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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 =…

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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…

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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…

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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….

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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…

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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…

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