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10 reasons you should get Vista

Here are the real benefits: things that will actually make a difference to you day-to-day.

1. UI built for the era of video and digital photographyIt's not actually Microsoft's key selling point, but the thing that everyone will probably find the most useful about Vista is that photos, videos and music are not treated the same as Word documents any more. When you open a folder of photos, they come up as they'd appear in Google Picasa or Apple iPhoto. There's inbuilt basic photo editing. Music folders come up in columns of ID3 tags, a bit like iTunes. Finally, you don't have to rely so much on third party apps to work with your files.

2. Image-based installPC enthusiasts spend a lot of time installing and reinstalling Windows for their own and other people's PCs. The Vista DVD is actually a pre-installed version of the OS in a compressed form, making it substantially quicker to install. It's also much easier to customise for unprompted installation with the co…

Update of SQL Server Database Publishing Toolkit for Web Hosting

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A few months ago I posted about the new SQL Server Database Publishing Hosting Toolkit built and published by the SQL Server team. You can read about what it offers and how to use it in these previous two blog posts of mine:
Recipe: Deploying a SQL Database to a Remote Hosting Environment
Tip/Trick: How to Upload a .SQL file to a Hoster and Execute it to Deploy a SQL Database
The SQL Server Hosting Toolkit is a free download that makes it super easy to create a .SQL script file capable of re-creating your database (including the schema, sprocs, and actual data content). When it is installed you can simply right-click on a database inside Visual Studio or Visual Web Developer and walkthrough a wizard to script it out:

You can then FTP this script up to your remote server environment and execute it (my second post above shows a technique you can use even if you don't have admin access on the machine). Alternatively, you can use the built-in web-service support provided by the database p…

Working with Data in ASP.NET 2.0

A ton of great articles and tutorials on working with data in ASP.NET 2.0 applications has been published recently. This post highlights a few of them:
Working with Data in ASP.NET 2.0 Tutorial Series
Scott Mitchell recently finished writing his multi-part Working with Data in ASP.NET 2.0 tutorial series for the www.asp.net site. This tutorial series contains more than 75 data tutorials (and over 750 pages of content!). There are VB and C# versions available for all of the tutorials, and the articles can optionally be downloaded in PDF format. If you haven't read the tutorials yet, I'd highly checking them out here.
Below is the table of contents and links to the articles already published:
Introduction (3 articles)
Basic Reporting (3 articles)
Master/Detail (4 articles)
Custom Formatting (5 articles)
Editing, Inserting, and Deleting Data (8 articles)
Paging and Sorting (4 articles)
Custom Button Actions (1 article)
Displaying Data with the DataList and Repeater (4 articles)
Filtering…

IIS 7.0 Beta3 Ships with a Go-Live License

This week we shipped IIS 7.0 Beta 3 as part of the Windows "Longhorn" Server release. IIS 7.0 is the biggest release of IIS in the history of the product, and brings with it major improvements to the Microsoft web-server stack. This article and this blog post list just a few of the major improvements it delivers.
New IIS 7.0 Beta3 Features
This week's IIS 7.0 Beta3 release introduces a bunch of new features and capabilities above and beyond what shipped in the IIS 7.0 release that came with Windows Vista. These include:
Web Farm Shared Configuration: You can now configure your web-servers to be stateless, and centralize all configuration, code and content across web farms (making it much easier to scale out and manage). Learn more about how to use this new feature here.
Delegated Remote Administration: You can now use the IIS7 admin tool to remotely manage web-servers over HTTP/SSL. Server administrators can now lock down and "delegate" settings to site admini…

Tip/Trick: Supporting Full Screen Mode with Silverlight

One of the nice features that Silverlight supports is the ability to go "full screen" and effectively take over the entire screen of a computer (hiding everything else from sight - including the browser frame). This can be very useful when building immersive UI experiences, games, rich video players, etc.
For a nice example of this feature in action, make sure to check out the Fox Movies Sample on www.silverlight.net:

Once the page loads and the movie starts playing, double-click on the video surface in the middle to switch into full-screen mode (note: the screen-shot above is not in full-screen but rather browser mode). You can then hit the escape key to switch back into normal browser viewing.
How to Implement Full Screen Mode with Silverlight 1.1 using .NET
One of the questions I've seen a few people ask is "how can you implement full screen-mode when building Silverlight applications using .NET?" The good news is that the answer is actually pretty easy:
1) Fi…

My Upcoming Presentations in Orlando, Budapest, Amsterdam, Zurich, Mountain View and Phoenix

June is going to be a really busy travel month for me. I'll be presenting at the following events if you are interested in attending and stopping by to say hi:
TechEd 2007 in Orlando on June 4th and 5th:
I'll be doing a Silverlight talk and two ASP.NET and VS "Orcas" talks.
Click here for more details about the conference.
ReMIX 07 in Budapest, Hungary on June 11tht:
I'll be doing the keynote at the ReMIX conference as well as presenting Silverlight breakout talks.
Click here for more details about the conference.
ReMIX 07 and DevDays 07 in Amsterdam, Netherlands on June 13th and 14th:
I'll be doing the keynote at the ReMIX and DevDays conferences as well as presenting ASP.NET "Orcas" and Silverlight breakout talks.
Click here and here for more details about the conferences.
ReMIX 07 in Zurich, Switzerland on June 18th:
I'll be doing the keynote at the ReMIX conference, as well as presenting Silverlight breakout talks. I'm also going to see if I mig…

ASP.NET, Visual Studio, Silverlight, WPF and .NET

One of the things I'm going to try and start doing is a weekly blog post of useful/interesting links on .NET related topics that I've found on the web. Below is this week's version:
ASP.NET
Downloading a File using ASP.NET with the "Save As" Dialog: Rick Strahl has a nice post on how to dynamically download a file to a browser with ASP.NET and force the browser to automatically prompt them to save it using the "Save As" dialog.
Storing Binary Files Directly in the Database using ASP.NET 2.0: Scott Mitchell has a good article that shows how to upload and store images within a SQL database, and then serve them out dynamically from within a web application (very useful for photo albums). You could combine this article with Rick's above to enable an optional "Save As" option that allows site visitors to save high-resolution versions of images or other file types.
How to Make a GMail-like Loading Indicator with ASP.NET AJAX: Simone has a good post …