Plunging into .NET Development

Weblog Pieter Gheysens
Microsoft .NET Development - C# - Enterprise Library - Visual Studio 2005 Team System - Compuware DevPartner - ...

Friday, June 23

Debug Windows Service in Visual Studio .NET

Windows services don't actually run directly within the IDE of Visual Studio .NET. There are however a few possibilities to debug them. You can for example install and start the Windows Service and attach a debugger to it. But there's another very straightforward solution ...

When you create a new Windows Service Project in Visual Studio (C#), you get the following main method (main entry point for the process) :

The magic is to use a conditional directive (#if (DEBUG)). Just set up your service, call your initialization method and let the main method sleep infinitively. Start (F5) to fire up your service and stop to kill it - like other runnable projects. It's that simple for debugging your Windows Service! Everything will still work in release as before without changing your code.

Wednesday, June 14


On April 4 [2006], Compuware acquired SteelTrace.

SteelTrace is a business requirements management tool that enables all business and technology stakeholders to work collaboratively to understand, define, communicate and manage application requirements throughout the lifecycle. SteelTrace's rich functionality and ease of use ensures the delivery of applications that fully meet business needs. Application requirements are captured with ease, documented and flexibly managed throughout the application delivery cycle. Every project stakeholder can communicate in a common, understandable format - including business sponsors, business analysts, project managers, architects, developers and QA teams.

From June 12 till June 13, I followed a SteelTrace pre-sales training at Compuware (Amsterdam). The tools in the market for managing the Business Requirements are completely new for me and it was interesting to see the possibilities/opportunities.

How difficult is it nowadays to set clear and complete requirements with the business before the real implementation? I believe we've all been there ... Poor, late and incomplete requirements often lead to failure. How many times do we still have discussions (after implementation!) about the exact meaning of a poorly defined requirement? Discovering incorrect business requirements should occur as soon as possible in the software lifecycle to prevent you starting from scratch for certain misunderstood features. To obtain high quality software in a structured and repeatable way, we should identify and set all business requirements in the early stages. These requirements must be documented and approved by the business before implementation starts. This is the only valid approach to tell the project team what the business really expects to be built.

SteelTrace aligns application delivery to the needs of the business. The product uses a visual approach to the capture and definition of all requirements in a globally distributed team and brings a new level of quality into your applications. SteelTrace also recently announced integration with Visual Studio Team System. Interesting to see this product evolve ...

Download a free trial of SteelTrace Enterprise.
See SteelTrace Product Demo

Update : Compuware Introduces Business Requirements Management Solution Optimal Trace

Monday, June 12

Acronyms for Windows Vista

Since Windows Vista came into the world, a lot of acronyms are flying around in cyberspace. Be sure to know what your colleagues are talking about ...
  • WinFX : managed API, superset of the existing .NET Framework
  • WPF : Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly code-named Avalon)
  • WCF : Windows Communication Foundation (formerly code-named Indigo)
  • WF : Windows Workflow Foundation
  • XAML : Extensible Application Markup Language
  • BAML : Binary (or compiled) XAML
  • LDDM : Longhorn Display Model Driver
  • XPS : XML Paper Specification
  • Aero : Windows Vista Aero provides spectacular visual effects
  • UAC : User Account Control
  • RSS : Really Simple Syndication [not new]
  • Sidebar : a pane on the side of the Windows Vista desktop that organizes gadgets
  • Gadgets : mini-applications running in the sidebar on your desktop
  • SuperFetch : allows applications and files to load much faster than before
  • ReadyBoost : improves dynamically your PC performance with adding system memory (RAM)
  • ReadyDrive : enables PCs to boot up faster, preserve battery power, ...
  • ...
Do you know some more?

Thursday, June 8

Windows Vista Touchdown

From June 6 till June 8 I followed the EMEA Windows Vista Touchdown Full 3-day Training at U2U. The course was great : good content (Vista - WinFX), good teacher (Peter Himschoot, good documentation (3 books, student guide and lab guide), ...

WinFX is the new set of managed code APIs that Microsoft will introduce in Windows Vista. WinFX can be seen as a superset of the Microsoft .NET Framework and the Win32 API. The Win32 API will still be present in Vista, but it will not give direct access to all the new functionality introduced with WinFX. In addition, it's the intention of WinFX to give all .NET programmers easier access to the functionality present in Windows itself. WinFX consists of four pillars : The first day of the Touchdown training we focused on some new features in Windows Vista and on the Windows Presentation Foundation. On day 2 we did some more WPF and some Windows Communication Foundation. Windows Workflow Foundation was kept in the closet for the last training day. During these days we also completed some labs on these new technologies.

I'm very excited about all those new technologies that Windows Vista (currently Beta 2) will bring (WinFX will also be backported to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, to increase the number of computers that will be able to run applications that rely on WinFX). Before the training I installed Windows Vista (Ultimate Edition - Beta 2) on a dual boot with Windows Server 2003. But there's more you need to experiment with WinFX ... While you're downloading and installing all this, don't forget to install also Microsoft Office 2007 (Beta 2) and experience the new Microsoft Office User Interface.

Good luck in your Vista discovery! I will certainly try to post more on the new Vista features in the near future!

Some more interesting links :