Category Archives: First Impressions

WebMatrix Collapsible Areas

Just a quick post about something I noticed in WebMatrix today.  It has some very cool collapsible areas, something I wish I had in Visual Studio 2013 Premium.  Take a look at the screenshot below, you’ll see what I am talking about.  Don’t worry about the code, it is just some basic JavaScript I threw together for this post.

WebMatrix Collapsible Areas

Hello WebMatrix

I have been using a tool for some PluralSight classes and currently a book I’m reading.  Normally I just jump into Visual Studio, but I will admit it is a bit over kill for just playing with HTML5/CSS3.  The PluralSight courses and Pro HTML5 with Visual Studio 2012 make use of WebMatrix.  In fact when I’m on my Windows 8.1 box I often use CodeWriter for the lightweight stuff, but the instructor and writer used WebMatrix so I followed suit.

Not only is WebMatrix quick and lightweight it has intellisense and even the ability to create your site in Azure if you take that option.  Like Visual Studio you can launch your site from the tool in the browser of your choice.  I have not explored everything WebMatrix can do, but I will definitely be using it for small minor things where Visual Studio would just be over kill.  At this time I really don’t see myself using it for real work, just for when I want to play/learn outside a real project.  For example I know you can create an MVC project in WebMatrix but I feel more comfortable in Visual Studio for the real projects.

So if you’re looking for something lightweight that feels like Visual Studio I highly suggest Web Matrix.

Over A Month On Windows 8

I have been using Windows 8 on my main machine for over a month.  My machine is at least five years old; Dell Inspiron 1720.

I have to admit I have come to really like Windows 8.  Actually using it from day to day has changed my mind and dismissed my preconceptions of Windows 8.  Mainly that Windows 8 is best suited for a Tablet or Phone.  It also leaves me wondering about other things people have said, mainly Valve saying Windows 8 is a catastrophe.  I installed Steam, and it works.  I installed some of my other games, and they work.

They don’t work perfectly, and by that I mean they seem to be kind of slow.  In fact since moving from the release build 8400 to the 90 day trial it seems things slowed down across the board.  On the release build 8400 it really seemed faster.  I’m hoping that is because drivers are not optimized for Windows 8.

So my final verdict on Windows 8, good move.  Well, good if you can get people to take the time to learn it.  Like it or not it is a radical change from the Windows we have been using for years.  Will I upgrade to 8, more than likely I will, unless I get a new laptop between now and then.

Windows 8 – After Day 1

Well, I have been toying around with Windows 8 for almost a day now.  Has my impression changed since my First Impression?  Yes, a little.

First let me say that my 12 year old son and I have both noticed an increase in responsiveness and shorter boot time.  My machine is an old Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop.  Sure it cannot play Battlefield 3, but it keeps up with everything else I like to do with it.

Second, the interface really isn’t that bad.  Keep in mind that I went into this thinking the Metro UI was better fit for a tablet or phone than a real computer.  One presumption I had was I would have a cluttered mess of tiles on that Start page.  I still might as I have not finished re-installing everything, but it is fairly easy to clean up and organize.  If you remove tiles from your Start page you can alt click see a button to click that will show all apps.  Plus you can pin other apps to your Start page and move the tiles around.

I still have not installed Visual Studio 2012 which is my main motivation for using Windows 8.  I hope to get to that this week.  I have been focusing more on getting my son’s and my favorite games up and running.

So far games have not been an issue, at least not due to the OS.  Lord of the Rings Online had some trouble with its updater, but a decent search on their forums found how to fix that easily enough.  Second my DVD/CD drive must be dying.  I could not re-install NWN/NWN2, luckily I install games on a second drive and could simply run the exe from there.

I do want to get Windows Live Photo Gallery on there fairly quickly, so I’ll probably do that before I do VS2012.  I use Windows Live Photo Gallery to organize, tag, and share most of my photos.  Oh, I have to install my Belkin router software so I can print via the router!

Getting things back to normal will probably take a few more days, but as I do more with the OS I will get a better feel.  So at this point, sure it is different, but I really think it might be a good change.  It just has a big learning curve.  I really could not imagine a person who does not live and breath geek/computer stuff sitting down and figuring this OS out.  You know, I could try that; I could try to get my wife to use it.  Even if it was just for Facebook, Email, and general browsing.

Windows 8 First Impression

Well I installed the Windows 8 Release Preview Evaluation copy, Build 8400.  I have been using computers since the ancient Atari 600 and C64 days, so I’m not some newbie.
In a word, pain.
It is such a move from the Windows experience that people are use to using.  I’m not going to rule it as all bad yet, like any new tool one must take time to learn it.
  • Find the special spots to mouse over to access things
  • Get use to there not being a normal Start menu
Now I did the upgrade path from Vista to this copy of Windows 8.  I do not think it kept my programs that I installed, even though they are on my second drive they do not show up in any menu or searches that you would use to launch things.
On the plus side, things do seem a bit cleaner and the great integration.  When I say integration I am speaking of their apps and connecting to my mail and social networking sites.
In summary; It feels alien but I think there is potential if one can take the time to learn it.  Then again, what tool doesn’t become easier to use with practice.