#Windows

Simple async file access using Windows 8, part 2

In the previous article I presented a helper library for reading and writing to the file system using the new Windows Runtime asynchronous file APIs.

One downside of the code I presented is that the actual reading and writing was still happening on the main UI thread. While this may not be a problem in a simple application, it is undesirable for complex documents.

The challenge is that we still need to be on the UI thread when we collect the data we want to save, but the writing itself could be on a background thread.

In this article I will cover a way to extend the API I presented previously, to allowing reading and writing via a background thread.

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Simple async file access using Windows 8

This article refers to pre-release software. Some or all of what is presented could change between now and release.

This week at the Build Windows conference, Microsoft announced Windows 8 and introduced the new Windows Runtime APIs for the developers.

As a C# developer, one of the defining features of the Runtime is that a lot of the .NET Framework is “gone”, or moved to new namespaces. Nowhere is this more true than in System.IO, which is now fairly barren. The reason is that most of the file I/O APIs in the Windows Runtime are designed to be asynchronous, and as these new APIs are in the Runtime, they’ve moved into the Windows.* namespace.

As it turns out, reading and writing files using the new asynchronous APIs is a little convoluted. OK, its a lot convoluted, but I’ve put together some code that should simplify it for you, while also taking you through the steps involved.

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Sharing a Mac screen via Live Meeting

For those of you using a Mac in a largely Windows-based company, you may have times where you need to present content on your Mac from a PC running Live Meeting.

One fairly simple way to achieve this is by enabling Screen Sharing via System Preferences:

Once Screen Sharing is enabled, you can run UltraVNC on your PC to connect to your Mac using the URL shown in the Screen Sharing window.

Now in Live Meeting, share your Desktop (or just share the UltraVNC window).

Note: it is also possible to do this from inside a virtual machine on your Mac using VMWare Fusion or Parallels. However, the Mac Screen Sharing feature will share all of your screens, including the one where VMWare is running, meaning once you get VNC running in your virtual machine, you will want to use Cmd-H to immediately hide the virtual machine or get an infinitely recursing window tunnel!

Alternatively, Simon Guest informs me that RealVNC Server for the Mac will let you specify which monitor is shared. You would want to use RealVNC Server in place of Mac Screen Sharing if you are going to try it this way. (You’ll get errors trying to use both on the same Mac as they would both be trying to use the same ports.

If you are doing this using a separate PC talking to your Mac, don’t forget you are simply sharing your Mac screen, so the Mac keyboard and mouse can be used to control the action, making it more responsive than trying to use the PC keyboard and mouse via VNC.

You can download UltraVNC here: http://www.ultravnc.com/