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.

TypeScript– Application grade JavaScript

During Decembers Architect Forum I talked about TypeScript and some recent updates have prompted a post.

So what is the rational behind Yet another JavaScript language,  when there are already a few out there. Microsoft's motivation was to produce an Application grade version of JavaScript which would not impede only improve existing JavaScript development.

The design choices made in TypeScript which make it so appealing is that it is built as a set of Optional extensions to JavaScript so in effect all JavaScript code is also TypeScript code. Combined with the TypeScript implementation which compiles the Typescript down into JavaScript (EC3 or EC5) means that it will run on all platforms where JavaScript runs with out the need of any additional runtime. These give key advantages in both adoption which can be done at the start or during a project and also it does not preclude any existing user libraries which is the classic stumbling block for any new language.

Typescript guys have made a great choice to in effect implement most of the EC6 planned and features still up for discussion, bottom line this means you get classes, strong typing throughout your code to use in JavaScript now.

To get started first of look at is the home of typescript and of course as typescript is JavaScript, you can try it right now in your browser

For actual production use you can down get it as either a Node.js package by using node.js package manager npm install -g typescript and then use the command line compiler tsc

or as plugin for Visual Studio 2012 Here

or just the source and do it yourself, all from here 

Chris Sells from Telerik has not only produced a great post on TypeScript but also some Windows 8 Templates so you can develop Windows 8 applications in HTML and Typescript which in my opinion will improve the quality of your applications no end.

read his article here and the instructions on how to install the Windows 8 templates are at the end


Hilo : Developing an End-to-End Windows Store app using C++ and XAML

I have been a massive fan of the work the Microsoft Patterns and Practices team for years and in the past year I have been lucky enough to be able to help out as a reviewer on a couple of projects.

What makes the P&P team stand out is the fact that their aim is to make your life easier and you to look better by helping you delivering better products faster.

One of the projects I was lucky enough to review is Hilo, which is a guide demonstrating how to write modern C++ and XAML code using async programming patterns to build Windows Store apps that use tiles, a splash screen, controls, pages, navigation, suspend & resume, and touch.  The guide provides common guidance on common development patterns and practices such as Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) and Repository patterns and unit testing.


Guide chapters:

· Getting started with Hilo

· Designing Hilo's UX

· Writing modern C++ code in Hilo

· Async programming patterns and tips in Hilo

· Working with tiles and the splash screen in Hilo

· Using the Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) pattern in Hilo

· Using the Repository pattern in Hilo

· Creating and navigating between pages in Hilo

· Using controls in Hilo

· Using touch in Hilo

· Handling suspend, resume, and activation in Hilo

· Improving performance in Hilo

· Testing and deploying Hilo

· Meet the Hilo team

· Performing interop between XAML and DirectX

CodePlex Site

Download the Hilo sample

 Get the book


Thinking about Printing a House

Now is the time to start thinking about projects for the year and by recent posts it should be clear that 3D printing is on my mind as is building a house and so when the worlds collide, I suspect fear will be striking the hearts of anybody who knows me Smile

A Company called D Shape are moving ahead with the concept of Printing Buildings 

it looks at a R&D stage but here is an article of Enrico Dini in Action, what an Awesome concept. He is planning to build a Mobius Strip House using the printer.

What can I say but, I love the world we live in.


Print your own case for the Nokia Lumia 820–Awesome

I love it when worlds collide, in this case my world of mobile phone development and the world of 3D printing.

In a great move to encourage users to embrace the Lumia platform, Nokia have released, all of the 3D assets needed to enable users to print their own cases using 3D printers.

Looking at the 820 with the back off, external batteries can be built in as can the most excellent wireless charging unit, however what would have been the icing on the cake would be the ability to interface devices into shells. There are two pins not related to battery or charging which I still have not be able to identify when the back case is off so here’s hoping ( i suspect they are case off detection )

The original Nokia post with links to the models needed to can be found here

The actual files can be found Here and Here and Here

Now all I need is a 3D printer ……


Teaching Children to Program with Small Basic[Updated Jan 2013]

Many years ago Black Marble undertook to help people to program, not with the aim of turning out large numbers of developer minions but to show how learning to program teaches people how to break down and solve problems.

Lynn Lagit  and LLewellyn Falco have produced a series of videos based on the workshops they are running for children as well as some extensions for Small Basic.

For convenience here are links to the videos, but I urge you look look at Lynn’s blog for more details

Setting up Small Basic

First Recipe

Coding Recipe Variations

To get Going click on the HERE links I would suggest looking at all of the information.

The Small Basic Microsoft official site is here

Download Small Basic HERE

Getting Started look here

The Small Basic site with more useful information is here

Small Basic free EBooks are here

If you are a Parent of Educator there is a Curriculum pack Here download in one go HERE

There is also a companion site with resources and recipes for learning at

The recipes for kids to follow are here but you will need to install an add-on for Small Basic which adds Logo style components like turtle!  The add on site is here


Windows 8 Store Certification 2.2 Update

I have been discussing Windows 8 development with several developer groups this month and it seems that only a few developers were aware that in November update to the Windows App Certification Kit (ACK) was posted, it offers several bug fixes and more importantly new tests which came into force in the middle of December.

In fact many are not using the ACK at all, I urge all Windows 8 developers to run the ACK before submission as it will help you find any store validation errors !!!!!

The new (additional) App Store Rules are

  • Optimized binding references (when using bindings, WinJS.Binding.optimizeBindingReferences should be set to TRUE in the app's JavaScript to optimize the memory usage).
  • Branding validation (apps should not use the default icons generated by Visual Studio or included in the SDK samples).
  • Private code signing (remove any private code signing keys, such as .pfx files, from the package).

While these all make sense it is a bit, no a lot disturbing that people are submitting applications with the DEFAULT Icons.

Get the latest version is here


What’s New in Azure

Just before Christmas a number of enhancements were released, the continual growth combined with the short release cadence is showing Azure to be an amazing platform for development and delivery.

Included in the update:

  • Mobile Services
    • CRON – a well built job scheduler for routine maintenance (tutorial here)
    • CLI Support – The azure command line tool now has mobile service support
    • European Locations – now Europe is a Service location
  • Web Sites
    • can be run across 6 Shared or 10 Reserved Instances
    • Publish from Source Control Smile (TFS/Git)
  • Portal Enhancements for
    • SQL Data Sync
    • ACS Management 
  • Media Services
    • Job and Task management
    • Adding content from a Windows Azure storage account
    • Scaling to increase encoding concurrency
  • Virtual Network enhancements (thank goodness)

to learn more come to a BM Azure event check out


TFS 2012 Update 1 Hotfix

There has been a hot fix that fixes some issues in Update 1 some from the RTM. 

Issues Addressed

  1. Collections that are attached to a server that is running TFS 2012 Update 1 may lose permissions
  2. Group scopes may incorrectly cause permission errors
  3. Severe decrease in performance after TFS 2012 Update 1 is installed
  4. Identity sync jobs may fail repeatedly
  5. Warehouse is not updated correctly, or fields that represent a person are not filled
  6. Users can see names of collections of which they are not a member

the full KB Article is here

download here.


Life with the Nokia Lumia 920

I have had a Nokia 920 with Windows Phone 8 for several months and I thought it worth the effort to put some notes down

Good Bits

The screen is large and clear, pinning apps in small and large format allows me all of the configuration I need.

Nokia Drive + is just awesome, maps for the whole world, all available offline. what more could you ask for.

The main camera is one of the best cameras I have used, I am not a camera head but the pictures make me look good which is a feat in itself. The lens plugins like Cinemagraph and Smart Shoot.

And the wireless charging using the Nokia charging plates is a dream and quite wonderful to watch and in itself shows the path of technology to come.

Bad Bits

Music play back is still a bit basic and Microsoft needs to improve this small oversight. It is a little big for my phone holder in the car (the cup holder), it would have been nice for a SD card errm but that's it.


The only phone i have used recently which i liked as much is the Nokia Lumia 820 which does have a SD card slot