MSDN Flash: Volume 14, Number 21 - October 11, 2010
Editorial News and Notes from Developer Evangelist G. Andrew Duthie

Internet Explorer 9: Pinning and Jump Lists
You've probably heard that Internet Explorer 9 Beta is now available. With it comes the new slimmed-down UI, and some neat features that you can use to enhance your site when running in IE9 on Windows 7, with very little effort, and with no impact on other browsers.

One thing IE9 allows you to do on Windows 7 is pin sites to the taskbar. And you don't have to change a thing on your site to enable this. By default, IE9 will represent your site on the taskbar with your favicon, as well as displaying your favicon next to the address/search bar in the pinned browser window. IE9 will also automatically choose a highlight color from your site and change the back/forward buttons to match, personalizing the browser window to your site.

If you want to take things to the next level, all you need to do is add a few META tags, and IE9 will do the rest. Here are the tags I use to point to my favicon, and add jump-list support for Community Megaphone:

  
<link rel="Shortcut Icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" />
<meta name="application-name" content="Community Megaphone" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Add Event;action-uri=http://www.communitymegaphone.com/AddEvent.aspx;icon-uri=http://www.communitymegaphone.com/Images/favicon.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Podcast;action-uri=http://www.communitymegaphonepodcast.com/;icon-uri=http://www.communitymegaphone.com/Images/CMP.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Twitter;action-uri=http://twitter.com/CommMegaphone;icon-uri=http://www.communitymegaphone.com/Images/twitter.ico" />
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Devhammer Blog;action-uri=http://blogs.msdn.com/b/gduthie/;icon-uri=http://www.communitymegaphone.com/Images/devhammer.ico" />
 

Here's what this ends up looking like, when you right-click the pinned icon on the taskbar:

Taskbar popup

One important thing to note: when you make your icons, it's a good idea to provide several sizes, as IE9 will choose the best icon size relative to the DPI setting on the user's machine. Providing icons of 16x16 and 32x32 at a minimum, and adding 48x48 and 64x64 will provide for best coverage. Keep in mind that the more sizes you choose, the larger your favicon.ico file will be. The same goes for color - the more colors, the larger the .ico file, and the more bandwidth you will use (Internet Explorer caches the favicon.ico file, but not all browsers do). I made my icons 8-bit color, and that kept the size reasonable.

There are a number of free icon editors available to help you design your icons. I used one called IcoFx, which does a great job of creating multi-image icon files, including importing from existing jpg, gif, or png images.

There's lots more you can do with pinning, including adding overlay icons, customizing the highlight color for the back and forward buttons, and more. Find out more in this MSDN article on Desktop Integration with Internet Explorer 9.

Microsoft WebMatrix: DevNuggets and Upcoming UG Talks
In the past few weeks I've been taking the new Microsoft WebMatrix out for a spin, and so far I like what I see. To be clear, WebMatrix isn't targeted at the professional developer, but rather is a nice lightweight tool for beginners, hobbyists, and folks who just want to download and deploy useful open source applications.

To help folks better understand Microsoft WebMatrix, and where it fits in the Microsoft Web Platform, I've started a series of DevNuggets screencasts covering various aspects of the tool, and I'm also going to a variety of user groups in Mid-Atlantic to talk about WebMatrix, and related technologies. Here's a list of the screencasts so far:

Here's the most recent screencast, covering the new site options in WebMatrix:

I'm planning additional screencasts to cover using the built-in site templates, creating sites from open source apps and deploying them, working with styles and layout, and more.

The user group talks I have lined up will cover Microsoft WebMatrix, IIS Express, and the new Razor syntax, and are going to be on the following dates:

If you're interested in having me speak at your group, just drop me a line. I'm happy to give the above talk, or cover other web technologies you might be interested in.

Code Camp Update
An issue of the MSDN Flash in the Fall wouldn't be complete without a reminder about upcoming code camps…

The next code camp coming up in Mid-Atlantic will be in Pittsburgh, PA on Saturday, October 16.

The Central Maryland Association of .NET Professionals in Columbia, MD recently announced that their next code camp will be held on November 6, 2010. They're currently accepting proposals for talks, so if you're interested in speaking, go apply now!

Last, but surely not least, the Northern Virginia Code Camp has chosen a date for their next code camp, which will be held at the Microsoft office in Reston, VA on December 11, 2010. More details in a future issue of the MSDN Flash.

In addition to the code camps, there are the following SQL and SharePoint events you may want to take advantage of:

You don't want to miss out on these opportunities for great learning and networking, absolutely free!

Did I miss a code camp or other event? Let me know.

_________

To find out about and/or promote upcoming local developer and IT pro community events, check out Community Megaphone. Check out our podcast, too.

You can also find out about local and national developer and gadget stuff on my blog. You should also follow me on Twitter.

Want to learn more about the speakers you'll see at user groups and code camps, and up-and-coming personalities in the developer community? Check out the Community Megaphone Podcast! You can find the podcast on the web, on Zune and iTunes, and you can follow us on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook!

Interested in hosting a Code Camp or similar community event, and not sure where to start? Drop me a line and I can help you get started.

Want to share your information or make suggestions for future updates? You can contact me via my blog.

Until next time...

G. Andrew Duthie
Developer Evangelist, Mid-Atlantic States District

Andrew Duthie has been working with computers since the days of the Commodore PET, hacking game programs loaded from cassette tapes to say funny stuff, and has been writing and speaking about developer technologies for more than a decade.

 

Meet the Microsoft Evangelists in Your Region

Microsoft Events

Microsoft PDC10
October 28 - 29, Redmond, WA

Community Events and User Groups

Hampton Roads .NET Users Group
October 12, 6:00 P.M., Chesapeake, VA
Make Your Website Scream...In A Good Way.
Event Details | Map & Directions | Add to Calendar

Introduction to WebMatrix
October 13, 5:30 P.M., Wheeling, WV
Andrew Duthie presents an introduction to the Microsoft WebMatrix beta.
Event Details | Map & Directions | Add to Calendar

The Service Bus in the Sky (Cloud Computing Security)
October 21, 6:30 P.M., Alexandria, VA
We'll build a website that allows you to log on with your Facebook credentials. We'll also build a chat application that works through firewalls, and demo it running across multiple networks.
Event Details | Map & Directions | Add to Calendar

Windows Phone 7 Firestarter - Hampton Roads
October 23, 8:00 A.M., Suffolk, VA
The power to build smart, visually stunning games and applications is right in your hands with Windows Phone 7. Want to see what's under the hood? This full-day series of learning events for developers will take you behind the scenes with an inside look at the philosophy, design language, and the fundamentals of Silverlight and XNA coding for Windows Phone 7. You'll also see how the Windows Marketplace provides exciting new distribution and monetization opportunities for developers and application publishers.
Event Details | Map & Directions | Add to Calendar

IIS Express, Razor, and WebMatrix, Oh My!
October 27, 6:30 P.M., Washington, DC
Microsoft Developer Evangelist G. Andrew Duthie presents an overview of Microsoft WebMatrix, ASP.NET Web Pages, the new Razor syntax, and IIS Express, and how they fit in with the existing offerings in Microsoft's web stack.
Event Details | Map & Directions | Add to Calendar

RVNUG
November 11, 6:00 P.M., Roanoke, VA
Meeting moved to second Thursday this month: Microsoft Developer Evangelist G. Andrew Duthie presents an overview of Microsoft WebMatrix, ASP.NET Web Pages, the new Razor syntax, and IIS Express, and how they fit in with the existing offerings in Microsoft's web stack.
Event Details | Map & Directions| Add to Calendar

Salesforce (force.com) New Features
November 18, 6:30 P.M., Alexandria, VA
Peter Churchill presents some new features of Salesforce and provides useful demos that can help you to understand the power of force.com platform.
Event Details | Map & Directions | Add to Calendar

Want your events listed? Add them at CommunityMegaphone.com.