Ibrahim Hashimi: “After you have enabled IIS Express to be your projects web server, when you start debugging, or just start running your app, from Visual Studio you will see a new system tray icon appear (image). You can right click on this icon to to quickly see what applications it is hosting. Each hosted application will have its own context menu. From this menu you can browse out to the application as well as stop it quickly.”

“Authorization and Authentication using WCF Security—Silverlight”

Mahesh Sabnis: “In my previous articles Silverlight 4.0 – Calling Secured WCF 4.0 Service hosted with SSL and Self-Signed Certificate, we saw how to consume WCF SSL enabled service in Silverlight 4.0 client and in the article Silverlight 4.0 – Secure Communication to WCF service using Custom User Name and Password Validator, we saw how to authenticate a user using by using custom user name and password. As an extension to these articles, we will now  explore how to authenticate a Silverlight user against WCF service to perform business operations like Read All and Insert etc.”

“Hosting Razor outside of ASP.Net (Revised for MVC3 RC!)”

Andrew Nurse: “We recently released the latest preview release of MVC 3, including an updated version of Razor.  One of the things we did in this release is simplify the hosting APIs dramatically.  I did a demo of these new APIs in a pre-recorded PDC10 talk I did with Scott Hunter, which is available to stream here: http://bit.ly/ac7B0P.  As I promised in that talk (and a few others before and after it Confused smile), I’m finally blogging about the sample I showed in that talk!”

“Paging WCF Ria Services entities in Model-View-ViewModel applications”

Andrea Boschin: “[Together] with WCF Ria Services there are a set of components that are not so useful to consume services. Particularly I usually prefer not to use components like DomainDataSource because it brings my queries directly into the Views and it is a very bad thing. Microsoft has spent long time to create similar components—I remember SqlDataSource and LinqDataSource in ASP.NET—but they are targeted for very simple applications that have a short lifecycle. Someone found ways to use the DomainDataSource in MVVM scenarios but my feel is again bad because of its [intrinsic] slowness and because many thing I have to do are not strongly typed and this opens the way to runtime errors I wouldn’t want to deal with. [watch/download video]”

“Mono Tools for Visual Studio”

Miguel de Icaza: “Today is a big day for the Mono team, we just released the Mono Tools for Visual Studio. The goal of this release is to make it simpler for Visual Studio developers to deploy their applications on Linux. ASP.NET, Windows.Forms, server and console applications are supported…” Yes, my record of this announcement is a bit late…

This shot shows something new to me. Apparently my  Windows Server 2008 virtual machine can send SMTP essages to some host name, a mixture of Chinese and Korean characters. My guess is that by the end of this week, it will be clear to me what I’m seeing here.

In the mean time, a few more SharePoint links have come into my life:

This last announcement listed here about Visual Studio 2010 explains to me why SharePoint Designer will be given away for “free”… This actually makes Visual Studio 2010 ‘eagerly awaited’ by me—a feeling that comes to me more to get rid of SharePoint Designer than to welcome even more great changes to catch up with…

Buy this Book at Amazon.com! So this question came to me last year, “Can you help me make a menu in Flash?” I have not worked with Flash for so many years I forgot how to properly answer this question. The adventurous female designer that asked me this question was clearly impressed with another’s Macromedia/Adobe Flash site. But admiring someone’s Flash site is like admiring the imperial grandeur of a sparkling city: when you never know about how many innocent people were killed to “fund” the project, you can get lost in admiration without really understanding the cost of implementation. Flash is, at its heart, an animation tool. This means that it was not originally designed to save labor as much as being a cel-by-cel digitizer for illustrators who are used to painstaking.

So my answer to the question, “Can you help me make a menu in Flash?,” is (annoyingly) another question: Do you know what a MovieClip is? The reason why I ask this question is because whatever menu you are going to build in Flash it is going to be in a MovieClip symbol. So you can’t even get started without understanding what this Flash symbol is. Hint: think of a MovieClip like a folder inside of a folder—a Flash animation inside of an animation.

After years of baking in Visual Studio, NetBeans and Eclipse, I had literally forgotten that you can’t make a menu in the “new” version of Flash by just dragging something out of some palette onto the Stage. My first clue is that Yahoo! would not waste their precious time building Menu and MenuBar components in Astra when Adobe already had them. My second clue is the sad-but-active third-party market of Flash component sellers hawking menu components. My third clue was that this stack of books about Flash does not have a “menu” topic in the table of contents and/or the index:

  • Macromedia Flash 8 Bible: Robert Reinhardt, Snow Dowd
  • Flash Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools: Sham Bhangal
  • Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Classroom in a Book: Adobe Creative Team
  • Foundation Flash CS3 for Designers: Tom Green, David Stiller
  • Adobe Flash CS3 Professional How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques: Mark Schaeffer
  • How to Cheat in Flash CS3: The art of design and animation in Adobe Flash CS3: Chris Georgenes

The most effective explanations for this missing information about menus are:

  • Menus are MovieClip symbols with a bunch of buttons in them. It follows that the “menu” concept would be filed under “button symbols.”
  • Menu structures are preferred in the container hosting Flash—not within Flash itself. This is a design that I prefer because on the Web I like to use as much AJAX as possible—which subordinates Flash on the page (which is why Macromedia was not be motivated to feature my work back in the day when it mattered).
  • A serious interaction designer would take the concept of the “menu” to a new level. From my experience, a site like johncoltrane.com really did (through hard work) take the concept of the menu to a new level—back in the late 1990s.

Eventually I found a book that reserved an entire section on “pull-down” menus (filed under “buttons symbols”), Macromedia Flash 8 Advanced for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickPro Guide by Russell Chun. This was one of the few times when buying a brand-new book about obsolete software in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore actually made sense to me. The Flash developers like my adventurous female designer are not going appreciate my code-centric work in Adobe Flex (which is yet another way not to get noticed). These adventurers demand the intense labor of working with timelines, sprinkling in just a little bit of code here and there. The next time I get a question like this, I’ll be ready (because, even with Flash CS4, these adventurers will still be using Flash-8-style techniques to avoid coding horrors).

An honorable mention goes out to Todd Perkins, his book, Adobe Flash CS3 Professional Hands-On Training, mentions menus on page 311—so Lynda.com gets proper credit!

Team Foundation Server ‘Needs the Future’

TFS annoyance number one: you can’t touch a Visual Studio Project connected to a Team server without logging in—another way of saying this is that you can’t work offline with Team Foundation Server. In “TFS/VSTS and working offline … fallacy, challenge or no sweat?,” this guy named Willy says it’s possible using this magical tool: “4. When you are reconnected with the TFS home base, run the online tool (tfpt.exe online) before doing anything else and ‘do not’ argue with the tool or undo changes made by the tool.” Find this magical tool among Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server Power Tools.

Visual Studio 2008: Over 3Gigs in Under Five Minutes!

It has been quite some time since I have been truly impressed by Microsoft (as a customer). I was going through the usual annoyances when it became clear that the MSDN downloads for Visual Studio 2008 required a new download manager from Akamai. This changed looked like another useless reorganization of the Redmond sock drawer. So I hunkered down under some virtual machine and fully expected that the 2008 download upwards of 3gigs of DVD-sized content would take “forever” in the background. Not so! Clearly this Akamai thing is using a kind of Bit Torrent technology because that load came down in minutes!

“Setting up SSL with a SelfSSL certificate on Windows Server 2003”

This article is saved for a rainy day.

Buy this book at Amazon.com!“Migrate your VMware image to Amazon EC2 (and back)”

This migration tool will cost money and should be a free feature from either Amazon or VMware.

“Mysql database migration and special characters”

The article tries to tackle a subject that I still have yet to master. There are so many variables of configuration the factorial combinations distract me…

MySQL Migration Toolkit

I considered this tool for an alternative to mysqldump (because of my assumption that there is hard size limit).

“Integrating Struts, Tiles, and JavaServer Faces”

I am unable to see in this “advanced” article from IBM any hint that cramming all of these frameworks together is ridiculous or at least a nightmare.


My first time stumbling upon a hosting service like this