An Interesting List of Development Stuff (March 2014)

In this St. Patrick’s day installment of an Interesting List of Development, we dive into a more .NET-centric approach (with a majority of the topics at least being in the realm of .NET) but as usual, there should be something for everyone. The Roslyn compiler continues to make waves and appears in several of the articles (which we may see as a trend as it continues to grow in popularity) and there’s also a few articles pertaining to games (if that’s your thing).

Depixelizing Pixel Art

Microsoft Research is always doing cool stuff and this article is no exception. It discusses an algorithm that was developed to help smooth the appearance of pixelated images (mostly involving Nintendo-related characters) and it yielded some really neat results. I am sure that nothing excites people more than smooth pixels, but this article has everything : badass-looking video game characters (that we have always wondered what they would look like in their unpixelated glory), legit scholarly work on algorithms, splice curves and more (again decorated with video game characters) and its all packed into 8 pages.

I would highly encourage anyone interested to read through the actual paper itself and if that isn’t your thing, at least take a look at the supplemental material to see it in action.


Brad Wilson and Jim Newkirk of Tier 3 introduce their latest creation ElasticLinq, which is an open-source project that aims at integrating elastic-searching using LINQ syntax within .NET. It’s a tool that was originally developed in-house at Tier 3 to help ease the transition for developers with traditional database backgrounds to NoSQL-based databases and now hopefully it can help you make the transition as well!

How Roslyn and Azure Helped Create .NET Fiddle

I’ll use this as a pseudo-followup to my post last year on .NET Fiddle. .NET Fiddle has really taken off and added all kinds of awesome new features such as NuGet support, MVC support and all kinds the general badassery that one would look for in an online developmental sandbox. This short article isn’t so much about the merits of .NET Fiddle, but more of a look behind the scenes at how it came to be; you can think of it as a love story between Azure and Roslyn.

Open-source Projects! Come on down!

If you are a big fan of open-source software or you have an open-source project, then listen up. features a large listing of available services and APIs that are offered free of charge to open-source projects. They vary in scope but there are a lot of very well-known vendors involved – so if your project needs a little extra something and your pockets are light, check it out.

There’s a new operator in town.

It looks like one of the most popular suggestions to appear within Microsoft’s UserVoice system is finally coming to fruition. The Safe Navigator operator ?. will be likely introduced within the next iteration of C# and Visual Basic and should aid in warding off a NullReferenceException or two that always find a way into our lives, hearts and applications.

Atom, the completely hackable Editor

The folks at GitHub set the web ablaze with all kinds of chatter and backroom deals when discussion of their Atom editor broke out. Atom was designed as a completely hackable editor that could be easily extended to do – really whatever you wanted it to do. It’s still a project that is very early in its infancy, but it is something to keep your eye on.

Meet Reference Source

The great Scott Hanselman discusses another one of the recent offspring from the seemingly promiscuous Roslyn compiler in the form of Reference Source. This incredible innovation will now allow developers to step through the actual source of the .NET Framework while debugging their applications (so if you have ever wondered just what kind of sort was going down in that Array.Sort() method, here is your chance). It’s certainly a tool worth keeping your eye on – and if you want to hear and see more about it, you can check out this post from the MSDN team as well.

Walking through the Code of Games

Fabien Sanglard‘s blog is a fascinating place to visit if you haven’t been by (you can get there by just clicking the link). He has a myriad of different articles, book reviews and discussions on algorithms, but the reason I am bringing it up are his source code reviews. Now, I know that most people would cringe at reading a source code review, but these focus on actual commercial games like Doom, Prince of Persia, Duke Nukem 3D and Fabien does a great job of “skipping to the good parts”.


I’m not saying anything more about this – you’ll likely hate me if you haven’t previously discovered it. It’s digital heroin.