"Microsoft is pushing Visual Basic 2005 Express as the best language for hobbyists and novices, and are offering it free of charge from the Microsoft Visual Basic Express website. Since the price is right, and I fall into the hobbyist category, I decided to give it a try. This review is intended for amateur programmers, students and hobbyists who are interested in programming their computers."
As the final runup to Vista RTM continues, Microsoft has announced that the .NET Framework 3.0 (formerly WinFX) has RTMed and is available on Microsoft Downloads. This is a significant milestone for the Developer Division, and delivers on some of the promises of Windows Vista programmability on earlier platforms.
"Metafiles are one of two fundamental ways of representing an image. While they are not suitable for all images, photographs in particular, they have many advantages over bitmaps for charts and drawings. Peter Aitken demonstrates how to use them in .NET."
In this chapter, learn how to create, register/unregister, and deploy custom .NET cultures.
"Most developers care about application performance. Even if speed isn't the most important attribute of their software, they certainly don't want the application to be slow. But streamlining code may seem too complex, and require skills that you don't have. Relax. While code optimization certainly is the best way to improve your application's performance, you may be overlooking another option: adjusting the settings on the .NET Framework."
Matthew David introduces the new .NET 3.0 Framework, comparing it to previous releases and pointing out the fancy new features we can look forward to using.
As your projects become more sophisticated, you will need a better way to reuse and customize existing software. To facilitate code reuse, especially the reuse of algorithms, C# includes a feature called generics. Mark Michaelis discusses generics in C# in this sample chapter.
Microsoft has beta-released a developer kit for the .NET Micro Framework, a low-end software platform aimed at deeply embedded applications. The .NET MF extends the advantages of .NET and the Visual Studio toolset into small devices with tight constraints on cost, memory, processor, and/or power consumption, Microsoft says.
Microsoft keeps adding interesting new controls to the Visual Studio toolbox, but John Mueller regrets to report that many developers don't even know that those controls exist. Also, every programmer wants to create applications that are free of bugs. In this article, Peter Aitken explores the debugging tools available in Visual Studio.
Computer people are great at coming up with clever quips and phrases. One of Paul Kimmel's favorites is the term "syntactic sugar" meaning something that, like sweets, isn't necessary, but tastes good. That's what the My feature is -- syntactic sugar. The difference between the sugary gooey foods you might eat and the My feature is that My is better for you.
Simon and Tim (and team) are working on a programming technology called Software Transactional Memory (STM) which provides an elegant, easy to use language-level abstraction for writing concurrent applications that is based on widely-understood conceptual constructs like Atomic operations (and, well, Transactions...). Simon, Tim and team do all the nasty locking work for you. With STM-enabled languages, you can just concentrate on the algorithms at hand and leave the low-level heavy lifting to the sub-system.
Start learning about an important programming concept, namely objects. The more you work with Visual C#, the more you'll hear about objects. Visual C# 2005 is a true object-oriented language. This chapter isn't going to discuss object-oriented programming in any detail—object-oriented programming is a complex subject and well beyond the scope of this book. Instead, you'll learn about objects in a more general sense.
How is data sent from a Windows Communication Foundation client to a service? This chapter explains the involvement of XML serializers to improve control and optimization.
Windows INI files and its registry have both advantages and limitations, particularly from a developer's viewpoint. In this DevSource article, Peter Aitken explains what they are, and explains how .NET's isolated storage works: it provides a location on your drive that only a specific application can find and use. He explains when isolated storage is a developer's best friend, and when you shouldn't bother.
If you're old enough to remember the 1970s, the current popular fascination with fractals probably flashes you back to those halcyon days of big hair and wild imagery. Whatever your age, you'll enjoy Peter Aitken's explanation of how fractals work. You can even plug in his Visual Studio demo program and make some fractals of your own.
"Four short years ago, Microsoft unveiled its new framework/engine for programming and running applications in a virtual environment, and the world was stunned. Microsoft had introduced a run-time environment that was for the first time a true 'write once, run everywhere' implementation, but that was far from being the end. With .NET 3.0 on the loom, NeoSmart Technologies takes a look at how far .NET has come and just how long it can keep going."
Microsoft is working on a phased approach to enhancing its support for dynamic languages on the company's .Net platform. Jim Hugunin, creator of the IronPython language and a development leader on Microsoft's CLR (Common Language Runtime) team, told eWEEK that Microsoft is working to help usher in support for dynamic languages on top of the CLR in a variety of levels or phases.
The preliminary beta release of the Gardens Point Ruby.NET compiler is out. The Queensland University of Technology crew responsible for the software notes that it is a true .NET compiler. It is beta, but the team notes that it "is the only Ruby compiler that we know of for either the .NET or JVM platforms that is able to pass all 871 tests in the samples/test.rb installation test suite of Ruby 1.8.2."
NeoSmart Technologies reports on what the upcoming RTM of the Microsoft .NET 3.0 Framework means, both for developers and those seeking a look at what's coming from Microsoft's direction. It includes the positive implications this has on Microsoft's laggy development process and the benefits it'll provide to developers and system programmers too.
Regardless of what type of data you're working with or what kind of application you're creating, you will undoubtedly need to work with strings. No matter how the data is stored, the end user always deals in human-readable text. As such, knowing how to work with strings is part of the essential knowledge that any .NET developer needs to make rich and compelling applications. In addition to showing you how to work with strings in the .NET Framework, this chapter will also introduce you to regular expressions. Also, Jeff Cogswell explains how to use regular expressions to simplify and enhance the power of your programmatic string searching, matching, and replacing.