Self-Installing .NET Windows Service

Development Comments

Did you ever write a .NET Windows service? What I really dislike about it is that though the framework provides the System.ServiceProcess.ServiceInstaller class, you still have to use the external installutil tool.

Well, at least until today.

After some googling I found Craig Andera's article HowTo: Write a Self-Installing Service. Only a few lines of code are needed to get your service registering itself. Cool Awesome, Craig.

Why didn't Microsoft document that way? (Ok, they doc'd TransactedInstaller, but if you don't know where to search... sigh)

Did you ever right-click the Explorer's caption icon?

Software Comments

Well, I didn't until Raymond Chen posted following top today:

In Explorer, you can right-click the icon in the caption to get the context menu for the folder you are viewing. (Very handy for "Search" or "Command Prompt Here".) Apparently enough enough people realize this. In Windows 95, we tried to make it so most icons on the screen did something interesting when you right-clicked them.

Users are too busy

Development Comments

Raymond Chen mentions Jason Moore's Usability on the cheap, Part 1. It's a great reading, especially for GUI guys like me.

However, I think the most important fact in the post is hidden in the second footnote:

Users being too busy is one of the basic rules of UI. Users aren't stupid, they aren't blind, they aren't incapable: they are just too busy to learn your UI. Humility is good for user experience.

BTW, this and Peter Provost's post about missing documentation reminded me in Joel Spolsky's User Interface Design foor Programmers, Chapter 6:

  1. Users don't have the manual, and if they did, they wouldn't read it.
  2. In fact, users can't read anything, and if they could, they wouldn't want to.

I really recommend that book.

No Aero in PDC's Longhorn Pre-Beta

Development, PDC '03 Comments

WinInformant says, that the PDC's Pre-Beta Longhorn supplied to the attendees will have the new GUI component Aero removed:

What developers will receive at the PDC, however, is very interesting. For the past several weeks, the software giant has forked the code for Longhorn, developing a special PDC build that is separate and distinct from the main code fork. This build will include virtually every Longhorn technology except Aero, and will include a new, darker theme that supplants the lackluster Plex visual style seen in alpha Longhorn builds. Microsoft is currently struggling to complete this special PDC build in time for the show, which will be held in late October.

Remaining Office Components are released on MSDN

Software Comments

One and half week ago, Microsoft released Office 2003 for MSDN subscribers. Only Office 2003. When I went to subscriber downloads to get MapPoint 2004 today, I discovered that now there's Frontpage 2003, OneNote, and some more to download as well. Additionally, Office is available in 14 languages by now.