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  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    My favorite tools to optimize Visual Studio for webdev

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    How do we make Visual Studio play nicer with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, in other words more of the front-end webdev stuff?

    Visual Studio 2010, be it the Ultimate, (free) Web Developer Express or other version, is not fully optimized for front-end web development out of the box. But don’t let the default VS2010 install fool you. There is a combination of community effort and tooling enhancements by Microsoft that make VS2010 play nicer to webdevs.

    In this post you can find a collection of my favorite extensions and tools to make Visual Studio handy for web devs. I’m focusing on the tools I have used and installed myself, knowing that there are others out there. Do you have any additions for the list? Please let me know so I can add them here!

    Most of the extensions I discuss can be installed using the Extension Manager (Tools > Extension Manager). You can also download extensions through the Visual Studio Gallery.

    Web Standards Update for Visual Studio

    Web Standards Update for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 SP1

    Download Web Standards Update for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 SP1

    This is the first tool I would recommend for introducing HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript enhancements to the editor. Released by the Visual Web Developer team at Microsoft it includes HTML5 schema support, CSS3 and improved JavaScript IntelliSense.
    Although Visual Studio Service Pack 1 did bring some HTML5 schema support I advise installing this extension for improved support.

    More info at Mads Kristensen’s blog: Web Standards Update - behind the scenes

    JScript Editor Extensions

    Download JScript Editor Extensions

    You might have seen my previous quick tip on these extensions. JScript Editor Extensions are a welcome addition to the IDE.
    If you are used to having full fledged IDE optimized for C# development, things like word highlighting, outlining and brace matching are a given. Not so with JavaScript, until you install this extension.

    image
    (outlining functions example in some jQuery code)

    After installing JScript Editor Extensions you’ll get the option to Enable/Disable four different extensions: Brace Matching, JScript Intellisense <Para>, Outlining and Word Highlighter. Knowing that sometimes installing a specific extension conflicts with one of these it’s a nice option.

    image

    Make sure you check out the Channel9 video for a live demo of the extensions.

    Mindscape Web Workbench

    Download the Mindscape Web Workbench.

    Scott Hanselman has a great (as always) post on this new “Mindscape Web Workbench” extension for Visual Studio, adding support for CoffeeScript, SAAS and LESS.
    Too many new extensions for you? Don’t worry if you haven’t been doing front-end web dev lately it’s normal they sound crazy.

    • Coffeescript: CoffeeScript is a little language that compiles into JavaScript.
    • SAAS: Sass is an extension of CSS3, adding variables, mixins, selector inheritance, and more. It’s translated to well-formatted, standard CSS. With the Visual Studio extension conversion into standard CSS is automated.
    • LESS: LESS is similar to SASS in that it also adds support for variables, mixins and more but instead of having a server side or plugin translate the code into standard CSS it runs via a JavaScript library on the client.

    JSLint.VS2010

    Download JSLint.VS2010

    This is an extension of JSLint for Visual Studio, as I’m sure you are aware of by reading the tool’s title. You probably can’t escape doing web front-end without using any JavaScript. But what about applying patterns and validating code? JSLint, a code quality tool is a solution for this.

    It will hurt your feelings, that’s the promise of JSLint. No, seriously that’s their tagline but it’s more of a warning on how JSLint will hurt your feelings at the beginning but in the end make you a much better JavaScript developer. Writing JavaScript without applying patterns and best practices leaves your code unmaintainable.
    JSLint will apply a set of rules to validate your code and report issues. It helps you enforce usage of patterns and overall code structure.

    2011-09-12_0525

    2011-09-12_0548
    (//note there is a lot wrong with this little script, although it does run it’s just for demo)

    You can also try the online version at http://jslint.com

    jQuery IntelliSense

    Getting IntelliSense support for jQuery in your ASP.NET MVC 3 projects is already be happening. The default template contains the -.vsdoc.js files which have been commented for Visual Studio IntelliSense. If you want to add this support to another project just install the NuGet package “jQuery.vsdoc”, however the vsdoc files are now included in the default jQuery package so you should get them by default (jQuery version 1.6 and up).

    2011-09-12_0601

    2011-09-12_0550

    Image Optimizer (by Mads Kristensen)

    Download Image Optimizer

    A nice little extension integrated into Vial Studio, which uses SmushIt and PunyPNG for optimizing the images. Run it on a folder of images in Visual Studio to have all the images optimized. Gains of 15% to 40% are not unusual with some files I tried out.

    image

    Other tools, not tested

    • JSEnhancements: Similar to JSscript Editor Extensions, it provides outlining and matching braces highlighting for JavaScript and CSS editor.
    • CSS 3 intellisense schema
    • Chirpy: VS Add In For Handling Js, Css, and DotLess Files
    • ReSharper 6, already used by lots of developers also has support for JavaScript and CSS (note this one is not free)

    ASP.NET MVC & HTML5 templates

    As I was working on this post a tweet by @maartenballiauw got my attention:

    image

    So I did just that in the Visual Studio (NuGet) Package Manager console for an ASP.NET MVC3 project. This package adds support to MVC EditorTemplates for new HTML5 input types such as E-mail, Tel and URL. Technically not a tool for my list but interesting to mention here anyway.
    2011-09-12_0627

    So that’s it for my current list. Don’t forget, add your favorite tools to the list by leaving a comment.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    On the road to BUILD – A day of California dreaming

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    We have arrived in California to attend the BUILD windows conference starting Tuesday. From the Belgian Microsoft team we have Luc Van de Velde, Bart Vande Ghinste, Christof and myself on site. The waiting is hard but we keep ourselves busy taking in some sun to get over the jetlag on Sunday.

    Enjoy the pics Smile

    image
    Some healthy exercise before a week of sessions at the convention center.

    DSC03366 

    pano_000001
    (Photostitch of Newport Beach, done with Luc’s Windows Phone 7 – click on the picture for a higher res one)

    And to finish off, a last one of the sunset.

    WP_000351

    Another day closer to BUILD! Tomorrow is registration and some prep before the conference kickoff on Tuesday.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    PhoneGap mobile HTML5 framework adding support for Windows Phone Mango

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    clip_image002Yesterday, the Windows Phone Developer blog, together with Nitobi, announced the availability of a PhoneGap beta version supporting Windows Phone Mango. This new option to build applications targeting Windows Phone gives more choices to developers. In particular, Web developers will be able to easily leverage their HTML5 skills to target Windows Phone.

    clip_image001Nitobi's PhoneGap is an open source solution designed to give web developers JavaScript access to popular mobile device features, like the camera, GPS, the accelerometer, local SQLite databases and more, without having to write full applications. On Windows Phone Mango PhoneGap leverages the new HTML5 support provided by IE9.

    The current beta version includes most of the basic features, and includes JavaScript APIs to use Windows Phone Mango features likeclip_image003:

    • Access Device Information (UDDI and stuff)
    • Add and search Contacts
    • Connection status (network / wifi connection status)
    • Alerts/Notification (alert and confirm)
    • Media Capture (Image and Audio)
    • Camera
    • Accelerometer
    • Geolocation

    The beta version of the PhoneGap libraries can be downloaded from:

    https://github.com/phonegap/phonegap-wp7

    Windows Phone SDK 7.1 RC direct download links:

    Windows Phone SDK 7.1 RC documentation

    Stay tuned, we will provide updates and more extensive demos as progress is made. With Windows Phone Mango Released to Manufacturing and developer tools hitting “Release Candidate”, it’s the perfect time to start testing, give feedback and join the PhoneGap open source project.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows Azure Toolkits for Windows Phone 7, iOS and Android: new releases

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    clip_image001[6]

    Last week, Microsoft released the Windows Azure Toolkit for Android  while at the same time providing an update release for the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure Toolkit for iOS (iPhone & iPad). The purpose of these toolkits is to make it easier for mobile device developers – across multiple device platforms – to build applications that use Windows Azure to run back-end services that power their device experiences. The toolkits include native libraries; project templates, sample applications, and documentation that make it easy for developers quickly get started build device applications that use Windows Azure.

    Get the toolkits here: Windows Phone | iOS (iPhone & iPad) |Android

    What’s New?

    Looking for examples?

    We shipped the full source code of BabelCam, which is now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. This mobile application allows you to take a picture of text and turn it into characters while letting you translate into a different language at the same time – great for trying to understand foreign restaurant menus! BabelCam was initially created as a sample for a presentation at MIX 11. Iit is a good demo is that it uses a number of services, including Windows Azure web and worker roles, Windows Azure storage (blobs, tables, and queues), the Microsoft Push Notification Service, Project Hawaii’s OCR Service, and the Bing Translator.

    Want More?

    For more details, please refer to the following posts:

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Quick tip: (free) JScript Editor Extensions for Visual Studio

    • 2 Comments

    As more and more sites and web applications take advantage of JavaScript, it’s always nice to have better editor support for the language in our Visual Studio tools.

    There is a free extension for Visual Studio available for a few months already, which I only now found out through a newly released video on Channel9: Visual Studio Toolbox: JScript Editor Extensions.

    Damian Edwards, a member of the ASP.NET team at Microsoft joins this episode to demo the JScript Editor Extensions and talk about what can be expected in Visual Studio vNext.
    Enabling things like brace matching, outlining regions, highlighting instances of a word and more, it’s going to be a welcome addition to anyone doing JavaScript code in VS.

    >> Download the extension
    Watch the Channel9 video

    image

    Note: if you’re looking for more or extending these extensions you can start by viewing or downloading the source code from these extensions from Codeplex.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Available: Windows Phone SDK 7.1 RC with ‘Go Live’ license for publishing apps on Windows Phone Marketplace

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    Windows Phone SDK 7.1 RC is now live on the Download Center and the Marketplace is able to ingest WP7.5 apps.
    This release represents a large step for the platform, the Release Candidate (RC) build empowers the developer to not only develop their Windows Phone 7.5 apps, but it also includes a ‘Go Live’ license that empowers them to publish to Marketplace. The RC release continues to work fine with the pre-release builds of Zune and Windows Phone 7.5 that Microsoft released last month (build 7712).

    Main resources:

    This new release includes a lot of improvements including:

    • The emulator is using the RTM Build (7720) and the profiler have couple enhancements to make development and testing better.
    • NuGet is now supported in the free Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone SKU
    • Marketplace Test Kit enables you to test your app for certification on your machine. Moreover with the‘Go Live’ license included in the WPSDK 7.1 RC you can publish your apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace. If you built your app using the WPSDK 7.1 Beta 2 Refresh released last month, it should be as simple as a recompile and test.

    To finish off, I just stumbled upon this interesting post by Shawn Wildermuth: Maintaining a Project with Two Windows Phone Versions. Worth checking out.

    Happy ‘Mango’ coding!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows Phone SDK 7.1 RC available now with ‘Go Live’ license for publishing apps on Windows Phone Marketplace

    • 0 Comments

    Windows Phone SDK 7.1 RC is now live on the Download Center and the Marketplace is able to ingest WP7.5 apps.
    This release represents a large step for the platform, the Release Candidate (RC) build empowers the developer to not only develop their Windows Phone 7.5 apps, but it also includes a ‘Go Live’ license that empowers them to publish to Marketplace. The RC release continues to work fine with the pre-release builds of Zune and Windows Phone 7.5 that Microsoft released last month (build 7712).

    Main resources:

    This new release includes a lot of improvements including:

    • The emulator is using the RTM Build (7720) and the profiler have couple enhancements to make development and testing better.
    • NuGet is now supported in the free Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone SKU
    • Marketplace Test Kit enables you to test your app for certification on your machine. Moreover with the‘Go Live’ license included in the WPSDK 7.1 RC you can publish your apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace. If you built your app using the WPSDK 7.1 Beta 2 Refresh released last month, it should be as simple as a recompile and test.
  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Quick tip (link): Virtual images for testing different Internet Explorer versions

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    This question comes up a lot: web devs need a solution for testing websites on different versions of Internet Explorer. One answer to this are the “Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image” files, made available for download.

    The whole batch of VHD files has now been refreshed on August 16 2011, meaning you can use them again for a period of three months until mid-November.

    Download includes the following OS/IE combinations:

    • Windows XP SP3 with IE6 VHD file
    • Windows Vista SP2 with IE7 VHD file
    • Windows 7 SP1 with IE8 VHD file
    • Windows 7 SP1 with IE9 VHD file

    Do not that for testing on Internet Explorer 10 you can download the standalone IE10 Platform Preview 2 installer which installs side by side with IE9: http://ietestdrive.com

    >> Download VHD files at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=11575

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Dive into the summer with MSDN: The Windows Azure Platform

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    We kicked off the MSDN Summer beginning of July 2011 where we invited you to dive into the Windows Phone 7 'Mango' developer tools, Visual Studio 2010 Application Lifecycle Management and HTML5.

    Now it's time for the 4th and last topic: The Windows Azure Platform

    The holidays are just about to end, but there's still time to boost your knowledge or learn something totally new.
    During these two weeks we'll be giving the fourth and final topic of these MSDN summer issues their place in the sun, namely the Windows Azure Platform. Click through and you'll find all the best material about the Windows Azure Platform, presented based on the amount of time you want to spend on it.

    You’ll find content fitted to be consumed in 30 minutes time, half a day or a full day or more. It goes from white papers to full training kits with samples and tutorials. We also included video recordings, books and top blogs to get your knowledge on the subject a level up.

    PS. Don't forget to take the quiz and win! http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TheWindowsAzurePlatform

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Dive into the summer with MSDN: HTML5

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    We kicked off the MSDN Summer early July where we invited you to dive into the Windows Phone 7 'Mango' developer tools and Visual Studio 2010 Application Lifecycle Management.
    Now it’s time for our 3rd topic: HTML5HTML5_Logo_512

    HTML5 has become quite a buzzword lately. You might be asking yourself, should you care? Should you learn it? If you are involved with front-end applications and websites, we absolutely think you should.
    Take advantage of this special about HTML5 to dive a little deeper into one of the hot topics of the moment during the summer months. We have information geared to fit in with your busy schedule. Content is organized in three different formats:

    • 30 minutes
    • Half a day
    • Full day

    We’ve gathered top resources, downloads, videos and blogs for you to check out.

    Enjoy Summer and learning!

    PS. Don't forget to take the quiz and win.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    10K Apart: The Responsive Edition Contest open for participation

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    Our colleagues from the MIX Online team in collaboration with An Event Apart just launched the second 10K Apart contest. Last year the contest was a big success with 350+ entries in a month’s time. This year, the contest is themed to Responsive web design. Meet 10K Apart: The Responsive Edition.

    How to participate?

    Build an application that is less than 10K in size (zipped is now accepted), uses only approved libraries, works equally well on IE10 PP2, Firefox & Webkit browsers, and above all is responsive. Although not enforced, HTML5 is recommended.
    All details and FAQ over at the official site.

    The prizes!

    You mean except eternal fame? Cash, books and an entry to any An Event Apart are on the list.

    Timeline

    You have until September 12, 2011 to submit your entry.

    Go for it!

    Keep us posted if you are submitting entries and living in Belgium or Luxembourg. We want to hear from you!
    Remember this year, it’s all about Responsiveness. So what can you build in just 10K? Happy coding.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    HTML5 and IE workshop by the water, powered by Microsoft Webcafe – 25th August 2011 in Brussels

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    “An afternoon hands-on pre event on HTML5 Canvas and Internet Explorer 9”

    On August 25 we are organizing our next Microsoft Webcafe, an informal tech get-together after hours. Location this time is on the water: the Biouel Boat in Brussels. You can already register for the event on www.mswebcafe.be.

    This time however, before the actual Microsoft Webcafe takes place we’re having a HTML 5 / IE9 workshop on the same boat!
    The only thing you need to bring is your laptop. We’ll make sure you get something to eat and drink.

    Join us for this free, informal afternoon of learning and playing with two topics: creating HTML5 Canvas animations and implementing Internet Explorer 9 Site Pinning in a few clicks.
    Don’t forget to stay for the evening Microsoft Webcafe event where one of the participants will be able to present their project to the whole group. Oh, and we will have some nice prizes for the best or most creative implementations of the day!

    What is the workshop?

    The Webcafe hands-on pre-event is an afternoon session where we do two short presentations and attendees have the possibility to get their hands dirty on some new technology. There are two topics brought to you:

    • See how HTML5 Canvas lets you create cool animations and games – by These Days
    • IE9 “Pin my site”: get more brand visibility and higher engagement on your site from IE9 users. In just a few easy steps you’ll have your site “pinnable”.

    Agenda

    14h00: Get creative with the <canvas> tag
    After an introduction to HTML5 Canvas coupled to some demos you’ll get to chance to build an animation or game with the <canvas> tag.
    The animator and expert on site will be none the less than Stijn Van Minnenbruggen (@donotfold) from These Days.

    16h00: Pin your site in IE9
    Get to know how you can add value to the sites you build by allowing to pin them and build custom jump lists. Afterwards we’ll help you to pin your own site.

    We’ll pick some winners for both topics and allow them to demo what they’ve realized during the actual Webcafe that starts later that evening.

    What should I bring?

    Just your laptop and an interest in learning and participating.

    Preparing your machine:

    You can use any of your favorite tools for web development. If you want our advice and use of the free Microsoft Visual Studio tools here’s what you can already install on your machine

    Join us on the water! Register now!

    Practical details

    When:
    25th of August - 14h – 17.30h

    Where:
    (same location as the Webcafe that will be held later that day)
    Biouel boat
    Havenlaan 23
    1000 Brussels

    Register for hands-on workshop and for Microsoft Webcafe.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows Phone SDK 7.1 “Beta 2 Refresh” Released - update your phone and tools

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    Yesterday, the Windows Phone team released a refresh of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 to registered developers. The refresh consists of two parts: the release of an updated Windows Phone SDK 7.1 and the Mango OS (Build 7712). Now is the time to install the updated tools and upgrade your phone.

    1. Install the tools: as a registered developer to App Hub you should have received an activation code to Microsoft Connect. Check out the list of resources for Mango developers here.
    2. Upgrade the phone: the process to update your phone with build 7712 is pretty straight-forward if you follow the steps. Note this build is not a RTM build – it’s still a pre-release build.
      Follow the steps defined in the download manual, reading the details will save you running into issues so don’t skip that part.

    Some of the new tooling features include profiler improvements, emulator screenshot feature, support for installing NuGet with the free Windows Phone SDK tools.

    >> You can find the fully detailed info on the official blog by the Windows Phone team at

    Windows Phone Developer blog.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Register for the first networking event at Brussels’ Microsoft Innovation Center

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    Passing on an announcement from my colleagues of the MIC Brussels. After a successful MIC in Mons these past years, join the first networking event at the new MIC Brussels.

    Book your agenda and join us for the launch of the first MIC's Thursday on September the 15th!

    As you probably have read in the press, the Brussels Region and Microsoft have decided to launch together a new Microsoft Innovation Center (or MIC) in Brussels with a focus on Cloud technologies. The goal of the MICs (there are about 110 in the world) is to sustain IT innovation and local IT startups projects at a regional level.

    You are wondering what the new MIC Brussels can bring to you? You are an IT company, a startup or a student in IT and you are passionate about new business and technological opportunities?

    We would like to invite you to join us on Thursday the 15th of September, to discover our MIC Brussels project, our 2011 activities agenda and to have the opportunity to hear about YOUR projects.

    During a breath taking afternoon from 15:00 to 19:00:

    • Welcome introduction
      by Benoit Cerexhe, Minister of economy,
      and Philippe Rogge, General Manager of Microsoft Belux
    • What is the MIC? a great tool to support Local Software economy,
      by Ben Piquard, director of the MICs in Belgium
    • Presentation of the MIC Brussels activities and fall 2011 agenda,
      by Pénélope Roux, project manager
    • First MIC’s thursDay: monthly think tank about technological and business best practices in the IT industry for the local Brussels IT sector.
    • Informal discussion and closing drinks

    Register here!

    We’re looking forward to meeting you @ MIC’s thursDay ! :)

    The MIC Brussels Management Team
    Bruno Wattenbergh, Ben Piquard, Jean-Pierre Rucci and Penelope Roux.

    Follow The MIC Brussels team:

    WHEN AND WHERE:

    DATE :
    15th of September
    from 15:00 to 19:00

    VENUE :
    MIC Brussels
    Avenue des Nerviens 85
    1040 Brussels

    CONTACT :
    penelope@mic-brussels.be

    FREE EVENT

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Windows Phone 7.1 (Mango) SDK Beta 2 and device upgrade for registered developers

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    Last week, the Windows Phone Developer team announced the availability of Windows Phone OS 7.1 codenamed Mango for registered Windows Phone developers. This means that as of now, registered developers can update their retail device to the Beta 2 of Mango.

    Here are some details about this program:

    Make sure you read all the steps in detail before upgrading your phone. I took the time to go through the document fully before starting any download and must admit following each step as described worked out to perfection. I’m now a happy Mango tester!

    > Read the full announcement at the Windows Phone developer blog: Developers Get Goody Basket Full of Mangos.

    Special offer for students: get a free developer device

    Another great announcement, students can get a free special Mango developer device, by creating a mock-up for the next Windows Phone app!
    Here’s what to do:

    Some Resources

    So, what are you going to BUILD on Mango?

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