Tech Blog

Jay's Technical blog

Adventures in .Net Addins...

30 April 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

So I've begun the task of building an addin for VS.Net 2003.  I plan on entering it into Roy Osherove's Coolest Addin contest:

Coding Contest: Coolest/most useful VS.Net Add-in or Macro (which can be found here).

I've using a minor technical expertise I acquired a while ago to do this (watch here for more info... I'm not telling you what it is yet... although to see it now you'd have to say... “big deal“). 

It's been fun getting back into the add-in development trail.  I was very interested in this years ago when I was the VB technical guy at Zac Catalogs (don't bother looking they're long since defunct).  We were a competitor to VBXtras (although the principals of my company would point out that they were doing the component thing for longer).  Anyways, they came on hard times and decided to do away with my position and it was sometime after that that I had little time to play with addins.

For a time I wrote copy for Mike Schinkel at VBXtras (they had a fancy name for my “position“ which I have forgotten).

So now for the real reason I'm writing
I read Roy Osherove's blog everyday and today, I just discovered that Mike is giving away free copies of his XDN subscription to .Net bloggers... he does this here (check the link out to see the rules).

So this post is really about me trying to creatively tell you dear reader about this (and to beg Mike to give me a free subscription to XDN).

Gotdotnet Workspaces Rant...

28 April 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

The other day I went onto gotdotnet... I was actually searching for the DAB v3 (Data Access Block) to see where the project was at (and I was considering using it over the v2 release.

One of the items that returned from the search was something that I find somewhat cool.  It's a project that is trying to add SQL to the DataSet... Now I've already had the DataSet conversation here (should you use it?  Should you avoid it? etc.)  The fact that someone was adding SQL to it sounds awesome!  I have this cool idea of creating a miniature database system on my handheld (I love my handheld in case you don't know... it's a Dell Axim X5).  My thoughts are that I would like to maybe do some database design on the handheld while I'm caught in traffic or... uhhh....other places where all I really have is my handheld.  Then I could somehow upload this design and have it populate a SQL server database with data structures/ stored procs, etc.

I have seen this project several times and have wondered why I never downloaded it to check out the code (“I must have been busy“ I tell myself).  So I decide right then and there to open the project and get the files... only there's one problem!!!  This project hasn't released any files.

Now for my rant
People!  This is not sourceforge or any of the other OSS sites!!!! this is gotdotnet!  Don't create a project if you don't have files.  I had something I recently wanted to share.  And I released files the same day!  So don't dangle a carrot in front of me if you have nothing!  We are better than that!  Maybe it was one of those jav... ahh wait (Java's not open source) Eiffel developer's who announce a project but progress no farther...

And while I'm at it... Give me some docs on how to use the thing... I recently downloaded something else that was extremely complicated (ssh library) and there were no docs.... Uhhhmmm... wait a m inute... My project doesn't have docs... OK, never mind about the docs... at least have files in source control that I can download!


If coding were dangerous...

28 April 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

Today, I finally caught up with my Rory reading... actually I have been putting off reading Rory's post on Carpentry Vs. Coding.  I was thinking that it would be a comparison of how the programming field is like the construction industry.  To my surprise (I guess I should be used to Rory going off in a different direction altogether from what I expect) it was a post about how Rory is better for choosing programming (for good reason) over carpentry.

In some of his descriptions he mentions something that I think we have lost in the programming arena (now this is where it gets fun).  The line that jumped out at me was this one: “I go out to the forest with my big sharp tree whacker, cut down a tree, do things to it to turn it into workable wood, take the wood into a shop, get out my dangerous power tools, risk life and limb to get things cut they way I want... “ (I added some emphasis there).

I think programming should be dangerous!  I think that people would be a lot more careful if programming could end up severing a limb, paralyze you, kill you, or something worse!  I have run into to much code in my 10+ years of professional programming that should have at least maimed the programmer.  I'm sure we have all seen it.

The problem of course is who decides.  So even though I want to continue to code... I am a coding slave... I have to code!  BUT, I will make the supreme sacrifice and I will never code again.  I will be the central reviewer of all code and I will push the button for what is bad code (hurt the programmer), really bad code (maim the programmer), or “Oh my?!!!???  That can't possibly work??!!!?? you can do that in 2 lines instead!” code (sorry here... death).  I won't be the executioner... we can set a random value of like 1 out of 10 gets the right or a worse consequence that way you are left to chance.

No, you don't need to thank me for my sacrifice.  It will be hard.  I'll have to go through the common withdrawal symptoms... I may need to even be in rehab... but I think I'm strong enough to get over coding, so that I can be the ultimate code reviewer...

Seriously speaking <stern look>, we should all remember that someone has to clean up our messes after we leave our jobs -- or even when we switch projects; we should try not to make it too bad for the poor sap who gets our old position or supporting our old project..


27 April 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

Ok, when I said “kinder and gentler” on Friday I didn't necessarily mean “quiet.”

I've been a bit busy lately (the weekend was busy as was Monday...)  My desk moved over the weekend (I'm finally acclimated).

I'll try to get back to my daily posting soon... (it's not like you're lives are incomplete without a posting from me... at least I hope not)

A kinder and Gentler Jay...

23 April 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

I just deleted the “Open Source” posts, I had written a couple weeks ago (not sure when I wrote them now).

Neither post came out exactly like I wanted, and the appeal of the dark path of flaming was too hard to resist.  What caused my change of heart was I was thinking back to some of Scoble's comments a while back... As a result I've decided to try to make a conscious effort not to bash...

It's hard because I really had a rough experience on the whole *nix side of the field (still am at times). 

So for the record what I was trying to say was that I learned a lot from doing a project outside of the normal realm for me (the project was for Mac OS X and Apache Tomcat... actually there is some Applescript and RealBasic involved as well).  Not everything I learned was positive, but I did learn some cool techniques as well as learned a greater appreciation for the ease of .Net (and why we really needed to move beyond classic VB).  On the whole, I feel that I'm a better programmer because of my experiences.