COM Fun with Microsoft Agent

February 25, 2011

Whenever I teach COM interoperability in .NET, I try to show some nice demo for this. The classic is to use one of the Office applications (such as Word) to do some automation by creating a document, adding some text, etc. This is effective enough but not really fun. A much more fun way is to use the Microsoft Agent technology. MS Agent is discontinued as far as further development is concerned, but it’s still fun and great for (at least) learning purposes. What is MS Agent? Its most well known appearance (pun intended) was in the...
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Dealing With Native DLLs in .NET “AnyCPU” Builds

February 13, 2011

A .NET application can be compiled using the “AnyCPU” configuration, meaning the application runs as 32 bit on a 32 bit OS, and 64 on a 64 bit OS. As long as the application is purely managed, everything should be just fine. However, if the application must use some native DLL through interop (e.g. P/Invoke), then “AnyCPU” may be an issue. A native DLL cannot be both 32 and 64 bit – it’s one or the other. The traditional solution to the problem is to switch the .NET build to a “Win32” or “x64” configuration, thus aligning...

ASP.NET MVC: History Repeating?

February 9, 2011

In the early days of the web, all we had is HTML, and that was fine for a while. Then, we wanted something more “dynamic” or personal, so a bunch of sever side technologies were created (ISAPI, CGI, …) and then (in the Microsoft world) there was ASP, now sometimes referred to as “Classic ASP”. ASP was a mix of HTML and VBScript, later to be fondly named “spaghetti code” because of the intertwining of markup and code with a bunch of <% %> symbols and other variants. When ASP.NET came out, one of its selling points...

C++ 0x, Will you save C++?

February 5, 2011

The emerging new standard of C++ (dubbed C++0X, where X was supposed to be a decimal digit, but now can be considered a hexadecimal digit) will probably be finalized and approved this year (probably to become “C++11”), and is supposed to march C++ into a new era of productivity. Will that actually happen? In recent years, I saw declining usage of C++ in “regular”, data driven applications, UI and graphic applications, in lie of other environments, namely .NET and Java. As I do a lot of training, the number of C++ or advanced C++ classes I’ve taught has...