Dave Noderer's Blog

May 2009 Entries

Programming Entity Framework – Julie Lerman – O’Reilly Media

Long past due is a review of Julie’s book, Programming Entity Framework, ISBN 978-0-596-52028-1

Julie adopted Entity Framework early on, from before it was even available to most MVP’s. This book is a reflection of that involvement with the product and the product teams over the past few years.

This 23 chapter, 750+ page book covers a lot of ground and provides a great reference book for almost everything entity framework related.

The first few chapters introduce the framework and will give you a good working knowledge of how to use it. A few other chapters like using the framework with stored procedures and the entity data source control are a good place to start.

What was amazing to me was the variety of ways that you can (in some cases have to) query the entities with Entity SQL LINQ and method based queries. I’m hoping this is more related to the early stage of the entity framework and eventually the options required to get at various features would focus on a single methodology.

The base of the entire framework is the entity model and is usable in theory with or without a sql server backing store. The “wizard” type of tools currently drive off of SQL Server which is fine with me because I have always started with the data model. The modeling language does allow you to go further and add both relations and entities which don’t / can’t exist in a purely relational model.

Once you leave the vanilla scenario of matching your entity to the database the workload goes way up and there is a lot of detail in the model and storage parts of the framework you will have to be familiar with and manipulate.

The good news is that this book goes through all of the above scenarios and has something about all of the related subject.

Another nice feature is that all the examples are in both vb and c#.

In this light I highly recommend this book for both an introduction to the Entity Framework and also as a reference book you will use over time as you need additional features.

For more information visit Julie’s website: http://www.thedatafarm.com/main.aspx

Kickstartz Weekend Video

Marc Asselin has put together a short video about the Kickstartz entrepreneur weekend coming up June 18-20 2009.




Kickstartz website: tp://www.kickstartz.com/

STS-125 Launch view from South Florida

When I’m home in Deerfield Beach, FL (26.317N, 80.078W) and there is a space shuttle launch watch it from the top of the 5 story garage across the street. Below is the view overall slightly enhanced and then the launch trail heavily enhanced so you can see it clearly. The view is facing north so you can see that the the space center is actually a bit west, ~ 80.6 W due to the slantof Florida to the east. The tall building below the right corner of the enhanced area is the Boca Resort. We live a few blocks south of Boca Raton and 10 miles north of Ft Lauderdale. The tall condos at the right side of the picture are in Boca and are on the ocean.



Small Basic – An introduction to programming…

I was happy to find Small Basic from Microsoft that comes with a programming manual that is simple enough for anyone to follow.

Download and more information here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/devlabs/cc950524.aspx

As of today the program is in CTP but makes writing windows programs very easy. First “Hello World” program is very simple:

TextWindow.WriteLine("Hello World")

When you start the program a very nice and simple dev environment comes up. Here with a program from the book showing nested looping, turtle graphics (a feature not required) and an event handler.




This is fun to play with with intellisense and help on the right as illustrated below:




Starting to think how I can introduce a bunch of kids to programming with this!

No scoping for SQL Server stored procedures…

It’s always nice to learn something new…

Today I learned that variables in SQL Server stored procedures have no scope rules.

Take this example:

Declare @Outer int
Set @Outer = 1

While 1 = 1
    Declare @Inner int
    Set @Inner = 2
Select @Outer, @Inner

As a developer I expected that a new “instance” of @Inner would be created on each iteration of the loop and that the ending select would actually get an error saying that there was no variable @Inner.

But this is not true, all variables have a scope of the batch in which they are declared, code blocks be damned!

Lesson learned… re-initialized each loop of the procedure and everything works as expected.

Embarrassing as I’ve been writing stored procedures for 15 years…

Ft Lauderdale Online – 1st Meeting

We had the first online version of the Ft Lauderdale developer group meeting tonight.

Eighteen people were online but i was the only one with a web camera… I hope more start getting the video cranked up!

The topic was Introduction to MVC and was suppose to be given by Jim Zimmerman out of Tampa but he called at 5:30 (for the 6:30 meeting) reporting that his laptop power brick was toast and he was out of juice. He had tried to get another one but at this point he was dead in the water because his presentation was on the laptop too….

So he gave David Hayden a call who agreed to do the presentation as they are planning to do some of this for the TampaDev.org group too. That group is focused exclusively on MVC, at least for now.

David did a great job of just going through the basics of an mvc app, no power points, just use visual studio and make a project. We dug into the T4 templates a bit and also validation. There were a number of questions that sparked additional discussion.

I used live meeting to record it all to.

A link to the recorded meeting can be found here: https://www311.livemeeting.com/cc/mvp/view?cn=&id=PZ6Z2C&pw= no key is required.

More information, video’s, etc at: http://asp.net

Lots more info at the Tampa Bay Developers MVC group: http://tampadev.org

Rochester Institute of Technology Imagine Festival – 2009-05-02

Visiting son Michael here in Rochester this weekend, he “scored” a couple of VIP Passes to the RIT Imagine Festival (http://www.rit.edu/imagine/) a free event that over 20000 will attend.

We got there early to see the start of the energy race. The idea was to see which vehicle could travel the 3 mile campus course using the least amount of energy. The winning entry used 27.5 watt hours of energy from solar charged batteries.

The entry below did not win but i thought it was an interesting vehicle.



There were two winners one took Dr Destler’s 1800’s banjo (I hope they give it back!) and the other got a $1000 prize.



This was of particular interest because I graduated RIT in 1975 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. The campus has expanded dramatically, perhaps by a factor of 4. Had to get this picture of me in front of the Gleason Engineering building.



The number of projects and innovative things the students are doing is mind boggling. Here are a few of the things i thought were interesting. The great part is that many of them combine multiple disciplines to build real things. This list is a very small set of things, the range of things on display was simply amazing!

  • Women in engineering middle school educational sessions teaching kids about fuel cells and electronics
  • Investigation into the ways that nanoparticles can enter the body through the lungs.
  • Building real hybrid rockets and related telemetry and electronics
  • A number of internet developments like http://www.newdigs.com and http://bookmaid.com
  • Biomechanics simulating human hand operations. I did not ever see some of this close up before. To simulate a contracting muscle they use what look like fiber covered 1/2” or so balloon tubes. When they pressurize it with air it becomes fatter and contracts longitudinally. When you let the pressure out it relaxes and stretches out.
  • The robotic hot dog assembler but that was packed and it was hard to even get a glimpse of it.
  • The concrete canoe
  • A visit with the off roaders club with a collection of killer jeeps.
  • http:tagg.rit.edu is a way to track the most popular exhibits. By texting the exhibit number, votes are automatically tallied and displayed on screens around the festival. And you can go to the website, enter your phone number, and not only see what you have tagged (try my cell: 9542701186) but also see what other exhibits you might want to visit.

Here are a couple more pictures from the day:


Take a close look at the hat, yes we had propeller heads there!


Computer Science Lobby displays: