Tag Archive | Visual Studio

“All In” on The Cloud

My Cloud Workflow

I got back to Hull yesterday morning, having left Dunstable at 5:30am, moved into my new house — which is spacious, well furnished and an all round upgrade from last years dingy old thing — and so today I had my first day back in the Forward Thinker Developments office. Over the summer I had been working from my new dual screen rig at home.

My "Battlestation" -- When you get a document up on that baby, you are seriously looking at that document

My “Battlestation” — When you get a document up on that baby, you are seriously looking at that document

I spent the vast majority of the day working on my Tablet, which was already set up with the correct FTP details, Git repositories and had all of the programs I wanted and needed on it, however when — towards the end of the day — my tablet finally ran out of juice I had to work on a PC which had an internet connection, but to which I had no administrative privileges.

This meant I was unable to install any of the programs I wanted and needed to do the work I needed to do; writing PHP script, committing changes to my Private GitHub repo and keeping in contact with the rest of the team, nor install the applications I like to have open whilst I work; such as Spotify for music.

The Cloud to the rescue.

I soon discovered that a little while back GitHub released a reasonably full-featured code editor to their website which you could use to make quick edits to files and then immediately commit them to the repository, it even included some syntax highlighting and simple auto-complete,, you can see this in the image at the top of this post. That meant that both writing my code and adding it to source-control was taken care of. I then found that you can make Skype calls, including Video and Voice messages from outlook.com, and, whilst this is still in beta, it seemed to work really well — this covered my communication with my team mates.

At this point I could work well, and get on with what I need to do, but something was missing, something very important indeed — perhaps the most important piece of software on any computer. A music player. I simply loaded up play.spotify.com and within seconds, after logging in with Facebook, was enjoying a bit of Frank Sinatra. Great programming music.

Whilst it is clearly preferable to have a fully featured IDE and source control client on your PC, when required these solutions do very well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t long before the web app counterparts to many traditional client side programs, such as Office, Visual Studio and iTunes are actually better and replace their client side versions. Perhaps, even today’s third year computer scientists will be involved in that and bring computing back to having a mainframe style server system as it did in the past, but on a much larger scale.

Danny

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Fun with Formal Language

Tokenization

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on my progress regarding my final year project, in which I’m building an integrated development environment for the PHP scripting language.

At this stage I’m researching different methodologies and algorithms for what I want to achieve in my first prototype, as well as different methodologies for the actual software engineering experience in, and of, itself.

Whilst doing this I’ve found that writing code for the algorithms I’ve been researching has been super useful in determining the ease of implementation, and actually understanding the ideas involved themselves. In the above screenshot you can see an example of one algorithm I’ve implemented to tokenize my code.

Tokenization is the process of identifying the name and value of each token in a piece of code. A token is just a set of symbols, such as a $variableName or a keyword such as true — or even a simple code delimiter such as ; or { or }.

The above screenshot shows the code as highlighted by Visual Studio and as highlighted by my program, some of the formatting is a tad different than you would expect, but this is a very early version of the program and won’t be used as part of my final product — it’s just to help me visualize how an algorithm works.

Danny

University of Hull Windows Phone Camp

(Above you can see my Windows Phone 7 Version of Programming 1 ACW2 game Evil Squash – The first screen shows the set up page where players select the number of human and computer players – The second screen shows the page where users enter their name and select the name of the AI player they want to play against. The third page is the actual Game UI)

Today was good fun, it all started with a somewhat boring IT and Professionalism lecture however which was about Computer Misuse & Software Liability and Contracts. After this we had a two hour break in which I worked on my Windows Phone 7 version of Evil Squash, which you can see above. After this break, which included a few well earn’t pints of coke, we had a computer systems lecture about multi-theading in the context of SPARC architectures, which Dr. Mike seemed rather animated about…

Welcome to Windows Phone Camp

Welcome to Windows Phone Camp Slide (with motion blur, which I totally meant to add and isn't due to my lack of photography skills)

After Computer Systems Rob, James, Lewis, Louis and I headed over to Robert Blackburn Lecture Theatre D in which Ben Nunney and Joanna Tong were ready to present our Windows Phone Camp. The 2 hour or so lecture consisted of information on:

  • How to develop Silverlight apps
  • Information on the ideas behind Live Tiles and Hubs
  • How to get add polish to applications and get them Marketplace Ready
  • How to submit applications to the marketplace
  • Requirements of the Marketplace
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Windows Phone
  • The Convergence of Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox
  • The Metro Design Language
  • Using Blend and Visual Studio Side by Side
  • Launchers and Choosers
  • Making money on the Marketplace
  • much much more I’m sure I’ve forgotten to write down
  • and most importantly “Witty comments” by Ben 😉

Once the lecture had ended we all walked on to RB-312 for Tea (or in my case coke) and some programming time whilst we waited for our pizza (paid for by Microsoft!) to turn up. In this time I added custom counter functionality to my Evil Squash Application. My users can now use a “CameraChooser” to take a picture of themselves or an object to use as their counter on the gameboard, pretty cool I think!

Tonight I’ve been adding to the game.

Thats all for now,
Danny

PS: HTC updated all their phones, including my model – The HTC 7 Mozart – with Internet Sharing. Neat.

Maths & Windows Phone Development

(Showing off a few of the UI enhancments you can achieve using the Silverlight Toolbox — Most of which I think should be native to Windows Phone…)

Today wasn’t nearly as productive as yesterday, but I still think that I got quite a lot done in the end. I started my day off by improving my score of 41% in my ACW1 for Quantitative Methods for Computing to 56% — quite a good boost after just one extra night of revision I think. Its also worth noting that I’ve more than doubled my original score of 27% in under a month. 🙂

After this I wrote up notes on the subject of Software Infringement for IT and Professionalism and wrote up notes on the subject of Files and File Systems for Computer Systems, both of which are simple concepts to understand.

Today was also the start of our group “Micro-Project” which is worth 40% of our module grade for Computer Systems. My group has to do a 10 – 15 minute presentation on the Fetch Cycle. According to my Computer Science Operating Systems Lecturer we need to:

The fetch-cycle is a vital concept.  Why?  Illustrate your project presentation including a discussion of registers, cache memory (at various levels), RAM, and other memory options.

Though it may sound complicated I think this will actually be quite a simple topic to cover. The fetch cycle is simply the amount of time it takes for data to get to the CPU from the memory it is in — the shorter the better.

After attempting (and failing) to find any of my group colleges on Facebook I moved on to writing some more code for my Oracle ThinkQuest team, through which I stumpled across the single best resource for Windows Phone 7 I have found to date — The Silverlight Toolkit — this tool kit allows custom user interface elements such as the date picker and toggle switch you can see above in my application. These UI elements are used heavily in the Microsoft apps which come with Windows Phone, so it is a surprise to me that they are not included by default in visual studios toolbox, but seen as they’re not if you develop for Windows Phone you should definitely download and use the toolkit.

Whilst i found this what I was actually doing was attempting to get a local database to work in my application… still no luck there however 😦 Maybe tomorrow ill work it out! 🙂

Thats all for now
Danny