About type coercion

The hosted compiler does something called type coercion. It converts one type to another type using the widening and narrowing conversions specified by the big VB compiler. On the whole, this is very useful functionality. It allows you to strongly type your arguments but still set your Int16 variable to 5 or your string variable…


Expression serialization and literal support

Expressions created in the WF designer are serialized using square brackets, which is shorthand for VisualBasicValue<T> or VisualBasicReference<T>. For example, drop a WriteLine activity into a Workflow, and set its text to the expression (1+2).ToString (in VB you can omit the brackets after the ToString). Save your workflow, open it in XAML view (F7 is…


Women in technology at PDC09

When I was at PDC I spent some time with Ed and Ashley of Ed and Ashley’s 5 minute show. They have a video blog with a number of interviews they have conducted with women in the technology. I spoke with them about mentoring, and the clip was recently posted. See Episode 57, Cathy Dumas…


End-to-end expression editing feature deck

Hi, today I gave a talk to our support team about the expression editing feature. Since this is all public facing information, I thought I would post the deck. Some of this information is old hat to regular readers of this blog (especially the overview and programmability bits, which I ported straight from previous blog…


Enter and Tab key handling in the ExpressionTextBox

The Enter and Tab keys work a bit differently in the ExpressionTextBox than in the big VB IDE. In the big IDE, Enter and Tab always insert their associated characters. If the IntelliSense completion list is up, Enter selects the item and inserts a new line. We noticed that big IDE behavior does not always…


Least discoverable feature: 100% zoom and fit to screen

There are a whole bunch of buttons in the bottom right hand corner of the workflow designer. Here they are: The magnifying glass to the left of the zoom combo box changes the zoom level of the workflow designer to 100%. (Yes this really is a button.) The button to the right of the combo…


Least discoverable feature: Workflow designer keyboard shortcuts

The Workflow designer, like any good Visual Studio component, has many keyboard shortcuts. We are documenting these shortcuts in the MSDN documentation (I’ll post when the docs are available*), but I thought I’d list them here so that they’re available for you to use now. Shortcut Purpose Ctrl+E, A Shows or hides the Argument Designer….


Least discoverable feature: F7 and Shift+F7 to toggle code view

In this episode, we turn to the project system. The Workflow Designer, unlike Cider (the WPF editor), does not have a side-by-side design/code view. If you want to close the designer and view the XAML for the workflow, you must close and reopen the document. You will have to live with this for Dev10.  It’s…


Least discoverable feature: Show all conditions/hide all conditions

This is the first in an occasional series highlighting some of the least discoverable features of the Workflow Designer. In this episode, we turn to the flowchart. The FlowDecision and FlowSwitch “activity” designers (they’re really items) have this cute little triangle in the top right hand corner. Hover over it, and you see the condition…