Document explorer versus useful data

There is a trend in the tools coming out of Microsoft that is driving me nuts and in my opinion significantly hurting productivity.  This trend is the shrinking of the amount of data that appears on the display and requiring more mouse clicks to get there. For driver writers this trend is most obvious in Document Explorer 8 which is used to display the Vista WDK documentation.   Comparing it to HTML Help Control 5 that was used for Windows Server 2003 SP1 DDK the previous version will show you what I mean.  On opening the DDK documentation you have two … Continue reading Document explorer versus useful data

Crossing the Undocumented Line

As a consultant who has more than once taken on projects Microsoft has said are impossible, many people assume I often use undocumented calls in Windows in my work.  In fact, I try to avoid them if at all possible, and am extremely careful in crossing the undocumented line. A developer should ask a set of questions when considering using an undocumented technique; these are: Is it really needed?  Before anything else, ask yourself if there is any other way to do this.  Be sure to not constrain your design when you ask this question.  For instance, requiring something be … Continue reading Crossing the Undocumented Line

Bleeding edge and far from it

I am just back from WinHEC and while there I realized that many people including a number from Microsoft don’t distinguish developing for the leading edge from living there. I am known as a guy who has done a number of things that Redmond had said “Windows is not capable of doing” and technologies that Microsoft was later proud to show off once they were working.  When it comes to my tools, I am far from the bleeding edge.  For instance, though I recently started using the latest Visual Studio, most of my work is still done with VS6.   I … Continue reading Bleeding edge and far from it

Never stop learning

One thing I always recommend to my customers is to keep their developers up to speed on the latest Windows driver technologies.  I’m thinking about this right now, since last week saw the release of Developing Drivers with Windows Driver Foundation and we are less than two weeks away from the start of this year’s WinHEC.  It is scary how many managers and developers believe that they don’t need to know this new stuff.  Even if you are still required to do drivers for NT 4.0 (hopefully not), learning the new stuff can improve your code.  Just seeing where Microsoft … Continue reading Never stop learning