.NET Programmer Thoughts

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Visual Studio 2005 Express Beta Products

Wow! The blogs were full of VS 2005 Express information! I just had to go check it out!

I downloaded the Visual C# 2005 Express product. My system hung trying to install it so I had to go into add/remove programs to repair it. Once I repaired it I opened it. It took forever. It does seem that it was just a one time deal though. Subsequent openings have been fast.

Hopefully I will get some time to play with it a little and see if it will be useful to me or if I'm beyond what it can do for me.

Well back to studying!

Monday, June 28, 2004

Certifications - Update

I had purchased the ProTech CBT and now I wish that I hadn't! I have left about 5 messages (via phone) with no response! And leaving a message has been a nightmare! If I go to sales it says the mailbox is full. If I go to customer server it says the mailbox is full. The only way I've been able to leave a message is by going back to the operator (automated operator...not a real person) and leave a message there.

I've sent three emails to them and today I have finally received a response. After a week!!!! I'm sending the product back unopened.

I have signed up with SmartCertify which is an online CBT program. It is expensive but they did give me a scholorship and have given me access to their complete CBT library...not just the MCDBA. I will have access for one year. I've also been able to finance the cost. So I didn't have to eat up my credit limit on my credit card.

So far, I love it! You don't have to use it online; you can download the courses. I've done it both ways and it works well. It's expensive but since I've got access to their library for I year I will easily be able to update my MCDBA when Yukon comes out.

SQL Server 2000

I'm currently studying for the 70-229 exam. It's MS SQL Server 2000 Database Implementation. I have found out some amazing facts!

It stores information in pages. It will use 8kb per page. When it runs out of room on a page, it creates another page. It does something very similar with index. For a non-clustered index, it creates pages with the data that forms the index. You can specifiy a FILLFACTOR to determine if you want to leave extra space on a page for inserts. It speeds up indexing.

What is amazing to me is how much control you have over the physical part of the database. I always used to wonder why there was a need for a DBA. Well, that's because of all the "tuning" required. I'm not sure how VFP handled it but we certainly weren't able to "tune" anything. The most we could do was reindex or rebuild the indexes.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Reflection?????

Wouldn't you know it! Reflection is about "TYPE"!!!! Argh!

For the longest time FoxPro never even cared what your variables were! You didn't even have to tell it whether it was private or public!

Now in the C# world, EVERYTHING seems to be about type!

.NET reflection is a powerful mechanism which not only allows you to inspect type information but also allows you to invoke methods on those types at runtime.

In simple terms, "reflection" is like an object browser. At least that's what I've been able to get from my readings.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Certifications

I lost my job in late March and since then I've been working on my Microsoft certifications (as well as learning C#). I went to IT-Centers in April for a 7 day boot camp to get my MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer). When I say boot camp, I mean BOOT CAMP! I was averaging about 4 hours a sleep a night. There was lots of studying and labs! But it was definitely worth it. I got a great education in .NET and what it can do.

After returning from boot camp I continued my studies and have since passed my 70-300 exam. I am now one test away from my MCSD(Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer). My final exam will be an elective. I've chosen to take 70-229 (Designing and Implementing Databases with Microsoft SQL Serverâ„¢ 2000 Enterprise Edition). I've purchased MS SQL Server 2000 Database Design and Implemention. It's a self-paced book to study for the exam.

All this SQL Server stuff is new to me since I've been using FoxPro exclusively for the last 15 years. So I'm thinking I need more than the book to help me study. The boot camp was extremely helpful in getting all the concepts in my head in such a quick period of time. I would like to take another boot camp but since I'm still unemployed I feel I shouldn't spend that kind of money again. So I've been looking at CBT programs. I figure that I will get a CBT decicated to the MCDBA since I will only need two more tests to get my MCDBA after I receive my MCSD. I've narrowed it down to two CBT's that I can afford.

The first is:

TurboCert - $189 (until June 19th) (reg $378)

The second is:

Pro Tech Diagnostics - $299 (on sale) (reg $799)

The better deal is definitely Pro Tech, but do I really need to spend that much money when I'm not making any? It has 190 hours of CBT training and TurboCert has 38 hours of training. Seems like a no brainer doesn't it. But when you have no income, I really have to think about that extra $100 that I'm spending.

I also want to mention that both of these courses are MCDBA 2003. Meaning that the Windows Network core exam will be on Windows 2003.

I shouldn't take any shortcuts on getting these certifications. I will go with ProTech. I will get a job soon enough.

Generics - What's the big deal?

I still don't see what the big deal is with generics!

I can see that there will be a performance boost and there will be code reduction. But I guess I don't see why this is anything new.

After thinking about it, this must come from my FoxPro background. It isn't so hung up on "type". In the C# world, everything seems to be about "type". There is "boxing" and "casting". Now Generics! Someone at Microsoft must have a "type" complex!

So with generics we are given "type-safe" classes. We don't loose type safety, performance, or productivity.

In a nutshell, generics allow programers to program without worrying about "type"!

Here is another great introduction article!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Why this blog?

I've been thinking about doing this for some time. I've had so much trouble finding information on C# that a newbie could actually understand. So what I plan to do here is add a blog explaining in detail problems I'm having and how I've solved them.

For instance, I've seen so much about the new "generics" in VS.NET 2005. After searching and searching, I finally found an article that explained it in a way that I could understand it.

I've been a FoxPro programmer for 15 years. So OOP is not new to new. What IS new for me is the syntax and "buzz" words.