Bugs Visual Studio

Odd Database Project issue with VS 2010

Recently I stumbled upon really weird issue with VS 2010. We have bunch of database projects created in VS 2010 which are part of our regular development build. As part of my task, I was trying to automate deployment of these database projects using PowerShell and came across really really strange issue that I have never seen before.

I was simply checking out database project from our source control and using MSBUILD (aka MSFT Build Engine) to build and deploy the database project to my test SQL Server instances. Ideally what it does is it allows me to deploy that database at instance that I wish with database name of my selection. But with my surprise when I built and tried to deploy the project I was welcomed with this error …


How To SQL Server

Monitoring SQL Server using Alerts

There are many after market tools available to monitor health of SQL Server. But with help of built-in tools you can actually create some pretty neat solution by yourself too. And one of the most handy tool is “Alerts” in SQL Server. With help of Alerts you can monitor SQL Server Events, Various Performance Conditions and oddly WMI events !! And what great thing about it is you can setup it to notify users and / or run specific job (stored in SQL Agent) to handle specific event.

It is very simple to setup Alerts using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Since Alert notification uses Database Mail, you need to have a valid mail profile in order to be able to sent notifications. You can actually use your gmail account for testing. While back I did post about it.

First you need to create an operator which will receive an alerts via Email or  Net Send or Pager. You can create new operator in SSMS –> SQL Server Agent –> Operators. Right click on Operators and select “New Operator”.

It has two simple parts, in 1st General part you provide way you want to get notification … be it Email, Net Send Address or Pager. Furthermore you can setup pager schedule. For demo, I will be using my Gmail account as operator email.


Auto Hot Key – My new scripting platform

I like to work with scripting languages be it PowerShell or Batch or VB… One of the reasons for liking is it gives me “false sense” of Linux environment Open-mouthed smile … But the main reason I like scripting because I am lazy by nature and scripts are great way to automate lot of things which are routine of my work.

But even will all greatness there are few quirks like no GUI, cryptic syntax exists that make one bit shy to use these scripting languages. I think it is one of the reasons why usually scripting is considered forbidden knowledge for anyone other than likes of system administrators Confused smile


Parameter caching in SSRS

This week I ran into strange issue. Out of no where my Who Is report stopped working. To be exact, InfoDB API stopped working ! With little digging I found that it needs to have format=xml not XML !! For some reasons InfoDB guys just decided that it has to be in lower case, but then again I can’t complain about it because it is free and you don’t expect much out of free service Open-mouthed smile



Endless road :)

Few weeks back I went to North Dakota at one customer site, that town was literally in middle of nowhere. And roads were just flat straight line. Being long time resident of CT, I find it difficult to drive when I have to drive in one straight line for 70-80 miles Open-mouthed smile



Traveling to customers …

Past few weeks have been super busy for me, and I have not got enough time to do any “experiment” or prepare better post. So think of this as a “filler” post Open-mouthed smile

Due to change in my role in our company, I had to do traveling on different customer locations for installation projects and it is usually a week long stay. But I kind of like travelling because it gives me a chance to meet new people and gives me chance to interact with them.

But it could be difficult sometimes because you never know what customer is going to ask you and you have to be ready to answer that thing. Now I know that you don’t necessarily have to have an answer for all questions but then again you don’t want them to feel that you don’t know your product enough (or just say … look dumb ? Confused smile) !! …

Overall I would think traveling to customers as a good learning experience and in time it improves your people and professional skills Thumbs up.

Expression Blend Tools

Prototyping using Expression Blend, Sketchflow – Part I

Prototyping in terms of software development can be seen as a process of modeling concept of a software with some interaction. In some cases it could be totally different than final product but in general it is really helpful process because it gives developers / product owners better idea about what to expect from product and what can be improved. There is another term commonly used among web developers called Wireframing. It is same as software prototyping but it is specifically used for web sites.

As both of these things are very visual they give better idea about product and they are usually worked/reworked to improve final product. There are many many tools available for out of which Axure, Balsamiq and Expression Blend (which is part of Expression Studio Visual Studio 2012) are my favorite.

While back I was involved in a project where I was required to prepare initial concept of application design … it was very early stage of application designing and application itself was more of an idea than actual product. So I was required to create something very basic which gives an idea to developers and product owner how application could look like and how it will be interacted etc … as I had played with Expression Blend before so I ended up using it for my sample prototyping project.

So in this post I probably give basic introduction to the tool of trade and in another post I will actually show to we can use Expression Blend addin Sketchflow to prepare prototype applications in Silverlight or WPF. I am using expression blend show the tool but it has met end of lifecycle and MSFT has integrated it into Visual Studio 2012 but usability vise you probably will not see any difference at all. I personally still prefer to use Expression Blend over Visual Studio because it loads faster and is less resource hungry Open-mouthed smile. If you look at screenshots below you will notice that both Blend for VS 2012 and Expression Blend 4 looks almost same.

Mockup11 Mockup10