A plea for help: Tell me what you want to see in my blog!


I get remarkably little feedback from my blog. I track post views and know that I have 857 Twitter followers, but people rarely let me know if they particularly like or dislike a post. That makes it hard for me to know what you want to see most in this blog.

So please take a moment and let me know. Tell me know if you want to see more (or less) of something. Even if it’s a one-word email that says “databases” or “phone,” that’ll help. Topics I can talk about include (but are not limited to):

  • C# language
  • Other languages
  • Windows Forms
  • WPF/XAML
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows 8
  • Databases, database design (ADO.NET)
  • Algorithms
  • Office Applications (programming Word, Excel, etc.)
  • Graphics (two-dimensional, three-dimensional, transformations, graphs, mapping, printing)
  • Custom controls
  • Extension methods
  • LINQ
  • Animation
  • Puzzles, challenges, games
  • Mathematics, cryptography, combinatorics, fractals, geometry
  • Globalization, internationalization, localization
  • Reflection, registry
  • Serialization, XML
  • Threading, multi-processing
  • GUI/user interface design
  • Whatever else you’re working on…

And yes, I really can talk (almost endlessly) on those topics and many more. Here are a few of the 28 books I’ve written about these and other topics:


C# 5.0 Programmer's Reference

C# 5.0 Programmer’s Reference

Essential Algorithms: A Practical Approach to Computer Algorithms

Essential Algorithms: A Practical Approach to Computer Algorithms

MCSD Certification Toolkit (Exam 70-483): Programming in C#

MCSD Certification Toolkit (Exam 70-483): Programming in C#

Visual Basic 2012 Programmer's Reference

Visual Basic 2012 Programmer’s Reference

Stephens' Visual Basic Programming 24-Hour Trainer

Start Here! Fundamentals of Microsoft .NET Programming

Stephens' Visual Basic Programming 24-Hour Trainer

Stephens’ Visual Basic Programming 24-Hour Trainer

Stephens' C# Programming with Visual Studio 2010 24-Hour Trainer

Stephens’ C# Programming with Visual Studio 2010 24-Hour Trainer

WPF Programmer's Reference

WPF Programmer’s Reference

Beginning Database Design Solutions

Beginning Database Design Solutions

   

This entry was posted in ADO.NET, algorithms, animation, API, challenges, combinatorics, controls, cryptography, curve fitting, database, extension methods, files, fonts, fractals, games, geometry, globalization, graphics, internationalization, LINQ, localization, mathematics, Office, phone, printing, reflection, registry, serialization, threading, transformations, user interface, Word, wpf, XAML, XML. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to A plea for help: Tell me what you want to see in my blog!

  1. Tony says:

    Your blog is one of the few programming blogs I have on my RSS feed simply because I see things I might not be using today but certain can see a practical use for. As far as practical blog posts attempting to clear up some of the confusion I know I have about entity framework or LINQ or whatever they are calling it now would be helpful and how to use it and where it is more useful than some of the previous methods (I actually pulled out your VB.net book to try and get a handle on it LOL). The new Open XML format for interfacing with Office would be interesting, Threading, multi-processing would be useful, and though not really using it at work some posts about crypto in .Net and how to appropriately use it would be good. AES seems pretty straight forward to me (but hey who couldn’t use a refresher on that LOL) but maybe some of the public/private key crypto in .Net would be good and hashing.

  2. Adrian says:

    An introduction to some techniques in WPF+XAML would be good.

    For example how to manage images and draw overlapping images such as playing cards in a patience game such as Freecell. Could extend that to dragging the images from one place to another.

    Also interested in defining a piece of XAML with included text and images etc, then replicating that several times in a simple grid. Think of a 9×9 Suduko game where each of the 81 cells contains either one big digit, several small digits, or is empty. The articles I have found concentrate of making it pretty but are light on the underlying techniques and structures.

    Your suggested list includes “custom controls”. Some articles on supporting them with Coded UI would be great, for both Windows Forms and separately for WPF applications.

  3. Greg says:

    Rod,

    I love your blog. Have loved your blog for some time now (since the near beginning). Whatever you do, please don’t stop. The examples are great; your writing is clear, concise and easy to follow.

    As far as future content goes, I would like to see some more database stuff (SQL, MySQL, SqLite, etc). I also agree with Adrian on the ‘custom controls’ point. Maybe even a series on start to finish application design/ testing/ release. Kinda like the Langton’s Ant project – but you start with the requirements in one post, the class layout (and the process for the design, naming) in another and so on. You already do this to a large degree in your blog. I guess I am hoping for a “bigger picture” sort of series for larger projects.

  4. Sajjad Gul says:

    Thanks Rod for all the posts you write on this blog. I am your blog’s reader from over a year. I at least open your blog once in a week to check what new things you have posted & try to learn them. One request please don’t stop. Your examples are great. I have learn so many things from here that i wouldn’t be able to learn from books.

  5. Harry B. says:

    Your articles are really great! Thank you very much!

    I was surprised that I did not find anything about Design Patterns! I searched for MVVM and found this one very clear for beginners: http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/435478/MVVM-Demo

    But:
    – How to get database access with sql server? Where to put the connection string for example?

    – How to structure a project with tens of dialogues and tens of data tables? One folder for each dialog that contains a simmilar structure like in the link above or should I put all parts of the tens of dialogs into the structure above?

    • RodStephens says:
        I was surprised that I did not find anything about Design Patterns!

      Yeah, I mostly avoid them because (1) they’re well-described elsewhere and (2) they’re kind of over-hyped. I remember reviewing the GOF book when it first came out and thinking, “This could have been written in 100 pages.” (Kind of like the last “Harry Potter” book. 😉 ) Not to knock them. They can be useful on occasion.

        – How to get database access with sql server? Where to put the connection string for example?

      Here’s one basic approach:

      • Put the basic connect string without the username and password in the code or in a data source such as the project’s resources or config file. The last option (config file) makes it easy to change the string if, for example, you want to switch to another database.
      • When the user starts the program, get the user’s name and password and use them to build the final connect string. Make a Connection object but don’t open the connection.
      • To do something with the database:
        • Open the connection.
        • Do what you need to do.
        • Close the connection.

      If you like, you can query the database when you get the user’s name and password to make sure they got them correct. If they didn’t, you can let them retry or close the program.

      I’ll see if I can post an example in the next week or so.

        – How to structure a project with tens of dialogues and tens of data tables? One folder for each dialog that contains a simmilar structure like in the link above or should I put all parts of the tens of dialogs into the structure above?

      I usually just put everything in one big directory. If you name the files well, then it’s fairly easy to see what goes with which parts of the program.

      BUT that works well largely because there’s only one of me. If you’re working in a team, it may be better to place each dialog and major component in a separate directory so people can work in the directories without interfering with each other.

      If the project is really big, you may want to make DLL separate projects, at least for the non-UI stuff. That keeps the pieces separate and makes it easier to assign someone to work on a particular piece of the program.

      I’ve worked on projects that used both methods, including one project with more than 50,000 lines of code and half a dozen developers. Having everything in one place wasn’t a big problem, as long as everyone checked files in and out of the source code repository correctly.

  6. Phan Sang says:

    Hi Rod , my name is Sang , your blog is so fascinating and remarkable and is the best one I have ever known (even better than code project :)) ) . I had learned a lot from this , Thank you very much . I always love C# , SharpGL and OpenCV . Anything source code or tutorial will be greatly appreciated . And do you known Tank Trouble , I always desire to do one but I am not good enough , Could you please show me how to do one . I hope This is not too much :)) .
    Thank you again !!
    And this is the link to Tank Trouble : http://www.y8.com/games/az_tank_trouble_4

    • RodStephens says:

      Sorry but that’s probably a bit too hard and specialized to do here. You can probably do it yourself, though, with a little work. One tip: use a sprite class to manage the objects (the tanks and bullets). That will make moving the objects a lot easier.

      (Maybe I’ll have time to try something like this some day.)

  7. beaulieu says:

    Hello,
    I like about spatial data, exemple map connect sqlserver, query spatial …..
    thank.
    googbye

  8. arturo tramontini says:

    strangely, even though WPF appeared many years ago, i discover WPF c# only few month ago, your examples are simple , clear, focused , very useful for me to learn. thank you very much.

  9. Decraie says:

    Hi Rod, Thanks for having this blog. I’ve just joined as you were my savior! 😉 Your code has saved me a burnout for using PrettyPrint and BeautyMaker or something like that, not to lose my Xml layout. So thanks a lot!.
    Now, for the moment I’m into Xml and forms for my project (work). I’m trying to automate the xml-files in an easy way and also in an easy to use way for the user later on. Because I’m guessing that the sanity checks will be a great thing for my client later on. So might you go on on giving tutorials on Xml, XmlReader, Xmldocument, etc…, that would be very useful to me at this point. Maybe the use of a Database (I’ve downloaded your book so I will have a look already) and if it is plausible to use it when handling a lot of Xml-files at once (bulk). Also, if you could give me an overview about what the objects in the Toolbox of VS can and can’t do that would also be great. Because there are a lot of methods that we can use for them that we can find on msdn, but I really don’t like that site. It’s made for programmers that work since long as a programmer, not for youngsters like me. 🙂 there are some objects that have a method ‘.Add’ whilst the other one doesn’t have that . Then what is the counterpart for that object?
    So,…thanks in advance and keep up the great job. 😀

    • RodStephens says:

      Hi Decraie. I’m glad you like the site. Tell your friends and coworkers!

      > Because I’m guessing that the sanity checks will be a great
      > thing for my client later on.

      You might want to look into schemas (XSD) a bit. You can use them to validate formats to make sure XMLs file have the format you want. They’re kind of cumbersome and non-intuitive, but if you have lots of files with only a few formats, it may save you some problems later.

      > So might you go on on giving tutorials on Xml, XmlReader,
      > Xmldocument, etc…, that would be very useful to me at this point.

      I did a lot of that in my book, “Visual Basic .NET and XML.” It’s in Visual Basic and a bit out of date but still probably relevant. (And being out of date means you can sometimes find cheap copies.) I’ll put this on my to-do list but it could be a while before I have time to look at it.

      > Maybe the use of a Database

      Whether that would be useful will depend on what you want to do. Most programs treat XML files as chunks of data without much extra structure and metadata. If that’s the case, then putting them in a database may not help you very much.

      For example, a database would let you query on the fields in the database. What fields would you store? If all you store is the XML data itself, possibly with a name or date, then the database won’t help you very much.

      In contrast, suppose the data has a lot of extra information (metadata). For example, suppose a file represents data measurements taken for a particular date, location, project, and customer. Then you could query on all of those fields in the database. (For example, find all data for a particular location between two dates.) In that case it might be worth putting them in a database.

      If you won’t have that extra metadata, it may be better to just keep the XML data in files. Files are easier to work with, Windows Explorer can search inside them, they’re easy to manipulate, and they’re easy to back up. If the database becomes corrupted, then restoring the data can be a hassle. (And you need to perform database backups, too.)

      Or you could put the metadata in the database and include the name of the XML file which is stored externally in the file system. That may also help the database because storing big chunks of text like XML data with unknown lengths isn’t necessarily very efficient.

      > if it is plausible to use it when handling a lot of Xml-files at once (bulk).

      I’ve worked with customers who keep different kinds of data files in different directories. One for incoming files, one for files that have been processed in a certain way, one for files that have been processed a second time, etc. That works pretty well. You just write programs that find files in one directory, process them, and move the results into a new directory.

      > Also, if you could give me an overview about what the objects in the
      > Toolbox of VS can and can’t do that would also be great.

      You probably mean the .NET Framework not Visual Studio itself. That’s hard because there are so many tools (thousands of them), some of which have very specific uses. First learn about the main libraries. To see brief descriptions, click here.

      Then dig into more detail about the ones that you actually need. I don’t know of a really good way to learn that except practice and experience. Most books focus on core C#, Windows Forms, and WPF and don’t spend as must time on the libraries.

      > there are some objects that have a method ‘.Add’ whilst the other
      > one doesn’t have that . Then what is the counterpart for that object?

      An Add method probably means the object is a collection of some sort. For example, the ListBox control’s Items property is a collection holding the things in the list. Its Add method lets you add new items to the list.

      Collections also usually have Remove, RemoveAt, InsertAt, and other methods for rearranging the items in the collection.

      I hope that helps.

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