WPF for those who know WinForms

As a programmer, I am primarily self-taught. I’m at the stage now where some new technology articles I can read at the highest level and follow and understand, but others I am looking for the absolute most basic beginner’s guide around.

I recently began a project in WPF to try and learn what it could do – I find the best way to learn a new technology is to come up with an application for it and just go for it! The more complicated your application, the better, since it will force you to find more stumbling blocks, gaps in your knowledge, and interesting quirks. Of course, some things may just be a little too much to take on all at once (as I’ve discovered) and my first try was by no means going to be a releasable app! WPF was definitely in the category of ‘most basic beginner article please’ and although there are some beginner’s articles around, I just couldn’t get my head around what was going on.

I struggled for a while, then blamed it on the fact that WPF was really just very different to WinForms. It needn’t be – you can make a WPF app as if it were a Forms app – but to really use WPF to it’s potential, templates, styles, binding and the rest, there’s something very different about how to approach the problem. Accusing this of being my flaw (since a bad craftsman always blames his tools) I smashed in the relevant keywords to Bing and eventually crept upon jfo’s coding: Getting Started in WPF. The title of the document is “WPF for those who know WinForms” and it’s an excellent primer for… well… those who know WinForms to get their heads around WPF. There’s a lot of talk about the prototype and code names for what are now older versions of Visual Studio, but altogether it’s a good first resource. I just can’t seem to find any up-to-date blog from jfo, which is a shame given how helpful this document is!

I never realised this would become a political blog…

So, the British Nationalist Party managed to get on Question Time and almost the entire audience was wanting to ask questions about Nick Griffin’s nasty policies.

I have to say that I think to anyone who sees the BNP as just another political party (whether or not they would actually vote for them), Griffin presented himself calmly (more so than the frustrated panellists disgusted at having to be near him) and said all the right things. Send back immigrants who commit crimes, etc etc. When the discussion moved onto someone else to talk about current immigration policy, they totally dropped the ball.

To people who shiver any time they hear about the BNP, they were exposed as frauds, liars and snakes who haven’t abandoned their wicked ways. But that requires that you already believe Griffin and the BNP to be inferior creatures – people who don’t are more likely to see them as an underdog after this, being almost the sole subject of scorn and derision.

My criticism of Question Time is that the show was not nearly long enough to really get to the bone of any of Griffin’s claims and lay them out in simple enough terms that he could not claim he was misquoted. Although that would have made it more of an inquisition, rather than a “meet the politicians” sort of thing. Since he managed to wriggle long enough on each specific accusation, they had to keep moving onto the next question and he wasn’t forced to actually say “Yes, when we talk about Ice Age Britons we know full well we’re ignoring the dozen different major cultural eras that took us from barely sentient cave-beings to the almost entirely sentient McDonald’s employee, we just use that as an excuse to hide our racist views.”

The thing I took away from the show about the BNP is that if they have changed (and I don’t believe that for an instant, just talking hypothetically) then they are still taking us as a culture backward. Ignoring the immigration issue, they want Christianity placed above other religions in this country. Although technically it is the state religion, we have moved far in that everyone gets a level ground, and everyone’s religion is equal. In the same vein, anyone not ‘obviously’ British would have to start proving it, even if their family has been here for more generations than most. And their view on homosexuality not being taught or talked about is just plain wrong. People are homosexual, bisexual, or whatever they are, and just because they’re not told about it when they’re young won’t change that fact. It’ll just cause more problems for them in their own personal life, and act as a stepping stone backwards to situations like Alan Turing, and the way he was treated by the government for being homosexual – despite inventing a code-breaking computer that contributed immensely to our efforts in the Second World War.

Basically, I think it shows that our culture has moved on to ignoring differences between people, and focussing on people themselves. The BNP would be taking us back to an “Us and Them” culture, where anyone like the party-in-power is Us and any minority is Them.

(disclaimer: this does not constitute my entire feeling on the BNP, which can easily be simulated yourself by ramming a fork into your eyes, but merely a few things I had to get off of my chest this week. Thank you.)

I can’t think of a good "battle-cache" pun

Today marks the 943rd anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, a very important battle in British history. For the foreigners, it’s the last time that foreign invaders have taken over the country. It was fought between William the Conqueror (or William the Bastard, to his own troops) of the Normans and Harold Godwinson of the English.

Harold had just come fresh from repelling the invasion of Harold Hardraada (a Dane), but couldn’t do it twice in a row. The Normans won, built castles all over the place, and William I became King of England.

And while looking to double-check I had the date right, Google’s search results showed something strange about both Google’s cache and Wikipedia’s open nature. By the time I got home, the cache had refreshed so I couldn’t grab a screenshot but for a wonderful few hours, Google’s cached result for Wikipedia’s Battle of Hastings page listed the date as 13th November, 1991.

There was probably a calendar change over the years, but I don’t think the margin of error is that great…

Archived Introduction


I’ve had a website for a very long time. It’s gone through brief (sometimes extremely brief) flashes of popularity before it sinks into lack of updates, real life gets in the way, other projects crop up. Recently, it’s really just been a testing place for programming projects.

So that’s a nice bleak start to the proceedings.

Recently, I’ve tried to write a blog/forum application to run the whole thing off of for a major relaunch. But as time went on, I was spending more time adding features to the wish list and trying to design them into a cohesive whole than I was actually implementing those features. This was obviously not a way to get ahead. I swallowed my pride and grabbed an open-source engine (BlogEngine.NET) which I can fiddle with and write extensions to later, if I really want those little bells and whistles I first tried to build. I wish it had forum functionality straight away, but I can live without that for the time being.

So What’s The Point?

I enjoy reading blogs, and I enjoy writing for the net. I may not get to update this as much as I would like (and as much as I had planned, once upon a time) but I will try and fill things in when they occur to me. Certainly more often than Rob. One bonus of BlogEngine.NET is that I can write things when I think about it, store drafts, and even put in an advance publish date for automatic updating when I forget!

What’s This Going To Be?

Once, it was going to be an example of programming ability to get me a job, and into the bargain would be able to put all the things that get in my head every now and again. Now, since it’s not my own work, it’s going to be more of the latter. This includes:

  • Film and book reviews
  • Things I’ve learned programming
  • Game reviews
  • Painting and modelling stuff
  • Warhammer things
  • My programming projects
  • Some journally stuff
  • Other projects (ie, Haphazard Tours and Noodledude!)

I don’t know when things will update. And I hope to put up all the stuff that once-upon-a-time made my website interesting, at some point. I doubt it’ll be back-dated though. And we’ve missed the 5-year anniversary of Haphazard Tours, so there’s an opportunity missed.

Anything Else?

I don’t know. Questions welcome in the comments!