I was recently interested in getting C# objects to serialize into XML so that I could save and load a configuration out of a file. Sadly, C# support for XML and serialization is far from the best stuff I've seen in programming. But anyway, here's what this post is about: using DataContract with a bit of extension magic to get anything to be serializable into XML!

One small problem when you use the Serializable attribute of C# is that you cannot serialize dictionary directly and we all know dictionaries are a VERY useful structure to have serialized. One easy way to have serializable dictionaries is to use the DataContract attribute instead. It implies a bit more code compared to the version where you use the Serializable attribute, but not that much more (mostly the WriteObject and ReadObject lines).

I haven't coded any of this, so thanks to user Loudenvier from Stackoverflow.com! This solution allows you to turn ANY object into an XML string representation. It also allows you to turn that string back into an object representation. Very useful.


public static class SerializationExtensions
{
    public static string Serialize<T>(this T obj)
    {
        var serializer = new DataContractSerializer(obj.GetType());
        using (var writer = new StringWriter())
        using (var stm = new XmlTextWriter(writer))
        {
            serializer.WriteObject(stm, obj);
            return writer.ToString();
        }
    }
    public static T Deserialize<T>(this string serialized)
    {
        var serializer = new DataContractSerializer(typeof(T));
        using (var reader = new StringReader(serialized))
        using (var stm = new XmlTextReader(reader))
        {
            return (T)serializer.ReadObject(stm);
        }
    }
}

How to use example


// dictionary to serialize to string
Dictionary<string, object> myDict = new Dictionary<string, object>();
// add items to the dictionary...
myDict.Add(...);
// serialization is straight-forward
string serialized = myDict.Serialize();
...
// deserialization is just as simple
Dictionary<string, object> myDictCopy = serialized.Deserialize<Dictionary<string,object>>();

Source: http://www.stackoverflow.com

I've just stumbled upon a series of articles from Richard Fine that were written in 2003 which describes the basics of a game engine he calls Enginuity. It lays the foundations to basic memory management, logging, kernel and tasks management and much more. An extremely interesting read. Sadly, you can read in the articles that this was projected to be a series of more than 8 articles, but it seems it stopped at the fifth article. If anyone knows where to find the rest (if it exists), I'd be grateful!

On GameDev.net: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

26 Apr 2009

Software developer

History / Edit / PDF / EPUB / BIB / 1 min read (~186 words)
joke

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts: "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says: "Yes you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field."

"You must be a software developer," says the balloonist.

"I am," replies the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but it's of no use to anyone."

The man below says, "You must work in business as a manager." "I do," replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going, but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were before we met but now it's my fault."

Source: Coding Horror

Since I've upgraded to Leopard, I couldn't connect to my Windows network anymore. Browsing through various websites looking for answers, I tried pretty much all of them with no success. Not until I found this page. Is explanation is pretty simple and indeed makes my shared network show up once again!

Here's the explanation and instructions on how to fix it:

You have plenty of suggestions for fixing the Leopard Windows sharing issue, that I see are all a bit hit or miss. I think the reason for this is because a lot of the things people are trying are fixing the real root issue by accident.

The Leopard advanced network settings has a WINS tab, and in this there is a NETBIOS name field. This is auto-generated by Leopard - it looks like it uses the MAC address to generate it. However, if what is put in there is not compliant with the NETBIOS settings of the Windows network you are connected to, then browsing will not work, because the WINS server will not acknowledge the WINS requests coming from Leopard.

The actual NETBIOS name requirements supported vary depending on the flavour of OS running on the WINS servers on the network. I would suspect the best route to success is to use the most basic NETBIOS name requirements, back from the old Windows NT 4.0 days - stick in no more than an 8-character alphanumeric into the NETBIOS field, and all Windows browsing will be restored.

I had two Leopard machines, one which would browse and one which would not. The browsing one had an 8-character WINS setting, and the non- browsing one had a MAC address in the WINS field. Removing the MAC address and putting in a simple word in the WINS field IMMEDIATELY reinstated browsing.

If you're having a hard time getting Boot Camp to correctly install Windows and you're getting either a "disk error" or "hal.dll missing" error, here's how to actually fix it.

First, you'll have to restore your disk to a full Mac OS X partition.
Then, you'll reformat it to be a Mac OS X partition and a Windows partition (using Boot Camp).

This is now the important step. You must write over the partition. So load up the Terminal and enter


sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/rdisk0s3 bs=1m count=100

Where rdisk0s3 is the disk where the Windows Partition is. To know the name of your Windows partition, you can go to the Disk Utility (Applications-Utilies) and look for a partition under your hard drive.

When that is done, you can restart your computer with your Windows CD and install it. Everything should be fine now.

PS. Use at your own risk. The command involve writting 0's to your partition table, which might screw it up if done unproperly.

PPS. I cannot be held responsible for anything happening to you or your computer.