Codeguru Update eNewsletter - October 30th, 2007

CodeGuru Newsletter
October 30, 2007

This newsletter is part of the Developer.com, EarthWeb, and internet.com networks.
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--> Editorial
--> Recently Published Books

--> New on CodeGuru: 
        ==> Algorithms
                - Combinations in C++, Part 2
        ==> C# Programming
                - Language Feature Highlight: Extension Methods
        ==> C++ Programming
                - Permutations in C++, Part 2
        ==> MFC
                - What's New in MFC 9.0 (Orcas): Command Link Buttons
        ==> .NET Tip
                - New Features in C# 3 -- Automatic Properties and Initializers
        ==> Silverlight
                - Using Microsoft's PopFly
        ==> Visual Basic Programming
                - Partial Methods

--> Discussion Groups -- HOT Threads 
        - Reading pixel bits in a bitmap (VC++)
        - About time and time_t (C++)
        - Simple Problem - (C++)

--> Highlighted new articles on Developer.com 
        1. Tools, Iterations, and Stories
        2. 10 Cool Things You Can Do with JavaScript and YUI
        3. Using the Exception Handling Block in Enterprise Library 3.0

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Comments from the Editor

Spring and Fall are often consider the "conference seasons". If you live in a place such as San Francisco or Silicon Valley, chances are there are technical conferences happening, on an almost weekly basis, that you could likely attend. If you live elsewhere, it is more likely that there are few technical conferences in your area and thus you have to travel to attend such events.

With a cost of hundreds to even thousands of dollars for most conferences, it is no surprise that many companies don't jump at the chance to send people to them. In fact, when you combine that monetary cost with the time cost of a person being away from the office, you find that many organizations work against people going to conferences.

Early in my career, I had a chance to go to a Microsoft Tech Ed conference. I was offered a free pass and was willing to pay my own hotel and travel expenses. I simply asked my company to let me have the week off, with pay, to attend. The only cost to them was my time for a week. In exchange, they would get a report on what I gained; I would gladly share that with everyone else. My boss was initially hesitant and said no. After I stated I'd use my vacation time to attend, he reluctantly agreed to cover my time and let me go. I should note that this company tended to bring training in-house and rarely sent people to external training or conferences.

I would speculate that, for many people,if they offered to pay their own way to a conference, they would get the same reaction from their companies -- a hesitance to let them go at only the cost to the company of just a few days time.

One of the characteristics I look for in companies I choose to work for is their appreciation of training and of conferences. Notice that I separated training from conferences. In truth, if all you need is training, conferences are not necessarily the best resource (in my opinion). Having said that, the value of a conference can easily outweigh its time and monetary costs.

So what is the value of a conference?

The obvious answer is training and information. You go to sessions and you learn stuff. This is very true; however, you can sit at your computer and pull up web casts of the same topics presented at conferences. You can learn the same things at little to no cost and you don't have to leave your desk.

So what makes a conference like Tech Ed, JavaOne, or Software Development worth the cost?


Not hardware networking with wires, but social networking with other people. Althoughyou can do some networking online in forums and in other online communities, there is nothing better than chatting with your fellow developers. What better way to get insights and to learn how to solve some of your technical issues than to chat with others and see what they did to solve the issues? What better way to learn what others are doing that works -- or doesn't work -- than to spend time chatting with others and finding out what they have to say?

Even more important to networking with your peers in the industry is having the chance to directly meet and network with the people who create the products you use. Chances are, if you are using mainstream third-party libraries, the vendor of that product might be at a conference in the exhibit hall. Meeting with the sales people or technical people from that company can build a direct connection outside of the 1-800-get-in-line numbers or web sites. Having a direct connection often can pay off when you have trouble getting an answer to some technical question specific to a product.

At many conferences, you also have the chance to meet directly with the vendor of your primary tools. If you use Java,, you have the chance to meet with people who create and program Java at a Java One conference. If you use Microsoft's tools, conferences such as Microsoft's TechEd and PDC or even at non-Microsoft events such as VSLive and the DevConnections conferences, you have the chance to meet and talk with product people from Microsoft. Such interactions can be much more valuable than the sessions alone.

Of course, networking requires that you be proactive. You can't expect these people to walk up to you. Rather, you have to go to them. In many cases, the conferences make time for this to happen. Alternatively, if they are speaking, you can say hello to them after their sessions. Most are more than happy to talk and more than willing to swap business cards.

Although they might not want to answer you super-specific questions, they often can point you in the right direction and get those questions answer more efficiently than you alone could manage. Such guidance can quickly make up for time lost from the office.

In summary, conferences are more valuable to you than just learning a few tips and tricks. They are an opportunity to meet face-to-face with your peers and with industry leaders. If you go to a conference and don't come back with a number of business cards, you really didn't get the value out of the event that you could have!

I'll be at DevConnections in Las Vegas next week. Feel free to track me down. I'll be looking to see what people want to learn and doing a bit of networking! Besides, it is always great to meet Codeguru people face-to-face!

Until next week.

Bradley L. Jones

Recently Published Books

For those of you keeping up by reading books. The following are just a few of the new books that have been recently released. If you've read any of these, feel free to write a review to be posted on CodeGuru. See the submission guidelines at:


Here are a few new non-programming books:

--> The Six Unsolved Ciphers
      By Richard Belfield for Ulysses Press
      300 pages for $14.95
      This is not a standard computer book, but rather a non-fiction look at some of the ciphers and the background to them. It appears to be as much entertaining as it is technical.

--> Client-Side Reporting with Visual Studio in C#
      By Asif Sayed for Apress
      480 pages for $49.99
     <note that this is not in full color as indicated in the newsletter.>

--> Step by Step - Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2007
      By Curtis Frye & William Person III for Microsoft Press
      380 pages for $24.99 w/ CD

New & Updated Articles on CodeGuru

Following are short descriptions of new articles on CodeGuru. If you are interested in submitting your own article for inclusion on the site, then you will find guidelines located at


This week's CodeGuru posts:

==> Algorithms

- Combinations in C++, Part 2
    By Wong Shao Voon
Discover four new algorithms for finding combinations.

==> C# Programming

- Language Feature Highlight: Extension Methods
    By Mark Strawmyer
Discover what extension methods are, the syntax for using them, and why they are important.

==> C++ Programming

- Permutations in C++, Part 2
    By Wong Shao Voon
Speed up the work of finding permutations among different processors.

==> MFC

- What's New in MFC 9.0 (Orcas): Command Link Buttons
    By kirants
Explore the challenges of developing an MFC application to use on Vista and non-Vista platforms in the context of Vista's new Command Link Button style.

==> .NET Tip

- New Features in C# 3 -- Automatic Properties and Initializers
    By Jay Miller
Take a look at a couple of the language enhancements in C# 3 (VS2008) that can speed up your development and make your code cleaner: automatic properties and initializers.

==> VIDEO: Silverlight

- Using Microsoft's PopFly
    By Bradley L. Jones
Using the PopFly site, you can create mashups in a matter of minutes that take full advantage of the flash and sizzle offered via AJAX and Silverlight.

==> Visual Basic Programming

- Partial Methods
   By Paul Kimmel
Learn how to implement partial methods and know where to expect them.

Discussion Groups

Check out the CodeGuru discussion forums at:


Forums include Visual C++, General C++, Visual Basic, Java, General Technology, C#, ASP.NET, XML, Help Wanted, and much, much, more!


Some of the current threads with the most activity are:

==> Reading pixel bits in a bitmap (VC++)

==> About time and time_t (C++)

==> Simple Problem - (C++)

New Articles on Developer.com

Below are some of the new articles that have been posted to Developer.com (http://www.developer.com).

1. Tools, Iterations, and Stories
    By Jeff Langr -
For all the things that tracking tools and iterations are good for in an agile team, teams should focus on delivering
completed business value via stories.

2. 10 Cool Things You Can Do with JavaScript and YUI
    By Diona Kidd -
Easily develop cool web tricks with less code using the Yahoo User Itnerface API. Create a faux lightbox, transition effects on page elements, or add widgets to your pages.

3. Using the Exception Handling Block in Enterprise Library 3.0
    By Thiru Thangarathinam (from DevX)
Give your applications seamless and reusable error handling and logging services with the powerful toolset from Enterprise Library 3.0.


This article was originally published on October 30th, 2007

About the Author

Bradley L. Jones


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