Interesting Analysis of the State of Microsoft’s Software Development Tools

The Register published an interesting article on the state of Microsoft’s software development tools today – it focuses on tools for developing desktop apps. Although well written, the article doesn’t make up-beat reading and is in fact quite depressing. WPF and related development tools have been let languish for so long now it is hard to see if it can be brought up to scratch in any reasonable time-frame….

I suppose the message is that things have moved on and that most apps that are consumed on the desktop, except in a few niche areas (machine vision being one of them?), will be delivered on the web via our new friends HTML5, javascript, angular.js et. al.

What do you think? Does Microsoft have the ability or the will to pull out of this nose dive? I hope they do as they have been leaders in this area before and it is a shame to see things decay….

Where is the FxCop installer at?

If you, like many others (including me!), are slightly confused about where and how to install Microsoft FxCop and you don’t want all the extra hassle and work of installing the huge Windows 7 SDK just to get an installer which will then install FxCop – then have a look at this blog post:


If you take a look at the comments you will even see that there is a direct link to the full FxCop installer, which I couldn’t possibly recommend that you use!


Dynamic Tile Generation for Microsoft #Deepzoom

Here is an old but interesting article about how to dynamically provide image data to Microsoft Deepzoom as the user pans and zooms:


Scroll to the section called ‘Making Dynamic Deep Zoom Even Better’, this could be very useful! I had thought that it would be easy enough to find more posts about getting deepzoom to work of dynamic data but I can’t find many!!


Get a Visual Studio 2010 .NET Setup Project to Update a Previous Installation

Here is a good post about getting an Visual Studion Setup project to generate a .msi that will update a previous installation rather than demanding that the existing install be uninstalled before it can be reinstalled:


I followed the steps in the ‘How to update your product’ section.


The only catch is that the setup project will only update files that have had their version number changed even if the files them selves _have_ changed. To ensure that all files are included in the installation package, I had to make sure that all of the projects in my solution changed their version numbers on each build, to do this I edited each project’s AssemblyInfo.cs file and replaced:


[assembly: AssemblyVersion("")]
[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion("")]


[assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.*")]
//[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion("")]

This causes a new version to be generated on each build and forces the set-up project to include them in the installation package!


Microsoft to take over Nokia? – what would Jim Hacker say?

Recent denials by Nokia that they are about to be taken over by Microsoft brings this line from Yes Minster to my mind:


James Hacker: First rule in politics: never believe anything until it’s officially denied.




SQL Express 2008 – Can’t login using SQL Authentication

In the Software Development game there are always plenty of annoying problems that will just eat up your time, what I really hate is being caught out by the same annoying problem more than once… I have been caught out by this one before so this time I am going to write it down!


So the situation is that you just can’t login to Microsoft SQL Express 2008 via the Management Studio or by any other means using the ‘SQL Authentication’ method. You can login using ‘Windows Authentication’ fine, and can then add SQL users and change their passwords and configure their permissions etc. etc. but you can never login with these users…


If you are experiencing the above the most likely cause that ‘SQL Authentication’ isn’t enabled at all! And Management Studio doesn’t bother to remind you of this when it lets you add, configure and enable such logins.


Well, to check if ‘SQL Authentication’ is enabled, and to enable it if it’s not try the following:


Login into Management Studio, right click on your server and choose ‘properties’. Click on the ‘Security’ tab, make sure that the ‘SQL Server and Windows Authentication Mode’ radio button is checked and hit OK.


Hopefully all of your SQL logins will work now, ours did!


If after you have done this, you still can’t login as ‘sa’, edit the users’s properties and under ‘Status’ tab, make sure that the ‘Login:’ radio button is set to ‘Enabled’ – It may have been disable during installation.

Current Directory / folder of a Batch file run As Administrator

It is a very lucky software developer that doesn’t have to interact with a microsoft windows batch file (.bat) ever now and again, recently my luck ran out and I came across a funny problem:


In windows 7, if your batch file does anything interesting (such a registering a COM dll) you may have to run it ‘As Administrator’. When you run it as administrator you may notice that a strange thing happens, it may be run with a different current/working folder to the folder in which it resides – whereas when run normally its current folder is its local folder.


This can be a real problem if the batch file needs to reference other files in its folder (such as the COM dll to be registered in my example above…)


Well not to worry, it turns out that to change batch file’s current directory to its local directory we just issue this rather esoteric command at the top of the file:


pushd %~dp0


The pushd bit I get, as for the rest….. well I am just glad it works!