Rockford Lhotka

 Sunday, July 26, 2015

I am very excited about the upcoming CSLA .NET 4.6 release – just a few days away now.

Thanks to Jason Bock we'll now have analyzers in Visual Studio 2015 to help you identify and fix some of the most common coding errors when building business classes.

And of course we've added support for .NET 4.6, Universal Windows Platform, and the latest Xamarin iOS/Android versions.

Here’s a list of the existing/planned changes.

Sunday, July 26, 2015 12:42:21 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Windows_10_Logo.svg I installed 10158 on my Surface Pro 3 before bed last night, and having used it so far today I’m really pleased with the progress Microsoft has made since build 10130.

  • Mail and Calendar apps now work with exchange (to my extreme joy!)
  • People app now works with exchange (but still no facebook/twitter/linkedin like on the phone?)
  • My SP3 is running cool again, hopefully the battery won’t drain while asleep now (haven’t found out yet)
  • The overall feel of the OS is faster and smoother
  • The firmware update finally installed!
  • Cortana just gets better and better
  • The music app updated, and I’ve been enjoying my Xbox Music subscription all day today J

There are still some issues though.

  • Still can’t view only unread/flagged emails in the email app (this is a big issue!)
  • Still forced to use threaded reading view in email app (yuck)
  • No live tile for the weather app?
  • Numerous apps crash on launch, then often work after 2-3 more attempts (e.g. calendar, money, news)
  • Edge sometimes locks up with white blank screen after device comes back from sleep
  • The Phone companion app seems to always insta-crash
  • The twitter app crashes about once an hour (like in 130)
  • NextGenReader has no live tile (and crashes perhaps once a day like in 130)
  • Having the start menu on multiple monitors remains pointless as all apps still only start on the primary monitor

My little use of the photos app so far is inconclusive, but it seems more stable and faster.

I also haven’t switch a lot between tablet mode on/off, but it seems much better than in 130.

This update has addressed many of my concerns from 130. Keep up the good work Microsoft!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 2:27:20 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Monday, June 15, 2015

Today I moved the CSLA .NET forum to GitHub.

The old forum is now a read-only archive, and I expect it can stay that way for a couple of years until its relevance fades away.

Monday, June 15, 2015 12:05:12 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Tuesday, May 12, 2015

p710830446-5 As many of you probably know, I’ve had some serious health issues over the past couple years.

In July of 2013 I had a Type A dissection and an aneurysm in my ascending aorta (the primary vessel feeding blood to the entire body) and had emergency surgery to replace that section of my aorta. Then in September of 2013 I had something called a Type B dissection of my descending aorta (the same vessel, but the part that runs from the top of the chest through the abdomen and splits off into each leg).

Now in February of 2015 I had one of the most major surgeries a person can have, where they replaced my descending aorta with a synthetic. The incision runs from my left shoulder blade (in the back) around under my ribs to the front and down through my abdomen. They literally removed my aorta and replaced it – detaching and reattaching the connections that feed every major organ, including the spine, with blood. This took around 14 hours from start to end of the surgery, and of course I’m still recovering at this point in time.

So now I have perhaps 3-4 cm of natural aorta left, right at the very top between the replaced ascending and descending aortas, otherwise I’ve (hopefully) been rebuilt stronger, faster, and better than before. For those who catch that reference, no this didn’t quite cost $6 million, but I can tell you that without health insurance no normal person could ever pay off the resulting debt. (to be fair, without health insurance a person wouldn’t have had access to the specialists and tests to determine the need for the surgery, so they’d just have died when one of the aneurysms burst)

Between 2013 and this latest surgery they were treating the dissection medically, which meant I was taking around 14 medications every day to control my blood pressure and heart rate. The upside to this latest surgery is that I’m now on just a couple meds, so my mind is much clearer and more active than it has been in a long time – and I’m no longer super-sensitive to cold and warm temperatures, which is a constant relief!

Last week I started easing back into work, coming into Magenic and starting to actually do stuff online beyond entertainment. After binge watching untold hours of television on Netflix it is a genuine pleasure to interact with other people – especially talking tech and software development – lots of exciting stuff going on to keep anyone in our industry engaged right now!

With continued good fortune you should see me continue to become more active on twitter, blogging, and Facebook. I expect to be able to travel again this fall, so hopefully I’ll be at Visual Studio Live! Orlando and perhaps the MVP Summit in Redmond.

thKYZEKZYR I want to offer my sincere thanks to so many people who’ve provided support over the past few months and years. My wife, my kids, the rest of my family, my amazing friends (many of whom are like family), colleagues at Magenic and in the speaker/author community, The Eden Prairie Optimist Club, the CSLA .NET contributors (especially Jonny, Jason, and Kevin), the CSLA .NET community at large, and many others ranging from people I knew in high school to people around the world that I’ve never met in person.

I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom.
I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.
- William Shakespeare

Your support for my family and myself has been invaluable.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 3:26:24 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Monday, February 16, 2015

thDQW1BP2N Initial thoughts using Windows 10 consumer preview (keeping firmly in mind that there's at least one more preview before release, so everything I'm complimenting and criticizing here will probably change before release).

Perhaps most importantly, I like where they are going. I fully adopted Windows 8.1, and enjoy using it - including the start screen as well as apps from the store. I also understand how people don't like it, and prefer a more "Windows 7" experience. I share those views in terms of multi-monitor support and effective use of screen real estate on larger monitors; both are constant frustrations with Win8.

Win10 at this point feels like a pretty decent effort to make 100% keyboard/mouse/Win7 users happy while still making WinRT store apps attractive to them. And at the same time they've done a good job of allowing touch/keyboard/mouse people like myself to continue to be happy. I'm still not entirely sure they've got the pure touch user experience quite right, but they aren't done yet either.

I really like the new start menu, particularly the fact that I can set it to be full-screen since that's what I've become used to over the past few years with Win8. I get that some people like the menu view, but I find it cramped and would miss what I think of as my "life's dashboard" view that I get from the start screen. The way they've changed it in Win10 should make us all happy.

I like the fact that I can press the Windows key and just start typing the name of the app I want, just like we've been able to since … Windows Vista? As a bonus this is actually triggering Cortana and that makes me happy!

I dislike that the Places list on the start menu appears fixed. In particular, the Documents option is useless because it doesn't go to the Documents library or even OneDrive - it goes to the local Documents folder on the device, where I never store anything (because I use OneDrive). Sadly I can't see how to change this Documents option to point to a location I care about, so it just wastes space.

I'm not sure the Most Used list actually works yet. It lists a bunch of apps I almost never use (I don't think I've ever run something called 'Sticky Notes'); but I like the concept once it actually starts working.

th OneDrive has been nerfed and is nearly useless. They seem to have made it work so only way to see what you actually have is to use a web browser, or to sync everything local. I have a lot of content in OneDrive (pretty much everything) and so I can't sync local to every device because my tablet (for example) doesn't have enough hard drive. This means I need to use the web browser to download individual files or sync entire folders - a major step backward from Windows 8.1.

(I honestly think they just aren't done with OneDrive yet - this is such a major step backward to where we were perhaps 5 years ago that I doubt it is the planned experience.)

Win8 apps that use the AppBar are going to need to be rewritten to avoid it. The AppBar is really hard to bring up in touch mode, and apps (like Mail) where you need to use the AppBar to do common tasks are therefore really hard to use. Other apps, like NextGen Reader, that already show many common tasks as icons on their main screen were and are easy to use and probably are the future of modern app design.

You can see this in the new preview Word, Excel, etc. apps too. I'm not even sure if they have an AppBar, but they do have a ribbon that's easily accessible.

The same is true with the charms functions. Particularly Search, Settings, and Share need to be on every app's main UI because they are too hard to get to in the new Win10 UI model. Existing apps that have their own search, settings, and share buttons on the main UI seem just fine, but many apps followed Microsoft's (old?) guidance about the charms bar and are pretty hard to use now.

th4EJAOBW1 Search is particularly confusing now because Win-Q brings up Cortana, never a contextual search for the current app. I actually think that's fine, but I think we do need some standard shortcut key for search in the current app (maybe ctl-F or F3?).

I wish that all apps (especially the browser) could go into a real full-screen mode when I'm in tablet mode. I'm not 100% sure why even old Win32 apps couldn't go into a borderless mode at this point. Perhaps there's some technical reason, but if every app could be made borderless full-screen that'd make me happy on my tablet.

When I'm in a full-screen modern app and accidentally open a Win32 app or dialog the result is that the modern app switches back to windowed mode. I guess I'm not entirely sure what should happen in this case, but when I'm in tablet mode I really don't expect or like the idea of my full-screen apps being reduced to windowed mode out from underneath me. That's very jarring.

The new Notifications area is very nice. I've started using that very naturally and it just feels good and provides good information. This kind of fits under the "its about time" category of change.

I miss being able to bring up the charms bar to get the clock. In fact, I don't see how you can view the date/time when using a full-screen app unless you revert to windowed mode to see the system tray on the desktop. I guess that might be OK, but this change will probably get me to start wearing my watch again because I don't want to have to leave my current context just to see the time.

A colleague pointed out that having the Windows task bar along the bottom like it is by default is problematic when using a Surface 3. I've been using a SP2, but he put it on his SP3, and the problem is that the keyboard gets in the way of your finger when you want to tap anything on the task bar. I tried it, and he's right - it is annoying.

People who've never used a touch device probably can't relate, but once you have a touch screen it is so natural to seamlessly switch between touch, keyboard, and mouse for various interactions that I'd never go back. One of the most common reasons for touch is to launch or activate apps, because touch is almost always easier/faster than dragging the mouse around. Perhaps the answer is to put the task bar on the side or top, or perhaps the Surface Pro 4 will need to allow more space between the keyboard and the bottom of the screen to accommodate the increased use of the task bar in normal touch scenarios.

thS6QS80JM I'm still not sure what to think about File Explorer being the primary way to interact with files via touch. We've all suffered with it over the past few years of Win8, and I've tried a great many touch-based replacements with 'File Manager HD' being my current favorite. I'd rather expected to see a touch-friendly file manager with Win10, but instead what they seem to have done is left us with the Win7-era File Manager, which is fine with mouse or stylus, but can be pretty awkward with touch.

The new Store app is quite nice, and I like it quite a bit more than the old version. I'm also very hopeful that allowing WinRT/Universal apps to run in actual windows means people will be more accepting of this type of app. I am shocked at how few Win8 users have ever installed a 'modern app', especially given that some of them are extremely good - and perhaps more importantly they don't come with the same risk of viruses and malware as legacy desktop apps.

thG78WLN6L I remain disappointed that the only way to switch audio input/output devices is via that ancient and clunky Win32 audio settings window. I often switch between a headset and actual speakers depending on what I'm doing, so I use that crufty dialog almost daily, and it is particularly painful in a touch scenario. This is the same as in Win8, and it sucked there just like it does in Win10.

Monday, February 16, 2015 11:11:47 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Thursday, January 8, 2015
LVSPK20 Visual Studio Live is coming to Las Vegas March 16-20. Modern Apps Live is co-hosted for the same dates/location, and registering for either event gets you access to both – good deal!

Great content on web, windows, and mobile development, including coverage of the service, cloud, and data technologies you need to make those apps really sing.

Save $500 by registering via this link: LVSPK20REG

Thursday, January 8, 2015 5:34:54 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Friday, October 24, 2014

CSLA .NET predates the MVVM pattern by around a decade. All that time I've been telling people they should create an object model that matches the problem domain. Lots of people told me I was talking about "old fashioned OO" or otherwise dismissed what I was saying. They preferred to think of their 'model' as simple data container objects.

At some point most of them eventually realized that they needed something that actually matched the problem domain, and that their 'model' couldn't do it while still being simple data containers.

So they invented a new concept called a 'viewmodel' that (when done right) does match the problem domain - just like the UI always matches the problem domain.

At this point if you are a CSLA user you encounter an interesting situation, where you've been creating domain objects maybe for a decade longer than MVVM has existed, but MVVM is now the POTY (pattern of the year) and so you feel like you need to use it. Everyone wants the POTY after all :)

I spent a lot of time thinking about this and eventually decided that creating a viewmodel that echoes all your domain object's properties is just a lot of busy-work that has huge cost in development and testing. So it is _far_ better for your 'viewmodel' to just expose your preexisting CSLA domain objects to the UI, because THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE DESIGNED FOR.

Now it turns out that the MVVM pattern does have one thing CSLA doesn't have: the concept that the viewmodel implements UI-specific verbs (methods).

A good CSLA model is UI-neutral and so doesn't include methods for things like navigation or displaying error messages. A good viewmodel _does_ have methods that do those things through the use of an MVVM framework so those methods aren't implemented in a way that tightly couples the viewmodel to the UI technology.

Given that, combining CSLA with MVVM means that you need a viewmodel that exposes your CSLA domain objects to the UI, and that implements UI-specific methods to manage user interaction.

In the simple case what you need is a viewmodel class that exposes a single Model property, and then you can implement your UI handler methods. That's what ViewModelBase does for you.

In a lot of more complex scenarios you'll need a viewmodel that exposes multiple CSLA model objects - in which case you can learn from the way ViewModelBase is implemented and leverage that knowledge to create your own viewmodels. In any case though, the viewmodels implement properties to expose the CSLA domain objects to the UI and also implement methods that handle UI-specific requirements. The viewmodels shouldn’t be echoing the existing CSLA domain properties to the UI, because that’s just a waste of time, effort, and money.

Friday, October 24, 2014 12:21:06 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Registration for Live! 360 Orlando is now open.

The conference is in Orlando, November 17-21, 2014.

I am co-chair for Visual Studio Live! and chair of Modern Apps Live! The event also includes SQL Server Live! and SharePoint Live! and TechMentor, meaning that Live! 360 covers all your development and IT pro training needs.

Visual Studio Live! covers .NET, web, and JavaScript development topics. Everything you need to know about single page apps, ASP.NET, Web API, and .NET can be found here.

Modern Apps Live! covers all modern development topics, including iOS, Android, Windows 8, SPAs, Azure, business intelligence, agile SDLC, git, Xamarin, and more. Modern Apps Live! is a unique conference in that it consists of 5 days of content that provides a single narrative, more like 5 days of training than a traditional conference.

Personally I’ll be co-presenting a pre-conference workshop on the use of C# for cross-platform development using .NET and Xamarin. And I’ll be giving talks as part of Modern Apps Live! and Visual Studio Live!

This is going to be a great conference, register now for the best pricing! (using the link in this blog post saves you $600)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 10:46:52 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer