Andrej Tozon's blog

In the Attic


NTK2007 sessions materials

I'm posting materials from my sessions on this year's NT konferenca:

Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation and... Visual Basic 6? Hands-On-Lab: Powerpoint | Sample code | Step-By-Step Manual

Notes: Northwind data files are not included, NORTHWND.MDF and NORTHWND_log.LDF, placed in this zipped download just serve as placeholders. The code samples were created with Visual Studio "Orcas" and VB6.

Visual Studio "Orcas": What's new with Smart Client Development: Powerpoint


This year's NT Konferenca, starting next week, is kind of anniversary event for me - it's the 10th time I'm attending this conference, 5th time as a speaker, 1st as an MVP...

For the content I'm presenting... If you're interested in meeting with the new VS "Orcas" Beta 1 in person or just want to shake hands with your old friend VB6, you're invited to my "WF, WPF and... VB6?" Hands-On-Lab session on Tuesday. You'll have a chance to run Orcas and VB6 side-by-side, compare their performances, and possibly even learn something about how you can mix and interop Windows Forms, Windows Presentation and VB6 applications [which is something you may consider if you're planning to upgrade or enhance your existing applications with better technology].

My talk on Wednesday will focus on some of the new features regarding Smart Client development, coming with Orcas and .NET Framework 3.5: I'll talk about Client Application Services, SQL Server Compact Edition,  ADO.NET Synchronization Services [in my opinion, this is one of the features we're all going to love and use frequently], and more.

Although this year's conference was shortened to 3 days only, this doesn't show on the content - the sessions look fresh and interesting.

Enjoy the conference and I hope to see you there.


This is great! Not only this year started with the greatest award of them all - the DAD award, now Microsoft presents me with the MVP award for "Visual Developer - Client Application Development". Big thanks to Luka and Microsoft, fellow local MVPs for all the support and all of you who helped along!

MessengerQuote WLW Plugin

I've released an update to my MessengerQuote Windows Live Writer plugin. The plugin should now work with non-English Windows, getting that "My Received Files" folder right this time [see the comments in the original post].

I'd like to thank Scott for offering and providing valuable help with this issue.
[Update: additional thanks go to Stephan for testing on German Windows XP.]

On a side note: another Live product, Windows Live Messenger [8.1] has been released a couple of days ago.

Windows Live Writer Plugin: Messenger Quote

You like to chat with your friends through Windows Live Messenger? Want to share your stories with the rest of the world? :) Yes, I thought you'd say no... But in case you do want to share and you're using Windows Live Writer to write your blog posts, here's a plugin for you:

Messenger Quote WLW Plugin will let you choose a few lines from your WLM messages' history and insert them into your blog post:

First, select the history file from the top combo box - the conversation sessions will be displayed in the list. Select a few lines and click OK - the quote will be inserted in the following table format [font size was additionally reduced by me]:

28.12.2006 10:32 Andrej Encarta® Instant Answers what's the time?
28.12.2006 10:32 Encarta® Instant Answers Andrej The time in Ljubljana, Slovenia is Thursday, December 28th, 2006 10:32:09 am.
28.12.2006 10:32 Andrej Encarta® Instant Answers thanks
28.12.2006 10:32 Encarta® Instant Answers Andrej You're welcome.

For more formatting options check the "Use friendly format" box and select the template you want format your messages with. You can use formatting parameters, enclosed in braces: {0} stands for Date, {1} for time, {2} is From, {3} is To, and {4} is for the Message. You can select one of the predefined templates or write your own.
Uncheck the "Use color" box to prevent text coloring.

Here's the same text, formatted with the default template [italic text was additionally formatted by me]:

Andrej said: what's the time?
Encarta® Instant Answers said: The time in Ljubljana, Slovenia is Thursday, December 28th, 2006 10:32:09 am.
Andrej said: thanks
Encarta® Instant Answers said: You're welcome.

Feel free to download [zip file contains .dll only] and use this plugin freely. Note: this is the first release, which will eventually be updated with a few enhancements and fixes. I'll be releasing the full source code as a part of the Windows Live Writer Plugins project at CodePlex.

To install, just copy the dll to your \Windows Live Writer\Plugins\ folder. 

You can leave a comment here to share your experience with this plugin...

OpenSearch Vista Sidebar Gadget

My first Windows Sidebar Gadget started as a tool to support searching through Anthology ICE. About a month later, this tool developed into a general OpenSearch gadget, capable of querying any search engine that supports OpenSearch specification.

So, here's... the OpenSearch Windows Vista Sidebar Gadget:


Search terms are entered into the search box, pressing enter or clicking the search button request the results from the selected OpenSearch provider. Clicking on an item in the list displays the item's contents in a flyout window.

Currently, in v1.0, this gadget supports searching through the following sites:

The active search provider can be selected through the settings page. More search engines will be added in future versions, but if you know your way around Windows gadgets and javascript, you can add your favorite search engine for yourself [look at my previous post about this].

Some other features, planned for future releases, include:

  • The ability to add custom search engines
  • Support for async results retrieval
  • True OpenSearch support
  • Better UI
  • ...

Download OpenSearch this gadget [After downloading, unzip and install]

More gadgets coming soon...

[Update: you can also download this gadget from Windows Live Gallery]

Search this blog

In one of my previous posts I wrote about OpenSearch and adding OpenSearch providers to your browser's Search toolbar. If you're using Community Server for your blog/forums engine, you can easily enable your visitors to take advantage of such providers to search through your site.

For example, when you visit my blog, you'll see a dropdown button next to browser's search icon turn orange. This means that browser [should be IE7, Firefox 2 or some other browser, supporting search providers] found a search provider on this page and has made it ready for you to use. Just enter the desired keywords, open the dropdown and select Andrej Tozon's Blog Search - your browser will take you to blog's search results page. To make this provider stay in your browser's search providers dropdown for future use, select Add Search Providers | Andrej Tozon's Blog Search from the same menu.

To implement this kind of search on your own site, create an OpenSearch description file, called opensearch-description.xml. This file describes your provider and should look something like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<OpenSearchDescription xmlns="">
  <ShortName>My Search</ShortName>
  <Description>Search my site</Description>
  <LongName>My Search Provider</LongName>
  <Tags>Blog, Community</Tags>
  <Url type="text/html" template="{searchTerms}&o=Relevance" />

[Note: the above bold text represents a link, used by Community Server to display the search results page. If you're using a different kind of site engine and it supports searching, replace that link with the one your engine uses.]

Put the OpenSearch description file, you've just created, somewhere on your site, then edit one of your web pages, where you want your provider to be discovered [best place for this is usually the master template file]. Here's the contents that should go into this file's <head> section:

<link title="My Search" type="application/opensearchdescription+xml" rel="search" href="" mce_href="" lang="en" xml:lang="en" />

Make sure the link in the href attribute points to a valid OpenSearch description file you've created in previous step.

That's it, you're done. Navigate to your site with your browser and watch that icon go orange...

On a side note: I've also searchbox enabled our Developer users group portal [SLODUG/CodeZone-SI]; if you read Slovenian language, you're kindly invited to search through our posts...

Just a few links...

Ever wanted to contribute to MSDN documentation? Visit MSDN Wiki and submit your content. RSS feeds are available to help you track recent additions.

To learn more about new VSTS member - Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals - take a look at some new screenshots, attend Webcasts and download PPT from the first Webcast.

If you're interested in developing services for the Windows Live Platform, visit the new Windows Live Dev site.

WinFX gets a new name. Here's .NET Framework 3.0!

Custom ProfessionalColors Helper

Here's the source code of the Custom ProfessionalColors Helper sample, which I was using on my Building Rich UI w/ VS2005 talk on recent NTK2006 conference. Feel free to download, use and modify it at your will. This sample helps you define your custom color tables, which you can use for feeding the ToolStrip renderer to get the customized/themed look. The Randomize option makes additional, yet completely useless addition to the sample ;)

ProfessionalColors Helper

Slides and demos from NTK2006

11th NT Conference (the biggest IT Event here in Slovenia) is over. For all, who attended (or not) my talk or hands-on-lab about building Windows Forms and Smart Clients with Visual Studio 2005, here are the links to the presentation materials:

Building Rich User Interface with VS2005: PPT | Code
Building Smart Clients with VS2005 (HOL): PPT | Manual | Code

For all you who didn't make it to the conference, head over to Dejan for a short resume of what was going on there.

Now downloading: Windows Vista Beta 2, Office 2007 Beta 2