Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

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  • First Public Longhorn Application Released!

    Jason Nadal posts what may be the first real-world application for Longhorn. It takes spoken words and translates it to a .Text post. Pretty nifty, but just so that you know, it only works on Longhorn (sorry all you non-bits-holding people). I'll be checking it out as soon as I get a machine worthy of running Longhorn.
  • Put some "Sparkle" In your UI

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    Flashkiller, eh? Only if Macromedia sits on their rear ends for the next two years, with thumbs firmly implanted in their anal cavity. Something tells me that won't happen though. Still, it will be extremely cool to have a compelling UI designer right in Visual Studio.

    I've heard a lot of people talking about (since the whole XAML conversation came around) how UI designers should be the ones working on interfaces first, then programmers write the logic and wire up the UI later. The funny thing is, those guys are totally missing the point. The point in Microsoft bringing about the kind of disconnected-development paradigm from ASP.NET to the Smart Client, is to be able to, God forbid, PLAN your requirements, and have your UI guy go build the UI (in AfterEffects or “Sparkle” or whatever) and have the programmer develop the logic AT THE SAME TIME. Your development goes much faster, because you're not relient on one person or another to do your job.

    Windows developers don't get that yet. That's because the VB.NET WinForms RAD environment has been the same for 10 years: Changing the designer only changes declarations inside the code... there is no duality between forms and logic. This new development model is just plain better and Microsoft really is trying to take the best of Windows development and the best of Web development and put them together. And it is a win for everyone. Even Macromedia.

    So “Sparkle” may kill flash. Every product has a lifecycle. The key will be to see whether or not Adobe or Macromedia can adapt and evolve to this new environment. That is the true test of any business.

  • Longhorn SDK

    Lots of people have been asking me about the Longhorn SDK tonight. Unfortunately, I don't have a DVD drive, so I can't give anyone stats on file sizes or what not. What I can do, however, is point you to the online version:

    Go nuts.

  • MSBuild and Longhorn

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    I'm sitting in a session introducing MSBuild, the new compilation engine for Whidbey/Longhorn. I'm going to talk a little bit about how it works, because it has a serious effect on software development for Longhorn.

    In VS.NET 2002/2003, compiling an application is a “black box” event. Visual Studio does a whole ton of stuff behind the scenes, that you never even know about when you hit F5. What this also means is that, 99% of the time, you need to have VS.NET (or similar) installed to compile the application. This is an extreme hinderance to developers who cannot afford an IDE to build apps with. That all changes with MSBuild.

    Microsoft has separated the build engine from VS.NET, and that engine will be installed by default in Longhorn. Project files are now formatted as follows:


    That is the basic project file. You can add tasks

    All of the examples in the keynote speeches were done using test editors (notepad and emacs) and MSBuild. Jim Allchin even wrote some of his own code in a text editor.

  • Finally here

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    Finally got here about 2 hours ago. Just met Clemens Vasters, and the conversation over IM went something like this:

    Hey Clemens, where are you?
    In the Internet Alley at the Product Pavillion.
    Desktop or laptop?
    Hold up your hand!
    *raises hand*

    And he was 2 tables away. Man the Internet is cool./Once I get my PocketPC recharged I'll be back on MSN. Until then, gonna go find my roommate and get the key to my hotel room.

  • Stuck In Phoenix

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    I'm stuck in Phoenix, and my flight for PDC was rebooked for Tuesday. Obviously this is not acceptable, so I'm having to find another option. If anyone else is stuck here in Phoenix, call me at 480-699-1046 or 480-710-2770 ASAP. I have to get out of here tonight. Thanks,


  • Longhorn.... Steer..... get it? HA HA!

    E-week talks about Longhorn's future. They are absolutely right. Microsoft has a lot riding on the execution of this operating system . I do not this it's an exaggeration to say that it's make or break time for MS. Makes it interesting to see what next week holds.
  • Countdown to PDC

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    As if I didn't know how far away PDC was, now you can remind youself of the excitement if you're an attendee, or get really freaked out if you're a speaker and your slides aren't ready yet. Either way, this cool coundown clock will sit in yout taskbar and surreptitiously harass you. Thanks to Corey Gouker for this pretty geeky tool.
  • Sneak Peek At Longhorn Through Whidbey?

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    “The forthcoming version of Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net development tool, which is code-named Whidbey, will include an application modeling tool code-named Whitehorse. Using the modeling tool, application programmers can provide information that helps the administration of the application once it is deployed. The modeling tool will generate data based on the SDM format, which can be read and acted on by the company's management products. Whidbey is set for release in the latter half of 2004. - []
    I wonder what this will mean for application development with Longhorn. I also wonder how Whitehorse stacks up against Visio, and how they work together/integrate to build apps. Hmm...
  • Holy Screenshots Batman! has posted a conglomeration of images from Longhorn builds, gleamed from the various websites. I saw some nifty stuff in there from some of the older builds... so go check it out.
  • Welcome to

    My name is Robert McLaws. You may know me as BoyWonder.NET, frequent poster on the Weblogs @ ASP.NET. What you may not know is that I am also President and Chief Software Architect of Interscape Technologies, Inc., the company that is hosting and sponsoring this site. is a community initiative to help spread the word with factual information about the next version of Windows, straight from the people that are building it. Because of this, the majority of people posting here (at least for now) will be Microsoft employees. Our intention here was to keep the signal-to-noise ratio extremely high. You won't find personal posts here, just good solid information about Longhorn.

    We've just launched, but several changes are already in the works. We're planning on having every blog support default categories, and have global feeds for each of those categories. You can expect to see categories like “Aero”, “WinFS”, and “Avalon” around shortly after PDC. You'll also see pieces of information that involve other technologies, such as Whidbey, Orcas, and Yukon. That's because all of these technologies are being utilized very heavily in Longhorn.

    At any rate, this is a website for the community. As we get closer to the public beta, we'll be able to involve more of the community in the process. For right now, tell us what you want to see. Feel free to drop us a line at, and we'll see what we can do. I'm very excited to be your host, and I'm looking forward to an exciting few years. Welcome to!

    Robert W. McLaws
    President and Chief Software Architect
    Interscape Technologies, Inc.

  • Admin Blog

    I've started a blog for Admin-related information, since I want to keep this blog solely related to Longhorn goodies. You can check it out here. Be sure to take a look at my first post, “So you want a LonghornBlog, eh?