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Chris Breisch   .NET Data Practices
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March 2006 Entries
The "Sprint" PPC-6700
I finally plopped down the money for a new cell phone, and I got a PDA phone this time. It’s called the “Sprint” PPC-6700, and it’s wonderful. I put “Sprint” in quotes, because it’s actually made by a division of AudioVox (now spun off into UTStarcom). You can read some of the details here. The slide out keyboard is great, and I’m getting surprisingly good at typing with my thumbs. :) I like it because replaces my bulky old Axim with something small ......

Posted On Thursday, March 30, 2006 5:12 AM

Ready for that AMT hit? It's coming...
The Fair Tax Blog has a good post on the history of the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) and it’s ever widening net. If you don’t pay AMT soon, you’ll be one of the few lucky ones. If you have a house and any kids, you’re already on the fringe. Ready for that tax bill on April 15 to skyrocket? No? Then read the post ......

Posted On Thursday, March 30, 2006 4:55 AM

Getting SPAMMED for architecture
I came across this blog about software architecture that’s pretty interesting. He has an architecture framework that he calls SAF which stands for SPAMMED Architecture Framework. From one of his posts: OK, so what is SPAMMED already… well: S – Stakeholders - Anyone with vested interest in the project (end users, clients, project manager, developers etc.) These are the people you will have to explain you architecture to. These are the people that have concerns that the architecture ......

Posted On Thursday, March 30, 2006 4:50 AM

What About Me? :: The Fair Tax Blog
Bill Rollyson has a great blog post on how the FairTax can help to fix what’s wrong with the growth of government. From the article: The FairTax enhances our economic viability. It passes down a continued legacy of freedom to future generations of Americans. Inaction will lead to higher interest rates, lower wages, shrinking pensions, slower economic growth, a lesser standard of living, higher taxes in the future for today’s younger generation, less savings, more consumption, plunging ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 28, 2006 12:02 PM

Windows Workflow Foundation, Part 2 -- MSDN Magazine, April 2006

More from Dino Esposito on using Windows Workflow Foundation.  As always, Dino is worth the read.

Posted On Tuesday, March 28, 2006 5:02 AM

Some Useful UDF's for MS SQL 2005
Here are some useful User-Defined String Functions for SQL Server 2005. Description AT()Returns the beginning numeric position of the nth occurrence of a character expression within another character expression, counting from the leftmost character. OCCURS()Returns the number of times a character expression occurs within another character expression. CHRTRAN()Replaces each character in a character expression that matches a character in a second character expression with the corresponding character ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 28, 2006 4:58 AM

Death By a Thousand Textboxes
Jeff Atwood wants to know why HTML forms have to be death by a thousand tiny textboxes, and proposes a change. The classic example of this is phone number, which typically forces you to tab through three annoying little textboxes to enter a single number: On the other hand, it’s often a good thing to do it like everyone else does. How do you know which to do? I think UI experimentation is not only desirable, but necessary. If we don't experiment, we can't evolve UI forward. However, you have ......

Posted On Friday, March 24, 2006 4:57 AM

The C5 Generic Collection Library for C# and CLI
This is another library of collection classes for .NET. It’s a bit different than the Power Collections (membership required to access) and sits at a lower level. From the web page: The C5 collection library provides the following collection concepts, described by C# interfaces: Directed enumerable, collection value, directed collection value, extensible collection, collection, sequenced collection, indexed collection, sorted collection, indexed sorted collection, persistent sorted collection, ......

Posted On Friday, March 24, 2006 4:52 AM

Object-Relational Mapping Tools for .NET
Here’s a really good guide for selecting an appropriate ORM Tool for .NET, by Jason Mauss. The list of products profiled in the guide is, quite simply, amazing: Adapdev Technologies Codus - v1.1.0.0 ARBT Informatica ORM Framework - v1.1 Chili Software Opf3 - v3.0.2 DADO Solution DADO Object Mapper - v1.1 Developer Express eXpress Persistent Objects for .NET - v1.5 Informatec Itec Data Layer - v2.0 Lattice Business Software International, Inc. Data Mapper - v1.1.1845.40237 Mongoose Solutions ......

Posted On Friday, March 24, 2006 4:48 AM

Architectural Truthiness
This post is about Architecture, but it could very well be about real life or politics (politics clearly isn’t real life). Be true to your architecture, and use an appropriate architecture for your problem. Don’t pick something just because it’s “neat” or “cool” or the “latest and greatest”, if the architecture doesn’t fit the problem. From the post: 'Truthiness' is about wanting something to be right, rather than it actually being right. ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 15, 2006 4:49 AM

In pursuit of simplicity
While I don’t agree with every point in this post, Jeff Atwood does make a strong case for simplifying the UI. And it’s apparent that people are listening to him. Based on what’s been publicly posted, it’s apparent that MS is going for simplicity in the new UI. As a matter of fact, we were told at the PDC that over 80% of the features requested for MS Office, are already in the product. It’s just so cumbersome that no one can find them. Of course, another part of the ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 15, 2006 4:38 AM

Getting Started with Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation: A Developer Walkthrough

Dino Esposito has a great article on MSDN on using Windows Workflow Foundation.  WWF lets you create Biztalk-like flows and build a .NET app around them.  This was one of the most impressive things I saw last year at the PDC.

Posted On Tuesday, March 14, 2006 5:01 AM

Practical Tips For Boosting The Performance Of Windows Forms Apps
MSDN has a good article on boosting performance of Windows Forms apps. It lists 12 performance tips (shown below), and details on how best to use them to your advantage. * Load fewer modules at startup* Precompile assemblies using NGen* Place strong-named assemblies in the GAC* Avoid base address collisions* Avoid blocking on the UI thread* Perform lazy processing* Populate controls more quickly* Exercise more control over data binding* Reduce repainting* Use double buffering* Manage memory usage* ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 14, 2006 4:58 AM

Usability for older web users

There’s a good article on CodeProject on making your website accessible and user-friendly to elderly users.  Good design tips.

Posted On Tuesday, March 14, 2006 4:52 AM

QuirksMode - for all your browser quirks
Peter-Paul Koch has a great website on dealing with browser incompatibilities. It’s called QuirksMode, obviously named after the “CSS-broken” mode from Netscape 4 and IE 4. Here’s the description of the site: QuirksMode.org is the personal and professional site of Peter-Paul Koch, freelance web developer in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It contains more than 150 pages with CSS and JavaScript tips and tricks, and is one of the best sources on the WWW for studying and defeating ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 14, 2006 4:47 AM

Sometimes a Word is Worth a Thousand Icons
Here’s a great post on Coding Horror on how to improve your toolbar UI. I’ll steal a little bit from the introduction: Pop quiz, hotshot. What do these toolbar icons do-- and what application are they from? Okay, maybe that's a bit too monochrome. Same application, alternate toolbar skin. Does color help? Okay, let's try something less abstract. Same application, alternate toolbar skin. Does a more traditional look help? This article sums things up nicely. You gotta love the pic of Microsoft ......

Posted On Friday, March 10, 2006 5:27 AM

How Not To Build a Framework

Joel Spolsky has a great & funny post on the disadvantages of “do-everything” API’s.

UPDATE:  Giving credit where credit is due.  It IS on Joel Spolsky's blog, but the author is Benji Smith.  Sorry about that, Benji.

Posted On Thursday, March 9, 2006 8:17 AM

How to Avoid Being a Software Dinosaur
There’s a good article on Tyner Blain on why you should do iterative development with automated testing, and avoid code freeze ice ages. From the article: Steps in a dinosaur’s development process Receive list of requirements/features for the current release. Implement the code for the release. Check the code into source code control. Freeze the code and deliver to the test team. Receive defect reports from test team. Fix all defined defects. Return to step 3 until no bugs are reported. ......

Posted On Thursday, March 9, 2006 5:42 AM

Prioritizing Software Requirements
Most of my links are to good articles about coding practices. But there’s more to software development than just coding. Soctt Sehlhorst has written a great article on prioritizing software requirements using the four Kano categories: Surprise and delight. Capabilities that differentiate a product from it’s competition (e.g. the nav-wheel on an iPod). More is better. Dimensions along a continuum with a clear direction of increasing utility (e.g. battery life or song capacity). Must be. ......

Posted On Thursday, March 9, 2006 5:32 AM

How Tos for .NET
A great set of “HOWTO”’s from the p&p group at Microsoft. They cover quite a bit of territory: How To: Call a Web Service Using Client Certificates from ASP.NET How To: Call a Web Service Using SSL How To: Create a Custom Account to Run ASP.NET How To: Create a Custom Encryption Permission How To: Create a DPAPI Library How To: Create an Encryption Library How To: Create GenericPrincipal Objects with Forms Authentication How To: Configure the Machine Key in ASP.NET 2.0 How To: ......

Posted On Thursday, March 9, 2006 5:27 AM

Building a Better WaitScreen

Daniel Fisher has a great blog post on how to build a better WaitScreen for ASP.NET.  It really details a good step-by-step process for building composite controls.

Posted On Thursday, March 9, 2006 5:23 AM

Visual Studio 2005: Visual Studio 2005 Code Snippets

Microsoft has released more Visual Studio 2005 Code Snippets.  Check them out here.  Be sure to also look at the refactoring code snippets.

Posted On Thursday, March 9, 2006 5:15 AM

Caching Application Block - Enterprise Library 2.0
David Hayden does it again. This time he’s talking about the Caching Application Block for Enterprise Library 2.0. I was in a meeting just last week where we we discussing this very topic, so it’s even timely. Interestingly enough, he points out right off the bat that it’s overkill for ASP.NET 2.0. One of the main reasons that the Caching Application Block is far less popular is because ASP.NET 2.0 has a very rich cache framework. Most web developers, like myself, will use the caching ......

Posted On Thursday, March 9, 2006 5:09 AM

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