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Lack of Post and Lack of Service

Posted in General at Tuesday, May 31, 2005 3:53 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Well I've been pretty busy lately. Too busy to post much. But soon I'll post some of what I've been working on and learning.

The site has also been pretty flakey lately. I've narrowed it down to my DSL modem which seems to be going out. I have a new and improved modem/router on the way and I'm planning to do the upgrade on Friday. Until then, expect this site to be a little unpredicatable.

Google Sightseeing

Posted in General at Wednesday, May 18, 2005 8:28 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Just posting these links for my own sake so I don't have to keep trying to find them (they are all links from the google sightseeing blog:

What are your favorites?

SQL 2005 Forums

Posted in Sql and Xml | General | Avanade at Wednesday, May 18, 2005 1:40 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Euan posts about the new SQL Server 2005 forums:

http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn/default.aspx?ForumGroupID=19

Along with Visual Studio we are adding the option of support of the CTP program via Web Based forums in addition to the traditional newsgroups, we’d love to hear any feedback on the system.

And Niels responds over at Managed Data:

Euan posted the above about new forums for SQL Server 2005 stuff. I am subscribed, but I rather have newsgroups only. Anyway, I'm probably just old-fashioned. What are your thoughts regarding spreading the community between web-forums, newsgroups etc???

I used to take the newsgroup-only position. However, since my previous employer blocked all newsgroup access and since at my current job most of the clients block newsgroup access, I haven't visited a newsgroup for quite some time. I probably should spend more time in the newsgroups (especially if I want to keep my MVP status (which I do)), but it just isn't as practical for me as it used to be.

On the other hand, I really don't like web based forums. They are too slow and feel clunky. Newsgroups and newsreaders seem much easier to use and I spend less time waiting on the software. So I'm still waiting on a good solution that combines the ease and speed of newsgroups with the accessibility of the web. Just my $.02...

BizTalk Expression Quiz

Posted in BizTalk at Sunday, May 15, 2005 4:07 PM Pacific Daylight Time

One of the things I've been working on with BizTalk is trying to understand the best way to accomplish things like logging. In my journey to understand this I came accross something that I think is rather interesting.

What is the difference in the number of lines of code executed between the following two expression shapes?

Shape1:

 Variable_1 = 1;

Shape2:

 Variable_1 = 1;
 Variable_1 = 2;

Any ideas? I can tell you that the answer is not one. Based on my spelunking the answer is somewhere closer to 20. I think it is hard to qualify a "line of code" and it is hard to measure external calls, but in my research I was at well over 20 lines of code. Basically BizTalk saves its state and updates its status for each line of code in an expression shape. This makes for a case to use some custom code that BizTalk calls since the overhead per line of code is pretty high.

Testing Custom Flat File Disassemblers

Posted in BizTalk | Test-Driven Dev at Sunday, May 15, 2005 4:01 PM Pacific Daylight Time

At my current project for Avanade I've been working with Hisham (who is also my Career Manager and whose blog I read before I even knew about Avanade) and we've been doing a lot of BizTalk stuff. As he stated here, BizTalk development, without the help of some external tools, can be very time consuming just in the build->deploy->bind->enlist->start process of running BizTalk. One of the pieces that I've been working on is a custom Flat File disassembler. I found that testing my component within BizTalk was very time consuming. I also knew that there was a utility in the SDK for testing flat file disassembly (FFDasm.exe) which uses the standard flat file disassembler (FFDasmComp). So, with a little help from Reflector, on my flight to Seattle I hacked together a new version of the utility (FFDasmEx.exe) which accepts an additional parameter for the name of the custom pipeline component that you would like it to use instead of the standard disassembler.

This makes testing a breeze as you can simply compile your pipeline component assembly, copy it to the Pipeline Components folder, and then run your test. You can easily debug your component using this same method but running the FFDasmEx project in debug mode.

If anyone is interested let me know and I'll zip up the project and post it somewhere. However, if you have a copy of Reflector you can probably put it together yourself in about ten minutes.

Removing MSMQT from BizTalk 2004

Posted in BizTalk at Tuesday, May 10, 2005 7:51 AM Pacific Daylight Time

When you add the MSMQT adapter to BizTalk 2004 it asks  you “are you sure?” because this cannot be undone. Well I was pretty sure I wanted it, but later on it turns out that I really needed just MSMQ to work (which won't work with MSMQT unless you jump through some hoops).

In my searches I came across this solution which has a disclaimer:

Do this at your own risk; I do not know of any possible side effects of doing this (although I haven't noticed any yet) as opposed to doing the unconfigure/configure. You probably don't want to do this in a production machine, though!

So I was wondering (I'm not going to try it since I'm already in the process of rebuilding BT on my dev box) if anyone has any experience with this. It seems like a good hack, but what are the side effects? Are there any? Why did MS make the MSMQT setup so brittle....

Bitten by .Text Threading Bug

Posted in General at Monday, May 09, 2005 5:12 AM Pacific Daylight Time
Looks like the sqlxml.org blogs are suffering from this bug. Unfortunately I can't do anything about it right now, but I should be able to put a fix in tonight. Until then you can't access any blog entry directly...

SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4

Posted in Sql and Xml at Friday, May 06, 2005 8:37 AM Pacific Daylight Time

You can download sp4 here.

SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4) adds platform support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition, allowing 32-bit SQL Server 2000 applications to run on 64-bit platforms using the Windows on Windows emulator (WOW64). SP4 addresses specific issues discovered in SQL Server 2000 since its ship date. SP4 is also the first service pack to service the 64-bit edition of SQL Server.

SQL Server 2000 SP4:

  • Includes a new version of MSXML version 3.0 SP6. With SP4, the OPENXML statement is updated to use a custom-built XML parsing technology designed to be backward compatible with MSXML 2.6.
  • Includes MDAC 2.8 SP1 except for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 platforms, where it is included with the operating system service packs for those platforms.

Career Opportunity

Posted in Sql and Xml | Reporting Services | SharePoint | BizTalk | General | ASP.Net/Web Services | Avanade at Thursday, May 05, 2005 7:44 AM Pacific Daylight Time

I've been working for Avanade for about two months now, and I really like it. I've gotten a few emails from people who are interviewing with the company and want to know what it is like. It is a great company to work for, especially if you like working with Microsoft technology. In fact, Gartner just released a publication that listed Avanade as one of the “cool” vendors (along with three other companies). The big issue with working for Avanade is that you will travel. How much depends on what region you work for. The region that I work for, the west region, has a lot of work in each area so the traveling I do is all close by (at least so far).

The west region is also looking to hire developers (especially in SoCal). So if you live in the Western US, like to work with MS technologies, and don't mind some travel, this is a great opportunity. The company is mainly looking for .NET developers with skills in other MS products like SQL Server, BizTalk, SharePoint, Reporting Services, etc.

If you're interested, send your resume to me and I'll pass it along to the right person.

Some of the benefits of working for Avanade include things like $1000 every six months to spend on gadgets and a trip to one major conference per year. They want all developers to get MCSD certified and will pay for your training materials and exams (pass or fail). You are also allocated three weeks per year for training and this is allocated in the same way that vacations are allocated. Plus you get to work with a bunch of great people and have a lot of fun.

Here is a basic job description:


Short Description : Join Avanade and you will be part of a premier consulting organization focused on the Microsoft
enterprise suite. You will help build reliable, scalable solutions.

Description : Avanade is the only global technology integrator dedicated to the Microsoft enterprise platform. Avanade helps customers use Microsoft technology to cut costs and improve business results through standardization, consolidation, and integration of IT infrastructure and applications.

As a Developer, your focus will be developing and testing mission critical enterprise solutions. You will build management, technical and planning skills by participating in internal development projects. You will improve your abilities to think creatively and design solutions.

Responsibilities:

  • Participate in business requirements gathering and rules definition.
  • Participate in design of desktop and web-based application architecture.
  • Develop components/modules/scripts implementing business process rules.
  • Perform code walk-through of software components.
  • Document software components sufficient for on-going support and enhancement.
  • Effectively communicate status of tasks and projects

Minimum Requirements:

You will be degree qualified with excellent communication skills and will have hands-on experience working on component based applications in a distributed environment. Qualified candidates should possess:

  • 1+ year technology consulting
  • 2 to 4+ years as a programmer
  • 1+ years experience with C#
  • Deep MS platform Skills
  • .NET Framework
  • Full lifecycle experience developing large scale, scaleable applications
  • Willing to travel

Preferred Requirements:

  • MCSD Certification