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Microsoft Connect conference links and key takeaways

This week, Microsoft ran an online conference which included a number of significant announcements. In case you missed it, the sessions are available for streaming on demand on Channel9. The major announcements were accompanied by a number of blog posts. In this post, I wanted to summarize the most important items that I noticed and include links to the detail pages where appropriate. •.Net Core open source – Perhaps the most significant announcement was the open sourcing of the .Net core. This

Tools and Apps

Now that I’ve been at Slalom Consulting for 3 years, it’s about time for a hardware refresh. In preparation for that, and inspired by the recent list by Rocky Lhotka of top Win8/RT apps, I thought I would share the list of software/tools that I have found indispensible over the last several years creating software for customers. This is by no means as extensive as the impressive list of tools that Scott Hanselman puts out each year. A while back, I published a list of LINQ tools if you’re lookin

CodeLens for Visual Studio 2013 configuration

One of the new features of Visual Studio is the ability to automatically see statistics about your code while you are looking at it via a new feature called CodeLens. For example, you can see how many method calls are referencing your method, how many bugs and what tests are accessing the method. While this information can be helpful when reviewing code, it sometimes gets in the way when writing it. For example, you can’t just click the 0 references line and start adding attributes and comments

Reactive Framework as a Background Worker

In this introduction to the Reactive Framework series, we’ve spent a bit of time setting up our Observable and Observers and wiring them up. If you haven’t been following along, here’s links to the previous posts: Reactive Framework Why bother – Reactive Framework Building an IObservable Event Generator Reactive Framework Getting your LINQ on Reactive Framework Subscribing to Observables So far, our observers can listen to our sensor, but it turns out, we can’t know about it

Reactive Framework Building an IObservable Event Generator

In my last post, I mentioned a number of cases where you may want to use the Reactive Framework. For some upcoming presentations, I wanted to focus on a couple of these scenarios, particularly on how you can use the Reactive Framework (rX) to work with events from device sensors. You can often find these kind of sensors in a number of industries, including Robotics, automated manufacturing systems, Medical monitors, Telecom usage, and Live financial feeds. In order to demonstrate using rX in thi

Visual Studio 2010 Keyboard Binding Poster

When I work with new teams, I often get asked how I did x using the keyboard instead of reaching for the mouse. I find if I can keep my hands on the keyboard, I can often be much more productive. So, how do you learn to take advantage of the keyboard shortcuts, I recommend downloading one of the Key binding posters like the ones that were just released for Visual Studio 2010. The posters are available for VB.Net, C#, F#, and C++. Once you have then downloaded, pick a  a different key bind

Replace Foreach with LINQ

One of the best ways to start Thinqing in LINQ is to find places where you can replace iterative loops with LINQ queries. This won’t necessarily make your applications any faster at the moment, but by taking advantage of the declarative syntax, it will allow you to change your underlying implementation (ie. parallelize it with PLINQ) easier in the future. Recently, I came across some code that mimicked creating a control array as we used to have in VB6 by iterating over a list of fields and addi

LINQ to CSV using DynamicObject and TextFieldParser

In the first post of this series, we parsed our CSV file by simply splitting each line on a comma. While this works for simple files, it becomes problematic when consuming CSV files where individual fields also contains commas. Consider the following sample input: CustomerID,COMPANYNAME,Contact Name,CONTACT_TITLE ALFKI,Alfreds Futterkiste,Maria Anders,"Sales Representative" ANATR,Ana Trujillo Emparedados y helados,Ana Trujillo,"Owner, Operator" ANTON,Antonio Moreno Taquer

LINQ to CSV using DynamicObject Part 2

In the last post, I showed how to use DynamicObject to make consuming CSV files easier. In that example, we showed how we can access CSV columns using the standard dot (.) notation that we use on other objects. Using DynamicObject, we can refer to item.CompanyName and item.Contact_Name rather than item(0) and item(1). While I’m happy about the new syntax, I’m not content with replacing spaces with underscores as that doesn’t agree with the coding guidelines of using Pascal casing for properties

Pin DataTips in Visual Studio 2010

While debugging in Visual Studio 2010, I noticed that the DataTip now has a new feature. At the right hand side of the variable window, there is now a pin icon. Clicking on this pin icon adds the DataTip to the code window allowing it to float over the existing text. In addition to allowing you to drill into the variable’s values as you would in the watch, locals, or autos windows, You can also add comments which remain with the pinned DataTip. When you stop debugging, the DataTip

Win 7 with Visual Studio 2010

I’ve been running Windows 7 since the initial public betas (February 2009) and have loved it. One of my favorite features is the ability to drag an application to the left or right side of the monitor and have it snap  to take up half the screen. Even better is using the Windows – Left Arrow and Windows – Right Arrow key combinations to dock the screens without using the mouse. This even works across multiple monitors. It’s a great addition for comparing documents, or in my case when transl

LINQ to Entity Visualizer

When demonstrating the LINQ tools, I typically start out showing the LINQ to SQL visualizer that’s available with the C# Samples. Today I saw that Raja Venkatesh has released a Visualizer for ObjectQuery<T> (aka. LINQ to Entities). As you do with the other visualizers, you enable this by simply saving the AnySourceEntityQueryVisualizer.dll to your Visualizers directory. )Note: :the download page specifies to copy it to your C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\Package

LINQ to SQL DataLoadOptions.LoadWith and Take

While trying to increase the performance of this site, I found a bug which may drastically slow the performance. By default when navigating to child objects from a parent object, LINQ to SQL lazy loads the children. This is good when you don't know if you want the children. However, on this site when viewing posts, I ALWAYS display the categories and number of comments. As mentioned in LINQ in Action, you can eager load child records using the context's LoadOptions to set the child to be eagerl

Disable Historical Debugger when using MVC with VS 2010 beta1

I've had a bit of down time between contracts recently and have been taking the opportunity to learn some technologies that I haven't had time to get into before. Since I've read so much about it, I thought I would try out ASP.Net MVC. Since it was just for fun, I figured I'd bite the bullet and try it under VS 2010. I build a small sample following the tutorials at, however when I try to run it in VS 2010, the app crashes on me. There's enough "Magic" g

LINQ to SQL designer in VS 2010 Beta 1

There is a bug in the upgrade process when converting a LINQ to SQL designer (.dbml) file from VS 2008 to VS 2010. They changed the implementation to hold the layout information in a .dbml.diagram file rather than the .dbml.layout file. Instead of just renaming the existing file, it replaces it with a new one effectively loosing all of the layout customizations you may have made to the design surface. Luckily there is an easy fix. Just delete newly created .diagram file and then rename the old .

LINQ to SQL enhancements for 2010

One question that I'm asked repeatedly is, "Is LINQ dead?" The quick answer is, NO. The more appropriate question is "Is LINQ to SQL dead?" That one is a bit trickier, particularly after some of the blog posts from the data programmability team regarding their emphasis moving forward for LINQ to SQL and the Entity Framework. My take on it is that LINQ to SQL is in a similar situation to Winforms. Both are still supported and have teams dedicated to them, but don't expect much in terms of new fe

PDC Content comes to Atlanta

In case you missed the PDC, don't miss the opportunity to get some of the content for a greatly reduced cost. Microsoft touring the country with their MSDN Developer Conference  and are coming to Atlanta on December 16th at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. I'll be among the who's who list of local experts presenting the content. For my part, I'll be showing you the language enhancements that are coming for C# 4.0 and VB 10.0. This release is more about parity than ground-breaking advances li