My Life As A Blog

Archive for January 2008

What BizTalk does

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Here‘s a useful resource if you want to find out the capabilities of BizTalk Server 2006.  It’s an interactive poster that uses Silverlight to allow you to zoom in and out and pan around.  And you can click on a capability to get more information.

Written by remark

January 24, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Posted in .NET, General, Software, Tools

Tagged with ,

New Year, New Here

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Yesterday I joined Microsoft in the UK as an Architect Evangelist (the more observant will have noticed that I edited the about page yesterday.) I’m really looking forward to the new challenges ahead and I’ll be continuing to use the blog to talk about technology and issues that I find interesting. Of course, a new job at a new organisation means that the technologies and issues I focus on day to day will change somewhat, so stay tuned to find out more.

Written by remark

January 22, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Posted in General

Newsgator Consumer Products Now Free

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Newsgator have announced that their desktop readers are now available free. I’ve been using NetNewsWire Lite for several months now – today I’ve installed NetNewsWire. The compelling feature offered by NewsGator readers is that they synchronise their local data with an online store and you still get all the benefits of a desktop app (and I haven’t found an online reader I like) – so I can install readers on different machines (for example, I will be installing FeedDemon on my Windows desktops) in the knowledge that I won’t be having to remember what I’ve already read. And for those moments when you’re using a machine without a reader installed, there’s NewsGator Online.  For more information, here’s the announcement on the Newsgator blog.

Written by remark

January 9, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Posted in General, Software, Tools

Dynamic Data

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During the latter half of 2006, I spent a little time getting to know Django.  I was impressed – especially by the automatic admin functionality.  The challenges of using Django for real, however, were so substantial – the abandonment of a known, tried and trusted environment being first on that list – that the interest never developed further.

So, when I saw the Dynamic Data feature of the ASP .NET 3.5 Extensions Preview, I felt compelled to give it a go.  After a false start trying to use the latest CTP of SQL Server 2008 – this is only preview software, so I’d expect that SQL Server 2008 will be supported in a future version – I switched to the already installed SQL Server 2005 Express and followed the example in Scott Gu’s blog.  It boils down to three steps:

  1. Create a project
  2. Add LINQ to SQL Classes and drag the tables you want onto the designer.
  3. Modify the web.config file to enable Dynamic Templates.

Then you run it.  And it just works.  Really.  The whole thing took me less than 5 minutes.  And you can customise the look and feel easily.  This will be a great way of rapidly creating data entry screens that can be used for admin functionality or for facilitating data entry while the main application is being built.  Prototyping and creating real functionality that can be used and can evolve over time are other uses of this framework.  And being built on ASP .NET 3.5 and LINQ, it’s built on technology that you (will) know.  My only worry is that it doesn’t have a cool enough name.  (For what it’s worth, I’d suggest Aspen – ASP Extensions.) 

Written by remark

January 3, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Posted in .NET, c#, Development, Software, Tools