Software development, .Net, SQL Server, TDD, Agile, Community and other Odds and Sods
Mitch Wheat has been working as a professional programmer since 1984, graduating with a honours degree in Mathematics from Warwick University, UK in 1986. He moved to Perth in 1995, having worked in software houses in London and Rotterdam. He has worked in the areas of mining, electronics, research, defence, financial, GIS, telecommunications, engineering, and information management. Mitch has worked mainly with Microsoft technologies (since Windows version 3.0) but has also used UNIX. He holds the following Microsoft certifications: MCPD (Web and Windows) using C# and SQL Server MCITP (Admin and Developer). His preferred development environment is C#, .Net Framework and SQL Server. Mitch has worked as an independent consultant for the last 10 years, and is currently involved with helping teams improve their Software Development Life Cycle. His areas of special interest lie in performance tuning
Monday, May 13, 2013
Office 2013 Rant: Not wearing any Clothes!
Having not been able to automatically upgrade to the 64bit version of Office (having the 32 bit version of 2010 installed), I installed the 32bit version of Office 2013, so I could try out a few of Excel’s new features (Yeah, I know I should have VM’ed, but I trust those programmers at Microsoft…)
Unfortunately, just like VS2012, Microsoft have broken just about every well established and tried and tested UI design rule: and not for the better. Office 2013 looks as if the folks at Microsoft have confused the concepts of reducing too much ‘Chrome’ with proper visual ‘Demarcation’. Having everything blend into everything else is not a good UI, by any measure. I’m gobsmacked that they could have produced something so poor. It’s simply, bloody awful! Microsoft: The Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!!
I don’t believe this design ‘strategy’ was done to benefit users. It was done so that Microsoft can seamlessly (supposedly) integrate their mobile and desktop markets. This is not a strategy –> “We need to shift our emphasis to the mobile market (we sure as hell aren’t selling many versions of Windows 8 for the desktop), lets change our UI to ‘fit’ tablets. Bugger the existing desktop users…”. I’m sorry but that’s a Fail.
BTW, looks like some Microsoft Teams didn’t get the memo about using All CAPS!! (Excel 2013 [Vanilla] Screenshot)
Was making Windows 8 share a similar interface to the phone and tablets done to benefit end users? Seems unlikely. Windows 8 is shaping up to be another Vista (Microsoft have been very shy the last 2 quarters and not released the sales figures for Windows 8). Looking forward to having the Start button back? Windows codenamed ‘Blue’ is coming soon…Hurrah!
Sad thing is, I really want to like Microsoft products. SQL Server is by far the best software I’ve ever used. It is awesome.
So having said all that, I thought I’d give 2013 ago to see if I could subdue my bias and get used to the rather poor UI. First email I try to send, Outlook 2013 crashes. Restart. Try again, it crashes. I’ve used Outlook 2010 every day for over 2 years and haven’t had a single crash.
Uninstalled Office 2013. HELLO Office 2010 !
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Office 2013 64 bit Setup
I’ve used every version of Microsoft Office pretty much since it came out. I currently have the 32 bit version of Office Pro 2010 installed. Attempting to install the 64 bit version of Office 2013 to evaluate Excel’s Power View results in:
Wouldn’t it be nice if it had the option to do this for me and migrate all my settings?!? Especially since I don’t recall there being a 64 bit version of Office 2010 on release (or was it just that it had issues with drivers and add-ins?).
Friday, April 12, 2013
SQL Diagnostic Runner Updated
Several users reported a bug running SQLDiagCmd; I’d introduced a silly error in the command line options. [SQLDiagUI was unaffected]
I’ve uploaded an updated version (v126.96.36.19901) which you can download from the links below (or from any of the previous posts):
Sunday, March 10, 2013
No, it’s not Uncle Ernie!
It currently supports these database engines (in various versions): MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL Server, Oracle, and SQLite
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
.NET Regex: Character Class Subtraction
You’ve heard of a positive match character group  and a negative match character group [^]. But did you know there is also a Character Class Subtraction? I didn’t. It’s supported in .NET but not in the majority of RegEx flavours.
Using this format, the pattern
can be used in .NET to match all alphanumeric characters (any word character) excluding the letter v and numbers 123.
The MSDN page for the .NET Regex definitions doesn’t seem to appear high in the search indexes, so bookmarking here for my future reference: Character Classes in Regular Expressions
This is useful for comparing Regex capabilities in different languages: regex flavor comparison chart
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
SQL Diagnostic Runner Updated
Thanks to Todd who reported a bug when connecting with username and password (I messed up the connection string).
I’ve uploaded an updated version (v188.8.131.5257) which you can download from the links below (or from any of the previous posts):
[Servername will now take a semi-colon separated list of servers to run against, but with the limitation of using the same credentials and diagnostic script.]
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Parsing Command Line Arguments
If you want a full blown Command Line Parser then there are several good options available:
[I used the Command Line Parser Library recently in the SQL Diagnostic Runner I wrote.]
If you just want a very basic parser, supporting simple options in the format /argname:argvalue then you could use this:
Monday, February 18, 2013
Largest .NET Object….
In .NET versions prior to .NET 4.5, the largest allocation for any single object is 2GB.
On 64-bit platforms, in .NET versions 4.5 and greater, it is possible to enable the allocation of arrays that are larger than 2 GB in total size (but NOTE this does not change other limits on object size or array size):
The default setting is not enabled.
You can enable this feature by using the gcAllowVeryLargeObjects element in your application configuration file:
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Guide to Recognizing Popular Timestamp Formats
Bookmarking for future reference: Guide to recognizing popular timestamp formats
Thursday, February 07, 2013
SQL Diagnostic Runner Updated
David Vogelaar (and others) kindly reported a bug: I wasn’t converting invalid filename characters when using an SQL Server instance name for the auto-generated results filename. This has been fixed. You can download version 1.0.2 from the previous download links or the ones below.
There is a known issue:
The results file is generated OK but sometimes when you open it in Excel a seemingly ‘nasty’ message is shown:
The file will open OK if you chose to recover: simply accept the prompts and save over the original. I will fix as soon as I can.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
SQL Server: Differences between Temp Tables and Table Variables
I had been thinking of collating the differences between temp tables and table variables and posting it, but Martin Smith has already written a great summary over at DBA StackExchange:
It’s broken up into the following categories:
SQL Diagnostic Runner: Version 1.0
Glenn Berry mentioned the runner for his diagnostic scripts I wrote a few weeks ago. He also mentioned it would be nice to have a UI version. I had already written a basic UI when I initially released the command line version. So here it is, warts and all! (along with a minor update to the command line version)
Comments and feedback welcome.
Monday, February 04, 2013
List of Freely Available Programming Books
One of the things I think StackOverflow has got wrong is hiding, closed, highly useful questions that are deemed in some way not to ‘fit’ the site’s philosophy (whatever that might be). If your rep is higher than 10K, you can view these hidden closed questions. The site has bigger problems such as the increasing amount of very, very poor quality questions that amount to nothing more than “I can’t be bothered doing/looking up X. Please do X for me”.
Here’s an example: List of freely available programming-books
Can’t see it? I’d obviously prefer to link to the entire question and answers, but assuming you can’t see it, here’s an excerpt from the answer begun by George Stocker (who ironically is one of the people who closed it), and then contributed to by many people as a community wiki:
NET (C# / VB / Visual Studio)
SQL (implementation agnostic)
Monday, January 28, 2013
31 Characters Should be Enough for Anyone, Right?
I’ve always had a good laugh at Oracle for having a 30 character limit on table/column/index names (and probably other objects I don’t know about)
Mentioned here on StackOverflow:
While writing SQLDiagCmd (a runner for Glenn Berry’s SQL Server diagnostic scripts), I re-discovered that Excel 2010 still has a limit of 31 characters for Worksheet names (and several weird bits of behaviour relating to that limit). Really?!? Why would anyone want more than 31 characters for a work sheet name? It is 2013 right, not 1970?
Add that to the fact that worksheet names have to be unique (I understand the need for that), and Voila! unnecessary code to guarantee uniqueness with 31 characters! Someone please tell me there’s a way to override this ludicrous limit…
Friday, January 25, 2013
.NET: Parse Structured Text Files
I wasn’t aware of the handy TextFieldParser class, that parses a text file in a reader oriented way:
Maybe because it’s in the Microsoft.VisualBasic.FileIO namespace… How to: Read From Comma-Delimited Text Files in Visual Basic
Sure, you can write one yourself, but it’s handy for quick spikes:
using (var reader = new TextFieldParser(@"c:\logs\bigfile"))
MSN, Email: mitch døt wheat at gmail.com