• Announcement: Welcome to Windows Coding 2.0

  • Tips & Tricks: Connecting to an Oracle Schema with CodeSmith

    Sometimes User interfaces can't provide a solution for every scenario where you might need additional functionality by customization.  One area where you might come across this is if you're trying to use Oracle on an 64bit machine or in a custom Oracle instance. If you are running Windows XP there is a good chance you can get away with using the built in Connection Editor and use CodeSmith to connect to your Oracle Schema.

    If this doesn't work you may be scratching your head and thinking you are out of luck. The good news is your not.  You will need to use a modified connection string that the Connection Properties UI doesn't account for.

    "This is another type of Oracle connection string that doesn't rely on you to have a DSN for the connection. You create a connection string based on the format used in the tnsnames.ora file without the need to actually have one of these files on the client pc" (

    You will need to manually configure this connection string using the initial Data Source User Interface's Connection String Text Box.  Below is an example of using an TNS-Less (Transparent Network Substrate) connection string.


    Here is a link that contains technical information for the TNS-Less connection string. For a complete list of available oracle connection strings please visit the following site.

    Posted to Blake Niemyjski by Blake Niemyjski on 11-04-2008
  • Tips & Tricks: CodeSmith Template Encoding.

    There may be a time when you need to use Extended ASCII Codes in your CodeSmith templates. If you have already tried using them into your template you have more than likely ran into the following problem. When a user first creates a template an Encoding attribute is not added by default to the CodeTemplate directive. So when a user starts adding characters in the Extended ASCII range, they will run into the following problem without first setting the encoding attribute. Below is an example of using Extended ASCII characters in a template.

    If you don't add the Encoding Attribute to your template before saving, closing and reopening your template. You will be greeted by something like this.

    The solution to this problem is to add an Encoding attribute to the CodeTemplate directive before saving.

    <%@ CodeTemplate Language="C#" TargetLanguage="C#" Encoding="UTF-8" %>

    Posted to Blake Niemyjski by Blake Niemyjski on 10-23-2008
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  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008: Cumulative Update 1 (CU1) Available

    An update is available for SQL Server 2008. A list of all the fixes can be found here.

    Download at Source ( Cumulative update package 1 for SQL Server 2008 )

    Posted to Blake Niemyjski by Blake Niemyjski on 10-01-2008
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  • Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0

    "Reveals extensive enhancements for simplified application life-cycle management, provides sneak peek at all key focus areas for Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0.

    REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 29, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today provided the first look at the next version of its developer tools and platform, which will be named Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0. Microsoft described the next release through the following five focus areas: riding the next-generation platform wave, inspiring developer delight, powering breakthrough departmental applications, enabling emerging trends such as cloud computing, and democratizing application life-cycle management (ALM).

    Today’s announcement included an in-depth look at how Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) 2010 (code-named “Rosario”) will help democratize ALM with a unique solution that brings all the members of a development organization into the application development life cycle, and removes many of the existing barriers to integration. Additional details on the other focus areas will be disclosed over the product development cycle.

    “With Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0, we are focused on the core pillars of developer experience, support for the latest platforms spanning client, server, services and devices, targeted experiences for specific application types, and core architecture improvements,” said S. “Soma” Somasegar, senior vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. “These pillars are designed specifically to meet the needs of developers, the teams that drive the application life cycle from idea to delivery, and the customers that demand the highest quality applications across multiple platforms. You can expect to hear a lot more about Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 in the coming months.”

    Democratizing Application Life-Cycle Management

    Today, much of application development remains siloed throughout the enterprise, leading to decreased productivity and lengthy product development cycles. With VSTS 2010, Microsoft is taking the next step forward in giving individuals and development organizations an advanced solution that enables them to integrate effectively and build and deliver high-quality applications.

    This includes new capabilities that make it easier for all contributors on the software team to participate throughout the life cycle — from the core developers and testers to the wider team of project managers, designers and business analysts. Highlights include the following:

    Modeling tools. With VSTS 2010 Architecture, Microsoft will enable both technical and nontechnical users to create and use models to collaborate and to define business and system functionality graphically. The new version supports both Unified Modeling Language and Domain Specific Language support, so development organizations will have the right tool for right job. The new modeling capabilities in VSTS 2010 are a core part of the larger Microsoft modeling platform, which will also include the “Oslo” repository, tools and language.

    Improved efficiency throughout the test cycle. With VSTS 2010, Microsoft has made a significant investment in testing features and dramatically simplifying the tools required to integrate testing across the life cycle. New features include the ability to eliminate no reproducible bugs, fast setup and deployment of tests to ensure the highest degree of completeness of test, focused test planning and progress tracking, and ensuring that all code changes are properly tested.

    Substantial improvements in collaboration capabilities. Microsoft has made major investments in the capabilities and scalability of Team Foundation Server (TFS) including significant improvements that allow teams to configure and adopt any flavor of Agile development processes. Teams can track and trace work more easily with richer linking of work items enabling hierarchical work item relationships. In the source code management system, TFS now provides visualization tools for tracking changes across branches and into the production build. VSTS 2010 also introduces workflow-based builds that catch errors before they have a chance to affect the rest of the team or, worse, enter production. Finally, administrators will find dramatically simpler TFS deployment and management" (Microsoft).

    Continue at Source ( Microsoft Unveils Next Version of Visual Studio and .NET Framework )

    Posted to Blake Niemyjski by Blake Niemyjski on 09-30-2008
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  • Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 Overview

    "Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 mark the next generation of developer tools from Microsoft. Designed to address the latest needs of developers, Visual Studio and the .NET Framework deliver key innovations in the following pillars:

    • Democratizing Application Lifecycle Management
      Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) crosses many roles within an organization and traditionally not every one of the roles has been an equal player in the process. Visual Studio Team System 2010 continues to build the platform for functional equality and shared commitment across an organization’s ALM process.
    • Enabling emerging trends
      Every year the industry develops new technologies and new trends. With Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft delivers tooling and framework support for the latest innovations in application architecture, development and deployment.
    • Inspiring developer delight
      Ever since the first release of Visual Studio, Microsoft has set the bar for developer productivity and flexibility. Visual Studio 2010 continues to deliver on the core developer experience by significantly improving upon it for roles involved with the software development process.
    • Riding the next generation platform wave
      Microsoft continues to invest in the market leading operating system, productivity application and server platforms to deliver increased customer value in these offerings. With Visual Studio 2010 customers will have the tooling support needed to create amazing solutions around these technologies.
    • Breakthrough Departmental Applications
      Customers continue to build applications that span from department to the enterprise. Visual Studio 2010 will ensure development is supported across this wide spectrum of applications.

    Over the next few months we will provide more detail in each of these pillars. We will start with “Democratizing Application Lifecycle Management.”

    Please check back shortly to see the next pillar, “Enabling emerging trends.”

    Among the great new functionality in VSTS 2010:

    • Discover and identify existing code assets and architecture with the new Architecture Explorer.
    • Design and share multiple diagram types, including use case, activity and sequence diagrams.
    • Improve testing efforts with tooling for better documentation of test scenarios and more thorough collection of test data.
    • Identify and run only the tests impacted by a code change easily with the new Test Impact View.
    • Enhanced version control capabilities including gated check-in, branch visualization and build workflow.

    Key to a shared understanding of the application is the use of modeling tools. Modeling has traditionally been done by professional architects and system designers. Our approach is to enable both technical and non-technical users to create and use models to collaborate and to define business and system functionality graphically.

    Visual Studio Team System 2010 includes a new Architecture Explorer for the discovery and exploration of existing code assets and application architectures.


    From the design of the application through to the actual writing of the code, one of the most difficult problems has always been that of the bug that can’t be reproduced – the “no-repro” bug. There are a lot of factors that drive these types of bugs and we have worked to create tools to help isolate the issue and allow faster fixes. One of the common blockers to reproducing a bug is the collection of actionable data on the bug.  By dramatically simplifying the tools required to integrate testing across the lifecycle, we are further introducing new non-technical users to the application lifecycle.

    Visual Studio Team System 2010 provides testers with a set of tools for managing test cases and execution as well as improved support for filing actionable bugs.


    Better Together – Visual Studio Team System Development Edition and Database Edition
    In recognition of the increased need to integrate more of the lifecycle members together, we will provide a unified Development and Database product in Visual Studio Team System 2010. Beginning October 1, 2008 Development Edition and Database Edition MSDN subscribers will have access to both products.

    See Visual Studio 2010 in Action on Channel 9
    During the week of September 29, 2008, Channel 9 will be publishing new Visual Studio Team System 2010 videos daily. During the week you can watch videos covering many of the aspects of Visual Studio Team System 2010, including an overview of new capabilities, software quality, project management and Team Foundation Server, featuring Brian Harry. Watch the videos now.

    Learn More About Visual Studio Team System 2010

    To learn more about the new features and capabilities in Visual Studio Team System 2010 follow the links below.

    • Modeling that Works with Code
      Powerful modeling tools are important for both defining new systems as well as discovering architectural information about existing systems. Our new modeling tools have tight integration into the actual code of the application enabling a developer or architect to use models to enforce constraints on code, as well as to explore existing code assets. Learn more.
    • Eliminating “No-Repro”
      One of the most difficult problems has always been that of the bug that can’t be reproduced – the “no repro” bug. There are a lot of factors that drive these types of bugs and we have worked to create tools to isolate the issue and enable faster fixes. Learn more.
    • Identify the Test Impact
    • After making a change to the code it is critical to test the changes to prove they work as expected and to ensure no unexpected downstream effect. Test Impact Analysis helps developers quickly check-in code with confidence by running only the necessary tests. Learn more" (Microsoft).

    Source ( Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 Overview )

    Posted to Blake Niemyjski by Blake Niemyjski on 09-30-2008
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  • Overview of CLR improvements in the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

    Below is a list of all the sweet improvements made to the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 since the .NET Framework 3.5 was initially released!

    "NGen infrastructure rewrite:  the new infrastructure uses less memory, produces less fragmented NGen images with much better locality, and does so in dramatically less time.  What this means to you:  Installing or servicing an NGen image is much faster, and cold startup time of your NGen’ed code is better.

    Framework Startup Performance Improvements:  The framework is now better optimized for startup.  We’ve tweaked the framework to consider more scenarios for startup, and now layout both code & data in the framework’s NGen images more optimally.  What this means to you:  Even your JIT code starts faster!

    Better OS citizenship:  We’ve modified NGen to produce images that are ASLR capable, in an effort to decrease potential security attack surface area.  We’ve also started generating stacks that are always walkable using EBP-chaining for x86.  What this means to you:  Stack traces are more consistent, and NGen images aren’t as easily used to attack the system.

    Better 32-bit code quality:  The x86 JIT has dramatically improved inlining heuristics that result in generally better code quality, and, in particular, much lower “cost of abstraction”.  If you want to author a data type that only manipulates a single integer, you can wrap the thing in a struct, and expect similar performance to code that explicitly uses an integer.  There have also been some improvements to the ‘assertion propagation’ portion of the JIT, which means better null/range check elimination, as well as better constant propagation, and slight better ‘smarts’ in the JIT optimizer, overall.  What this means to you:  Your managed code should run slightly faster (and sometimes dramatically faster!).  Note to 64 bit junkies:  We’re working on getting x64 there, too.  The work just wasn’t quite there in time.
    " ( JIT, NGen, and other Managed Code Generation Stuff )


    Posted to Blake Niemyjski by Blake Niemyjski on 09-10-2008
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  • PDC 2008

    I’m pretty sad that I will not be attending PDC 2008. There are a lot of interesting sessions this year that sound appealing to me. For a complete list visit the Microsoft PDC 2008 site.

    Posted to Blake Niemyjski by Blake Niemyjski on 09-09-2008
    Filed under:
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