Windows Store Apps

I’ve run into a couple of developers asking where “Metro Style Apps” went in the RTM version of Visual Studio 2012. Don’t worry, they are still there. They just have a new name. That term “Metro” was just a placeholder during the beta phase.

There are two different types of Windows Apps. The first is the classic “Desktop App” which you either buy off the shelf (for those under 20, this is how we “old timers” used to buy our software) or you download it from the web. The second called a “Windows Store App” which is – as the name suggests – delivered through the new Windows Store.

In the pre-release days of Windows 8 we referred to these as Metro Style Apps which is a reference to the design style that inspired it (Metro aka Subway aka “The T”). This obviously makes very little sense to the end-user, they don’t care what the “design language” is any more than they what the “programing language” is. When you think about it, the new term makes a lot of sense.


Outlook 2003 Add-in with Visual Studio 2005?

Thinking of building an add-in for Outlook 2003 with Visual Studio 2005? Don’t do it. Really, don’t do it. What? Ok, if you must…

I’ve just spend the last three days building an add-in and installing on on a single PC. This totaled about 3 hours of development time and the rest was getting the darn thing to load! Honestly, it was the single most frustrating thing I’ve ever encountered in years.

The problem was that the setup program that Visual Studio 2005 automatically generates when you create an add-in project doesn’t include everything you need.

Here is how I fixed the problem:

Before you can load your add-in you need to make sure the following is installed:

After that you’ll need to "fully trust" your assemblies. This can only be done with signed assemblies. I remember being a pain with VS 2003 but turns out is a breeze with VS 2005. Just open up the Properties for the project and select the Signing tab. From there is was fairly self explanatory.

Now comes the part that gave me problems. After you have everything installed (including your nice newly signed assemblies) you need to give permission to those assemblies. This is done using a tool called CASPOL.EXE. Here is the command line for registering your file:

caspol -u -ag All_Code -url "<full path to your file>" FullTrust -n "<assembly name>"

If you have more than one file (or the above didn’t work) you can also do this for a directory.

caspol -u -ag All_Code -url "<directory path>*" FullTrust

I hope this helps save someone from the pain I experienced over the last few days. Hopefully this will get easier with the next release of Visual Studio…

Updated to reference Outlook 2003. I wasn’t clear about that in the original post.

VoiceXML with Visual Studio

Every so often I’m surprised by the incredible flexibility built into Visual Studio 2005.

I’ve been writing a lot of VoiceXML lately and I was really missing the intellisense that I’ve become so used to. On a whim I tried opening a VoiceXML document in Visual Studio and much to my surprise it worked!

It turns out that Visual Studio is capable of understanding the syntax of a document based on it’s DOCTYPE. In my case it saw <!DOCTYPE vxml PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD VOICEXML 2.1//EN" ""> and was able to automatically give me basic intellisense and syntax checking for VoiceXML version 2.1.

As an example, create a new XML document and insert the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>

<!DOCTYPE vxml PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD VOICEXML 2.1//EN" "">

<vxml version="2.1">

You’ll notice that the last element (</vxml>) gives you a warning. Hovering over it tells you not only that your missing an element but what the valid elements might be!

This is all very cool if you ask me…

Visual Studio 2005 SDK – August 2006

I while back I notices that there was going to be an August release of the VS2005 SDK. There was a a nice blurb on the Microsoft website about it

The August 2006 v3 RTM is the next milestone in the VS 2005 SDK. This RTM release contains updated VS Integration sample and documentation content, including updates to the Team System SDK bits to make them more usable ( including whitepapers in the Doc-set, exploding all the sample zips so the files are all installed ), the IronPython end-end integration sample with Web Projects support for both web site and web application projects, updated wizards ( using the new Editor reference code from v2 ) new and Powertoys including the Extensibility Explorer in-memory hierarchy sample that browses installed Packages, Services, ToolWindows, Editors, and Project Systems..

But so far the link for this version has remained dead. I'm not sure if this is an oversight or not.

Thanks to Gabriel Lozano-Morán however I was able to download it anyway. Turns out that while the link isn't working, the file is. You get get instructions on download it from here.

Visual Studio 2005 Toolbox

So far just about everything I’ve encountered in Visual Studio 2005 has been fantastic. Some of the most subtle changes to the IDE have made my life dramatically easier.

The one exception to this is the new Toolbox. Aside from a very cluttered Tree View, it dynamically loads up all this stuff from my projects. I’m sure some people love it but with a very large project it takes 2-5 minutes to display the toolbar. This wouldn’t be so bad if I could just turn it off, but so far I can’t seem to find any way to do so.

Thanks to Raj I was able to turn off the auto-population feature. Simply set AutoToolboxPopulate to False under Windows Forms Designer  section of the Visual Studio Options dialog.

I must have looked though the Options dialog a thousand times and never noticed this. Maybe that sleep thing would be a good idea after all. 🙂