[One Extra Hand] Makes Light Work

Wordle for WPFIt’s said that a true expert mostly knows how much he doesn’t know.  By that criteria, at least, I could certainly be called an expert!

Take WPF.  As things turn out, I’m a pretty dab hand at WPF and XAML.  Regardless, I’m not so dab at the ins and outs of rendering and transforms.  Now on most days, this isn’t a big problem.  I can generally hack together something useable, or even better, I can find exactly what I want on the web.  After all, as any modern programmer can tell you, there’s a ton of wonderful code out there; ripe and ready for the use.

Unfortunately, a bunch of that code tends to be just a tad “off;” exactly what you want, excepting a couple of critical details  Take my latest project.  I’ve been playing around with Tumblr tag parsing (don’t ask me just yet why!)  Along the way, I came across the wonderful Java-based Wordle and the similarly wonderful WordCloud for Silverlight.  One problem, though.  I ran into a bunch of conversion errors when I tried to convert the Silverlight code to WPF, and it looked like a bigger job than I’d want to handle on my own. Continue reading

URL Hunting (Sniffing, Spelunking, Parsing…)


A good URL is hard to find.  Seriously!  I know, I know, you’re no-doubt rolling your eyes but, in programming, the ability to suss out undocumented schemas and protocols turns out to be a big big thing.

Take my latest project.  I’ve been writing a Tumblr downloader.  For the most part, the entire thing has been very straightforward, given that the Tumblr folks have an excellent API and documentation.  Using their specs, it was short work to create the core functionality of my product (which I plan to release as shareware!)  I wasn’t keeping tight track of the time, but it certainly took less that three hours to create the core image and video crawler and downloader.  Can you say “outstanding!” Continue reading

MVVM’ing Around

ComboSelectorMVVM is a great technology, but it can still throw you a lot of curves.  Its real power comes from the fact that you can test all of the pieces (Models, View Models, Primatives, etc.) individually without the need to screw them all together.  Even so, MVVM can be a royal pain in the ass,  especially given all of the “separation of concerns” issues, combined with it’s relatively high part-count.  With that said, in a WPF desktop-application world, MVVM is the way to go.  Or to hear me tell it: “The Bomb!”

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(Not!) In A Bind

“To sleep: perchance to dream…”  Laying aside Shakespeare’s morbid meaning, sleep turns out to be fairly important for programmers, and not only because of the perenial lack thereof.  Programming, at least at my level, tends to be mostly about the gestalt; something that I gather is the same for musicians.  Ask a skilled pianist to concentrate entirely on the mechanics and he’ll be sure to screw it up.  Let him forget the details, though, and the result can often seem like nothing less than magic. Continue reading