Computer magazines in the 80’s

Who remembers what was the main feature of some of the computer magazines in the 80’s? Pages of long program listings that had to be typed and checked. And we also had the opportunity (and challenge) to transfer a nice program from one platform to another (we had dozens at that time).

For those that lived the era of “home computers”: First encounter: COMPUTE! magazine and its glorious, tedious type-in code | Ars Technica.

A nice Metro code editor for Windows 8

Code Writer is a free text and code editor app with active syntax highlighting that updates as you edit documents and has 20 supported file types. A tabbed document interface allows for quickly switching between open documents.
Screen shot 2

The app has been built from the ground up with Windows 8 design principles in mind. It’s fast and fluid, and gives you the power to edit documents with features you’d normally only find in desktop apps. Code Writer is perfect for editing any text-based file, doing code reviews, or giving presentations with code samples.

The core text editor screen allows you to edit documents in full-screen mode without chrome distractions. Only the scrollbars and line/column display are visible by default. Find/replace and advanced features like tabify lines and convert case are available.

Find it on the Windows Store: http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-US/app/code-writer/5149f454-94a7-40bc-90ef-eafd38355079

No more Expression Studio – What does it mean?

Things are changing fast at Microsoft and its developer tools. Expression Studio is fading out and the future of Silverlight is also a big question. Hal Berenson, a former Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft, explains some things. I copy two parts to get an idea:

The Web also allowed another platform competitor to emerge, Adobe.  Adobe’s Flash, AIR, and Flex represented another serious threat to Microsoft’s platforms.  Applications written using them were platform independent, and Flash itself had gained enormous market share as the only practical way to create rich media experiences on the web.  Moreover, Adobe’s business model was the exact opposite of Microsoft’s.  Whereas Microsoft provided development tools primarily in order to sell runtimes (e.g., operating systems), Adobe gave away runtimes in order to sell tools.  Adobe also specialized in entering the application lifecycle much earlier than Microsoft, establishing dominance in the design tool space.

and

One of the first things to note about the iPhone was that Apple made development tools available for free.  At the same time Microsoft was requiring mobile developers to purchase one of its premium versions of Visual Studio such as Professional.  For Windows Phone to succeed Microsoft was going to have to give away tools for mobile development.  Second, Apple eschewed any kind of plug-ins for the iPhone browser and designed the rules for the App Store to ban generic runtimes like those of Adobe.  As it turned out the iPhones huge success would end Adobe’s run at becoming a platform vendor.

Read the whole article here: Putting Expression Studio’s demise in perspective | Hal\’s (Im)Perfect Vision. And also read the comments from Scott Barnes and Sparkler below the article. They both work (or worked) for Microsoft and provide more details. Very interesting details…

Check your WP8 apps with Simulation Dashboard

clip_image002The most difficult part of testing a mobile application is to simulate problems with the network and conditions that emerge during actual use of the smartphone or tablet during real use. Until now it was very difficult or impossible to simulate network interruptions in flow of data, slow or high-latency networks under phone calls received while using your application.

The new Windows Phone SDK 8.0 addresses all these types of conditions through the introduction of Simulation Dashboard. It lets you validate in advance how your app will behave in real life conditions. You can simulate various network conditions and phone interruptions from the dashboard and tweak your app to ensure that it behaves well under these conditions.

I copy the following list of scenarios from the blog post Simulation Dashboard for Windows Phone Apps you should check:

  • Handling phone interruptions while scrolling in an e-book reader app
  • Buffering large media to help in low network speeds for a video app
  • Validating a location-based app with network changes in the middle of use
  • Validating a wallpaper changing app’s functionality using Lock Screen simulation on emulator
  • Ensuring that a location tracking app runs even under Lock Screen deactivation on emulator
  • Testing a network app to ensure it does not crash in cases of No Network
  • Ensuring that data transfer resumes gracefully in case of network interruptions
  • Validating whether calls to a web service will fail with timeout in cases of poor network
  • Using network simulation to identify energy consumption of an app in different network conditions

Windows Azure Security Best Practices for Developers

Cloud computing is considered to be safe. But as with everything in technology, a solution is as safe as its weakest link. Bruce Kyle at Microsoft has written a series or articles on Windows Azure security especially for developers. As he explains:

A series of articles about the challenges in designing your software and what you can do in your software to insure access to those who should have access and prevent access those who do not. The intent of this series is to provide a context for you to learn more and empower you to write great applications for the public cloud.

Here are links to the articles:

Ready to try Windows 8?

Τι μπορεί να τρέξει με λιγότερα resources από τα Windows 7; Tα Windows 8 φυσικά! Και για να πειστούμε ο Sinofsky φρόντισε να ανεβάσει στο http://dev.windows.com/ την  έκδοση που μοιράζουν στο Build (τυχεροί οι developers που πήραν από ένα Samsung Windows 8 tablet…). Εμείς θα μπορούμε να την κατεβάσουμε από τις 5:00 πμ ώρα Ελλάδος σήμερα.

Μα μεσοβδόμαδα; Αντε να κρατηθείς μέχρι το Σαββατοκύριακο… Καλό παιχνίδι!

Γράψε το δικό σου ERP με το Visual Studio LightSwitch

Καλά, μπορεί να μην είναι δυνατό να γράψεις ένα ERP (κυρίως γιατί η ανάλυση είναι το πιο δύσκολο κομμάτι και όχι ο κώδικας) αλλά η Microsoft υπόσχεται ότι θα μπορούμε χωρίς εμπειρία σε deep development να φτιάχνουμε business εφαρμογές με το νέο εργαλείο Visual Studio LightSwitch που θα είναι διαθέσιμο από το τέλος του μήνα. Εφαρμογές για το desktop αλλά φυσικά και για το cloud.

Η λογική μου θυμίζει Visual FoxPro (που για καιρό την είχαμε χαμένη, αλλά ίσως κάποιοι απλά να ετοίμαζαν την επάνοδο με νέο περιτύλιγμα). Όσοι την είχαν χρησιμοποιήσει, είχαν εθιστεί σε σημείο να αρνιούνται να την αφήσουν για να μάθουν κάτι πιο σύνθετο. Ήταν απίστευτα απλή, έστηνες πολύ γρήγορα μικρές και μεγάλες εφαρμογές διαχείρισης δεδομένων και είχε και πολύ καλή ταχύτητα (στην πράξη για την δεκαετία του ’90 ήταν απίστευτα γρήγορη για μεγάλα data sets).

Από τον επόμενο μήνα, θα μπορεί κάποιος με στοιχειώδεις γνώσεις να δημιουργήσει πολύ εύκολα και γρήγορα φόρμες για να δουλέψει με την βάση δεδομένων της επιχείρησης (σε SQL Server φαντάζομαι 😉 )  ή να δημιουργήσει τη δική του βάση δεδομένων χωρίς να γράψει κώδικα. Τα παιδιά της ομάδας έχουν δημιουργήσει και μια σειρά από εισαγωγικά videos για να προχωρήσετε κατευθείαν στο ψητό χωρίς πολύ διάβασμα.

Για λεπτομέρειες και resources, μια επίσκεψη στο LightSwitch Developer Center είναι αρκετά χρήσιμη. Για επαγγελματίες προγραμματιστές το LightSwitch Architecture θα εξηγήσει τα ενδότερα.

 

Instant email: how we made Hotmail 10x faster

If you work with Hotmail, you’ll be very very happy. If you haven’t tried it yet, now it’s the best time to be really impressed. And don’t forget that you get an UNLIMITED mailbox for your messages (for normal email usage) with its “ever-growing storage” feature and you can set up your mailbox as an Exchange account in most mobile devices for the best experience (just use m.hotmail.com). Everything about the speed upgrade here: Instant email: how we made Hotmail 10x faster.

To get an idea… The data speaks for itself:

Hotmail
Dec ‘10
Hotmail
June ‘11
Open message 3.3 seconds 0.18 seconds
Delete message 3.1 seconds 0.14 seconds
Compose new message 4.3 seconds 0.20 seconds

Data represents 75th percentile measurements from hundreds of runs of an automated test against a production server. Bandwidth is 300kb down/75 kb up/150ms latency, and browser is IE9.