Microsoft Technologies De-Coded

Microsoft has always had codenames for each of it technologies, be it “Longhorn” or “Whistler“; an OS, an IE and most of the technologies had a codename. Here is a glance at couple of latest ones –

1. Whidbey – Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 and/or Visual Studio 2005
2, Burton – Visual Studio Team System suite of tools
3. Yukon – SQL Server 2005
4. ELead – The work item
5. Ocracoke – Team System’s Web testing system
6 Currituck – Team System’s work-item tracking system
7. Hatteras – Team System’s version control system
8. Whitehorse – Team System’s distributd system designers
9. F1 – Team System’s profiling system
10. BIS – Team Foundation Server’s underlying extensibility model
11. PREfast – Static code analyzer for C/C++ code

And finally one big one “Orcas – Microsoft .NET Framework vNEXT” which is scheduled to release in Q3 of 2007

Language Design ?

Can you call it arrogance if it’s true? Paul Graham on how hard it is to design a new Lisp:

The advantage [the inventors of Perl, Python, and Ruby] had over us in the Lisp world was that they started from a lower point. Larry Wall, for example, started out trying to make a better awk. That’s not hard. Awk is missing a lot. Whereas we in the Lisp world are bumping up against the asymptote. Among other things, we can’t avail ourselves of the one of the richest sources of features for new languages: taking stuff from Lisp. We have to invent genuinely new things.

Of course, he’s missing the obvious answer: just take stuff from Smalltalk…
On a more serious note, I’m not sure why “the Lisp world” (to use Paul’s sweeping generalization) spends so much time on language implementations. The great thing about languages like Lisp, Scheme and Smalltalk – which, I would agree, are all pretty asymptotic, but on local maxima not the global one – ought to be that the language problem is solved, and you can spend all that energy inventing genuinely new libraries instead. That way, all that genuine newness gets to interoperate, rather than compete.

Well, just a thought.

AJAX: A Microsoft Technology

Slashdot has some funny ones from time to time. Like this one, where the author contends that AJAX is a new Microsoft technology.
(note: the article he links to about AJAX is worth the read!)

But AJAX isn’t new. It is old – many years old, for all that it didn’t become popular until recently.
And it was the tech darling Google that made it popular, not Microsoft. Sure it is based on technology Microsoft put in the browser many years ago, but until Firefox added support and Google used it broadly it was a sleeper… But on slashdot everything negative must be associated with Microsoft – it’s a rule I guess…

Avoiding memory leak patterns in IE script

Justin Rogers, a dev on IE’s object model team, posts about his MSDN article on leak patterns in IE.

If you’re doing serious DHTML development for IE, this article is a must read. Says Justin:

let’s look at the following patterns:

Circular References—When mutual references are counted between Internet Explorer’s COM infrastructure and any scripting engine, objects can leak memory. This is the broadest pattern.

Closures—Closures are a specific form of circular reference that pose the largest pattern to existing Web application architectures. Closures are easy to spot because they rely on a specific language keyword and can be searched for generically.

Cross-Page Leaks—Cross-page leaks are often very small leaks of internal book-keeping objects as you move from site to site. We’ll examine the DOM Insertion Order issue, along with a workaround that shows how small changes to your code can prevent the creation of these book-keeping objects.

Pseudo-Leaks—These aren’t really leaks, but can be extremely annoying if you don’t understand where your memory is going. We’ll examine the script element rewriting and how it appears to leak quite a bit of memory, when it is really performing as required.

SNARF, the Social Network and Relationship Finder

I’ve been SNARFed this sunday. I downloaded the application called SNARF (Social Network and Relationship Finder) from Microsoft Research

Microsoft Research’s Community Technology presents SNARF, the Social Network and Relationship Finder.

SNARF was built around the notion that social network information that is already available to the computer system can be usefully reflected to the user: a message from a manager might be seen differently than a message from a stranger, for example. SNARF applies this idea to email triage: handling the flow of messages when time is short and mail is long.

The SNARF UI is designed to provide a quick overview of unread mail, organized by its importance. The UI shows a series of different panes with unread mail in them; each pane shows a list of authors of messages. Clicking on a name shows all messages involving that person.

People use a variety of strategies to handle triage; there is no single “best” ordering of email messages to produce an optimal outcome.

SNARF gives the user the freedom to build their own ordering. Each person in their inbox is assigned a set of meta-information: “number of emails sent in the last month,” for example. These metrics can, in turn, be combined to create an ordering across all contacts. For more information, check out the CEAS paper on SNARF.

I have about 6,000 messages in about 1GB worth of PST files. SNARF is examining my social network and as I write this post, it’s still going. Can’t wait to see what it tells me!!!

Update – Windows Live Mail Beta

Its been quite a few days that I have wrote about Windows Live Mail Beta!! I have been a part of the beta program for over a month now.

The Mail Beta guys added two new features (Milestone 4) couple of days ago. Now you can resize the “Columns” and you have a “Auto Spell Check”. Spell Check is the most widly used feature of Outlook in the recent years. Guess I might soon see a “Web-Oulook” interface for my hotmail account.

Read Imran’s blog for more about Windown Live Mail Beta.

SVG Maps

The website of Sodipodi, the SVG drawing tool, has a complete collection of the flags of the world in SVG. It would be really great if someone were to start a similar collection of political maps of countries… Always have trouble getting good world or country map data, and SVG maps could be rescaled and changed to suit the needs of each user.

Anyone feel like taking this on?