Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

It's all about community!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    MapPoint Web Services Presentation and Code Posted

    • 5 Comments

    Last week I was in Canberra presenting at the Lunchtime and Late Afternoon sessions of the User Group. Athena's just pinged me to say that she's posted the slides and code here. Enjoy!

    Update - I've also got a detailed walk-through document for the demo I used as part of the presentation.

    BTW, I'll be presenting this stuff in Adelaide on July 13 and in Sydney on July 20th if you're interested in seeing it.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Building Windows Forms Webcasts.

    • 5 Comments

    I've been on leave for a couple of weeks, so I missed the start of these webcasts. To be perfectly honest though, I'll probably watch the on-demand versions anyway. I'm not really a 4am kind of person. I think this gets 2 hours better at the end of this month with the advent of daylight time here and it finishing there (6am to 7am). If only I could watch them at the gym.

    The blurb from the landing page says:

    Tune in and learn how to build Microsoft Windows Forms applications and Smart Clients in Microsoft .NET. We will take you through all the steps to build an application, as we cover object oriented concepts and delve deep into .NET. During this series of webcasts, you will learn how to create rich user interfaces, access data, and see industry-proven ways to get Windows Forms applications to market quickly. And after viewing the webcasts, you can work hands-on in the MSDN Virtual Lab.
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Tech•Ed Channel9 Video

    • 5 Comments

    Probably the most fun I had at Tech•Ed was shooting and editing footage for Channel9. Michael Kleef and I went around with a DV camera and basically shoved it into people's faces, talking to them about Tech•Ed, what they thought about the conference, and so on. Each night I streamed the footage down to my laptop over Firewire and edited it using Windows Movie Maker -- a very neat bit of software. I then uploaded the result to the corporate network the next day for the Channel9 crew to review and post on the site.

    The results will be up on Channel9 some time pretty soon. When they're there I'll put a note up here, along with the details of a little exercise you might find rewarding.

    Stay Tuned!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Free eLearning Courses Available Online

    • 5 Comments

    I'm on the way to Redmond (about an hour out from San Francisco) and clearing my backlog of "Blog This" from my email. This is a beaut!

    There are some great eLearning courses available for you to do free of charge including:

    plus lots more.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    What version of TFS am I Running?

    • 5 Comments

    Chris Birmele, our (ostensibly neutral) VSTS Technical Specialist was complaining about not being able to work out what version (Beta, RC, RTM, SP1) and which Edition (Standard, Trial, Workgroup) of TFS was running on a machine. After consulting with VSTS MVP and all-round TFS guru, Anthony Borton, I was able to point Chris to Rob Caron's article on this very topic.

    Chris was less than impressed with having to spelunk through folders and the registry so I whipped him up a command line utility to do his dirty work.

    image

    Here's the source:

    using System;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    using System.Text;
    using System.IO;
    using System.Diagnostics;
    using Microsoft.Win32;
    
    namespace TFSVer
    {
        class Program
        {
    
    
            static void Main(string[] args)
            {
                if (args.Length > 0)
                {
                Console.WriteLine("TFSVer - Version Information for Team Foundation Server");
                Console.WriteLine();
                Console.WriteLine("Usage: TFSVer");
                    return;
    
                }
    
                StringBuilder VersionInfo = new StringBuilder("Team Foundation Server Version Information\n==========================================\n");
                                                               
                // go and get the version info
                // based on Rob Caron's Blog Post http://blogs.msdn.com/robcaron/archive/2006/08/15/701843.aspx
    
                /*
                 1. On the application-tier computer, check the file version of Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Server.dll. 
                 
                 You'll find this file here:
    
                    %PROGRAMFILES%
                      \Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server
                        \Web Services
                          \Services
                            \Bin
    
                    Here's the key to determine which release of Team Foundation Server you have:
    
                    8.0.50727.43 = Beta 3 Refresh 
                    8.0.50727.127 = Release Candidate 
                    8.0.50727.147 = RTM (final shipping release of the product)
                    Update: The version number for Visual Studio 2005 SP1 is 8.0.50727.762.
                 */
    
                string DllVersion = "";
                string tfsVersion = "Unrecognised";
                bool RTMorLater = false;
                try 
                {    
                    FileVersionInfo TheFile = FileVersionInfo.GetVersionInfo(Environment.GetEnvironmentVariable("PROGRAMFILES") + "\\Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server\\Web Services\\Services\\Bin\\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Server.dll");
                    DllVersion = TheFile.FileVersion;
                    switch (DllVersion)
                    {
                        case "8.0.50727.43":
                        {
                            tfsVersion = "Beta 3 Refresh";
                            break;
                        }
    
                        case "8.0.50727.127":
                        {
                            tfsVersion = "Release Candidate";
                            break;
                        }
    
                        case "8.0.50727.147":
                        {
                            tfsVersion = "RTM";
                            RTMorLater = true;
                            break;
                        }
    
                        case "8.0.50727.762":
                        {
                            tfsVersion = "SP1";
                            RTMorLater = true;
                            break;
                        }
    
                        default:
                        {
                            break;
                        }
    
                    }
                    
                    VersionInfo.AppendLine(string.Format("TFS Version: {0}", tfsVersion));
    
                    // now go and find the Edition (If we're in RTM or later)
                    if (RTMorLater)
                    {
                        /*
                            If you have the RTM release, the next check is to see which edition of Team Foundation Server you have. To do this, open Registry Editor (regedt32.exe) and navigate down to this key:
    
                            HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
                              \SOFTWARE
                                \Microsoft
                                  \VisualStudio
                                    \8.0
                                      \TeamFoundation
                                        \Registration
    
                            In this key, you'll find a value named, Edition_CT, which is the clear text equivalent of the encrypted data in Edition. Here's the key to determine which edition you have:
    
                            "Full" = Team Foundation Server ("Standard Edition") 
                            "Trial" = Team Foundation Server 180-day Trial Edition 
                            "Workgroup" = Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition 
                         */
    
                        string Edition = "unknown";
                        string rk = Registry.LocalMachine.OpenSubKey("SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\VisualStudio\\8.0\\TeamFoundation\\Registration").GetValue("Edition_CT").ToString();
    
                        switch (rk)
                        {
                            case "Full":
                                {
                                    Edition = "Team Foundation Server (\"Standard Edition\")";
                                    break;
                                }
                            case "Trial":
                                {
                                    Edition = "Team Foundation Server 180-day Trial Edition";
                                    break;
                                }
                            case "Workgroup":
                                {
                                    Edition = "Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition";
                                    break;
                                }
                            default:
                                break;
                        }
    
                        VersionInfo.AppendLine(string.Format("Edition: {0}", Edition));
    
                    }
               
                }
                catch (FileNotFoundException fnfEx)
                {
                    VersionInfo.AppendLine("TFS Not Installed on this machine");
                }
    
                Console.WriteLine(VersionInfo.ToString());
                Console.WriteLine("Press any key to continue ...");
                Console.ReadKey();
    
            }
    
         }
    }
    

    And I've attached the binary project with the binaries in the Release and Debug folders.

    As usual, this is a hack without production-level quality control or any exception handling. You'll need to give it sufficient caspol permissions to read the registry and environment variables (I generally copy it to somewhere on the local machine). Use at your own risk.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Tech.Ed Australia - Update on US Tech.ed DVD

    • 5 Comments

    We’d like to advise that the session titles, recordings and PPTs are correct on the DVD you have in your delegate bag, however the session descriptions do not align to the sessions.  A corrected online version is being posted to CommNet and will be available from Thursday morning. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Learning Online with Virtual Labs - Business Intelligence

    • 5 Comments

    There are some great resources available online. I've mentioned these before in passing, but it's worth doing a full series to highlight the this sensational set of virtual labs.

    Today, Business Intelligence.

    Step into a New Business Intelligence Virtual Lab for Free Step into a New Business Intelligence Virtual Lab for Free

    It's simple—no complex setup or installation is required to try out Microsoft Business Intelligence. You get a downloadable manual and a 90-minute block of time for each module. You can sign up for additional 90-minute blocks anytime.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    ECMA Office Open XML Session at OzFox

    • 5 Comments

    [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

    Teaching "Programming" to primary school kids

    • 5 Comments

    I had a phone call last week from the head of the learning centre at my kids' school. The learning centre works within and outside the regular school curriculum with children that need help keeping up, with kids that need extending, and with kids that just express an interest in learning something else. It's a great addition to the rich tapestry that the school nurtures. The teacher that runs the centre had discovered a group of three kids in year 5 who had got together to "learn programming". She's an excellent educator, but has very little experience in software development and immediately decided that this was something that she needed some outside help for.

    I met the kids for the first time today (by the way, while I was waiting for them in the library, I watched the librarians set up a wiki on pbWiki for the students to use when discussing novels - way cool!) and we talked about what it is they want to achieve. It turns out that they want to write a game, and not just any game. They had a list of features:

    • On-line
    • Multi-player
    • Mythical Ages
    • Adventurous
    • Free and Paid Members (like Runescape)
    • Worlds can be designed and uploaded
    • Low minimum hardware and software requirements (ability to scale up when resources permit)
    • Possibility for other devices to control

    Their programming experience so far is the for ... next construct in VBA in the Excel macro editor, so we might start with our sights set a little lower and work up.

    I'm going to spend an hour or so with them a week for the rest of the school year (only 3 more weeks), and then set them a task for the holidays. Here's what I left them with this week:

    • Add me to your MSN Messenger Contacts
    • Download and install Visual Web Developer Express from http://msdn.microsoft.com/express
    • Create a personal web site with the personal web site starter kit
    • Be ready to talk about VWDE and the personal website next week
    • Email me your current web site address

     Next week we'll talk about what programming means and I'll set a little assignment on writing a web page to add up a couple of numbers and manipulate some text.

    I'm looking forward to this journey of discovery.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Read and write Office 2007 format files from versions of Office back to Office 2000

    • 4 Comments

    One of my sessions at the Ready summit is about how developers can take advantage of the new XML-based file formats for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. One of the really cool things is that your users don't even need to be running Office 2007 to read or write this format - they can be using anything back to Office 2000!

    Grab the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats and away you go. More details on using the pack are available here. Note that the pack even works for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2003 viewers!

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