Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

It's all about community!

February, 2007

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    TechEd Thinking Part 3a - More Badge Fun


    I've had some great comments on yesterday's post about the TechEd Badge. As well as his comments Rob's pinged me offline and suggested including your certification, and perhaps any user groups you belong to. What about whether you're an MCT or MVP? I can see a whole range of possibilities. What if we were to provide an area at the bottom of your badge for stickers (let's call them, oh, say, tags). Frank's might look something like this:

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    TechEd Thinking Part 3 - What should we have on your badge?


    I'm sitting down with Tania, the event owner for TechEd Australia and we're puzzling over what should go on a TechEd attendee badge. Last year we had your Name, a choice of 4 "Classifications" (ITPro, Developer, etc) and an option for a one line "Passion", be it technical or otherwise.

    What would you like to see this year?

    • Same as last year?
    • Link to blog?
    • One line on what you want to get out of TechEd?
    • Top 2 products or Technologies you work with?
    • Any more?
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    ECMA Office Open XML Session at OzFox


    [Update - Fixed link to presentation. Thanks yag]

    Last night I delivered my session at OzFox - Creating Office OpenXML Documents in VFP.

    Recently adopted as an ECMA standard, and currently undergoing the approval process for ISO adoption, the new Office Open XML document formats are the native format for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007.

    The huge advantage that this format has over the previous ones is that it is completely documented and allows programmatic creation of Office documents without requiring the Office client applications.

    In this session, Andrew will introduce the structure of an Office Open XML document and will demonstrate how to create and modify documents from within VFP, all without ever having to run any of the Office apps in the process.

    As promised, the slides for the session are here, and the (tiny amount of) code is here.

    One of the things that came up in the session that wasn't covered in the slides was the enhancements to the =rand() function in Word2007 ;)

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Enabling the Word 2007 Developer Tab


    One of the things that took me the longest to do when I was prepping for my OzFox Session was also one of the simplest - enabling the Developer tab in the Word 2007 ribbon. The Developer tab looks like this:

    Word 2007 Developer Ribbon

    and it allows you to do things that a Word developer might need to do, including adding content controls. By default though, it's not enabled. To switch it on, choose Word Options from the Word Menu:

    Word Menu

    Make sure you've got the Popular group highlighted, and check the box that says "Show Developer Tab in the Ribbon".

    Word Options Dialog

    Yeah, I guess I should have found that sooner.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    OzFox 2007 Kicks off in Sydney


    I'm sitting in the keynote of OzFox, Australia's FoxPro Conference. Craig's kicking things off and is about to introduce Rick Schummer and Doug Hennig. The keynote's called "The Future of VFP", and here are my raw notes from the session.

    The future of VFP

    Service Pack 2

    • Currently in CTP
    • New components in the VFP core
    • Bug Fixes
    • Vista Compatibility
    • Reporting Enhancements


    • Extensions to functionality (xBase tools)
    • Data Explorer Enhancements
      • Bug Fixes
      • Improvements
      • SQL ShowPlan - RunQuery Dialog like SQL Query Analyser, ShowPlan also works with views
      • Options Dialog
      • Integrates with Upsizing Wizard
      • Will ship with source code in XSource
    • NET4COM
      • Library of COM classes wrapping some of the .NET FX
      • Includes .NET Source Code and Samples
    • DBi Technologies' components
    • My
      • Emulates My Namespace in VB2005
      • Provides discoverable, easy-to-use classes
      • Extendible with your own classes using included builder
      • Documentation!
    • Upsizing Wizard enhancements
      • Updated UI, streamlined steps
      • More connection choices
      • Performance improvements
      • Better upsizing
        • Handles empty dates
        • Trims characters going to VarChar
      • Can run as engine with no UI
    • Vista Toolkit
      • Currently considered for Inclusion (and in the CTP)
        • MSFeeds (RSS store)
        • Desktop Search
          • OLEDB Provider to Windows Desktop Search
          • Great testbed app from Craig Boyd
        • New Common Dialogs
          • Great testbed app from Craig Boyd
      • What about the following?
        • XAML
          • Nice demo of XAML rendering in a VFP form
        • XPS Listenter
    • Other Components
    • Some of these available now as CTP


    Other CodePlex Projects

    • ActiveVFP - Framework for putting VFP on the web
    • MTMyVFP - Multi-threading VFP classes
    • VFPWebCrawler - Project to crawl and index web sites.
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    SharePoint and ASP.NET AJAX


    I had some great questions after my session at the ISV Innovation Day in Melbourne yesterday. One was around using ASP.NET AJAX functionality in SharePoint. Completely coincidentally, Darren posted about this yesterday. He pointed to Mike Ammerlaan's great post. There was also discussion on this topic internally recently and it turns out that Eric Schoonover posted on the topic and that there's a relevant CodePlex project. Scott Guthrie also blogged about it (he also gives Darren's book a big plug in that post).

    My Book

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    ASP.NET AJAX Online Training


    Via Brian Goldfarb.

    Microsoft Learning have just released Clinic 5230: Developing Enhanced Web Experiences with Microsoft® ASP.NET AJAX Extensions. From the course description:

    In this 2-hour clinic you will learn about the rich functionality that ASP.NET AJAX Extensions provides for building highly responsive and enhanced web applications. In addition to learning about the different server and client components of ASP.NET AJAX, you will also learn how to build new ASP.NET AJAX applications and how to upgrade existing ASP.NET applications to take advantage of ASP.NET AJAX.


  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Great Media Centre Resources


    Tomorrow, during the Melbourne leg of the ISV innovation days, I'm going to be talking about some of the sensational things developers can achieve using the plumbing Vista provides. One of the products I'm going to use to demo this is Niall Ginsbourg's Big Screen Weather, a great Media Centre Addin for Windows Vista.

    After Niall and I chatted this morning, he sent me a note with some awesome resources for Media Centre development.

    Media Center Sandbox - ‘unofficial’ Developer site run by Microsoft Media Center Platform team. This is the best place to ask MC developer questions :
    Site :
    Blog :

    My Blog ( “Big Screen Blog”) – with lots of info on Media Center, MCPL and WPF : 
    Blog :
    - See  ‘MCPL Snippits’ tagged articles for developer examples - .

    Aaron Stebner’s Blog (MSFT corp US / Media Center Platform Team) :

    Charlie Owen’s Blog (MSFT corp US / Media Center Platform Team) :

    Ian Dixon (UK MVP – runs the “Media Center Show” Podcast on TPN) : Blog :

    There’s also a hugely popular Media Center end-user/support forum site running in Australia at  - which has more than 30,000 members (a lot of visitors come from o/s as well) – and is a great place to get setup/configuration help for Media Center (and for getting Australian EPG’s working).  The worldwide ‘equivalent’ of this site is at  (which caters mainly for US/Canadian and European users).

    Thanks Niall!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    IE7 Shortcut - Add a custom domain to a website address


    For a long time now, I've used the Ctrl+Enter shortcut in Internet Explorer (and many other browsers I've used) to surround a website name with www. and .com, so typing microsoft into the address bar and pressing Ctrl+Enter will take you to Very neat, very efficient, saved me heaps of keystrokes over the years.

    It's always been a bit of a pain that there wasn't a way to go to other top level domains as efficiently. Up to now.

    Hidden away in the language settings in IE7 is the ability to add another domain suffix to the Ctrl+Shift+Enter shortcut. I've added, but you might want to add .org, or or something else that's relevant to you. The only problem is that it's a real pain now when I go to someone else's machine and this shortcut's not set up (a bit like using a mouse without a wheel, or an operating system without a search bar in the start menu).

    In IE 7, go to Tools|Internet Options.

    Tools|Internet Options

    Click the Languages button and set the suffix to the domain of your choice.

    Language Preferences

    Now the Internet's your oyster (if it wasn't already).

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    New SQL Server CE Portal


    Nick Randolph just pinged me to tell me about a new portal he's set up for people using SQL Server CE. His post about it is here.


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