Do programmers dream in Byte Code?

This is Boss's blog , by day I am the Managing Director of Black Marble , by night I am an MVP for BizTalk and spend my life evangalising development to all.

Developers Guide To AppFabric (free)

My great friend Alan Smith has recently released a really great guide to AppFabric, Alan is well known for his BizTalk Bloggers guide and I expect that this volume will enjoy as much if not more success.

The guide is well written and comprehensive, saying that my understanding is that Alan plans to keep updating it over time.

if you are into AppFabric at all get it here


Zune HD (still going)

On the long road to Windows Phone 7, Zune and Zune HD laid a solid foundation, now in many peoples eyes these really excellent devices have been side-lined. I must admit being somewhat fond of my(now my daughters) Zune HD.

But this week a new set of free games and tools have been launched for the Zune HD adding just a bit more life to the platform.

Go to your Zune Desktop, plug your Zune in and look for the new apps and games

they include

  • Finger Paint
  • Calendar
  • Trash Throw
  • Slider Puzzle
  • ColorSpill
  • Splatter Bug
  • Vine Climb
  • Decoder Ring
  • Tug-O-War

Zune HD was only sold in the US, so if by any chance you are using a non US pc, just change your location to US before starting Zune Desktop and reset after (no system restart needed)

I know it is a forlorn hope but I do wish Microsoft keep the Zune Brand


Enterprise Library now with added Silverlight goodness

A series of updates are available for Enterprise Library and Unity and a few other bits of general interest

There is an update for the Enterprise Library 5.0 which is only required if you are using the Silverlight Integration Pack and need WCF RIA Services Integration or configuration tool support. get it here

However the most interesting development is a version of the Enterprise Library for Silverlight developers get it here it contains Caching Application Block, Exception Handling Application Block, Logging Application Block, Policy Injection Application Block, Validation Application Block, and Unity Application Block allowing you to develop best practice effectively.

Just in case you don't have the Enterprise library you can get it here

Microsoft Unity 2.1 is a dependency injection container. this is a minor update on Unity get it here , I also recommend you visit the Patterns and Practices page for Unity here

There is also a port of Unity 2.1 for Silverlight here

if you need to learn how to use these great libraries there is of course a Hands On Labs (HOL) for Enterprise Library 5.0 here


BizTalk General Updates and Updated Resource List


BizTalk 2009 and Adapter Pack 2.0 as recently had some rollup updates

Cumulative Update Package 1 for BizTalk Server 2009 (KB 2429050) contains 60 fixes get it here

Cumulative Update Package 1 for BizTalk Adapter Pack 2.0  (KB 2444952) contains 11 fixes get it here.

More great news, There is now a poster available for the ESB Toolkit. You can get it here.

for people looking to draw up BizTalk for architecture diagrams, Sandro Pereira has produced a Visio 2010 stencil for BizTalk 2010 get it here

General Resources


BizTalk 2010 ESB toolkit:

Useful Code/Supplementary applications

I recommend highly you look at

BizUnit , a BizTalk testing framework

BizTalk Loadgen

BizTalk Benchmark Wizard

BizTalk Mapper Extensions

a set of functoids for date time/password generation/guid generation and base64 encode/decode

Thanks to Derek @ Storm for the following links

i)a useful wizard I use for creating BizUnit test steps.

ii) a BizTalk custom pipeline component wizard:


BizTalk Performance Optimization Guide

BizTalk Hyper-v Guide

ESB Toolkit core components

BizTalk Operations Guide

Mikes guide to testing


BizTalk Training Kit

the training kit has a section on Operations Management

ESB introduction videos


BizTalk 2010 ESB Architecture Poster

BizTalk 2010 BAM Poster

BizTalk 2010 Poster

BizTalk 2010 Runtime Poster

BizTalk 2010 Scale out poster

BizTalk 2010 DB Infrastructure Poster



July update

I looked back and realised I had missed a few updates to post ( I blame Microsoft for bringing out lots of great things all at once Winking smile)

Light switch Beta 2 is out get it here, the site now suggests that a July 26th launch date is on the cards

StyleCop 4.5 has now been released get it here , if you haven’t tried StyleCop, its main aim is to help deliver standards of code style and standards across an organisation, but it is in fact a perfect pair to FxCop (see the Windows 7.1 .net 4.0 SDK) as FxCop analyses binaries , StyleCop analyses source code.

if you haven't already scoot over to Richards blog for updates from the ALM Rangers on some cool TFS work


Microsoft goes Manga for Azure and Powershell

Spelunking through the internet I came across a project at Microsoft to engage people with various Microsoft Technologies using comic form. Black Marble have been producing Xmas comics over the last few years and the results have been great.

The series of comics follows “Squishy” the stress ball, Leah and Zach in a Manga inspired view of IT and development

In "Climbing Mt. PowerShell" the heroes learn PowerShell and the power of scripting to save the day, get it here

"Conquering Virtual Sprawl" Leah and Zach fights the chaos of large numbers of servers and harnesses virtual servers to save the day get it here

finally the heroes go where no heroes have gone before “Into the Cloud” get it here

the guys over at the Microsoft Born to Learn site really should be applauded at their efforts of tackling these subjects in such a great way


Developer Update for April

Microsoft as ever have been busy with new drops and SP1 refreshes of technology for us all to embrace and here is a summary update for this month

The Microsoft F# (, April 2011 Community Technology Preview is available here

While not all new if you are looking at F# I would suggest keeping an eye on

F# PowerPack

F# Samples

F# Developer Center

For learning F# check out the Try F# tutorials here

Anders announced that in the new generation of the .Net languages at PDC 2010 more compiler automation of classic tasks in this case Async functions and beyond will be possible. You can watch it here. The SP1 previews of the new compilers are available now (see below)

C# Language Specification for Asynchronous Functions get it here

VB Language Specification for Asynchronous Functions get it here

A general overview of  Asynchrony in .NET is available as a Whitepaper here

Visual Studio Async CTP including the language changes (SP1 Refresh) get it here

a related useful read is Task-based Asynchronous Pattern which is a new pattern for asynchrony get it here

another interesting document is Introduction to TPL Dataflow which is a library for building parallel and concurrent applications get is here

It is useful to note that while not encouraged the EULA does allow for production use (but on your own head be it)


Mix 11 delivers a slew of interesting updates across the board

across the two keynotes of the 2011 Microsoft have demonstrated and released a

IE10 Preview is now out, it has a nice set of enhanced features (faster etc). more importantly Microsoft are continuing with dev preview and a sensible cadence of 8-12 weeks, get it here

The ASP.NET MVC 3 Tooling Update which contains lots of new features including Modernizr a JavaScript library that delivers auto down grade browser support get it here 

Silverlight 5 Beta is now out, check out its features here get it here also the CHM is available here remember to Service Pack both Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Web before trying out the new tools.

A new version of expression blend for SL 5 is also available here

On Phone 7 and beyond Mango the next version of Windows Phone 7 was formally announced with a great set of new features. A release of Mango is expected in May in emulation form. Hopefully developers will also get access on real hardware earlier to allow development or so tweets from the team suggest.

The new emulator allows screen shots to be taken. There was some anger at reports that mango would not allow access to the gyroscope, which is quite understandable as Windows Phone 7 does not have a gyroscope, however Mango will allow access to a gyroscope if fitted to the phone (new Mango issue Phones).

New features

  • “Multitasking” (fast app switching and file transfer) and Background Agents
  • Phone Integration . The Live Tiles and libraries.
  • Access to the Compass, Gyro(if mango phone), camera and on phone database.
  • IE9 and Silverlight 4
  • Applications can be both XNA and Silverlight (similar to Silverlight5)
  • Access to contacts and calendar
  • Performance tooling