Monthly Archives

October 2012

Declarative ComboBoxes in XAML

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Developing in XAML (Windows 8, Silverlight, Windows Phone, or WPF) gives you a powerful combination of declarative markup with databinding, but one shortcoming I often come up against is the ability to build simple ComboBox elements declaratively with both Content and Values. If you are familiar with HTML, you know that you can use a select tag to pair the display name with a key value, such as: <select>   <option value=”volvo”>Volvo</option>   <option value=”saab”>Saab</option>   <option value=”mercedes”>Mercedes</option>   <option value=”audi”>Audi</option> </select> Notice that the value for each item does not have to exactly match the display name (in the example above, there is no capitalization…

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Ready for Windows Phone 8

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We’ve been waiting. And waiting. AND WAITING. For the official release of the Windows Phone 8 SDK. Microsoft has teased us all for months. Many developers were expecting to get their hands on the SDK back in June when Windows Phone 8 was first announced. Sure no one told us the SDK would be available, but our expectations had been set from years of previous Microsoft announcements. Since Microsoft did not deliver the SDK in June, they did the right thing by trying to set developers at ease, telling us all the SDK would be available “later this summer.” As…

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The Latest Windows Azure MVP

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Microsoft is running out of designations for Falafel’s Tiberiu Covaci. Before becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer, Tibi had to pass nearly every .NET related Microsoft exam and earned several Microsoft titles in the process. His technical qualifications and contributions to the .NET development community have already won him the prestigious title of Microsoft MVP. Now, his contributions to the growing Windows Azure community have also caught the attention of Microsoft, and it is with great pleasure that we introduce to you the latest Windows Azure MVP, Tiberiu Covaci. Congrats Tibi!

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T-SQL: Easy Base64 Encoding and Decoding

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Did you know that SQL Server has built-in support for base64 encoding and decoding and has since 2005? I sure didn’t, because it’s hidden in the depths of XQuery. Here is a complete sample showing a complete round trip from string to binary to base64, back to binary and back to string again. declare @source varbinary(max), @encoded varchar(max), @decoded varbinary(max) set @source = convert(varbinary(max), ‘Hello Base64’) set @encoded = cast(” as xml).value(‘xs:base64Binary(sql:variable(“@source”))’, ‘varchar(max)’) set @decoded = cast(” as xml).value(‘xs:base64Binary(sql:variable(“@encoded”))’, ‘varbinary(max)’) select convert(varchar(max), @source) as source_varchar, @source as source_binary, @encoded as encoded, @decoded as decoded_binary, convert(varchar(max), @decoded) as decoded_varchar  

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A Big Dose of Sitefinity from Falafel

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**Update – To get Lino’s slides from the Sitefinity and Beyond performance session go here. Today, Falafel Software CEO Lino Tadros is speaking at the Sitefinity and Beyond Conference in Boston, but that is only a part of our big Sitefinity news. Customers tend to approach Falafel for the hard stuff. Performance problems, integrations, custom modules, often much more than just a pretty user interface. Having consulted on over 100 of these complex Sitefinity solutions, Lino is well suited to deliver the talk on “Deploying High Performing and Scalable Web Solutions”, but it’s his energy and comedic style that will…

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Integrating with EventPoint

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Today, I spent some time hooking up EventBoard to EventPoint, and the solution turned out to be so compact I felt a blog coming on… EventPoint has a nice REST API that can return JSON or XML. I wanted JSON. I had a demo conference set up, and also an API Key. First, I set about exploring the API, using the Chrome HTTP Dev Client, which is my new best friend. It is kind of like Fiddler in a browser, and allows you do do GET, PUT, POST etc, set HTTP headers, see the return values in JSON, etc. Very…

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Doing an asynchronous search in Windows 8

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I was teaching a class today at HP, and demonstrating how to implement Search suggestions for in app search. The pattern is easy: you hook an event, and in the event, return any matches. Here is an example: var sp = SearchPane.GetForCurrentView(); sp.SuggestionsRequested += OnSearchPaneSuggestionsRequested; // … void OnSearchPaneSuggestionsRequested(object sender, SearchPaneSuggestionsRequestedEventArgs args) { args.Request.SearchSuggestionCollection.AppendQuerySuggestions( (from t in App.ViewModel.ConferenceInfos where t.Name.StartsWith(args.QueryText, StringComparison.CurrentCultureIgnoreCase) select t.Name).Take(5)); } Well, the student asked, what if you need to do a search that requires a web service call, or some other asynchronous call? Can that be done? And what if the call takes a while, and…

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A Salute to the Falafel Rock Stars

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Every year, October kicks off a very busy season at Falafel : “Conference Season”. Multiple members of the team travel across the country and around world to share their expertise on a number of technologies. All Falafel Software team members spend their days, and often their nights, helping design and build cutting edge solutions for our customers. Their technical presentations draw from these real world experiences and are assembled, practiced, and presented in what little spare time they have. That’s why we call them “Rock Stars”. This weekend at Silicon Valley Code Camp, Falafel’s entire team from around the world…

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Consuming WCF RIA Services Domain Services as JSON

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I was working on a Silverlight application with a WCF RIA Services middle-tier recently when the need arose for us to add an HTML/Javascript front-end in addition to the existing Silverlight one. I knew Microsoft offerd WebAPI services that are specially geared toward being consumed by Javascript clients, but the team wanted to leverage the existing work we’d done on the middle-tier in RIA Services if possible. So the question was, could I publish my existing RIA domain service in a way that is Javascript-friendly? WCF RIA Services exposes its domain services in a binary-format by default. Javascript works better with a…

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Modular JavaScript Design with Sitefinity and RequireJS

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What if I were to tell you that you can build modular client-side applications in Sitefinity and also not worry about JavaScript dependencies or conflicts? This should be music to your ears if you do any JavaScript development in Sitefinity. First thing is you need to have solid understanding of what the Asynchronous Module Definition (AMD) is. Essentially, it is a standard for defining self-contained modules that loads dependencies asynchronously on demand. I suggest you take 10 minutes to read my blog post about this with examples. This will permanently change the way you think about JavaScript development. Once it…

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