Codeguru Update eNewsletter - February 19th, 2008


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

CodeGuru Newsletter
February 19, 2008

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
                - [Updated] Sorting Algorithms In VB
        ==> C++ Language
                - Function Calls, Part 4 (What Exactly Is "this"?)
        ==> Keyboard (VB)
                - [Updated] SendKeys
        ==> Misc.
                - OP-ED: Fixed-Price Software Projects, or, The Quickest Way to a Financial Calamity
        ==> .NET Tip
                - Return File Contents as a String
        ==> Web Development
                - Turn Image Hotlinking to Your Advantage

--> Discussion Groups -- HOT Threads 
        - Question about pixels (VC++)
        - OLE Drag problem with RTB | RichEdit (VB 6)
        - Code not running Win98 (VB 6)

--> Highlighted new articles on Developer.com 
        1. Dynamic Service Discovery with Java
        2. Creating Excel Files with Python and Django
        3. Adding RDL-Resident Code to Reporting Services Reports

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Comments from the Editor

The final nail in the coffin for HD-DVD seems to have been struck. Toshiba is pulling out of the HD-DVD market. It will be phasing out production of HD-DVD players between now and the end of March. You can see the press release at:


Toshiba has brought to market very inexpensive players and drives for playing high-definition content. You have to give them kudos for that. What is interesting in the press release about Toshiba ending production of the HD-DVD players is the comment by Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation. He states, "We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called 'next-generation format war' and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop."

Although they seemed to be losing the battle, they could easily have kept pumping systems into the market and could have continued to hope to turn the tide. After all, many would argue that HD-DVD was the cheaper standard, and that the lower cost did not come at a notable cost. Even  so, Toshiba decided to call an end to their part in the format war and let the market develop around a single, more expensive standard.

HD-DVD players are not really a developer technology; however, the same situation that has occurred with the dueling formats for high-definition digital content also happens all the time with standards around technologies that do impact developers. A prime example is in the area of open documents. Currently OpenDocument is battling OOXML.

Is this battle good for developers and consumers? Or, would it be better for one of the parties to step aside and let everyone focus on a single standard? What if the standard that wins cost more to implement?

Similar standard wars have been fought in the past. The longer they are drawn out, the more painful it is when one of the standards finally loses. How long did technologies like CORBA fight to stay alive before finally resigning their fate? Worse, how many man hours are lost due to the standard finally closing down in favor of others?

In the long run, we have to be smart about what technologies we choose. We have to learn to avoid picking the betamax, HD-DVD, and CORBA formats if we want to make sure our products are going to be usable for the long run. If you've figured out how to determine which will survive, let the rest of us know! In the meantime, do you know anyone interested in buying some used HD-DVD movies....

Until next week...

Bradley L. Jones

[2/19/2008] - Note: Robert pointed out that betamax as a standard did not actually die. It lost as a consumer standard, but it was actually maintained and used at a professional, video production level.

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Crystal Reports makes an encore appearance!
Bundled with Visual Studio 2008 and winner of the
2007 VS Magazine Reader's Choice award, Crystal
Reports continues as the popular choice for .NET
developers. Visit us in LA at the Microsoft Launch
Wave Feb 27th and find out why.

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:


--> Windows Server 2008 Administrator's Pocket Consultant
      By William R. Stanek for Microsoft Press
      640 pages for $34.99
      Don't try to put this book in your pocket....

--> Presentation Zen:
      Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
      By Garr Reynolds for New Riders Press
      240 pages for $29.99

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

- [Updated] Sorting Algorithms In VB
    By Richard Newcombe
Cover a few of the better-known sorting algorithms with sample code for VB6.

==> C++ Language

- Function Calls, Part 4 (What Exactly Is "this"?)
    By kirants
Learn about a dissasembly view of function calls, and decipher the __thiscall calling convention.

==> Keyboard (VB)

- [Updated] SendKeys
    By TT(n)
The existing SendKeys class does not have a managed way to activate an external application. MSDN recommends that you should use the FindWindow and SetForegroundWindow APIs. However, this alone does not ensure that the desired application will have keyboard focus while the keys are being sent. This replacement module sends keys directly to the specified window without error.

==> Misc.

- OP-ED: Fixed-Price Software Projects, or, The Quickest Way to a Financial Calamity
    By Paul Kimmel
Successful software projects have to begin with the premise that a fixed price, time, and project that is accurate may be a fantasy because there are too many unknowns -- people sometimes being the worst offenders. Fix a time and price to what can be fixed and pay for what must be paid for.

==> .NET Tip

- Return File Contents as a String
    By Jay Miller
What do you do when you need to read in an entire file and process it as a string? Here is a simple solution.

==> Web Development

- Turn Image Hotlinking to Your Advantage
    By mendhak
Don't block hotlinked images; instead, learn how to label them to bring visitors to your web site and increase your web presence, even if you are restricted by a shared hosting environment.

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:

==> Question about pixels (VC++)

==> OLE Drag problem with RTB | RichEdit (VB 6)

==> Code not running Win98 (VB 6)

New Articles on Developer.com

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

1. Dynamic Service Discovery with Java
    By Rob Lybarger -
Learn what dynamic service discovery is and what it can do  for you. Then see how easy it is to integrate this magic into your own project.

2. Creating Excel Files with Python and Django
    By Chris McAvoy -
Dumping data to Excel through a web interface saves everyone a lot of time. Find out how to do this quickly with Python and the Django web framework.

3. Adding RDL-Resident Code to Reporting Services Reports
    By William R. Vaughn -
Sometimes, it's just easier to use your Visual Basic skills to incorporate complex logic in a report expression.


About the Author

Bradley L. Jones



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