Protect and Authenticate Your Apps
Get the Code Protector SDK, plus new VS 2005 SDK v4 samples, Microsoft Windows Search 3.x SDK and more.
- By Bill McCarthy
Code Protector SDK is a new tool available as part of Microsoft Software Licensing and Protection (SLP) Services 2008. Code Protector SDK lets you encrypt and protect .NET assemblies. The protection runs as a secure virtual machine on top of .NET. This level of protection can cause performance penalties, so you need to choose which functions you want to protect carefully. Combined with normal obfuscation, this should provide you with a high degree of protection from disassembly of your .NET code. Download the SDK here
The code protector is just one part of Microsoft's SLP vision. The code protector is free to use, and it will be included with Visual Studio. Other features of SLP include licensing and activation control, as well as feature-level control. The basic online service will be free for one year to MSDN premium subscribers. For more information on Microsoft SLP Services go here.
* * *
If you wanted to customize Visual Studio 2005 but have been frustrated that all the samples were in C# or C++, the good news is Microsoft has finally ported the VS 2005 SDK v4 samples to Visual Basic .NET. You'll still need the VS 2005 SDK v4, which was released back in February. The team that put together these samples also said in a Channel 9 video that the VB samples will be included with VS 2008 SDK.
The Microsoft Windows Search 3.x SDK was also released recently. The SDK samples are mainly in C++, but there's a managed wrapper and two C# samples. There are no VB samples, but you can use Windows Search from VB and utilize the managed wrapper this SDK provides.
Microsoft pre-release software Visual Studio 2008 beta 2 Team Foundation Server is a re-release of beta 2 to address some problems with the Team Foundation Server installation. If you already have VS 2008 beta 2 with TFS installed, don't download this one.
For Visual Studio 2005 with Team Foundation Server (TFS), there's a new release of the Team Foundation Power Tools. This release includes the previous power tools and adds new work item template editing capabilities and a Best Practices Analyzer, which provides information about your TFS installation and configuration.
Microsoft Expression Blend 2 is updated with the September Preview. If you're working with Silverlight or want to work with it, then this is the design tool to download.
An update release of Astoria for Visual Studio 2008 beta 2 is available for download here. Astoria provides data services over the Web. Your data is accessible through HTTP as URLs using HTTP verbs GET, PUT, DELETE, and UPDATE. This September release is a minor update from the May release; it's designed to work with beta 2 of VS 2008. The final implementation is said to differ substantially internally, although the overall concept remains.
* * *
If you like to build robots or are working with small devices like stopwatches and ARM 7 or ARM 9 processors, then check out the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework SDK.
Version 2.0 with Service Pack 1 is available here. The micro framework is a very small footprint CLR from 390KB and upward. It's designed for use with small display devices such as remote controls or stopwatches, but its application is only limited by your ability to conceive of places you might want to use a small processor. This SDK integrates with Visual Studio 2005, but not the Express editions. At present, the only language supported is C#, but the team claims they "are looking to support Visual Basic when we have demand."
Bill McCarthy is an independent consultant based in Australia and is one of the foremost .NET language experts specializing in Visual Basic. He has been a Microsoft MVP for VB for the last nine years and sat in on internal development reviews with the Visual Basic team for the last five years where he helped to steer the language’s future direction. These days he writes his thoughts about language direction on his blog at http://msmvps.com/bill.