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Archive for May, 2010

Dear all,

Ryan Gavin, the Director Platform Strategies at Microsoft Corporation, has been put in charge to destroy the last appearances of IE6 (for there is still some percentage of users using it out there).

The main way to persuade users to move on from IE6 to its current version 8 is to advertise the new safety features of Microsoft’s current browser.

It is about time, for the browser is 9 years old (on the market since 2001), and certainly (if we take into consideration the different advisories of the last weeks) not the safest anymore. Moreover, Microsoft plans no shipment of its future browser, IE9 for Windows XP (source: CNET news). Since mostly XP users are running the old browser, this should be a good way to convince them to change not only the browser, but also the OS (whose support also has ended since ~ 1 year).

In some countries, Microsoft pursues even more drastic ways of convincing people not to use IE 6 anymore: In Australia, the company is comparing its old browser with 9 years old, spoilt milk:

 

bkgd-home[1]

All image rights of the above picture belong to the Microsoft company, Remond, WA.

 

But it doesn’t stop there: If you know someone you know who still uses IE6, you can enter his/her address and send him real spoilt milk, under:

http://www.microsoft.com/australia/technet/ie8milk/send-spoilt-milk.aspx

That’s quite a drastic measure to prevent users from using IE 6 – but effective. The roadmap seems to be clear:

  • Aggressively advertise IE 8 (also via TV, the short 7,8 secs long TV spots emphasizing IE8’s security aspects, as seen on German satellite TV)
  • Convince users that IE 6 is all too much of an old (and hence security leaking) browser), that should be abolished ASAP.

Cheers,

Martin

p.s. For those who have not yet seen the TV spots, here is one of them (German):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPN4sbugPCc

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Howdy all,

Did you already check out the latest Keybinding Cards of the new VS 2010? If not, you can find them here:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=92CED922-D505-457A-8C9C-84036160639F&displaylang=en

 

They are available for C#, C++, VB, and for the newly added F#.

Here are my two of my favourite new keybindings:

 

1. CTRL + COMMA (,) (NavigateTo window)

Cross-solution searching of matching elements of all types (be it file names, source code content, etc.). It’s a really fast searching mechanism. Further information about the NavigateTo feature can also be found in my previous post “Visual Studio 2010: New Features Part 1: UI”.

2. CTRL + SHIFT + PERIOD (.) and CTRL + SHIFT + COMMA (,)

Zoom in/out the source code editor, respectively. Very handy when it comes to presentations. Remember the old days where you had to increase/decrease the font size by going to the Tools menu (while your audience had to wait for it)? Those days are gone!

 

Best regards,

Martin

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Howdy there,

Now it’s around a month, that Microsoft released the .NET framework 4 to the public – so I wanted to take the occasion to give you a quick view on two nice new features:

1. Optional parameters:

You can specify any parameters to be optional by assigning it a default value directly in the list of parameters (using the assignment operator). It is quite straight-forward:

 

   1: public static void DoSomething(Int32 count = 10)

   2: {

   3:     for (int i = 0; i < count; i++)

   4:     {

   5:         Console.WriteLine(i);

   6:     }

   7:     Console.ReadLine();

   8: }

Snippet 1: The DoSomething method, specifying the count parameter as optional

This changes also the way such a method can be called, i.e. by omitting the parameter it still works fine – it just assigns the default value (in our case 10), and the code can perfectly run like that. Hence, a call to the method may look like in the following example:

   1: static void Main(string[] args)

   2: {

   3:     DoSomething();

   4: }

Snippet 2: Call to DoSomething , omitting the parameter

Even IntelliSense takes notice of the optional parameters, displaying them in square brackets, along with its default value:

image

Figure 1: IntelliSense displaying an optional parameter

Straightforward so far, isn’t it?

2. Named parameters

Now, imagine a case where we have a method that defines two required parameters, followed by an optional parameter and then again followed by another requited parameter. Let’s change the DoSomething method so it looks like in snippet 3:

   1: public static void DoSomething(String name, String surname, String city = "Munich", Int32 age)

   2: {            

   3:     Console.WriteLine(name + " " + surname + " lives in: " + city + " / age:" + age;

   4: }

Snippet 3: The changed DoSomething  method

Now it is basically possible to change the order of the parameter calling by specfying the correct names followed by a colon and again followed by the value. That’s it!

 

   1: DoSomething(surname: "Miller", name: "John", age: 32);

   2: DoSomething(age:32, surname: "Miller", name: "John", city:"Berlin");

Snippet 4: Two ways of calling DoSomething, using named parameters

This feature is especially useful if you use optional parameters, since it may not become clear which parameter is called next if you omit an optional parameter. Again, IntelliSense gives useful hints when calling a named parameter.

Enjoy!

Best regards,

Martin

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Dear all,

Microsoft these days announced that it is going to close its newsgroups and move the contents to its forums. It will start with the lowest-volume newsgroups, beginning in June 2010.

Personally, I am not very much surprised about this step: Some months ago I subscribed to several MS newsgroups – but many of them had quite a low daily message volume. Regarding similar topics, I was able to find a lot more up-to-date information using the respective MS forums. Responsiveness was also way higher there.

The low volume is one of the reasons Microsoft states for its move – but there are many more; among the most important are:

  • Support for Q and A: In the forums one can easily see the direct relationship between a question and its answers
  • Voting: Easily distinguish between rubbish and well-made answers
  • Profile: Users can be identified as active users by visualizing their points they earned so far, their role (e.g. MVP)
  • Spam prevention: Easier spam removal in forums than in newsgroups

…and many more. If you are interested in the whole list, I suggest you have a look at:

http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/default.mspx

However, since especially for MVPs-to-be the newsgroups have been essential pillars ever since, I am wondering whether these awards can now be (partially) obtained by actively participating in forums.

The information, however, isn’t lost – it’s only moved to the forums. It won’t affect me a lot, since for support during the last months I have turned to the forums anyway – mostly due to the lacking responsiveness, spammers and the diminishing contributions.

All in all my personal conclusion is: Good move, MS! Once in a while it is necessary to get rid of legacies, especially when they turn it to be no more feasible.

Goodbye, newsgroups!

Stay tuned and have a nice week,

Martin

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