Archive for the 'Internet Links' Category

WPF/E preview and new Expression designers released

Microsoft released the first CTP for WPF/E, short for Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere, a WPF subset to run in browsers (Firefox and IE on Windows, Firefox and Safari on the Mac). Broadly available for customers in the first half of 2007, “WPF/E” experiences will require a lightweight browser plug-in made freely available by Microsoft.

Just in case you haven’t figured out yet who they are competing against, Michael Swanson released a free Macromedia Flash to WPF/E converter

Also this week, Microsoft released Expression Blend Beta 1 (formerly known as Expression Interactive Designer, a graphical WPF XAML editor) and Expression Design December 2006 CTP (formerly known as Expression Graphic Designer).

Expression Blend looks good, though the first thing I did was change the default dark theme to the light theme, and decrease the workspace zoom to 90%. I need a bigger screen…

Paint.NET V3 Beta 1 available

Rick released the first beta for Paint.NET V3. This version is now feature complete, and all known bugs have been fixed. The coolest new feature in this release is a Perlin noise based clouds renderer, with – as usual – a very easy to use configuration panel.

I’d say it’s about time you uninstall that cracked Photoshop!

Linq to XSD preview released

Last Monday, the Microsoft XML Team released the first Linq to XSD preview.

While the LINQ to XML programmer operates on generic XML trees, the LINQ to XSD programmer operates on typed XML trees — instances of .NET types that model the XML types of a specific XML schema (XSD). […] LINQ to XSD is integrated into Visual Studio; so you just tag an XML schema as [a] ‘LINQ to XSD schema’, build your project, and the automatically derived object model is then part of your solution — just as if XML schemas were .NET types.

I only had a quick look, but I have to say it looks very promissing! Send them your feedback, but hurry, I want this to be included in Visual Studio Orcas.

Amazing XAML

Since the .NET Framework 3.0 has been released, the interest is Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and XAML is growing. A good understanding of XAML and how it works is essential to understand WPF. A while back, Peter Himschoot wrote an excellent article about it: Amazing XAML.

Getting started with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)

Josh Smith compiled a list of links to WPF resources to help you get started. Oddly enough, he didn’t mention Microsoft’s Expression Interactive Designer, you might want to take a look at that as well. Thanks for the list Josh.

Tools I use for C# development

I’m often asked what tools I recommend for (general) .NET development, or at least which tools I use on a regular basis. Here’s a list:

  • Visual Studio Team Suite. I you can’t get Team Suite, get the Professional version. If you can’t get that one, use the Express version.
  • Code Analysis, which is built into Visual Studio Team Suite. FxCop does the same thing, and is free to download.
  • .NET Reflector. After MSDN Help (and possibly Google), this tool delivers the best documentation on the .NET Framework. Another free download.
  • The unit testing framework that is built into Visual Studio Team Suite. If you don’t have Team Suite, NUnit is a very good, free alternative, possibly in combination with NCover. TestDriven.NET integrates them into Visual Studio. All Free.
  • If I need to edit graphics such as icons or other bitmaps, I use Paint.NET with some additional plug-ins installed. Free as well.
  • Hardly needed at home, but for team projects at U2U we use Team Foundation Server.

There definitively are some other tools I should take a look at, for example WiX, or SandCastle and the SandCastle Help File Builder.

I you know of any must-have tools I didn’t mention, drop a comment.

Paint.NET V3 looks great

I sometimes wonder how I do it, but in the middle of Tech·Ed I found the time to look at the third alpha release of Paint.NET. And I must say, it looks really good. The gradient effect, or rather the user interface to it, blows Photoshop out of the water. Those handles work really well, and not just on this effect by the way. The line/curve tool has them too, and I hope Rick adds them to the rectangle and ellipse and what have you tools as well. The Freeform Shape tool could use a bit of reworking along those lines too.

It looks like the plug-in API didn’t change, or at least my old plug-ins are still working. (reminder to self:) I need to check that out a bit further and maybe talk to Rick, because I believe there is room for improvement in that area, both in terms of functionality as well as performance.

But don’t get me wrong: this tool is great, and I encourage everybody who has ever touched up a photograph or made a drawing to download it and have a look. It’s good, fast, cheap on memory usage and cheap on money too (free!). You can even download the (C#) source in case you’re interested.