17 November 2017
17 November 2017

MSBuild: Targeting Your Needs

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The Microsoft Build Engine (MSBuild) works seamlessly within Visual Studio, but it can also be used to build software where Visual Studio is not installed. It’s possible to create custom tasks that will run during the build process, saving time and decreasing the chances of error. Hubert Kuffel demonstrates how to create two useful tasks and how to easily is it to apply these to all your .NET projects.… Read more
03 November 2017
03 November 2017

Hacking Visual Studio

Visual Studio, like any Integrated Development Environment, can host extensions for more specialist languages or development tasks. This sort of work is reasonably straightforward most of the time but occasionally you need functionality that isn't available in the APIs. Michal takes two examples, printing code in an editing window, and gaining access to the Visual Studio Notifications, and explains how to hack Visual Studio to get to the functionality.… Read more
24 August 2017
24 August 2017

Why is My Database Application so Slow?

When your application is running slowly, the reflex action is to blame the database queries. It is certainly true that some of the more extravagant delays can be fairly blamed on a missing index or unnecessary locking, but there are other potential villains in the drama, including the network and the application itself. Dan Turner points out that you could save a lot of time and money by working out for sure where the problems lie before diving into the detail.… Read more
20 June 2017
20 June 2017

Visual Studio 2017 and Swagger: Building and Documenting Web APIs

The OpenAPI ‘Swagger’ Specification defines a protocol that allows applications to discover, and generate documentation of methods, parameters and models of REST APIs, This provides a way for any software to identify the features of a REST API. It does for REST APIs what WSDL (Web Service Description Language) did for web services. Visual Studio now provides it to support proxy creation for REST APIs, as Dennes Torres explains.… Read more
30 January 2017
30 January 2017

Working with the BigInt Type in Node and SQL Server

Node.JS and SQL Server are a good match for creating non-blocking, event-driven database applications. Though you can use ODBC or JDBC to communicate between the two, it is possible to run such applications on platforms such as Azure, Linux, OSX and iOS by using Node together with the JavaScript TDS library called 'Tedious'. 'Tedious' is a mature product but it is still possible to get things wrong in converting SQL Server datatypes such as BigInt to native Javascript data. … Read more
01 December 2016
01 December 2016

LINQ Debugging and Visualization

LINQ is certainly extraordinarily useful. It brings the power of query expressions to C#, allowing an easy way of getting the data you need from a variety of data sources. Up to now, there hasn't been a VS debugger for LINQ that gives you the means to visualise the data at every point in the chain. Michael Sorens, a keen LINQ user, describes a third-party tool that now promises to make using LINQ something we can all participate in.… Read more
25 July 2016
25 July 2016

Performance-Oriented Software Development

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Applications must perform well. The problem is that performance can't easily be added later as an afterthought but must be part of the culture and values of the development team. This isn't easy, particularly if measurement is difficult to achieve and it is tricky to determine exactly what is running too slowly. As well as making performance a clear objective, you need an efficient integrated approach and the right tools. If you get this right, it can save a lot of expense, and time spent refactoring code. … Read more
13 January 2016
13 January 2016

Data Manipulation in R: Beyond SQL

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Although SQL is an obvious choice for retrieving the data for analysis, it strays outside its comfort zone when dealing with pivots and matrix manipulations. R includes a number of packages that can do these simply. By combining the two, you can prepare your data for analysis or visualisation in R more efficiently.… Read more