XMLMassUpdate - how to keep environment in place with MSBuild

Another great finding in MSBuild for me recently is the use of the XMLMassUpdate task of MSBuild Community Tasks.

For quite some time now I have always kept a separate .config-file for each environment. Even though I always has gone “hmm… but wait a while here… 90% of this file hasn’t changed from the last environment…”.

But you don’t get the time to investigate always. But now, again after some thoughtful input by colleagues, I noticed the XMLMassUpdate.

With it you can easily keep a file with the changes for each environment and then let your build script generate the right version for the environment the script is building. This means that you only need to keep the differences (deltas I think it’s called in formal speak) of the different files. Great!

Here is an great article describing how to use the...

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Calling Sandcastle with response file

I’ve been generating documentation from our XML-comments with Sandcastle for quite some time now. It has worked alright but there were some stuff that really annoyed me, I though that I had to put up with it. But this is the beauty of my line of work comes into play… all of a sudden we’ve got a new team member. Christer Cederborg from Avega (of course) - a great guy and very knowledgeable in things like build scripts and other. And you get to learn from each other. This is why I am in this business - sharing and knowing. OK - Christer told me that you can use something called a response file to send commands to Sandcastle. The response file is in fact just the parameters you would send to Sandcastle the command line, but in a file. This made us go...

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Associative arrays - and how to use them... wisely

My questions in an earlier post was promptly answered by Mark A Williams in a great way.

So what he say pretty much confirms what I thought. Although associative arrays are great way to “bulk in” data to the database but when it comes to returning data the array-way might not always be right.

Since you have to allocate memory for the array and size of each element in the array the associative arrays are best suited for situations when you know the size of the data that is being returned. Not that often in my experience. In other cases you’ll better off with a plain old DataReader.

So now I know - thanks goes to Mark A Williams.

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Great SCRUM-resources

The Swedish guru of Scrum Henrik Kniberg, has produced some great stuff… yet again. Here you are:

  • Video and slides for “10 ways to screw up with Scrum and XP”. Got the merge-slide thrown in my face of a co-worker since I have great reluctantancy against branches… But I sure want to be able to manage them in a nice way - haven’t seen one yet though…
  • Scrum checklist - here is a truly great one page document to get all your stuff in the right shape before starting doing Scrum.
  • And of course Scrum from the trenches. Everybody must read this! Even, or maybe especially, if you hate Scrum.
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ODP.NET - ArrayBindSize and Size for PLSQLAssociativeArrays

I have written about this before but I’ll make a short recap since it has to do with some quite interesting stuff in Oracle.

With ODP.NET you can harness the full power of Oracles features such as for example using Associative Arrays to bulk stuff into the database. We are using this feature in my current application, since it will handle big loads.

OK - so far so good. I cannot understand two things and we have now involved the full brainpower of the team and still are scratching our heads. It actually boils down to two properties on the OracleParameter-class; Size and ArrayBindSize.

  • The Size-property should be (in the case of using associative arrays) set to the number of elements in the array. The strange thing though is that the value of the property must be set for...
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TFS Build targets and properties - the official list

For some time now people has been turning to me at my customer for answerers regarding TFS Build. I have learned a great deal from that but sometimes I feel like I haven’t made sure that I understood the underlying thought from Microsoft.

One of those areas is that the TFSBuild.proj-file is not your ordinary MSBuild-file. Or rather; it’s is but is run by Team Foundation Server and you get to configure it and it’s properties. This is what I though and I was actually right. Phew!

There are some properties and targets that you can override in order to customize the build process. You can think of these targets like events being fired, and you can hook into them and customize their actions. And this is quite easy once you know how.

But then I often get the question; “Ok - what can I configure”. I haven’t...

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IPhone flute - waiting for euphonium

OK - this might be the coolest “useless” application I’ve seen… but it alone made me want an IPhone. Badly.

And here:
The cool thing is that Apple has create such a great mobile computing plattform. Telephony is just an application among others. Such as the flute. I am still waiting for the euphonium of course...
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Swedish Brass Band Championships 2008 - the aftermath

The Swedish brass band movement has a new champion… The king is dead - long live the king!

Stockholm Brass Band is the new Swedish Brass band champions. And that’s a real chocker for most of us. WindCorp Brass Band has been leagues before Stockholm when I’ve heard them but somehow the managed to nick the title from WindCorp.

Don’t get me wrong - Stockholm is a great band with some truly amazing players (like Håkan Björkman for example). But WindCorp has loads of experience from many, many brass band competitions - something that there is not an abundance of in Stockholm.

My congratulations to Stockholm! Well deserved! And very impressive since the preparations has been surrounded with a lot sickness and problems to get a full band to rehearsals.

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Swedish Brass Band Championships 2008

OK - it’s so late for this. They have probably started soon. But here is my predictions for the Swedish Brass Band championships:

The winner is almost obvious - Windcorp Brass band is the best band in Sweden now and for a long time ahead. They play so well and have loads of experience to go with it. They will win. Probably with a big margin as well.

Number two should be Stockholm Brass Band. They have the best line-up, but it consists of mostly professionals. And rehearsing for two weeks straight without pay is not the highest priority. Also it has been some sickness disturbing the preparations.

Solna Brass will most likely take the third place. But they are a dark horse to nick Stockholm at the first one. They meet every week and rehears very serious. They could do it.

So here is the probable...

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