Least discoverable feature: changing the Workflow Designer fonts and colors

The MSDN documentation on the WF designer shell has a very short section describing how WF designer fonts and colors work. Here is a bit more detail. You can manually change the colors and fonts used by the WF designer using the Tools->Options dialog box. The Workflow Designer for WF 4.0 does not have its…

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Dynamically binding the expression type in the property grid

Previously, I demonstrated how to use an ExpressionTextBox in a custom property editor. In this followup post, I will show how to dynamically bind the ExpressionType of the ExpressionTextBox to the type of the argument of the custom activity. We don’t provide a type converter for this out of the box, so you have to…

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Using an ExpressionTextBox in a custom property editor

I have fielded a couple of questions from customers and also a forum post asking how to get the binding correct for the ExpressionTextBox correct in the property grid (well Eric fielded that one with some help on our side, thanks Eric!). For the record here are the details and an explanation. WPF provides an…

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Hostable editor keyboard shortcuts

In my previous post about keyboard shortcuts, I promised a summary of the hostable editor shortcuts. I waited on purpose until after the RC build to make this post. There were a couple of reasons for holding off: we changed the way WF designer shortcuts were scoped, and a bunch of shortcuts were broken in…

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Imports designer 101

Oh, the imports designer. This innocuous looking piece of UI packs a lot of functionality in a little designer. You would think that this designer should be pretty straightforward. The original concept of this feature was that this would simply be the place to manage namespaces, much in the same way you would manage using…

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RC is here, and so is the Workflow Designer documentation

Today the RC version of Visual Studio was made publically available for MSDN subscribers. See the VS RC page for download details. We got a ton of bug fixes and perf improvements in for RC. Go download this and play with it, it’s a big improvement from beta 2. With the RC release, we also…

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Multi-dimensional array support in the Workflow Designer

In the Workflow Designer, all input provided to the workflow must be valid according to the model before the workflow can be serialized*. This has a number of implications that you see throughout the designer, like: TryCatch designer – must select a non-duplicate exception before you can continue, can’t have empty rows Switch<T> designer –…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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