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Book review: C# 2008 and 2005 Threaded Programming

A couple of weeks ago, Packt publishing asked me to review Gastón C. Hillar book “C# 2008 and 2005 Threaded Programming: Beginner’s Guide”. They sent me a copy of this book and today, I’m ready to write a review for it. But before I’ll start reviewing it, I want to apologize to the publisher and author for the impartial review.

image

First of all, you should understand, that this book is about how it possible (for this book author) to write four programs (with awful user interface) using different classes from System.Threading namespace to perform tasks, rather then what is multithreaded programming and how to achieve best performance by utilizing multiple CPU power. Your own programs will not run faster after reading this book, but you’ll probably know (if you did not know before) how to use , , , and classes. Also, there is a small chapter about thread context switching for UI thread delegates invocation and parallel extensions.

There are some technical misconceptions and errors in this book. But it is not the major problem of it. The problem is that while reading this book I question myself whom this book aimed at? Language style is somewhere between blog chatting (better then mine) and MSDN style documentation. I admit I don’t know quite how to categorize this, the author writes in a style that is just bizarre (even more bizarre then mine in this blog :) ) Overall, it sounds like I’m reading a conversation between two beginner-level programmers trying to explain one each other why they are using certain coding convention in C#.

Another half of this 395 pages book is just copy-paste stuff from Visual Studio (including it default tabulations and indentations). Here one of representative examples of such copy/paste

// Disable the Start button
butStart.Enabled = false;
// Enable the Start button
butStart.Enabled = true;

// Some very useful property, which used as private member for another public property
private int priVeryUserfulProperty;

public int VeryUserfulProperty
{
   get
   {
      return priVeryUserfulProperty;
   }
   set
   {
      priVeryUserfulProperty = value;
   }
}

Verdict: Not very exemplary introduction to some classes inside System.Threading namespace for fellow students who like to read blogs, rather then books and documentation and do not want to understand how it works under the hoods, but write something and forget it.

3- of 5 on my scale. This book is not all bad, though, but apparently suitable for very specific audience, which definitely excludes me.

Programming for Windows 7

Well, Windows 7 is going to be released by the end of next year. This is great news, because it seemed, that Microsoft finally understand how to get the best of Windows Vista and make it to work not only on monster machines.

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It even works on new brandy my wife’s pinky machine. And if it works there and my wife is happy with it, this OS going to be very impressive.

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But from the other hand, we, as developers should be ready today to developer Windows 7 ready application (by the way, Vista Battery Saver works for Windows 7 as well as for Windows Vista, in spite of the fact, that power management in Windows 7 was improved dramatically). So let’s start!

First thing we need is to read big Windows 7 Developer Guide. This document will explain most of new features for developers to build applications right. What is includes?

Windows Driver Kit (WDK) 3.0

Basically, Windows 7 works with Vista drivers, however, hibernation, power management, networking, PREfast will work much better. You also will have new WMI access for reliability monitors and ACPI.

Management and deployment

By default Windows 7 uses PowerShell 2.0 and Windows Installer. For PowerShell it includes enhanced cmdlets to manage Active Directory, IIS, etc. For Windows Installer, you finally can build “chainers” by yourself (the same approach, used for latest deployment of Microsoft products such as Silverlight, Visual Studio 2008 SP1 etc.) Also, you can get advantage by using Windows Filtering Platform (Firewall) and User Account Control (UAC) from inside your application by using new APIs.

Performance

The most significant change in Windows 7 for end-user point of view is improved performance. Windows 7 kernel is much smaller, that kernel of Windows Vista. Also it uses specific patterns to decrease background activities on low power, based on system triggers. New user-mode and kernel-mode APIs are used by Windows Drivers Foundation much more efficiently. Also system services are much smarter. For example, DCIA starts only when you connect new hardware. After drivers were installed the service shuts down. The same approach used by domain join, GP changes, new IP fetching etc. Windows 7 knows to run and stop services, based on system events, which decreases average work load and enhances whole system performance.

Multi-touch gestures and Interia API and used interface in general

Yes, you can use this API for your applications. Finally we can have more, then just mouse. And it is not only about multiple mouse devices. We can use single finder panning, raw touch input data, internal multitouch ink recognition, which is also supports math. Also it uses build-in MathML export feature.

There are a lot of other enhancements, such as smart bars, windows’ stacking, gadget desktop (it does not eat battery as external process anymore), system ribbon menu integration. etc

Graphics

Direct 11, new Direct2D, DirectWrite (we can turn text anti-aliasing for small fonts, hurrah!), improved WIC, DX/GDI interoperability on system level with automatic fallback for weak hardware (yes, you should not be worry about it anymore). Also new video and audio format support with human readable interfaces. Yes, no more DirectDraw hacks. We can use new high level interfaces such as MFPlay to manage playbacks, Source Reader for decoding, Sink Writer for transcoders and re-coding compressions.

Web and communication

WCF is inside, as well as distributed routing table for peer-to-peer operations. BranchCache – new technology to reduce WAN traffic and latency.

Also Windows 7 is compatible with OpenSearch (I told, that Microsoft does not know to build search engines). Sharepoint integration and environment sensors platform, that can be used either for desktop and web applications.

There are much more features, that makes Windows 7 to pretend to be very good operation system. If you want to learn more about all those Windows 7 new features, I highly advice you to download and read this document. It includes most of new features of new OS with explanations and screenshots to make your learn and understand what can your future application do with all those new features.

Have a nice day and be good people.

BTW, if you have PDC version of Windows 7 and want to unlock it for using of some cool features, introduced during keynotes, it worth to visit here and learn how to :)

Download Windows 7 Developer Guide and start programming.

Free Microsoft Expression series video training catalogs

MSDN download center just published video catalogs, where you can find sample chapters of Total Training’s video series for Microsoft Expression studio. Worth to download and see. Here the breakdown by products

Also, if you are “in” Office development, it makes sense to take a look in to Data Connectivity Components for Office 2007 System. It can be used by non-Microsoft Office applications to read data from Office system files.

Happy downloading!

For all those, who have problems with running WPF Performance Profiling tool – Microsoft cares

Three days ago, I announced the new release of WPF Performance Profiling Tool. A couple hours after this was announced, I got a number of comments from you, readers. It was about issues with running this tool. I checked the issue and forwarded it to development team from Microsoft. The problem was in bad parsing of comma and point characters in this tool, when using it on non-US locale. Dev team took care about it and hopefully they will provide a fix soon.

Thank you for reading my blog, reporting and your awareness of such issues. This is very important to me and I’m really appreciate your efforts to help us to develop WPF community.

I’ll update you as soon as the patch will be available.

Thank you and Shana Tova!

image

Nokia Mail for Exchange 2.7 is out

New version of outstanding Exchange synchronization tool for Nokia phones is out. There are no big changes, except heart beat implementation of ActiveSync and fixes to contacts mapping bug is there. The main feature of this version is, that it can now run on any S60 phone (including 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2 devices), not only on E and N series. Full list of changes can be found here.

The bad news is, that Nokia MFE 2.7 still does not support inbox folders synchronization. This is the main feature missing in this great software. However, according the update rate, it should arrive soon.

Download Nokia Mail for Exchange 2.7 >>

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