Archives

Archives / 2008 / June
  • Sync your Visual Studio settings with Live Mesh!

    Did you know that you can use Live Mesh to share and sync your Visual Studio settings between computers ?

    Here is how to do this in Vista (with Live Mesh client installed):

    • Go to your VS2008 folder (usually C:\Users\YourUserName\Documents\Visual Studio 2008), right-click on Settings folder and select “Add folder to your Live Mesh…”

     Share and sync your VS settings with Mesh

    • On each of your Mesh Windows devices you’ll end up with a Settings shortcut on the desktop (Mesh folders are not sync by default).

    Sync folder with Live Mesh

    • Double-click the shortcut to set your local VS settings folder (usually C:\Users\YourUserName\Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Settings).
      The “Show synchronization options” allows you to define sync rules for each device.

     

    Pros:

    • Automatically sync your VS settings between your computers without the need to export/import from a USB key.
    • The beauty of Live Mesh is you can sync your folder whatever its location on your devices file system, so you do not need to have the same Win account (which is part of the VS settings folder path) to share your settings.
    • Share with friends or your dev team! From the Live Mesh pane you can add members to your folder, set role and send an invitation email.

    Cons:

    • When you change settings on a computer, other device get a “Visual Studio 2008 is configuring the environment for first time use”
    • If you use custom font in Visual Studio, it won’t be shared with your xml settings file, but you could sync your Windows/Fonts folder with….. Live Mesh! And you can also specify a note with the “New post” link:

    Annotate your Live Mesh folder

     

    Need a Live Mesh invitation? Try www.sharemesh.com

     

    Technorati Tags: ,
  • Project codename “Princess Leia” finally released!

    After a 9 months beta period, project codename “Princess Leia” was released on June 12 and has now a name: Léana.

    Unfortunately while we went live we encountered dramatic issues (project leader was not hurt), so we had to go back to dev for some hard bug fixes.

    After several intensive days the product seems stable enough but remain on heavy monitoring.

    Finally product team is very proud of their "baby" and wait for your feedback!

  • Permission problem while trying to move/delete/rename folder in Vista ?

    I get this issue everyday in Vista: I try to move/delete/rename folders and get a “you need permission to perform this action” error.

    Note these are not system folders, just some personal folders, and this is not related to UAC or drive hardware.

    I have this issue regardless which account I use (User or Administrator).

    At first you may want to look in the security tab and give full control permission to everyone… but that does not solve the problem! (and this is a bad practice)

     

    If you experience the same, here is what you can do to get elevated privilege to perform your action:

    !!Very Important: First you must close all opened explorer windows!!

    Click on the Windows “start” orb and type “explorer”.

     

    In the results pane right-click in “Windows Explorer” and select “Run as administrator”.

    Now you can browse to your folder and move/delete/rename it!

    Keep in mind that any new explorer window that opens will be running as administrator… to get your explorer windows to open WITHOUT elevated privilege, close all open explorer windows again, and then open an explorer window normally.

  • [Cool Tool] Vector Magic

    Vector Magic is an online tool that converts bitmaps into vector images. It provides a wizard that helps you through the process, so you can easily generate your vector graphics from bitmaps, then import into Microsoft Expression Designer or Blend. I already used it several times and the results are amazing! It is also impressive to have such a service as a website!

    http://vectormagic.com/


    First step is to upload your picture (gif or jpg):

     RunAtServer logo

    At first the tool try to identify your image (logo or photo):

    The correct type is automatically selected for you:

    Then you match the quality level of your picture:

    This step is for logos:

    You get a list of colors palettes related to your logo, with the best match selected for you:

    Finally the tool vectorizes your image and show a preview of the result with a comparison to the original:

    Now you can download your image as a vector file!

    Note: this service is not free anymore, but you can try it (upload, vectorize, preview, get unlimited png images and 2 vector results) without any subscription.
  • Windows Live Mail accounts importing issue and feedback

    In Windows Live Mail (build 12.0.1606) there is an inconsistency in the Export/Import accounts process that I have just reported to the product team:

    You can export your e-mail accounts or newsgroup subscriptions with File / Export / Accounts… menu, then select each account and press Export, this will generate several iaf files.

    But the File / Import menu does not have an entry for Accounts… wtf!?

    In fact you will find this feature in Tools / Accounts / Import menu, which is a bit surprising!

    Another feedback I made is to have an “Export All” button from the accounts list.

    Also the newsgroup subscriptions export does not work quite well as it just save the newsgroup server settings and not your subscriptions in it.

     

  • Expression Encoder 2 publish to Silverlight Streaming plugin

    Expression Encoder 2 is out, but you might wonder where is the Publish to Silverlight Streaming feature ??

    Remember you had to install a plugin for that purpose.

    You still need a plugin and the updated version is there:
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/2/a/22a8da23-ffa7-4e5a-8fed-8239d3a7b322/SLSPlugin for Expression Encoder 2.msi

    Now you can encode your videos with Expression Encoder 2 and publish right to your free 10GB Silverlight Streaming account!

  • Windows Live Writer CTP

    The CTP of this wonderful blogging tool is now available!
    Here is a list of new features:

    Video and Image Publishing Enhancements

    • Upload videos to Soapbox
    • Image cropping and tilting
    • Additional border styles (reflection!)
    • Support for LightBox and other image previewing effects (like Slimbox, Smoothbox, and others)
    • Support for centering images
    Editing Enhancements
    • Auto Linking
    • Smart quotes/typographic characters
    • Word count
    UI Improvements
    • Revised main toolbar
    • Tabs for view switching
    • Improved category control with search/filtering

    Too bad there is no “Export/Import accounts” feature yet!

    >> Download link

     

    Technorati Tags:
  • Expression Blend 2.5 June preview FAQ

    Following my Silverlight 2 beta 2 Mega-FAQ here is a FAQ on Expression Blend 2.5 June 2008 preview as announced at TechEd 2008:

    Is customer support offered with the Expression Blend 2.5 June 2008 Preview?
    Support for pre-release products is offered on the Microsoft Discussion Forum where you can solicit feedback and help get your questions answered by the Expression community.

    When will Expression Blend 2.5 be final?
    We have not announced a release schedule for Expression Blend 2.5 however it is our intention to release it as soon as possible after Silverlight 2 is finally released.

    When will Expression Studio 3 be released?
    We have not announced a release schedule for Expression Studio 3.

    Is Expression Blend 2.5 compatible with the tools in Expression Studio 2?
    Yes.

    Does Expression Blend support Silverlight 2?
    Expression Blend will fully support Silverlight 2 in a future release. At TechEd we released an updated preview of Expression Blend 2.5 (Expression Blend 2.5 June 2008 Preview) to enable designers to start immediately exploring the power of Silverlight 2. We are currently evaluating how best to release this to market once Silverlight 2 is finally released, however we are committed to releasing preview versions to support the Silverlight 2 preview versions.

    Customers who purchase Expression Studio 2 or Expression Blend 2 will receive the future version of Expression Blend that supports Silverlight 2 for free.

    Are the features in Silverlight 2 Beta 2 exposed in Expression Blend 2.5 June Preview?
    A large number of the features of the Silverlight 2 Beta 2 are available, specifically those which focus on the visual, design aspects of the platform.

    Is Expression Blend 2.5 June 2008 Preview compatible with Visual Studio 2008 SP1?
    Yes.

    Where can I download Expression 2.5 2008 June Preview?
    The preview can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/expression/try-it/

    Why isn’t the full Expression Studio included in MSDN Subscriptions?
    We recognize the tremendous interest in the Microsoft Expression product line within the existing MSDN subscriber community and have included Expression tooling in the premium MSDN subscription levels as a result.

    • Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite with MSDN Premium includes Expression Studio.
    • All other MSDN Premium levels include Expression Web and Expression Blend.

    Developers with design responsibilities want access to Expression just as designers with development responsibilities want access to Visual Studio. We provide tooling for each group with the MSDN subscription levels above--for developers who do design--and the new Expression Professional Subscription--for designers who do development.

    Which Expression products are included in each MSDN subscription level is a business decision reflecting our desire to continue meeting the needs of professional developers while delivering an "MSDN for Designers" option that appeals directly (and uniquely) to professional designers.

  • Silverlight 2 beta 2 Mega-FAQ

    There has been some nice announcements here at TechEd Orlando regarding Silverlight 2, detailed here in this Mega Q&A on Silverlight 2 beta 2:

    When are the Silverlight 2 Beta 2 bits going to be available?
    Silverlight 2 Beta 2 was announced during Bill Gates's keynote at TechEd 2008 and bits will be available for customers to download later this week.


    What is new in Silverlight 2 Beta 2?
    As is typical with a beta, we’ve made a number of incremental improvements based on customer feedback. This includes:

    · New and improved controls

    · Networking and data handling improvements

    · Improvements in error handling, reporting and development experience

    · Updates to Deep Zoom and animation 

    · Updates to ensure WPF compatibility

    · General improvements in performance

    A full list of improvements and updates will be included in the release notes with the Silverlight 2 Beta 2 download.

    What are the features of Silverlight 2?
    Silverlight 2 builds on the foundation of Silverlight 1 but significantly extends the original development framework at every point.  The most important innovation that Microsoft brought to bear with Silverlight 2 is its support for managed code.  Because Silverlight 2 incorporates the core CLR classes, the runtime provides much richer networking stack support, including REST, RSS, JSON and POX and full support for LINQ including LINQ to SQL and LINQ to XML.  In addition to supporting C#, VB.NET and other managed code languages, Silverlight 2 includes support for Dynamic languages including Ruby and Python as well as a 2 way HTML/AJAX bridge for full integration of Silverlight with AJAX-enabled applications.

    With regard to user interface controls, Silverlight 2 adds over two dozen controls (such as button, check box, date controls, gridview, layout) that are designed to be used either right out of the box, or after being tweaked with styles. With Silverlight 2, the user interface controls are completely customizable, as the appearance of any control can be fully determined by templates and control behavior can be modified by hooking events or by creating custom controls.  Similar to the layout controls in WPF, the new Silverlight 2 layout controls significantly enhances the ability to optimize the overall design of the UI. Finally, Silverlight 2 controls can now provide one way or two way databinding to any number of data sources including LINQ, in a highly scalable architecture that abstracts out the binding object. 

    Finally, Silverlight 2 provides secure client-side persistence through Isolated Storage.  This dramatically reduces bandwidth requirements for any given RIA, as data can be cached locally on the client.

    Should developers/organizations wait until Silverlight 2 RTW to build applications?
    No. Silverlight 2 Beta 2 is a very stable and high quality build that comes with a commercial go-live license. Microsoft encourages developers to deploy their mission-critical applications on this release.   For example, NBC will deploy a large, mission-critical rich media site, NBCOlympics.com, using Silverlight 2 Beta 2.

    Will my applications built on Silverlight 2 beta 1 be compatible with Silverlight 2 Beta 2?
    Silverlight 2 Beta 2 introduces some changes that will break certain applications targeting the previous version of the beta, Silverlight 2 beta 1 (which is one of the main reasons that Microsoft recommended not using Silverlight 2 beta 1 for commercial deployment purposes). For a run down on the changes and work-arounds please visit: www.silverlight.net.

    Will my applications built using Silverlight 2 Beta 2 be compatible with the RTW release?
    The next release introduces changes that will require developers to update their code.  These changes are required to add more features,  increase performance and stability.

    Will my applications built using Silverlight 1 be compatible with Silverlight 2 Beta 2?
    Yes.

    Is Silverlight 2 Beta 2 compatible with Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 betas?
    Yes.

    When will Silverlight 2 RTW?
    Fall of 2008.

    What are the key features of Silverlight 3?
    We haven’t made any announcements regarding Silverlight 3. Right now we are concentrating on getting Silverlight 2 out the door.

    When can we expect a beta of Moonlight? Wasn’t it supposed to be released 6 months after Silverlight 1 RTW?
    The first code for Moonlight was released on May 13, and you can find more detail on Miguel de Icaza’s blog. http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2008/May-13-1.html

    When will Microsoft release Silverlight for devices?
    At MIX08 Microsoft announced its intentions to deliver Silverlight on mobile devices with a focus on Windows Mobile and Nokia based (S60, S40, N8xx Internet Tablet) devices as a first priority.  To date, Microsoft has created an invitation only private alpha program for Silverlight on Windows Mobile devices.  Stay tuned to PDC in October 2008 for the next round of details and a broader public release.

    What is the number of Silverlight downloads to date? What is the latest the company is saying on adoption?
    In addition to existing customers around the world such as Entertainment Tonight, NBA, MSN, Hard Rock, Home Shopping Network, BMW, BBC, Yahoo! Japan, and Baidu, Microsoft is looking forward to a strong line up of new content that will be based on Silverlight 2. Notable examples include the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games and the Democratic National Convention.

    • Beijing Olympic Games will deliver to online users exclusive access to an unprecedented offering of over 3000 hours of live and on-demand video content. The combination of MSN’s audience reach and Microsoft’s Silverlight technology will allow NBC to deliver Olympics content to a broad U.S internet audience - all through an immersive and interactive video experience that will redefine how sports fans consume content online.
    • Democratic National Convention will leverage Silverlight 2 to deliver all four days of live convention coverage via live footage, data feeds, archived content, and speaker information overlays.
    • Over the last few months, the Silverlight Partner Initiative has grown significantly, comprising more than 85 members from content delivery networks, design agencies, ISVs and solution providers. This will further fuel the adoption of Silverlight, and provide monetization opportunities for partners.

    What’s momentum been like for Silverlight?
    We continue to see a significant number of downloads of Silverlight on a daily basis. As more and more customers launch their own Silverlight applications, we expect that number to continue to grow.

    Who is using Silverlight?
    Here are a few customer highlights:

    • NBC/Olympics: NBC Universal has chosen to partner with Microsoft to make “NBCOlympics.com on MSN” the official online home of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.  NBCOlympics.com on MSN will provide online users with exclusive access to an unprecedented offering of over 3000 hours of live and on-demand video content. The combination of MSN’s audience reach and Microsoft’s Silverlight technology will allow NBC to deliver Olympics content to a broad U.S internet audience - all through an immersive and interactive video experience that will redefine how sports fans consume content online.
    • Hard Rock: Hard Rock is using Silverlight to enhance its showcase of celebrity paraphernalia on its Web site. But, to give you an idea of what this entails, say a site visitor wants to check out Eddie Vedder’s guitar – the visitor could spin it in 3-D, perform a deep zoom and check on the scratches from when Eddie has banged it up on stage, etc. Some cool stuff to give fans closer access to celeb paraphernalia.
    • Weatherbug: Weatherbug is able to utilize Silverlight on Mobile Platforms as well as in a traditional PC/Mac environment to deliver a consistent user experience by re-using XAML assets across all platforms, in a cost effective manner by being able to use the same client side logic and back end services with only the need to customize some device specific keyboard and interaction handling.

    Did Microsoft fund the deal with NBC to deliver the Olympics online via Silverlight?
    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Will the NBC Olympics effort will run on NBC servers, MS servers or 3rd party servers?
    The hosting is provided by a broad combination (MS/NBC/3rd parties)

    How is Silverlight different than Flash?  Flex?  Adobe AIR? 
    Some of the scenarios for Flash and Silverlight usage are similar, such as rich media/video within websites, or interactive rich content for e-commerce, e-learning, or advertising.  However, Silverlight uses a dramatically different approach for creating and delivering experiences in a way that aligns more with our customers’ development and deployment needs.

    Platform:  Microsoft’s client/web platform offerings span Windows to the Web, and include emerging surfaces such as the media/living room (Xbox360, Media Center PC), as well as mobile devices.  Each of these platforms has shared capabilities and development tooling, but greatly different performance and integration characteristics.  By comparison, Flash, Flex, and AIR are all variants of the Flash animation plug-in that Adobe acquired from Macromedia.  They share a presentation and programming framework that was first developed for “skip-intro” and other pre-broadband experiences in the browser, and have incrementally evolved to add better programming, but lack the integration, performance, and tooling necessary to build many of the apps and content experiences that will be increasingly of interest to many businesses.

    Tools:  Silverlight, WPF, and ASP.NET AJAX share development and design tooling support with Microsoft Expression and Visual Studio product lines.  With these tools, designers and developers can collaborate more effectively than ever before to design and implement superior UX.  Adobe’s tooling and application frameworks are very focused on animation and cosmetic design, traditionally for the creative professional and not the application development audience.   

    Flex: For enterprise line of business (LOB) applications, Microsoft offers a breadth of solutions for building business applications that directly integrate with Microsoft Office, as integral parts of the Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and SharePoint Server experience.  Flex is a new technology built on the Flash animation plug-in which allows developers to build richer Web-based UI and connections to server data.  However, Flex lacks deeper integration into the environment where most of these LOB applications are used.

    Adobe AIR: Web standards based development using AJAX is a proven technology for developing compelling and easy to deploy applications to the desktop with zero-touch requirements for additional client side infrastructure.  Microsoft has shown continued innovation and commitment to this space with our Internet Explorer browser, our Live services, and our ASP.NET AJAX scripting capabilities for server code that delivers compliant Web standards to Mac and Windows clients.

    Where experiences that more fully integrate with the desktop are of interest, .NET Framework can be used to build full-trust, fully-integrated applications for the Windows OS. Windows Vista and the .NET Framework 3.0 are shipping now, and hundreds of ISVs are delivering applications that use these proven technologies for both LOB and consumer facing content and applications.

    Adobe just released Flash 10 beta which includes support for features like 3-D and custom filters.  When will Microsoft offer similar support with Silverlight?
    Silverlight 2 supports managed code, includes the core of the CLR  and adds over two dozen user interface controls (such as button, check box, date controls, gridview, layout, etc.) that are designed to be used right out of the box, or to be tweaked with styles. If you need full control over the look and feel, the appearance of any control can be fully determined by templates and control behavior can be modified by hooking events, or, ultimately by creating custom controls.  Overall design is enhanced by new layout controls familiar from WPF and, Silverlight controls can provide one way or two way databinding to any number of data sources including LINQ, in a highly scalable architecture that abstracts out the binding object. 

    Because Silverlight 2 incorporates the core CLR classes, it provides much richer networking stack support, including REST, RSS, JSON and POX and full support for LINQ including LINQ to SQL and LINQ to XML.  In addition to supporting C#, VB.NET and other managed code languages, Silverlight 2 includes support for Dynamic languages including Ruby and Python and a 2 way HTML/AJAX bridge for full integration of Silverlight with AJAX-enabled applications and Silverlight 2 provides secure client-side persistence through Isolated Storage.


    What is the Silverlight Tools Beta 2 for Visual Studio 2008?
    This package is an add-on to Visual Studio 2008 to provide tooling for Microsoft Silverlight 2 Beta 2. It provides a Silverlight project system for developing Silverlight applications using C# or Visual Basic. The project system includes:

    • Visual Basic and C# Project templates
    • Intellisense and code generators for XAML
    • Debugging of Silverlight applications
    • Web reference support
    • Integration with Expression Blend 2.5 2008 June Preview

    Do I need to download Silverlight Tools Beta 2 for Visual Studio 2008 to build Silverlight 2 applications?
    Microsoft recommends downloading and using Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio to take advantage of features such as a visual design surface, intellisense, automatic build/packaging of XAP which makes it easier and more productive when building applications.  It is a free add-on to VS.  However, it is possible to build Silverlight applications using any text editor with the SDK.

    Where can I download Silverlight Tools Beta 2 for Visual Studio 2008?
    The easiest way to download the tools is to visit http://www.silverlight.net/

     

    Technorati Tags:
  • My experience at TechEd 2008 Orlando

    I am back from 10 days spent in Florida, where I was a trainer at Microsoft TechEd 2008 Orlando.

    TechEd 2008 Convention Center

    TechEd 2008 Universal Party 

    I had the chance to be selected as an instructor for the Hands On Labs (HOL) to train on technologies such as Silverlight, ASP.NET 3.5, ASP.NET MVC, VB9, C#3, ADO.NET Data Services, LINQ, Entity Framework and WPF.

    TechEd 2008 HOL zone

    TechEd 2008 TLG shirt

    In my free time I did some labs myself and I can say that the best you can do at TechEd is going to the HOL area. We had more than 130 labs setup and ready for you, spread in more than 600 computers!!!
    Want to learn and get your hands dirty on SharePoint, Team System or Micro Framework without the need to install all the stuffs on your computer ? Just launch one of our VPC and enjoy!

    More than that the MCT Team was perfectly trained and the organization was awesome!!! I really enjoyed my week and hope to repeat this experience in the future!

     

    Technorati Tags: