Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hanselman's Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows - updated for 2006

It's really comforting to know that I'm not the only developer in the world that has to try out every tool in existence! Scott Hanselman recently updated his Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows.

If you're a software dev ensure you're aware of every tool on the list, even if you don't install them. Seriously.

Also be sure to check out the Hanselminutes podcasts, which are always chock-full of great tips.

If this seems like a Hanselman love-fest it's probably because it is - Scott is a guy I respect and admire. Love ya work Scott, keep it up!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Microsoft loses a good one

Niall Kennedy is leaving Microsoft to start his own business. Sounds like Niall got a little fed up waiting for Microsoft to follow through on promises that were made to him about resourcing a project he was passionate about. Big companies can do that, dammit.

Having heard some of his ideas (though he probably doesn't remember, I met Niall while I was in the bay area attending one of his tech sessions) I'm convinced MS has let an amazing opportunity go begging. I can't wait to see what Niall comes up with working for himself in a startup!

Good luck Niall!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Visual Studio designer doesn't like generic controls

Generics rocks; coming from a C++ background it wasn't until .NET was blessed with generics (v2.0) that I began taking it seriously. Without at least some form of parametric polymorphism any programming language is simply hobbled.

Once the almighty Anders got around to giving us generics however, things were all rosy. I could safely (and speedily!) add and remove typed objects to my lists, write generic methods to perform operations and, generally, genericise the hell out of my code. Sure, it wasn't as powerful as C++'s templates but generics are easier to use and have their own advantages (side-stepping the code bloat issue and providing an easy way to package a generic library for example). Anyhoo, I'm using generics and I'm a happly lil' developer.

Until I try to derive from a WinForms control and create a generic class from it.

"Ohh noo, you can't do that!" complains the Visual Studio designer. "Of course I can" I reply (surely I'm not the only developer who talks to their computer?) as I scan the code for errors. There are none; the code compiles and even runs just fine. All I wanted was a type-safe CheckedListBox and generics are the perfect solution. Unfortunately the designer doesn't know how to deal with generic classes. If you create one, that's fine - but try to use it at design-time and you're in deep poo-poo. Bugger, it has a lot of great uses...

Anyone know any way around this limitation? And, for bonus points, do you know why that limitation is there (seems to me - with cursory thought - that there's no good reason for the limitation to exist)?

Annoying Bloglines 'feature'

I love Bloglines, I use it all the time to keep track of my feeds. But lately something has changed, something that is driving me nuts.

Perhaps a month ago I started noticing that when you display all the new posts from your feeds, Bloglines draws the focus to the top of the page when all the posts have finished loading. Arrgggh!

I subscribe to around 200 feeds which typically generates around 250 posts per day to read. It takes awhile for those posts to load and so I begin reading them as soon as they start to appear in my browser. Some time later I'll be midway through reading post #74 and whoosh! Back to the top I go, losing my place and boiling my blood.

[I'm lazy and haven't yet broken out the Javascript to find out why this is happening but I have two guesses. 1) Bloglines is telling the browser to give some element near the top the focus, though which one and why I don't know (it's not the search box). 2) The keyboard shortcuts implementation is interfering somehow. Just guesses, I should really get dirty amongst the code.]

It's only a small thing but please Bloglines, make it stop!

Tagging this post with "bloglines freedback" (Chris Pirillo's freedback idea is a ripper) ought to alert the Bloglines team that this is feedback for them - we'll see how we go!