Archives / 2006 / December
  • Happy new year!

    Tags: Personal

    Happy new year to all of you and thanks to all readers of my blog. The number of readers is increasing and I hope it will continue on the other side of the bell tolls tonight.


    See you in 2007!

  • New Microsoft XPS Essentials Pack 1.0 - beta 2 released

    Tags: .NET, XML, Windows XP, Windows Vista, XPS

    Microsoft yesterday released the second beta of the Microsoft XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack 1.0 (build 5715). 

    The pack contains the following:

    • XML Paper Specification (XPS) Viewer
    • XPS metadata and thumbnail handlers for Windows Explorer
    • XPS rich-preview provider
    • XPS IFilter

    You need Windows XP SP2 or later and the Microsoft Core XML Services 6.0 to be installed on your system.

  • msfeedicon utility 1.1 released

    Tags: Internet Explorer, Software, msfeedicon

    I had just finished msfeedicon 1.0 when I decided to make an update, version 1.1, with some functionality I would like to see and some bugfixes.

    This 1.1 update contains:

    • New feature: Refresh feeds option in the context menu
    • New feature: greenish icons when the RSS platform downloads/refreshes feeds
    • Update: better icons
    • Bug fix: correct number of unread posts when a feed is removed

    You can download the update here, hope you like it...

  • Announcing: msfeedicon utility

    Tags: Windows XP, Internet Explorer, Software, msfeedicon

    For a while I have been annoyed that there is no good notification in Internet Explorer 7 when you have unread posts in your subscribed feeds. You have to have the Favorites Center opened to be notified of any feed updates, which may take up useful space on your screen.

    Therefore I created a small utility that takes advantage of the Windows RSS platform and shows an icon in the system tray which notifies you of any unread feed posts - called msfeedicon.


    • Uses the feed you have subscribed to using Internet Explorer 7
    • Installs in the Startup folder so it starts when you log on to Windows
    • Shows the number of unread items
    • Baloon tip when a feed is updated and has new posts
    • Checks for updates to the application

    You can download the msfeedicon utility from here.

    You need Microsoft.NET 2.0 or higher and Internet Explorer 7 to run this utility, and I have only tested it on Windows XP so far (Update an hour later - works on Vista).

    If you have any suggestions or find anything that does not work, please post a comment to this post.

  • Office 2007 icons to SharePoint 2003 cont.

    Tags: SharePoint, Microsoft Office

    A few months back I showed how you could add the new Office 2007 icons to a SharePoint 2003 or Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 site. The Right Stuff has made a complete post on how to add the complete set of icons for the different Office 2007 applications. The post also contains a few different sets of Office 2007 icons so you can choose the one that suits your site best.

  • The year of constant betas

    Tags: Microsoft Expression, Microsoft, .NET, SharePoint, Visual Studio, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, WinFX, Windows Vista, Windows Media Center, Windows Live

    Today I start my two weeks vacation and I thought I should summarize this year. The year of 2006 has been characterized, for me, as the year of Betas and Technology Previews. I have been trying to involve myself as much as possible in the all the goodies flowing out of Redmond.

    Microsoft has released numerous amount of new applications and upgrades.

    Internet Explorer 7

    The new version of Internet Explorer is the application this year that will have most impact in the short run on users. More standardized and a slicker interface with support of for example blogs.

    Windows Vista

    Windows Vista, the long awaited new operating system from Microsoft was released in November. I have been fiddling with the different betas, mostly on Virtual PC's. Short after the RTM I decided to replace my XP Media Center with Vista Ultimate. I'm not that satisfied yet due to lack of drivers; NVIDIA have not yet released a Vista driver that works fine, like the ones on XP.

    Vista is overall pretty good, it has some nice features like the new Media Center, DVD writer software, a better photo management application... The interface has intensively discussed but I think it's not that revolutionary. I think the Explorer interface is really bad, navigation is not that good. I'll stick with Total Commander!

    I will not upgrade my development laptop for a couple of months until all the issues with development in Visual Studio is sorted out, and I have no need for it - XP works fine.

    Microsoft.NET Framework

    The .NET Framework, has come in a new version - 3.0. But it's not a complete new .NET Framework, it's "just" .NET 2.0 with WinFX. But it's good - really good. You now can create really awesome appliactions with a nice user interface.

    Office System 2007

    The Office System 2007 with the client applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint and the server applications like SharePoint is by far the most interesting new applications this year for me. I have been into the betas and release candidates and been satisified since the first install. A complete new interface of the client applications that really impress and a SharePoint that finally allows us developers to do some nice stuff. SharePoint 2003, the previous version, was not that good for us developers and lacked a lot of functionality in the first version which has now come back. Someone said that Microsoft need at least three versions before they get it right :-)

    The new Outlook 2007 and OneNote 2007 are two really impressive applications.

    Developer tools

    Microsoft has been really nice to us developers this year with a new and improved MSDN, more samples and tutorials than ever. Visual Studio 2005 has finally gotten an upgrade, Service Pack 1, that fixes most of the random crashes and hang-ups.

    The Visual Studio 2005 SDK has also evolved with the support for making your own designers using the DSL Tools - I think that ISV's will now have the opportunity to make their applications more customizable.

    The Microsoft Expression Suite

    The Expression Suite from Microsoft was from my view the most surprising set of applications from Redmond. The Expression programs is applications for design, design of applications and design of web sites. The Commuity Technology Previews that has been released during the year has been really good, except for the last one this december, in which the removed some of the nice and interesting stuff from Expression Design.

    Microsoft Live

    The Microsoft Live approach has been interesting, with a new portal (never fancied MSN), a new search engine and a whole set of web based applications. Most of them are still in beta and it will be really nice to see where this path leads.

    There has been a lot more that has been installed and uninstalled on my machines during this year, like Exchange 2007 and the Live applications, and it has been really exciting. You can find some of them on Codeplex, the Microsoft open source site.

    What about next year?

    Yes, what about next year? I will not predict too much but for me the focus will be on SharePoint 2007, which will open up a whole new set of opportunities for my company. I really loook forward to see what will happen to the Expression suite and I will start to nibble on the Longhorn Server.

    To all of you:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


  • Watch DVDs in VIDEO_TS folders on Vista Media Center

    Tags: Windows Vista, Windows Media Center

    Windows Vista Media Center Here is a small tip to all of you that have DVD movies on your hard drives, like me. I have copied most of our kids DVD's to the hard drives so there is no need to change DVD every fifth minute and as all of you with kids know - they are not that gentle to the DVD discs nor the cradle of the player.

    Windows Vista Media Center does not initially allow you to watch ripped DVD movies using the Video Library, it only shows an empty VIDEO_TS folder. What you have to do is enable the DVD Gallery in Media Center, this is done through a small registry tweak.

    Change the data of the ShowGallery value of the following key from Play to Gallery  and you will have the DVD Library enabled instead of the Play DVD option.

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\DvdSettings

    Now you can add the folders containg the copied DVD discs to the gallery and have fast access to your DVD movies.

    Disclaimer: All changes to the Windows Vista registry is done at your own risk.

  • WiX version 2 close to completion

    Tags: WiX

    Rob Mensching blogs that the WiX version 2 is nearly done, just a few more bugs to slay. Two of the remaining bugs, about dropping/overwriting Sql databases, are important to me so when they are done I will be really happy!

    I have been using it for some time now and it is really easy making installers for Windows and Microsoft.NET based applications.

    I really look forward to the final release of version 2, and of course the upcoming version 3.

  • When will NVIDIA release drivers for Windows Vista RTM?

    Tags: Windows Vista, Upset posts, Hardware

    It has gone several weeks since the launch of Windows Vista and I am still waiting for a non-beta release of the NVIDIA ForceWare drivers!

    What are you guys doing? Are you waiting for the release to the general public in January?

    On the NVIDIA website only drivers for RC2, from october 17th, are available. These drivers do not contain the functionality to fine tune my plasma TV, nor does the standard drivers in Vista, like it can be done in Windows XP.

  • Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack1 released

    Tags: Visual Studio, Windows Vista

    Microsoft has now released the first Service Pack for Visual Studio 2005 and the Team Foundation Server. The Service Pack comes in several versions, depending on which version of Visual Studio 2005 you have.

    Here are the downloads:

    What I look forward is that the Service Pack addresses theses issues:

    • The random crashes
    • The random unresponsiveness in the user interface
    • Support for Intel Core Duo processors when compiling code

    There will be a separate Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista during the first half of 2007, but you can find a beta of it here.

  • Announcing

    Tags: .NET, XML, Internet and the Web, WinFX, XPS

    I have created a free web application that converts an RSS feed into an XPS document at

    Click here to go to

    You are free to use it and test it. The application is in beta and will continously improve over the time. I would appriciate any feedback or feeds that will not just work.

    Update: if the .com address does not work for, you can use instead.

  • Read up on Domain-Specific Languages

    Tags: Visual Studio, Software

    The Architecture Journal, an online magazine by Microsoft with focus on software architecture, have posted two articles on Domain-Specific Languages, DSL.

    Domain-Specific Modeling

    A five page article on what Domain-Specific Languages and Modeling is about and when to use it.

    Bare Naked Languages or What Not to Model

    An seven page article on how DSL fits into the software factories methodology.

  • Updated: Even better encapsulation of getting a value from XmlNode

    Tags: .NET, C#, XML

    I previously suggested a better method for getting attributes for an System.Xml.XmlNode in a response to an post by Marcus. Craig Nicholson highlighted in a comment that the code i provided can be even further optimized.

    private static string GetAttribute(XmlNode node, string name) {     XmlElement elm = node as XmlElement;     return (elm == null) ? string.Empty : elm.GetAttribute(name); } 

    Craig's first improvement includes using string.Empty instead of "". When using "" a new empty string will be allocated in the memory, but the string.Empty will return a reference to an empty string. This will affect garbace collecting performance, since it will have less objects to clean up if you use string.Empty.

    The second improvement Craig supplied was to use the C# conditional ?: operator, to have it on a single line. This will not affect performance since it will be expanded to an if-else statement by the compiler, but the code looks cleaner.

    This is what I really like; clean looking and optimized code!

  • Microsoft the Panel - what is this?

    Tags: Microsoft, .NET, WinFX, Windows Vista

    The Panel is a site, by Microsoft, with projects focused on the Windows Vista Presentation Foundation and XAML. The site will feature applications and source code for these techniques to show how you can design and implement nice applications for Windows and Live Gadgets.

    Currently there are some Live Gadgets available as well as a nice 3D RSS Reader called UniveRSS. Feeds are displayed as rotating boxes in a "galaxy" in which you can move around. The feeds are retrieved from your Internet Explorer 7 feeds. Register and download it to try it out.

    The Panel will continue to improve the applications and publish new ones over the next few months.

  • Expression Design no longer a Photoshop contender!

    Tags: Microsoft Expression, Upset posts

    Expression Design was released yesterday as the December 2006 CTP . The major change was a brand new user interface and a lot of missing functionality from earlier previews.

    According to the Expression team at the Microsoft newsgroups it just seems that the missing functionality in Design is simply gone due to lack of time.

    Currently I have noticed that the Live Effects are not present in this CTP, but they are documented in the help files. Pixel layers seems to be completely gone and no reference in the help file - so I doubt they will be back :-(

    Expression Design will also not be able as a single product and only available in the Expression Studio bundle - this is really awkward I think. It seems like Microsoft are making Expression Design as a vector graphics editor for Expression Blend - not the Adobe Photoshop contender as I hoped when it was still called Acrylic!

  • Big changes in the Microsoft Expression Suite

    Tags: Microsoft Expression, Internet Explorer, WinFX

    Microsoft today announced huge changes to the Microsoft Expression suite.

    Expression Studio

    Expression Studio is a new member of the Expression suite and is a suite of tools for building web sites and Windows client programs and rich media content. The Expression Studio consits of the four core Expression products; Web, Blend, Design and Media.

    Expression Design

    Expression Design, formerly known as Graphics Designer, has come in yet another CTP. The big news here is a complete new user interface, at first glance it looks much better than the old one.

    BUT: What have you done to the pixel layers!!! No pixel editing anymore really sucks! Expression Design is now a purely vector based designer. It was the combination that really made me get it on!

    Expression Blend

    Expression Blend, formerly known as Interactive Designer, is now in beta 1, and also has the new nice interface. WPF/E (Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere) is also available for Windows Vista and XP and Apple Max OS X as extensiosn to the most common browsers.

    Epression Media

    Expression Media, a new member to the family, is a tool for managing, editing and presenting your digital assets (photos, sounds, movies, music...). No download here, however you can download the original; iVew MediaPro here.

    Expression Web

    Expression Web is now shipping for real! Free trial available here.

    You might also check out the Microsoft Design page.

  • How to do when having installed Internet Explorer 7 but you need to test on Internet Explorer 6?

    Tags: Windows XP, Internet Explorer, Windows Vista, Virtual Server

    Since Internet Explorer 7 is on Windows Update and installed as a high-priority update a lot of users have Internet Explorer 7 installed or you are using the brand new Windows Vista, but how do you do when you are a web application developer and have to test it on Internet Explorer 6. Yes, Internet Explorer 6 will be with us for a long time.

    You have three options:

    1) Have a secondary machine stand by with Internet Explorer 6. An easy but expensive solution.

    2) Install IE7 and IE6 side-by-side. Not that easy and not recommended but it can be done.

    3) Use Virtual PC to set up a virtual machine with Internet Explorer 6.

    Fortunatley Microsoft has released another VPC image with a hard disk containing a pre-activated Windows XP SP2 and Internet Explorer 6. Download it here.

    Microsoft is doing a great job with all these new VPC images for us developers and testers so we can test new software, betas and now older software in our own sandbox.

About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is the Nordic Digital Workplace Lead working at Avanade. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for seven consecutive years.

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