DSA book on ‘This Week on C9′

First off thank you to all who have downloaded the first draft of Data Structures and Algorithms: Annotated Reference with Examples. At the time of writing this post there have been more than 3200 downloads within around 3 days of it being put up on DotNetSlackers which is great!

Thanks to all those who have helped spread the word by linking to the posts I made and to the actual project page. I’d also like to thank Dan Fernandez who gave the book a mention on This Week on C9 (a weekly review program on the popular Channel9 site). You can view the episode here.

If you haven’t checked it out already then go give the first draft of Data Structures and Algorithms: Annotated Reference with Examples a look.

F# CTP out

Seems like ages I have waited for this moment, and now it is finally here I find myself with no time to actually mess around with it that much. I have really enjoyed using F# on and off for the last 18+ months and the IDE has been by no means the best but it has done the job sufficiently. Looks like there will be no more need to manually reference external assemblies and the like now ;-)

Hopefully I will wrestle some time to spend a few minutes with this.

Download link for the F# CTP – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=61ad6924-93ad-48dc-8c67-60f7e7803d3c&displaylang=en

Data Structures and Algorithms book (free) first preview available!

This is a little project that myself and Luca have been working on in our spare (spare) time in the last monthDSA_Book or so. The book is no where near complete but we wanted to get it out there now and progress with it in view of the public eye rather than just sit on it and wait months until it was a lot more thorough.

As this is just a preview don’t expect it to be all finely polished, we know what we are lacking in terms of explanations. No chapter in the preview is the final version of that respective chapter. It’s also worth mentioning that this is not the final list of chapters.

Our intended target audience are those who know how to use their respective language of choice, other than that you should be OK to follow the book. We have intentionally tried to keep the book compact and to the point.

The book is language independent. We use a form of pseudocode for all algorithms as such these algorithms can be easily ported to most imperative languages like C++, C#, and Java.

Why is it free? Because we want it to be. At this present moment in time all suggestions etc have come from a small number of reviewers, for which we are incredibly grateful. But we felt the time was right to throw it out to the larger audience so we can get more feedback on what we have thus far.

The book is hosted for us on DotNetSlackers, you can view the page dedicated to the book here.

Go check out the first preview of Data Structures and Algorithms: Annotated Reference with Examples now!!!

EDIT: if you could help spread the word we would be incredibly grateful ;-)

Interesting paper by the late Jim Gray and Bob Fitzgerald on flash disks

This paper which can be viewed in the July/August ACM Queue magazine I found quite interesting as I had noticed that both Apple (MacBook Air) and Dell (XPS range) now ship notebooks with solid state hard drive’s. Granted they are a lot more expensive but consume less power and provide a lot more accesses per second. In the paper entitled Flash Disk Opportunity for Server Applications Gray and Fitzgerald state that accesses per second may be as high as 10 times more per second than that of a high-end SCSI disk.

Interestingly the 64GB and 128GB solid state disk upgrades to the Dell XPS range differ by only £10, the smaller being £300, the larger being £310. I guess if you were paying that much on a disk drive and didn’t shell out the extra £10 then that would probably infer that you had just checked out of a mental asylum.

The July/August issue is littered with papers on flash drives, well worth a look. I’m in the market for a new laptop in the coming months, at the moment though one with a solid state disk is well out of my price range.

StyleCop and FxCop released

I am a massive fan of both these tools. Now StyleCop 4.3 and FxCop 1.36 have been released.

For a long time now FxCop 1.36 has been in Beta. I thought that maybe the standalone tool had been dropped or something but alas I am wrong, and thankful for it.

StyleCop, formerly C# Code Analysis (? I seem to remember the version prior to this was called that, may be wrong) fixes a tonne of bugs. The previous version broke several things in Visual Studio like the properties window for a project, this is no longer the case. There are a few rules that I don’t really like. One no more so than the naming of member variables, I believe it will give you abuse if you use a pattern like m_myVar, or _myVar – the tool by default will tell you it should be myVar. This is a very subjective rule though. I tend to just customize the rules for a few things and go from there. Still only works for C# code.

Design Patterns – Part 1 published

I recently started writing a series on design patterns for DotNetSlackers. The series is aimed squarely at those who are new to design patterns. In the first part we cover the strategy pattern.

At this moment in time I am not sure of how many parts the series will consist of but I have an idea so if there is a design pattern you would like me to cover then do let me know.

View it – Design Patterns – Part 1

A bit late…Pex 0.6 (with x64 support) released

I’ve not looked at Pex (Program EXploration) yet but it seems pretty interesting. The previous version 0.5 only supported x86.

I watched the Channel9 video on Pex a while back now, and have been following it via word of mouth for a long time so when 0.5 dropped it was pretty exciting…until I found out it didn’t support x64.

Nikolai Tillman has some more information on the 0.6 release, of particular note 64-bit support: Pex 0.6 installs on 64-bit Windows (but cannot analyse 64-bit-only code)

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 released

Download.

Some stuff it includes:

  • Some new WPF designer stuff (not sure what though – not really my area)
  • ADO.NET Entity Designer
  • Office MFC stuff (not sure if it also includes TR1, these two were bundled together earlier on in the year)
  • Some improvements for the JavaScript support
  • Background compilation for C#

Also you will need SP1 to use VS2008 with SQL Server 2008 which was released a few days ago.