Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting started with Visual Studio 2008

The news first appeared on the blog of Scott Guttrie and later swarmed out across the blogosphere ... But how do you start because there are a a lot of new things out there - luckily there exists the Visual Studio 2008 RTM Training Kit which will get you started.

The Visual Studio 2008 Training Kit has been updated for the RTM and has been released on the Download Center for anyone to download and use.

The Visual Studio 2008 Training Kit contains a full 5-days of technical content including 20hands-on labs, 28 presentations, and 20 scripted demos.   The technologies covered in the kit include:  LINQ, C# 3.0, VB 9, WCF, WF, WPF, Windows CardSpace, Silverlight, ASP.NET Ajax, .NET Compact Framework 3.5, VSTO 3.0, Visual Studio Team System, and Team Foundation Server. 

Originally developed for early adoption work with ISVs, it is now available to all. 

You can download the entire training kit from the download center here:  The kit is just over 120MB compressed.   After downloading the kit, simply run the installation program to extract the contents to your local machine.  Once the installation process is complete, you will see an HTML page that allows you to navigate through the contents of the kit. 

If you don't want to do a complete install immediately - you might want to take a look at one of MSDN Virtual Lab: Building Web Applications with Visual Studio 2008 . One of the advantages in the new version is the enhanced WPF support - for more info take a look at XAML Editor Preferences in Visual Studio 2008 Part 1 and  Part 2 as well. Here's some info which I picked up from Brad's blog:

1. VS 2008 fully supports multi-targeting... meaning you can use the new tool to work on your existing web applications and VS2005 projects

2. AJAX Development is first class.  The ASP.NET AJAX functionality is built into the framework and the IDE fully support JavaScript debugging and JavaScript Intellisense . There also exists an updated version of the AJAX Control Toolkit for Visual Studio 2008.

3. Linq, Linq and Linq...  Data access gets way easier with the LINQ support in VS 2008, C#, VB and the platform.   

4. Visual design experience in VS for building WPF based applications

5. Debug into the .NET Framework source code

For a full feature list of Visual Studio 2008 take a look at Jeff's blog  and I also recommend that you take a look at Top 10 things you should know about Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5  as well as Hidden gems in Visual Basic 2008. There is also a complete poster with the .NET Framework 3.5 commonly used types and namespaces.

With all the buzz surrounding the release of Visual Studio 2008, you might have missed these releases:

  • Microsoft .NET 2.0 Framework 2.0 SP1 - Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 1 provides cumulative roll-up updates for customer reported issues found after the release of Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. In addition, this release provides security improvements, and prerequisite feature support for .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 1, and .NET Framework 3.5.
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 SP1 - Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 1 provides cumulative roll-up updates for customer reported issues found after the release of Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0. In addition, this release provides security improvements, and prerequisite feature support for Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System (version 3.0 runtime)  - This download (VSTOR30.exe) installs the Visual Studio Tools for the Office system 3.0 Runtime, which is required to run VSTO solutions for the 2007 Microsoft Office system built using Microsoft Visual Studio 2008.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

SharePoint random link collection

Just did a clean up of some blog post that I marked for follow up - some interesting stuff has been released lately, so if you are doing SharePoint development definitely take a look at these links:


SharePoint Tools and solutions

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gartner Magic Quadrants about Information Worker solutions

So what are these Gartner Magic Quadrants all about - here's what I picked up from Wikipedia.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a proprietary research tool developed by Gartner Inc., a US based research and advisory firm. It is designed to provide an unbiased qualitative analysis of a “markets’ direction, maturity, and participants.”  Gartners rates vendors upon two criteria: completeness of vision and ability to execute. Using different qualifiers per criteria for the varying industries, the Magic Quadrant then rates the participants into one of four quadrants:

  1. Leaders : score higher on both criteria; the ability to execute and completeness of vision. Typically larger industry developed businesses with vision and potential for expansion
  2. Challengers : score higher the ability to execute and lower on the completeness of vision. Typically larger, settled businesses with minimal future plans for that industry
  3. Visionaries : score lower on the ability to execute and higher on the completeness of vision. Typically smaller companies that are unloading their planned potential
  4. Niche Players : score lower on both criteria: the ability to execute and completeness of vision. Typically market fledglings

Here's an overview of some Information Worker related Gartner quadrants:

Monday, November 12, 2007

SharePoint bloggers @ Dolmen

I'm actually proud to work at Dolmen ( ) - and one of the reasons why is because we have a great team of highly motivated people who will basically do "almost" everything to get the job done. And what is more - they are not afraid to share their experiences. If you want to see how they are coping with SharePoint projects, check out their  blogs:


For a complete listing of all bloggers @ Dolmen - check out the listing on the right hand side in the navigation...


P.S. 1 If you want to work with us ... you might want to come by for the Dolmen Jobbrunch on the 24th of november - for more info take a look at . And don't worry we do not only do SharePoint development, ...

P.S. 2 If you are a student which needs to do an IT internship - leave a comment with your contact details. I will forward these to HR so that they can provide you with more details about our internship programs.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Introduction to Microsoft Search Server 2008 - formerly know as S2

OK, so the cat is out the box...  Microsoft just released the RC (Release Candidate - RTM is expected for march 2008) of Search Server 2008. So what is it? It actually is a rebranded and updated version of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server for Search. There are two versions Search Server 2008 Express which is completely free and Search Server. Hereunder what I picked up from the Search Server TechEd session.

The product features are actually the same as those of MOSS (Standard Edition ...) but you will get a little bit extra (new features marked in bold):

  • Search Center interface
  • Customizable search experience through the use of Search webparts
  • Best Bets support and hit Highlighting
  • Crawl rules and  search proxy settings
  • Search thesaurus support for synonyms and noise words
  • Indexing and crawl support of different types of content sources such as SharePoint, web sites, file shares, Exchange public folders, Notes databases, ... These are the out of the box content sources you can get at extra content sources if you install extra protocol handlers.
  • IFilter support which allow you to crawl different types of files. SharePoint ships with a number of iFilters out of the box for Office files, XML, HTML, Text files, etc ... If you need to crawl other types of content you can install extra iFilters (such as the free PDF iFilter)
  • Search Connectors for Federated Search using the Open Search standard
  • Ships with out-of-the box search connectors for FileNet and Documentum (free)
  • Federated Search web parts
  • Can be installed on top of WSS 3.0 to extend the search experience
  • An easier installation process, they actually have a prerequisites checker tool which does some of the work for you ... :-).


Basically when you install Search Server you have two installation options:

  • Basic install - this will install SQL Server Express and use this as a back end database. Since there is a size limit (4 GB) on SQL Server Express you will be limited to more or less 400.000 documents.
  • Advanced install - this will allow you to use a back-end SQL Server. This option is both available for Search Server and Search Server Express.

So what happens if you install Search Server on a blank server? It will basically install WSS 3.0 and on top of that it will add the Search Server functionality.

So what is the difference between the Express edition and the full version. Both versions share the same search engine and the same functionality. There is however one major difference. Search Server Express is only possible in a single server install - so it will not scale out.

So what is the story with existing WSS 3.0 or MOSS installations:

  • If you install it on WSS 3.0, it will extend it which will allow you to search across sites.
  • You can NOT install it on MOSS for the moment. There will be an update for MOSS post Service Pack 1 which will give you the Federated Search capability.


Release timeline:

  • MOSS SP1 release  (no date available yet)
  • MSS RTM  (probably march 2008)
  • Federation Patch for MOSS

A interesting summary is found in this great Search comparison table from Pierre his site (French only) - here under the translation:


Product Name Technologies Characteristics

Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express (MSSX 2008)

Windows 2003 Server

WSS 3.0

SQL Server 2005 Express or SQL Server 2005


No limit on the number of documents (except for the limit of the database)

Single server support only

Federated search

Microsoft Search Server 2008

(MSS 2008)

Windows 2003 Server

SQL Server 2005 (or SQL Server 2000 SP3a)

WSS 3.0

Not free

No limit on the number of documents

Multiple server/farm support

Federated search

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

(MOSS 2007)


Not free

People search

Business Data Catalog (BDC) search


And now the most important thing - what is this Federated Search all about? Federated Search in Search Server uses Federated Search Connectors which allow you to pass search queries to a another system (such as Technorati, MSDN, Flickr, WikiPedia, your own custom applications or even Google :-) )  and accept and display results returned from that system.  The display of results from these other search engines or applications are displayed alongside the local results. If you want to learn more take a look at  - here you can download sample Federated Search connectors (you package the settings in a file with extension FLD).

I will probably play around with this during the weekend ... so more news to follow.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Windows Live Writer goes live

I have been using Live Writer for quite a while and it is a great product ... I just upgraded to the RTM version of Live Writer.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 for Search Code Name "S2" - What is it and what's new?

I just noticed this session in the TechEd session overview ... looks quite interesting. More news to follow later on.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Visual Studio 2008 available on MSDN by end of november 2007

Interesting news from TechEd Barcelona, Somasegar told us that Visual Studio 2008 will be already available by the end of this month on MSDN. (Also see Soma's blog post about TechEd Europe)

Some fun stuff in there:

  • Multitargetting - which means that you can target the .NET 2.0, .NET 3.0 or .NET 3.5 framework. (You don't need a side by side installation of VS2005 and 2008)
  • Better designer support (they took the design engine from Expression web or SharePoint Designer for that matter ... :)) - is used to provide better designer support for web developers
  • Better support for javascript
  • Visual Studio is now extensible for other platforms as well  - there was a great demo from Dan Fernandez where he showcased how he used Visual Studio 2008 to build a plugin for World of Warcraft.
  • Builtin support for all the nifty new .NET 3.5 stuff such as LINQ, etc ...

Update: here are some other things that they announced:


Greetings from Teched Europe Barcelona ...


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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Installing OneNote Mobile

I just got myself an interesting little toy - the E-Ten M700 Smartphone (for more info about E-Ten check out IntoMobile). One of the first thing I wanted to try out was OneNote Mobile. So how do you install it on your mobile device (well it did not install automatically for me):

  • Start Office OneNote 2007 and connect your device.
  • In OneNote, on the Tools menu, click Options.
  • In the Options dialog box, in the Category list, click OneNote Mobile, and then click Install OneNote Mobile.
  • Follow the instructions on your computer screen to complete the installation.  (It is going to ask you where to install OneNote Mobile)

So why did I want to install OneNote Mobile - well take a look at this info and you probably figure out that this is quite a handy tool to use:

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