type for an OUTPUT parameter of a remote stored procedure you will leak around 40 bytes just for using a sql_variant OUTPUT parameter (the leak is per parameter). If the value of the parameter is of type char, varchar, nchar, nvarchar,binary, or varbinary, you will also leak the size of the value itself for each parameter. So a large character string over time could result in a considerable memory leak.
    • if you run a remote query that returns a result with a sql_variant column AND the value of the column is a char, varchar, nchar, nvarchar, binary, or varbinary value, you will leak the value of that variant for each row returned to the local server. This one has a potential to cause a fairly significant leak depending on how big the values are and how many rows are returned.

SQL Server 2005

  • You are only affected by the sql_variant problems listed above.

To find out more read the post here: http://blogs.msdn.com/psssql/archive/2009/09/22/if-you-use-linked-server-queries-you-need-to-read-this.aspx

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Microsoft AJAX CDN Announced

Earlier today the ASP.NET team launched a new Microsoft Ajax CDN (Content Delivery Network) service that provides caching support for AJAX libraries (including jQuery and ASP.NET AJAX). The service is available for free, does not require any registration, and can be used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Scott Guthrie has some more info on his blog, here is the summary

The Microsoft Ajax CDN enables you to significantly improve the performance of ASP.NET Web Forms and ASP.NET MVC applications that use ASP.NET AJAX or jQuery. The service is available for free, does not require any registration, and can be used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

ASP.NET 4.0 will make it especially easy for ASP.NET Web Forms developers to take advantage of the CDN. By setting one property of the ScriptManager control, you will be able to redirect all requests for the built-in ASP.NET JavaScript files to the CDN and improve the performance of your Web Forms applications.

read the rest here: http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2009/09/15/announcing-the-microsoft-ajax-cdn.aspx

Monday, September 14, 2009

Novell Releases First Solution to Build iPhone Applications Using C# and Microsoft .NET Languages

Novell began shipping MonoTouch today. MonoTouch is a proprietary product that costs US$399 for a one-year subscription per developer for the personal edition; an enterprise edition is available for $999 per developer per year.

Below is the press release

Novell today announced the availability of MonoTouch 1.0, the industry's first solution for developing applications for the iPhone* and iPod* Touch using the Microsoft* .NET framework, including C# and other .NET programming languages. Until now, developers primarily built iPhone applications using C and Objective-C, putting iPhone development beyond the reach of most .NET developers. With MonoTouch, the creativity of millions of .NET developers worldwide can be unleashed to build a vast array of iPhone applications.

The incredible popularity of the iPhone and iPod Touch has created a huge market for iPhone applications. According to Scott Ellison, vice president of Mobile and Wireless at IDC, in the first year the Apple Apps Store has more than 50,000 available applications, and well over 1 billion downloads with an average of more than 140 new applications launched every day1. However, developers previously used the more complex C and Objective-C programming languages to design iPhone applications.

Engineered by the Mono® Project, an open source initiative sponsored by Novell, MonoTouch simplifies iPhone development by allowing developers to utilize code and libraries written for the .NET development framework and programming languages such as C#. Individual .NET developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) can now sell their products into a massive new market, while corporate developers and IT organizations can deploy their applications in a new mobile computing environment.
"The iPhone has experienced tremendous adoption in both consumer and business markets," said Al Hilwa, program director, Application Development Software at IDC. "Given that applications are a key reason for the iPhone's success, a solution that allows .NET developers to use existing skills to build iPhone applications is an exciting and consequential milestone in the evolution of mobile platforms."

The iPhone developer program license restricts developers from distributing scripting engines or Just-In-Time (JIT) compilers, which are required by managed runtimes such as .NET for code execution. As a result, the world of iPhone applications had been previously closed to .NET and Mono developers. Developers can now use MonoTouch while fully complying with these license terms because MonoTouch delivers only native code.
"Developing our award-winning mobile forms solution on multiple platforms before MonoTouch from Novell was time-consuming due to the diverse technology platforms," said Simon Guindon, mobile solution developer at TrueContext. "With MonoTouch, we can now optimize development for the future and enrich the Pronto Forms product offering at a faster pace."

MonoTouch from Novell is a software development kit that contains a suite of compilers, libraries and tools for integrating with Apple's iPhone SDK. Microsoft .NET base class libraries are included, along with managed libraries for taking advantage of native iPhone APIs. Also included is a cross-compiler that can be used for turning .NET executable files and libraries directly into native applications for distribution on the Apple Apps* Store or for deployment to enterprise iPhone users. In addition, Xcode integration enables application developers to test on the device or in Apple's iPhone Simulator and ship applications to the Apple Apps Store for distribution.

"The vast majority of Windows-centric developers, ISVs and IT organizations have chosen the C# language and .NET for development," said Miguel de Icaza, Mono project founder and Developer Platform vice president at Novell. "As such we have seen tremendous demand for tools to build .NET-based iPhone applications. We developed MonoTouch in response to this demand, giving both individual developers and businesses a solution that breaks down the barriers to iPhone application development."

MonoTouch Pricing and Availability
MonoTouch Personal and Enterprise Editions are available now through http://shop.novell.com. MonoTouch Enterprise Edition is available for US $999 per developer for a one-year subscription, which includes maintenance and updates. A five-developer Enterprise license supports five concurrent developers and is available for US $3,999 per year. For individuals only building applications for the Apple Apps Store, MonoTouch Personal Edition is available for $399 per developer for a one-year subscription. For more information about MonoTouch visit www.novell.com/products/monotouch. To learn more about the Mono Project visit http://www.mono-project.com.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Image Resizer Powertoy Clone now works in Vista and Windows 7 and is available in 32 and 64 bit versions

One of the most popular Windows XP PowerToys has been rewritten so that it can work with Windows Vista and Windows 7, in 32-bit as well as 64-bit. The Image Resizer Powertoy Clone for Windows is available for free on CodePlex

After installing all you have to do is right clicking on the images you want to resize and select Resize Pictures (see image below).

This is very handy if you quickly want to resize a bunch of images to email to someone. You don't need to open Gimp/Paint/Expression Media/PhotoShop/Lightroom you can do this all from Explorer.

After you right click on the images and select Resize Pictures then the following box will pop up where you then can specify the size you want

You can download the Image Resizer Powertoy Clone tool from CodePlex here: http://phototoysclone.codeplex.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=26281

I just can't believe it took this long before it was available for Vista and Windows 7

Friday, September 11, 2009

ASP.NET AJAX 4.0 Preview 5 available on CodePlex

Microsoft has released ASP.NET AJAX 4.0 Preview 5 on CodePlex
From the site:

ASP.NET AJAX is a pure client-side JavaScript library that enables you to build Ajax applications that work with all modern web browsers. By taking advantage of ASP.NET AJAX client controls and templates, you can build database-driven web applications that execute entirely in the browser.

ASP.NET AJAX supports the following features:
Client templates that can be used to format database data in the browser
Client controls such as the DataView control
Client DataContext component that supports change tracking and identity management
ADO.NET Data Services support
WCF and ASMX Web service support
JSONP support
Observable pattern for plain JavaScript objects
Live Bindings
Command Bubbling
Support for managing complex links and associations between entities from multiple entity sets or tables

In this release, they have added support for the following features:
Dynamic and recursive templates
Binding Converters
Compatibility with the ASP.NET UpdatePanel

More info including the download link is available on CodePlex: http://aspnet.codeplex.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=32770

Friday, September 4, 2009

DevExpress has updated its CodeRush Xpress tool

DevExpress has updated its free CodeRush Xpress tool for Visual Studio. Here are some of the changes:

Faster Performance
Reduced Memory Consumption
Support for Preprocessor Directives
Background Processing Progress Bar

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Microsoft Delivers Windows 7-Based Windows Embedded Standard 2011 Community Technology Preview

Today, Microsoft Corp. released the Windows 7-based Windows Embedded Standard 2011 (formerly code-named “Quebec”) Community Technology Preview (CTP) to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers of specialized devices worldwide through its immediate public availability at http://connect.microsoft.com/windowsembedded. Windows Embedded Standard 2011 delivers the latest Windows 7 technologies to OEMs, enabling them to bring high-performing specialized devices to market faster, to differentiate those devices through innovative user experiences, and to delight their customers with devices that extend the Windows user experience to specialized devices from Windows-based PCs, servers and online services.

“To meet the demand for improved user experiences and connectivity among today’s rapidly growing categories of specialized devices, Microsoft has strategically planned the release of Windows 7-based technologies to OEMs in the embedded marketplace,” said Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows Embedded Business at Microsoft. “The availability of the Windows Embedded Standard 2011 CTP empowers our worldwide ecosystem of OEMs, partners and developers to take advantage of the next-generation platform’s enhanced Windows 7-based features and provide feedback prior to its general release to manufacturing. We encourage the embedded community to take full advantage of the CTP’s availability and join in our excitement as we look ahead to the future availability of Windows Embedded platforms incorporating Windows 7 technologies.”

Windows 7 Features and Functionality Available in Windows Embedded Standard 2011

Windows Embedded Standard 2011 delivers the power, familiarity and reliability of the Windows 7 operating system in a highly customizable and componentized form, enabling OEMs in industrial automation, entertainment, consumer electronics and other markets to focus on their core competencies and create product differentiation. Instead of investing in platform development, Windows Embedded Standard 2011 allows OEMs to choose only the components they need to tailor the platform to meet the unique requirements of their device. Familiar, easy-to-use development tools and embedded-enabling features help to further reduce development costs and increase speed to market for thin-client, point-of-service (POS), kiosk, medical, multifunction printers and other devices.

Windows Embedded Standard 2011 capabilities and features include these:

Enterprise Equipped with the ability for organizations to seamlessly extend existing investments in technology management and infrastructure to devices by using Active Directory group policies and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, as well as increased interoperability for client server scenarios with Microsoft Terminal Services and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Latest Windows technology innovations to enhance user experiences on specialized devices through the security of Internet Explorer 8, enhanced media capabilities of Windows Media Player 12, improved client server with Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 7.0 and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

Rich, immersive user experiences with support for 64-bit CPUs, Windows Aero user interface, Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Touch (multigesture touch interfaces and context-aware applications) and Windows Flip 3D navigation

The ability to develop “green” solutions with smart power management APIs for developers to build applications that can improve CPU idle time and reduce power consumption

ESC Boston

During the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Boston (Sept. 21–24 at the Hynes Convention Center), Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows Embedded Business Unit at Microsoft, will deliver an industry keynote address on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 10:30 a.m. Dallas will detail how the Windows Embedded software-plus-services platform enables developers and OEMs to provide the unique value of Windows on specialized devices, as well as sharing a Windows Embedded product road map update.

Microsoft will also be participating in TechInsights’ “Build Your Own Embedded System” seminars, enabling attendees to take home a custom-configured design kit based on Windows Embedded Standard 2011. Conference goers can visit the Microsoft booth (No. 400) or http://esc-boston.techinsightsevents.com for more information.

Community Resources Available Pre- and Post-Launch

A Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification, preparation kit and training courseware will be available for Windows Embedded Standard 2011 during the timeframe of its release to manufacturing (RTM), approximately the second half of 2010. Additional Windows Embedded training opportunities can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedded/en-us/about/training.mspx.

Microsoft will also host a series of five free webinars exploring the enhanced functionality, networking capabilities, improved security and reliability of Windows Embedded Standard 2011. Participants can register at https://swrt.worktankseattle.com/webcast/2672/preview.aspx. A full listing of additional technical events and seminars can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedded/en-us/news/events/default.mspx.

Additional information on Windows Embedded Standard 2011 and the entire Windows Embedded portfolio of platforms and technologies can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedded.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Released

Microsoft® Hyper-V™ Server 2008 R2 is a stand-alone product that provides a reliable and optimized virtualization solution enabling organizations to improve server utilization and reduce costs. With the addition of new features such as live migration and expanded processor and memory support for host systems, it allows organizations to consolidate workloads onto a single physical server and is a good solution for organizations who are consolidating servers as well as for development and test environments.

By having the ability to plug into existing IT infrastructures Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 enables companies to reduce costs, improve utilization and provision new servers. It allows IT professionals to leverage existing patching, provisioning, management and support tools and processes. IT Professionals can continue to leverage their individual skills and the collective knowledge of Microsoft tools, minimizing the learning curve to manage Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. In addition, with Microsoft providing comprehensive support for Microsoft applications and heterogeneous guest operating systems support, customers can virtualize with confidence and peace of mind.

Download it here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=48359dd2-1c3d-4506-ae0a-232d0314ccf6&displaylang=en&Hash=Y%2bmJ/ja3HGhAN3IGb8L6SgqzdiDu9yP708EWaRKu98lRaUh0PG/WrR/nHFmbViB9FxzmNOGVA2s%2bObnwoAGf1Q%3d%3d#filelist

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fluent NHibernate 1.0 Released

Fluent NHibernate offers an alternative to NHibernate's standard XML mapping files. Rather than writing XML documents, you write mappings in strongly typed C# code. This allows for easy refactoring, improved readability and more concise code.

Download it here: http://fluentnhibernate.org/downloads

Read more including the Getting Started Guide here: http://wiki.fluentnhibernate.org/Main_Page

Friday, June 26, 2009

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99 on Amazon

You can preorder Windows 7 on Amazon for $49.99. This is a good deal because you know the price will go up very soon after

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Troubleshooting Performance Problems in SQL Server 2008 white paper

Microsoft made available the Troubleshooting Performance Problems in SQL Server 2008 white paper on their site. This white paper is 102 pages long, the scope of this white paper is limited to the problems commonly seen by Microsoft Customer Service and Support (CSS).

Here is is what is covered

Resource Bottlenecks

Tools for Resolving Resource Bottlenecks

CPU Bottlenecks
Excessive Query Compilation and Optimization
Unnecessary Recompilation
Inefficient Query Plan
Intraquery Parallelism
Poor Cursor Usage

Memory Bottlenecks
Virtual Address Space and Physical Memory
AWE, Locked Pages, and SQL Server
Memory Pressures
Detecting Memory Pressures
Tools for Memory Diagnostics
New DMVs in SQL Server 2008
Resource Governor in SQL Server 2008
External Physical Memory Pressure
External Virtual Memory Pressure
Internal Physical Memory Pressure
Caches and Memory Pressure
Ring Buffers
Internal Virtual Memory Pressure
General Troubleshooting Steps in Case of Memory Errors
Memory Errors

I/O Bottlenecks

Monitoring tempdb Space
Troubleshooting Space Issues
User Objects
Version Store
Internal Objects
Excessive DDL and Allocation Operations

Slow-Running Queries
Locking Granularity and Lock Escalation
Identifying Long Blocks
Blocking per Object with sys.dm_db_index_operational_stats
Overall Performance Effect of Blocking Using Waits
Monitoring Index Usage
Extended Events
Data Collector and the MDW
Appendix A: DBCC MEMORYSTATUS Description
Appendix B: MDW Data Collection

Download it here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd672789.aspx

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SpicIE: The Simple Plug-In Creator for Internet Explorer

SpicIE is a framework which allows you easily to extend Internet Explorer 7/8 with your own plugins. SpicIE wraps/hides the IE COM extension interfaces and makes it easy to develop browser extensions in managed programming languages.

SpicIE is designed for simplicity. The initial creation of an Internet Explorer plugin with SpicIE takes only minutes until you have a runnable, debuggable code base which you can extend with your own functionality. There are lot of scenarios where browser plugins could be useful. SpicIE lets you develop your own browser functionality comfortable with minimal technical efforts.

With SpicIE you can develop your own:
IE browsing event handlers
IE toolbar buttons
IE menu entries
IE context menu entries
IE explorer bars
IE toolbars.

SpicIE is designed for managed plugin development. You can develop SpicIE plugins in any managed development language. You will have Visual Studio 2008 project templates for C# and VB.NET plugins.

SpicIE is tested with Internet Explorer 7/8. You can develop SpicIE plugins with all Visual Studio 2008 versions. SpicIE plugins can be executed by .NET 2.0, .NET 3.0, .NET 3.5.

SpicIE is published unter MICROSOFT PUBLIC LICENSE (Ms-PL).

More can be found here: http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/SpicIE/

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Microsoft Web Technologies Unveiled at MIX09

Today at MIX09, Microsoft Corp. announced a set of platform investments to help companies more efficiently and affordably engage with their customers through a rich, interactive presence on the Web. This includes the release of Microsoft Silverlight 3 Beta and Expression Blend 3 Preview, and continued progress in the cloud with updates to the Azure Services Platform. The company also pointed to strong momentum in platform adoption and demonstrated a number of solutions from key partners including Netflix Inc., Bondi Digital Publishing, StackOverflow.com and KEXP. In addition, building on the success of Silverlight during the Beijing Games, NBC Universal has again chosen Silverlight to deliver the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games on its official Web site, NBCOlympics.com.

The Business Imperative of a Return on Experience
Organizations that create more intuitive, more engaging experiences on the Web are able to reduce costs and increase sales. Their visitors find the information they want faster, their customers make fewer calls to support help desks, and the number of impulse purchases made by customers generated grows dramatically. The integrated and interoperable offerings from Microsoft, composed of software and services for desktop, datacenters and the cloud, help organizations deliver richer, more compelling experiences that they require both in and out of the browser, and give them enhanced “return on experience” that the current economic climate demands.

Silverlight 3 Beta Released
Silverlight 3 empowers Web developers and designers to build the best experiences for their customers through the creation of cutting-edge Web applications. Silverlight 3 helps rich Internet application (RIA) developers work faster with new graphics, animation and 3-D features, and more than 60 controls. Silverlight 3 also ushers in a new generation of high-quality and high-definition video experiences with true high-definition video in full-screen mode, with stutter-free live and on-demand video. Silverlight 3 also gives users more video format choices than ever before, including H.264, along with enhancements such as deep linking, to improve navigation in Silverlight content and automate search engine optimization (SEO) tasks. Finally, Silverlight 3 enables developers to create lightweight Web application experiences that can exist outside the browser. This enables Web sites to deliver more persistent relationships with their customers.

Microsoft also announced Expression Blend 3 Preview, designed to dramatically improve designer and developer workflow and productivity. In the MIX09 keynote address, Microsoft demonstrated SketchFlow, a new capability that allows designers to quickly prototype the flow and composition of applications. Now, for the first time, designers can easily receive annotated feedback on prototypes from stakeholders and rapidly iterate on a project from concept to completion. In addition, Expression Blend directly supports the import of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files (including layers and paths), integration of live preview sample data, and a comprehensive set of rich behaviors.

“In the short time since we launched Silverlight and Expression Blend, Microsoft has rapidly introduced new features and functionality that enable customers to deliver outstanding Web sites,” said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Platform at Microsoft. “We are working closely with the community to deliver software that helps businesses provide customer experiences on the Web that go beyond ‘good enough’ and drive real business results.”
Microsoft also announced that Soyatec, a France-based IT solutions provider and Eclipse Foundation member, is making available a community technology preview (CTP) of Eclipse Tools for Silverlight (Eclipse4SL) support for Macintosh. With this Eclipse plug-in, Mac developers can create RIAs for the Silverlight platform. This project is funded by Microsoft as part of Microsoft’s continued commitment to openness and interoperability.

Silverlight Customer Adoption
Silverlight has made significant progress since it was launched at MIX07. Hundreds of thousands of developers and designers are using Silverlight, and leading organizations such as AOL LLC, eBay Inc., BSkyB Ltd., Netflix Inc., CBS Sports Online, the European Commission, CareerBuilder.com, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Yahoo! Japan are building their next-generation rich applications and media experiences using Silverlight.
“Netflix chose Silverlight because it makes a faster and more agile development environment possible, allowing Netflix to quickly deliver a superior instant watching experience to our subscribers,” said Steve Swasey, vice president of corporate communications at Netflix. “When Netflix deployed Silverlight last fall, Netflix members realized a richer experience of access and quality to instantly watch movies and TV episodes from Netflix on their PCs and, for the first time, were able to instantly watch the same content on their Intel-based Macintosh computers.”
At Microsoft, more than 200 products and Web sites are now using Silverlight, including Microsoft.com, MSN, Live Search, Windows Live, Microsoft Office Online, Virtual Earth and the live preview release of the Silverlight-based WorldWide Telescope application.

Easier Access to Developer Tools, Platforms, and Applications
Today, Microsoft also released several components of the Microsoft Web Platform, an integrated set of tools, servers and frameworks that work seamlessly together and interoperate with popular open source applications and products that are used in the community. Included in the Microsoft Web Platform vision is the Web Platform Installer 2.0 Beta, a tool that simplifies the installation and update of Microsoft’s free Web products and other free Web components. This release allows users to download both PHP and the final release of ASP.NET MVC 1.0. Microsoft also launched the Windows Web Application Gallery, which allows developers to discover, explore and download applications and components that will help them build Web applications. Developers can submit free applications into the Gallery, offering communities, partners and independent software vendors access to millions of Windows developers worldwide for promoting their Web solutions. The Gallery includes links to popular applications such as Acquia Drupal, DotNetNuke and WordPress.

Finally, Microsoft also announced the availability of Microsoft Commerce Server 2009, which allows businesses to create improved user experiences across e-commerce channels.
Deepening Cloud Investments With the Azure Services Platform

In addition to platform investments to enable front-end experiences, enhancements to the back-end platform include updates to the Azure Services Platform. Today Microsoft announced new capabilities in Windows Azure including support for full trust to increase the level of flexibility for developers through support of native code, non-.NET language support via FastCGI, and geolocation to provide developers with the capability to host data and code across two U.S.-based datacenters; this enables customers to store data in multiple locations while helping ensure business continuity, and delivers enhanced performance benefits through reduced network latency.

Download Expression Blend 3 Preview here: http://expression.microsoft.com/en-us/dd565875.aspx 

Collection Of Puzzles For Programmers

Did you know that they have a nice collection of puzzles on less than dot? Some are harder than others so there is something for everyone. You can pic any language you want, you will see that there are solutions in Ruby, Python, Visual Basic, SQL, JavaScript, C++ and other.

Here is a partial list of what they have

Friday the Thirteenths
The goal is to identify all friday the thirteenths for a given timeframe

Regular Pentagon
Given a grid co-ordinate (x,y) as the centre point of a regular pentagon, and the sum of the length of the sides, return the co-ordinates of each point as: "Top", "MidLeft", "MidRight", "BottomLeft", "BottomRight" and the distance from the centre to each of the points.

ASCII Art Shapes
Create some ASCII art in the shortest code possible

Finding Prime Numbers
Find every prime number between 0 and 1,000,000

Calculating the Fibonacci Sequence
Calculate 'X' numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence, which is essentially adding the previous 2 occurring numbers together to make the next

split a filepath
Let's say you have the following 4 items:

C:\Documents and Settings\My Music\Amazon MP3\The Doors\Gloria.mp3

You have to split this data and also show how many folders are in the path

format bytes and add postfixes
Given a numerical input of bytes, create a function to format the output to two decimal places along with the relevant postfixes

Convert Between Roman and Arabic Numerals
Write a program to convert to (and from) roman numerals. So your program should be able to take the input of 27 and return XXVII, and take MCMLXXXI and return 1981. And of course any other values.

Find it
Given an array of 1001 elements which contains integers from 1 to 1000 inclusive. The numbers are randomly stored in the array. Only one number repeats itself
First create the array randomly and the one number randomly. But use 10 million integers plus one of course. Do this 10 times and show the times it takes to find the number and then the average time

Weekends between two dates
Write a program that will take two dates as inputs, and output the number of weekends between them.

Hello World! For Hackers
Create the most unique way of writing "Hello World" - the more fantastic, cryptic, oddball the better

Calculate the moon phase
Calculate the phase of the moon as accurately as possible.
We all know that a moon month is not as long as a normal month. It is about 29.53 days long, but that is an average and not very accurate

reverse the order of words
Given an array of characters that form a sentence, give an efficient algorithm to reverse the order of the words (not characters) in it.

Zip me up, Buttercup
Reduce the size of the text in a single transportable file. Then inflate that same file to reproduce the original string exactly (e.g. lossless compression)

Fraud Detection
The challenge is to identify falsification of data sets. Given a set of numbers of natural source (e.g. naturally occuring like credit card payments, not machine/human generated like a telephone number), the program needs to identify the probability of that data being naturally occuring vs. being falsified.

Take numbers between 1 and 100
Take numbers between 1 and 100 and do the following

if the number is a prime mark it
if the number is divisible by 5 mark it
if the number is divisible by 7 mark it
if the number is divisible by 7 and 5 mark it

A simpler calendar
Making a simple calendar, I find that all these months with a different number of days is confussing. So I would like to have a calendar with 30 days per month from now on and 12 months a year. The only problem is that It will no longer be going with the sun. The sun being a 365 day/year cycle the new calendar has 360 days/year. So I need to compensate but only by adding a 13 month at certain years. Write me a program that calculates when to add a month to keep in synch more or less

counting the money
You should give all the possible combinations to pay for the given amount of money.

knowing that you have the following currency
1 chrissiecent
2 chrissiecent
5 chrissiecent
10 chrissiecent
20 chrissiecent
50 chrissiecent
1 chrissie
2 chrissie

also give the solution with the least amount of pieces.

Beers per day
A man earns a certain amount of chrissies a month he has to pay 15% taxes and every year he has to pay 0.5% taxes more than the year before. The man's income is indexed each year by 1%. When will that man's net income be 200% of his begin income

Distance to line segment
Given the coordinates of the line segment, calculate the shortest distance to a given point. The distance that you are to calculate is represented by the red line. If the point is 'outside' the line segment, meaning, you cannot draw a perpendicular line to it, then you should return the distance from the given point to the closest end point

Keep an eye on Programmer Puzzles because every 2 weeks or so they post a new puzzle

ASP.NET MVC 1.0 has been released and is ready for download

ASP.NET MVC 1.0 has been released. A couple of day ago ASP.NET MVC Release Candidate 2 was released but this is the real deal.

You can download ASP.NET MVC 1.0 here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=53289097-73ce-43bf-b6a6-35e00103cb4b&displaylang=en

ASP.NET MVC 1.0 provides a new Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework on top of the existing ASP.NET 3.5 runtime. This means that developers can take advantage of the MVC design patterns to create their Web Applications which includes the ability to achieve and maintain a clear separation of concerns (the UI or view from the business and application logic and backend data), as well as facilitate test driven development (TDD). The ASP.NET MVC framework defines a specific pattern to the Web Application folder structure and provides a controller base-class to handle and process requests for “actions”. Developers can take advantage of the specific Visual Studio 2008 MVC templates within this release to create their Web applications, which includes the ability to select a specific Unit Test structure to accompany their Web Application development.

The MVC framework is fully extensible at all points, allowing developers to create sophisticated structures that meet their needs, including for example Dependency Injection (DI) techniques, new view rendering engines or specialized controllers.

As the ASP.NET MVC framework is built on ASP.NET 3.5, developers can take advantage of many existing ASP.NET 3.5 features, such as localization, authorization, Profile etc.

System Requirements
Supported Operating Systems:
Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista; Windows XP
.NET 3.5 SP1. Visual Studio 2008, Visual Studio 2008 SP1 or Visual Web Developer 2008 SP1 are required to use certain parts of this feature.

Monday, December 15, 2008

SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 3 has been released

Service Pack 3 for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 is now available. SQL Server 2005 service packs are cumulative, and this service pack upgrades all service levels of SQL Server 2005 to SP3. You can use these packages to upgrade any of the following SQL Server 2005 editions:

* Enterprise
* Enterprise Evaluation
* Developer
* Standard
* Workgroup

Note: To upgrade SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, obtain the SP3 version of Express Edition or Express Edition with Advanced Services.

Download SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 3 here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ae7387c3-348c-4faa-8ae5-949fdfbe59c4&displaylang=en

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CHESS: An Automated Concurrency Testing Tool

CHESS is an automated tool from Microsoft Research for finding errors in multithreaded software by systematic exploration of thread schedules. It finds errors, such as data-races, deadlocks, hangs, and data-corruption induced access violations, that are extremely hard to find with current testing tools. Once CHESS locates an error, it provides a fully repeatable execution of the program leading to the error, thus greatly aiding the debugging process. In addition, CHESS provides a valuable and novel notion of test coverage suitable for multithreaded programs. CHESS can use existing concurrent test cases and is therefore easy to deploy. Both developers and testers should find CHESS useful.