Improving the documentation

 If you haven’t heard, Microsoft is now updating the WDK documentation monthly and is now providing a way to download these updated docs to your computer.  This update, just for documentation, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/DevTools/WDK/WDKdocs.mspx   Microsoft should be congratulated for this effort to improve the documentation in a timely manner.  Currently there are some flaws to be aware of.  First the install process does not take into account that many of us would just like to update the documentation we got with the WDK with the new docs.  In fact, the installer does not even know about the WDK … Continue reading Improving the documentation

Tag, you’re it

I’ve been spending the last couple of days tracking down a bug in a driver I am writing. The effort reminded me of how great tags on memory allocations and frees can be. Also, the work reminded me that there are at least a couple of features Microsoft does not promote and I rarely see. For the uninitiated, tags are a four character value that is passed as an argument in memory allocation calls. The tag gives you a way to identify what the memory was allocated for by having a different tag for each common structure allocated. Here is … Continue reading Tag, you’re it

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

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

How tuned is your time machine?

How tuned is your time machine?  No, I am not talking about DeLoreans with Flux Capacitors, but a tool almost all software development groups have but many use poorly, namely source control.  A simple test of how well your source control system is doing is to see how many times a day the average developer checks in code.  The sad fact is that in most development shops I encounter, the time a file is checked out is measured in weeks—as for a library book.Driver development can benefit greatly from a source control system that encourages its use.  It is amazing … Continue reading How tuned is your time machine?