Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Telerik Watch Minute: JustCode at PDC

It's time for another "special edition" Telerik Watch Minute, this time coming to you live from the show floor at PDC 2009. This TWM was filmed shortly after the official introduction of JustCode at PDC, and in it I quickly summarize some of JustCode's more unique features and some of the launch news. True to the "original" format, this update is a little more than a minute long, so enjoy this bite-sized content and stay-tuned for more updates from PDC. Watch in full size on Telerik TV

Join me at my PDC BOF session today

In all the hustle and bustle of running from the Tulsa TechFest, to DevConnections (didn't even have time to blog this event!), to now PDC, and working hard to prepare for last night's JustCode introduction, I have simply failed to have time to bring you my usually timely announcements of upcoming events. So while I have a couple of minutes this morning, let me try to play catch-up. Today I'll be hosting a PDC Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) session at 2:00 PM in room 309. The topic of this BOF: Should I use Silverlight, MVC, or WebForms for web UI development? If you're a .NET web developer, you are probably faced with this challenging question from time-to-time, and sometimes it can be hard to really make a "good" decision about which technology to use. The goal of today's BOF is to extract from the community the real world lessons, guidance, and "rules of thumb" can help make this decision earlier. When you leave this BOF, you should be armed with the knowledge you need to confidently plot the course for your next project without hesitation. So, whether you're full of questions or full of answers, make sure you find room 309 today at 2:00 PM and take part in the conversation! P.S. Ben Hoelting was originally scheduled to co-host this event, but due to circumstances out of his control he was unable to make it to PDC. Apologies to all of Ben's fans hoping to see him at this BOF!

Telerik introduces JustCode at PDC 2009

After months of speculation, we have lifted the "veil of secrecy" surrounding our new product. Last night at PDC, we introduced to the world JustCode. JustCode is a Visual Studio productivity add-in, designed to help you just write code faster. For Telerik, this really completes the "circle of productivity" for many application developers. For UI productivity, we offer all our UI components for all major Microsoft platforms. For data layer productivity, we offer OpenAccess ORM. For testing productivity, we offer WebAii Framework and WebUI Test Studio. What we failed to offer any help for was writing the code that really creates value for your apps- your domain logic code. JustCode now closes that gap and delivers support for all of your coding tasks. When we set-out to create JustCode (and I should mention, we started by acquiring a company that's invested 4+ years of effort and PhD academic research in to building the core engine in JustCode), we defined three key goals for our initial efforts:

  • We need a productivity tool that is fast! It cannot be allowed to slow down Visual Studio in the slightest. It needs to load fast (even with large projects). It needs to execute its anlaysis fast (across entire solutions). And it needs to install and update fast (the plug-in is auto-updating).
  • We need a productivity tool that provides assistance across all languages modern .NET developers are working with, especially C#, VB, XAML, ASPX, HTML, and JavaScript! Our JavaScript support is where we really think you'll find a new level of productivity in this early release. You can finally use a tool that analyzes your JS code, highlights errors, provides quick code navigation (like GoToSymbol), and quick JS refactorings.
  • We need a tool that doesn't interrupt "normal" coding. We need an unobtrusive tool that helps us "just code" without constantly bombarding us with dialogs or distracting animations. The whole idea of JustCode is that it "invisibly" blends in to your development process, providing things like in-line refactoring without breaking your mental train of thought. Less is more with JustCode UX.
There are obviously lots of details we look forward to talking more about now that the product is public. Stay tuned to Telerik Watch and the Telerik Blogs for much more over the coming weeks. You can also already check-out a host of videos covering JustCode on Telerik TV. For now, download the beta on and give it a try. Our team will be working hard to respond to all feedback between now and the official release in Q1 2010, and you can expect to see regular updates every few weeks leading-up to the official release (which the auto-updating plug-in will make it easy for you to install). We're excited to bring this new product to you and we hope you enjoy being even more productive as you just write code...with JustCode!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Random Online Utility: Omega.MSSQL for Azure

Two ROUs in one week?! I'm working overtime for you this week and I have another very cool (and free) Random Online Utility to share. This time, the tool is called Omega.MSSQL and it is from a company called Cerebrata (based in India).

I found this tool while looking for something that would let me browse the objects in my SQL Azure databases. As you may be aware, the current version of SQL Azure does not support the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio object browser. There are some "hacks" that allow you to use SSMS to query Azure, but it's far from the visual tool I wanted.
Omega.MSSQL fits the bill perfectly. Cerebrata has made this tool for a while (it seems) for standard use with SQL Server, but their recent update enables full compatibility with SQL Azure. The tool is web-based, so no installs required, and it is currently free of charge. You just visit the log-in page, input your SQL Azure instance details, and then browse your objects (assuming you've configured your SQL Azure firewall, too). You can browse most object types and you can even perform actions like creating and dropping tables.
Coincidentally, Steven Forte recently highlighted another tool you can use to browse and query objects in SQL Azure, called Gem Query. This tool is Windows-based, so it does require an install, and it offers much better querying tools than Omega.MSSQL. It does not, however, seem to offer as much help for performing schema operations (like drop table), so I still prefer Omega for that.
Both tools are free, though, and both are great help if you're starting to work more regularly with SQL Azure. And since OpenAccess ORM now supports Azure, I'm sure you've got even more incentive to start developing for the cloud!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Webinar Replay: What's New in AJAX and MVC in Q3 2009

Another day, another Q3 2009 Release Week Webinar. Today we covered what's new in the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX and the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC. Literally hundreds of people tuned-in live to see what we are shipping in this release, so a big thanks to all of you for participating in our Q3 2009 release. The webinar was recorded, processed, and it is now available on Telerik TV for your on-demand viewing pleasure (in addition to being embedded above).
The webinar starts by covering what's new in the AJAX controls, focusing on the three new controls (Rating, SiteMap, and ListView + DataPager) and the major enhancements to the existing controls. After some demos and a look at the ListView design-time, we move on to discuss the Telerik Extensions for MVC. We look at the new demos, go through step-by-step adding the Extensions to a MVC project, and then wrap-up with some follow-up resources.
Enjoy the webinar content and to those of you that attended live, we'll be announcing today's "webinar winner" on Twitter very soon (@toddanglin)! Today's winner will get a Telerik Premium Collection license.

Join me at the Tulsa TechFest tomorrow

While this week is dominated by Q3 2009 release activity (clearly), I've still managed to find a way to hop on a plane and participate in this Friday's Tulsa TechFest 2009! Tulsa TechFest is one of the larger TechFests in the US (they have a stated goal of 1,000 (!) attendees this year), which is pretty incredible considering the size and location of Tulsa (population 592k). The event is virtually free for all attendees. Admittance costs either $2 or you can choose to bring and donate two canned goods for the local food bank (great idea, especially around this time of year).

I last spoke at Tulsa TechFest waaaay back in 2006. It was actually my first speaking gig for Telerik, and it was before I was a paid company man. It will be fun to go back and speak this year (even if I'll be thoroughly exhausted by Q3).
I'll be delivering three sessions this Friday:
  • What's New in Silverlight 3.0? 9:00 AM, SL & WPF Track
  • Being Productive with MVC: Telerik Open Source Extensions for MVC 10:30 AM, Agile, Frameworks, and Patterns Track
  • Rich Islands of Functionality: Silverlight in ASP.NET 1:00 PM, SL & WPF Track
If you're in the Tulsa area or traveling-in for the event, be sure to stop by and say hello. I'd love to meet and I'll be more than happy to chat about all of the fun new stuff Telerik just released in Q3 2009. See you tomorrow in Tulsa!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Webinar Replay: What's New in Q3 2009

Miss the first of the Q3 '09 Release Week Webinars today? Catch-up now by watching the recorded on-demand version now available on Telerik TV (and above). Today's webinar provided an overview of the Q3 2009 release and took a closer look at the new features in OpenAccess ORM and WebUI Test Studio. This is the first of five planned webinars, so don't miss the next event, which is going to cover the new stuff in the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX and MVC.

Q3 2009 is live!

In case you haven't visited today, or joined me for the kick-off Release Week Webinar, or if you're part of the 50%+ that don't use Twitter, I'm pleased to announce that the Telerik Q3 2009 release is now live and available for immediate download on! This is the 3rd and final major release of this calendar year and as you know by now, it's a big release. All 7 (really, 8, if you count TFS tools) products in the Telerik Premium Collection have been updated and all of the new bits are available today.

To help you start checking-out the new Q3 2009 bits, I've rounded-up some links that you may find useful:
Updated Q3 '09 Online Demos [Learn by Example]
Updated Online Docs [Learn by Reading]
New Q3 2009 Videos on Telerik TV [Learn by Watching] [Much more coming very soon]
Download Q3 2009 Bits: Free Trials / Licensed Code
Helpful Q3 2009 Blog Posts
Enjoy the Q3 2009 updates and don't miss all of the contests and webinars this week designed to help you maximize your success with the Telerik tools!

Telerik Extensions for MVC Unofficial FAQs, Part II

After we released the first preview of our new UI Extensions for ASP.NET MVC in August, there were naturally many questions surrounding the release. Why is Telerik building MVC Extensions? What does this mean for WebForms? Are the Extensions for MVC really open source? To help address some of the burning questions, I created a complete list of answers in Part 1 of my "Unofficial FAQs" for MVC. Many of those answers remain valid today with the release of Q3 2009, but there are some new questions that I'm starting to see asked multiple times.

So, it's time for Part 2 of the Unofficial FAQs. In this post, I'll try to provide answers to many of the new questions surrounding Telerik's updated release of the Extensions for ASP.NET MVC and hopefully help curb the rumor mill. If you have an unanswered question, send it to me on Twitter (@toddanglin) and I'll update this post.
Q: What's new in this release of the Extensions for ASP.NET MVC?
The Q3 2009 release marks the introduction of the first Telerik UI Extensions for ASP.NET MVC. In our CTP, we introduced the core framework (the server-side fluent API) that the new Extensions are built on, but we did not introduce any Telerik crafted UI rendering. This release builds on the work of the CTP and ships four new UI Extensions for MVC: Grid, TabStrip, Menu, and PanelBar. You can see all of the new Extensions in action in the online demos.
Q: What does the "beta" tag mean on this release?
If you remember the transition for the RadControls for ASP.NET to the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX ("Prometheus"), you may remember that we kept the beta tag on the suite until our transition was complete. The beta tag in this case implies that the suite is not final. The controls in the suite are not beta quality. They are tested, production-ready UI components.
We will likely keep the beta tag on the suite for at least the next one or two releases. Once we have added more UI Extensions to the suite and it represents a more complete LOB toolbox offering, we'll remove the beta tag. Of course, these are open source controls, so you can always modify the current versions if you find some bug or issue you want changed during our "beta" period.
Q: What happened to the jQueryUI wrappers?
As we outlined in our CTP FAQs, the jQueryUI wrappers were merely proofs of concept, a way for us to show-off the more important server-side fluent API without building our own rendering. The jQueryUI wrapper source remains on CodePlex and we encourage the community to pick-up and extend the wrappers if they are valuable to MVC projects. Going forward, Telerik will not be actively updating or supporting the jQueryUI wrappers.
Q: Are the Extensions still open source?
Definitely! Keeping the UI Extensions for ASP.NET MVC open source has always been a primary goal for our project. We know that the MVC community thrives on open source projects and software, so as a good .NET citizen we wanted to ensure our time saving UI Extensions were freely available to this community. With the Q1 2010 release, the Telerik Extensions will ship under a dual licensing model:
  • GPLv2 - This is a very popular and common open source license (I've seen some stats that say 70% of OSS is GPL licensed). It allows you to freely use the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC in any project. The only restriction is that you cannot redistribute software that uses GPL code under a more restrictive license (like a "proprietary" license). For that, we offer a...
  • Commercial License - The commercial license provides you (today) with at least two very important benefits: 1) it grants you access to Telerik's legendary support, and 2) it gives you a legal (and lawyer pleasing) way to use the Telerik Extensions in proprietary, redistributed software.
Q: Why did you go with the GPL license vs. alternatives like MIT or LGPL?
We spent a long time evaluating all open source license alternatives. We had many lengthy internal discussions, and at the end of the day we settled on the GPL for a few key reasons:
  • GPL is a popular and widely used open source license (Linux is licensed under the GPL) that many businesses already know how to understand (read: the lawyers have already approved the GPL)
  • GPL has a good "philosophy." It basically says, if you want to use our generosity to build software, all we require is that you pay it forward (i.e. keep your software free). If you instead want to make money off of your software, then we are now in a commercial relationship, and we simply ask that you pay us for our work just as you expect to be paid for your proprietary software.
  • GPL is the most community friendly open source license in that it ensures the "intent" of open source developers is respected. That is, open source licenses are for open source developers. If you are a commercial developer, you need a commercial license.
Other OSS licenses like LGPL and MIT are good and definitely more liberal, but they can more easily be abused. Our goal is to support the OSS community with free software, and continue to provide well supported, commercial software to commercial developers.
Q: I still don't get the GPL. Is my software "infected" or not if I use the Extensions?
The best way to understand the impact of GPL on your software is to follow this simple decision tree:
  1. Do you plan to redistribute your software? -->NO: GPL will have no impact on your software -->YES: ====>Commercial? GPL is not ideal. Purchase a Telerik Commercial license. ====>Open source? GPL is fine as long as your OSS license is compatible.
Q: Is the commercial license for the Extensions part of my Premium Collection?
Yes! So, if you're a Premium Collection subscriber, you don't have to worry about the GPL vs. Commerical license question. You've already got a commercial license (when it's introduced in Q1), so feel free to use the Telerik Extensions wherever you need them.
Q: Why would I buy the commercial license? How much is it on its own?
As we've outlined above, the commercial license is for commercial software first and foremost. There are other reasons you may want to buy a license, though, such as:
  • Access to Telerik's premium support
  • Access to Major Release and Service Pack builds (OSS project will only receive Major release builds)
  • Ability to use Extensions in closed-source/proprietary projects
Pricing will be set in Q1 2010, but it will likely be on par with the other UI suite licenses.
Q: Is the standalone commercial license available with Q3?
Since we only have four controls in this release, we have decided to wait for the Q1 2010 release before offering a standalone (i.e. not part of the Premium Collection) license for MVC.
Q: So, there is no commercial license in Q3? What is the "Beta Go-Live" license?
Correct, the Q1 2010 release will be the first to ship with the commercial standalone license. In Q3, the Extensions ship as both GPLv2 and "Beta Go-Live." The Beta Go-Live license allows you to use the Extensions in your project while you wait for the Q1 2010 release.
Q: Is the source available for the latest release?
Yes. The full source for the Telerik Extensions ships with every download. You can find the source in the Source > Telerik.Web.Mvc folder. The Q3 2009 are also available on CodePlex if you prefer to download from that location.
Q: Do you ship any themes with the Telerik Extensions?
Definitely. We have prepared 13 common skins for all UI Extensions that have been designed to closely match the skins of the RadControls for ASP.NET AJAX. The AJAX and MVC controls do not share skins, but we have created skins with the same names and look-and-feel so that you can easily build "hybrid" applications that leverage the best of MVC and WebForms.
Q: What version of the ASP.NET MVC framework to the Extensions require?
The current Extensions target the officially release ASP.NET MVC v1 framework. That means you need .NET 3.5 and ASP.NET MVC 1.0 to use the Telerik Extensions. We are already experimenting with the ASP.NET MVC 2 betas, and we plan to target that framework after it is released by Microsoft.
Q: Is there an installer for the Q3 2009 MVC release?
There is no installer for the Telerik Extensions in Q3. The download is a simple ZIP archive that contains all required assemblies, documentation, examples, and source. To work with the Telerik Extensions in Visual Studio, simply add the DLLs to your project and follow the guidance in the docs for configuring your MVC web.config file.
We do plan to ship a simple installer by Q1 2010, but for Q3 we wanted to focus our efforts on the completeness and quality of the shipping UI Extensions (primarily, Grid).
Q: What's next for the Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC?
Now that we have released our first four UI components, we will continue to build on this progress to ship a more complete LOB toolbox for MVC in Q1 and Q2 2010. First-up will be a focus on delivering editing support in the Grid, which will also force us to address a number of controls required to serve as column editors (such as date pickers, calendars, input controls, etc.). Plans for Q1 and Q2 are still being discussed, though, so make sure you share your feedback on the Telerik MVC forums! Your feedback will have a huge impact on our direction for the next release.

Join Q3 2009 Release Week Kick-off Webinar Today

Get the Q3 2009 Release Week started right with today's kick-off webinar! Hosted by yours truly, today's webinar will provide a high-level overview of the Q3 2009 release, drawing your attention to the major improvements across all Telerik products in the Premium Collection. It's the easiest way to get oriented to the new bits.

Today's webinar will also dive-in and focus in more depth on the new features in OpenAccess ORM and WebUI Test Studio in Q3 2009. Both of these products have some exciting new features in Q3, and today's webinar is your chance to learn about the newness and see some of the features demo'd live in Visual Studio.
It all starts at 11:00 AM Eastern (see timezone conversions below) today!
Don't forget, by attending today's webinar, you'll be in the drawing for one of two Telerik Premium Collections going out to attendees of this kick-off event!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tweet and Win, Q3 2009 Telerik Twitter Contest

With Telerik's Q3 2009 Release Week set to kick-off tomorrow, it's time to introduce this release's Twitter Contest! Just as we did during Q2 this year, the official release Twitter contest is your chance to have some fun mentioning your favorite Telerik products while earning chances at winning Telerik prizes. This is a great chance for those of you that can't attend the upcoming Release Week Webinars to have a shot at some of this week's prizes.

Here are the contest guidelines for Q3 2009:
  • Tweet your favorite Telerik product or feature (or coming Q3 feature!) between Wednesday, November 4th and midnight (Eastern) on Thursday, November 12th
  • Include #telerikq309 in your tweet (must be there to be eligible)
  • Follow the official @Telerik
That's it! Two winners will be announced on Friday, November 13th. Each winner will receive a Telerik Premium Collection ($1300 value) or, for existing customers, an extension to their current license. Of course, only one entry per Twitter account will be counted, so no spam.
Have fun being creative with your tweets. Winners will be selected at random, but we always enjoy reading and featuring the most creative tweets. And to stay plugged-in to all of the latest Telerik tweets during Q3, don't miss the newly created Telerik Twitter list:
This list features many of the Telerik tweeters that primarily publish Telerik updates. It's a convenient one-stop list for all of your important Telerik Twitter updates. Enjoy the list. Enjoy the tweets. And very soon, get ready to enjoy Q3 2009!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Random Online Utility: TeraCopy

It's only been 9 months since I last encountered a random utility program that I enjoyed enough to stop and bring your attention to it (in this running "series" of Random Online Utilities). This time the helpful little program is called TeraCopy.

As a remote Telerik office with HQ in Sofia, Bulgaria, I often find myself trying to download large files over a Windows network that may experience intermittent communication errors (due to VPN disconnects, local Internet issues, etc.). This can lead to some pretty frustrating experiences. Imagine trying to download a 2GB ISO only to have a network communication error throw away the hours of waiting because your VPN decided to reset. Not cool...
TeraCopy is the best utility I've found to address the problem. It is a free utility app that supports most versions of Windows (including Win7 32/64 bit) and provides "resilience" to network file copying that Windows (frankly) should have out of the box. It supports queuing, pausing, resuming, and auto error recovery for any Windows file copy operations. In fact, if enabled, TeraCopy will automatically intercept all copy operations without requiring any additional action on your part. It's like Internet Download Manager (my preferred web download manager) for Windows.
Now, I know some of you will be quick to reference RoboCopy, Microsoft's built-in support for more robust network file copying. While true that RoboCopy does do a better job than built-in Windows copying, out-of-the-box it is a command line only tool, which makes it less than convenient for everyday network copying. There are GUIs for RoboCopy, too, but I find TeraCopy to be more minimalistic and transparent- just the way a great random utility should be!

DevReach Follow-up Part II, Sights and Sounds

As promised last week, Part II of my DevReach 2009 conference follow-up. This time I bring you the sights and sounds of DevReach in a quick Telerik Watch Minute update. DevReach firmly established itself this year as one of the premiere .NET conferences for Eastern and Central Europe this year (despite the economy's woes), and this quick video helps transport you to the event. Enjoy the clips of the conference and start making plans to join us next year for DevReach 2010!