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Chris Breisch   .NET Data Practices
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March 2007 Entries
When Collective Intelligence Fails Us
There's a good article on the downsides of "the wisdom of crowds" over at Tyner Blain. Basically, they point out that while collaboration is good during some of the early phases of the project, design isn't one of them, because it "prevents innovative, passionate, fantastic decisions". They suggest one solution is the Apple "Dictator" approach. One way is to follow apple’s model - have a dictator. As long as the person calling the shots has good instincts, she’ll make good decisions. If she doesn’t, ......

Posted On Friday, March 30, 2007 8:40 AM

Sweet! Auto Class Diagrammer for .NET Assembly
You've probably heard of Reflector, which lets you decompile .NET Assemblies and see how they work. It's a very nice tool, for what it does. However, as has been noted by others, if you're decompiling a rather large assembly, figuring out how everything links together can be difficult. This is where something like Sacha Barber's 100% Reflective Class Diagram Creation Tool. As you can guess from the name, it uses reflection to accomplish it's task, much like Reflector does. Features: Detection of ......

Posted On Friday, March 30, 2007 8:10 AM

Take Deepfish for a Swim - Or Not
Posted yesterday on the Microsoft Live Labs blog: We are excited to announce public availability of the Deepfish technology preview from Microsoft Live Labs. Deepfish is a new type of mobile information browsing experience, aimed at preserving the rich layout and full form of documents on mobile devices while providing novel ways of effectively navigating that content on small screens. This looks pretty cool. Basically, it enables you to see the whole page on your mobile device, and then zoom in ......

Posted On Thursday, March 29, 2007 9:08 AM

Harry Potter Cover Art
The book cover for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) was revealed today. Interesting, isn't it? A good friend of mine pointed out that it looks to him as if Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort are fighting together against a common enemy. He also thinks that this might be at the Wizengamot, but it looks more like the Quidditch Pitch at Hogwart's to me. Still, I could be mistaken. But who's the common enemy if that is indeed the case? I suspect RAB, if RAB is still alive. My friend thinks ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 28, 2007 6:24 PM

Visual Studio Unit Testing Extends to Visual Studio Professional in Orcas

MS is adding their Unit Testing framework to VS Pro in the next release of Visual Studio.  This might actually make VS Pro attractive to some (yes, I know...there's always NUnit).  But, this is a basic feature that should be part of the package.  Glad that MS has figured it out.

Posted On Wednesday, March 28, 2007 10:17 AM

Microsoft Acquires TeamPlain
Microsoft has acquired DevBiz Business Solutions and their product TeamPlain Web Access for Team System. TeamPlain is a web front end for VSTS that enables users to access the majority of TFS functionality from within a Web browser. TeamPlain will become Microsoft Visual Studio Team System Web Access. Effective today, TeamPlain is available, at no additional charge, to users who own a Team Foundation Server and can be downloaded from here. Eventually this will be released as a VSTS Power Tool, and ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 27, 2007 1:54 PM

Big Ten Rules - Writing Stylish Requirements
Earlier, and earlier still, I blogged about this series from Tyner Blain on Writing Good Requirements. They've now surpassed the Big Ten conference and added a twelfth rule. The Big Ten Rules - Writing Stylish Requirements (no, this doesn't mean that you write them in black or whatever "the new black" is) Here they're talking about the style you use for your writing. They break it down into several categories, three of which stick out to me: Prioritize Explicitly In More About Software Requirements ......

Posted On Monday, March 26, 2007 7:36 AM

Preview Handlers for Outlook 2007/Vista
I love the previewers in Outlook 2007. I just wish there were some for the file types I need to preview. Whaddya know? There are... Adobe Reader PDF Preview Handler Foxit Reader PDF Preview Handler Code Preview Handler for C#, VB, SQL, etc. (Source, Installer) MSDN Article on writing your own preview handlers. Handler discussed in the article (Zip, XML, XAML, resx, CSV, MSI, IE, etc.) ......

Posted On Saturday, March 24, 2007 3:24 PM

Manage Your ASP.NET Session Variables Using a Facade
There's a good article by David Hay on this subject over at CodeProject. When you read it, you'll no doubt have a "Well, duh. Of course that's better. Who didn't know that?" moment. I did. So, why point it out? Sometimes we don't do things that can help us, even though they're quite obvious. We don't do them for many reasons, but I think the biggest is that we're not thinking about that particular item as an issue. In this example, we've used session state for years, we know how to use session state, ......

Posted On Saturday, March 24, 2007 5:39 AM

Automatically Raise Bugs from IE
I stumbled upon this today. It's from the Microsoft UK Developer Tools team. I've written an addin for IE to allow users to easily raise a complete bug report. When the user indicates that there is a problem on the page, the addin will create a new Team System Work Item and populate it with the following information: A screenshot attached to the work item. HTML source of the page and any frames and IFrames attached to the work item. Any style sheets referenced by the page attached to the work item ......

Posted On Friday, March 23, 2007 9:31 PM

Forget What the Media Tells You--Software is Hard
Frederick P. Brooks, 1987: Not only are there no silver bullets now in view, the very nature of software makes it unlikely that there will be any—no inventions that will do for software productivity, reliability, and simplicity what electronics, transistors, and large-scale integration did for computer hardware.... I believe the hard part of building software to be the specification, design, and testing of this conceptual construct, not the labor of representing it and testing the fidelity of the ......

Posted On Friday, March 23, 2007 9:27 PM

Prototype Fidelity
There's an interesting article at Tyner Blain about Prototype Fidelity. Most of their article is a summation of Jan Miksovsky's article on the same thing.What's "prototype fidelity"? In short, it's a description of how close your prototype model is to actuality. Are your prototypes "fully functional windows/web apps" or PowerPoint slides or hand-drawn scribblings on a paper napkin? Most likely they're somewhere in the middle of all of that, and also most likely you do different things depending on ......

Posted On Friday, March 23, 2007 8:26 PM

Moving Encrypted Data Between Databases
We've recently run into trouble moving encrypted data between databases on SQL Server 2005. I've solved the riddle and am posting the answer here. For us, the key part is that we weren't specifying all the options when creating the SYMMETRIC KEYs, so the keys weren't identical between databases. Microsoft recommends that you back up all your keys and store them in a secure location. Good idea, but doesn't do you any good if you then restore them and still can't decrypt your data. That's the situation ......

Posted On Friday, March 23, 2007 1:40 PM

Battlestar Galactica Season Finale
The season finale for BSG is this weekend. It'll be run an extra three minutes (1:03), so those of you without TiVo, make sure you don't miss the end. This is a series noted for their surprise endings and cliffhangers, and there will no doubt be one again. I anticipate something with Kara Thrace/Starbuck. From what I hear, next season will most likely be the final one for this series. That's not very surprising. They had hoped that this season would be their "breakout" year, and that they'd pick ......

Posted On Friday, March 23, 2007 1:15 PM

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