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I landed in at LAX in Los Angeles last Sunday evening, after about 17 hours in the air. From here I’ve been working from the NetRelations Inc. office in El Segundo.

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At the NetRelations Office in Los Angeles.

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During the week we’ve been working a lot, and we’ve also been out doing a lot of other stuff. Amongst other things we went to see Jimmy Kimmel, which was a fun and intense experience. We’ve also seen Furious 7 on a 4D theatre downtown. That was cool.

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Jimmy Kimmel Live! was filmed in a studio, and afterwards we went out backside for a concert.

As a developer it’s very common to “google” for code samples, when you’re set out to write code that you have either forgotten or if you’re not quite sure how something works. I always use Google for this, because I believe they have the best results. And frankly because I haven’t given Bing a fair chance.

Now, Microsoft has released a new extension for Visual Studio 2013; Bing Code Search for C#. The extension does exactly what its name implies. But, it does it in a fashion that is incredibly clever. Your search result is displayed inside Visual Studio and it only shows the working Code Sample, as opposed to Google, where you have to pick out several results. Or when searching StackOverflow.com where it’s very likely that 10 people answer the same question with variations of the same answer.

Here’s how it works.

Install the extension from the Visual Studio Gallery.

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Click on the  Bing Logo and the text “How do I …”.

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Enter your query in the search field.

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In this example I got 8 results, which I can browse between. Click on the Accept-button to insert the script to your code file.

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Beautiful, Microsoft!

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I’m so excited. In the first week of April I will attend the Microsoft BUILD Developer Conference in San Francisco. For a Microsoft Developer, this is the most influential event where you connect with thousands of other great developers from around the world, and get the Latest News from Microsoft’s Developers.

The venue for this event is the Moscone Center, where also last year’s BUILD event was held. Companies like Google and Apple also held large events here.

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BUILD 2014 was opened for registration on January 14 at 18.00 (Swedish Time). I reserved my ticket just three minutes later, and it didn’t take long before the event was sold out. So, on April 1 I will be on location and connect with some of the world’s greatest Microsoft Developers, to learn and share for several days. Hopefully Steve Ballmer will be there to hold a keynote before he steps down as CEO of Microsoft.

The sessions hasn’t been revealed yet, but there will be over a hundred sessions to pick from. I’ve watched a few sessions from BUILD 2013 on Channel9, and my expectations are high. Attending this event will put Mindbite even more in front of our local competition.

My trip will start a little earlier with a flight to Los Angeles on Wednesday the week before BUILD. There I will meet up with my old Mindbite-colleague Johan, that works for NetRelations in Los Angeles. Very exciting!

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On Sunday I plan to travel the coast by car from Los Angeles to San Francisco. If everything goes as planned I will arrive in San Francisco on Monday afternoon to check in at Hilton, which is located just 10 walking minutes from the Moscone Center.

I will post more details regarding this trip before, during and after. So check out this blog for breaking BUILD News in April!

If you’ve booked your ticket to BUILD, send me a message and we’ll connect in San Francisco! If you come in early, as I do, maybe we could go sightseeing together before the event.

// @robinmansson /

During this week, ten years ago, we began developing our first solution using Microsoft Visual Studio .Net and Microsoft .Net Framework.

When starting our company Mindbite back in 2000, ASP development (Active Server Pages) using Visual InterDev was really cool, so that became our area of expertise. In 2002 Microsoft released .Net Framework with Visual Studio .Net and I can remember us giving that a try. The tools and languages were completely different than ASP and the learning threshold was a lot higher, so it wasn’t until the summer a year later that we decided to leave ASP in favor of .Net Framework.

The easiest route from ASP till .Net Framework was to choose the language Visual Basic .Net, so that’s what we did. I can also remember us bringing in a lot of crappy thinking from ASP to .Net Framework. Looking back at our earliest .Net solutions feels like a train wreck.

Fortunately, we learned quite quick and very soon we had left ASP development behind us, and we haven’t looked back since. During the years we have delivered hundreds and hundreds of solutions developed with Microsoft .Net.

In 2010 we decided to leave the programming language Visual Basic .Net in favor of C# (which is also a .Net programming language). This was one of our biggest, yet most important, decisions in our history.

During our ten years with Microsoft .Net we’ve worked hard to get as much as possible out of it. That’s why we partnered up early with Microsoft. We’ve gone through several partner stages, from MAPS to Empower Program and in 2009 we became a Microsoft Silver Partner. Two years later we reached Gold level Partnership. This is a level that we work hard on to keep.

Recently we also successfully Gold Certified our flagship product SiteFactory CMS, which is built on Microsoft .Net, for Windows Server 2012.

Over these ten years we’ve adopted every release of Visual Studio, Visual Source Safe and Team Foundation Server. These great tools has empowered us to deliver great solutions for our customers. We’ve worked with six different major versions of Visual Studio, starting with Visual Studio .Net (2002) and we’re currently using Visual Studio 2012. Very soon Microsoft will release Visual Studio 2013 which we’re very excited about.

So I hope this story will continue for at least another ten years.

EN_WS12_Cert_Purp258_2_rgbThis summer I spent a lot of time getting our main product SiteFactory CMS Certified by Microsoft. As a Gold Certified Microsoft Partner, we must provide proof of excellence and this certification is our best proof.

There is a difference between Product Certification and Partner Certification. What we have done now is a Gold level Certification of SiteFactory CMS for Windows Server 2012. It is just one of Microsoft’s requirements for our company to maintain the Gold level Certification Partnership with Microsoft.

The Gold level is the highest level of Product Certification for Windows Server 2012 and is only achieved for applications that passes the following requirements:

  • Support for Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Support for non-UI configurations of Windows Server 2012.

The Certification Tests has been conducted on a Virtual Windows Server 2012 machine running on a Windows Server 2012 Datacenter host. The virtual server has been running in “Server Core” during testing, which means that there hasn’t been a graphical interface installed on the server.

You can read the proof of certification here.

What this means for us and our customers

We have developed a software product that is so rock solid that is passes Microsoft’s extensive tests.  Our product works in any Windows Server 2012 Configuration. So our customers knows that they have made a wise decision when choosing SiteFactory CMS. This achievement puts us in front of many of our competitors.

The next step

Trust me when I say we won’t stop here. We will continue to work hard and keep certifying our products along with Microsoft’s server releases. Next up is certification for Windows Server 2012 R2 which will be released in October and we’re also looking at certification for SQL Server 2012.

It’s quite the big week now. In terms of Microsoft Software that is. Microsoft has unveiled preview after preview this week. Yesterday they released previews for Windows 8.1, Visual Studio 2013 and Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5.1. That’s just one day after releasing previews for Windows Server 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014 and System Center 2012 R2.

I’ve installed Windows 8.1 Preview on a Hyper-V machine, and also installed Visual Studio 2013 Preview. Now I’m ready to take it for a spin.

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The Visual Studio start experience. So far it looks a lot like Visual Studio 2012, which is good. From what I’ve read, they’ve worked a lot with the TFS experience, which wasn’t that good in 2012.

Since I’m mainly a Web Developer, I’ll test the Web Application Features first.

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At this point I’ve already found some new features. Some new ASP.NET Project Templates, like Facebook Application and Mobile Application. Personally I don’t like Templates, since they take away pretty much all my control over the Project. For instance, when creating a Web Project from the Mobile Template, there are about 40 Library References automatically added to my Project. Maybe I’m old school, but I prefer to add References only when I need them, and after some serious consideration.

This of course has nothing to do with the new Visual Studio. It’s more of a personal note :)

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When pulling up Team Explorer I notice some new (long awaited) features. Team Explorer in Visual Studio 2012 got a lot of both hate and love, since it changed pretty much everything from previous versions. In Visual Studio 2013 Microsoft has been listening to the the developers and improved Team Explorer.

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The Pending Changes Window can now be separated from the Team Explorer Window, and be placed anywhere in the IDE. This is something I’ve missed since Visual Studio 2010.

I’ll pause my tests for now and head out for some lunch. During which I’ll seriously consider if I should install Visual Studio 2013 Preview on my production machine.

Today we finalized SiteFactory CMS version 5.0.8 which brings full support for the upcoming Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10.

Windows 8 will be released on October 26. We’ve had access to the final version for about two months now, and we’ve been working on making SiteFactory CMS fully functional with the included browser Internet Explorer 10.

We will begin a controlled distribution of the new version today, using our Update Service. This is the 68th update since we released SiteFactory CMS 5.0 in early November last year.

Closing comments

Mindbite has always been dedicated to testing new technology in its early stages to be able to bring working software to its customers. As with earlier versions of Windows and Internet Explorer we once again deliver working updates before Microsoft’s release to the consumers.

Today we released a new update for SiteFactory CMS. The version number is now 5.0.7 and the major feature of this update is support for QR Codes.

The QR Code Support has been built into the SiteFactory CMS Core and gives our developers the ability to generate QR Code programmatically. With very little effort and a blink of an eye the QR Code Generator has processed the Url and returned a Byte Array containing the QR Code Image. So now, SiteFactory CMS is ready to use QR Code Support in any customer solution.

The QR Code Generator has been added to our vast Utilities Class Library, which you can read more about here.

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We have also created a new Properties View where our customers can view and download a QR Code Image for any page in their SiteFactory CMS website.

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What is a QR Code?

You can read a lot about it over here.

Native support in Windows Phone 7.5

If you own a Windows Phone, you can use Bing Vision which is included in the OS to read QR Codes. On other platforms you may need to download special apps to read QR Codes.

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A few weeks ago I blogged about Windows 8 Metro Style App Development. Today almost all functionality in my App is complete and I’m ready to share some information about it.

App UI

The App called Viltolycka has a very simple UI, and all you have to do is enter a From Address and a To Address. The App contacts Bing Maps and asks for the route between the two locations. When a route has been calculated it is drawn on the map. At this point a request is sent to viltolycka.se with information about the entire route. Our API responds with a collection of wildlife accidents that has happened along the route.

Accidents from Vimmerby to Stockholm

Ok, the design is not quite complete.

All accidents are added to the map. A pane on the right side displays data about the route and more interestingly some facts about the accidents along the route.

Accidents around Södertälje

By zooming and moving the map around you can learn about the more dangerous parts of the route.

Accidents around Södertälje

The image above shows a location around Södertälje where a lot of deer and elk accidents has happened in the past. So, what you can learn is that you might want to watch out when driving at that location.

The Next step

I will continue to work on some design elements with my colleague Kim. After that we will send the App to Microsoft Sweden for testing. Our main goal is to ship this app on or before the public release of Windows 8.

In the middle of September 2011 Microsoft released Windows 8 Developer Preview and Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview. We were (as usual) very quick to begin testing. We deployed the products on Hyper-V and since then we have been testing the new development features on Windows 8 and also a lot of our own product testing on the new platform.

On February 27, 2012, Microsoft released a Consumer Preview of Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 Beta. A lot had happened since September and this time we also started developing Windows 8 Metro Style Apps. These apps are very different from the traditional WinForms Applications. They demand more considerations to form factors and capabilities.

My first Metro Style App

My first Metro Style App for Windows 8 is not nearly complete but nevertheless I’d like to share some details about it.

Since last summer we have developed Mobile Apps for iOS, Android and of course Windows Phone 7.5 for our customer Rikspolisstyrelsen (Swedish Police Board). The apps focus on giving the user insights about wildlife accidents in the users’ proximity.

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So with this background I thought I’d develop a Windows 8 App that utilize the same data. The App named Viltolycka contains a large map that is centered on the user’s location, using the Geolocator class. The user can pan the map and when he/she taps on it, a signal is sent, with the tapped location, to our servers that responds with Wildlife Accident data containing the accident location and what kind of wildlife that was hit by the car. All accidents are then rendered as Pushpins on the map.

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As you can see, I haven’t focused on design that much yet. But my fine colleague Kim will most likely be involved in that part.

Closing comments

Developing for Windows 8 is a lovely task. It’s much more straightforward than iOS development, which is kind of a pain sometimes.

We will keep working on this Metro Style App and maybe a few more and we will surely have some cool stuff to show off at the launch of Windows 8 (if not much sooner).