Bing while coding

Every developer does it, during developing you search the for tips and tricks. In the last couple of years the number of resources on the internet is grown. Help, tips and code example can be found on many forums, MSDN, CodeProjectStackOverflow and many many other places. It is impossible to know them all or to have them in a list or so. So we use our favorite search engine get the help we need. We have to leave the comfort of Visual Studio. You start a browser browser and search. Since a few weeks there is a handy extension for Visual Studio available. With this you can stay in your development environment.

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Do yo have to something special during coding? Nope, it works automatically. You start typing your code and the intellisense kicks in (or press ALT+space). The results of the intellisense are extended with Bing search results.

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How handy! So besides the standard documentation you see the code examples from the community.

If this still not gives enough information or you need to start a different kind of search, in de menubar a searchbox added. Type hre your question and in your Visual Studio the results will show in a handy and clear view.

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Not everyone has full internet during work. Demo and code examples can be placed on a local location and it will serve as source for the Bing Visual Studio tool.

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How handy! In this way you don’t need to switch context during coding. You can stay in the flow.

Happy coding!

Posted in dotnetmag, Tip, Visual Studio | Leave a comment

Surface Pro 3

Today my Surface Pro 3 (i7 with  256 Gb disk 8Gb memory) finally came. I looked forward to its arrival for a long time and I am very curious about the differences.

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And the differences are big. First the screen is 12 inch, 2 more than the previous Pro’s. Also the ratio of the screen is different (2:3) and therefore also the resolution (2160×1440). The pen has a battery in it. The Surface Pro 3 can bend in more steps than the previous ones. The first had 1 position, the second had two en the third has multi. I am very curious how it will hold on the real world. The power supply of the Pro/RT 2 and the 3 are not interchangeable. The connector on the Surface is really different, old one did not work perfect in real life.

If you stack the Surface Pro 2 and the Surface Pro 3 you see the differences in size. On the picture the bottom one is my Samsung Ultrabook of 13 inch. Compared to the size Surface Pro 3 could replace the Samsung.

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Thickness is quite obvious. The Samsung looks smaller by the way is was designed.

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There is quite a difference between the Pro 2 and the Pro 3.

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Also in weight. Disclaimer it is not a calibrated scale, it for illustration only.

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Surface Pro 3

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Samsung Ultrabook

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Coming weeks I will try to use my Surface Pro 3 as my daily machine. Lets see how it stand up in the heat compared to the Samsung (which my workstation at this moment) and the Surface Pro 2.

I will keep you posted. Soon the dockingstation will come too. Another workstation added to the collection ;-)
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Microsoft Project Siena

This Windows 8 app is available for some time now. This app makes it possible to create powerful Business apps and publish it without writing one line of code. More information can be found on Microsoft Project Siena site. It sounds great. Business users who click their own apps together to simply their own work.

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Sounds very interesting so I wanted to try it myself. After starting the app, you will the screen below. An empty screen on which you can add Visuals. It is recommended to look at some of the tutorials. Personally I found the flow, workflow or the way the app work not very intuitive. Well, we start with a empty window.

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Business apps are interesting if they show data. Data comes from a Data Source. By a right click or swipe down you get the meny on top. In this menu the standard file functionalities, adding data and adding new screens. On the right there is a Preview button.

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With App data you can those from multiple standard data sources. For some connections you need a developers account or connection data. For example Yammer, FaceBook, Twitter etc. In my example I use a RSS feed.

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After clicking on Import data, Siena tells you the data source was connected.

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There is also an example of the data the source provides. You need more data sources? Just add more sources.

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On the windows we need something to show the data. To do that click on the Plus sign at the right side. There is a list of many possible controls. For my demo I choose from the Galleries the Text Gallery. This contains a combination of fields etc, which limits my work for design ;-)

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At the bottom a menu pops up, you can choose the wanted data source. For my App the data source is RSS_1. On the window the data changes to the data from the source. The default does not show the correct data as I would like it. The first row shows the tags of a Blog item etc.

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This can be changed very easy. You select the field and choose from the menu below Text. There a list of all available fields form the data source. Just check the correct field.

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Done this for all the fields. I also added a picture of my Gamestag and some text. To run the app choose Preview from the meny at the top.

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Your app will show. Which look in my case like..

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Super easy. If your app needs more page, just add more windows. In your windows you can add navigation. How to add parameters is not clear to me yet..

Resume: I think this is a great start. Although there schould be done to the user interfacee, but it is a start. In the keynote of Microsoft Partner Conference there was a demo of the next version. I also hope there comes some possibilities for security or possibilities for Enterprises to add their own data sources. Those Enterprises want to expose their ERP systems or other internal data sources but keep it secure and controlled. Business users making their own apps is not strange, but it should be a little controled. By the way 15 years ago Excel and Microsoft Access were used by Business users a lot and it went out of control in some Enterprises.

I am curious for the next version and which data sources are added. Keep you posted!

Posted in dotnetmag, Gadget, Tip, Windows 8 | Leave a comment

Visual Studio Editor TIP

A few days ago I had to adjust a text file. I needed it for testing with BizTalk whatsoever. In the Text file I needed to remove some columns and replace it with something else. Not sure what is was, but with Visual Studio it was a peace of cake.

Normally I use Notepad or Excel for this sort of action. I known there are other tools like Notepad++, but this is not installed on all my machines. NB That should be synced to in Windows 8.

Anyways, the Visual Studio editor has a lot of handy features.

Assume this text file, it is a dir listing.

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To remove the first columns, put the cursor on the first column and press the ALT key. That is way easier than SHIFT ALT arrow right and repeat this for every line.

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Press delete and the columns are gone.

To add some Text is done similarly. Cursor on the first column and press the  alt key, move your mouse straight down en start typing.

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Handy, more later.

Posted in dotnetmag, Tip, Visual Studio | Leave a comment

Kinect for Windows V2 – Sensor

Probably you have already heard or read about it. In our SDN event in March we had a session and in our SDN magazine 120 there was an article, both by Dennis Vroegop and based on the Developers preview kit.

In the meantime a lot is changed. The accompanied SDK has changed a lot and almost weekly there are new features. There is a public preview SDK available. After the installation of the SDK you get these apps:

  • Gesture Builder
  • Kinect Studio
  • SDK Browser (examples)

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But without a device the SDK is not very useful, since 15 July the Kinect sensor is available via the Microsoft Store.

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The differences with the Developer preview are:

  • The sensor comes in a nice box ;-)

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  • The connector and power supply are much better designed. The lower block makes the connection between your sensor and your PC (USB 3), with the Developer Preview this part was bigger and not styled at all. Theoretical you could use the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor on a Xbox ONE, which is not allowed by the way. The other way around is not possible, the sensor-to-usb unit is missing.

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  • The camouflage stickers are removed of course ;-). Compared to the Xbox ONE sensor the XBox logo and the XBox text on top are removed.

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I got my pre-ordered retail version, I am curious when the Developer Preview version will be replaced with a ‘real’ Kinect.

In later Blog posts I will talk about the SDK and examples.

Posted in dotnetmag, Gadget, Gadgets, Kinect, Windows 8 | Leave a comment

Windows Phone 8.1

Soon a nice update will come to your Windows Phone 8: Windows Phone 8.1. This update contains a lot of UI updates but also additions like other platforms know.

It will be possible to have a background picture. This picture will show in the icons with a transparent picture.

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On Android and Apple platform there is a notification center. On these devices you swipe from the top down and you get a overview of all notifications. Here you can see al text messages, Whatsapp, mails or other notifications. This will come to Windows Phone too. I am using it for while and you get used to this very quickly.

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The agenda on a Windows Phone is much better than the competing platforms. But with the coming update they make an extra step forward. As a business user of a Windows Phone you will enjoy this very much.

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The biggest feature is Cortana. On a iPhone you got Siri and on Windows Phone we have Cortana. Game fanatics will recognize the character from the Halo Games on XBox. At this moment Cortana is only available for US English.

You can joke with it. Ask Cortana to sing or to tell jokes or ask for advise. During the Soccer WK 2014 she also showed to know a lot about soccer and do some predictions. Powered by Bing.

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But there a lot of serious use cases. You can tell her to remind you at a certain moment. As a real PA (Personal Assistent) she will remind you of your task.

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A great update. Let hope the mobile providers will push the update to you all.

PS The screenshots are made on a Nokia Lumia 1520.

Posted in dotnetmag, Gadget, Gadgets, Windows Phone | Leave a comment

DevOps session by Richard Campbell

On 26 May Richard Campbell was at Prodware Benelux in Rijswijk. Jarkko of the The Software Architecture and Project Design The Hague organized this presentation. It was a great event and Richard Campbell proved once again he is a great speaker.

The session was recorded and can be watch via YouTube.

Posted in DevOps, Events | Leave a comment

Scheduled Jobs Azure Websites

Do you need a schedules job on Microsoft Azure Website? For example to copy files to another location or do some sort of background task? Till now the Azure specialists always told you to go for Cloud Services. Within Cloud Services in a different thread you could do you jobs etc.

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But now there is the availability of webjobs on Microsoft Azure websites. These can be run according to a schedule. That helps a lot.

Posted in Azure, Cloud, dotnetmag | Leave a comment

Azure Websites staging

During the development of software we use these steps design, develop, test and deploy. Agile or not, these steps always exists. Different environments for the different parts. During development you need a development environment and that is usually local. Testing is done on a Test environment and most of the time this is centrally maintained. On Production we just deploy and previous steps validate this is without errors.

But sometimes a deployment (production or test does not matter) needs some processes to light up the environment a bit. For example the first call to a website always takes some time. Not real strange because of caching and loading the stuff. But in Production you users will notice this delay too and they don’t want to wait.

For this reason it would be handy, if you could preload or precach stuff right after the deployment. Your users won’t have to wait for this.

With Microsoft Azure Cloud Services we had a Staging environment for this reason. On this Staging slot you could touch enything to get the first delay away. After this you swapped Staging to Production.

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With Microsoft Azure websites there was no Staging. But now it is also available for Websites. It looks a bit different, but it works like Cloud Services. The Staging slot is not default available.

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En make Staging Production is as easy a abc.

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Happy Websites!

Posted in Azure, Cloud, dotnetmag | Leave a comment

Microsoft Azure Websites Backup

If you are using a Microsoft Azure Website, then it is now possible to make regular and automatic backups. This backup routine can also include the linked database or the linked resources.

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This makes the Microsoft Azure websites a lot more interesting.

Posted in Azure, Cloud, dotnetmag, Storage | Leave a comment