Shout out for the Scottish Ruby Conference #scotruby

Back in 2010 I dabbled with Ruby (remember when Microsoft was still doing stuff with IronRuby) and during that period I attended the Scottish Ruby Conference – and thoroughly enjoyed it! I was surrounded by a see of Apple products wherever I sat and stared at very little GUI IDE on the stage (I recall a lot of VIM and Emacs). It was so different from my “day job” and I left with huge respect for the then small but passionate community.

Well, my twitter #scotruby tells me it is on again today. It looks like a beautiful day in Scotland and a big part of me wishes I was there.



Visual Basic 6 is still going strong

I like C#. I like the .NET Framework.

Pretty much every software challenge a client throws at you can be solved using C# and the .NET Framework. Which is marvellous. It gives you confidence that you can deliver solutions.

However I also know that a for a lot of those challenges, they can be more swiftly solved using … Visual Basic 6.

Somehow at work we got onto this topic today. My own view is “getting stuff done” is still harder today than it once was with languages such as Visual Basic 6 (or indeed others from the era such as SQL Windows). That chat lead me to have a quick look at the “state of Visual Basic 6” in 2014:

Interesting isn’t it?

A lot has been written about the strengths (and weaknesses) of Visual Basic 6 but for me it really boils down to:

  • It is simple to learn and to master
  • It is an early example of opinionated software (think Rails but for Client/Server and desktop)
  • It was “powerful enough” to solve a large class of problems (pre-Web)
  • It didn’t get between you and the problem

I also recalled that Scott H had posted something on this before I left Microsoft end of Dec 2012. Here is his take.

It has a great line in it:

The things that Visual Basic 6 did still need doing. – David Platt

How true…

FREE Building Real-World Cloud Apps with Windows Azure e-book (Jan 2014)

Not the one I did back in 2010 (which is now horribly out of date!), rather a shiny new one which walks you through a patterns-based approach to building real-world cloud solutions. It covers the development process as well as architecture and coding practices.

Download the E-book (PDF) and optionally the companion Fix It Project

The content is based on a presentation developed by (the awesome) Scott Guthrie

  • Norwegian Developers Conference (NDC) in June of 2013 (part 1, part 2)
  • and at Microsoft Tech Ed Australia in September, 2013 (part 1, part 2)


My first northern technology get together…or rather net-together …

…was fabulous.

Hence I just wanted to give a shout out for Digital Union (“The voice of the digital and creative sector in North East England”) who put on the excellent Summer Net-Together in Gateshead last week. Sunshine, great venue, great food, great people and a chance to understand a little more about the digital scene in the region now I have moved up here.

And as a direct result of one conversation (you know who you are!), I will be making the time to dig into in the coming weeks.

Finally a thank you to my company Waterstons for allowing me to take one of the free tickets they received as members of Digital Union.

Fix to blank LightSwitch app bug with Visual Studio 2012

I needed to populate a database I’m designing with some test data and thought to myself “LightSwitch will be ideal to knock out some screens”.

One hour later I got a LightSwitch screen to actually display! Until then all I got when running it in Desktop mode (the default) was a blank window hosting Silverlight (right click to verify)

After lots of searching and playing around I found the answer near the end of this very long thread

  1. Navigate to the Client.Properties folder inside your project
  2. Open OutofBrowserSettings.xml
  3. Change <SecuritySettings ElevatedPermissions=”Required” /> to <SecuritySettings ElevatedPermissions=”NotRequired” />
  4. And you may also want to then make the file readonly

 Now, when this happens again I will be able to find my own post to resolve it! Enjoy!

P.S. This isn’t specific to Visual Studio 2012 … but the post title corresponds to how I was searching 🙂