December 2004 - Posts
Two weeks ago, a did a talk about Visual Studio Tools for the Office System (VSTO) en behalf of MSDN Canada in Quebec City. Here are a few thoughts:
Although VSTO 2003 brings the .NET world to Office 2003, it's far from perfect. The fact that you don't have a Word or Excel design surface is awkward. VSTO 2005 solves this. It's quite amazing to see Word and Excel hosted and fully functional in Visual Studio 2005.
The coolest new trick in 2005 is the possibility to place controls in the Actions Pane (you kow, that section at right of the document?). It is sooooo easy, just create a user control, drop a few controls and with one line of code, the user control is sitting in the Actions Pane. I like the fact that you have a clean separation between the document and the controls the user can use to make some action. Coolness factor: very high!
VSTO is really targeted at pro developers and the fact that you need to deploy a policy for the code to run limits it to enterprises. I haven't spent a lot of time on this but I see real deployment challenges ahead.
My biggest rant is with the way VSTO 2003 is presently marketed. It's available in a bundle that includes: VSTO, the Access runtime, VB.NET Standard and SQL Server dev edition. MSDN subscribers can also download it. VSTO targets the enterprise developer so why the heck bundle it with VB.NET Standard ? Enterprise developers already have access to the Pro or Architect version of Visual Studio (along with SQL dev edition). It makes no sense to me. Also, why charge for VSTO? Microsoft pushing so hard for .NET adoption, it should be free and available by itself.
I was impressed by the VSTO 2005 Beta and opening the .NET world to Office development is a real plus for Office developers. Check it out.
http://msdn.microsoft.ca/office (Canada - VSTO 2003 videos with Kate Gregory)
Bring the Power of Visual Studio .NET to Business Solutions Built with Microsoft Office
Secure and Deploy Business Solutions with Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office
The December CTP of Visual Studio 2005 is now available to download for MSDN subscribers.
While you download that 3.1GB file, you can take a look at 2 helpful setup diagrams that Rob Caron posted.
Also, make sure you download that latest install guide. It replaces the one on the DVD.
DevTeach 2005 has been officially announced. June 18-22 2005 in Montreal.
Montreal Visual Studio User Group next meeting
More info about this talk at www.guvsm.net
INETA Speaker: John Robbins
Subject: .NET Performance Tips and Tricks.
Date & Time: Tuesday, December 14th at 6:15PM
We've all been doing native code so long we know what's fast and what's slow. However, with .NET all our assumptions are gone. In this session, we'll take a survey of different coding constructs and classes that lead to performance bottlenecks and what you can do about them as well as how to best utilize profiling tools to find them. From the insides of the CLR to ASP.NET, this session will get you writing the fastest .NET code possible.
John Robbins is a cofounder of Wintellect, where he heads up the consulting and debugging services side of the business. He also travels the world teaching his Debugging .NET Applications and Debugging Windows Applications course so that developers everywhere can learn the techniques he uses to solve the nastiest software problems known to man. As one of the world's recognized authorities on debugging, John takes an evil delight in finding and fixing impossible bugs in other people's programs. John is based in New Hampshire USA, where he lives with his wife, Pam, and the world-famous debugging cats, Pearl and Chloe. In addition to being the author of the books Debugging Microsoft .NET and Windows Applications (Microsoft Press 2003) and Debugging Applications (Microsoft Press, 2000), John is a contributing editor for MSDN Magazine, where he writes the Bugslayer column. He regularly speaks at conferences such as Tech-Ed, VSLive, and DevWeek. Prior to founding Wintellect, John was one of the early engineers at NuMega Technologies (now Compuware NuMega), where he played key roles in designing, developing, and acting as project manager for some of the coolest C/C++, Visual Basic, and Java developers' tools on the market. The products that he worked on include BoundsChecker (versions 3, 4, and 5), TrueTime (versions 1.0 and 1.1), TrueCoverage (version 1.0), SoftICE (version 3.24) and TrueCoverage for Device Drivers (version 1.0). He was also the only developer at NuMega with a couch in his office. Before he stumbled into software development in his late 20's, John was a paratrooper and Green Beret in the United States Army. Since he can no longer get adrenaline highs by jumping out of airplanes in the middle of the night onto unlit, postage-stamp-size drop zones carrying full combat loads, he rides motorcycles at high rates of speed - much to his wife's chagrin.
Yesterday, I talked about VSTO at the Quebec City .NET user group for MSDN Canada. It was a fun talk to prepare. I'm impressed about the integration of VSTO 2005 with Visual Studio 2005. The coolest thing is how easy it is to place controls and user controls in the ActionsPane.
MSDN Canada has a great page if you want more info on VSTO:
PDC 2005. It's official: September 13 – 16, 2005 in L.A.
Tiger Direct is selling a Smart Watch for $30 CDN !
Of course, it's last year's model but who cares ;-)
Want to join the blogging world? Check MSN Spaces where you can have your own free blog. Right now it's in Beta.
Want to analyse your Halo 2 performances ? Check this cool Excel Workbook. It grab your stats from Bungie's Website using a RSS link and then crunch and graph the data.