Andrej Tozon's blog

In the Attic


Smarter Client Development with Visual Studio "Orcas"

This series of posts will follow my exploration in forthcoming Visual Studio "Orcas" features, focusing on developing Smart(er) Clients, or, as the above title permits, smarter developing of (desktop) clients. I'll begin the series with my "Orcas" installation experience.

As mentioned, you can try out VS "Orcas" by mounting a Virtual PC image or by a separate installation. Choosing VPC, you get Windows 2003, together with VS2005, SQL2005 and VS 9.0 ("Orcas") already installed. On the other hand, separate installer will install "Orcas" bits only. But before you do that, just make sure you don't have any previous "Orcas" CTPs installed on your PC or you'll get some weird installer errors, complaining on some files being missing from your temp folder. To help you with uninstalling unwanted CTP leftovers, see this page; in my case, I had to manually delete the "Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0" folder for a successful install.

To continue, there are some quite serious issues involved with the product installation, some of which are closely related to side-by-side installation with VS2005 and/or SQL2005 (see numbers I./7., II./19. and II./20. in Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" Release Notes). Although the same release notes suggest using the March CTP from a VPC image, this doesn't seem to fix it, because both VS2005 and SQL2005 are co-installed with "Orcas", therefore suffering from this same issue. It looks like what we really need is a fresh, VS2005-less machine...

One of my next steps will include setting up a separate Windows Vista VPC with clean "Orcas" installation and see how it goes from there. But before that, we'll going to look into some new client features "Orcas" has in store for us... Stay tuned!

"Orcas" March CTP Earlybird

It could have easily been called February CTP, but nevertheless, this CTP probably includes all major features, which will be available in the final Visual Studio 2007 "Orcas". Extensive [and somewhat impressive; WPF designer included] feature list is available on download pages:

I'm going to try and go with VPC image this time, just to see how this newly released [and free] VPC2007 handles it. BTW: VPC2007 finally supports mounting ISO images, larger than 2GB, and, what's also important, supports Windows Vista as host and guest OS. MS also dropped the support for some earlier Windows versions and MS DOS 6.22, but those should remain compatible and still runnable under VPC2007.

Adobe Acrobat 8 on Vista

Looks like quite a few "big" applications still have issues with Windows Vista OS. "Problems Reports and Solutions" Vista feature just notified me today about Adobe Acrobate Reader constant crashing, and reported that there's a new Reader version available, which "might address these problems". Following the provided link, I downloaded latest version of Acrobate Reader (8.0.0 for Windows Vista) and tried to run it. Here's what I got after initial setup files got unpacked:

Before investigating if this happened due to incorrect UAC setting or other security issue, I simply navigated to the folder where setup files were unpacked to [C:\Users\<User>\AppData\LocalLow\Netopsystems\temp\Adobe Reader 8.0\] and simply copied all the files to a new folder on the c:\ root. After running Setup.exe from there, Acrobat Reader installed correctly. Problem solved.

It's probably too early to really complain about issues like this, since Vista is still quite fresh, and this may only be an installer issue, but they certainly don't make it easy for users wanting to adopt Windows Vista right now.

ZX Spectrum WPF screensaver

If you're an old ZX Spectrum freak, there's a project going on a CodePlex site, which might be worth checking out. While browsing through CodePlex projects recently, I bumped upon SpecNix ZX Spectrum emulator. This emulator currently plays back recorded RZX files, and the UI part was made with WPF. The current version was designed as a screensaver [you can watch games playing back when you leave your computer idle], but it also works as a standalone app. Cool!

There's another ZX Spectrum emulator project on CodePlex [called zx360], made with Microsoft XNA and mainly targeting Xbox 360 - maybe that's why I haven't had much success running it on my PC [none of my keyboard keys worked].

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.

This Friday's Links

Again, some Friday links for near future reference:

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...

VS2005 SP1 - uninstalling the Beta


If you're going to install Visual Studio 2005 SP1 on a machine, running the Beta version of the same service pack (VS2005 SP1 Beta), you'll have to uninstall that first, otherwise this nasty message will prevent you from installing the release version. To uninstall the SP1 Beta, go to Control Panel and review installed updates:

  • [Win XP] - Go to Add or Remove programs and check "Show Updates"
  • [Win Vista] - Go to Programs, Programs and Features and choose "View Installed Updates"

The VS2005 Service Pack 1 should appear right under the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. Select "Service Pack 1 Beta" and choose to uninstall it.

It will take a while for SP1 Beta to uninstall and perhaps you'll need your copy of Visual Studio 2005 installation CDs/DVD handy, just in case some old files are needed to reinstall... After setup program is done uninstalling, you can continue installing the release version of VS2005 SP1.

VS2005 SP1 is ready

Yes, it's finally out. Visit the official SP1 web page and download your updates. If you're working on Windows Vista, there's another update in the making - "Visual Studio 2005 SP1 Update for Windows Vista" - it's currently still in Beta and looks like download is not available yet.

[Update: Visual Studio 2005 SP1 Update for Windows Vista Beta is now available for download]