Obligatory ?!

Thoughts. Ideas. Images. And now Blogs.

I have many of them, some of them regularly updated, some of them left alone like a lone tree on a desert. Desires that haunt like a shadow, that follow, and that tortures pushes to write but how many can i write ? One technical, one metaphysical and then what ?!

There is one more… About ideas. A daily journal of thoughts that i pour out. Aha !

Oh Thee, my Blog Manager, thou art the soul listener ! Here it comes …

Interesting Programming contest …

WARNING : This post has nothing related to .NET or any of the current technologies. I got this as a forwarded mail from a friend. It details about a programming contest once held in CMU and the results of it. Not sure whether it is true, but sure is a very interesting read. If you are still interested, then read on !…(read more)

Free .NET IDEs

There has been a lot of talk about how expensive our favorite IDE, VS.NET is right now. Charles assured in one of the replies to the post that the issue is being discussed internally and will be addressed soon. Cool ! Actually, i don’t know what stand to take on this issue. Is your productivity important or the one time benefit of buying VS.NET professional edition ? It really is very confusing …

Anyway, as our quest for a free .NET IDE continues, here’s one to quench that ! Check out Eclipse for .NET ! Infact, i think i picked up this link from one of the replies, but not sure though… Eclipse as most of you would have heard is an awesome product which was developed by IBM and then later opensourced. I have heard quite a lot from fellow Java devs that the IDE is powerful compared to IntelliJ‘s IDE. Well i’m not the judge in either case but i definitely think that the plugin will help all those cribbing for a good IDE with C# support.

Again, #develop as many of you already know, is a very flexible IDE completely written in C# which is opensource and freely available. There is rarely something extra needed apart from #develop and ASP.NET Webmatrix for developing WinForm and WebForm code in .NET. What more do you want ?

And apart from all that, for the most hardcore developer who doesn’t care for IDE features, there is one really cool app to write code in C#. Ofcourse it will not work at all for enterprise level apps but for smaller projects, definitely useful. Check out Textpad. FYI, its got syntax highlighting functionality for C# too .. Download the file here.

Code on …

I guess, this is a pretty decent list of free IDEs to work on .NET right now. I might have missed a lot of other ones here but these are the ones that stand out quite prominently, i should say 🙂

Update : Just found out that the Notepad2 free utility provided at Flo’s freeware site also supports syntax highlighting for C# ! And the best part is that the whole thing is customizable, just like Textpad’s syntax highlight feature 🙂 Cool.

GMail Gems

Gmail Gems – Yeah you guessed it right. It is related to Google’s new email service. What better way to teach people about GMail than to open up a weblog and evangelize it !

Read more on Gmail Gems or Secrets of the Gmail Wizards 

The Golden Sun

Bright as it is, glowing incessantly energy so pure
The young sun rises, to enlighten the world
All earth’s living heat derived from his rays cure
The natural balance he provides is another complex mathematical surd.

Sitting beside the sea, waters gleaming and shining
Golden sparkles, tumbling and tossing waves over
A feeling to sing aloud, at this dawn without any more whining
All ye who has felt mighty witnessing this beauty shall cower.

The child of the sun, pleasant and warm
Not so long from now, scorching every flesh
The rays shall penetrate but making no harm
Thee the life supporter on this earth’s mesh.

Link Interface 30.

The news of the day : My favourite book, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is going to be made into a movie ! And they have a blog too … Too bad they don’t have an RSS subscription yet … Ok, back to business.

Cool HTML META tag trick !

I was recently browsing through some links and in the end reached this page. Maybe you’ve looked into such pages before but this was the first one for me !

The page looks very normal but the animation effects that happened when it loads in the screen was really way too cool ! I was wondering first that it might be some scripting trick and so dived into the source to have a closer look. But i didn’t find any such scripts in any of the pages. It was really scary because i knew that it will take pages of script to get that kind of thing working but this page didn’t have any such reference. And then, in the top, there was this magic META tag which did the trick silently ! Check this out.

<meta http-equiv=”Page-Enter” content=”revealTrans(Duration=1.0,Transition=23)”>
<meta http-equiv=”Page-Exit” content=”revealTrans(Duration=1.0,Transition=23)”>

Awesome !!! The page really has a very creative effect eventhough the author of the page didn’t have to spend more than probably 2 mins to whip it up and include it in the page. If you were to do this in ASP.NET 2.0, we could probably include this in a Master page for the site and be done with it !

Speaking of META tags, check out this site which has a complete list of all the valid META tags.

Also check out Shital Shah’s NotepadX. It does really look cool, not to mention the source is also included ! Very cool.

Impressions on Devdays India 2004

‘DevDays’ – my first MS event in my short software career till now. I definitely was excited about it and after reading through the agenda covering Whidbey and Yukon, I had expectated quite a bit of mental workout. I got a pass for Devdays Bangalore after a lot of nail-biting suspenses and finally on May 5, i hoped all that was expected was about to happen.

The opening keynote was very normal, not something i had expected after reading through some of the opening notes that have been delivered recently in many conferences. hmm.. Well after that, another developer who spoke, promised us to show the nitty-gritties of programming because this is ‘DevDays’ ! Ha, there’s something assuring, i thought.

Then we moved on to the technical sessions … the interesting bits eh !!

The first one was about ASP.NET 2.0. They spoke about Master pages, personalisation, Role based authentication as all inbuilt features in the upcoming ASP.NET versions. Thats cool. But haven’t i already read all that online. Show me something else interesting, something thought provoking, some complex application where it could be used, saving valuable developer time. But ahem, to my dissapointment, the session ended very soon without any surprises. Even the question and answer session at the end of it was very short 🙁

Then was the session on Winforms and CLR 2.0. The speaker detailed about Generics, partial types and Iterators. Wow cool ! Again, can’t anyone read the online entries from innumerable people talking about these basics. This is not what i want or expected. What happened to the anonymous delegates, and details on all that was mentioned and all the other really neat stuff that the MS devs have spent hours to include in the upcoming release ?! Not a word. Very dissapointing really … About Winforms, there was something new, some new controls but not anything other than that they have shown in the Winforms site.

Ok. Now comes the hands on session. How cool ! Am gonna do some cool code in Whidbey finally. I do not have to toil anymore with collections that are loosely typed with Objects. We can create strongly typed Generic classes over which we could apply constraints and manage to create a robust collection !!! With all that hope we entered the hall, only to find that there weren’t enough seats left. Ugh. Share the computer with a fellow programmer. Ok. Not bad. We could do something like XP here, aha. Or so i thought. The instructor got onto the podium and started dictating exactly what to do. Hello ! These are not kids here for God’s sake. Do give us the requirements, and we will code it out. If we need help, we will look into Google, MSDN or ask help from someone who knows this stuff. Don’t and Never dictate. After 10 mins, i lost all the vigor with which i entered into the place. So much for hands-on sessions …

After the lunch there was the Yukon session. There were quite a bit of surprisingly new things. But probably IMHO there was quite a bit of focus of the Reporting services, which could have been dealt with in later sessions. But anyway this one was good ! Ah at last. Then came the hands-on for Yukon. Oh God will these people never change their ways … More dictation again …

It was in the back of my mind that we have the ‘Ask the experts’ session anyway to clear all our doubts. No problem. Since this was scheduled for more than an hour, we were expecting to see some interesting questions and some thought provoking answers here. But, it was dissapointing again ! Not on the part of the experts, but on the developer’s side.

Certain things dawned upon me then. Ofcourse I was not the only guy who was bugged by this contentless showcase but then we have all been following blogs and all the discussion that has been happening in the past year. May be that is the reason why these sessions weren’t interesting at all. As someone said in the Keynote, I was expecting to see some hardcore nitty-gritties of programming in Whidbey and Yukon but instead it just turned out to be an overview of the basics. There could have also been an indepth session on the CLR 2.0 which covers behind the scenes on the exact kind of things that the CLR does for each of the new constructs and how it is being handled. That would have been very interesting. Also, I would have certainly liked it a lot if the speakers didn’t treat the developers like kids and start popularising the absolute ‘drag-drop-build an application’ philosophy.

Well, at the end of the day, for all the money’s worth, we got a bunch of 4 CDs containing Whidbey, ASP.NET Resource Kit and an Infopath SDK ! Cool ! But wait, where’s my Yukon ??! Hey, please give me a copy … Why did you forget that ?!

There goes my perfect sessions. What a start 🙁

Scoble, is there any reason or background why the DevDays sessions were like this in India ?! I’m sure i am not the only one with this opinion. Mahesh, Babu shared my opinion about the event and so did many others who had come over. Any thoughts or comments anyone ?

Link Interface 29.

Quote :

Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, “It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my own damned liver.  – Jack Handy

Definitely a very cool perspective huh 😉 Will work for beer !! Ok. Time to check out these bunch of interesting links now…

  • There are a series of support webcasts from Microsoft that have been posted recently. Most of them talk about the internal workings of the ASP.NET infrastructure and the general nitty gritties of programming in ASP.NET. Check out the bunch of links that i found below …
  • Microsoft ASP.NET Server Controls : Learn about the internal workings of custom ASP.NET server controls such as ViewState, PostBack, Events, and Rendering.
  • Microsoft ASP.NET Threading : An in-depth look at the Microsoft ASP.NET threading architecture, and what it means to your Web applications. You will learn how to monitor the ASP.NET ThreadPool in real time, use the real-time ThreadPool information to tweak the machine.config to yield the best performance for your application, and avoid threading trouble when using COM components from ASP.NET (especially when you are upgrading from ASP).
  • Microsoft ASP.NET: An Overview of Caching : Hear about the features of the different types of caching that are available in Microsoft ASP.NET, and where to use them. This also includes information that will help you gain a general understanding of how caching can improve performance in Web applications.
  • Data Binding in ASP.NET Web Forms : Learn how to retrieve data from different data sources and populate it in data bound controls. You will hear about various ASP.NET Web controls and the binding techniques related to them. You will learn about simple data binding, but the WebCast will focus on complex data binding.
  • Microsoft ASP.NET: Side-by-Side Execution with ASP.NET : A brief introduction to the side-by-side concept, which involves running multiple versions of programs and .NET Framework on the same computer. It will then discuss how those concepts apply to ASP.NET applications, both at run time and during their development, including using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET to create Web applications.
  • A very useful KB article that details “How to create keys by using Visual C# .NET for use in Forms authentication”. Learn and improve your encryption of form data…
  • Inheritance versus composition: Which one should you choose? – by Bill Venners of Artima fame. In his own words, its a comparative look at two fundamental ways to relate classes. A must read.
  • The list of presentations done at the EMEA Architects tour 2004 in Helsinki. Very very nice 🙂 Don’t miss this one.
  • Link Interface 28.

    I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.