Scott Hanselman

NuGet Package of the Week #13 - Portable HttpClient makes portable libraries more useful

March 21, '13 Comments [17] Posted in NuGet | NuGetPOW | Win8 | Windows Client | WinPhone
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Reference Assemblies include .NET Portable AssembliesWhen you've got an idea for an app, it's likely that you've got the idea for that app in more than one place. By this I mean, you'll start with a phone app, then make a desktop app, then a web app. Or you'll make a game on one platform and then want it to work anywhere. In fact, with the rise of Xamarin, C# lets you put an app in every AppStore in the world with one language.

You likely already knew that you can target different versions of the .NET framework. You likely also know that there are small .NET Frameworks like Silverlight and the tiny .NET Micro Framework.

You can also target XBox and Windows Phone, OR better yet, target a profile called Portable Libraries that I've briefly mentioned before. Portable Libraries are a great idea that have some issues when you try to really use them. There's actually a great (if a little older) video with the inventors over at Channel 9. Note that Portable Libraries ship with Visual Studio 2012 and are a supported thing.

The idea is that you write a library that contains as much shared functionality as possible and then every application uses your now "portable" library. However, the subset of classes that are available are a subset. That means you can only use things that are available in the intersection of the targets you choose. Check this dialog:

Choose your target framework

And check out the Supported Features table at this MSDN article on Portable Libraries to find out what you can use where. Here's a graphical table I stole from Daniel.


However, most folks that use Portable Libraries have ended up using them mostly for ViewModels - just simple classes without any real functionality. Almost as if we had a DLL full of structs. There are some great posts on how to make Portable Class Libraries work for you using architectural techniques like indirection and appropriate interfaces.

The number one complaint around code resuse and the number one voted item over at the Visual Studio UserVoice was "Add HttpClient support in Portable Class Libraries (including Windows Phone 8)." Why? Because the GETting of a remote resource via HTTP is such a fundamental thing that it'd be awesome to be able to bake that data access into a portable library and use it everywhere.

Now there is a Portable Http Client and you can get it via NuGet!

install-package -pre

Here's an example of what the code looks like for a GET. Note that I'm using async and await also.

public static async Task<HttpResponseMessage> GetTheGoodStuff() 
var httpClient = new HttpClient();
HttpRequestMessage request = new HttpRequestMessage(HttpMethod.Get, "");
var response = await httpClient.SendAsync(request);
return response;

.NET Portable Subset

If you were going to make a Twitter client (lame example, but bear with me) you could now put the JSON HTTP data access code in one library and share it across Windows Phone, Windows Store, WinForms, Console, whatever.

I'm hoping that the folks at MS and the folks at Mono will continue to work to make Portable Libraries a good option for Mono as well. I've been advocating (and pushing) to make something happen as well, as have the Portable Libraries folks. You'll find lots of working in the space around the web, so fear not, code reuse, either through Portable Libraries or via linked code files at compilation time is deeply possible. The game "Draw A Stickman Epic" achieved 95% code reuse by writing the game in C# with MonoGame!

.NET 4 or Windows Phone 7.5

If you want to use this HttpClient on .NET 4 or Windows Phone 7.5, note you might get a compile error if you use async and await.

Cannot await System.Threading.Task<HttpRequestMessage>

This is because .Net 4.0 and Windows Phone 7.5 did not support the async/await keywords. In order to fix this add a reference to the Microsoft.Bcl.Async nuget package, which adds the support for async and await in .NET 4 and WP7.5. Here's a post with more details on how this backport works.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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How to call WinRT APIs in Windows 8 from C# Desktop Applications - WinRT Diagram

October 12, '12 Comments [28] Posted in Win8 | Windows Client
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I was trying to access some of the sensors that are built into this Intel Ultrabook that runs Windows 8. However, while there's support for Location Sensors built into the .NET 4 libraries on Windows 7 and up, I want to access the complete Sensor and Location Platform that is built into Windows 8 itself. Those APIs are available via COM and I could call them via COM, but calling them via the WinRT layer is so much nicer. Plus, this is kind of why WinRT exists.

This got me thinking about WinRT and what it means. I did a podcast a few months ago that really cleared things up but I've always found all the various diagrams that attempted to explain how things fit together to be WAY TOO COMPLEX.

DISCLAIMER: All diagrams are, by their nature, oversimplifications. I work on Web Stuff, not Windows Stuff, so this is all my opinion and conjecture, done on my own time. I'm not in the Windows org, I'm just a dude trying to write an app for babies.

I figure it can't be as complicated as all these diagrams. I drew this to help myself understand.

WinRT Diagram

Just like the C Language has the C Runtime that provides a bunch of supporting functions and defines a calling convention for them, so the Windows Runtime (WinRT) does for Windows and its languages. These APIs and runtime includes metadata about calling conventions that make WinRT APIs easier to call than COM.

See how in the diagram I can call any API from the .NET CLR? In the case of the Sensors APIs I want to call, while they are ultimately Win32 APIs or COM APIs, I would like to call them using the highest level calling convention available and that's the very friendly Windows RT ones.

Calling WinRT APIs from C# Desktop Applications

I like to test things using small Console Apps, but those aren't "Windows Store Applications," so am I allowed to call WinRT APIs from my Desktop or Console application?

Sure. There's actually a section of the MSDN Documentation that lists out all the WinRT APIs for Windows 8 that are able to be called from the Desktop. I can specifically check the LightSensor class itself within the documentation and make sure it's allowed to be called from Desktop applications.

LightSensor is allowed to be called from Desktop Apps

There isn't super-clear but there IS documentation on how to add WinRT references to non-Windows Store applications.

Adding a Reference to WinRT from a Desktop App

The docs say, somewhat obscurely:

In the desktop projects, the Core tab doesn’t appear by default. The user can choose to code against the Windows Runtime by opening the shortcut menu for the project node, choosing Unload Project, adding the following snippet, opening the shortcut menu for the project node again, and then choosing Reload Project. Now, when the user invokes the Reference Manager dialog box from the project, the Core tab will appear.


I'll make a .NET 4.5 C# Console Application. I'll edit the .csproj and add the TargetPlatformVersion line. I'll select Add Reference from the context menu on the References node of Solution Explorer.

Windows Core References

I'll add a little code to check the status of the Light Sensor on my laptop:

LightSensor light = LightSensor.GetDefault();
if (light != null)
uint minReportInterval = light.MinimumReportInterval;
uint reportInterval = minReportInterval > 16 ? minReportInterval : 16;
light.ReportInterval = reportInterval;

light.ReadingChanged += light_ReadingChanged; //event hander

However, when I compile the app, I get an error on the line where I'm trying to hook up an event handler. The "+=" language sugar for adding a multicast delegate isn't working.

Error    1    Property, indexer, or event 
is not supported by the language; try directly calling accessor
methods 'Windows.Devices.Sensors.LightSensor.add_ReadingChanged
or 'Windows.Devices.Sensors.LightSensor.remove_ReadingChanged

To fix this and get the appropriate assemblies loaded within my application support calling WinRT from my Desktop Application I need to add a reference to System.Runtime and System.Runtime.InteropServices.WindowsRuntime.dll. It's in C:\Program Files (x86)\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\Framework\.NETCore\v4.5 on my system.

System.Runtime.InteropServices.WindowsRuntime.dll in C:\Program Files (x86)\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\Framework\.NETCore\v4.5

Now my app compiles. I'll even change out the delegate and make it a Anders lambda because that's fancy.

light.ReadingChanged += (s, a) =>
Console.WriteLine(String.Format("There was light! {0}", a.Reading.IlluminanceInLux));

Now I can run my little console app, sense some light and check it out in action. Here's a screenshot showing the results of me shining a light at my laptop. You can see the Ambient LightSensor picks it up and outputs to the Console.

The ambient light sensor reacting

While the tooling to make non-Windows Store applications call Windows RT applications is a little manual within Visual Studio right now, the underlying ability and runtime have work very nicely for me. Hopefully these few manual setups will turn into a checkbox at some point.

It's also nice to see the MSDN documentation includes the details about which APIs actually can be called from the Desktop and which can be called from Windows Store apps.

This week's sponsor: Your Idea. Your App. 30 Days. Begin your 30-day journey to creating a Windows Store app or game for Windows 8 or Windows Phone today.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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The Weekly Source Code 56 - Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit - Code Contracts, Parallel Framework and COM Interop

August 12, '10 Comments [11] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET Ajax | ASP.NET Dynamic Data | ASP.NET MVC | BCL | Learning .NET | LINQ | OData | Open Source | Programming | Source Code | VB | Web Services | Win7 | Windows Client | WPF
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Do you like a big pile of source code? Well, there is an imperial buttload of source in the Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit. It's actually a 178 meg download, which is insane. Perhaps start your download now and get it in the morning when you get up. It's extremely well put together and I say Kudos to the folks that did it. They are better people than I.

I like to explore it while watching TV myself and found myself looking through tonight. I checked my blog and while I thought I'd shared this with you before, Dear Reader, I hadn't. My bad, because it's pure gold. With C# and VB, natch.

Here's an outline of what's inside. I've heard of folks setting up lunch-time study groups and going through each section.

C# 4 Visual Basic 10 
F# Parallel Extensions
Windows Communication Foundation Windows Workflow
Windows Presentation Foundation ASP.NET 4
Windows 7 Entity Framework
ADO.NET Data Services (OData) Managed Extensibility Framework
Visual Studio Team System RIA Services
Office Development  

I love using this kit in my talks, and used it a lot in my Lap Around .NET 4 talk.

There's Labs, Presentations, Demos, Labs and links to online Videos. It'll walk you step by step through loads of content and is a great starter if you're getting into what's new in .NET 4.

Here's a few of my favorite bits, and they aren't the parts you hear the marketing folks gabbing about.

Code Contracts

Remember the old coding adage to "Assert Your Expectations?" Well, sometimes Debug.Assert is either inappropriate or cumbersome and what you really need is a method contract. Methods have names and parameters, and those are contracts. Now they can have conditions like "don't even bother calling this method unless userId is greater than or equal to 0 and make sure the result isn't null!

Code Contracts continues to be revised, with a new version out just last month for both 2008 and 2010. The core types that you need are included in mscorlib with .NET 4.0, but you do need to download the tools to see them inside Visual Studio. If you have VS Pro, you'll get runtime checking and VS Ultimate gets that plus static checking. If I have static checking and the tools I'll see a nice new tab in Project Properties:

Code Contracts Properties Tab in Visual Studio

I can even get Blue Squigglies for Contract Violations as seen below.

A blue squigglie showing that a contract isn't satisfied

As a nice coincidence, you can go and download Chapter 15 of Jon Skeet's C# in Depth for free which happens to be on Code Contracts.

Here's a basic idea of what it looks like. If you have static analysis, you'll get squiggles on the lines I've highlighted as they are points where the Contract isn't being fulfilled. Otherwise you'll get a runtime ContractException. Code Contracts are a great tool when used in conjunction with Test Driven Development.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text;
using System.Diagnostics.Contracts;

namespace ContractsDemo
class Program
static void Main(string[] args)
var password = GetPassword(-1);

#region Header
/// <param name="userId">Should be greater than 0</param>
/// <returns>non-null string</returns>
static string GetPassword(int userId)
Contract.Requires(userId >= 0, "UserId must be");
Contract.Ensures(Contract.Result<string>() != null);

if (userId == 0)
// Made some code to log behavior

// User doesn't exist
return null;
else if (userId > 0)
return "Password";

return null;

COM Interop sucks WAY less in .NET 4

I did a lot of COM Interop back in the day and it sucked. It wasn't fun and you always felt when you were leaving managed code and entering COM. You'd have to use Primary Interop Assemblies or PIAs and they were, well, PIAs. I talked about this a little bit last year in Beta 1, but it changed and got simpler in .NET 4 release.

Here's a nice little sample I use from the kit that gets the Processes on your system and then makes a list with LINQ of the big ones, makes a chart in Excel, then pastes the chart into Word.

If you've used Office Automation from managed code before, notice that you can say Range[] now, and not get_range(). You can call COM methods like ChartWizard with named parameters, and without including Type.Missing fifteen times. As an aside, notice also the default parameter value on the method.

static void GenerateChart(bool copyToWord = false)
var excel = new Excel.Application();
excel.Visible = true;

excel.Range["A1"].Value2 = "Process Name";
excel.Range["B1"].Value2 = "Memory Usage";

var processes = Process.GetProcesses()
.OrderByDescending(p => p.WorkingSet64)
int i = 2;
foreach (var p in processes)
excel.Range["A" + i].Value2 = p.ProcessName;
excel.Range["B" + i].Value2 = p.WorkingSet64;

Excel.Range range = excel.Range["A1"];
Excel.Chart chart = (Excel.Chart)excel.ActiveWorkbook.Charts.Add(
After: excel.ActiveSheet);

chart.ChartWizard(Source: range.CurrentRegion,
Title: "Memory Usage in " + Environment.MachineName);

chart.ChartStyle = 45;

if (copyToWord)
var word = new Word.Application();
word.Visible = true;


You can also embed your PIAs in your assemblies rather than carrying them around and the runtime will use Type Equivalence to figure out that your embedded types are the same types it needs and it'll just work. One less thing to deploy.

Parallel Extensions

The #1 reason, IMHO, to look at .NET 4 is the parallelism. I say this not as a Microsoft Shill, but rather as a dude who owns a 6-core (12 with hyper-threading) processor. My most favorite app in the Training Kit is ContosoAutomotive. It's a little WPF app that loads a few hundred thousand cars into a grid. There's an interface, ICarQuery, that a bunch of plugins implement, and the app foreach's over the CarQueries.

This snippet here uses the new System.Threading.Task stuff and makes a background task. That's all one line there, from StartNew() all the way to the bottom. It says, "do this chunk in the background." and it's a wonderfully natural and fluent interface. It also keeps your UI thread painting so your app doesn't freeze up with that "curtain of not responding" that one sees all the time.

private void RunQueries()
Task.Factory.StartNew(() =>
foreach (var query in this.CarQueries)
if (this.searchOperation.Token.IsCancellationRequested)

query.Run(, true);
}, this.searchOperation.Token).ContinueWith(_ => this.EnableSearch());

StartNew() also has a cancellation token that we check, in case someone clicked Cancel midway through, and there's a ContinueWith at the end that re-enables or disabled Search button.

Here's my system with the queries running. This is all in memory, generating and querying random cars.12% CPU across 12 processors single threaded

And the app says it took 2.3 seconds. OK, what if I do this in parallel, using all the processors?

2.389 seconds serially

Here's the changed code. Now we have a Parallel.ForEach instead. Mostly looks the same.

private void RunQueriesInParallel()
Task.Factory.StartNew(() =>
var options = new ParallelOptions() { CancellationToken = this.searchOperation.Token };
Parallel.ForEach(this.CarQueries, options, (query) =>
query.Run(, true);
catch (OperationCanceledException) { /* Do nothing as we cancelled it */ }
}, this.searchOperation.Token).ContinueWith(_ => this.EnableSearch());

This code says "go do this in a background thread, and while you're there, parallelize this as you like." This loop is "embarrassingly parallel." It's a big for loop over 2 million cars in memory. No reason it can't be broken apart and made faster.

Here's the deal, though. It was SO fast, that Task Manager didn't update fast enough to show the work. The work was too easy. You can see it used more CPU and that there was a spike of load across 10 of the 12, but the work wasn't enough to peg the processors.

19% load across 12 processors 

Did it even make a difference? Seems it was 5x faster and went from 2.389s to 0.4699 seconds. That's embarrassingly parallel. The team likes to call that "delightfully parallel" but I prefer "you're-an-idiot-for-not-doing-this-in-parallel parallel," but that was rejected.

0.4699 seconds when run in parallel. A 5x speedup.

Let's try something harder. How about a large analysis of Baby Names. How many Roberts born in the state of Washington over a 40 year period from a 500MB database?

Here's the normal single-threaded foreach version in Task Manager:

One processor chilling.

Here's the parallel version using 96% CPU.

6 processes working hard!

And here's the timing. Looks like the difference between 20 seconds and under 4 seconds.


You can try this yourself. Notice the processor slider bar there at the bottom.

ProcessorsToUse.Minimum = 1;
ProcessorsToUse.Maximum = Environment.ProcessorCount;
ProcessorsToUse.Value = Environment.ProcessorCount; // Use all processors.

This sample uses "Parallel LINQ" and here's the two queries. Notice the "WithDegreeofParallelism."

seqQuery = from n in names
where n.Name.Equals(queryInfo.Name, StringComparison.InvariantCultureIgnoreCase) &&
n.State == queryInfo.State &&
n.Year >= yearStart && n.Year <= yearEnd
orderby n.Year ascending
select n;

parQuery = from n in names.AsParallel().WithDegreeOfParallelism(ProcessorsToUse.Value)
where n.Name.Equals(queryInfo.Name, StringComparison.InvariantCultureIgnoreCase) &&
n.State == queryInfo.State &&
n.Year >= yearStart && n.Year <= yearEnd
orderby n.Year ascending
select n;

The .NET 4 Training Kit has Extensibility demos, and Office Demos and SharePoint Demos and Data Access Demos and on and on. It's great fun and it's a classroom in a box. I encourage you to go download it and use it as a teaching tool at your company or school. You could do brown bags, study groups, presentations (there's lots of PPTs), labs and more.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Dealing with Images with Bad Metadata - Corrupted Color Profiles in WPF

July 30, '10 Comments [4] Posted in Bugs | Windows Client | WPF
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Creating a Twitter client is a really interesting exercise in application development because, amongst many reasons, it's taking input from effectively an infinite number of people and places. Never trust user input, right? Input to your application comes not only in the form of text, but also images. Writing a Twitter client is effectively writing a web browser that only browses one website. Getting a browser stable is hard.

Long Zheng, Raphael Rivera and the MetroTwit team (MetroTwit is a lovely new Twitter client) have hit an extremely interesting crashing bug. The input comes in the form of a corrupted JPG image from the web.

Here's the bad image. Looks like a picture some folks speaking on a panel. However, even though this image looks fine, this specific binary version of it has a corrupted Color Profile.

Sometimes folks don't realize that image formats contain lots of metadata that you can't see. Your JPGs may show what camera you used, what lens, what settings, possibly even the geo-coordinates of where you took the picture!

You can view all this extended information (EXIF) with a number of tools. A great free one is ExifTool by Phil Harvey at the command line, or a non-command line one like ExifPro. Windows Live Photo Gallery lets you view the data also.

Here's a snippet of some of the info in this pic:

Device Mfg Desc                 : IEC
Device Model Desc               : IEC 61966-2.1 Default RGB colour space - sRGB
Viewing Cond Desc               : Reference Viewing Condition in IEC61966-2.1
Viewing Cond Illuminant         : 19.6445 20.3718 16.8089
Viewing Cond Surround           : 3.92889 4.07439 3.36179
Viewing Cond Illuminant Type    : D50
Make                            : Leica Camera AG
Camera Model Name               : M8 Digital Camera
Software                        : Aperture 3.0.2
Shutter Speed Value             : 1/256
Exposure Compensation           : 0
Max Aperture Value              : 1.0
Metering Mode                   : Center-weighted average
Light Source                    : Flash
Focal Length                    : 0.0 mm

You can extract the image profile (ICC Profile) from an image like this with exiftool:

exiftool -icc_profile -b foo.jpg > profile.icc

If you're hardcore, you can get the Windows Imaging Component (WIC) Tools and run WICExplorer. WPF uses WIC to decode images. WICExplorer will report the error with this image as you load it.

Loading Images in WPF

When you're using WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) to display an image on Windows, you might do something like this:

<Image Width="300" Height="300" ImageFailed="Image_ImageFailed">
<BitmapImage UriSource=""/>

Except with this particular image, I'll get an exception the Color Profile (the image metadata) is corrupted. "ArgumentException: Value does not fall within the expected range." This is a corrupted file.

at System.Windows.Media.ColorContext.GetColorContextsHelper(GetColorContextsDelegate getColorContexts)
at System.Windows.Media.Imaging.BitmapFrameDecode.get_ColorContexts()
at System.Windows.Media.Imaging.BitmapImage.FinalizeCreation()
at System.Windows.Media.Imaging.BitmapImage.OnDownloadCompleted(Object sender, EventArgs e)
at System.Windows.Media.UniqueEventHelper.InvokeEvents(Object sender, EventArgs args)
at System.Windows.Media.Imaging.LateBoundBitmapDecoder.DownloadCallback(Object arg)
at System.Windows.Threading.ExceptionWrapper.InternalRealCall(Delegate callback, Object args, Int32 numArgs)
at MS.Internal.Threading.ExceptionFilterHelper.TryCatchWhen(Object source, Delegate method, Object args, Int32 numArgs, Delegate catchHandler)

If I get this exception, I can try to load the image again and ignore its color profile. Here's how I'd do that in XAML:

<Image Width="300" Height="300" ImageFailed="Image_ImageFailed"  >
<BitmapImage CreateOptions="IgnoreColorProfile" UriSource=""/>

If you're loading from code, you can ignore color profile information by adding the BitmapCreateOptions.IgnoreColorProfile flag to CreateOptions.

As an aside, Andrew Eichacker has a nice post on how to read all the BitmapMetadata in WPF. There's lots in there!

Here's loading the Bitmap into an image Control called "Foo."

var bi = new BitmapImage();
bi.CreateOptions = BitmapCreateOptions.IgnoreColorProfile;
bi.UriSource = new Uri("");

foo.Source = bi;

Knowing about possible corruption is important to be aware of, especially if you're loading arbitrary images from all over the place. If you don't care about color profiles, I'd just ignore them by default in your image loading code. If you are writing an image editor or you care about profiles, I'd catch the exception, let the user know, then load the image again without the profile.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Visual Studio 2010 Released

April 12, '10 Comments [114] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC | Learning .NET | Microsoft | MSDN | Spotlight | VS2010 | Windows Client | WPF
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It's a big day at Microsoft today as Visual Studio 2010 officially releases. There's a lot going on with this release and I thought I'd do a big rollup post with lots of details and context to help you find your way to the information and downloads you're looking for.

Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4

Download Visual Studio 2010

First, if you want it, go download Visual Studio 2010 now. If you're an MSDN Subscriber or WebSiteSpark/BizSpark member, you can download the final release now. If not, you can download a free trial or one of the free Express editions.

I'm running the free Visual Web Developer 2010 Express on my netbook. You can install ASP.NET 4, ASP.NET MVC 2, and Visual Web Developer 2010 Express really quickly with the Web Platform Installer.

There's an excellent page on MSDN that's cherry-picked and categorized the best VS2010 content, but I've included my own list below.

What's new in Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4?

Buttloads. Here's the things I'm digging most.

Also, there's a FREE e-Book called "Moving to Visual Studio 2010" that you might want to check out. It's an excerpt of a larger book that'll be coming from MSPress later this summer. It takes a interesting approach as it has three parts, moving from VS2003, moving from VS2005, and moving from VS2008. It's clever, actually. You start in the book on the version that you're currently on. If you're not familiar with versions like VS2008, you start at the beginning. Otherwise, you jump ahead. When you're done, you're ready to move to VS2010.

MSDN and Visual Studio 2010

When a new product launches, MSDN launches with updates and new features of its own. Here's a few things the folks at MSDN have been doing to support the launch.

  • Better MSDN Search - Most people likely use a search engine to search MSDN, but if you do search from within MSDN, there are a number of new improvements. You can refine by source, saying only search blogs, or only search the library. There's also an OpenSearch provider so you can search the MSDN Library directly from within Windows itself.
    XDocument - Search Results in MSDN
    MSDN Search also includes Metadata from the results to help you find right thing. For example, if a search turns up a CodePlex project, I can see type-specific details within search results:
    MSDN Search
  • MSDN Subscriber Downloads Improvements - There's been lots of UX improvements including as-you-type filtering as well as filtering by platform (x64, etc) and language. I will very likely not need to download Quechua Windows, so now I don't need to see it.
  • MSDN Library in Lightweight and ScriptFree - You can choose between three flavors of MSDN Library, Classic (the one with the treeview on the side), Lightweight (what I use) or ScriptFree. ScriptFree is great for mobile devices, and it's lightning fast anywhere. Lightweight is the new default and I like it because it features community annotations made to the library prominently on the left side as well as a tabbed interface for code sample languages. I blogged a preview of this work last year and included some charts and graphs showing the improvements in speed worldwide.
    XmlNode Class (System.Xml) - Windows Internet Explorer
  • Integration of all VS sites - There were too many developer "centers" on MSDN and folks were getting lost. Many centers have been conflated into a clearer, more logical layout. The Visual Studio, Team System, and VS Extensibility Centers were merged into the single Visual Studio Center. There's a lot more focus on discoverability in the Visual Studio Center.
  • Video Improvements - There's thousands of How Do I? videos on MSDN and they tell me they are improving the backend, the player and the metadata around them. The player is larger now, you can share videos from MSDN on your favorite social networking site, rate them, leave comments, and explore related videos.
  • Profile Activities - User Profiles are integrated between sites and you can see your activity and points as you move through the system. For example, here's Arnie Rowland's profile. You can see his activity in the forums and galleries as well as his ranking and points as a community contributor.

Other Cool Stuff Happening Today

I'd hate to have this little nugget get buried in the deluge of VS2010 goodness.

  • Microsoft Surface Logo The Surface Toolkit for Windows Touch BETA goes out today. Check out under Technical Resources and the Surface Blog for more details. This toolkit is a set of controls and sample code that let WPF developers create cool multi-touch enabled experiences with the cool "Surfacey" controls that the only folks with Big Ass Tables have been able to use. This is exceedingly cool because it not only makes it WPF devs can make better multi-touch apps for Windows Touch PCs but it acts as a jump-start for the next version of Microsoft Surface. It will integrate with Visual Studi0 2010 and give you new project and item templates and a dozen new controls like the ScatterView and SurfaceInkCanvas. This is a cool thing, so I'll be talking about it soon, as will Pete Brown.

Lots of great stuff going on today. Have fun!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.