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Posts from July 2007

A new Silverlight version has been released! [Samples updated for the 1.1 Refresh]

With today's release of the Silverlight 1.0 RC and 1.1 Refresh, I've updated the Silverlight samples I own to run on the new bits. Specifically, I've uploaded the migrated source code and recompiled binaries for the team's Silverlight Airlines Demo, my Simple XPS Viewer Demo, and my Silverlight Surface Demo. Because the Silverlight 1.1 Refresh replaces the earlier 1.1 Alpha, the existing source and demo URLs remain the same and simply point to the new content.

The 1.1 Refresh's breaking changes from the 1.1 Alpha build we've all been using before today are documented in the SDK. The migration of the these samples was pretty simple and required very little code change. For the benefit of others migrating Silverlight apps, here are the specific incompatibilities I encountered along with the fix for each:

  • Silverlight.js content updated and namespace changed from Sys.Silverlight to Silverlight - use new version of Silverlight.js, change CreateSilverlight.js to use the new namespace, and specify version "1.1" in the call to createObject(Ex)
  • Downloader.Open API changed to remove third parameter ("async") because all downloads are now asynchronous - change call sites to pass only two parameters since they were already passing true for async
  • Assignment of DoubleAnimation to new Storyboard's Children property now throws an exception - use a Control class and InitializeFromXaml to load the Storyboard and Animation from a XAML resource
  • Visibility enum no longer contains .Hidden value - use .Collapsed instead
  • OnResize is now function pointer-based instead of string-based - pass function pointer instead

Additionally, a security-related change to the Downloader object now blocks access to file:// URLs. This means that the XPS Viewer and Surface demos will only be able to access their resources (images, files, etc.) when the host page is loaded from a web server. Specifically, loading Default.html from Explorer or by hitting F5 to run the project in Visual Studio will now result in an error message like the following:

Silverlight error message
ErrorCode: 1001
ErrorType: DownloadError

To re-enable debugging for the XPS Viewer and Surface demos, I recommend the following steps which add a web site project to Visual Studio and access the demo page via the included Visual Studio Development Web Server (which uses http:// URLs and works fine). While there are other ways to work around the file:// restriction, I'm suggesting this approach because it automatically references the project files, doesn't require creating additional directories or copies of project files, and doesn't require getting involved with IIS. To enable debugging:

  1. From the File menu in Visual Studio 2008, click Open, Project/Solution...
  2. Select the .csproj file for the demo you want
  3. Click OK
  4. From the View menu, click Solution Explorer
  5. Right-click the Solution node at the top
  6. Click Add, Existing Web Site...
  7. Select the same directory the .csproj file is in
  8. Click OK
  9. Click No when asked to upgrade the web site
  10. Right-click the new Web Site Project node
  11. Click Property Pages
  12. Click Start Options in the left column
  13. Check Silverlight in the Debuggers section at the bottom right
  14. Click OK
  15. Right-click the new Web Site Project node
  16. Click Set as StartUp Project
  17. Press F5 to Run
  18. Click OK to enable debugging in web.config

Okay, enough with the boring details - go get the Silverlight 1.1 Refresh and have some fun with it! :)

A new Framework deserves a new Toolkit [AJAX Control Toolkit updated for .NET 3.5 Beta 2!]

Earlier today Microsoft announced Beta 2 of Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5. As usual, Scott Guthrie has a bunch of reasons why the new stuff is cool. My team has one more reason to add to the list:

We've just updated the 10618 Toolkit release with Beta 2 versions of the AJAX Control Toolkit that work seamlessly with VS 2008 and .NET 3.5!

The Toolkit's new "Framework3.5" downloads contain the latest 10618 Toolkit code in a VS 2008 Beta 2 solution/project. What we've done is make a handful of tweaks to better integrate with the new VS 2008 web designer enhancements for ASP.NET AJAX extenders. As you'd expect, the Toolkit controls work the same as before - but the development experience with VS 2008 is better than ever.

Download Visual Studio 2008 with the .NET Framework 3.5, the .NET 3.5 Beta 2 Toolkit, and find out for yourself!

And if you have any feedback, please share it with us on the support forum.

An easy way to keep your windows where you want them [Releasing WindowPlacementTool with source code!]

I wrote WindowPlacementTool in December of 2000 to solve a problem I had after beginning to use Terminal Services/Remote Desktop regularly. I made WindowPlacementTool available internally in 2001. Last week someone asked about getting access the source code to make some customizations and I figured I'd post the tool and its source here for anyone to use.

Download WindowPlacementTool and its source code by clicking here.



If you're picky about the layout of the windows on your desktop or if you
connect to your machine with Terminal Services at differing resolutions, you're
probably annoyed by having to re-layout your windows on a regular basis.  It
seems like something (or someone!) is always coming along and messing with your
layout.  But now that's a problem of the past; WindowPlacementTool can do all
the work for you!  Just run it once to capture the layout you like, and then
run it again whenever you need to restore that layout.  And because you can
save multiple layouts, switching resolutions is a breeze.  Yep, it's that easy!

Command Line Help

Copyright (c) 2000 by David Anson (

[-h | -help | -?]
        This help screen

[-c | -capture] [Capture_file_name.txt]
        Capture the current window positions to a file (or standard output if
        no file name is given)

[Restore_file_name_1.txt] [Restore_file_name_2.txt] ...
        Restore the window positions from the data previously captured in the
        specified file(s) (or standard input if no file name is given)

Example Setup

[Layout your windows however you'd like them]

[Capture the current layout to a file]
C:\Temp>WindowPlacementTool.exe -c 800x600.txt

[Optional: Edit the file to remove any programs you don't care about]
C:\Temp>notepad 800x600.txt

[Optional: Create a shortcut on your desktop for easy access to this layout]
[Here, the shortcut would run "WindowPlacementTool.exe C:\Temp\800x600.txt"]

Example Use

[Run the shortcut you created above or run WindowPlacementTool manually]
C:\Temp>WindowPlacementTool.exe 800x600.txt


* WindowPlacementTool saves the RESTORED locations of windows.  If a window is
  currently maximized or minimized, its restored location will be adjusted, but
  the window will not be un-maximized or un-minimized by WindowPlacementTool.
* I have placed a shortcut to a layout for each resolution I use on my taskbar
  so that it's always available when I need it.

Additional notes:

  • When restoring window positions, the window class name must match the saved value exactly, but the window title comparison is just a substring match. This makes it easy to target windows that change their window title depending on the current document. (Example: "Untitled - Notepad" and "File.txt - Notepad" will both match the window title string "Notepad".)
  • The code for WindowPlacementTool was written many years ago and may not follow conventional coding standards. Feel free to reformat it in your favorite editor. :)
  • I've made only the necessary modifications to get the original code compiling successfully under Visual Studio 2005 SP1. I specifically did NOT spend time resolving the four new compiler warnings.
  • While I've always tried to take security and correctness seriously, the original code was written well before security was as big an issue as it is today. Recent modifications to Microsoft's CRT have deprecated some functions in favor of safer alternatives. This is the source of 3 of the 4 compiler warnings; read more about security enhancements in the CRT for additional details. The 4th compiler warning is due to improved CRT warnings associated with the increasing popularity of 64-bit computing (specifically compiler warning C4267). My code is typically error and warning free at warning level 4, but it's hard to be immune to future enhancements to the compiler/CRT. :)
  • Parts of the original code (ASSERT, VERIFY, ARRAY_LENGTH, WideString/AnsiString, _sntprintfz) used a helper library I wrote - I've pulled the relevant bits of that library into the main CPP file to remove the external dependency. Strsafe.h wasn't around at the time, but some of the code in this helper library of mine was already doing similar things. For example, the *z string functions improved upon the * versions by preventing buffer overflows and guaranteeing null-termination of the target string (i.e., strcpyz vs. strcpy).
  • While the source code compiles under VS 2005, the EXE included in the ZIP archive contains the bits as they were compiled back in 2000 with whatever compiler was current at the time.

WindowPlacementTool has served me well over the years - I hope others find it useful and/or educational!