January 2006 Archives

This is a book called "Working with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005" by Marc Young, Brian Johnson and Craig Skibo, which is an update of their "Inside Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003" book. Really great book explaining Visual Studio 2005 internals and ways to extend it. But you can't buy it. Weird huh? Instead you can download it as a benefit when registering your copy of Visual Studio 2005. Go to Help/Register Product menu item and once you done you should get an email with links how to download the book (along with bunch of other cool stuff like free icon collection) from the Visual Studio Benefit Portal.


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Another alternative to purchasing a hexadecimal calculator is to obtain a TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) program such as SideKick which contains a built-in calculator. However, unless you already have one of these programs, or you need some of the other features they offer, such programs are not a particularly good value since they cost more than an actual calculator and are not as convenient to use.
This is from "The Art of Assembly Language" book by Randy Hyde. Looks like software industry made some progress since then.

"XSLT 2.0 in .NET" survey at the XML Lab site ends in a week.

Vote now and get a chance to win the "XSLT 2.0" book by Mike Kay!

When the survey ends one lucky survey taker from whatever part of the world choosen randomly will get the book.

Note: you have to be registered on the Xml Lab site to vote. Sorry, but I need some simple way to identify the winner. Registration is simple and public - no email verification or something like, just fill in your name, password and email and then vote.

Now that XslCompiledTransform in .NET 2.0 supports exsl:object-type() extension function I think a little intro is needed as this is really new function for Microsoft-oriented XSLT developers.

Yahoo! tests RSS ads

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I've got an invitation to participate in Yahoo! Publisher Network Beta program, which seems to be another targeted ad system just like Google AdSense, but already supporting ads in RSS feeds. They support MovableType and WordPress. Alas I couldn't even login - it's currently USA only and USA tax information is required to setup an account. Why it has to be so lame?

XQuery Style Conventions

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Creators of the XQDoc, a free tool for documenting XQuery modules have released XQuery Style Conventions. They claim the document to be to be based on experience and feedback from the XQuery development community. It does seem ok to me. In a perfect world every programmer would follow style conventions of course. But we live in another kind of world...

As many other Microsoft MVPs I've been given 3 "Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite with MSDN Premium Subscriptions" redemption cards to share. So now I'm having hard time looking for smart ideas how to do so. One card I would give to Kevin Downs, the guy who runs NDoc if he still has no MSDN subscription, but for the rest two I probably would go the way my fellow MVPs went and arrange some sort of contest. XML contest, of course, hmmm. Ummm, any ideas, anyone?

Autumn grasshoppers

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My wife's been chasing grasshoppers this fall:

Sometimes it's useful to detect which XSLT engine your XSLT stylersheet is being executed by, e.g. to shortcut processing using an engine-specific extension function or to workaround a bug in particlular engine. Now that Microsoft alone ships 3 different XSLT engines - MSXML3/MSXML4/MSXML5/MSXML6, XslTransform and XslCompiledTransform, detecting XSLT engine from within XSLT stylesheet may be vital requirement. Here is how it can be done.

There are two new killer but undocumented features in Microsoft .NET 2.0 pertaining to EXSLT. Anybody like me regularly digging in System.Xml assembly probably knows it, but general audience is still unaware. So I want to share these secrets.

You say you know XSLT well? Try answer this quiz of XSLT 1.0 oddities by James Fuller.

15 years old C# MVP

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This guy Matt Cassell is 15 years old and now he's got C# MVP award. Boy, I feel like a dinosaur now...

Almost 2 years ago I published a post "Transforming WordML to HTML: Support for Images" showing how to hack Microsoft WordML2HTML stylesheet to support images. People kept telling me it doesn't support some weird image formats or header images. Moreover I realized it has a bug and didn't work with .NET 2.0. So finally I updated that damn stylesheet. Now I took another Microsoft WordML2HTML stylesheet as a base - that one that comes with Word 2003 XML Viewer tool. I think it's a better one. Anyway, I added to it a couple of templates so images now get decoded and saved externally and headers and footers are processed too (only header/footer for odd pages per section to be precise). Note: this stylesheet uses embedded C# script to decode images and so only works with .NET XSLT processors, such as XslTransform (.NET 1.1) or XslCompiledTransform (.NET 2.0). You can also run it with nxslt/nxslt2 command line tool. Here is a small demo.

Trying out natural keyboard

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I've never tried working with natural keyboards. Somehow I thought they are kinda unnatural :) Now I want to give it a try, may be this new Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000:

Seems like people love it. It's great to see the latest Microsoft keyboard with standard 2x3 home/end key location set. Damn F Lock button is turned on on reboot, but happily little registry hack by Jason Tsang can fix it.

The only thing I dislike about model 4000 is that nasty cord. It's not wireless! And I hate cords on my desk. Anybody knows if Microsoft plans to release wireless version?

Beginning 2006

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Happy New Year everyone, I hope you are not sick and depressive as I am. But I'm slowly recovering...

Good news in the mailbox yesterday - I got Microsoft MVP Award again, third year in a row, 2004, 2005 and now 2006. In the "Windows Server System - XML" category. Well, thanks! That's cool to be Microsoft MVP btw. You own nothing to Microsoft (well, except NDA) and get private access to internal information and people as well as nice benefits. And all it takes - helping people, which is nice on its own.