How To Ruin a Good Idea, part 2

by Dmitry Kirsanov 17. November 2012 06:34

New technologies allow us to reach new goals. Different tool sets enrich scenarios and it becomes easy to do things we couldn’t dream about before. We implement features so fast, that sometimes we just can’t analyze the impact until the most loyal customers uninstall our app.

Once upon a time I’ve downloaded the mobile application which made my phone a toy that could be handed to a kid. Just like the Kid’s Corner in Windows Phone 8, but for Android. It contained a few badly written games, but it was not the reason why I uninstalled it.

In Android, just like in Windows 8, you can use other apps to enrich your application with their services. Connect to social networks, send e-mails and whatever else.

What this particular application did – it used my e-mail application to send e-mail to developer of that application, to automatically register me as it’s user. I realized that only when I’ve received an e-mail with the password and warm “thank you” for registration which I didn’t commit or solicit.

In some countries that’s crime which could cost you your business.

The morale is – sometimes you can’t do what you can do. You can use contracts in Windows 8 (or their analogs in Android and iOS), but you shouldn’t do anything that your customer is not aware of and can’t cancel before it happens.

How To Ruin a Good Idea

by Dmitry Kirsanov 15. November 2012 03:29

Here is a short story of a good idea gone bad, and a good lesson for mobile application developers.

The Preamble

We find ideas everywhere. The best place to find a good idea is where you wouldn’t look for it. The dump, graveyard, museum, park or simply the street of your city at night (in other words – any uncommon place for you) may bring something that would keep you busy for the next year. Or show the pitfall to avoid, and sometimes this knowledge comes with the price.


The Possible Future of Reporting Services

by Dmitry Kirsanov 15. October 2012 14:04

Today, if you’ll visit the MSDN Labs, you won’t find there much about Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. The reason is simple – Microsoft doesn’t consider reporting to be the edge technology. The frontier of changes and fountain of creativity is somewhere else. Usually what you see in there is something that is complex or very important for Microsoft. Neither is a category for reports.

However, I recognize the trend, which is, although relatively distant, could shift the position of Reporting Services and perhaps make it more widespread, potentially adding more jobs to the market.


Automating Deployment of Hyper-V based Microsoft Labs

by Dmitry Kirsanov 6. October 2012 22:22

Microsoft Certified Trainer logoThis article is about free software I made to automate the deployment of exported Hyper-V machines. More precisely – Hyper-V machines of labs for Microsoft Official Curriculums (MOC), used by students at Microsoft official training classes. It should be interesting for MCTs (i.e. Microsoft Certified Trainers) out there, whose job is to deploy labs in form of Hyper-V virtual machines, as well as for system administrators having the same duty of periodic installation of Hyper-V virtual machines. The installation procedure of a pack of Hyper-V machines could be extremely time consuming. Or should I say - used to be.

I will speak about it as about the solution for a lab deployment problem, but if you are working with other virtual machines, just think about the similarities with your scenario.


Windows 8 Unexpected Behavior - Suspending Apps

by Dmitry Kirsanov 27. September 2012 14:32

Well, the “unexpected” should be put into quotes, because if you went through the Windows 8 training, then you have some ideas about how it works, but even if you did the training, some things are not clear until you crash at them at full speed.

As I mentioned before, Windows 8 now suspends applications which loose their focus. In Metro applications framework you, as developer, can deal with suspension notice and make sure you save the current state of the application, and  you could use application manifest to create exception from the rule. Say, if your application is a media player or a browser.

However, it turns out that Metro applications are not the only ones to be suspended. More...

Time To Leave the .NET 3.5 Behind

by Dmitry Kirsanov 24. September 2012 16:32

For some software companies, the .NET Framework 3.5 is the current production version. However, it was also very problematic release because of the deployment issues. Windows Vista machines didn’t have it installed by default, so many companies continued to use 2.0 as much as they could, but then Windows 7 had it installed by default, so it became the new standard. But Windows 8 changed it all. More...

The Future of Windows 8

by Dmitry Kirsanov 17. September 2012 05:00

Windows 8 logoIs Windows 8 a new Windows Vista?

During last few days the first thing that comes to my mind every morning, is this question.

The few months before and after the release of Windows 8 is the period of unique opportunity, just like it happens with other new or fundamentally changed products. The amount of efforts you put during such period of time always pays more than the same amount of effort at a later time.

This year, Microsoft is publishing a whole range of new (very) expensive fundamental products. Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012, Office 2013, Visual Studio 11 with Team Foundation Server 11 and more. Some of these products don’t bring any significant opportunity, as user interface is the only change that affects most of it’s users. For example – Office 2013. It’s nice, it should work better, but there’s no real reason to upgrade.

However, Windows 8 is different. As Microsoft rightfully says, it was reimagined, and the problem is – they are not lying and it’s not a buzzword (yet). The changes they made to the very principles of how applications work – not just the looks, but even the life cycle of application – make it harder for the market to swallow. More...


by Dmitry Kirsanov 14. September 2012 04:02

Alice is about to reimagine flamingoIn some future articles I am going to use this term, as well as you’ll hear it more often, because it may turn into a buzzword soon. So I’ll explain it to make sure we’re on the same page in the future.

People are habit-driven. We invent something and then we are just following the path. We are building paths for ourselves and for other people, depending from what we do. Manuals, instructions, laws and policies – these are perhaps the biggest examples of rules we make, but there are others, which you follow without consent. Why do you pour coffee before milk?

Some of the rules and habits we have are perfectly reasonable. Like when you are taking your umbrella when you are expecting showers. Or the way you are using the elevator or doing any other routine in never changing principles. However, some rules outlive the reason why they were created. More...

Bing or Not?

by Dmitry Kirsanov 11. September 2012 20:07

Bing it onYou are probably aware about the new Microsoft’s initiative “Bing it on” – a website, which allows you to query both Google and Bing and see result pages side by side, without telling which is what.

In my case I’ve been sitting at Microsoft and watching people voting for one result page or another, by simply comparing which page looks better. The result was a draw.

However, it was 5 minutes later when I’ve opened both Google and Bing in two tabs and compared results with one simple query – “opensuse”. No, I didn’t think that Microsoft is hiding anything about the newest release of the most successful corporate Linux, it was just the first thing that came to mind.

Results were quite interesting. So interesting, that you can try to do the same right now.

While Google provided me with links to 20 different websites, with being the first one, the Bing gave me a page of 10 links, and all of them led to So, I can rightfully say that first page contained only one website. Which is whatever you want, but not a draw.

The idea to compare two websites was very good indeed, and too bad that Microsoft will soon have to close it.



Devign Intervention

by Dmitry Kirsanov 11. September 2012 17:44

Windows 8 typical application user interface

When average developer is asked to work on the user interface of his application, he is doing everything that is in his power to not do anything about it.

As the result, we usually get some minor visual enhancements which may further impair usability, but look better during the weekly meeting presentation. In worst case scenario, though, we get something that looks like an echo from 90-s with non-standard windows and 3-D controls. Because your boss is dying to see something “apple style”, and so you deliver. More...

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