December 2003 - Posts
The air and ground transport service is acquiring business services company Kinko's in a $2.4 billion cash deal. Kinko's will provide a leg up in electronic document delivery, FedEx says. [CNet News.com]
Hmmm... this is very interesting to me personally. CNet has chosen to put a more technical spin on it and so they're relating it to e-document printing and delivery. The thing about that is my company, Mimeo, is much better positioned in e-document printing and delivery than Kinkos is. I've written about the Mimeo process before, so I don't think I need to go into it again, but if FedEx had truly wanted a quality e-printing solution, they would have purchased us... and for a hell of a lot less than $2.4 billion. ;) It's more likely that the importance of this aquisition is the Kinko's store front presence as reported by this article. FedEx needs to compete with the UPS Store and this is how they're going to get into doing that.
In any case, I wish them luck. We're getting ready to unleash some seriously cool stuff next year that's going to take the game to a whole new level. Competition is what it's all about... let's see if they can keep up!
Everyone's blogging about Daniel Boyd's open letter to Microsoft regarding the future of scripting technologies on the Windows platform. Personally, I think that the new Microsoft Shell (MSH) will be the answer to these people's prayers.
Here's a couple of nice articles by Jason Nadal with some specific details and examples. Also, if you're running Longhorn, you can join the MSH beta by going to BetaPlace, entering a Guest ID of "mshPDC" and filling out the survey there.
I just dl'd XPSP2 beta from MSDN Subscriber Downloads only to find out that it won't install on XP Media Center Edition. Bummer.
This seems silly to me as MCE is really just a thin veil over XP Professional. As far as I know, there's no real OS changes to support media center. It's simply an application (written in .NET btw) which provides the fancy Media Center “shell” over the underlying OS.
What a pain. I wonder if there's a build of the SP2 for MCE... I'd love to check it out.
Update: I forgot I was invited to the closed beta for SP2, before it was posted on MSDN subscriber downloads, and they have a version of it for MCE. Now I just gotta wait to see if I can get it.
Simon Fell1 is venting about the lack of true streaming reads in ASP.NET. I agree, it really sucks that everything gets buffered.
I'm not quite clear why this is the way it is. After all, if you look at what is basically the lowest layer of the CLR based ASP.NET runtime, HttpWorkerRequest, you can see it has a ReadEntityBody method which would appear to enable a streaming read scenario. Underneath the covers, I would imagine Microsoft's concrete implementation could reach back into their native ISAPI extension and leverage IIS' ISAPI server support functions HSE_REQ_IO_COMPLETION and HSE_REQ_ASYNC_READ_CLIENT to get the job of an asycnhronus streaming read done.
Hopefully someone from the ASP.NET team can comment on this. The public, well at least two of us anyway, is dying to get streaming reads within the ASP.NET environment. For now, ISAPI is the only way to go.
1 Correction, I originally said Sam Ruby, but I meant Simon Fell. For some reason, I have no clue why, I always confuse those two names. Sorry Simon and Sam. ;)
A new MSDN TV episode just rolled out. This one is all about XAML. Don and Chris do an awesome job showing us once again that XAML really has nothing to do with Avalon. *grin*
Their demo happens to be creating a custom console framework and then leveraging that framework in a XAML based application. They do an excellent job showing how XAML actually maps to CLR types, properties and events. They also show how to implement the IAddChild interface that allows you to integrate more closely with the XAML parsing engine, making your custom classes more XML friendly.
Oh and uhh... be prepared for a couple (scary) little holiday duets at the end of the episode. I know it sent shivers down my spine. Consider yourselves warned. ;)
Nathan Dunlap points out that resources can be defined at the application level in XAML. This enables the resources to be used across all “pages” in an Avalon application. He then makes the analogy between this technique and using a base CSS file for your web application. Finally, he wraps up by mentioning the BasedOn property of the Style class. This property allows you to create a new style by deriving from an existing style and overriding or extending the base style definition.
The great thing about styles in Avalon is that they're much more than just decorating an element. You can completely re-define the internal composition of a visual. You can also define a set of visual triggers that alter the visual based on dynamic property notification. The more time I spend studying styles in Avalon, the more impressed I am with the implementation.
Sorry once again for the break in technical content, but I just saw the movie Hero, starring Jet Li, for the first time last night. Wow. I just had to make a recommendation.
It's not dubbed in English, so you have to watch it with subtitles, but I like that because it would most certainly lose something if you didn't hear the original Chinese being spoken. The story has twists and turns and there are multiple story lines within the main story line, which I love. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking as well. IMHO, it puts Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to shame. Frankly, it puts most American movies to shame. How this movie hasn't made it state side yet is beyond me. Even finding it on DVD is difficult, but my girlfriend finally found and ordered it here.
Two thumbs up. Highly recommended. Check out the movie's website to learn more about it. Also check out the IMDB for more details, but you'll have to look under the movie's original name Ying xiong.
Nathan Dunlap is a designer on the Avalon team. If you're into Avalon and not already subscribed to the main LonghornBlogs feed you should, at the very least, do yourself a favor and subscribe to his feed. He recently posted an entry about the DrawingBrush class which is an awesome little utility class that lets you essentially paint anything that uses a Brush with a drawing composed of any set of Avalon visuals.
Last night he posted an new entry about re-using content. In his sample, he defines a reusable composite of vector graphics visuals in a separate XAML file and gives it the name “MyCustomCanvas”. If you're not familiar with how definition works in XAML yet, this essentially creates a new class that derives from Canvas and generates the code to add the content of his specific definition to itself (in his example, this happens to be three Rectangles). He then includes the definition of that class into his main XAML application file to create an instance of that newly defined class at a specific point in his application's visual tree. Finally, he warns us that the PDC build doesn't support multiple Include statements, but that more recent builds do. For now the work around is to define content using styles. Unfortunately that has the side effect of narrowing the ability to re-use the element to the scope in which the style is defined. So, at best, this only gets us re-use within a single XAML file.
I don't normally blog much about non-technology related subjects, but since this one
is pretty important I figured I'd make a post for history's sake.
Ok, I'm writing an add-in which extends solutions with custom properties. This add-in is written in C#. I've created the extender provider, I'm registering it for the solution object, the properties show up as expected under the properties window in the IDE and all is well. However, for one of these properties I want to provide a custom editor. I've applied the EditorAttribute to my property, but it just seems like the IDE doesn't respect it. Strange thing is, I've applied DescriptionAttribute, TypeConverterAttribute, etc. on all properties and the IDE respects those, so it seems to be a special case related to EditorAttribute.
So The Question Is
What's the trick to get a custom editor to be used for an extended property such that the properties window shows the ellipses (...) box and my custom editor gets displayed when it's clicked?
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