On to new challenges

Hello, I’m leaving Microsoft and will no longer be maintaining this blog. It’s been an honor to wear the badge of MSDN blogger for 6 1/2 years and to attempt to share useful information on career enhancement, SharePoint, InfoPath, .NET, and Windows development. If you have any questions about any of the content on the…


SharePoint Foundation as a Search API Layer for hobbyist apps

I’ve been a SharePoint developer on a variety of customer projects. At least 1/4 of my work has been focused on Enterprise Search using SharePoint and previously FAST Search. Most recently, I worked on a common web content management platform using cross-site publishing and extensive UI work involving the SharePoint Search REST API. I make…


Share rendered XAML content with Share contract and RenderTargetBitmap

A new feature of Windows 8.1 is that developers can render the XAML tree to a bitmap. This can be useful in exposing a screenshot of a part of an application with the image Share contract. Note that Windows 8.1 supports sharing a screenshot of any app through a new Share charm option. This is…


PDF Viewing Components for Windows Store apps (WinRT) (XAML/C#)

Updated 4/7/2014 to reflect Windows 8.1 PDF API capabilities and new SDK samples Microsoft released a componentized, high-performing PDF viewing component for XAML/C# applications on 4/2/2014. Woohoo! This serves as a good reference sample of how this needs to be done (C# front-end with a C++ back-end). If you want more bells and whistles, a…


Unzipping files with a progress bar in Windows Store applications (XAML/C#)

Here’s a method for unzipping a Zip file in a Windows Store application. ZipArchive is part of System.IO.Compression. private async Task UnzipWithProgress(StorageFolder outFolder, Stream zipFileStream, ProgressBar pb) { bool bDelete = false; using (var archive = new ZipArchive(zipFileStream)) { try { // Ensure the UI update part runs in the UI thread var ignore =…


Office 2013 release day questions

So, being the good dogfooder that I am, I’m posting this using Word 2013 on release day. Looks like this may be the future of Windows Live Writer (according to the tea leaves). It feels a lot like Writer initially. It can do a lot out of the box but I’ll spare you the needless…


Vietnam Wall for Windows Phone

Choosing the Platform I’d been looking into developing an app for Windows Phone since I picked up the Samsung Focus 18 months ago – to learn the technology and showcase what the platform can do. As a Microsoft employee, I feel tied to the platform, but also felt like it could be approachable since I…


Goal setting at Microsoft

When reading about how Microsoft does business, it’s quickly evident that we’re a metrics-driven organization. Even my wife, who works in strategic planning, mentioned that the instructor at a recent training class cited Steve Ballmer as a core example of someone who leads by scorecard. On the surface, one might think this would be frustrating….


Career Inspiration at PASS Summit

I’m at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit, an event that brings together a few thousand professionals that work with Microsoft’s SQL Server for technical training, inspiration and networking. My justification for attending was mostly technical: to fill some gaps and learn new skills, although I also expected to make new contacts and…


Next steps in learning as a professional consultant

I’ve decided to pursue a Master of Information Management (MIM) program from University of Maryland. As a consultant for Microsoft, I am required to become an expert on technologies as they emerge. Since I work with customers that are sometimes slow to adopt technologies, I need to ramp up on older technologies as well. Continuously…