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Teched Developer 2007: Day 4

09u: Using ClickOnce and XBAP to deploy Windows Forms and WPF applications by Guy Smith - Ferrier

 ClickOnce is a nice way to deploy your applications to a lot of users.  With a simple click you can put your entire application on a webserver.  Users can install the application with one or two clicks.  But, the best thing about ClickOnce is that you can update your applications to all your users by simply re-publish the application on the webserver.  Users can decide if they will install the update and can even undo the update.

The session showed the different possibilities of ClickOnce for several targets: winforms, WPF and Xbap.  There were a lot of limitations when deploying with ClickOnce.  The most important was that you only could use Internet Explorer, but this is fixed in the version 3.5 of the .Net framework.

The session also showed that you can't use ClickOnce with partial trust applications because the results in an error when the XAML element <Window> must be parsed.  To work around with this, you can use XBap ( Xaml Browser Applications ).

Finally, the session showed the limitations of ClickOnce.  For example, you can't write to the registry and you can't choose a default folder for the installation when using ClickOnce.

  

10u45: Building connected device solutions by Oliver Bloch and Frank Prengel

 This year only, 3 billion of connected devices were sold and sells are still getting higher year by year.  Microsoft offers Windows Embedded to develop software for these devices.  All the info about Windows Embedded can be found on http://www.microsoft.com/windows/embedded/default.mspx.

The devices mostly work with services, and since the release of the .NET 3.0 framework, you can also use a compact version WCF on these devices.

A couple of years ago, I developed some software that runs on a Pocket pc and I got a little bit frustrated about the limited possibilities of the technology.  Today, the technology has improved a lot, but still... I prefer developing with the full .Net framework.

 

13u30: Top 10 mistakes developers make - Tales of an over-worked IT Pro by David Aiken

 This is the overview of the 10 points of attention for the developer.  Most of them are connected with each other:

  1. Make sure that your application not only works on your machine, but works on every machine.
  2. Take care about security settings.  Most developers set the User Account Control of Windows Vista out and work under the Administrator account.  This can cause troubles when the application is transported to a machine with other security settings.
  3. Create an installer.  In this way, you can proper install and uninstall your application without leaving a serious amount of trash in the registry.
  4. Keep dependencies in mind. For example, if your application needs port 8050, check if that this port is open or not.
  5. Make sure that updates or patches can be installed with asking the end user to reinstall the application.
  6. If you upgrade or patch your application, don't only test the code that has changed, also check your entire application again, so that fixing one error don't create other errors.
  7. If a run-time error should occur after deploying your application, you must be able to check out what went wrong without visual studio is installed on the end user his machine.  Use the windows event log or another admin tool for this.
  8. Set a clear informational or error message in your log, so your immediately understand what the problem is.
  9. Don't only control if your application catches all the runtime errors, also check if the generated output still is correct after a runtime error occurs.
  10. Test your application not only in a single user environment, but also in a multi-user environment. 

 

15u45: Build your own IDE with the Visual Studio shell by James Lau

 With the release of Visual Studio 2008, it is possible to build your own custom IDE using the Visual Studio Shell.  You can make this custom IDE in 3 steps:

  • Create your shell: just start your Visual Studio and create a new project with the template ( other projects --> extensibility --> VS Shell Project ).  This requires that you have installed the Visual Studio SDK.  When you have created this project you will also see a starter kit that you can use to get familiar with building your own IDE
  • Add your extensions: add your own packages, templates en docs that you have created
  • Create your setup program and your custom IDE is ready to ship.  Deploying your IDE requires the VS Shell runtime redist.

When you are ready with your IDE, you can free distribute it.  But there are some requirements.  For example:

  • You must add your own help file
  • In the splash screen, you must add the text "Powered by Visual Studio".  This text appears standard, and you can't remove it.

More information can be found in the VSX developer center on http://msdn.com/vsx

 

17u30: Hardcore production debugging of .NET Applications by Ingo Rammer

Assume that you have already deployed your application and everything works fine on your computer.  But one or more end users keep complaining about runtime errors and you can't find no useful information in your log files.  How could you solve this problem without installing Visual Studio on the end user his machine?

The answer is the Debugging tools for windows.  These tools allows you to debug your application ( doesn't have to be a managed code application ) when already installed at the end users machine.

Ingo Rammer took notes in his session to show how these tools works.  You can download the notes at http://www.thinktecture.com/conferences.  He also has a nice blog at http://blogs.thinktecture.com/ingo/ which is worth a visit.

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