May 2008 - Posts

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation on Silverlight at the Utah Code Camp.  I was really impressed by a presentation I saw last time on Ruby and everyone really liked the cheat sheet that was provided.  For my presentation this year I created an XAML Cheat Sheet.  For those who are learning XAML it is a pretty good resource but it's most helpful for me when I know how to do something but I can't remember the syntax.  This is a work in progress so keep on checking back.  It can be downloaded in the Media section of this site or by clicking here.

Please drop me a line if you think you have something useful to add or you want to thank me for the hard work it took to put this thing together!

Nathan Zaugg

As promised by Microsoft when Visual Studio 2008 launched late last year, there is a service pack for available both for the .Net framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008.  Information about the release can be found on ScottGu's Blog and mostly include bug fixes and performance enhancements, but the points of interest for me are:

  • ASP.NET Routing Engine which gives you the ability to map URL's to route handlers. For example the URL
  • ASP.NET AJAX Back/Forward Button History Support gives you the ability to control the forward & back button clicks on the browser.  This will be very useful for "single page" ASP.NET AJAX implementations.
  • Performance improvements on the web editor in VS 2008.
  • JavaScript Formatting Settings
  • CLR performance improvements including startup times that are 40% faster and faster ASP.NET requests (up to 10% faster).
  • WPF New Features and Performance Enhancements!
    • Performance enhancements using GPU
    • New "WritableBitmap" which allows for tear-free bitmap updates.
    • ListBox, ListView, and TreeView now support "item container recycling" and virtualization which results in better performance.  This will have a huge effect on large amounts of data.
    • Deferred Scrolling which doesn't render until the mouse up on a scroll event.  This will can have a enormous effect on huge data sets.
    • StringFormat support within binding expressions
    • New Alternating Rows support for controls derived from ItemControl
    • Events tab support within the property browser in VS 2008
    • Go to Definition and Find All References now support things declared in XAML
  • SQL Server 2008 Support
  • The long awaited ADO.NET Entity Framework which includes integration with any database
  • Improvements in WCF including scailability, ADO.NET Entities in service contracts, and Improved Debugging support for WCF.
  • Improvements to C#; The C# code editor now identifies and displays red squiggle errors for many semantic code issues that previously required an explicit compilation to identify. The debugger in VS 2008 SP1 has also been improved to provide more debugging support for evaluating LINQ expressions and viewing results at debug time
  • Fixes to TFS


Installation Cautions

  • If you are running this on Vista, be sure Vista SP1 is installed!
  • If you have installed the VS 2008 Tools for Silverlight 2 Beta1 package on your machine, you must uninstall it - as well as uninstall the KB949325 update for VS 2008 - before installing VS 2008 SP1 Beta
  • If you are running anything earlier than Expression Blend 2.5, then you need to update it to the latest.  Earlier versions will cease to run.
  • This is still beta software -- Install at your own risk!


A direct download link can also be found here:


--Nathan Zaugg

Code camp snuck up and bit me this year!  I have been so busy with the new site that I didn't get the preparation time I wanted.  Although turnout was mixed (a little less than we had last time, but still pretty good) the sessions were pretty good this year.

The Good:

  • I got the large room again this time and a lot of people attended my presentation
  • There was a lot of good presentations on lots of different technologies
  • The speakers used up all of the time this year
  • The speakers were better this year
  • The topics were all very interesting!
  • The emphasis was on the code, not the power-point!
  • I think it got people energized about the new technologies
  • We had wireless and even if slow, it worked!
  • People didn't get locked out of the building this year.
  • My friend, Phil won a prize (I drew his name)


The Bad:

  • One of the presentations was supposed to be about how cool it is to have Iron Ruby-- instead we got a bunch of propaganda from a Ruby fan-boy about how we only use Microsoft technologies because "we fear anything else -- especially something that has power".
  • I wasn't as prepared this time around.  I was doing Silverlight and didn't get my sample application working until the exact moment I was to setup for my presentation.  As a result I wasn't really mentally prepared for the presentation and didn't present it well.
  • I didn't get to pay as much attention to the other presentations as I wanted or get to go to the ones I wanted because I was working on mine!
  • I didn't have near enough handouts (sorry, my printer is out of toner!)
  • I have some bugs in my XAML Cheat Sheet that I just distributed to 100+ people!
  • I've moved to Kaysville now and I'm quite a ways from Neumont University.
  • A lot of my "support" wasn't able to attend.  I know it sounds crazy but when I give a presentation be it Code Camp or a Users Group I like to have 2-3 of my friends helping me get going.  It allows me to focus my energy on mentally preparing.
  • I drew myself in the drawing which disqualified me!  DANG!


The Future

  • There is a lot of feedback and a lot of talk around having this during work hours.  This is probably the #1 request among developers.  This is a two-sided sword we're very mixed about it.  It is against the code camp manifesto that we loosely follow.  Though, I wouldn't be surprised if we started doing it on a weekday.
  • I still think we need to have more than 3 rooms going at a time and that some presentations should be given twice.
  • It would be cool to involve people in another way, too.  Have a code competition or a Linux Installation room, etc.  Add some dimension to the conference.
  • Let's go commercial!  Let some big-name sponsors in and give everyone free stuff!  Why not a free PDA for those who attend?


Special thanks goes out to Phil Gilmore who helped me immensely  in preparing for my presentation.  He also took the photo's posted below.


Myself presenting Silverlight 2.0 Beta 1



Discussing the difference between Silverlight 1.0 and 2.0



They audience looks enthralled!



There I am drawing my own dang name!



The grand prize winner (Rock band)



Winner-Winner Chicken-Dinner!


Double score!


--Nathan Zaugg

Photo's courtesy of Phil Gilmore.