August 17, 2010

Android, first impressions

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 4:41 pm

First impressions after using Android (HTC Aria) for few days. Overall phone works fine; the main issues are with usability for both hardware and software.

1. Back button. UI relies on the back button to navigate back through pages. However unlike software back button on iPhone, HW back button is located in the right bottom corner which makes it hard to access with one hand.

2. Download notification UI. I spent 5 minutes looking for a way to save attachment in gmail just to find that the item goes to notification queue. Completely undiscoverable.

3. What exactly is home button. My expectation is that home screen is the whole area where I can put my icons and widget. Home button is designed so it navigates to one particular page on the home screen.

4. App install is not designed for the scenario when I want to use the app immediately. Why app is not places to the home screen? Why do I have to look for an app in the long list of apps which I cannot even re-arrange

5. Kind of minor but why can’t I associate picture with a contact? I added a shortcut for contact to the home screen but the shortcut is displayed as the default icon. By the way, HCT contact widget is completely useless piece of junk; cannot even make a call to a contact number which works in other cases.

6. Why so many applications are asking to access Geo location and why there is no way to install and app but still block access? This is really an issue with Android ecosystem in general. I expect that the owner of app marketplace (Google) to work with developers at submission time to not require unnecessary rights. Otherwise we get bunch of apps which “prevent device from sleeping” as a side-effect.


August 8, 2010

More I look at Mercurial, more I like Git

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 2:49 pm

The main feature which is missing for me in Mercurial is staging. I want to be able to make checkins very often (for every save operation) but only perform full checkins when changes reach certain logical stage. Mercurial does not expose such functionality probably for simplicity reasons. To bad.

July 23, 2010

Strange things about silverlight data binding

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 5:34 pm

There are number of samples about Silverlight databinding on the web mostly based on the standard sample. When you try to diverge from the sample you might hit issues. Couple things which I found while playing with SL:

1. Property for data binding have to be defined with setter and getter; for example

class Customer {
public String Name { get; set; }

2. Setters are not called during binding. If you want to know when property is set, you have to handle this in notification for dependency property

3. Binding of complex objects across child objects is hard :). Here is an example. Data contains of two classes Bar and Foo

class Bar {
public String Name1 { get; set; }

class Foo {
public String Name2 { get; set; }
public Bar Child;

I would like to bind Foo object to the parent control and pass Bar to the child control. It works by itself but fails when I try to bind Name1 in the child control. The reason seems to be following. In order for child control to perform data binding of Name1 we have to set DataContex for Bar object. But the DataContex has already been set by binding performed of the parent control. There is an article on about proxy binding which might help. The simpler option seems to be to avoid binding for Foo.Child in the parent object and just set DataContext manually.

June 27, 2010

debugging silverlight application in vs2010 + firefox

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 4:37 pm

Seems that the latest update to firefox broke silverlight debugging. If your app does not depend on HTML functionality, the simplest way out is to convert app to standalone app. This even helps for annoying problem when app does not stop when you close the tab.

March 26, 2010

What can I say about XCode

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 4:27 pm

– Good project management system
– Good auto-completion
– Easy scripting support for external scripts

– Terrible keyboard navigation. Most of actions require mouse even after keyboard shortcut customization
– No support for customizing the environment. Xcode UI elements or actions are not exposed programmatically

November 14, 2009

Select browser for debugging in VS2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 7:01 pm

1. Open a .aspx file in VS
2. Select the “Browse With…” option from the File menu
3. Select the browser from the list and click the “Set as Default” button

November 8, 2009

Silverlight vs XUL for standalone applications

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 7:28 pm

After a month of playing with XUL as a possible platform for standalone cross platform application XUL I am thinking of going back to Silverlight. Even so XUL (being a jscript based) provides unique abilities for customizing application at runtime, several things make Silverlight a better choice.

First of all – documentation. XUL documentation almost does not exist. There are some pages on the MDC site, but a lot of them are placeholders which do not explain anything. The best documentation is source code itself but reading code requires a lot of time at least on initial stages. In some cases documentation and source code is out of sync plus there are differences between firefox and base implementation.

Second is debugging. Nothing in XUL world come even remotely close by the functionality to the Visual studio debugger. The amount of time which VS debugger saves makes it worth to spend time digging into SL or C#. I am not a big fan of VS in general; for C++ development I am using WinDbg but even VS is infinitely better than Firebug.

Another great factor speaking for Silverlight is designer tools. The only way to edit XUL files is notepad which again is not very productive. In Blend one can create a UI for an application in a fraction of time required to implement the same in XUL.

Platform wise Silverlight runs on Windows and Mac which is sufficient for reaching the majority of audience.

October 30, 2009

New home

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 7:11 pm

New home for notes.

October 4, 2009

convert jscript to html

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 9:12 pm

Very simple yet good jscript to html code formatting tool

disable venkman output to console

Filed under: Uncategorized — alexezh @ 6:41 pm

Venkman produces a lot of output to console which makes it hard to see the output from your extensions. To disable output from venkman, you can update venkman_utils.js in venkman.jar by replacing dd function with an empty function dd = function (){};

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