I've recently moved house, what hard work that is! We're pretty much back to normal now so hopefully I will be blogging about some more coding topics that I've found interesting. I've recently been developing a small WinForms application in C#. It needed to be localized for a number of languages and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was.
If you set the "Localizable" property of your main form or custom control to true you can then set the language. Any changes made for each selected language (the pull-down contains all that are available through the OS) are writting to a seperate .resx file for that language, so for example, Form1.resx is the default language UI and Form1.fr.resx is the French version. Subsequent language resx's only contain the changes from the default file. The beauty of the entire UI resource file being customizable and not just a string table is that you can change the layout of controls to accomodate longer strings etc.
One annoying thing I did encounter was that if you edit the .resx file by hand in the VS .NET editor (you'll have to Show All Files in the Solution Explorer first) then any additions you make (i.e. for Dialog Messages etc.) will be overwritten by the IDE if you make changes in that.
It's also very, very easy to consume a Web Service in VS .NET. It's simply a matter of adding a "Web Reference" to the project in the Solution Explorer, you enter the URL and it is automatically wrapped in a namespace/class for the language you are developing in. It can then be simply instantiated and used. I actually wrote a COM object in pure C++ that uses a web service and is in turn used by a C# application and through script!
Cross-language development is fun when things are decoupled like this but I find that developing software using Managed C++ with a combination of pure C++ APIs and Managed Types can be a bit of a headache. The Garbage Collector obviously doesn't let managed types own un-managed ones etc. so you have to do your own memory management on them. When all's said and done, if I'm using .NET I'd rather program in C# .. a language specifically designed and fit for purpose rather than Managed C++ which has been (very ingeniously) hacked to work for the .NET runtime.