Microsoft Unveils its Compiler as a Service

by Jonathan Allen on  Oct 24, 2011

Early reports suggested that the Rosyln project would just be a better runtime-accessible compiler and REPL-style interpreter, but it turns out that it is much more ambitious. By opening up the entire compiler pipeline Microsoft hopes that developers will create a wide variety of tools at many levels.

Build Machines, Windows 7, and Classic ADO

by Jonathan Allen on  Oct 19, 2011

Imagine you are doing maintenance on an application from the late 90’s that uses the classic ADO libraries. The recompiled code works fine on any Windows 7 SP1 machine, but mysteriously crashes on the Windows XP machines that have been running the program for nearly a decade. This is the problem facing lots of maintenance developers.

The Cost of Async and Await

by Jonathan Allen on  Oct 11, 2011

Asynchronous techniques can offer significant improvements in an application’s overall throughput, but it isn’t free. An asynchronous function is often slower than its synchronous alternative. Stephen Toub of MSDN Magazine has recently covered this topic in an article titled “Async Performance: Understanding the Costs of Async and Await”.

C# and Visual Basic on the WinRT API

by Jonathan Allen on  Sep 15, 2011

While Win32 APIs can be called from .NET languages, doing so can be quite difficult. So for the last two year Microsoft has been building a replacement known as Windows Runtime or WinRT with cross-language support in mind. WinRT components can be created in both C++ and .NET and may be consumed by both of those as well as JavaScript.

ASP.NET MVC 4 Roadmap

by Jonathan Allen on  Jul 26, 2011

In keeping with their annual cadence, Microsoft has begun work on the next version of ASP.NET MVC. Areas of emphasis include smoothing out the development and deployment workflow, sharing more features with Web Forms, improving AJAX support, and offering a better story for HTML 5 on mobile and tablet devices.

.NET Micro Framework now supports Visual Basic, Remote Software Updates

by Jonathan Allen on  Jun 16, 2011

The open source platform for embedded devices, .NET Micro Framework, has begun beta testing of version 4.2. This build includes the work of both Microsoft and third-party developers, something that is becoming increasingly common as Microsoft redefines its role in the open source community.

Update to .NET Framework 4

by Jonathan Allen on  Jun 14, 2011

A General Distribution Release of .NET 4 was published on the 11th of June. This includes numerous fixes and features, many of which were previously published as individual hot fixes. There are also updates to the HTML 5 and portable library support. For your convenience we have sorted the fix list by technology. For the complete list, including file versions, see KB 2468871.

New.NET Async Control Flow Explained

by David Cooksey on  Apr 28, 2011

Alan Berman recently explained the details of how the new Async and Await keywords impact the flow of control. Using these keywords allows an asynchronous function's return values to be processed without using explicitly defined callbacks. This allows for more natural code grouping, as calling and processing of an asynchronous function can occur in the same function.

Visual Basic is Losing Its Runtime Library

by Jonathan Allen on  Jan 13, 2011 3

The rather extensive runtime library used by Visual Basic and its compiler has been a major stumbling block for the language. Both the Windows Phone 7 and the XBox 360 don’t support the library, making clumsy workarounds necessary. With Visual Basic 10 SP 1, Microsoft once again tries to get it right.

Why Microsoft Believes that VB and C# Need an Asynchronous Syntax

by Jonathan Allen on  Jan 04, 2011 2

The new Async CPT for VB and C# looks like it may actually make it into the core language. But with all the emphasis on multi-core systems, why is Microsoft investing so heavily in syntax for designed specifically for making single-threaded asynchronous programming easier?

Announcement: Windows Phone 7 Opens to Visual Basic

by James Vastbinder on  Dec 01, 2010

On November 29th, the Visual Basic team announced the Release To Web version of Visual Basic for Windows Phone Developer Tools. This is exciting news for the large number of Visual Basic developers to achieve almost parity with the C# developer community in regards to Windows Phone 7 development of applications.

Sneak Peak: Asynchronous Syntax for Visual Basic and C#

by Jonathan Allen on  Oct 28, 2010 4

In a recent blog post the Visual Basic team let slip an announcement that Visual Basic and C# would be getting a new syntax for asynchronous programming. Built on top of the Task Parallel Library that was introduced in .NET 4, this adds the Async and Await keywords to both languages.

Windows Phone 7 has put the .NET Language Coevolution Promise in Doubt

by Jonathan Allen on  Sep 27, 2010 9

In 2009 Microsoft’s Lucas Bolognese announced a commitment to co-evolution for C# and Visual Basic. And the productization of F#, some have assumed it extends to that language as well. But by only offering C# in the initial release of WP7, this promise has been brought into doubt.

Optional Parameters Are Gaining Ground in .NET

by Jonathan Allen on  Jul 06, 2010 6

Optional parameters have always been part of .NET, but with C# unwilling to support it, using them was generally considered taboo unless work with COM libraries. Now that C# 4 does support them, we are starting to see them used for a lot more than just legacy code. Other uses include interoperability with dynamic languages, immutable data structures, and various parts of ASP.NET MVC.

A Short History of Dynamic Typing in Visual Basic

by Jonathan Allen on  Jan 15, 2010 6

Visual Basic has always been on the fence between static and dynamic typing. In the beginning VB supported late binding, which is known today as “duck typing”. Through the years it has adopted support for stricter typing, though recently it has swung the other way with full support for the dynamic language runtime.

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