Monthly Archives

8 Articles

Posted by .Ronald on

The future of Microsoft Visual Studio

Microsoft announced the roadmap for the next 3 Visual Studio releases (Microsoft Developer Tools Roadmap 2003-2005).

As Microsoft recently released Visual Studio 2003 and a beta for Microsoft Visual Studio Tools For Office, the next big release of the development environment (codenamed Whidbey) will be accompanied with the next version of SQL Server (codenamed Yukon). As Microsoft says, this Visual Studio release will be minor upgrade – comparable with the upgrade from VS.NET to VS.NET 2003 -, but will have some nice, long awaited features.

One of these is the return of the ‘Edit and Continue’ function that allows developers to edit their code while debugging and continue with the edited code without the need to recompile (as in Visual Basic 6). Also a new release of the .NET Framework will released, but that was as expected. According to Microsoft, there will be great enhancements for Windows client programmers to give them easier access to system resources as keyboards, mice, network, etc… Another nice feature will be some sort of built-in spellingchecker which corrects the author if he misspells common coding constructs.

Microsoft also promised improvements to the .NET Compact Framework that allow for the creation of applications for the new versions of Pocket PC; Windows CE and SmartPhones.

In the ASP.NET area, Microsoft will introduce some new web controls as there will be the GridView and DetailsView which allow Access-like master-detail forms. More promising will be the introduction of the Master Pages, which allow developers to create page templates that contain headers, footers, controls and menu bars, so that when a page inherits from a Master Page, it automatically inherits the look and feel and when the developer wants to change the visual layout, he only needs to edit the Master Page. Looks promising.

What the themes and skins will be, I’m not sure as Microsoft has attempted to introduce skinning and theming in lots of others applications and Windows versions, without really meeting the expectations.

The 2005 release is still somewhat vague, it’s still 2 years ahead if Microsoft releases as planned πŸ™‚ but the key here is the release of the next Windows operating system (cedenamed Longhorn) and features elements as managed interfaces, enhanced UI features, and other new capabilities of Longhorn. These include the Longhorn trustworthy computing and security model, new application model, improved communication and collaboration, integrated data storage, and innovations in presentation and media, as Microsoft says.

Posted by .Ronald on

The future of Microsoft Visual Studio

Microsoft announced the roadmap for the next 3 Visual Studio releases (Microsoft Developer Tools Roadmap 2003-2005).

As Microsoft recently released Visual Studio 2003 and a beta for Microsoft Visual Studio Tools For Office, the next big release of the development environment (codenamed Whidbey) will be accompanied with the next version of SQL Server (codenamed Yukon). As Microsoft says, this Visual Studio release will be minor upgrade – comparable with the upgrade from VS.NET to VS.NET 2003 -, but will have some nice, long awaited features.

One of these is the return of the ‘Edit and Continue’ function that allows developers to edit their code while debugging and continue with the edited code without the need to recompile (as in Visual Basic 6). Also a new release of the .NET Framework will released, but that was as expected. According to Microsoft, there will be great enhancements for Windows client programmers to give them easier access to system resources as keyboards, mice, network, etc… Another nice feature will be some sort of built-in spellingchecker which corrects the author if he misspells common coding constructs.

Microsoft also promised improvements to the .NET Compact Framework that allow for the creation of applications for the new versions of Pocket PC; Windows CE and SmartPhones.

In the ASP.NET area, Microsoft will introduce some new web controls as there will be the GridView and DetailsView which allow Access-like master-detail forms. More promising will be the introduction of the Master Pages, which allow developers to create page templates that contain headers, footers, controls and menu bars, so that when a page inherits from a Master Page, it automatically inherits the look and feel and when the developer wants to change the visual layout, he only needs to edit the Master Page. Looks promising.

What the themes and skins will be, I’m not sure as Microsoft has attempted to introduce skinning and theming in lots of others applications and Windows versions, without really meeting the expectations.

The 2005 release is still somewhat vague, it’s still 2 years ahead if Microsoft releases as planned πŸ™‚ but the key here is the release of the next Windows operating system (cedenamed Longhorn) and features elements as managed interfaces, enhanced UI features, and other new capabilities of Longhorn. These include the Longhorn trustworthy computing and security model, new application model, improved communication and collaboration, integrated data storage, and innovations in presentation and media, as Microsoft says.

Posted by .Ronald on

Did I forgot to mention…?

I’ve done some pretty good work last week, but more about that in a later post.

Because first of all, I think I should give you some background information about the way I work, the projects I’m working on and some projects I’ve done in the past.

As mentioned before, the main part of the projects I develop as freelance webdesigner are built around PHP and MySQL technologies.

Alltough these sites run on Linux production servers, I develop them on a Windows 2000 system inside a VMWare box. This is really the best piece of software on the planet! It allows me to run *any* operating system in a secure local environment while browsing and mailing and downloading and … with my WindowsXP.

VMWare also allows me to set different kinds of configurations and test different technologies without messing up my working environment. Don’t really understand what I’m talking about? Read this:

I have 1 single computer (a 2 year old Dell Dimension) with Microsoft Windows XP.

  • Browsers: Mozilla Firebird (once you’ve given it a try, you can’t live without it) and Microsoft Internet Explorer (doesn’t car about web standards, but since many so called ‘web developers’ build their web sites with only IE in mind, you can’t live without it either)
  • E-mail Clients: Mozilla Thunderbird (for personal e-mail) and Microsoft Outlook (for my professional e-mail and communication, and because it has a calander and planning functionality and it was bundled with Office)
  • Microsoft Office XP (was installed on the system and I havent ’t really given OpenOffice a try since it was released, so I think I’ll stick with it for a while)
  • And some other software for daily use (media players, P2P stuff, …)

As you can see, anything but a real *Internet Development Dream Machine*. But with the magic of VMWare I turn it into any *Dream Machine* I want to. Here’s a list of what I have:

  • Windows 95 with Internet Explorer 4.0
  • Windows 98 with Internet Explorer 5.0
  • Windows Me with Internet Explorer 5.5
  • Windows 2000 Server with Mozilla 1.1, Internet Explorer 5.5, Office 97, Apache 1.3.28, PHP 4.1, MySQL 3.20, Visual Studio 6
  • Windows 2000 Server with Mozilla 1.4, .NET Framework, Internet Explorer 6.0, Office 2000, Apache 2.0.47, PHP 4.3.2, MySQL 3.23.57, Adobe Photoshop 7, Visual Studio .NET 2000
  • Windows 2003 Enterprise Server, installed recently, so not really configured except for Apache 2.0.47 and PHP 5 beta
  • Linux: I don’t really work with Linux, but I’m always trying to learn to work with it, so that one day I can change everything to Linux. I’ve installed many flavours of Linux including Mandrake 8 and 9, Red Hat 8 and 9 Suse 8 and also the Live Eval and recently Debian, but it gave me some problems and I gotta retry later.
  • I’m still looking for some old MS-DOS 5.0/6.0 and Windows 3.11 disk to set up these machines too, just for fun.

As you can see, I have about 8 different configurations and lots more if I need to, all on 1 desk and on 1 machine πŸ™‚

Posted by .Ronald on

Did I forgot to mention…?

I’ve done some pretty good work last week, but more about that in a later post.

Because first of all, I think I should give you some background information about the way I work, the projects I’m working on and some projects I’ve done in the past.

As mentioned before, the main part of the projects I develop as freelance webdesigner are built around PHP and MySQL technologies.

Alltough these sites run on Linux production servers, I develop them on a Windows 2000 system inside a VMWare box. This is really the best piece of software on the planet! It allows me to run *any* operating system in a secure local environment while browsing and mailing and downloading and … with my WindowsXP.

VMWare also allows me to set different kinds of configurations and test different technologies without messing up my working environment. Don’t really understand what I’m talking about? Read this:

I have 1 single computer (a 2 year old Dell Dimension) with Microsoft Windows XP.

  • Browsers: Mozilla Firebird (once you’ve given it a try, you can’t live without it) and Microsoft Internet Explorer (doesn’t car about web standards, but since many so called ‘web developers’ build their web sites with only IE in mind, you can’t live without it either)
  • E-mail Clients: Mozilla Thunderbird (for personal e-mail) and Microsoft Outlook (for my professional e-mail and communication, and because it has a calander and planning functionality and it was bundled with Office)
  • Microsoft Office XP (was installed on the system and I havent ’t really given OpenOffice a try since it was released, so I think I’ll stick with it for a while)
  • And some other software for daily use (media players, P2P stuff, …)

As you can see, anything but a real *Internet Development Dream Machine*. But with the magic of VMWare I turn it into any *Dream Machine* I want to. Here’s a list of what I have:

  • Windows 95 with Internet Explorer 4.0
  • Windows 98 with Internet Explorer 5.0
  • Windows Me with Internet Explorer 5.5
  • Windows 2000 Server with Mozilla 1.1, Internet Explorer 5.5, Office 97, Apache 1.3.28, PHP 4.1, MySQL 3.20, Visual Studio 6
  • Windows 2000 Server with Mozilla 1.4, .NET Framework, Internet Explorer 6.0, Office 2000, Apache 2.0.47, PHP 4.3.2, MySQL 3.23.57, Adobe Photoshop 7, Visual Studio .NET 2000
  • Windows 2003 Enterprise Server, installed recently, so not really configured except for Apache 2.0.47 and PHP 5 beta
  • Linux: I don’t really work with Linux, but I’m always trying to learn to work with it, so that one day I can change everything to Linux. I’ve installed many flavours of Linux including Mandrake 8 and 9, Red Hat 8 and 9 Suse 8 and also the Live Eval and recently Debian, but it gave me some problems and I gotta retry later.
  • I’m still looking for some old MS-DOS 5.0/6.0 and Windows 3.11 disk to set up these machines too, just for fun.

As you can see, I have about 8 different configurations and lots more if I need to, all on 1 desk and on 1 machine πŸ™‚

Posted by .Ronald on

What has been done?

As I told you in yesterday’s post, I’m currently developping a new website for my own web design company and a framework in PHP in parallel.

But what has been done so far?

Well, firstly I created some sort of prototype: a single homepage with DIV’s for logo, header, navigation, content, etc…, the logo’s and a stylesheet. It takes some time in the first place, but I think it makes developping a website much easier if you have a clear view of what you want before you start implementing the functionality.

Then I started with the navigation. I decided to go for a (small) matrix structure, with products and services on the one hand and a target-audience approach on the other hand. It went quite well and I’m pretty happy with the result πŸ™‚

The navigation is not yet fully implemented in the framework, and I’m not sure if it ever will be completely in the framework (need to do some heavy thinking about that).

Well, so far so good for the pretty fun stuff, now it’s time for the real thing…

The next thing I started with was the user registration and login functionality. But what about user registration without a database? So I needed the use of some sort of DataAccess base-class (As I’ve done a lot in COM and .NET development). The Data baseclass allows met to execute queries on the database without having to open and close the database and entering username and password time after time again. Execute the query and continue with the result, dynamic queries and arguments, etc… Nice work πŸ˜‰

OK, so we have data access, back to the user registration and login.

But how can I handle user login, without some sort of state or session management? That’s when I started with the State, State->Cookie and State->Session classes. This allows me to choose wether I want the user state to be implemented using cookies or using session variables (which uses a cookie also, but can be deployed without using a cookie). Of course the regular session and cookie functionality is (or will be) implemented.

Another step taken… Back again to user registration and login.

So an unregistered visitor comes on the site and gets a ‘Register’ link. This shows a popup where he can enter a user name and an email address for registration, along with optional personal data. While I was creating the register-form, I tought: “Why type the same stuf over and over again and change some id’s and labels each time, just to create a simple form?” And the answer was: “to realize that this stuff needs to be in the framework as well!”

So the Form and Form->FormField classes were born. Now I can simply create a form by specifying some variables, some formfield variables and nothing more. This will save me a lot of time, espacially if I add form-validation to it. But that’s something for the (near) future.

That’s what has been done in the past weeks (I’ve got a daytime job you know, and I don’t have time every day and sometimes I realy don’t feel like working in the evening, that way it ook weeks for this).

The next post will be about what I was working on in the past days and what (problems) I came up to.

Stay tuned!