Articles from January 2008

Mix or SD West: The Decision

In early December, I asked myself whether I'd rather go to Mix or SD West this year. I haven't been to either, but have wanted to go to Mix since its inception. After some thought, I've decided to go to SD West. The main reason for that is because I feel like it'll have better content given my focus. The first year of Mix was all about the web and the second year was a mixed designer+developer event, but still heavily rooted in the web world. I definitely feel at home with that mix, but things seem to be changing again. This year, it sounds like there's going to be even more focus on designer content, so I'll let Mix shake itself out one more year and check out SD West. I look forward to it.

Mix o SD West: La Decisión

En Español

En Diciembre, me pregunté si debo ir a Mix o SD West este año. No he estado a tampoco, pero tengo quise ir a Mix puesto que comenzó. Después de pensar en él, decidía ir a SD West. La razón principal es porque pienso tendrá mejor contenido, basado en mi foco. El primer año de Mix estaba todo sobre la web y el segundo año estaba un acontecimiento para los diseñadores y desarrolladores, pero todavía basado pesadamente en la web. Soy cómodo con los dos, pero el acontecimiento está cambiando otra vez. Este año, pienso que habrá más foco en contenido del diseñador. Dejaré Mix solidificar uno año más y iré al SD West.

WPF Toolbar Annoyance

By Michael Flanakin @ 3:48 AM :: 7404 Views :: .NET, En Español :: Digg it!

One thing I hate about WPF is the seemingly hidden functionality. In Win Forms, you access objects and properties. In XAML, there seems to be so much there that you miss the good stuff. I feel like this is mainly a tooling issue, but the fact that there’s no real differentiation between attributes and nodes doesn’t help. Here’s an example that those new to WPF might interested in learning…

After adding your first toolbar in WPF, you’ll quickly learn that disabling a button doesn’t do much to inform the user it’s been disabled. You’d expect the button to be grayed out, but it’s not. Initially, I added a style trigger that would make the button image transparent when it was disabled…

<Style TargetType="{x:Type Image}" x:Key="toolbarImageStyle">
        <DataTrigger Binding="{Binding RelativeSource={RelativeSource AncestorType={x:Type Button}, AncestorLevel=1}, Path=IsEnabled}" Value="False">
            <Setter Property="Opacity" Value="0.50" />

This works, but I don’t know how much I like it. What other option is there? Another image. The thing I hate about a separate image is that it requires additional management of images and additional XAML code to define each button. I like the simplicity of a style to define the look of a disabled button.

Of course, this isn’t all. When a button is disabled, the tooltip is disabled as well. I don’t know if that’s an inheritance issue or not, but there is a simple fix for this one, which is where my “seemingly hidden functionality” comment comes in.

<Button IsEnabled="false" ToolTipService.ShowOnDisabled="True" Content="Disabled Button" ToolTip="Test Test Test" />

Specifying the ToolTipService.ShowOnDisabled property will ensure the tooltip is always displayed. I find it odd that this wasn’t true by default, but whatever. This is all just part of the annoyances that come with these new technologies… that’s why they call it the “bleeding edge.”

Molestias de la Barra de Herramientas de WPF

En Español

Una cosa que odio sobre WPF es funcionalidad ocultada. En Win Forms, usa objetos y características. En XAML, hay tanto que falta la buenas características. Pienso que este es una problema de las herramientas, pero el hecho que no hay diferenciación entre las cualidades y los nodos no ayuda. Aquí está un ejemplo que ese ésos nuevos a WPF pudieron estar interesados adentro…

Después de usar su primera barra de herramientas de WPF, descubrirá que lisiado un botón no hace mucho a informar el usuario. Espera el botón ser gris, pero no es. Inicialmente, agregué una disparador del estilo que hacer la imagen transparente cuando era lisiado...

<Style TargetType="{x:Type Image}" x:Key="toolbarImageStyle">
        <DataTrigger Binding="{Binding RelativeSource={RelativeSource AncestorType={x:Type Button}, AncestorLevel=1}, Path=IsEnabled}" Value="False">
            <Setter Property="Opacity" Value="0.50" />

Esto trabaja, pero no pienso si quiero. ¿Hay otra opción? Una otra imagen. No me gusta una otra imagen porque requiere más gerencia y código adicional definir cada botón. Me gusta la simplicidad de un estilo definir la mirada de un botón lisiado.

Por supuesto, hay más. Cuando un botón es lisiado, la información sobre herramientas (¿Cómo se dice "tooltip"?) es lisiado, tambien. No sé si eso está debido a herencia, pero hay un arreglo simple, cuál es porqué dije "funcionalidad ocultada."

<Button IsEnabled="false" ToolTipService.ShowOnDisabled="True" Content="Disabled Button" ToolTip="Test Test Test" />

Especificar la cualidad ToolTipService.ShowOnDisabled se asegurará que el tooltip está exhibido siempre. Pienso que el valor inicial debe ser true. Éstos son apenas algunas de las molestias con nuevas tecnologías… ése es porqué ha llamado el “borde de la sangría.”

Hyper-V vs. Virtual PC/Server

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:29 PM :: 2328 Views :: Technology :: Digg it!

Microsoft has a new virtualization technology coming with Windows Server 2008 called Hyper-V, formerly known as Hypervisor. There's been some confusion about what Hyper-V is compared to today's virtualization technologies, Virtual PC and Virtual Server. Before I get to that, tho, I should say something about virtualization. If you're a developer and have never used a virtualization technology, you really should try Virtual PC. I'm not saying Virtual PC is the best tool on the block, but if you're not familiar virtualization, you're doing yourself an injustice. Virtualization is core to the future of server technologies and will be moving to the desktop soon after. Most seem to shy away from virtualization because they fear the complexity -- at least, that's what I imagine the reason is. I know I hesitated, but was ultimately surprised at the simplicity. After playing with Virtual PC, look at Virtual Server if you need to host virtual machines on a server. Well, unless you're using Windows Server 2008, in which case Hyper-V is the route you'll go. So, what's the difference?

I don't pretend to specialize in virtualization, so please only take this as an intro into what's new.

  • 64-bit support
  • Multi-processor, up to 4 CPU's
  • Up to 64 GB of RAM, instead of 3.6 GB
  • Scriptable via WMI, instead of COM
  • MMC snap-in for management, instead of a web interface
  • Guest-only server mode

There are a few other features in Windows Server 2008 that make Hyper-V a better solution, but that's more about the OS than anything. Jason Olson Syndicated feed has stated that the biggest difference is that Hyper-V takes advantage of new chip technologies. Check out Intel VT or AMD-V for more information there. If you want more, here's an excert from one of Jason's emails...

One way to think about these new chip technologies is that they introduce a “-1” ring essentially to the usual four rings in the x86 CPU architecture. With the VPC and Virtual Server offerings, they use a trick called ring compression where the kernel of the VM is placed into Ring 1, instead of the expected Ring 0. This is so that the host can absolutely ensure that VMs are running in their own sandbox and can’t gain access to any resources of the host or other VMs. There is something like 14-17 CPU instructions in the x86 instruction set that can’t be executed directly because of sandbox violation. Hence, the need to place the child VM’s kernel into Ring 1 so that the host can place itself in Ring 0 to intercept those calls to protect them directly or to emulate them.

By introducing a “-1” ring, the hypervisor lives here and controls the access to the various virtual machines. So, with the introduction of a hypervisor living in ring -1, the need for ring compression of child VMs is essentially removed. At least, this is one way to think about.

They hypervisor itself is not a complete OS, per se. The hypervisor is a VERY thin and small, trusted computing base (meaning, there is no “extensible” driver model to plug into with the hypervisor since Hyper-V uses only trusted drivers that have been tested by the virtualization team).

On top of this, this new architecture has introduced the capability of writing a new VMBus communication layer that can help achieve better performance in comparison with VPC and Virtual Server as well by minimizing the overhead of the communication architecture that currently exists with VPC and Virtual Server.

I hope this gives you some decent information. I'm sure there are better resources out there, but I wanted to share what I had for future reference.

Mac vs. Windows: Vulnerabilities of 2007

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:01 AM :: 1338 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Predictions, En Español :: Digg it!

Just wanted to share some vulnerability stats from 2007 for Mac and Windows. Mac had 12 times the number of vulnerabilities that Windows Vista had and 5.5 times the number of combined Vista and XP vulnerabilities. At first I was surprised, but then I thought back to rumblings of insecurity and talk about Windows Vista being more secure than Mac OS before that. It's been nice to see the Mac security myth begin to fade away and watch as Microsoft's credibility around security grows. I expect this trend to continue thru the year; especially as more and more users are exposed to Mac's. And, yes, I do see Mac use growing this year. While I'm making predictions, I think I feel pretty comfortable saying Vista won't see the widespread adoption people seem to expect. This is ironic, considering it's truly the best version of the OS to date. Nevertheless, the reason I say that is because I expect to hear more and more talk of Windows "7" this year. I'm guessing that people who've hesitated to upgrade might prefer to see what's next, since there's talk about it being released in 2009. Microsoft is good at learning from its mistakes, so I think we'll see a very big boom when Windows "7" hits the streets.

Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X vulnerability stats for 2007
  XP Vista XP + Vista Mac OS X
Total extremely critical 3 1 4 0
Total highly critical 19 12 23 234
Total moderately critical 2 1 3 2
Total less critical 3 1 4 7
Total flaws 34 20 44 243
Average flaws per month 2.83 1.67 3.67 20.25

Mac contra Windows: Vulnerabilidades de 2007

En Español

Quiero compartir algunos estadísticas de vulnerabilidades para Mac y Windows en 2007. Mac tuvo 12 veces el número de vulnerabilidades que Windows Vista tuvo y 5,5 veces Vista y XP combinados. Al principio, me sorprendió, pero pensé de discusiones de la inseguridad y sobre Window Vista que es más seguro que el Mac. Ha sido agradable ver el mito de seguridad de Mac comience a desaparezca y mira el credibilidad de Microsoft alrededor seguridad crece. Espero que esto continúe este año; especialmente como usuarios se exponen cada vez más a Mac. Sí, veo Mac utilizar el crecimiento de este año. Mientras que estoy haciendo predicciones, no pienso que Vista verá la adopción extensa este año. Esto es irónico, porque Vista es la mejor versión de la OS. Espero oír cada vez más la charla de Windows "7" este año. Pienso que gente que ha esperado para aumentar esperará ver lo que es nuevo, puesto que la gente ha hablado sobre la lanzaba en 2009. Microsoft es bueno en el aprendizaje de sus errores, así que pienso que veremos un auge muy grande cuando Windows “7” golpes las calles.

Estadísticas de Vulnerabilidades para Windows XP, Vista, y Mac OS X en 2007
  XP Vista XP + Vista Mac OS X
Total extremely critical 3 1 4 0
Total highly critical 19 12 23 234
Total moderately critical 2 1 3 2
Total less critical 3 1 4 7
Defectos totales 34 20 44 243
Defectos medios por mes 2.83 1.67 3.67 20.25

What's Your IQ?

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:48 AM :: 1852 Views :: .NET, Development, User Experience, En Español :: Digg it!

I saw Simon Guest Syndicated feed talk about user experience back in August and one of the things I liked was a tool he had to help decide what user interface platform was the best. Microsoft has 30-something user interface technologies. Sometimes it's hard to know which will be best. More often than not, we use the one the tech lead is the most comfortable with, which is pretty much a crap-shoot. Simon's app, UXIQ, asks 12 questions which you answer on a sliding scale. Ultimately, you're given three recommendations to decide on. I'll definitely keep this tool in my arsenal and suggest you do the same -- both the app and source are available on Simon's blog post.

UXIQ by Simon Guest

¿Cuál es su Índice de Inteligencia?

En Español

Simon Guest Syndicated feed hablar sobre experiencia de usuario en este Agosto pasado y me gusta un aplicacion que ayuda decidir lo que plataforma de interfaz es el mejor. Microsoft tiene alrededor 30 tecnologías de interfaz. Es a veces duro saber cuál será el mejor. A menudo, usamos la tecnología el plomo técnico es la más cómoda con, cuál puede o no puede ser una buena opción. La aplicacion de Simon, UXIQ, pide 12 preguntas cuál usted contesta dentro de una gama. En última instancia, da tres recomendaciones de elegir de. Guardaré definitivamente esto y sugiero que usted haga iguales -- la aplicacion y el código son disponible en el poste de Simon.

UXIQ by Simon Guest

What's Up with Windows Mobile

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:58 AM :: 3211 Views :: Technology, En Español :: Digg it!

There have been a number of discussions about Windows Mobile over the past few months that have piqued my interests. The first I want to mention is one on Gizmodo. This one talks about the shortcomings within the platform and the plans to remedy them. The key points are that key features are there, but the experience is what's lacking and that vendors are a major problem, causing unnecessary bloat and slowing the system. This is the same thing we see on the desktop side. For this reason alone, I'd really like to see Microsoft get into the hardware business. Of course, Microsoft isn't a hardware company, so this might be best accomplished by a quality acquisition. WM6 and 6.1 are great upgrades and 7 will be another one with some great UX enhancements, it sounds like, but WM8 is what we really want. WM8 is supposed to be built "from scratch." How much will be built from scratch is another question. As I understand it, the WM platform is built on top of the Windows CE core, so that doesn't seem entirely out of the question.

Qué es Pasando con Windows Mobile

En Español

He visto discusiones sobre Windows Mobile que han tenido mi interés. El primer quiero decir es de Gizmodo. Éste dice sobre los defectos de la plataforma y los planes fijarlos. Los puntos claves son que las características dominantes están allí, pero la experiencia está careciendo y vendedores son una problema mayor, causando un hinchese innecesario y reducción del funcionamiento de sistema. Ésta es la misma cosa que vemos en la mesa de la computadora. Por esta razón sola, quisiera ver Microsoft cree las computadoras. Por supuesto, Microsoft no es una compañia de hardware, tan una adquisición pudo ser la mejor. WM6 y 6.1 son grandes mejoras y 7 sea otros con grandes realces de UX, pero WM8 es lo que queremos. WM8 será construido "de rasguño." Cuánto será construido de rasguño es una otra pregunta. Como lo entiendo, la plataforma de WM fue construida encima la base de Windows CE, tan no parece inadmisible.


By Michael Flanakin @ 6:17 AM :: 2199 Views :: .NET, Development, User Experience, En Español :: Digg it!

I was just telling a co-worker how, despite the fact that it hasn't been said, I believe WPF will be the future of Windows development. This seems obvious, but my initial take on WPF was that it was merely another option. I even question a potential attempt to relace the myriad of web development technologies with a XAML development experience. I don't see this being overly successful, but the idea of a single development model intrigues me. If that were to happen today, it seems like XHTML + JavaScript would have more potential. Either way, I don't see it happening any time soon.

Whether or not we see a single language span Windows and web, it looks like we have something new to look forward to. Apparently, Microsoft is looking into yet another UI platform. I seriously question why, but welcome the change. I'd really like to know what WPF is missing that requires a new platform. At this point, tooling is my only real complaint about WPF.


En Español

Yo decía a un amigo cómo pienso WPF será el futuro de desarrollo de Windows. Parece obvio, pero mi primera impresión fue que WPF era simplemente un otra opción. Dudo un intento substituir la miríada de las tecnologías de desarrollo de Web con XAML. Dudo que esto esto fuera acerto, pero la idea de un modelo desarrollo me intriga. Si ése era pasar hoy, parece XHTML y JavaScript tendría más potencial. Cualquier manera, dudo pasará pronto.

Independientemente de si vemos una lengua para Windows y Web, parece tenemos algo nuevo anticipar. Al parecer, Microsoft está investigando un otra platforma de UI. No sé por qué, pero abrazo un cambio. Quiero realmente saber que WPF falta que requiere una plantforma nueva. Las herramientas son mi solamente queja de WPF.

Are You Mobile OK?

By Michael Flanakin @ 3:09 AM :: 1314 Views :: Development, En Español :: Digg it!

I'v been a mobility enthusiast for a while and it's nice to see others picking it up as well. I feel like the iPhone has a lot to do with that, which I find somewhat humoroous, but that's neither here nor there. Berners-Lee announced a new W3C validator, mobileOK, which checks web pages for standards-compliance and proven practices. This is definitely a step in the right direction. I'm looking forward to initiatives that'll bring the same capability to dev tools. Of course, it's the developers that need to change more than the tools.

¿Es Usted Válido Móvil?

En Español

He sido una entusiasta móvil durante algún tiempo y es bueno que otras están comenzando a covenir, también. Parece el iPhone tiene mucho hacer con eso, que pienso soy divertido, pero eso está ni aquí ni allí. Berners-Lee anunció un nuevo control de validación de W3C, mobileOK, que comprueba páginas web para compatibilidad con estándares y prácticas probadas. Éste es sin duda un paso en la dirección correcta. Anticipo alegre las iniciativas que traerán la misma características a las herramientas de desarrollo.

.NET Source Now Available

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:41 PM :: 2032 Views :: .NET, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!

As promised three months ago, the source code to the majority of the .NET Framework is now available... and ahead of schedule, I might add. Check out Scott Hanselman's Syndicated feed short list of requirements before digging in. Looks like we'll get a download version as well as having it integrated into Visual Studio 2008's debugger. Bon apetit!

El Codigo de .NET Está Ahora Disponible

En Español

Como prometida hace tres meses, la mayor parte de codigo de .NET está ahora disponible... y por delante de la programación. Míre la lista corta de requisitos de Scott Hanselman Syndicated feed antes conseguirlo. Parece que tendremos una versión de la transferencia directa así como tenerlo en eliminador de errores de Visual Studio 2008. Bon apetit!

New Security Certification

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:22 AM :: 1506 Views :: Development, En Español :: Digg it!

Looks like there's going to be a new certification by the SANS Software Security Institute on the market for those specializing in secure development. Honestly, its intended for -- and probably be obtained by -- all developers, but I don't see it playing out that way. My initial take on it was that it was a great idea, but after remembering the security exam I took for my MCSD, I'm wondering what the difference is going to be. Another thing I should mention is that there will be exams specific to most major platforms (i.e. .NET, Java, C/C++). So, my quandry only applies to the .NET world. This one seems much more structured and thorough than the MS exam, so I will say there's some good potential. Either way, it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

Nueva Certificación Segura

En Español

Parece allí es una nueva certificación del SANS Software Security Institute para la gente que se especializa en el desarrollo segura. Esta es ha sido para y probablemente habrá obtenido por todos los desarrolladores, pero no pienso que sucederá esa manera. Mi primera impresión es que esta fue una gran idea, pero después de recordar el examen de la seguridad pasé por mi MCSD, pregunto lo que la diferencia sea. Una otra cosa debo mencionar es que habrá examenes especifico a la mayoría de las plataformas importantes (es decir .NET, Java, C/C++). Tan mi pregunta solamente aplica al mundo de .NET. Éste parece mucho estructurado y cuidadoso que la examen de Microsoft, tan hay un cierto buen potencial. Cualquier manera, será interesante ver lo que sucede.

UI vs. UX, Revisited

By Michael Flanakin @ 3:18 AM :: 2875 Views :: User Experience, En Español :: Digg it!

A while back, I wrote about the difference between user interface and user experience by paraphrasing Simon Guest Syndicated feed. On his blog, he shows us the difference between the two in a real world, non-technical example. This is a good resource for anyone who doesn't know the difference, yet.

UI contra UX, Revisitado

En Español

Escribí sobre la diferencia entre interfaz del usuario (UI) y experiencia del usuario (UX) parafraseando a Simon Guest Syndicated feed. En su blog, él explica la diferencia de los dos en un ejemplo del mundo real y no técnico. Esto es un buen recurso para cualquier persona quien no sabe la diferencia.

Tidbits on IE8

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:00 AM :: 1569 Views :: Technology, En Español :: Digg it!

I saw a note that touched on what sounds like new features in IE8. Admittedly, I don't know exactly what will be included, but it sounds like there will be some improvements to the extensibility model. I've talked about my angst for IE's extension model in the past, so I'm excited about this possibility. The only other thing I've heard about is what I'll call productivity enhancements. Of course, I can't confirm any of these, so it's all heresee until the IE team announces features or a beta.

Un Pocito de IE8

En Español

Veí una nota que dijo lo que creo es una característica nueva de IE8. Claramente, no sé lo que incluirá exactamente, pero creo incluirá realces a la modela de la extensibilidad. He hablado sobre mi angustia de la modela de la extensón de IE8, soy feliz sobre el posibilidad. El único la otra cosa he oído es lo que llamo realces productividad. Por supuesto, no puedo confirmar cualesquiera de esto, tan es rumor hasta equipo de IE anuncia características o una beta -- el equipo no dice mucho dentro de la compañía.

Searching for a Search Solution?

By Michael Flanakin @ 11:34 PM :: 1590 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!

Microsoft’s search story has been a bad one. Not because the tools are lacking; it’s the marketing that has hurt the product. You’re probably asking, "What search story?" Windows Desktop Search has been out for desktop users for a while, but I have to say the WDS experience on XP sucks. I’m not sure why it changed so much for Vista, but it’s completely different. After experiencing Vista, I look for search everywhere; and, when it’s not there, it’s my first complaint. Vista sold me; search needs to be completely ubiquitous. If your app doesn’t incorporate search, you’re probably not doing your customers justice.

What is Microsoft doing for enterprise search? The answer over the past year has been SharePoint for Search. Now, you’re probably asking why you need SharePoint. This is exactly the problem. You don’t need SharePoint and, honestly, SharePoint doesn’t have anything to do with it, hence the marketing problem. Well, it seems like things are changing. Microsoft is now pushing Search Server (MSS) 2008. Perhaps one of the best things with this announcement is the lighter-weight companion, Search Server 2008 Express. I don’t know all the rules behind when you would want to use one or the other, but this is a great opportunity.

If you’re asking yourself why you’d want MSS when Google has such a strong search technology, I’d have to argue that perceptions aren’t always reality. I’m not saying Google doesn’t have a good product on their hands; I’m just saying MSS is better than you probably think. I live in search and have for the past 9 years. I picked up on Google fairly early and made it part of my life. When I switched to Windows Live, I thought I’d be missing something, but I wasn’t. I haven’t looked back. I’m not saying it’s been a better experience, but it hasn’t been worse. It’s equivalent. With respect to enterprise search, MSS is hands-down a better choice than Google. Why? Security. Google knows search in the public domain; that’s what it’s good at. Grabbing everything and making it discoverable to the masses. Tell me; do you want your company's contract details and competitive info made available to everyone who has access to the intranet or just those with the right need-to-know? Google can’t give you discoverability and security of sensitive material -- it’s all or nothing. Microsoft has been very good at only showing results to those who have access to them. For this reason, I think Microsoft has a stronger enterprise search story. What’s great is that you can now take advantage of this search and the security included in that within your applications.

You're probably wondering what’s new in MSS. Not much. I’ve seen some talk of a streamlined installation and admin experience, use of the OpenSearch standard, performance and indexing enhancements, and my favorite, no pre-set document limits. This last one surprised me a little. Most of these products, especially “express”-style product lines have limits. That’s right, you heard me correctly. MSS Express has no document limits. Well, at least that’s what I’ve read. I find this pretty astounding, honestly. There’s gotta be a catch somewhere, right? Well, there is one, but I think it’s one you can probably live with. MSS Express only supports single server installs. Most people looking for something like this will probably be perfectly fine with that. Others might be just as happy to know they can get MSS Express to create a prototype and then scale up from there, if necessary.

If you’re interested in search, keep an eye on the MSS team’s blog Syndicated feed. The official release won’t be out until March-ish 2008, but there is a release candidate available. The only other thing I should really mention is that MSS is intended to be a search-only solution. If you have your sights set on collaboration, SharePoint is still going to be the answer for you. Personally, I’m interested on what MSS can do for applications. It may not be the right fit, but it’s something I’d like to look into more.

Sequence Diagram Generator for .NET

By Michael Flanakin @ 10:57 PM :: 18099 Views :: Digg it!

I was recently asked about programs that can automatically generate sequence diagrams from code. While this seems like a somewhat trivial task, there aren’t any good ones. I figured I’d share what I knew, tho. Maybe someone else knows of something better.

The first option that came to mind was Visio. I have to admit I’m not a fan of Visio. If you’re designing or documenting network topology, I’m sure it’s great. I don’t do that, tho. I work with software, and Visio is horrible for that. If you want to give it a try, tho, you can export your project from Visual Studio. Unfortunately, this won’t create a sequence diagram for you, so it was even more useless for what I was needing.

The next thing that came to mind was a tool built to do exactly this, SequenceViz. This tool analyzes an assembly and creates a sequence diagram. You’d think the search would be over, but not quite. The problem with SequenceViz is that, if you try to map out anything complex, the diagram is useless. Not because it’s all jammed together; the tool doesn’t scale… at all. Beyond this, the tool has some promise. The only other complaint I really have is the install experience. There are some odd dependencies that aren’t included in the installer, so you have to go hunt them down and install them separately. I hate this. Given the power of WPF, I would’ve preferred to use the capabilities built into .NET.

The next thing I thought about was my favorite modeling environment, Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect. The problem here is the automatic generation thing. To my knowledge, it doesn’t do that. I could be wrong, tho, so if you’re looking for an all-up modeling environment, I recommend you start here. If the price tag is a problem, take a look at StarUML, which is open source. StarUML hasn’t updated in a few years, tho, which is disappointing.

The last tool I found was a Visual Studio add-in called Flow Chart 4 C#. This tool generates a flow chart – not a UML activity diagram – for a given code block. This isn’t exactly what I was looking for and, honestly, I wasn’t impressed. If I were to need something like this, I’d prefer standard UML over some non-standard flow chart visualization.

One thing I’ve wanted for a long time has been a complete MDA environment for Visual Studio. When the domain specific language (DSL) Tools was released, I thought this would be a great tool to help get there, but it seems I’m the only one interested in it. Microsoft has a vision, but it’s at a much higher level. I’m thinking about an almost completely pure MDA approach where you don’t need much code. Most are probably scoffing at this, but I’m not talking about getting rid of code. I’m talking about code = model and model = code. There should be no difference between the two. I’ve put some thought into it, but don’t really have the time to dedicate to working on it. Maybe after a few more side projects.

Microsoft's MDA Foundations

By Michael Flanakin @ 11:16 PM :: 4301 Views :: .NET, Development, Architecture, Microsoft, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!

I don't know if I'll ever understand Microsoft's official position with respect to UML. Sure, the concept behind domain specific languages (DSLs) is sound, but is it truly necessary? I haven't seen any proof of that. Well, to be more specific, I should say I don't see a need for DSLs when it comes to software analisys and design -- UML has just about everything I've needed and extending it seems to be the logical answer. On the other hand, DSLs are absolutely fantastic for applications that can visualize their data. Honestly, I think more apps should consider DSLs, but when most developers either don't know or don't use software modelling tools, I have to say I'm not surprised. I, for one, have been meaning to dig into Microsoft's DSL Tools, but haven't had the time. One of these days, perhaps. Either way, this is the foundation for Microsoft's MDA approach... well, the development environment, at least. There's an interesting story there, but I'll blog about that later.

Not Gonna Be a Mac Daddy

By Michael Flanakin @ 10:39 PM :: 1473 Views :: Technology, User Experience :: Digg it!

I’ve seen some other comments on running Vista on a Mac Book and it seems to be somewhat unanimous: the keyboard sucks. Some of the benefits I have heard include the use of firewire, Parallels, and BootCamp, none of which I’ll ever use. Of course, that’s not it. A few of the hardware niceties include the backlit keyboard, front-loading DVD, and magnetic charger. I don’t know if I like the idea of a front-loading DVD player, but what does it really matter? Not much, in my book. The problems mentioned include the excessive heat; touchy touch pad, which is a problem I already have with laptops; uncomfortable typing due to the front edge of the laptop; two-finger + clicking is a cool idea, but slightly annoying when considering the simplicity of a right-click; and, of course, the keyboard layout. I’ve also heard there have been problems with 64-bit Vista due to lack of driver support. Given all this, I don’t think I’ll be giving it a try anytime soon. Of course, if the Mac tablet happens before June, when I get a new one, I may be singing a different tune. Steve Jobs did say he wouldn’t do a tablet, tho, so I don’t see that happening this year.

What's Next for Apple TV?

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:17 PM :: 1226 Views :: Technology, En Español :: Digg it!

I’m curious about something. I was reading a bit about streaming media solutions for the home and it was talking about Apple TV’s declining status in the market. How will Apple deal with the lackluster sales? Will the company kill the product line or release a new and improved version? I have to admit, I haven’t been one to follow Apple, so I can’t say what I think they’ll do. I’m just interested because I think it says something about a company. Most companies seem to try a new market and, if they don’t get the take-off sales they wanted, get out while the getting’s good. We’ve seen how Microsoft works, when you look at the Zune. Sure, they’re not out of the woods, yet, but I have faith. Microsoft knows how to compete and I expect to see the v4 Zune to be what really grabs users. I have no idea what that will be, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out. In the meantime, let’s see how Apple handles itself.

¿Cuál es Siguiente por Apple TV?

En Español

Soy curioso sobre algo. Leí un poco sobre soluciones de fluir multimedias de la casa y mencionó el estado decreciente de Apple TV en el marcado. ¿Comó Apple respondería a ventas bajas? ¿Matarían el producto o lanzarían mejorado versión nueva? Habré admitido, no sigo Apple, tan no puedo predicir que penso hará. Estoy interesado porque penso revela algo de la compañia. La mayoría compañias que intentan un mercado nuevo y no obtenen buenas ventas, deje el mercado. Hemos visto cómo Microsoft  reacciona con respecto al Zune. Por supuesto, no están en el claro, pero tengo fe. Microsoft conoce cómo competir y expero a ver el v4 Zune asirá la atención de los consumidores. No tengo una idea que incluirá, pero estoy seguro encontrará una solución. Mientras tanto, veremos cómo Apple se dirige.

Issues with WPF Designer

By Michael Flanakin @ 9:49 AM :: 2198 Views :: .NET, En Español :: Digg it!

As I work with WPF in Visual Studio 2008 more and more, I’m hitting a lot of pain points. Two are the constant manual refreshing of the designer and what I have lovingly called “phantom” errors. Not too long ago, I came across some information about the first one. The manual refresh (signified by the gold bar) comes up in three cases: (1) there is an error in the XAML; (2) an assembly or related document has been updated; and, (3) the root element has been altered. One of the problems here is that you don’t want the designer to constantly refresh; this would take a lot of unnecessary processing and most likely slow the system down. Luckily, there are plans to resolve the last two. The first one seems to be viewed as a developer problem, tho. I don’t agree with that assessment, obviously. In fact, I think this may be due to the phantom error issue I’ve seen in the XAML editor. Think about it, if the XAML editor thinks you have an error when you don’t, the designer won’t render. The only way to do this is to rebuild, which would automatically reload the designer and the editor. Well, most of the time. I’ve seen cases where the phantom errors stick around and the only way to get rid of them is to close and reopen the file.

While I haven’t found a way around the phantom errors, I’ve almost completely alleviated the designer problem. How? I don’t use it. There’s a setting that will open all XAML documents in the editor. Obviously, when you switch to the design view, you have to manually reload it, but I’ve learned to accept this. I do it rarely, so it’s not a huge deal. I expect these issues to be resolved in SP1, but I don’t expect that until late 2008 or early 2009. By that time, we might be seeing Visual Studio “Rosario,” so there may simply be an upgrade. I have no idea how the next version of Visual Studio will be managed, but I’m starting to think it might be like the VS 2002 to 2003 upgrade. I’m sure we’ll hear more this year.

Problemas con el Deseñador de WPF

En Español

Durante mi uso de WPF en Visual Studio 2008, descubro muchos putos de dolor. Dos esta restaure manual del deseñador y que llamo errores "fantasmas." No demasiado hace tiempo, descubrí un poco información sobre el primero. El restaure manual (significado cerca el barra de la información del oro) requiere en tres casos: (1) esta un error en el XAML; (2) se ha puesto al día el assembly o documento relacionado; y, (3) se ha puesto al día el elemento de la raíz. Uno de las problemas esta no quiere el deseñador a restaure continuo porque requerirá mucho proceso innecesario y muy probablemente retarda la computadora. Afortunadamente, hay planes a resolver los primeros dos. El primero parece ser visto como problema del programadores. No convengo con ese gravamen. De hecho, pienso que esto causa por los errores fantasmas en el redactor de XAML. Si el redactor de XAML piensa esta un error cuando no hay, el deseñador no rendirá. La única manera es compilar otra vez, recargaría automáticamente al diseñador y el redactor. Bien, la mayor parte del tiempo. He visto casos cuando los errores fantasmas persisten y la única manera de librarse de ellos es cerrar y abrir el archivo.

Mietras que no he encontrado una solución de los errores fantasmas, he aliviado casi totalmente la problema. ¿Cómo? No uso. Hay un ajuste que abrir los todos archivos de XAML en el redactor. Claro, cuando cambiará al deseñador, he requerido a restáurelo, pero he aprendido aceptar esto. No es una gran problema porque no uso mucho. Pienso estos problemas serán fijo en SP1, pero no pienso que lanzará hasta finales de 2008 o principios de 2009. Para ese punto, puede ser que veamos Visual Studio "Rosario," que pudo ser una mejora. No se cómo el versión seguiente de Visual Studio será lanzado, pero pienso puede ser que sea como la mejora de VS 2002 a 2003. Debemos oír más este año.

Leopard is the New Vista

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:32 PM :: 1402 Views :: Digg it!

I just thought this comment from a PC Magazine article was funny: "Apple marketing has the swinging pair of crabapples to actually print 'Leopard Just Works' on its Web site. Hey, at least Microsoft reps have the decency to look a little abashed when you point out their product's screwups. Apple reps just glare at you like they're daring you to say something." Ha, "swinging pair of crabapples." Good stuff

Leopard es la Nueva Vista

En Español

Pensé este comento desde un articulo de PC Magazine era divertido: "Apple marketing has the swinging pair of crabapples to actually print 'Leopard Just Works' on its Web site. Hey, at least Microsoft reps have the decency to look a little abashed when you point out their product's screwups. Apple reps just glare at you like they're daring you to say something." Ha, "swinging pair of crabapples." Comento divertido 

¿Cuando se cotiza en una otra lengua, es requerido que traducirlo? Asumo tan, pero puedo ver perder algo en la traducción. ¿Tiene opiniones?

MSDN Subscription: January 2008

By Michael Flanakin @ 10:31 AM :: 1111 Views :: MSDN Subscriptions :: Digg it!


The following consists of the English DVD updates released under the MSDN Premium (Team Suite) subscription level for January 2008.

Developer Tools

  • Disc 4405 / Part X14-30600
    • MSDN® Library for Visual Studio® 2008
    • Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite (English)

For more information, see the MSDN Subscriptions Index.