• Analysing .NET code dependencies–Overview

    How can you tell if modules/components in your application are loosely-coupled between each other, and tightly cohesive internally? You could read the code line-by-line, but that becomes difficult once the codebase becomes large.

    It can be very valuable to be able to visualise the the dependencies between the various components that make up your application – both at the class and module/assembly level. These tools analyse code, either by parsing the source code, or by analysing the compiled assemblies to produce various summaries and reports about the state of the code.

    I’m planning to spend a bit of time in future blog posts reviewing a number of these tools that can help with this analysis, including:

    I’m also interested to hear what you use. Let me know in the comments of your experiences with these or other tools I haven’t mentioned.

  • My new Dell XPS 15 laptop

    My birthday has come early this year. I’ve finally bought a new laptop! It wasn’t the cheapest either, so I think that will cover a couple more birthdays in the future too Smile

    I’d been evaluating a number of different manufacturers and models, and eventually went with a Dell XPS 15 (9550). I’d had a pretty good run with my old XPS 1645 and that counted in the XPS 15’s favour.

    I bought the 1645 in 2010, so I was expecting to buy something that represented 6 years of technology improvements. So far I think the 15 delivers that.

    • 16GB DDR4
    • 512GB SSD (PCIe)
    • 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) touch display

    Modifications

    Out of the box, the top row of the keyboard defaults to the feature keys. I make use of the Function keys (F1, F2, etc) much more than I’d use the feature keys (Mute, Volume Up/Down, etc) so I went into the UEFI firmware settings and changed that to default to function keys.

    Here’s a comparison of the keyboards of the 1645 and 15 (the shiny strip above the main keyboard on the 1645 has the feature keys). Obviously fashions change too – from glossy/shiny to matte.

    XPS 1645 KeyboardXPS 15 keyboard

    I HATE touchpads that simulate a mouse click with a single tap. Maybe it’s my hands but I find I end up ‘clicking’ a lot more than I intended. So it’s another thing I try to disable if possible. On the 1645 this was done through the Synaptics touchpad driver, but that isn’t present on the 15. Instead it turns out that’s a setting provided by Windows itself.

    Windows 10 Touchpad settings

    Old and new comparison

    XPS 15 and 1645 closedXPS 15 and 1645 open

    Here’s the 15 sitting on top of the 1645, to show it’s slightly smaller.

    View from above of XPS 15 sitting on top of 1645

    Side views show the 15 is a fair bit slimmer. The 1645 comes with VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort ports – the 15 just has a single HDMI, but you can get an external adapter with a second HDMI and VGA (as well as extra USB and Ethernet). No DVD drive in the 15 either!

    XPS 15 and 1645 right side comparisonXPS 15 and 1645 - left side comparison

    The rubber feet of the 1645 fell off a while ago – both the ones on the base of the laptop and the ones fixed to the battery bar. The 15 has two rubber strips. Time will tell if they last longer.

    XPS 1645 underneath - worn feetXPS 15 - underneath showing rubber feet strips

    My 1645 weighs 3.065kg. I’m pleased to see the 15 weighs only 2.040kg. (For those days when I need to carry it around, my back is also pleased!)

    XPS 1645 Weight - 3.065KGXPS 15 2.040kg

    It’s not easy to show the difference in displays, but this gives you a bit of an idea of the 4K display of the 15 next to the standard 1080 of the 1645. It doesn’t show up here, but the 1645 screen also got quite scratched over the years from rubbing against the keyboard. Probably made worse from the extra rubber pads falling off that should have prevented this. I’m looking into getting a protective cloth for the new laptop to try and reduce the chance of that happening again. Comparing the displays of 15 and 1645

    And check out the disk performance – almost 10x faster with the PCIe SSD – nice!

    HDTune Benchmark Crucial CT512MX1 SSD - Average 111 MB/sec

    HDTune Benchmark NVMe THNSN5512GPU7_NV - Average 897 MB/sec

    Finally, I’d forgotten what it was like to have a battery that holds a decent amount of charge (the 1645 might say it has 1:45 left, but that’s pretty optimistic). I can sit on the sofa with the XPS 15 and it lasts the whole evening. Wow :-)

    dell xps 1645 batteryDell XPS 15 Battery

  • Installing future SQL Server updates with confidence

    Great to read that Microsoft are now making the “cumulative update” packages ‘recommended’ installs, and the updates themselves will be easier to obtain - no longer requiring a email address to download directly, and also being listed in Windows Update Catalog (and maybe in the future as an optional update on Microsoft Update).

    As a developer, I’ve often installed the latest CU (cumulative update) just because I like to be current on my own PC – but I’ve traditionally been more conservative with production SQL Servers that I’ve had to look after over the years. In the latter case I’ve installed the latest service pack, but only added a CU if it seemed likely to address any issue we might be having at the time.

    With this change, now pushing out the latest CU can be done with more confidence and probably should be considered part of maintaining your SQL Server infrastructure. Quoting from the above article:

    You should plan to install a CU with the same level of confidence you plan to install SPs (Service Packs) as they are released. This is because CU’s are certified and tested to the level of SP’s.

    A few years back I remember thinking that the SQL Server team had really set the standard for releasing regular updates for their products (especially compared to the lack of updates at the time to fix problems with older versions of Visual Studio 2005/2008). Since then the VS team have upped their game, and now they are pushing new major servicing updates out around every quarter. That doesn’t include out-of-band updates to VS extensions that are done more frequently.

    So it’s great to see the SQL Server team stepping up the pace another notch.