Rob Relyea


October 2005 - Posts

  • Do you find intellisense for XAML useful

    Filed under:

    I've written in the past about the Avalon schema that one gets installed with VS 2005 Extensions for WinFX.

    Now that VS 2005 is final, I'm excited to take advantage of some bug fixes made in the Xml Editor to make the schema more useful.

    Before I bother to go do that, I had sent mail out internally asking what our plan should be for installing the schema (should the Windows SDK distribute it also?  if it did, where would it install it?  etc...).

    Somebody chimed in with the opinion that we shouldn't even ship the XSD because it currently gives both false positives and false negatives.

    I'd love to hear opinions from our customers:

    • if it is more trouble than help?  should we stop shipping it?
    • if we keep it alive, what we should focus on improving?
    • what are the most common false positives (things that fail to compile, but things you don't get warned for)
    • what are the most common false negatives (things that compile, but were warned for by the schema)

    Thanks, Rob

  • Simpler Urls Get Used More Than Hideous Ones

    In the background, I've been collecting a list of issues I have with the way that we all use Urls.  I'm working on a Url Manifesto.


    Here is another bit of supporting information about why people should care about how they use Urls:

    I wanted to see how the markets reacted to our last quarterly earnings.  Happy to see we went up a few percent.

    I started at MsnSearch (really at, but supports, typed in MSFT.

    Got a sponsored link and a high link to msn moneycentral.

    The better of those 2 urls looked like this:

    I browsed around some other sites to see what the Urls look like for similar pages.

    I like Yahoo's the best.


    Using Technorati, you will find that:

    Coincidence that the one that people use the most is the simplest URL, I think not...

    Are there also other factors, probably...


    What about Search?

    I updated this post after a quick look at 3 main search sites.
    Google has some state in the Url (language) but puts the parameter that the user is likely to change at the end.
    MSN passes some state in the URI having to do with where the search was conducted.
    Yahoo has a lot of state.

    Google (9,322 links)

    MSN (1,016 links)


    Yahoo (1,466 links)

  • Great XAML and Cider information

    Filed under:

    In case you haven't seen other pointers to Chuck's blog, please make sure to visit him regularly.  Chuck describes his role in the development of XAML in his first of several posts describing XAML.

    Thanks to Chuck's influence and focus, XAML is evolving into a language that is generically useful.  WPF's usage of XAML is huge, but we'll see other teams (like Windows Workflow Foundation today) begin to use it as well.

    Chuck spends most of his time currently working "Cider", the designer for WPF that will ship with Visual Studio "Orcas".  He has several posts pointing to msdn, channel 9 and pdc videos of Cider.

    I've learned a lot from Chuck.  Whenever I meet with him I usually realize I still have much more to learn from him...

  • Next WinFX CTP will work with final VS 2005/.Net Framework 2.0

    Filed under:

    I already see many queries about a build of WinFX that works with the just released VS/.Net Framework: 1 2 3 ...

    I've updated the information in my blog post about our installing our current CTP with the text in bold:

       Sorry, there is currently no build of WinFX that is compatible with RC or RTM builds of VS!
       The first CTP of WinFX after September 2005 will be in sync with the final VS 2005 and .Net Framework 2.0.

    The WinFX team is very happy to see VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 ship.  Current internal Windows Vista/WinFX builds work with these final builds.  Once we get this build to a previewable state, we'll ship it out as a CTP.  We realize it is in high demand.

    Understand the Ramifications of Installing if you are doing WinFX Development
    If you are doing active WinFX development, don't install the final VS or .NetFramework on your WinFX development box unless you want to pause your WinFX development for several weeks.  If you are building applications targetting the .Net Framework 2.0 and not the rest of WinFX then Go, Go, Go!

    What about Applications built on WinFX?
    Any applications or tools that require WinFX's September CTP, won't work on the final .Net Framework until we ship an updated WinFX and they ship updated versions of their apps/tools.  Microsoft Max, Mobiform Aurora, etc...

    Why can't we make it all just work on the same machine?
    I blogged back in March 2005 about why these dependencies exist.

  • PDC2005 Session Videos Available

    Filed under:

    Filipe created a useful list of links to the online videos of all the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)-centric sessions that our team did at the PDC.

    I've updated my PDC2005 Event Page with links to my video and to Filipe's list.

    Please watch the videos you are interested in to get geared up on WPF.

  • Script for building the healthcare app demo

    Filed under: ,

    I've updated my page that points to the healthcare app demo that I did at the PDC.

    I've added a pointer to a demo script and the starter files.  If you find it useful, or have questions/comments/suggestions about it, please comment here.

  • Building your own VS Templates

    VS 2005 has a much improved way to build Project or Item Templates.

    If you don't like the templates we have provided for Avalon applications, modify them, share the new ones.  (Make sure you tell us what you don't like also).


    Here is the documentation on the project templates.  (Thanks Prasadi for the pointer.)

  • Windows Vista 5231 doesn't (and won't) have a matching WinFX release

    Filed under:

    If you are doing WinFX development with the WinFX September CTP you should stick with Windows Vista 5219 (PDC release) or XP or Server 2003 for now.

    Windows Vista 5231 released yesterday to msdn members (and other beta participants) is not compatible with the WinFX September CTP.  Unfortunately, we don't have a matching WinFX build for this build of Windows Vista.

    The good news is that we have since fixed this problem, so all future Windows Vista public releases will include WinFX with it.

    I've added this information to my post about installing the PDC CTP and added this description:

    Our goal is to balance getting customers fresh bits with getting them full-featured bits. With this particular build Vista, the WinFX components didn’t line up with the Windows Vista build. But post build 5231 we integrated the WinFX components into our main Windows build tree and our intention is that going forward every Windows Vista build will include the WinFX components.

    Sorry about the inconvenience!

  • Nice rescue from demo hell

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    I enjoyed reading Chris' recap of the presentation that he and Doug Purdy did at the PDC.
    I forget who grabbed me or called me, but I was able to grab one of the WPF team's demo machines and bring it to Chris.  It turns out his machine came to life in time.

    On the last day of PDC, I enjoyed their talk a lot. They can riff!

    The great thing is that they are running with the issues they found...documentation, tooling, platform...they all need work.  And this experience uncovered a number of things.

    Just yesterday, Namita, Elliot, Mark and I met to discuss:

    • Integration of Services into a WPF application (how to have a WPF app also expose a web service to other clients or the server.)
    • Project and Item Templates in VS Extensions for WinFX

    I learned a bunch about WCF & we found a number of things that we can do to improve the experience.

  • Transient Broadcast vs. URL Addressable

    I spend much of my time creating or finding information.  I'm always motivated to publish the information I create for better findability.  I've got a bunch of random thoughts in my head about how this can be done...I need to get them down in a more sharable, digestable form over time.  Until then, here are a few random thoughts...

    Transient Broadcast vs. URL Addressable Information

    Many problems come about because information publishers have to know to create a bridge between broadcast technologies which are transient (email) and publish technologies which are URL addressable.

    Users receiving email absorb as much information as they deem necessary at the time, but more importantly, they understand what type of information it was and where they can find it in the future if they need it.

    Often times, users only remember who knows something, so the first thing they do is ask that person for the information.  Clearly, it is advantageous if a publisher of information can avoid most of these simple "where is" or "what is" requests.

    Given that a user knows the owner or expert in an area, how can we make sure that the correct information is published and findable? 

    Some guidelines

    • When publishing information using transient broadcasts, users should refer to the long living URL addressable form of the information. 
    • Publish a URL that allows people to find the things that you know and work on.

    [Should that URL be human readable or machine consumable?  "Topic Maps" (just stumbled on this morning The Architecture Journal) may be an idea worth exploring]

    I'm trying to explore my thoughts around information, links, and urls for my Url Manifesto

  • PDC2005 Slide Content

    It took me a bit of trying to find the right page with all the slide and demo content from PDC2005. is the quick link. is the main PDC site.


    I've added those links to and I'm trying to have somebody make them a bit easier to find...


  • Url Guideline - Avoid "www."

    I stumbled on this morning.

    "Succinctly, use of the www subdomain is redundant and time consuming to communicate. The internet, media, and society are all better off without it."

    This will be just one piece of my Url Manifesto.


  • Do Urls Matter?

    I'm working on a short document currently titled:
       Url Manifesto: A set of guidelines for users, publishers, and software that deals with Urls.

    I hope to have something ready to post in the next month or two.  Until then, what bugs you about urls and software that deals with them?
    (update: see for related links, not a complete doc)


    1. urls that are too long
    2. urls that don't describe what they take you to
    3. urls that are short, but redirect you to a hideous url
    4. software that makes it difficult to discover/capture/share urls
    5. ...

    Or is it just you think urls matter?

    This likely will grow into something covering several related topics.

    I think hyperlinks and urls are critical and useful.  I think things could get so much better!

  • Watered down "Avalon/XAML"???

    Tried to post a comment to another blog post, the server rejected it for some instead I'll blog it here:

    I won't comment on Windows Vista.  I'll let customers who are using it argue the merits.

    As a member of the "Avalon" team, though, I'd like to understand what was meant by "watered-down XAML/Avalon framework".

    It is now called Windows Presentation Foundation.  The version that runs on Windows Vista will be the best version of WPF that we have.  So I'm not sure what watered-down means...watered down from what?

    Thanks, Rob Relyea
    Lead Program Manager
    Windows Presentation Foundation, Microsoft

  • 2 computers often make things worse, not better...

    I'm logged into my corporate network on two machines that sit side by side.

    Why can't these 2 machines work better together?

    1) it should be easy to copy a file from one desktop to the other
    2) it should be easy to copy contents of the clipboard from one machine to the other
    3) it should be easy to drag and drop running applications from one monitor to the other

    Shouldn't it?  Scenarios like this can certainly be improved.

    Are there enough people with 2 computers to make it worthwhile for the Windows team to focus on this?

    Or should I buy lots of stock in USB Drive manufacturers?

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