Archives / 2006 / December
  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

    Well the year is coming to an end; finishing of that last bit of Christmas shopping and preparing for the huge consumption of food and alcohol that is sure to be coming my way and seeing I am finishing work today and plan to be offline for the next few days/week I thought I would get in early and wish you all a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2007!

    Have a good one! :)




    Tags: AJAX

    So the other day I was adding a “news page” to one of my projects and thought it was a great chance to play with consuming some other RSS feeds that had related information to what I was working on. So I started looking round and found the RSS Toolkit that had an RSS Data Source control that is perfect for consuming RSS feeds – the toolkit actually does much more, you should have a read on Dmitry’s blog (he wrote the toolkit and in on the team) download the toolkit here.

    I have also used the AJAX Toolkit (which if you are unaware is a collection of controls for use with AJAX, its an open source project with contributors from both MS and the community) the control I use is the Collapsible Panel control so you can see a list of the Blogs and click each to reveal the text.

    To use this you will need to have ASP.NET AJAX RC1 installed.

    Simple page layout using CSS, the right panel contains a Datalist control bound to the RssDataSource to display the blog items, the datalist control is wrapped in an asp:UpdatePanel. The item template in the datalist has a collapsiblepanelextender from the AjaxControlToolkit to display the description of the blog item.

    Chaging the selection of Blog to view fies the asp:UpdateProgress panel to display, the blog items are loaded and displayed.  You can see on the Blog list I have simply shaded the background of the <li> element to show the active blog.

    The code for this is pretty simple with all thanks going to the AjaxControlToolkit team and Dmitry for the RSS reader.

    ASPX Markup

    List of blogs on the left....

    DataList Control.....

    C# Code Behind

    As you can see each Link button is hooked up to an OnCommand Event Handler and the argument identifies which blog feed to bind to the data source.

    ....finally on the page I have added a little bit of Javascript to change the CSS class of the blog list item to indicate which one is active.

    If ele (the <li> element) is null I assume this is the first call and so the element will be list1.

    Hope you find this as useful as I did - download the full source here.


  • AJAX RC1

    Tags: AJAX

    So they have released AJAX RC1 which is apparently the penultimate release before the fully supported product.

    Couple of new features...

    1. Built in VS 2005 Web Application Project template to create new AJAX application.
    2. Additional globalisation support for AJAX applications, improved substitution logic, compression and caching.
    3. The assembly Microsoft.Wev.Extensions.dll has changed to System.Web.Extension.dll and the namespace Microsoft.Web has changed to System.Web

    Two reasons for the change which will be the last...

    1. ASP.NET AJAX will be fully-supported part of the core .NET framework in the future so for consistency
    2. It will help make upgrading to the Orcas release of ASP.NET and VS much easier.

    You can download or view the whitepaper on upgrading from beta2 here.

    Tip from ScottGu on intellisense. "One additional step you'll want to make after you follow the steps in the whitepaper above is to delete the cached schema files for control markup Intellisense that VS maintains.  This will ensure that your HTML source editor Intellisense for the ASP.NET AJAX controls is correct and doesn't get lost (otherwise it might incorrectly use the old values from the Beta2 release).   

    - With Windows XP you do this by deleting all files in this directory: c:\Document and Settings\[YourUserName]\Local Settings\AppData\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\ReflectedSchemas

    - With Windows Vista you do this by deleting all files in this directory: c:\Users\[YourUserName]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\ReflectedSchemas

    Once you delete these schema files and restart VS, it will re-calculate the HTML markup Intellisense for all controls and pick up the changes from the assembly name change."Read more from Scott here


  • Vista Installed :)

    Tags: Vista

    After downloading Vista Enterprise from MSDN and finally got round to installing it!!! And wow!! It's really is pretty! a total joy to use.

    To top it off I installed Office 2007 and am publishing this post with Word 2007.

    I have had a couple of problems installing it with a few things not working straight away I had to search around for some drivers and my printer software wont install but the drivers are OK.

    My PC has a rank of 4.0 on the "Vista Scale" out of (apparently) 5.9(?) see more here; next year when I hopefully get a Quad Core machine I will be at or above 5.9! I have two monitors which function fine (although I would have liked to have seen a utility for sending windows to different monitors instead of using something like Multi Mon).

    A couple views from Vista....(One of my favs!)

    IE7 with Graphite colour.....

    Now a couple of problems that are bugging me perhaps someone can shed some light....

    When running VS 2005 Team for software devs I get this...

    ...if I click Run Program it seems to work fine? Checking for solutions online tells me there is an issue but nothing more

    Then there is User Access control, every time I try and run something like Computer Manager my screens go Black for a split second then I get asked if I want to allow it...I can see the benefit of this but surely logged in as Admin running parts of the OS should be OK or at least remember that I have allowed it?!? If I turn it off I am greeted with a warning every time I log in.

    Going to continue re-installing my software and see what else pops up. J


  • Becoming an MCAD

    OK so I’m not quite there yet! I have passed Web Apps and Windows apps and have one exam left to do (XML services and .net remoting which I must say is the hardest of all three – perhaps some of you out there who are already MCAD/MCSD agree?!?)These will soon be out of date as the new .net 2.0 exams are released and the certifications have changed slightly but I haven’t really looked in these a great deal.

    I actually started life as a software developer late on and put myself through further education while carrying on with my full time job – I did 3 years part time at college to get a HND in Software Engineering and passed with a Distinction grade and was awarded a certificate of commendation for my excellent grades throughout. I may continue on to a BSc in Computer Science at some stage but I doubt it! While doing this I have studied for the MCAD through books and a distance learning course, the course is pretty pricey but handy when you need some help, in hind sight I would not have spent the money on it but it certainly gives you an aim/target whereas doing it on your own clearly doesn’t. The MCP’s certainly get more attention on your CV than a HND but I would rate the HND higher, the background knowledge you learn it the what’s and why’s of software and database architecture/development is priceless – where I work we have a couple of “learnt it all myself” dev’s and I think they lack the general computer knowledge to write quality software – I guess it depends on the person and their willingness to learn but nothing is better than some good old class room education (in my opinion!)

    I started programming in VB6 and Visual C++ and soon thankfully found .net, it was a no-brainer for me in choosing the language, I was always going to pick C#. 1, C# was written for .net not adapted for 2, I far prefer the C like syntax 3, I was always better at C than VB, this is still true today – I can happily (well maybe not happily!!) write but it’s like speaking a foreign language….thinking C# speaking VB!!

    I have always had a knack with computers and there isn’t much I can’t figure out in the end but in the last few years I have developed an extreme, almost obsessive interest in software development, I read loads of blogs and articles from, …etc. I think this is really important to keep learning/trying new stuff – dot net is so huge and has so much to offer I couldn’t imaging not trying out new stuff. At the moment its .net remoting – something so powerful but I’ve never really used, I use web services all over the place in AJAX etc but never really looked into the possibilities of .net remoting. I guess it’s quite difficult to know what to try when there is so much out there, especially when new to .net, I tend to go with what interests me most (which is, AJAX and general web dev stuff) but then you tend to miss so much other stuff, I work developing, SQL systems so at home I tend to do win forms, WPF etc development. I also think that I vital part of being a developer, especially a web developer is being very comfortable with databases, the code and the theory, I spend a fair amount of time reading about SQL, 4guysfromrolla always has a lot of articles about working with databases in - having good T-SQL knowledge makes such a difference to the maintenance and performance of your app....learn about Pivot tables, CTE's and other advanced SQL features, they make a world of difference.

    I’d be interested to hear from other developers and how they go about learning new, honing the old etc…

    This turned into a bit of a ramble in the end - hopefully a few tips and perhaps some inspiration in there too!!!