A technology is worth: $0; A sample showing how to use it: $0; A debug-able sample: Priceless!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/08/28 10:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/08/28/8902084.aspx

Any time someone from Microsoft talks about some exciting technology that is easy to use, there is often a good faith basis for you, the customer, to assume they might be blowing smoke up your ass.

In fact, in most cases, you have a built-in affirmative defense you can use to defend yourself if they call bullshit on your claim of shenaningans.

That defense is based on the simple fact that they usually don't include actual samples!

If the technology is so easy that no one has time to put together a good sample where people can see the technology and understand it well enough to apply it, then it is obviously not so easy, and the claims to the contrary are from people who are so busy talking about how easy it is to use that they probably have never actually used it.

Examples of this phenomenon that i have mentioned previously can be seen in TSF and Uniscribe, two technologies that if you ask me are harder than brain surgery.

And I can state that with some authority, because I have witnessed several brain surgeries in a previous career, and all of them but one (a transsphenoidal resection of a pituitary tumor) were less complicated than full implementations supporting the features of either the Text Services Framework or Uniscribe. :-)

Now previously one could have put MUI in that same category, since although it had all of that cool documentation I mentioned, it didn't have a sample.

But then they added one. :-)

You can see it described extensively here under the article entitled MUI Application Sample.

And you can find it in the samples you get with the Vista and Windows 2008 SDK.

And it puts the files right on your machine....

Though not all is perfect if you use the project and solution files to build them through Visual Studio.

Well, if you want to run and debug the project.

To fix the problems, just right-click on the EN-US project node:

Choose the Properties node.

Yes, that node should have a ... after it since it launches a dialog, but I am not the UI police!

Look under the Debugging item under Configuration Properties, like so:

then you just have to change the Command option to


and the Working Directiory option to


like so:

And then the sample should b able to be debugged from within Visual Studio. :-)

Samples go a long way to proving the ease of a technology.

But debug-able samples? Priceless!


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Erik Ušaj on 28 Aug 2008 10:28 AM:

I don't know what cool documentation the guys developing graphic cards drivers were reading nor what cool documentation were reading the guys appointed by Microsoft certifiying those drivers.

Anyways I like it when I see my graphics card settings application in my language, but not on the system I'm using with English UI and my local locale.

I hope that with articles including examples like this we all can find the right way to do MUI, debbuging it and other fun stuff.

Thank you, great stuff!

Jon Grant on 29 Aug 2008 4:30 AM:

"Yes, that node should have a ... after it since it launches a dialog, but I am not the UI police!"

Actually, this is a common misconception.  The "..." is for when you need to provide additional information to complete the task.  For example, the "Open..." File menu item needs to know what file you want before it can open the file. For the "Properties" option, displaying the dialog IS the task itself, so no "..." is needed.


Mike Dimmick on 29 Aug 2008 5:32 AM:

UI Police:

'...' is required when asking for more information before performing the action. Canonical example: Save As has an ellipsis because it has to prompt for a filename before it can save.

You should not use '...' when producing the dialog IS the action, as is the case for Project Properties.

File/New will not have an ellipsis when there's only one sort of new file that can be created, but should have one if the user is prompted for the type of document to create.

Michael S. Kaplan on 29 Aug 2008 5:36 AM:

This might explain why I am not the UI police? :-)

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