Tips, tricks and all the info about Microsoft Visual Studio 2008

The New Zealand ALM Conference 2011 (Application Life Cycle Management)

, posted: 28-Jan-2011 14:24

For you folks interested in application development, management the New Zealand ALM Conference 2011 should be interesting. It's happening 6th & 7th April 2011, at The Duxton Hotel, Wellington.

Some of the sessions being presented: Building reliable software with .NET 4 Code Contracts Building and Deploying Cloud Apps with Windows Azure and VS2010 SharePoint Tools Tailor made to suit your development scenarios MVVM based Silverlight development with VS2010 Continuous Integration for SharePoint Development Enhancing your testing capability using Coded UI tests in VS 2010 Panel Discussion: Real world benefits using ALM tools and practices Breaking the Dev/Test Barrier with Visual Studio 2010 Turbo charging TFS with things not in the box Team Foundation Server 2010 for Successful Project Management Windows Phone 7 Development with VS2010 and Expression Blend Building Business Programming Toolkits with VS2010 Automated Builds in TFS: Beyond the Basics Web Applicat (read the entire post)...

Writing your own Html Helpers for the ASP.NET MVC Framework

, posted: 23-Mar-2009 09:00

Anyone who's dipped a toe in the ASP.NET MVC Framework will have encountered Html Helpers. These remove the need to drop large chunks of code into your markup to generate common elements that can't be hard-coded by giving you the means to use small chunks of code instead. Which is better.

For example, if you have the framework scaffold a "List" view template for you, by default you'll get Edit and Details links for each item in the Model. The end result looks something like this:

OK, admit it: How many of you when you first saw this sort of thing in the MVC Framework threw up your hands, said "It's ASP all over again" and ran away screaming? Trust me, it's really not that bad. The helper methods solve the problem of producing markup from the Model or other dynamic content, and actually remove the need to inject a lot of code into the markup (which would be uncomfortably like the bad old days with ASP, at least as many people wrote it) by wrapping it up (read the entire post)...

Automating Visual Studio 2008

, posted: 16-Mar-2009 09:00

This is ultimately going to be a demonstration on how to develop macros to automate Visual Studio 2008, but before we get to that I would like to take a second to talk about Visual Studio proper.

Visual Studio Features we can't live without
Developing code with Visual Studio is a breeze compared to other Integrated Development Environments (IDE's) due to the many features it provides:

Efficient Navigation:
Visual Studio's Code Editor provides efficient means to navigate around large files (using collapsible code blocks), large projects (using Bookmarks) that contain large numbers of classes and/or properties (using Object Explorer) as well as solutions that contain numerous projects (using Solution Explorer).

Syntax Coloring:
Coloring the Code Editor's text improves code comprehension, increasing productivity. It's difficult to explain how useful this is - but it's immediately apparent once you have to do without it when going (read the entire post)...

Windows Azure Table Storage - Getting Started - Part 2

, posted: 5-Mar-2009 09:00

In Part 1, we went through the basics of Windows Azure Table Storage. In Part 2, we will be creating a simple application to demonstrate the Windows Azure Table Storage.

The sample application we are going to create is a small guestbook app which will allow your site visitors to enter some information.

Creating the Project

Open Visual Studio 2008 and create a Web Cloud Service project.

Updating Service Definition

The first step to do is to update the service definition and service configuration files to include the storage account. Edit your service definition file found in the Guestbook project and enter these settings


This specifies your Windows Azure account name


The shared key used to authenticate requests made against your Windows Azure account


The base URI of the table storage ser (read the entire post)...

Windows Azure Table Storage - Getting Started - Part 1

, posted: 3-Mar-2009 09:00

Windows Azure provides simple data storage services like blobs, tables and queues to store your data in the cloud. These can be accessed using a Windows Azure Storage Account.

In this Part 1, we are going to look into the Windows Azure Table Storage which provides a structured storage in the cloud.

1) To get started with Windows Azure programming, you can have a read at my previous blog post
2) You need to have a Windows Azure Storage Account to program Windows Azure Storage. You can apply for one here

Check your Table Service in the Development Storage
Using the Development Storage tool, Azure SDK simulates the Azure Tables in your local machine than in the cloud. The Table Service may fail to start and you won't be able to choose a proper Table Service Database. None of the SDK samples which uses the local Table Service would also not work.

The problem is that running the Development Storage tool (read the entire post)...

XML and XSLT in Visual Studio 2008

, posted: 23-Feb-2009 09:00

Visual Studio 2008 has some great support for debugging XML and XSLT. It is not a well-known piece of functionality but it is there and although simple it does its job well.

XSLT is not a difficult technology to grasp but when you don't have a decent IDE to back you up debugging can be long and painful and impair productivity.

In this article I'll cover off the very basics and provide a few useful tips.

A Simple Example

Here's a simple example. I have a piece of XML that defines some static content:

I want to do is render this page as HTML. The XSLT looks like this:

After opening each of these in Visual Studio 2008, you'll notice an 'XML' top-level menu. Clicking this will give you the options of debugging the transformation or showing the output.

XML file selected

XSLT file selected

Selecting 'Debug XSLT' will display an Open File dialog (read the entire post)...

Introduction to New SQL Server Data Services

, posted: 20-Feb-2009 09:00

Web-based Data Storage in a Cloud
This document is for developers with at least a basic idea of what "Cloud Computing" is and are familiar with Microsoft developer tools (e.g. Microsoft Visual Studio 2008). You must have experience designing and/or implementing systems deployed in "traditional" hosted environments.

Overview of Windows Azure Services Platform

Windows Azure Platform at a Glance
The Windows Azure Platform consists of infrastructure and APIs sourced from Microsoft, which allow developers to integrate new web developments on top of this platform.

In turn, these new tools that you create can either be standalone applications, or add-ins into Microsoft's other popular end-user applications such as Office Live, Exchange Online or SharePoint Online.

What Do I Get "in the Box"?
By hooking into the functionality exposed by the Azure platform, developers are able to take advantage of such services as Live Ser (read the entire post)...

Using the Visual Studio 2008 Profiler

, posted: 18-Feb-2009 09:00

So you've got a performance problem? Your application is taking up far too much memory, or it's running far too slowly?

Sometimes this is easy to diagnose: the problem code path consists of a nice simple sequence of method calls whose timings are easily measured with a bit of Stopwatch action and a few Debug.WriteLine calls. When you find that the Sort method is taking 30 seconds and everything else is taking milliseconds, it's pretty obvious what needs fixing.

Sometimes, however, the cause is more mysterious. Okay, Sort is taking 30 seconds, but there's nothing obvious in the Sort method that explains why it should be taking 30 seconds. Too many developers roll up their sleeves, guess where the problem must 'obviously' be ('Maybe it's because it allocates a lot of Point objects!'), and dive in. Sometimes this works.

More often, they spend hours turning nice simple code into a horribly complicated mess ('Let's implement our own Point class, make (read the entire post)...

Getting started with Windows Azure

, posted: 17-Feb-2009 09:00

So, you have heard about the buzzword - Windows Azure - and want to start developing azure applications? Then, this blog post is for you :)

The Azure Services Platform is designed to help developers quickly and easily create, deploy, manage, and distribute web applications and services. Windows Azure is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting, and service management environment for the Azure Services Platform.

Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host and manage web applications on the internet through Microsoft data centers.

How do I get started?
Below are the tools you need to install in your development machine to get started with Windows Azure

- Visual Studio 2008
- Windows Azure SDK
- Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio

The Windows Azure SDK has all the necessary binaries, libraries and documentation that you need (read the entire post)...

Why consider sitting for an MCTS or MCP Certification

, posted: 11-Feb-2009 09:00

I have to admit up front that for many years I didn't think much of sitting for IT certifications, thinking that such rot was only for people who had just left school, before they found a job to add to their resume.

The simple truth is that I had not sat for any certifications myself, and didn't know what I was talking about.

What Certifications are Good For
IT Certifications are useless in terms of proving how good of a programmer you are -- they will never demonstrate how efficient you are at breaking problems down into addressable parts, and coming up with creative targeted solutions. But that's not what certification is about or for. IT certifications are only good indicators of how much you know about the technology you are using.

Don't Need No Stinkin' Certification
"What rot! Look: I eat CSS for breakfast, spit Flash for fun, dream in HTML, clean the shower stall with AJAX, and I don't need no stinkin' certification!"

Th (read the entire post)...

About the Visual Studio 2008 Blog

In the years since the hugely successful release of Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft has used developer feedback from all over the world to introduce over 250 new features in the 2008 release.

This sponsored blog will bring Visual Studio 2008 tips and tricks from well known developers in the Australian and New Zealand tech community directly to you.

Make sure you bookmark this blog or subscribe to our RSS feed.

Other blog posts

The New Zealand ALM Conference...
Writing your own Html Helpers ...
Automating Visual Studio 2008...
Windows Azure Table Storage - ...
Windows Azure Table Storage - ...
XML and XSLT in Visual Studio ...
Introduction to New SQL Server...
Using the Visual Studio 2008 P...
Getting started with Windows A...
Why consider sitting for an MC...

Some recent comments

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The Visual Studio 2008 blog is sponsored by Microsoft NZ. The blog posts are the authors' genuine accounts of their experiences with Visual Studio 2008 and are not influenced or filtered by Microsoft NZ in any way.