Barse tech

Welcome to the Working Week


Posted by barse on November 13, 2007

Let me, with no false modesty, just say that Øredev really rocks! I am totally mangled by a couple of really substantial and hard core seminars (more specifically the ParallellFX and ASP.NET debugging ones). This is really good and I am awfully proud to be part of the company hosting the conference. Yay!


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Silverlight seminar

Posted by barse on November 5, 2007

On friday two of my colleagues are coming up to Stockholm to give a speech on Silverlight. The title is “Silverlight – more than just awesome performance and WPF”. Come and listen you too! The seminar is for free and we’ll also throw in some yummy breakfast sandwiches if you register before the 7th of november. Read more here and register here.

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Upcoming Gadget

Posted by barse on June 14, 2007

We are gearing up for an interesting talk on Vista Sidebar Gadgets next week and I have been looking in to the technology the last few days. The sidebar is a pretty straightforward and simple way to make small applications or gadgets that reside in the sidebar or right on the Vista desktop. The only three things you need to make a complete sidebar gadget is a folder, a manifest file and a html file. It’s really that simple.

This is only where the fun begins though. The nice thing about gadgets is that you can use all the tricks and technologies that you ordinarily use in a web page. The only differences between a gadget and a web page is that the gadget doesn’t navigate and have a page history and that it runs as a fully trusted application in windows. Yes, that’s right, it’s fully trusted so you can wreak all sorts of havoc if you are so inclined or if you play with stuff that you don’t master. Take it easy!

I have been visiting the Programmable Web lately, looking through some of the interesting and fun API:s that are listed there and finally this gadget seminar gave me a reason to experiment a bit with one of them. I choose Upcoming just because I like the service a lot. It is a site that lets you register events, concerts, speaks and all other kind of meetings in a structured manner so that other people will find them. What better way to present the information from Upcoming, than by showing it in a sidebar gadget?

Upcoming Sidebar Gadget Icon

The Upcoming API is RESTful and thus really simple to use.  Just send away a Http GET request with the command and your API Key and you are good to go. The result is sent to you as a simple XML document.

The gadget starts by calling the by using an asynchronous XMLHTTPRequest in the javascript. The returned response (an XML response) is parsed by the Microsoft.XmlDom activeX component and the list of event names is populated by setting the innerHTML in a <span> in the gadget html. The rest of the information for all the events are stored in a couple of arrays and the links to open the flyout contains the array index for each of the events. It may not be the most elegant solution, but it works. Maybe I’ll refactor it later, maybe not.

When one of the listed events is clicked, the flyout html is constructed and hidden in an invisible <span>-element in the gadget, waiting to be transferred to the flyout as soon as it’s done loading and triggers it’s onload event. I also added some logic for opening new events while the flyout is open and a few lines of code for a settings dialog that uses the metro.getCountryList-call to populate a simple drop down list with the countries. (Sweden is the default country when you install the gadget btw.)

The flyout

I like the relative simplicity by which you can create a gadget and I will definitely try to make a few more gadgets in the future if I have some time to spend. The programmable web is filled with all kinds of interesting, useful and strange API:s to use and I really recommend you to dive into it if you are looking for inspiration or if you are into this whole Web 2.0-thing.

Download the gadget here. (And by the way: The Upcoming web API requires an API key to be usable so if you want to alter my gadget or make it into something else you’ll have to register for one and use that instead of mine. Thanks!)

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Microsoft shares our pain

Posted by barse on May 21, 2007

I hadn’t seen this clip before. Pure genious!

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Digesting the Mix

Posted by barse on May 1, 2007

Yesterday evening I had planned to sit down for a while to write down my thoughts from the first day of Mix, but I was just totally worn out. I was just filled with impressions, and it has continued today. In 20 minutes the second keynote will start and it will hopefully contain some interesting announcements. Yesterdays keynote speakers (Ray Ozzie and Scott Guthrie) announced the CLR (and DLR) support in Silverlight and the Silverlight hosting service. Got to run. Keynote starting soon…

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Time to Mix

Posted by barse on April 30, 2007

The conference hall is filling up, the music is excellent and the keynote is a mere 10 minutes away. This will be good!

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Vegas baby!

Posted by barse on April 27, 2007

Mix07 badge

It’s soon time to leave for Vegas. My sinuses seems to be clearing up just in time for takeoff tomorrow.

I’m really looking forward to this conference and hopefully
I will have time to do some shopping too, at least in the
Venetian shops. I hope that I can find a good camera store
that has that nice Pentax flash in stock. Otherwise I’ll just
have to spend my money on games. (Buying a Nintendo DS
that is. I practically stopped gambling when I worked in the
casino industry some years ago…)

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New secret Microsoft product on its way?

Posted by barse on April 17, 2007

Some of my colleagues thought Silverlight was a bad product name, but that’s nothing compared to this:

While looking at the tagspace section of the new Microsoft Community betas I found a tag called “Microsoft Egoism” pointing to Microsofts root web page. I found nothing on the page about this “Egoism” thing so I guess this is some kind of leak and that the product will be released at some later point in time. I strongly suggest that the guys and gals at Microsoft reconsider the name though…

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Microsoft Expression Blend and Web on MSDN

Posted by barse on April 3, 2007

Just in case anybody missed it: Microsoft has decided to put Expression Blend and Expression Web on MSDN! This is a bit surprising. Less than two weeks ago the question of if Expression was going to be included in the MSDN subscription came up at Microsoft Live in Stockholm and the answer was no. Good to see that Microsoft changed their minds. A good decision!

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NUnit 2.4

Posted by barse on March 23, 2007

In case you missed it the unit testing framework NUnit 2.4 went final a week ago. A lot has happened “under the hood”. A new FileAssert class, an option to load assemblies in separate AppDomains, a new narrow “mini gui” mode and constraint based assertions are some of the news in this release.

My favourite addition would probably be the CollectionAssert class that really simplifies writing tests for collections. Read more here or go straight ahead and download the new version here.

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