Four Things You Should Know Before Starting a Software Project

Creating custom software can add incredible value to your business by automating processes or easing pain points that keep your team from working at full capacity. Taking on a project like building a piece of software can be a daunting task, however, without doing a few things prior to starting.

Obvious things like finding a software engineer, picking a platform, picking a technology, and even more technical details will need to be decided. You will also need to put a good amount of thought into everything you want the software to do. Before all of that though, you need to think about these four things so your project can be successful. These four things are so important, you should stop now, and write them down before you put any more effort into planning your project.

New Website Launched

Have a look at the new website! I'm in the process of migrating old blog articles to the new site and fixing old links. Let me know if you find something broken.


Centrolutions Becomes a BizSpark Startup

I am excited to announce that Centrolutions has become a BizSpark startup! About two months ago, I made the decision to strike out on my own and turn Centrolutions into more than just a hobby. For a developer, this can be a daunting proposition since the tools and systems used to write software can be very expensive. Not to mention, finding funding for projects, connecting with other startups for advice, and marketing a startup can be more than overwhelming. That’s where the Microsoft BizSpark program comes in.

Through BizSpark, Microsoft provides tools and connections for the startup community. The resources they provide will prove to be invaluable as I get on my feet. If you have a startup or are thinking of getting into one, I highly recommend Microsoft’s program. I am grateful for their help and I’m excited for the future.

NuGet and TFS 2010 Automated Build

If you don't use NuGet for your Visual Studio projects, you should. Go download it, now.

If you do use NuGet and you want to automate your builds with TFS 2010, it's super easy to enable it:

A Developer’s Free Time

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a self-reflective mode. So, this blog post is going to be a little different than normal. Usually, I try to post about very technical / programming things. However, due to some things at work that I probably shouldn’t air in public, I’ve started to think about what I put my energy into at home and at work.

Like many software engineers, I really, really like writing software. It doesn’t matter what the software does. So long as it solves a problem, I’m happy to work on it. This also means that my hobby is (drum roll please) -- writing software. So, at work, I write software. I come home and I write software. It’s part of loving the creative process and having a bit of a one-track mind. It’s part of being compelled to learn something new and fulfill the ever-so-eternal quest to improve on existing processes.

REST, WCF 4, Forms Authentication, and Custom Clients (Part 3 of 3)

In the first and second parts of this post, I described what makes a REST service different from a SOAP service and how to use WCF to create one. In this post, we’ll look at what a REST client may look like and add some security around the service.

In most line-of-business services, some sort of security system is usually required to prevent unauthorized access to the service’s data. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to use the ASP.NET Membership Provider and its associated services. In our example, I’ll be using the NuGet package called “ErikEJ.SqlCeMembership" to quickly create a database of users; without a full SQL Server instance. Once the NuGet package is installed, build the project and navigate to Project > ASP.NET Configuration to setup your users. Make sure to create at least one group and one user. I’ve called my group “Users” and my user, “user1.”

REST, WCF 4, Forms Authentication, and Custom Clients (Part 2 of 3)

In the first part of this post, I discussed REST and how it compares to SOAP-based services. In this part, we’ll figure out how to create a REST service with WCF and what it takes to start thinking in a “RESTful” way when designing a REST service.


REST, WCF 4, Forms Authentication, and Custom Clients (Part 1 of 3)

REST services are the new “hotness.” All of the cool kids are doing them. I (not that cool of a kid) feel as though I’ve been left behind -- holding onto my SOAP messages like an old curmudgeon holding on to his last dollar. After all, SOAP-based services have served me well; all the way back to the .ASMX days. So, I’m the first to admit that traditional (SOAP-based) web services still have a place. They are extraordinarily easy to use, nowadays, because the tooling around them is so polished. On top of that, I can’t think of a platform that doesn’t support them, today.


Camera Image Control -- New Name and New Features

I'm pleased to announce a new addition to the LightSwitch family: The Image Controls for LightSwitch extension.

Previously, the extension was called "Camera Image Control for LightSwitch" which was a very accurate, but too specific name. Recently, I added a control to the extension that allows you to scan documents directly from a scanner. With this new addition comes a name change.

Camera Image Control 1.2

Just released: Camera Image Control for Visual Studio LightSwitch version 1.2.

New in this version: