Friday, April 29, 2005

Beta 2 DVD

Microsoft has finally released Team Studio 2005 to the european developers. You can order your free DVD here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Longhorn @ PCMag

PCMag gives us a quick peek at Longhorn with, of course, screenshots.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Another funny test

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

15% Yankee

10% Dixie

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2

It's gone live. You can find here a complete breakdown on all the different editions the next Visual Studio will have, and which capabilities will each have. I'm happy to see that the Express editions, previously mentioned on this same blog, will have official editions beyond beta stage. And, of course, they also have Express editions for this Beta 2. If you download them (herer) be very careful and uninstall previously all the previous versions, Framework 2 included.

The Beta 2 edition of Visual Studio 2005 is avaliable for downloading if you are an MSDN subscriber, and free on a DVD edition if you ask for it nicely. If you're European of African, you'll have to wait till the 25th to ask for it.

I've just learned that the Express Editions have database connectivity only to SQL Server 2005 Beta (except for the Web Developer Express Edition). It seems to be an strategyt: by seriously handicapping the Express Editions Microsoft ensures they will only be used as learning tools. This is not a step in the right direction, for several reasons:

  • Going back
  • .- Beta 1 editions of the Express IDEs did have connectivity to several databases, including Access, MSDE and the full fledged SQL Server 2000. Removing functionality in the step from a Beta 1 to a Beta 2 is odd, to say the least.
  • Marketing
  • .- It's completely legitimate from Microsoft to try and make money selling their products. Nobody (at least nobody with a little sense) is going to complain about that. But, and this is a big but, I thought Express Editions were a great tool for us to legally develop applications independently. Most of us are employees of big firms, with the big bucks to pay for the full fledged Visual Studio editions, so that's what we use at work. For those of us who like to program also in our leisure time, for our little-to-no-profit (or just for fun) endeavors, the Express Editions would be a great tool. Now, we are again compelled by Microsoft to use P2P to download illegal versions of their software, if we want to use it at all.

Just plain wrong, and a step back. Same old, same old.

Friday, April 15, 2005

VB vs C#

Excellent article by Philippe Lacoude exposing the similarities and differences between VB and C#. Just as we programmer (at least, some of us with a remainder of common sense) been saying for months and project managers, customers and some other über-snob programmer don't want to hear: the differences between the two languages are minimal.

Paraphrasing Bill Clinton: It's the framework, stupid.

New SharpDevelop version

SharpDevelop, the free open source IDE for C# has just released a PR of its version 1.1. As the developers warn in the site, this Preview Release is not even a beta, as has some bugs. But we can download it and take a look at the new and exciting possibilities that will make this excellent IDE even better.

And they are:

  • New help system
  • .- Now SharpDevelop includes an online help, MSDN style. In fact, the help system included in SharpDevelop can be configured to open its own help files, or the Microsoft ones, or any other.
  • XML edition
  • .- XML edition has been greatly upgraded in this version. We can, for example, create our own schema and set it as the default schema for every XML created from that point on. It comes complete with a schema validator.
  • NAnt integration
  • .- NAnt has been integrated onto the IDE in a most intuitive manner: we can use the open source tool to build our solutions, customize it and so on.
  • PInvoke integration
  • .- Personally, this addin has touched my heart. Thanks to it we'll be able to handle our calls to Win32 or any other unmanaged code, without further problems. It's very similar to the old API editor included in the Visual Basic 6 IDE. Speaking of this, if you're interested in PInvoke and what can you do by invoking unmanaged code (in fact, everything) add to your bookmarks the following right now: PInvoke, the wiki specialized in this rather obscure and undocumented characteristic. Complete with examples, it's very, very good.
  • SharpReport
  • .- Yes! At long last somebody has taken the gauntlet: SharpDevelop will have its own addin to create reports, just like Crystal Reports .NET embedded in Visual Studio 2003. Let's hope their tool works better than the crap from Bussines Objects.

All these features can be previewed with some videos the SharpDevelop developers have made avaliable to download from the site. When 1.1 goes from PR to stable, and all this addins are official, SharpDevelop would have taken another step (and a big one!) to establish itself as a serious and viable alternative to Microsoft and its Visual Studio, chiefly among all of us who can't afford a legal version of VS.