I just uploaded a new version of the Enhanced Data Generators over the weekend. This new version 1.4 contains misc. bug fixes and the addition of a new data generator, XMLGenerator (Note: v1.3 and above support only Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0).
The XML Generator is based on the XML Generator MSDN sample code and wraps it to work as a data generator. You basically provide an XSD and it generates XML that fits that XSD. Should be useful to fill XML type columns with valid data that fits a XSD.
Note: Since I use the MSDN sample, this does not support very complex XSD patterns. But I think, this should satisfy most of the common scenarios.
As I use the new RC the more changes/feature I come across. Below are a few I came across over the weekend.
One of the new popup messages I came across was a new “cross-site scripting” dialog shown below
I don’t know what this does, but it was at a well know site. I assume this is to do with XSS Filter setting and I could not find anything more on this on the web.
The other is when you download a exe or other executable files. I am quite sure this feature was not there in the Beta as today is the first time I came across this. This is a prompt I got when I tried to download an exe file.
If you see, there is no run option in the popup bar. I clicked on Action and I got another dialog
Again here the “Run anyway” option becomes available only if you click a expander button (those small arrow’y things). The default action available is only “Don’t run” and “Delete”.
This is quite a good thing as it basically adds a layer of protection and requires user action to actually run an executable from a unknown site. Also if the download is from a source that is marked as reputable, then this dialog does not popup.
Obviously one of the most talked about option of the new IE9 RC is about the new feature called Tracking Protection. This allows you to control what kind of tracking options you will accept and also as a by product can help you stop all those distracting Ads from showing up. Do note, this is turned off by default and you need to turn it on and also subscribe to lists that contains sites to be blocked.
As soon as I installed the RC, I set this up and then went ahead and subscribed to all the recommended lists. I figured more the lists, better my chance of catching an Ad site.
But according to this article (Privacy protection and IE9: who can you trust?), the lists can contain both allow and disallow rules and allow rules win when there is a contention. So basically, it now becomes important that you choose the right lists or you are going to pretty much be without any tracking protection. Based on the article, the current list rate as follows (as of Feb 12th list):
So going anywhere near TRUSTe, basically negates tracking protection as of now.
And PrivacyChoice does not actually allow any site, it just has a sample whitelist entry and that seems to have been counted as a false positive.
Certifications have been an area of interest for me for quite some time. I see certifications as showing a persons expertise in a certain area. There was a time a few years ago when Microsoft certifications were so easy that I almost stopped considering it. I have heard from people that it is better now and that newer certifications does focus on testing knowledge. (Given the prevalence of braindumps, I still am not 100% sure about that yet)
But given personal experience I would say if you take time out from a hectic life to go an take an certification, it at least shows some kind of initiative to learn from your side..
I was offered a license to review a certification product called uCertify recently. It is basically a preparation kit. It is not really a kit that will take you from no knowledge to certification. It is more of a tool that will help you get prepared for the exam if you already have knowledge of/experience in the specified area.
So it basically provides you with study tips and simulated exams that will help your confidence and also refresh topics. Also if you find that you score poorly in certain topics, those may be areas you need to brush up on.
The kit also has a few articles, but I did not find then exhaustive of too helpful. So I would recommend, you study up for the exam and use the tool to check out your preparedness for the exam, before you actually get to the exam. (the kit I got for review had 4 prebuilt exams with around 230+ questions and study tips)
The UI is quite clean and usable, but I did get a few crashes when it automatically updates the engine or the exam kit. Also I have not seem updates for quite sometime now and so am not sure how regular these are.
Bottom Line: This is a good tool to test your preparedness for the exam and not something that will teach you for the exam.
I was reading this post about how they are moving TFS to Azure to provide a cloud based version of TFS.
I find this very interesting as it provides you with a view of what kinds of problems you may face if you are moving an existing application on to the cloud (esp. Azure)
Some issues like security can have a major impact on your application design, while others like SELECT INTO support may also drain a lot of effort to fix.
And the final big thing that may weigh on your overall effort is testing. Because, now all your previous test results are out of the window and you will have to do a complete regression to make sure that everything works find.
If you use multiple computers like me then one of the things you want to do is synchronize certain files and also IE Favorites. Previously I used to use the Live Mesh Beta software to share a directory under the IE’s Favorites directory that I synch with a similar directory on all of my computers.
Now the updated Live Mesh make it even simpler. You now get a option to turn on/off IE favorites synching.
This article has more details on all the other features in the new Live Mesh.
If you are playing around with IE 9 Beta, you may have noticed the multiple UI changes that have been made. Most of these are good, but some may leave you unable to figure out something that you are used to.
A couple of features that I usually use that have changed..
1.Back and Forward History
This is the history that you get for the back and forward buttons. You accessed this by clicking the small dropdown arrows available next to the buttons in IE8.
But there are no arrows next to the back and forward buttons in IE9. So how do you get to the navigation history. There are no visual indications available and since it is still in beta, documentation is sketchy. So with a little bit of clicking around, I found that you can get the history if you right click the navigation buttons instead of left click.
Now you get the familiar dropdown of the navigation history.
I use this feature a lot as I jump back and forth between pages when searching for stuff and so this becomes very important.
Not very easy to find, but the feature is still there..
2. Closing a non-current tab
You have multiple tabs open and you want to close a tab, but you don't want to switch focus to it.
In the above screenshot, I am currently in Tab 3 (in focus tab), but have my mouse hovering over Tab 2. In IE8 a small cross will appear at the corner of Tab 2 (like the closes button in the right of Tab 3), which you can click to close the tab. The advantage there is that you don't have to switch tabs to close them. In IE9, the close button appears only on the current tab (i.e. tab you are viewing) and to close the non-focus tab you will have to switch to it, for the close button to appear. I had written a feedback around this to MS and got a response saying that clicking the middle mouse button will close a non-focus tab (on my laptop touchpad, I can click left and right button together to do the same).
Again a feature that is not easy to find, but very useful if you know it. Here is a video of this feature at work
Internet Explorer 9 Beta 1 is now available. Till now you could get a look at some features using the developer preview which let you get a peek into features but was not really a full fledged browser yet. Beta 1 is now a fully usable browser (it actually replaces your current IE version you have).
One of the featuers I came across at the start is one small popup window that came up at the bottom that told me that I can speed up my browsing speed by disabling addons. I clicked the button and I got a window that not only listed Addons (like before) but with a load time displayed next to it (with a small graph that show the time making it easy to compare). This is really useful addition as you can now make a call on which addon to disable based on the load times...