June 15, 06 by kenrich
So I read this study guide from Microsft called “Developing Windows-based Applications with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and Microsoft Visual C#”. I thought that after studying this book thoroughly, I would be totally prepared for my Microsoft certification exam. Good thing that I looked into additional training material.
It turns out that this study guide amounts to not much more than a really large primer. In order to be prepared for the exam, you need to either take a training class or buy a full-fledged training application for windows. I chose the latter and am using the TestOut MCAD preparation kit. It contains tutorials that work just like the classroom.
So far, I’ve learned a ton of new information that wasn’t covered in the Microsoft test. The total training time for Microsoft Exam 070-316 is 50 hours. A lot of that is videos where an instructor walks you through the process of building an application and adding features to it. I would definitely recommend this product to others.
Actually, the primer book does server one good purpose. If you are totally new to .NET, it provides you with a foundation for the class library and object-oriented programming. This is one thing that the TestOut package doesn’t include. So you can see that different training materials can overlap and just using one source is usually not sufficient. The one exception to this rule is when you take a real class – usually the instructor knows exactly what you should study for and won’t leave you hanging.
June 13, 06 by kenrich
Recently, I’ve been studying for my Microsoft Certification in order to update my skills. I’m working towards the MCAD (Microsoft Application Developer) certification. So for the past two months or so I’ve been studying for Microsoft C# – Windows-Based Applications (070-316). This will be the first step in reaching my certification goal.
I’ve had to delay the test date once already and may have to do so again. Judging from some of the practice exams that I’ve taken, a lot of the exam questions are not based on information presented in the Microsoft study guide. There are little idiosyncrosies and gotchas that you need to watch out for when taking the test. It would be impossible to memorize every aspect of the Microsoft .NET Framework, so my goal is to just focus on the most commonly-used features.
I’m really glad that I found out about this before I took the test and not after. I really can’t afford to pay for repeat tests and I prefer not to pay more than I should. The real question will be whether or not I can get this first test out of the way before I head out on vacation in two weeks. That is my goal since I don’t want to spend my whole vacation studying for this test.
May 16, 06 by kenrich
Lately, I’ve been studying traditional DotNet programming instead of doing web development. It provides a nice break from the monotony of building websites. When you’ve built as many as I’ve had, you need to take a break every now and then. I am considering going for a Microsoft certification in programming and web development for the DotNet platform. I’m going to look into the different curriculums available and find one that suits my skills and studies.
I’ve got some good reference books to study from and I’ve taken up learning Windows forms programming using the C# language. It’s an excellent language that has all the benefits of an object-oriented language such as Java and then some. It make developing windows applications a breeze. I used to develop windows form applications in Visual C++, but managing all of the handles and pointers and memory management was just too much of a pain. Visual Basic abstracts a lot of these details for you and is a much better alternative if you are interested in Rapid Application Development.
Anyways, I’ve built a couple of small useful utilities in C# so far. One is a password list which can be added and updated. This lives in the system tray and stores login information encrypted in an XML file. After 15 minutes of inactivity, the program will lock itself so that nobody can read the encrypted passwords when you are away from your computer. Another program monitors websites to make sure they are up and running. You can read more about this from my previous post.
May 12, 06 by kenrich
I’ve just implemented my first multi-threaded application in C#. I’ve created a website monitoring tool that will check all the websites that I work on to make sure they are up and running smoothly. It does this by making a simpe HTTP HEAD request to the website and making sure the server sends back valid data. In the event that our host has a problem, I want to be notified immediately that our site is down.
The application is fully configurable so that you can create a configuration file that holds all of the sites you want to monitor. You can have multiple configuration files each of them with a different collection of site. When you modify the sites being monitored, the program detects these changes and prompts the user to save before quitting.
In the future, I will be adding a notification that will send out an e-mail to a user or group of users in the event that a site is down. This will be useful for using the program in a server environment where a notification icon is not sufficient. I would also like to create a digest of the failure notifications so that the program only sends an e-mail notification once every day (for sites that are continuously down).
October 12, 04 by kenrich
I have been writing some small windows applications in Dot Net (using the C# programming language.) I started working on a password manager that will live in the system tray and allow you to have a handy storage for all of your passwords in one place. Not exactly the most secure of applications but it gives me a good introduction to the file system classes and doing encryption and authentication.
My second project is to develop a “word search” puzzle generator that will generate simple word searches. This will simply generate a grid and randomly place words within the grid. Eventually, I will make it so that you can actually circle words and save puzzles. Of course I will also allow you to print out puzzles.
This second project was a good introduction to the drawing routines and event handlers. I needed to add a special event handler to draw the word search. The user may re-generate a word search simply by hitting a button on the top of the screen. Eventually, I will
create a dictionary of random words and probably store this in an XML file for easy manipulation. The word search can randomly pick words from this file to build a different puzzle every time.
I noticed that certain fonts take longer to render (most like True-Type fonts or maybe this is due to font smoothing). I will have to do a little research on this to get it working perfectly. If either of these programs ever gets to a stable state, I will be contributing them to the open-source community via SourceForge.
October 10, 04 by kenrich
I have just started work on a dotNet project with the intention of helping myself to learn dotNet. Unlike my typical programming, this time I am programming a standard Windows application instead of a web application.
This is a very simple application that will allow you to store a
collection of usernames and passwords. Then by using one single password, you can access your password collection.
The password manager will always be available to you by placing an icon in the system tray (on the bottom right of the screen). So when you minimize or close the application it will go back to the tray. Opening the password manager will require you to login again.
Some of the technologies I am learning are: System I/O, array manipulation, forms programming, state management, encryption and authentication. Although I am only scratching the surface of these technologies, it is a good learning experience for dotNet. I hope to get certified by Microsoft as a dotNet developer very soon in the future.
Once the project is complete, I will probably release it into the public domain via SourceForge.net. It should be a good tool that many will find useful and should drive some traffic to my business site.