My nine-year-old daughter Maggie has a favorite joke. "April showers bring May flowers," she tells me. "Do you know what May flowers bring?"
"Bees?" I answer. ("Bees" is my go to answer for any question that confuses or threatens me.)
"No, pilgrims!" she says, and immediately begins giggling, either at my slow-footed gullibility or her own iconic wit. Or maybe both. In any case, I know what April really brings: More hard-nosed tutorials in MSDN Magazine. The April issue will be out in a few days, and here’s what’s in store.
The issue leads off with the latest installment in our ongoing HTML5 feature series. Brandon Satrom’s Using CSS3 Media Queries to Build a More Responsive Web shows how you can tailor experiences for a wide variety of platforms and devices, using conditional CSS. Next up is a pair of articles from Daniel Moth in our C++ series. "A Code-Based Introduction to C++ AMP" and "Introduction to Tiling in C++ AMP" explore the Accelerated Massive Parallelism (AMP) features of C++11 and how they can be used to leverage powerful graphic processing units (GPU) to boost software performance.
Be sure to check out Leland Holmquest’s intriguing exploration of the Kinect SDK. His feature, "Context-Aware Dialogue with Kinect," shows how a Kinect-enabled WPF application can monitor a user’s actions to load the appropriate grammar into a speech recognition engine. Cool stuff.
Peter Vogel shows up this month to offer some T4 template goodness. His feature, "Lowering the Barriers to Code Generation with T4," shows how the Microsoft Text Template Transformation Toolkit (T4) provides a simple way to implement code-generation solutions that leverage tools and techniques developers are already comfortable with.
Rick Spiewak dives into Microsoft Office document workflow with his feature "Integrating Windows Workflow Foundation with the OpenXML SDK." He details how a sample workflow can be implemented in a way that customizes Office documents using data in the workflow, employing modifiable and extensible classes to meet a wide variety of similar needs.
Finally, Mark Beckner’s "Batching EDI Data in BizTalk Server 2010" shows developer how they can easily extract data from a source database and implement mapping and batching using several scenarios. He warns devs to avoid excessive orchestrations, schemas and referenced DLLs, and to focus instead on the long-term feasibility of a solution.
There’s the usual full slate of columns in April, starting with Dino Esposito’s Cutting Edge column titled "Long Polling and SignalR." This is the second in a two-part column on SignalR, the powerful jQuery plug-in being developed by the ASP.NET MVC team. This month, Esposito shows how SignalR can be used to facilitate real-time client/server communication.
Month in and month out, James McCaffrey cooks up the most unexpected column headlines for his Test Run column, as he works in the dark corners of software development. Greedy Algorithms and Maximum Clique? Simulated Annealing and Testing? Ant Colony Optimization? Sometimes, I think he’s just making these headlines up. This month’s effort, lavishly titled "Bacterial Foraging Optimization," explores a probabilistic technique that models the food-seeking and reproductive behavior of common bacteria to help solve otherwise-intractable numerical optimization problems. People ask me what McCaffrey is working on, and I just tell ’em, "Bees."
As usual, David Platt is getting the last word with his back page Don’t Get Me Started column. This month, he offers "Poetry of the Geeks," a dive into software-inspired wit and verse.