Category: Development

CloudDatabaseDevelopment

WebsiteSpark Members Now Have Access To Windows Azure Benefits

Microsoft’s WebsiteSpark program has been updated to now include Windows Azure benefits. If you’re a member of this program then you should have or will be receiving an email to update your account.

You will need to login to your WebsiteSpark account and then click to update your account to include the new Windows Azure benefits.

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Here is what is included…

WebsiteSpark members can now get up to $1400 in annual Windows Azure resources to design, develop and deploy their site in the cloud. You will also get to keep at no charge, an Expression Web license upon completion of the 3 year program.

Here is additional information about the WebsiteSpark Azure Offer Details:

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In order to take advantage of these additional program benefits, you will need to do this prior to 12/18/2012.

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CloudDatabaseDevelopment

Exploring Windows Azure

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If you don’t already know what Windows Azure is, then it’s Microsoft’s public cloud.

Microsoft’s Windows Azure is flexible, open and rock solid. Windows Azure allows you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any OS, Language, Database or Tool and it has a 99.95% monthly SLA.

One of the new features I noticed is FREE Web Sites. It allows you to start for free and scale as you go.

When they say open, they have greatly expanded the development languages, framework and tools available, all of which are open source and available on github. Cool!

There are also changes in what servers you can use. Apart from Windows, you can now also install Linux as well in virtual machines.

Azure is really transforming into a cloud that isn’t just limited to the Microsoft technology stack, not that there is nothing wrong with that. I love Microsoft technologies, but I think Microsoft make a smart decision to open up and allows Linux, mySql and other languages to be used.

Speaking of languages, there is now support for 5 major languages and then some.

Languages

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Developer Features

Data Storage

  • Blob Service
  • Table Service
  • SQL Database
  • SQL Reporting
  • Hadoop

Messaging and Integration

  • Service Bus Queues
  • Service Bus Topics
  • Queue Service
  • Service Bus Relay

Additional Features

  • Caching (AppFabric)
  • Access Control
  • Diagnostics
  • Autoscaling
  • Media Services
  • SendGrid Email Service
  • Twilio

Free Trial

With the free trial you can…

  • Quickly deploy websites to a highly scalable cloud environment
  • Easily deploy and manage virtual machines running Windows Server and Linux
  • Create highly scalable applications in a rich PaaS environment
  • Create, manage and distribute media in the cloud

The free trial contains:

compute 750 small compute hours per month
web sites 10 shared web sites
relational database 1 GB SQL database instance
storage 20 GB with 1,000,000 storage transactions
bandwidth unlimited inbound and 20 GB outbound

There is a lot that can be done with Windows Azure and the only way to know if it’s right for you and your organization is to give it a try and see what you think.

Get started now:

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Development

First Look at Visual Studio 2012 RC

First you will notice that Visual Studio 2012 gets an updated logo. Falls in line with the Metro theme that is being applied to just about every product these days.

VS2012 Logo

Visual Studio 2012 sports a new installer UI. It clearly embraces the Metro style.

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These UI changes are not final. It’s already been posted on the Visual Studio Team Blog that further changes to the Visual Studio themes are coming but just didn’t make the release candidate.

Please see my blog post about these theme changes:
Permalink to Visual Studio 11 Gets a Dark Theme

Development

Visual Studio 11 Gets a Dark Theme

I came across an interesting article on the Visual Studio blog, which shows a dark theme coming to Visual Studio 11…cool!

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Along with this dark theme, we will also see other improvements to the IDE such as:

  • Themed Icons (which they will provide to us for use in our applications)
  • Themed Scrollbars (finally)
  • Dark Editor Theme
  • Common Dialogs (will get the dark theme too)

Here is a screenshot that brings it all together, showing a dark themed Visual Studio 11 with the Windows 8 simulator running in the foreground.putting it all together

You can read more about this on the Visual Studio blog.

Cheers

Development

ResXFileCodeGeneratorEx Update for VS2010

If you were using this tool in Visual Studio 2008 and then upgraded your solution to Visual Studio 2010, you might have noticed that this functionality no longer worked. You also might have received an error, which you dismissed.

ResXFileCodeGeneratorEx is an awesome tool and I’m surprised it still hasn’t been officially updated to support Visual Studio 2010.

Well after doing some digging around, I found an article with a work around that enables this functionality in Visual Studio 2010. Here are the instructions to get it working on your machine, followed by an example:

  1. Shut down Visual Studio 2010.
  2. If you don’t already have the tool ResXFileCodeGeneratorEx downloaded and installed, please do so. You can get the latest installer from http://dmytro.kryvko.googlepages.com/
  3. Save the attached file in this email and remove the .temp extension.
  4. Double click the attached file that you renamed and have it add its contents to your Registry.
  5. Restart Visual Studio 2010.

Here is a working example of how to use the tool. Say you want to add a new entry to the PageText.resx resource file contained in your solution and the entry was “Abandoned”:

  1. Open up PageText.resx by double clicking the file.
  2. Add “Abandoned” in the name and “Abandoned” in the value.
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  3. Click Save.
  4. Next right click on PageText.rex and click on Run Custom Tool as shown below…
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  5. Now you can reference this value from your code by typing in PageText.
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Hope that helps.

DatabaseDevelopment

SQL Server Management Studio 2012 –Tips and Tricks

One of the biggest changes to SQL Server 2012 is that is now uses the Visual Studio 2010 Shell. Knowing that now, here are a few tips and tricks for SQL Server Management Studio 2012

Blocked Selection

Sometimes you may only want to select and copy a column of text as opposed to the normal text selection done by holding down the Shift Key. To do Block selection, you can do SHIFT+ALT and drag your mouse to only select certain areas of your text in column fashion.

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Cycle through Query Windows

I’ve known about ALT+TAB to cycle through programs (Windows). I’ve also known about CTRL+TAB to cycle through components within a given application. For example in Excel you could use CTRL+TAB to move between worksheets. I’ve never tried it in Management Studio, but it allows you to cycle through the Query Windows.

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Also, CTRL + F6 will cycle through the actual tabs without the graphic switching display.

Status Bar

Most people should be familiar with the Status Bar at the bottom of the query window, but did you know you can customize it?

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If you look under Tools –> Options –> Text Editor –> Editor Tab and Status Bar you will see a number of options that you can change.

Grouped Connections

You can go to View and select to show Registered Servers. Within Registered Servers you can create a group of SQL Servers. This then allows you to start a query that will be run against all of the servers within the group. This is where the Group Connection Color for the status bar comes into play.

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This could be really handy if you need to execute items across multiple servers. The color of the status bar is there to help you realize that that query is a group query as opposed to a single server connection.

Keyboard Shortcuts

There are a ton of Keyboard shortcuts that you can use within Visual Studio. The default settings are based on Visual Studio 2010. Here is a list of those shortcuts. SQL Server Management Studio Keyboard Shortcuts

You can get to these through Tools -> Options -> Environment/Keyboard

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I hope these are useful to you.

DatabaseDevelopment

SSDT – Schema Compare Improvements

Schema Compare is an incredibly useful tool, providing a visual head over SSDT’s model differencing and update engine. It can be used to compare any combination of database, project or dacpac, and allows selective update of the target schema (via an update script in the case of a dacpac). We’ve made some significant changes to the tool for the RTW release, improving its look and feel, particularly to make it easier to digest and process comparison results. This post describes many of Schema Compare’s key features – some of which surfaced in CTP4 – with a screen shot at the bottom that highlights several of them.

First, the visual comparison ‘language’ of the results grid:

Differences-Only by Default: By default the grid contains differences only (with empty folders removed) – if there is only one difference you will see just one item. And the grid always contains all the actions resulting from the comparison – while you can hide an action temporarily within a contracted group it is always present in the grid and will apply to the update or script unless you exclude it by unchecking the action.

Equal Objects filter:
A toolbar button adds equal objects to the grid. Enabling this is useful if you want to review, for example, unchanged columns alongside the changed columns in a table.

Unsupported Actions filter: You can also choose to see unsupported actions – these result from differences for which there is no supported action that can be taken on the target. These typically result from differences in server objects or built-in types between schema versions.

Action Icons: Actions (Add, Change, and Delete) are visualized using icons, making it easier to absorb a set of changes at a glance. The checkbox alongside an icon indicates if the action will be included in the update or generated script. If there is no icon the item will not be included in an update or script.

Grayed Items: Items that do not contribute to the update are grayed – excluded actions, unsupported actions and equal objects are all grayed. Folders are grayed when all their contents are grayed making it easy to see when a group of differences have all been excluded without you needing to drill in.

Grouping: By default, items are grouped by action so you can quickly assess what changes will be made on update. You can also group the results by object type or by schema. You can expand or collapse a group to temporarily hide detail, and you can exclude all or include all objects in a group.

Refactor Highlighting: Schema Compare processes the refactor log if present when targeting a database. Refactoring is indicated in the grid as a change action with the source name bolded to highlight the new schema and/or name. Refactoring will cause objects to be renamed in the database. Refactoring sometimes also shows up as a second order effect on other objects that SQL Server will modify when applying the rename. These will not be marked as actions in the grid as you cannot exclude them, but you will see the changed script if you select the affected object.

Probably the biggest set of changes affects the script difference pane. While the grid provides a great overview, to see all changes to an object in the grid you have to fully expand it, which, can quickly clutter the view if you’re reviewing many objects. To address this we’ve focused more attention on the script differencing experience – after all, you are writing and editing object scripts to begin with. Changes include:

Expanded Object Scripts: The script difference pane now shows the combined scripts for an object and its hierarchical children. This gives a complete picture of all the changes affecting an object in one easy-to-scan place. To complement this, the Next and Previous buttons step between top-level objects only. Together, these two changes can dramatically simplify scanning through the results of a comparison.

Enhanced Script Differencing: The script difference algorithm now treats child objects as discrete entities, more effectively highlighting those that have been added, deleted or changed. The color scheme is now more subtle and better reinforces the direction of changes. And remember that you can expand the script pane or swap it to the top – so you can easily optimize the layout to better focus on reviewing scripts.

The screen shot below highlights many of these improvements.

Reference
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ssdt/archive/2012/03/23/schema-compare-improvements.aspx