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Archive for March, 2009

I just published an article on a generic Trictionary class :

The article describes a Trictionary class that is essentially a dictionary except that for each key there are two values, both of differing types. In many cases instead of doing this, the proper approach would most likely to use a struct that would have those two types as members. But there may also be scenarios where you may want to avoid having to unnecessarily create a struct just for this purpose. You could also use an anonymous type, but that’s really not so different in the sense you still end up having a new type in your assembly. Read the article for more info.

Note that the article was inspired by another Trictionary article on Code Project submitted by Joe Enos.

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Someone was recently complaining in the MSDN forums that intellisense did not work for strings when it came to the Linq extension methods. If you are wondering what that’s about, System.String is an IEnumerable<char> so you can do all of the Where, Select operations on any string object. Here’s a contrived example :

string s = "What's cooking in Alabama?";
char[] vowels = new[] {'a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u'};
char[] nonVowels = s.Where(c => !vowels.Contains(
    Char.ToLower(c))).ToArray();
Console.WriteLine(new string(nonVowels));

You just need to manually type in the method name (like Where) and once you do that you’ll then start getting intellisense. You just won’t get it for the starting string object. If you really want it there too, you can use an extra IEnumerable<char> variable and then use that instead of the string. Now you will get full intellisense.

IEnumerable<char> chars = s;

The String class is already equipped with a lot of useful methods, and there’s always the Regex class if you really need some complex string manipulation. So I am not sure there are too many scenarios where you’d actually want to use Linq with a string, but to each his own :-)

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Last week I attended the 2009 MVP Summit held at Redmond/Seattle and I’ve got to say that I had two rather peculiar experiences whilst there. The first incident was on the way to Seattle – it snowed in Atlanta of all things to happen and this resulted in dozens of cancelled and delayed flights. My flight was scheduled for a 2:30 PM departure and after a 3 1/2 hour delay where they pushed back the boarding time every 30 minutes, we finally boarded at 6 PM. Once we got in the aircraft we waited on the tarmac for another 3 1/2 hours more before take-off as we had to wait in line behind dozens of other flights for de-icing. I am still not sure why they couldn’t have us wait outside (at the gate) and let us board after the de-icing. The air was pretty stuffy inside because the air-conditioners seemed to be at half power. And after take-off they ran out of food when it was my turn to order – so yeah, that didn’t help either. It was one of the nastiest experiences I’ve had in an airport/flight in my entire life – one that I hope will not be repeated in future.

The second incident occurred on Tuesday night (or rather Wednesday morning). I was at the Grand Hyatt (17th floor) and had gone to bed close to 1 AM as I had gone for a late dinner/chat with an old friend. Around 4:30 AM or so this really loud siren came on and an even louder announcement was repeated instructing all occupants to move to the nearest staircase and to descend to the first floor immediately. It was also announced that the elevators were shut down. I wasn’t sure if it was a fire-emergency or some temporary air-pollution – in any case, I put on my shoes, picked up my laptop and climbed down the 17 set of stairs (16 maybe if they didn’t have a 13th floor, didn’t feel like counting then). I found a few dozen equally incredulous folks downstairs wondering what the heck had just happened. We watched the fire-trucks come and the firemen go up – and all this time we were all out on the streets. A few minutes later, they said everything was alright and said we could go back up to our rooms. There was a further wait of 20 minutes or so as we waited for an engineer to come down and reset the elevator system – and I didn’t want to climb up the 17 floors, not with my laptop. The worst part of the incident was when we found out that some dim-witted inconsiderate jerk had been smoking in a non-smoking floor which was what set off the fire-alarm. So they had to evacuate that floor as well as the floors directly above and beneath it.

The nice thing about the trip was that the summit was pretty good, we had some interesting technical sessions, the food was great, and it was good to catch up with some fellow MVPs and Microsoft buddies – some of whom I’ve only met at Microsoft summits and never outside Redmond.

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