Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Some tech updates

This blog hits 10,000 visits yesterday! I can't remember when the site traffic meter was first put in, perhaps some 2 years ago, but still... it's a reminder of how long it's been here, since August 2003!

On other news, I've got an announcement that in the tech world may be seen as nothing short of an apostasy: I started developing software on Microsoft .NET! *Gasp* *Choke* Well, to be fair I had evaluated all my choices and it came down to economics. So a potential client came up to us and asked us to do a Windows Mobile client job. The price was good and we said yes.

So I spent the last few days trying to install the various Microsoft animals that are required to get the IDE and the SDK up and running. Let me write here briefly what I had to do (just in case I ever need to do this again... I sure hope I don't have to!)

  1. Install Visual Studio 2005 (15 minutes)
  2. Explore the IDE, find out just what can it do... (20 minutes)
  3. Complete a little application in half hour's time (30 minutes)
  4. Choose the target mobile platform (Smartphone 2003 / PocketPC 2003 / choose your animal) (1 minute)
  5. Build the project, run into a strange error (0.5 minute)
  6. It says .NET 1.1 is required (hmm.. what is that?) (0.5 day gone)
  7. Try to install .NET 1.1 Framework.... run into error! (1 day is gone)
  8. Google search says .NET 1.1 Redistributable Framework needs to be installed
  9. Try to install .NET 1.1 Redistributable framework... run into error! Even worse than before, because it was not a documented known issue (1 day is gone)
  10. Another Google search says that it's a known issue with Vista! (darn.. don't they all come from the same company??!!) and that the workaround is to do the following with .NET 1.1 SP1 (are you telling me .NET Framework needs a Service Pack too???):
    1. Download Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Redistributable Package and Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1 using links below:
    * Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Redistributable Package
    * Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1
    2. Save both installations in the same directory
    3. Ensure that the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Redistributable Package is named dotnetfx.exe. If not, change its name to dotnetfx.exe.
    4. Ensure that Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1 is named dotnetfxsp1.exe. If not, change its name to dotnetfxsp1.exe.
    5. Open command prompt as Administrator, and change to the directory where the two installations are saved.
    6. Run the following commands using the order shown below
    * dotnetfx.exe /c:"msiexec.exe /a netfx.msi TARGETDIR=C:\dotnet"
    * dotnetfxsp1.exe /Xp:C:\dotnet\netfxsp.msp
    * msiexec.exe /a c:\dotnet\netfx.msi /p c:\dotnet\netfxsp.msp
    7. Install both Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1 and Service Pack 1 by running C:\dotnet\netfx.msi
  11. After a few days of troubleshooting, fully expecting that these animals won't get along, suddenly the same project compiles beautifully! TA-DA!

By this time, I have come to realize that the price quoted was fully justified -- the IDE installation process alone was painful enough. Welcome to Microsoftville *evil cackle*

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