Infragistics WPF controls

Syncfusion Essential Studio for WinRT Beta and Metro Studio product reviews

Syncfusion Essential Studio for WinRT Beta Syncfusion has been a major player in the 3rd party development component market for a while now.  Their products include .NET development UI controls for ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Mobile, WinForms, WPF, Silverlight, and more.  The newest tool release is a suite of controls that are made for Windows 8 WinRT development.  The product is called Essential Studio for WinRT and it's made up of a plethora of highly attractive, cutting edge controls that are specifically designed for WinRT and touch interfaces.   20 Highly optimized controls Syncfusion Essential Studio for WinRT comes with 20 control that are designed with touch control and performance in mind.  The controls are vast and provide everything that you need to developing cutting edge user interfaces for your Windows 8 applications such as dashboards, maps, charts, and more. Microsoft Office document creation from within your WinRT applications The Studio suite comes with controls that allow your application to create Microsoft documents like Word, Excel as well as Adobe PDF documents on the fly.  The controls are completely independent and do not require Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat to be installed on the machine.  This is an incredible value which will allow applications to create receipts, invoices, work orders, or any other sort of document that you'd find in a standard line of business application. Samples included As with their other products, Syncfusion has bundled many sample applications (with source code) to help you to get up and running with the tools in no time.  The samples are written in C#/VB.NET and XAML.  Creating Windows 8 Graphics with Metro Studio Syncfusion has also offered a free product called Syncfusion Metro Studio.  Metro Studio is an extremely useful application that provides a huge selection of "Metro" style art snippets that you can edit.  This is a tremendous solution that helps you to add graphics to you Windows 8 applications.  The best part is it's FREE! The artwork is divided into logical groups for you to choose the art that best suites your needs.   When you select a graphic, you are presented with the option to edit the image.  Here you can change the size and color.  You can also preform transformations like rotate.  Syncfusion Metro Studio allows you to output the edited image as standard image files as well as XAML.   As you can see, Syncfusion have provided two extremely useful tools for Windows 8 developers and not only are they first class tools, they are also free! Check them out today! Syncfusion Essential Studio for WinRT Beta  Syncfusion Metro Studio


Windows 8: Things that every IT professional should know about Microsoft's new OS

Windows 8 features that you should know about I've recently purchased a Windows 8 tablet and upgraded my development machine to Windows 8.  I'm absolutely thrilled with this operating system.  I'm still getting used to the tablet paradigm which is to be expected.  The tablet goes from power button to "start screen" in 14 seconds!  I primarily use the desktop mode on my development machine and the speed of the operating system is incredible.  I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and the difference in speed is as if I'm using a different machine!   It's well known by now that the new OS starts in "Tile Mode" and that there is now a Windows App store.  in this post, I'd like to cover some of the lesser known aspects of the new operating system that I believe will be useful to IT professionals. Advancements in security UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface)                                                                                                                                                   The UEFI technology allows the implementation of security policies in your system's firmware.  Windows 8 utilizes UEFI by way of the secure boot protocol to verify the authenticity of your low level system components at boot time pre-OS.  Malware like Rootkits will attack the boot loading process and infect critical operating system files which can then bring havock to your system and can be very difficult to identify and remove.  If enabled, Secure boot will facilitate the validation of digital signatures of the OS components responsible for booting the system.  If a digital signature or key is incorrect, this indicates that it has been tampered with at which time the "Recovery Environment" will load and attempt to resolve the discovered issues.  Secure boot is a protocol of UEFI.  The UEFI technology is staged to replace the BIOS found in PC's today.  This will allow firmware developers more flexibility in designing hardware.  One of the key changes will be the replacement of the IRQ based CPU interrupt mechanism found in today's BIOS for an event driven architecture for modern firmware. For more information regarding UEFI, Secure boo, and the Windows 8 secured boot architecture, visit the following msdn blog article by Steven Sinofsky here . SmartScreen filter The SmartScreen technology utilizes a reputation based system for website URLs as well as file downloads.  When you visit a webpage in IE, the URL will be checked against the SmartScreen database.  If the URL has been marked as malicious then the browser will display a warning to the user.   The download manager will warn you of any file downloads that have been marked as unsafe by previous user's.  The SmartScreen filter is a very efficient method of protecting against phishing attacks and malware.  The feature can be enabled or disabled.  User's can contribute to the accuracy of the SmartScreen database by providing feedback on URL's and file downloads.  You can read about the SmartScreen feature at the following Microsoft website. System exploit mitigation improvements                                                                                                                                             Windows 8 has many improvements in the area of exploit mitigation.  Windows Vista introduced Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) which is a technique that randomly moves the location of executing code and data in memory.  This was an attempt at mitigating the infamous buffer overrun exploit.  Malicious hackers have found ways to beat ASLR and Windows 8 has improved the process by speeding up the randomization mechanism.  There are other improvements such as changes to the Windows kernel and the memory heap which include integrity checks and approaches similar to ASLR.  Internet Explorer 10 has the Enhanced Protected Mode sandbox as well as ASLR support by way of a ForceASLR option that will randomize all loaded modules. Improved Task manager One of my favorite additions to Windows 8 is the new and improved Task Manager.  If you've used Sysinternals ProcessExplorer then the new interface may look familiar to you.  It provides very clear and concise displays for system resource consumption.  Here are a couple of screen shots.   I'd recommend Windows 8 to anyone.  And at $39 for an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, how can you not want to upgrade? Buy the upgrade here  kick it on DotNetKicks.com    


Monitor your website with GotSiteMonitor

Ever wonder what your site's uptime numbers really look like? I'm a blogger and it's extremely important for me that when a user visits my site, they aren't greeted with a nasty error page.  My web hosting company is great, and they do provide me with access to server logs, but who wants to spend time combing through those?  I recently found a free service that will use multiple servers to check the status of my website at 5 minute intervals.  If there's a problem, they offer to send an email, SMS text message, they'll even give me a call! The site is called GotSiteMonitor.com .  So if you want free website monitor with plenty of options and reports, then give GotSiteMonitor.com a shot. I'll follow up and let you know how it works for me. Thanks for reading! Buddy James


About the author

My name is Buddy James.  I'm a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer from the Nashville, TN area.  I'm a Software Engineer, an author, a blogger (http://www.refactorthis.net), a mentor, a thought leader, a technologist, a data scientist, and a husband.  I enjoy working with design patterns, data mining, c#, WPF, Silverlight, WinRT, XAML, ASP.NET, python, CouchDB, RavenDB, Hadoop, Android(MonoDroid), iOS (MonoTouch), and Machine Learning. I love technology and I love to develop software, collect data, analyze the data, and learn from the data.  When I'm not coding,  I'm determined to make a difference in the world by using data and machine learning techniques. (follow me at @budbjames).  

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