# Wednesday, 08 December 2004

Just attended a Commerce Server chat tonight where some great information was given. Check out the full chat below:

tschultz (Expert): Are there any plans to provide integration with MSCRM, Siebel, etc.?
RDonovan (Expert): Q: Are there any plans to provide integration with MSCRM, Siebel, etc.?
RDonovan (Expert): A: We are providing BTS adapters in CS2006 for line-of-business adapters.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: Will the pipeline component exist in some form in version 2006 or will that functionality be delegated to BizTalk? If not, will we see a more managed implementation of the pipeline component?
A: Pipeline components will continue to exist as in CS2002. Better examples for writing managed code pipeline components will be provided. BTS is really optimized for long-running, asynchronous operations and is not the best fit for being called repeatedly within a Web page in a high volume transaction environment.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: Is there any releases planned until CS2006. Any tools PUP packages etc. ( I know the recent releases)
A: The Starter Site for CS2002 was just released. As was Feature Pack 1 in May 2004. There are no more CS2002 updates planned before CS2006 ships.
RDonovan (Expert): Q: In CS2006, will pipelines still execute under a COM+ context?
RDonovan (Expert): A: Yes, but you can write components in either managed or unmanaged code.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: The Secure Deployment Guide for CS2002 FP1 is a pretty elaborate setup. For a smaller site doing fewer transactions in a day (less than 5,000 orders per day) are there any metrics available on the sizing of servers?
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: In brief, what does the Starter Site demonstration that wasn't already shown in previous sample sites?
A: It is enabled fully with Feature Pack 1, is written in ASP.NET, and has been tested for production use. This is not true of any of the other sites except for MSIB - which does not feature documented integration with FP1.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: Hello everyone, we built one site on retail2002 and need the system can order certain products for customers each month automatically. What's the best way to accomplish this auto ordering function?
A: Look at the Order template feature. This is in the CS2002 product docs.

Andrew (Expert):
Q: Are there any betas or CTPs planned for 2006 which partners can get their hands on?
A: Yes, we will have a pre-release program for partners. I am the PM for the CS2006 pre-release program, contact me for more info on participating: amcd@microsoft.com
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: Will the Bizdesk be deprecated in favor of a bunch of small smart clients like the one for administering catalogs and campaigns?
A: Yes, we will have Catalog Manager, Marketing Manager, and Customer/Order Admin in CS2006. No more BizDesk! OPEN-MOUTHED SMILEY :D
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: Will the source or object model be exposed for the individual management programs in CS2006 so we can extend them to interface with other systems?
A: We will be providing a consistent data management API set (the Agents) across all runtime subsystems in CS2006. These will also be Web service exposed as well - though we still recommend accessing them through the Agent for simplicity's sake.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: can somebody expalin me the business Desk?
A: The Business Desk is the business data management tool in CS2000 and CS2002. It is being replaced in CS2006.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: Is it correct that the profile ressource will not be changed to the next version
A: Not entirely. Everything thats in CS2002 is there. There will also be a Web service/agent on top of the Profile. And we are adding support for .NET 2.0's provider model allowing you to use the CS profile store underneath the .NET 2.0 profile APIs.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: The overview of 2006 states that development will be better integrated into Visual Studio 2005, is this just for the web side of things or will pipeline development benefit as well?
A: This is principally for the Web side and supporting the new editions coming in VS 2005. The big change will be a non-BizDesk-based Catalog Schema Editor. Moving to a managed pipeline framework is for a future release.
davidme (Expert):
Q: 2002 provides some very obscure error messages, is there work being done in this area to make it easier to diagnose problems during development?
A: Yes, there is an effort and process in place to improve error messages and error diagnosis capabilities. We will also have improved debug tracing capabilities for the really tough issues.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: Is there a list for the new biztalk adapters provided by CS2006
A: There will be adapters for Profiles, Catalogs, Orders, and the new Inventory subysystem.
davidme (Expert):
Q: Can we expect to have a full wrapper around the entire CS COM model when 2006 ships or will we still have to rely on Interop access for more specialized operations?
A: There are still a few areas where COM interop will bleed through for advanced use cases (e.g. campaigns runtime). That said, you will see significant progress toward a fully managed end-to-end implementation in several key areas of the product including the product catalog system and the order capture system. As Ryan mentioned, pipelines remain unmanaged for this release.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: You mentioned earlier that better examples of developing managed pipeline components will be available when 2006 ships, any chance that we'll see them for 2002 also, i.e. earlier?
A: No, there are no plans to be enhancing this for CS2002. All new development efforts are being focused on CS2006.
RDonovan (Expert): For those interested in a preview of CS2006, be sure to check out http://www.microsoft.com/commerceserver/2006preview/default.asp.
davidme (Expert):
Q: For the function to place the order for customers each month. How to create the VBS function to run on the server as scheduled task to do so? We have done the same thing on siteserver 3 and want to know what's the different with retail2002.
A: In general I would recommend automating such processes by building a managed code application (much better exception handling, for example). For the next release we are making it easier to use our pipeline system from a standalone application.For now it's difficult to execute a pipeline in managed code outside of a Web application (the PipelineInfo class, which takes care of a lot of the setup required for the pipelines to run, doesn't work outside of ASP.NET context). Therefore, what I would actually recommend is to build a secure Web page that converts the template to a basket (and all the way to a purchase order if desired), and have your scheduled task access that Web page. I think you will find it much easier to automate a robust solution with CS2002 in this manner.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: The list manager will disaper i CS2006 - right? Is there any other functionality that will be left out?
A: No, List Manager is not disappearing. It is being redesigned to address customer feedback and be made easier to use.
AlexSh (Moderator): We have about 15 minutes left for the Commerce Server Chat. If you have been holding back a question or comment, now is a great time to post it.
davidme (Expert): Related to ListManager question and what else will be left out - the Predictor is one component that will be removed. Also many of the legacy COM components from Site Server.
RDonovan (Expert):
Q: Any major changes to the commerce manager?
A: No real changes to COmmerce Manager/MMC. The business UI (BizDesk) is being replaced with new Windows based UIs.
John (Expert): For those of you unaware, the new Commerce Server 2002 Starter Site was recently released.
The site was derived from the MSIB site and integrates Feature Pack 1 within the solution site.

For more information, and to give it a try - visit
http://www.microsoft.com/commerceserver/downloads/solutionsites2002.asp
davidme (Expert):
Q: Just to clarify, there won't be any changes to the pipeline compont for 2006?
A: There aren't revolutionay changes here, no, but evolutionary changes to some components (e.g. QueryCatalogInfo), yes.
AlexSh (Moderator): If you have any suggestions/feedback for new or existing features in Commerce Server for v.next send them to cswish@microsoft.com <mailto:cswish@microsoft.com>.
This alias is well monitored by dev/test/management and we do value your feedback.

davidme (Expert):
Q: Can I create web service to do the auto ordering function and call this web service from the VBS file?
A: Yes, I think that's a good idea. You can use the commerce HttpModules within an ASP.NET Web service. That will make it much easier to set up all the context required to run the pipelines.
AlexSh (Moderator): Thank you all for coming today and participating in today’s Chat.
If you would like further information on this topic please visit the following URLSLEEPING HALF-MOON (S): <" target=_blank>http://www.microsoft.com/commerceserver/>;
We hope you join us for our next chat in January. You can see a full list of the upcoming chats via
You" target=_blank>http://msdn.microsoft.com/chats/

You
can also post questions and comments in our newsgroups. They live on msnews.microsoft.com at microsoft.public.commerceserver.*

John (Expert): Due to overwhelming customer feedback, we've also posted a new article which helps describe Commerce Server support definitions:
posted on Wednesday, 08 December 2004 21:06:57 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Want to know more about what the new Commerce Server will offer? I sure did so I went straight to the source after reading the Commerce Server 2006 Overview post on Bink.nu. You can read the full overview at Microsoft.

posted on Wednesday, 08 December 2004 20:43:20 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Anders Norås whom I've linked to in the past mostly due to some great posts about Team System, has the The geeky best of lists which among other thing include the top 5 tools for .NET development and the top 5 open source frameworks.

Also check out a previous post of mine entitled Ten Must-Have Tools Every Developer Should Download Now for even more great tools.

posted on Wednesday, 08 December 2004 09:31:52 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

For those of you still using Windows Messenger there's a new version available from Microsoft. Be aware that it is only available in English at this time.

New stuff includes:

Windows Messenger 5.1 has been updated with changes in the following areas:

  • Improvements in file transfer functionality for users with multiple network connections (such as configurations involving both wired and wireless network connections or users of VPN connections).
  • Improvements in Tablet PC and laptop support. Specifically, this includes improved support for ink as well as improved performance when using power saving features in portable computers such as standby or hibernation.
  • Improvements to presence integration with applications, including better presence integration when applications are in full-screen mode (to avoid unwelcome IM interruptions) and also quicker refresh of presence information in applications such as Microsoft Outlook or Windows SharePoint services.
  • Improvements to the sign-in process, enabling a quicker sign in.


For customers using Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005, Windows Messenger 5.1 is the required client to take advantage of the following new features in Live Communications Server 2005:

  • Federation (sharing IM and presence between two or more organizations)
  • Advanced architecture (higher availability and failover support)

Download Windows Messenger 5.1 from Microsoft

posted on Wednesday, 08 December 2004 09:21:10 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I missed this when I first posted about the Team System chat but it seems there was two parts to the chat held over to separate days so without any further ado here is part 1 and my post about part 2. Sorry about messing that up :)

As a little bonus I can tell you that there's a CTP of Team System coming out very soon so keep your eyes peeled for that. Be aware that the CTP builds are not beta quality but hey, in this day and age beta almost means production quality anyways, right? :)

posted on Wednesday, 08 December 2004 08:44:58 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

A whole bunch of webcasts about SQL Server 2005 were recorded yesterday and is up for your viewing pleasure. Be sure to check out some of these as they are sure to contain information for you as a developer which you'll need in the future.

The Microsoft SQL product team is hosting a special week of live MSDN Webcasts to provide you a sneak peek at what Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Beta 3 has in store for the future of database development. SQL Server 2005 offers a new paradigm for database development that integrates SQL Server and the CLR to provide several major benefits, including enhanced programming mode, enhanced safety and security, user defined types and aggregates, and a common development environment where database development is integrated into the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 development environment.

SQL Server 2005 Webcasts

posted on Wednesday, 08 December 2004 08:28:05 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 07 December 2004

Want to have a look at what the next wave of MSN services will bring? Neowin.net has an exclusive on just that including screenshots of the next MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger. It surely looks like Messenger is going to be even more bloated in the future.

Update: The images were removed from the site on Microsoft's request.

posted on Tuesday, 07 December 2004 21:44:20 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Ever wondered how to determine which version of the framework is installed on a machine? I did today when I had to do some debugging on a component I've written earlier; I needed to know the version of the framework and more specifically whether service pack 1 for framework 1.1 was installed.

To check for the service pack you need to do the following:

The .NET Framework version 1.1

With the .NET Framework 1.1, a new registry hive has been created specifically to make it easier to find the service pack level. Start Registry Editor, and then locate the following registry key:

Key Name: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v1.1.4322
Value: SP
Data type: REG_DWORD

The data in the SP value tells you which service pack is installed for the .NET Framework 1.1. For example, if the value of SP is 0, no service pack is installed for the .NET Framework 1.1. If the value is 1, Service Pack 1 for the .NET Framework 1.1 is installed.

Note that this method cannot be used to detect if any hotfixes are installed for the .NET Framework 1.1.

If you want to know more about determining the framework version itself you can check out 318836 How to obtain the latest .NET Framework service pack.

posted on Tuesday, 07 December 2004 15:25:06 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Dave Bost posts about the Team System Chat - Dec. 2, 2004, a chat I wanted to attend but was unable to do so as it was held at 2 in the morning :) Luckily Dave has written up the most important questions and answers. Great information for sure.
posted on Tuesday, 07 December 2004 08:33:52 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 30 November 2004

If you are serious with unit testing you need this plugin for Visual Studio (works with 2002, 2003, 2005). It allows you to right-click any project and test it either using the NUnit GUI, inside of Visual Studio, or using the debugger. Very handy tool to have around.

So where do you get it? TestDriven.net is the place but registration is required along with a 3 page survey but it's well worth it.

posted on Tuesday, 30 November 2004 08:55:53 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 26 November 2004
Ever wondered how to do unit testing on Windows Form Applications in .NET? You can find the answer at Thibaut Barrère's blog in his NUnitForms and TestDriven.NET post. As you can see from the post he is using a tool called NUnitForms which is like the NUnitASP framework for ASP.NET. Great stuff for sure.
posted on Friday, 26 November 2004 13:49:07 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 25 November 2004

Want to know more about what the new Commerce Server will offer? I sure did so I went straight to the source after reading the Commerce Server 2006 Overview post on Bink.nu. You can read the full overview at Microsoft.

posted on Thursday, 25 November 2004 14:40:58 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 24 November 2004

If you're a regular reader of my blog you know that I've been playing around with Team System lately, trying to get the server side of things working. If you're considering do the same you need to check out the Ten things to know before starting VSTS Foundation Server Installation on Saravana's Blog which contains some details about the installation I would like to have known before setting out.

posted on Wednesday, 24 November 2004 13:31:52 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Just saw the post VBCommenter for XML Comment Generation in VS .Net 2003 over at the Powertoys WebLog which is about an extension for VS.NET 2003 which allows you to create XML comments in VB.NET. Of course you will not need this when VS 2005 is eventually released but until then you need this to get started with those XML comments.
posted on Wednesday, 24 November 2004 09:01:50 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 19 November 2004

If you are considering whether you need a stand-alone application for posting to your blog, I can tell you this: Get one, right now! Since I installed and started using Sauce Reader for posting blog items my blogging behavior has changed. I now get an idea and start my blog post, if I think it needs more work - most often it does but that never stops me from posting anyway :) - I just click save in Sauce and the post gets stored and ready for editing later on.

Basically the process from idea to blog post has shortened a great deal which makes me more likely to actually do some blogging.

You need it too :)

posted on Friday, 19 November 2004 08:21:52 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 18 November 2004

Just heard a great new word: "Doodleware" meaning the software which managers and users ended up writing using tools like Visual Basic.

posted on Thursday, 18 November 2004 15:44:51 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Looks like there was an outage here today which literally turned this place into a public void -- excuse me for that it's been a long day already :)

I'm running this site on a freakishly old server here at the office which tends to flake out on me every once in a while. As long as the price is right, right? Right! ;)

Anyway everything looks like it's back to normal after a quick reboot of the server.

posted on Thursday, 18 November 2004 13:16:41 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

There is a new build of MSN Messenger 7 available, build 0425. You can download it directly from Microsoft so I guess it's OK to post about it :) I have installed and verified the link below. I spotted one new feature which enables you to hand write messages to your friends, pretty though most useful for people owning a Tablet PC or a digitizer.

Get it while you can.

posted on Thursday, 18 November 2004 13:02:32 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback