Pro JavaScript RIA Techniques Book

An ex-colleague and very good friend has just published his book on Pro JavaScript RIA Techniques. Den Odell is one of the best in the field of Web Development. Despite not having read the book yet myself, I am sure it is nothing sort of brilliant. Having worked closely with Den for a number of years, on large scale public facing web sites, I am completely confident in his skills and ability to transfer his knowledge to paper.

Read more about his book here.

Once again congratulations Den.


Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 – Review

Just out for MSDN subscribers – Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1. Non subscribers don’t despair. General availability for Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 will start this Wednesday.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting here my experiences with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1. For now here’s a collection of screenshots from the Setup. Notice the nice change in allowing users to clearly select whether their are developing managed or unmanaged code!

Stay tuned!

Windows 7 – XP Mode & Windows Virtual PC

Windows 7 RC is out, and as promised here’s a first look at XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC. There seems to be some confusion over some of the terms & names used in this technology. So here’s a quick explanation:
XP Mode – Currently in Beta and available for download from MSDN. It requires Windows 7 and it is nothing more than a pre-installed Virtual Machine Image File. Below are a couple of screenshots of the installation process.
wpid-wpid-setupxpmode1_thumb6-2009-05-2-14-10-2009-05-2-14-10.png wpid-wpid-setupxpmode2_thumb2-2009-05-2-14-10-2009-05-2-14-10.png
So as you can see XP Mode is called Virtual Windows XP. Simply a pre-configured virtual machine image. So far that doesn’t sound too impressive right? Hold on and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Windows Virtual PC – is the second Beta download available from MSDN. It is available for XP SP3, Vista and Windows 7. Simply this is a newer version of Virtual PC simply named Windows Virtual PC. Unlike previous versions, this one does take advantage of virtualisation features of processors such as Intel VT etc. Under Windows 7, Virtual PC integrates really easily with XP Mode.
Using XP Mode with Virtual PC

Once everything is installed, it really is extremely easy to get started. Initially, Virtual PC will initialise the XP Mode image and this can take a few minutes.
During the initialisation, Virtual PC enables a feature called “Integration Services”. This really is quite clever but nothing new in the virtualisation space. It allows you to run applications installed on the XP Mode machine directly from the host operating system. It also goes a step further to even integrate notifications in the host’s system tray area. More about this later.
Finally a quick wizard asks you a few easy questions and boom!

Once you are up and running you will find yourself in familiar territory, if you have used Virtual PC in the past.
It is worth noting that the default settings of XP Mode, are set to give the virtual machine 256MB of RAM. This is configurable as most of the other settings XP Mode like in any other Virtual Machine setup with Windows Virtual PC. So far it looks pretty simple and nothing we haven’t seen before. This is were the “Integration Services” come into play. You can choose to run XP Mode as a full desktop, shown above, or use “Integration Services”. If you need to configure and/or install any legacy applications, such as Office 2003 or VB 6, then you would start XP Mode in full mode. Once everything is installed and configured you then don’t need to worry about starting it up again. XP Mode will be managed in the background for you and be ready when you need it. All your installed applications will appear in your host’s start menu.
When you are ready just fire up any of these apps. The application will be executed inside XP Mode but its output redirect to the Window Manager of the host and look as if it is part of your main operating system. If the virtual machine is already running you will be prompted that it needs to be closed. This takes seconds and allows the application to run seamlessly inside the host operating system.
As you can see above, Word 2003 and VB 6 are running under Windows 7’s XP Mode.
This is an extremely important feature that Microsoft is adding to Windows 7. It will help businesses of any size to ensure that their current investment in software is secure and that they can continue to operate in the future, despite moving to new operating system. It will also help Microsoft redeem itself of all the compatibility issues Vista had with various software applications. For a Beta version running under a Release Candidate version of Windows, I was extremely impressed with the performance and overall simplicity of XP Mode & Virtual PC. I can only hope and predict that Microsoft will integrate this even further, to the point that when an incompatible application with Windows 7 is installed, it will offer users an easy way to move it to XP Mode.
You can read more about XP Mode & Windows Virtual PC on Microsoft’s web site.

Windows 7 Release Candidate Review

Windows 7 RC is officially out of the door (at least for MSDN & TechNet Subscribers). Don’t panic Microsoft will be making this version available to the general public, as a preview download, on May 5th.
Over the next few weeks, I will try to give you more info into what Windows 7 is, and what new features and additions Microsoft has in store for us.
First up will be the infamous “XP Mode”! Stay tuned.

Mac OS X 10.5.3 & XCode 3 Beta 6 Out

Apple just released their latest updates for Leopard 10.5.3. Also today they released their latest, and probably last Beta version, of their developer tools XCode. The latest version the tools requires 10.5.3. The final version of the developer tools is expected to ship on the first day of the WWDC conference on June 9th.

Download the latest Mac OS X update either from Software Updates or from here

Download the latest Beta version of the developer tools here

Mac OS X Tip #1- The Alt Key

Starting this week, I will be posting regular Mac OS X Leopard tips that I come across.
The Alt key is quite powerful on Macs. First hidden little secret is the System Profiler and the Alt key. If you want to start System Profiler quickly then hold your Alt key while you click on the Apple menu. The About This Mac menu item will change to System Profiler, and by clicking it will launch System Profiler instead of the About screen.
The Alt key has many hidden uses in Mac OS X and I will be revealing them slowly, so stay in touch. Also I am going to start talking about Xcode and Objective C very soon and everything about development on Mac OS X.

My First Dashboard Widget

Well I have really moved over to the other side – Apple that is. Well yesterday I published our first ever Mac OS X Dashboard Widget, and today it has been listed on Apple’s web site! Check out the screen shot and if you are sensible enough to be on a Mac download it here from Apple.
I built this widget within a few hours by using Dashcode, part of Xcode, Apple’s free development tools for Mac OS X. Can you build one of these so quickly and elegantly for Vista? I don’t think so!

I’m a Mac!

First it was the work iMac earlier this year. The trial machine ended up becoming an inseparable work partner. Not only Leopard is a first-class operating system but the iMac even runs Windows faster in VMWare than my original PC hardware did. I am now officially a Mac. I ditched my Lenovo laptop with its pathetic screen resolution (and you know how much screen space Visual Studio needs) for a brand new Macbook Pro (15.4″ screen, 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 4Gb RAM). The machine simply screams of power. Visual Studio rocks on it in a VMWare Vista machine. Amazing screen resolution and with Leopard Spaces it only takes one keystroke and I switch from Leopard to Vista in no time. Can’t wait to switch my home computer to a new 3.06GHz iMac this October – I think a great present for my 30th birthday!
I will keep you posted on how I get on but to get your appetite going here’s a picture of the machine! GET A MAC – it doesn’t just work – IT ROCKS!

Apologies + Windows XP SP3

To all my readers – I haven’t been able to post anything for the last month. It has been quite a hard and difficult month in all fronts. But I do promise I will be back very soon. I have had a lot of demands for the Subversion installation articles. I promise I will be posting the remaining content on setting up Subversion and CruiseControl.NET very very soon.
Meanwhile enjoy downloading XP SP3 on the 29th of April. Microsoft just announced SP3 RTM!!!!