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Jay's Technical blog

Interesting Adventures in OOP blog (not by me)

31 August 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

I was just catching up on reading over at Eric Wise's blog (I just realized I hadn't subscribed... I meant to awhile ago).

Anyway, Eric has an entry back on August 13th that I think those of you reading the “Adventures In OOP” category should see.  Here's the article.  Eric gets into a discussion of the MVC pattern and why he doesn't think it's a good architecture for ASP.Net (if you don't know what MVC is, he explains it).  The article actually gets into the layer logic that I've talked about here.


First "big" PocketPC app

30 August 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

I'm working on my first big PocketPC app with the .Net Compact Framework.  I've been pleasantly surprised that I really am up to speed on the topic (considering that I have my Dell Axim strapped to my side).

Some stuff you should know before starting any kind of development with the Compact Framework.

1) Go to OpenNetCF and bookmark their site they are going to have some very pertinent articles and links that you'll need
2) While you're there grab their framework which adds a number of features of the regular Framework back into the compact framework (stuff like XML Serialization, WSE2 support, and much, much more).  You really need it!

Ok, some cool stuff I'm doing in my app.  The app itself is a simple little capture data save it for later, let me search it, and then send it somewhere when I get connected to the internet.  I'm actually using the compressed (serialized) dataset described here.  I have a complete mini database for CF purposes (very cool!) and later I'll be able to push the file if I want to some big framework app and be able to use the same library.  I've even added to the original library.  I didn't like that I couldn't save.  I have some more stuff I want to do with it, but I'll definitely post it (is there any easier way to post code other than creating a GotDotNet workspace (I really don't want to continue working on it...) 

I'm also using Justin Weinberg's “Another Multiform Framework” (which is a modification of something Chris Tacke did).  I really like it!  It mainly accounts for the fact the DotNet CF doesn't do a great job creating controls as well as launching new forms can take extra work... anyway, read the article if you're interested.  BTW, I read the article on OpenNetCF... so see they are an awesome resource.


Misc Ramblings...

30 August 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

I have a couple small posts in mind.  I don't think any of them really deserves a full post (OK, maybe one of them does, and I think I'll post about it shortly)...


As usual I've been fairly busy.  I discovered a couple interesting open projects (yeah the source is available) that I'm considering using. 

The first is EzWeb.  It seems like a pretty cool little content management solution.  (Dave and I have been kind of looking for a good ASP.Net app framework.  This one is a definite candidate.  I haven't done anything more than install it and play, but it really reminds me of the content management framework that Dave and I built for our former employer (hydrogenmedia.com); I could give you a small list of companies using a version of our CM.  EzWeb appears to have that small footprint (and it's easy to setup which is something we could never say about our CM).

The second is a competitor for our app framework.  DotNetNuke (in case you haven't heard) is a huge web site building application.  It can be used by non-techies to produce a web-site.  It is the ultimate in content management.  It lets an end-user place what are called “modules” in content areas (which can in turn be defined behind the scenes).  The app is fully skinnable (and I'm sure graphic artists would love it!)  I wish I had it back in the day.

BTW, if you assume that I've already made my decision as to which tool is destined for use by Dave and I, you've missed a major tenet of programming that I preach (and I'm about to do so). 
<Development_Sermon>
You see, my dad retired from a Stainless Steel Factory; he was what is called a millright which means that he worked on all the big machinery (he fixed the machines).  My dad is very good with his hands (I unfortunately am not).  One of the things I have picked up from my dad that applies to the software development industry is that (GET READY HERE'S THE POINT) you use the right tool for the right job.  (JUST IN CASE YOU  MISS THE POINT) You don't use a hammer when what you need is a screw driver,  or you don't use a wrench when what you need is a hammer (as I attempted to do this weekend).  (I could take pot shots at various dev tools that I'm not a big fan of, but I'll abstain).
</Development_Sermon>
So you see it will all depend on what I'm doing.  (and now for something fun)



Having an “I'm in the phone book!“ moment
DonXML mentions his blogroll  here.  I'm on it! (Hey, my ego needs a boost every once in a while... BTW, Hi Don!  That is if you're actually reading and didn't just add me to make me feel good <grin />)

Free ASP.Net Stuff you can't live without...

25 August 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

Ok, it might not be that awesome, but I have come across a few items that (if you are an Asp.net developer) you'll find useful (or at least potentially useful).

1) Asp.Net Resource Kit - Contains a bunch of 3rd party components: ComponentOne Studio Enterprise (without subscription), IP*Works! CC ICharge, Infragistics NetAdvantage ASP.NET grid, Sax.net Security, and telerik's r.a.d.rotator and r.a.d.spell.
2) VB.Net Resource Kit - This includes some real 3rd party components: ComponentOne Studio Enterprise (again without a subscription), and Infragistics UltraWebNavigator and UltraWinTree Controls [it also includes Dundas Chart for Winforms and the Sax.net Communications library].  It also includes some nice samples, articles, and other goodies.
3) eXcentrics World Controls - Has 11 ASP.Net controls available: Accordion Panel, Bread Crumb Trail, Calendar Popup, Collapsible Panel, Empty DataGrid, Faq Repeater, Masked TextBox, Multi-Text List Controls, Numeric Box, Ordered Listbox, and TimePicker.  Very well done!  Source can be purchased (which is nice).
4) MetaBuilders Controls - (One of my favorites... I should send Andy Smith some money someday).  This site has a huge collection of goodies (all with source code!).  It has DataGrid Bound Columns (not that I'm a fan of the DataGrid, but you might be) - BoundBooleanColumn, BoundLookupColumn, and RowSelectorColumn. He also has a nice sized supply of ASP.Net components: CheckedListBox, ComboBox (complete with free form typing... doesn't work in Maxthon, BTW), ConfirmedButtons, CustomForm, DefaultButtons, DialogWindow, DualList, DynamicListbox, ExpandingButtons, ExpandingPanel, FileUpload, FirstFocus, GlobalRadioButton, ListLink, MasterPages, NestedRepeater, OneClick, ParsingContainer, QueryCall, RemoteWindow, ResizeMonitor, RollOverLink, RuntimeTemplate, ScrollingPanel (a favorite of mine), TypeValidators, and UpDown. 
<gasping for air from long list /> As you may be able to guess a few of these are invisible controls that control some client-side aspect of the page.  Andy has made a good mix (IMHO) of server-side and client-side code... It's not just client-side scriptlets that have been wrapped (they all work in the VS.Net designer!).  My one complaint is that each control is a separate project (and therefore a separate DLL).  I've tried to put them all in one DLL, but I get errors when I deploy the library...

(I figure none of this is news to most of you, but there are others who may discover my blog and need this stuff).  I will write about some of the single control gems that I've found in the not-so distant future.


Installing Reporting Services + Bonus

23 August 2004
Jay Kimble

[WARNING! This is an archived post and as such there may be things broken/missing here.. you have been warned.]

Ok, So I have now gotten enough info on SQL Reporting Services that I would like to offer some advice for installing it (With Windows XP in mind).

Requirements
- First of all, you must have SQL Reporting services does not work with MSDE (Free SQL Server).  In order to install it on Windows XP you will need SQL Server Developer's edition (which is MSDE plus some additional goodies).  The SQL Reporting Services Database will install on any other version of SQL Server (just not on MSDE).
- You also need to already have the IIS web server installed.
- After you have IIS installed, install the .Net framework version 1.1 (this will ensure that you have ASP.Net installed.  ASP.Net is also a requirement, and you want it installed before running the installer)
- If you plan on using the client tools then you need Visual Studio.Net 2003 installed (I'm not sure which version.. I've installed reporting services on both VS.Net 2003 Professional and VS.Net 2003 Architect... I imagine that standard will work as well).
(Have each of the above installed in the order that I have indicated).

Installation Steps
1) (did you notice that I didn't specify a service pack for the SQL Server... that's because the Reporting Services installer is really finicky).  From a clean (re)boot, install SQL Server SP3a (download it from Http://www.microsoft.com/sql/downloads/).
2) Reboot (I don't care if the SP3a installer told you to reboot or not... reboot anyway)
3) Check the Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC) service.  Is it running?  If  not start it.  If it won't start go to the event log and see what's the message is (read any error messages closely... I had this problem and I missed that the solution was in the message)
4) (Now that DTC is running you can proceed).  Install SQL Reporting services.  If all goes well you'll make it to the end.  You won't know if all was right until it gets to the very end.  I've had probably a dozen installations fail right at the 99% mark and then had to acknowledge the error and watch the entire thing get rolled back.
5) (yep, there's more).  Reboot.
6) Install SQL Reporting Services SP1 (available at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/reporting/)
7) (just to be safe) Reboot.

I include step 6 because I think you'll find the report wizard (in Visual Studio) much easier to use... they had some fields required originally that really shouldn't have been required (this is the bonus Reporting Services SP1 fixes the wizard and probably a few other things).