All posts in Visual Studio

imageWith the virtual launch of Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 coming up in a few days at

September 12, 2012
9:30 AM PDT (UTC -8:00)

online and although there are a bunch of awesome new features tools, frameworks and APIs in it, there are still a lot of people who find it really hard to adjust to the new Visual Studio Theme and Icon colors and haven’t given it a try yet.

Myself I find that the new theme and especially the “dark” one helps me concentrate and focus on my code instead of the application, but I can totally understand their argument.

So for those of you still hesitating there are two projects that will ease you migration to VS2012.



Visual Studio 2012 Color Theme Editor allows users to create and edit Visual Studio themes. Themes that can customize colors used for menus, toolbars, tabs, titlebars, the text editor, and other environment colors.

And Visual Studio Icon Patcher allows you to update Visual Studio 2012 with the Solution Explorer icons from Visual Studio 2010.

before.png after.png

Kudos to @sevasmios for locating these.

Microsoft recently released a new flavor of IIS 7.x that is optimized for developer scenarios called “IIS Express” as part of WebMatrix. IIS Express combines the ease of use of the ASP.NET Web Server with the full power of IIS.  Specifically:

  • It’s lightweight and easy to install (less than 10Mb download and a super quick install)
  • It does not require an administrator account to run/debug applications from Visual Studio
  • It enables a full web-server feature set – including SSL, URL Rewrite, Media Support, and all other IIS 7.x modules
  • It supports and enables the same extensibility model and web.config file settings that IIS 7.x support
  • It can be installed side-by-side with the full IIS web server as well as the ASP.NET Development Server (they do not conflict at all)
  • It works on Windows XP and higher operating systems – giving you a full IIS 7.x developer feature-set on all OS platforms

iisexpressIIS Express (like the ASP.NET Development Server) can be quickly launched to run a site from a directory on disk.  It does not require any registration/configuration steps. This makes it really easy to launch and run for development scenarios.

Unfortunately you’ll need a patch for VS 2010 and Visual Web Developer 2010 Express in order to enable you to automatically launch and use IIS Express in place of VS’s built-in ASP.NET Developer Server, which will come later this year.

For those of us too impatient to wait for a hotfix for Visual Studio to natively support IIS Express, I’ve done some searching and found a post, by Interpid Studios, to [fairly] easily setup a debugging environment for IIS Express and VS 2010.

On May 14 Microsoft Hellas is going to celebrate the release of Visual Studio 2010 in an event different from the other, in a party. So there won’t be long tiring tech sessions, just music, people, Pizzas, Beer and Visual Studio. So if you haven’t registered yet click now…


I will be there answering question about life… ehmm I meant code so come see me and have a beer with me.

P.S. Inside sources report that there will be a draw for a present you won’t believe… can’t tell more, just be there!

Last Thursday I was given the opportunity to present my first live meeting. It was part 2 of a live meeting series organized by Microsoft to get people familiar with Visual Studio 2010 and .Net framework 4.0. I spoke about C# 4.0 and Parallel computing.

Things I covered included

  • C# 4.0 Language and compiler features
    Dynamic support, Named and optional parameters, Variance (CoVariants, ContraVariants), Office Programmability
  • Visual C# IDE featues
    Call Hierarchy, NavigateTo, Reference Highlighting, Generate from usage, Intellisence suggestion mode, Live Semantic Errors
  • and Parallel programming in Visual studio 2010
    Parallel API, Parallel Profiling, Parallel debugger, Concurrency visualizer in VS2010

It was a whole different experience from other events I’ve presented since the lack of live audience (they were online) kept me focused to the topics I wanted to present. Overall I think it went very well as people seemed to be very interested and stayed online to listen till the end of the meeting.

As usual I’m posting the slide deck and source code I’ve used in the presentation so that everyone can have a look and play with the new technologies. By the way the meeting was recoded and will be published shortly at, so if you missed it, visit the site.

1_thumb The data connection builder dialog is a database tool component that’s included in Visual Studio and helps you build a connection string to a database.

Last week though the standalone source code was published at, so that anyone can use it to build a data con2_2nections independently of Visual Studio. According to the license, you can integrate and redistribute the source code with your application.

With the data connection dialog, you can perform following tasks:

  • Build/Modify connection strings.
  • Customize the data connection dialog.
  • Write your own custom data providers.


As you may already know visual studio is going to be built using WPF, so there is great anticipation on how it will look like. Unfortunately the shell wasn’t ready at this year TechEd Europe. Yesterday though Jason Zanders (General Manager, Visual Studio, Developer Division) announced the new UI of Visual Studio.

So if you’re qurius (like me) take a peak at the A New Look for Visual Studio 2010 blog post, I think you’ll find it interesting.


Most of the people I meet have this idea that they have to either buy or find an open source third party component, or (even worse) use flash, when it comes to drawing graphs for a web application or site. So I’m guessing that most people don’t know that the Data Visualization Group within the SQL Server Reporting Services Team has created stand-alone ASP.NET and Windows Forms Chart Controls for the .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008, similar to what has been already available as built-in chart functionality in SQL Server Reporting Services 2008.

Free ASP.NET Chart Controls

There are several links to get the “full package” for these free chart controls:

  • First, you can download the ASP.NET and Windows Forms Chart Controls for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 here.
  • Then download the Language Pack for the Free Microsoft Chart Controls here.
  • Download the Microsoft Chart Controls Add-on for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 here. This package provides Visual Studio toolbox integration and IntelliSense for the ASP.NET and Windows Forms Chart controls.
  • Last but not least, download the documentation and API for the free ASP.NET and Winform Chart Controls here.

You can also check-out some samples for the Microsoft Chart Controls as well as discuss them in the forums.

Yesterday I had the chance to talk at a DotNetZone event about Building Rich Internet Applications using Silverlight 2.0. It went very well, people seemed to have an active interest on this new Technology and anxiously looking forward to build real word applications (like this healthcare one announced yesterday by Tim Sneath) with it.

My session was quite long (2.5 hours – thankfully no one slept during it ;-)) so I had the chance to talk about almost all of Silverlight’s features and give a lot of demos, after all events like that, where you speak to developers, is all about demos right 😉 The topics that I covered were:

  • An Introduction to Silverlight
  • Core UI Features
  • Controls, User Controls
  • Styles and Templates
  • Networking
  • Data
  • Linq
  • Isolated Storage
  • Browser Integration

You can find all the source code from the presentation demos as well as the ppt here:

I’m also planing on uploading my session recording (yes I’ve recorded the whole thing 😉 I just need to find some space and bandwidth on the web.

Stay tuned!

Protected: Silverlight Ajax Video Screencast

Categories: Expression Suite, Silverlight, Visual Studio
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Protected: I am a Hero

Categories: Events, Off Topic, Operating System, SQL Server, Visual Studio
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