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Chris Breisch   .NET Data Practices
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April 2006 Entries
Need a Spell Checker for Your ASP.NET Pages?
Mikhail Arkhipov has written a spell checker for HTML and ASP.NET Pages. Sweet. You do need Office 2003 installed to use it. Spell checker works in Source view, it is able to extract text from markup elements and use Office 2003 spell checker to check the text. Spell checker is able to handle entities to some extent (they are considered whitespace for now). It is also able to spell check values of attributes that typically contain human readable text. You can customize spell checker behavior by editing ......

Posted On Friday, April 21, 2006 6:23 AM

Master Pages: Tips, Tricks, and Traps
Scott Allen has a very good blog post which he calls “Master Pages: Tips, Tricks, and Traps”. Another way to describe it might be “Avoiding getting into trouble with Master Pages, and how to get out of it when you do get into it.” He delves pretty deep into not only what Master Pages are, but how they work, which can help you fill in the gaps when you do get into trouble. As he says: Master pages are a great addition to the ASP.NET feature set. Master pages help us build consistent ......

Posted On Friday, April 21, 2006 6:19 AM

Atlas Control Toolkit Available
The ASP.NET group at Microsoft released the Atlas Control Toolkit this week. If you’re doing ASP.NET stuff, you’ll want to look at this. They’ve got quite a few built-in Atlas controls. Scott Guthrie sums it up on his blog. It is the start of what is going to be a very large set of controls that make common Ajax scenarios super easy. Want to add nested drop-downlists to your page? Use the new CascadingDropDownList extender. Want in-line popup support within a page? Use the new PopupControl. ......

Posted On Friday, April 21, 2006 5:39 AM

Security Briefs: Step-by-Step Guide to InfoCard
Keith Brown has an article on MSDN that’s a step-by-step guide for using InfoCard. InfoCard seems like it’ll be really nice. However, identity management has never been a strong suit for Microsoft, so I’m cautiously optimistic, at best. I wish it wasn’t being tied so closely with the train wreck Microsoft is calling Vista. More and more that seems like it might be a rather large albatross being tied around InfoCard’s neck. Anyway, here’s a little of what Keith ......

Posted On Friday, April 21, 2006 5:29 AM

SQL Server 2005 SP 1 Released
SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1 has been released for all versions.  You can download it here.

Posted On Friday, April 21, 2006 5:22 AM

Outlook In/Out Status Board
This is kind of neat. An In/Out board integrated with Outlook, including the old pink “WHILE YOU WERE OUT” phone message pad. The 5–User Version is free, and it looks like the full version costs $259. Apparently the site doesn’t work well with Firefox, because when I click on the “Purchase” button, nothing happens. Had to try it out in IE to find out the price. I know, you can do a lot of this with an IM, but this appears to be more versatile: The Out'n About! ......

Posted On Friday, April 21, 2006 5:14 AM

First community drop of the Web Service Software Factory now available!
Tom Hollander has a post on the most recent item out of the patterns & practices group: First community drop of the Web Service Software Factory now available! The patterns & practices team is pleased to announce that the first public drop of the Web Service Software Factory is now available from our new community site at http://practices.gotdotnet.... We're looking forward to having you as a member of the community, and your feedback and questions will help us make this ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 18, 2006 5:58 PM

Source Code for the Built-in ASP.NET 2.0 Providers Now Available for Download
Scott Guthrie blogs about the release of the Built-in ASP .NET 2.0 Providers: Today we released the source code for the built-in ASP.NET 2.0 Membership, Role Management, Site Navigation, Session State, Profile, Web Events, and Web Part Personalization providers (basically all of the built-in providers that ship in the .NET 2.0 Framework Redist). You can download them here, and learn more about the ASP.NET 2.0 Provider Model from this site here. The source code is released under a permissive license ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 18, 2006 5:51 PM

Steve McConnell on Software Estimation
Steve McConnell has a new book on Software Estimation. Often referred to as the “black art” because of its complexity and uncertainty, software estimation is not as difficult or puzzling as people think. In fact, generating accurate estimates is straightforward—once you understand the art of creating them.Discover how to:• Estimate schedule and cost—or estimate the functionality that can be delivered within a given time frame• Avoid common software estimation mistakes• ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 18, 2006 5:46 PM

Extending the GridView Control
Dino Esposito shows off the power and flexibility of the new ASP.NET GridView by extending it and ending up with something similar to the Hotmail® Inbox grid. Hotmail uses the checkboxes to enable multiple selection in the Grid, not a feature that’s typically part of a DataGrid or GridView. ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 18, 2006 5:42 PM

ASP.NET Control Template Properties
Dino Esposito has another awesome article on MSDN. This one is on setting up user controls on ASP.NET with template properties. From the introduction: Several controls include properties to set with text and values that display through the control's user interface (UI). The typical example is the Caption property of a GridView control; you set the text and the control renders it out on top of the grid. Such a property doesn't offer a great deal of flexibility, because all that it can do is show a ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 18, 2006 5:34 PM

Distinguishing Yourself
Rajesh Setty has a Squidoo lens helping you Distinguish Yourself. He also has a book on on the subject, and based on what I’ve seen so far, I think I’m going to pick it up. Some of this is “7 Habits” type stuff, but a lot of it pertains specifically to how you can distinguish yourself in the IT industry. He says the following: Distinguishing yourself is your answer to rapid commoditization that is haunting almost all professionals in this global economy. Not distinguishing ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 18, 2006 5:28 PM

April 15 - Make it Just Another Day

Have you figured out how much taxes you owe?  How much you paid this year?

Web Logo FairTax

Plain English Summary of the Bill

Posted On Monday, April 17, 2006 4:26 AM

Converting VS2003 Web Apps to VS2005?
If you are, you’ll want to check this out: VS 2005 Web Application Project Release Candidate Now Available. Their goal: The goal with this new project-option is to address some of the feedback we’ve heard from people who are finding migrating existing apps to the new web-site project model in VS 2005 more work than they’d like to-do (especially because of the new web site build semantics of compiling a web project into multiple assemblies). The new project-type will also help enable ......

Posted On Friday, April 14, 2006 11:29 AM

ASP.NET and debug="true"
Scott Guthrie has a nice summation on a why you don’t want to run with debug=”true” on production servers, and a simple way system admin’s can make sure no one does. One of the things you want to avoid when deploying an ASP.NET application into production is to accidentally (or deliberately) leave the <compilation debug=”true”/> switch on within the application’s web.config file. Doing so causes a number of non-optimal things to happen including: 1) ......

Posted On Friday, April 14, 2006 11:24 AM

XHTML Validaion Module Checker for ASP.NET 2.0
Now this seems very cool. The idea is simple. Configure your website to use our Validator Module and every time a page is rendered you'll get a little report at the top or bottom of your page (your choice). Actually, you'll get a big red report if anything is wrong. We've put together a simple demonstration area where you can see the module in action. Why not try it quickly before reading on ......

Posted On Friday, April 14, 2006 6:54 AM

Tyner Blain likes the Office 2007 UX
I’ve mentioned that I like the new UI for Office 2007 before. Scott Sehlhorst has a great summation about it at the Tyner Blain blog. I have said it before, and I will say it again. Other than upgrades to Outlook, this is the first worthwhile upgrade to the Office Suite since Office 97. I’d say Office 95, but I think there was still some 16–bit code in Office 95. I don’t currently use any features with any kind of regularity that weren’t in Office 8+ years ago, and you ......

Posted On Friday, April 14, 2006 6:26 AM

More on the PPC-6700
I’ve been asked by a couple people now for a more complete review of my new PDA phone, and finally have a chance to post my thoughts. One of the reasons I waited is that I wanted to get the new updates installed, and have some time to check them out. Here’s a size comparison with my original Axim X5, the PPC-6700, and my old phone, the Samsung A500. So, the first thing you see is that the PPC-6700 is actually closer in size to my old phone than the Axim. That was one thing I always disliked ......

Posted On Thursday, April 13, 2006 9:43 AM

Teamprise 1.0
Teamprise 1.0 is now available. This looks like a pretty sweet way to handle mixed-platform development. Teamprise is a suite of client applications for accessing Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server from outside of the Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Teamprise enables software development teams to use the source control and work item tracking features of Team Foundation Server from within the Eclipse IDE, and from other operating systems, including Linux and ......

Posted On Wednesday, April 12, 2006 12:14 PM

C# and .NET Wiki
There’s a new wiki for C# and .NET called C# Online.NET. Looks pretty cool. Here’s the site description: C# Online.NET! (CSharp-Online.NET) lets you learn the C# language, research an API, or find a helpful code snippet. There is something here for C# programmers of all experience levels ......

Posted On Wednesday, April 12, 2006 11:58 AM

Competent Users and Software Requirements
Scott Sehlhorst has been writing quite a bit lately on personas in software requirements. I haven’t mentioned it before, because I’m still ruminating on some of this stuff, but he makes a good case for using them in this article about making sure you’re designing your software for competent users. He poionts out that most requirements come from design issues related to beginners and experts, but that most users fit into neither category. When we’re designing software we need ......

Posted On Wednesday, April 12, 2006 11:51 AM

Better Testing By Developers
Scott Sehlhorst has another great post on Tyner Blain on how to improve whitebox testing. From the introduction: We’ve talked about the value of using whitebox testing in our Software testing series post on whitebox testing. What we haven’t explored is how to make sure we are creating the right tests. We have to validate our tests against the requirements. This post shows where the flaw is in the typical whitebox testing process, and how to fix it. A reader emailed us with the comment, ......

Posted On Wednesday, April 12, 2006 11:41 AM

The 2GB Windows XP Hibernation Problem
Thank God someone at Microsoft has finally fixed this. I just wish the fix was more publicly available, but Jeff Atwood explains what it is and how to get the fix: If you .. use Windows XP SP2 of any flavor have 1+ gigabytes or more of system memory use hibernate functionality .. you may have experienced this error at some point when attempting to hibernate: "Insufficient system resources exist to complete the API." Check out the post ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:10 AM

Descriptive Class Names
Yawn. Another post about descriptive class names. You’ve read it all a zillion times by now. But it’s worth repeating. Do you have a lot of SomethingManager classes? SomethingController might be a bit better, but that’s another one that suffers from over-use. Anyway, Jeff Atwood lays it out on why you shouldn’t have SomethingManager classes, with some stuff ripped almost verbatim from McConnell (if you’re going to plagiarize, McConnell’s a good place to start. ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:53 AM

ASP.NET This Month
Scott Guthrie is compiling a monthly list of what’s up-and-coming from the ASP.NET group. Here’s his list for April: VS 2005 Web Application ProjectAtlas RefreshAtlas Control PackCSS Control AdaptersData Tutorials“How Do I” VideosRSS Tool-Kit Update For more details, check out his post ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:48 AM

A Matter of Perspective: Innovation
If you’ve ever studied the four quadrant approach to time management (Urgency vs. Importance), then Scott Sehlhorst’s post here on the four quadrants of innovation should make perfect sense to you. Just like most of us do in time management, you’re probably spending all your software development life in the wrong quadrant. He shows us how to see that and gives us the first steps on how to fix it. ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:44 AM

Scott Guthrie's Atlas Links
Scott Guthrie has some pointers to some great ASP.NET Atlas Content, including talks and videos.  Worth a look if you’re thinking of spicing up your ASP.NET apps. 

Posted On Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:39 AM

Windows Live OneCare On The Cheap
I got the following e-mail yesterday. If you’re interested, sign up. A special thank you for Windows Live™ OneCare™ beta participants We just can't thank you enough for participating in the Microsoft® Windows Live™ OneCare™ beta program. Your feedback helped us identify and add two very important OneCare service features: antispyware and backup to external hard drive. Special $19.95 pricing In appreciation of your support, we'd like to offer you a special one-year ......

Posted On Thursday, April 6, 2006 5:22 AM

What Is a Software Architect?

Michael Stal lays it all out right here.

A software architect should have expertise in the following: Software Engineering, Software Process, Project Management, Business Skills, Technology, Implementation, and Social Skills.

I think he’s exactly right, and I see immediately where I need to improve.

Posted On Thursday, April 6, 2006 5:17 AM

Scrum for Team System
Since today is apparently “Agile” day, I’ll mention that Scrum for Team System is now available and you can’t beat the price (free). Scrum for Team System is a free Agile Software Development Methodology add-in for Microsoft Visual Studio Team System, developed by Conchango, in collaboration with Ken Schwaber and the Microsoft Technology Centre UK. Scrum for Team System provides development teams with deep support for the use of Scrum, when running projects using Visual Studio ......

Posted On Thursday, April 6, 2006 5:02 AM

Pairwise testing
There’a a good article on the benefits of pairwise test over at Tyner Blain. I’ve said before that I believe that Extreme Programming is the way to go in the future for software development, but that it has two big hurdles to overcome: a) explaining it to management, b) making it work better with project management. The XPers will tell you that iterative releases will solve the PM issues, but I’m not totally sold that that has all the answers. That, however, belongs to another topic. ......

Posted On Thursday, April 6, 2006 4:58 AM

OOP and Design Patterns Resources - Books Websites Articles

David Hayden posts about some good books to read to understand OOP and Design Patterns.  I’m sad to say that I only have one of the five he mentions, but at least now I have some more things for my reading list.  :)

 

Posted On Thursday, April 6, 2006 4:45 AM

Storing User Data in ASP.NET
There’s a good article on MSDN on the Profile feature of ASP.NET 2.0. From the introduction: Profile provides a simple way of defining database-backed user profile information. With a few configuration file entries, you can quickly build a site that stores user preferences (or any other data, for that matter) into a database, all with a simple type-safe interface for the developer. Profile looks and feels much like Session state, but unlike Session state, Profile is persistent across sessions. ......

Posted On Thursday, April 6, 2006 4:41 AM

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