Category Archives: 8329

Shared Source CLI Google group launched

I’ve just created a Google group based on the SSCLI which you can view and join by going here – http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft-shared-source-cli

It supersedes now defunct SSCLI newsgroups from the Microsoft and Yahoo servers which have had all but no activity in the last 2 or so years. If you have any interest whatsoever in the SSCLI then I encourage you to join.

http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft-shared-source-cli

Shared Source CLI (aka Rotor) on Vista

I thought I would share my experiences with Rotor on Vista (x86 and x64). First off Rotor is an open source version of a big chunk of what’s in the full commercial .NET that you use on your machine today BUT certain things in Rotor are no where near the quality of that in the commercial .NET – keep that in mind.

I hacked around with Rotor on several setups not including the supported setup (XP with SP2 and VC++ 8.0). My mileage with each is briefly summarized below.

Vista x64 with VC++ 9.0

I tried to get Rotor working with Vista x64 and VC++ 9.0 but was unsuccessful. Couldn’t even get it to build. This was as I expected though.

Vista x86 with VC++ 9.0

Made the same changes I did with the x64 version pretty much and got it to build. After the initial hope of it all building and the tests that Rotor comes with all passing I was somewhat annoyed that some programs including the C# compiler were not behaving correctly e.g., the C# compiler would give random parser errors for programs. I’m sure that other components were affected as well but seens as though I needed the C# compiler to work this was pretty much the final straw for me.

Vista x86 with VC++ 8.0

Builds without any hacking required. Every now and then though a buffer overrun would occur during the build, particularly when building some of the BCL C# stuff. Haven’t had this error again since I rebuilt my machine but the obvious fix would be to just make the buffer that is overran larger. This occurred during a call to MakeMacroString and it seems as though someone else has come across this as well.

My personal view is that the SSCLI project is doomed to spend the rest of its time only officially supporting that which it did when it was first released. If anyone knows any different then let me know. I couldn’t find any information on the web hinting that it would be updated if only to support Vista.

Results: Using a dark theme in VS for a week

As I mentioned several days ago I’ve been seeing if a dark theme in VS would help my eyes a little. The short of it is – no, no it didn’t. The major sore point is that if you use a dark theme in VS then you find yourself constantly swapping between dark (VS) and light (web content, content in general). The latter of course doesn’t sound like its particularly good for you and I’d definitely concur with that.

I actually found that my background was slightly off-white in my VS settings and since changing it to pure white around 3 or so days ago I’ve found that my eye strain has just disappeared. Funny thing is I can never remember changing the background colour.

I’ve no doubt that the colour schemes used in VS are very subjective so I won’t announce that light themes are the best, but it seems to work well for me.

Experiment: Using a dark theme in VS for a week

I’ve been highly critical of using dark themes in Visual Studio particularly because the UI of VS is light in its very nature. The combination of the two proving to be an interesting proposition when using VS for large durations of time.

I digress. Recently I have suffered a few eye issues and I’m pretty much willing to try and use a dark theme now for more than an hour and then dismissing it in the hope that it may help me out a little. I have tried a few other minor solutions prior to this experiment, the most of which revolve around making the background colour of VS a slightly off-white colour. If anything that approach made things worse.

I’ll be using the theme for all my coding which spans from C++ to C# and see how it goes. The theme I will use is Vibrant Ink by Rob Conery.

Hopefully this may help my eyes a little? …

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.

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 😉

My Visual Studio vNext wish list

My wish list for Visual Studio vNext isn’t that long. The things I would like to see in Visual Studio vNext (I’m not that hopeful) are the following:

  • A filtering intellisense members list box
  • Some intelligent suggestions
  • More refactoring options

Unfortunately I am going to do the unmentionable and compare VS to Eclipse.

A filtering intellisense members list box

As the number of classes in the BCL grows, and with newer technologies arriving all the time I don’t think there has ever been a better time to implement this feature. Eclipse does a good job of it and is incredibly handy:

eclipse_make_that_list_smaller_1

eclipse_make_that_list_smaller_2

There are some products out there that you can actually install to do this, they include:

Some intelligent suggestions

This is a lame example, but its a pretty common one. Today in VS suggestions for the most part are non-existent. I know that in VS 2008 SP1 background compilation for C# is here (warnings, errors) but it still doesn’t give you what Eclipse does with respect to suggestions.

eclipse_unused_imports

I know that there are probably a tonne of people reading this now shouting “You can remove unused using directives now!” True, but its never emphasised to you by the IDE. Again I find myself uttering the word Resharper for this stuff, but should we really have to buy into a 3rd party product for something like this? We could also extend this to something like variables that are never referenced.

eclipse_unused_vars

More refactoring options

Eclipse offers an absolute tonne of refactoring options which are integrated really great into the IDE.

eclipse_refactor_menu

While I don’t have any major gripes about what is offered in VS 2008 with respect to refactoring, I do think it lacks somewhat. Some of the refactoring options in VS could do with a more streamlined approach as well. A great example of this is the rename option. Invoking rename will open a big goofy dialogue box which would be appropriate if you were renaming a field or something – in place renaming would be much more appropriate for local renaming’s though.

eclipse_in_place_renaming

Final thoughts

I really like VS and all that it gives you but I can’t help feel that we are losing out on some of this stuff. I’m sure that the VS team are incredibly busy building new designers, but if anyone on the VS team happen’s to stumble across this post then please give these features consideration.

Purposely I have not mentioned C++, they have enough trouble getting intellisense working as it is. If you are interested in this though then check out Intellisense History, Part 1 and Intellisense, Part 2 (The Future). Both blog posts are from the VC++ blog. Visual Assist X is a nice tool though if you want a more rounded experience in VC++ land right now.