Windows 8, What Does It Mean to Me?

Well, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Microsoft Build conference that happened in Anaheim last week.  It was during this conference that Microsoft finally released details about the successor to Windows 7.  This event is solely developer-focused and, in my opinion, tablet-specific.  It went into a lot of detail about the added APIs and usability changes in Windows 8 to better support tablet and touch-based computers. First off, the new touch-first usability changes are called “Metro” and applications written for touch are called “Metro-style apps”. The term “touch-first” is used because it’s not touch-only.  Metro … Continue reading Windows 8, What Does It Mean to Me?

Developing Windows Services in Visual Studio

Inevitably distributed systems often need a Windows service or two for certain tasks.  The creation of a Windows service project and hooking up a project installer to the service is fairly straightforward; so, I’m not going to get into much detail about that stuff. The stuff that I find that isn’t well understood is how to debug and deploy these services in a development environment. First off, debugging.  A service is just an executable that is started up by the Windows service manager.  From a native application standpoint, it has some entry points in it that the service manager looks … Continue reading Developing Windows Services in Visual Studio

Unbind a Visual Studio 2010 Solution from Source Code Control

I was working with a solution that I got from someone else the other day.  When I loaded it up, Visual Studio 2010 informed me that it could not connect to a TFS server at some URL and will open the solution in offline mode (or something to that effect).  Of course, I have no access to this TFS server, so, I’m going to get this message every time I open this solution.  That’s going to get annoying pretty fast. So, I had a quick search on the Internet about removing source code control from a Visual Studio 2010.  I … Continue reading Unbind a Visual Studio 2010 Solution from Source Code Control

Testing Strategies Involving Async Functions

Some things to keep in mind when writing units tests for code that use async methods: You’re not trying to test the framework’s “awaitability” and you’re not trying to test framework methods that are “awaitable”.  You want to test your code in certain isolation contexts.  One context, of course, is independent of asynchronicity–do individual units of code that don’t depend on asynchronous invocation “work”…  e.g. “Task<string> MyMethodAsync()”, you want to have a unit test that make sure this method does what it’s supposed to do (one being it returns a “valid” Task<string> object, the other being that individual side-effects occur, … Continue reading Testing Strategies Involving Async Functions

Deep Dive on Closure Pitfalls

I’ve blogged about closures in C# and their pitfalls before.  I keep seeing problems with closures–more now that lambdas expressions and statements (“lambdas”) are becoming more widespread–even with experienced developers. So, I’d thought i’d post about some of the details surrounding where the C# compiler generates closures in the hopes that people will recognize more where they write code that creates a closure and its context. The C# language spec does not refer specifically to “closures”, with regard to capturing state for anonymous methods (including lambdas)–it refers to “outer variables” and “captured outer variables”.  The captured outer variables for a specific … Continue reading Deep Dive on Closure Pitfalls

More on Async Functions

In my last post I showed .Net 1.1 and .NET 2.0 code that performed some asychronous operations.  I then showed the new syntax with “async” and “await” that did the same thing. But, I didn’t detail what’s really going on in the new syntax. If you want to know more about the details of what’s going on, read on.  If you just trust me about the previous code, you don’t have to read on 🙂 When the Click handler is executed it basically executes everything up to the first await and returns.  This allows the UI to be responsive.  The … Continue reading More on Async Functions

A New Asynchronicity Awaits You

The languages team at Microsoft have just announced that both VB and C# are giving first-class citizenship to asynchronous operations. At long last we can cleanly program for asynchronous operations without cluttering up the code with imperative artefacts relating to how the asynchronous operation is being performed. Let’s have a quick look at how we had you might perform an asynchronous operation in .NET 1.x: byte[] readbuffer = new byte[1024]; public void Button1_Click() { WebRequest webRequest = WebRequest.Create(“”); webRequest.BeginGetResponse(new AsyncCallback(BeginGetResponseCallback), webRequest); } private void BeginGetResponseCallback(IAsyncResult asyncResult) { WebRequest webRequest = (WebRequest)asyncResult.AsyncState; WebResponse webResponse = webRequest.EndGetResponse(asyncResult); Stream stream = webResponse.GetResponseStream(); stream.BeginRead(readbuffer, … Continue reading A New Asynchronicity Awaits You

Visual Studio 2010, Enhance your Jedi Skillz

I’ve blogged about becoming a Jedi in Visual Studio 2008 before.  Being a Jedi in Visual Studio means you focus more on adding value to the software you’re working with and less on the process of the IDE you’re doing your work in. Visual Studio 2010 has some great features to allow you to do just that.  So much so, in fact, that I can’t possibly do them justice in a single post.  I’ll start with a few here and continue with a few posts on ways to get Visual Studio 2010 to let you write software faster. All of … Continue reading Visual Studio 2010, Enhance your Jedi Skillz

Using the dynamic Keyword in C# to Improve Object Orientation – A Follow-up

Based on some feedback, some clarification is warranted with regard to my previous post titled “Using the dynamic Keyword in C# to Improve Object Orientation”. As Jarek Kowalski correctly pointed out, the example code that I provided could have used the Visitor pattern instead to get the same result.  My impetus for using the dynamic keyword the way I did was slightly different from how I described my example—which was meant to be easier to read. I think it’s worthwhile describing the Visitor Pattern.  The Visitor pattern is a pattern used to separate the responsibility of an algorithm from the … Continue reading Using the dynamic Keyword in C# to Improve Object Orientation – A Follow-up

Using the dynamic Keyword in C# to Improve Object-Orientation

With polymorphism, object-oriented languages allow “…different data types to be handled using a uniform interface”.  Ad-hoc polymorphism is when you declare multiple methods of the same name but differ by the type of an argument.  For example: private static void Draw(Circle circle) { //… } private static void Draw(Square square) { //… } These are usually referred to as method overloads or method overloading.  Which Draw method that gets invoked would be decided upon at compile-time based on the type of the parameter passed to it. This is great, there are many situations where this is useful; but what about … Continue reading Using the dynamic Keyword in C# to Improve Object-Orientation