Archives / 2007 / December
  • Nerdvana - Coding on a Beach

    Recently on the Regional Director mailing list, the topic of Theater Glasses like these came up, which led me to express my wish for a high-res version of such goggles that would be sufficient for writing code and otherwise being productive as a developer.  The ultimate goal, of course, would be to enable working in locations where even a laptop generally fares poorly, such as on a beach, sipping a cocktail, getting a tan, and wiring up some wicked code.  In my experience with a variety of laptops, working in sunlight is nearly impossible, since the glare of the sun totally outperforms the LCD of any laptop I've ever owned.  However, world traveler Chad Hower (aka … more

  • Holiday Skins for .NET Controls

    As the end of year holiday season approaches, it's fairly common for some web sites and products to re-skin their logos and applications to make them a little more festive or seasonal.  Google has long been known for their creative variations of their logo in response to various holidays throughout the year.  This year, at least one .NET control vendor, DevExpress, has created a Holiday UI skin for Windows.This is an application-wide UI skin, which developers can use to instantly modify the look and feel of traditional Windows solutions to one which is styled in a Christmas/holiday theme.  Ray blogged about the new theme a couple of days ago, and already it's gotten … more

  • RegExLib Redesign Complete

    We've done some design work on the Regular Expression Library, and cleaned up the code base significantly to get rid of some cruft and fix a few bugs.  The site gets a surprisingly large amount of traffic, considering how esoteric a topic regular expressions are, and hopefully the new design will make it that much easier for people to search for regular expression examples.  You can see some of its earlier (and much uglier) designs in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, which has archives of the site dating back to September of 2001. If you have suggestions for, please let us know.  One thing I think I want to start doing more of is adding additional reference … more

  • Being Agile Means Understanding When to Change

    While I was completing my drive into work this morning, I was thinking about a book I read recently, Cryptonomicon (highly recommended - very smart and interesting), in which there's an exchange between a WWII German cryptanalyst and some of his Allied counterparts.  The German had discovered a flaw in the Enigma system used by the Germans during the war, and had written a paper about how to exploit the flaw (something the Allies had been actively doing, unbeknownst to Berlin, for some time).  The Allies asked "But they've continued using the Enigma, despite your discovery!" to which the German replied "What?  They're supposed to throw away thousands of Enigma machines and … more

  • MVC Getting Started

    Scott Hanselman has posted a very well done screencast on getting started with Model View Controller for ASP.NET, which I watched and did all the code for last night.  There was only one hangup in the code portion, which has to do with changes that were made post-production to the MvcToolkit.  The code given in the screencast doesn't work, but this simple fix does:<% using (Html.Form<ProjectName.Controllers.HomeController>(x=>x.Update(ViewData.ProductID))) { %> Anyway, Scott really went above and beyond on the production of this video, enough so that I wanted to call special attention to it.  I told him he should do a blog post and/or screencast on … more

  • It isn't working?

    My wife hates me because of this, and my co-workers are learning to consider their question phrasing carefully if they want to be able to understand the answer, because I have this annoying tendency to answer questions as they are given.  For example, yesterday our designer asked me a question in the negative, something to the effect of, "It's not fixed yet?".  My answer was "yes", which left him momentarily confused, because due to the succinct nature of my response and the fact that it wasn't agreeably negative like the question had been, it almost seemed as if my positive response was going against what he had just said.  When in fact I was … more

  • Cool Apps from Microsoft

    I attended the Cleveland .NET SIG last night, where Jeff Blankenburg (my new Developer Evangelist) gave a demo-rich presentation on some cool new(ish) applications Microsoft has been working on this year.  Most of them I'd already seen, but it was a good presentation and parts of it were new to me (like the Seadragon Video), and the audience was duly impressed.  Here's a rundown of what was covered - Jeff has promised the slides (minimal though they were) on his blog soon. Microsoft Popfly - A way to write applications that combine data from different services and web sites and presents it in unique ways, without writing any code.  It lets end users build mash-up … more

  • Generic Web Controls and EnumDropDownList

    I just published an article on ASPAlliance that shows a few different techniques for binding a DropDownList control in ASP.NET to an enumerated type (enum).  As part of the article, I wrote a custom control that uses generics to bind a DropDownList<T> to an enum.  Unfortunately, I ran into problems with declaratively defining this control within ASP.NET markup, and thus far there is no support from the ASP.NET engine for generic types within the markup (though it has been discussed here).  In response to my question about this support, Eilon Lipton blogged another approach that uses a ControlBuilder to allow specification of the proper control and its associated generic … more

  • Save SQL Query Results With Column Names

    A minor frustration I've had with SQL Server for years is that when copying the results to Excel, the column names are not included.  Well, Brendan blogged about this yesterday, and in a great demonstration of the value of blogging, he received a comment with the answer to this problem within a couple of hours.  It turns out this can be done by going to Tools - Options - Query Results - Sql Server - Results to Grid - Include column headers when copying or saving results.  Beautiful.  Here's a screenshot if you have problems finding it. more

  • Web Deployment Projects for VS2008

    Yesterday, Microsoft released a CTP for Web Deployment Projects for Visual Studio 2008.  I don't use these in my own projects, having built a robust system that revolves around CruiseControl.NET and PyroBatchFTP, but it sounds like they have fixed some of the pain points with the new release, which has these new features: Full migration support from WDP for VS 2005 WDP output is replaced only if the WDP build succeeds IIS7 Support There is a fairly extensive walkthrough with the announcement here. more