Tech Blog

Jay's Technical blog

Why does search suck??!!

31 July 2007
Jay Kimble

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

Ok, I maybe violating a rule here, but I gotta say it (in fact this post is directed at a particular somebody at MS who has caused me to ponder Google's role in my life). 

Tonight I'm trying to pull up 1 simple thing.  I want to download the VS 2008 beta 2 on my computer "at work" (which I am remoted into)... manually copying over the VPN will take entirely too long.

I did a quick search from my home page on my box at work... the home page at work is I guess you can see how much I've customized it.  I am using as a feed reader, so that's my home page on most of my boxes...

Anyway, VS 2008 beta 2 just released last week and I'm wanting to get it installed as we are planning on using multi-targeting with our existing ASP.NET 2.0 app (but enough of that).

I typed in "VS 2008 beta2 downloads" hit enter and up appear several 1 month old posts predicting when beta 2 will be available for download.  I add "Orcas" to that... mostly it's the same old posts.  I've tried a number of combinations... everything ends up nowhere.

So I go to the Evil Anti-Privacy empire (, type in "VS 2008 beta2 download." And guess what the first link is?  You guessed it... the direct page on MSDN for the downloads of the VS 2008 betas 2 bits.

I'm not one to bite the hand that (sort of) feeds me, but come on!!??  The best search engine for MS' properties should be an MS Search Engine!!

[tags:, google, web search comparisons]

MS Ajax JSP Tags v0.10 ... Now with an UpdatePanel

18 July 2007
Jay Kimble

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

I just thought I would announce an update to my JSP tags that target the MS Ajax client in JSP apps.

The big announcement is that I have an UpdatePanel!  I'm not sure any of the other (non-.NET-based) libraries like this have an UpdatePanel.  I know that the ColdFusion one that targets .NET does have an UpdatePanel (but in my mind that's .NET code... but maybe I'm wrong).

I also have an UpdatePanelProgress tag as well.  The promise is that with the way my UpdatePanel (not the standard MS one) is implemented I should be able to make many (if not all) of the other UpdatePanelProgress controls work.

Anyway, I'll be bringing up my personal site sometime soon, and I plan on doing a lengthy article on how to build an UpdatePanel.

One more thing, because I implemented these tags the way that I have it shouldn't be that hard to get them to work in other languages (do I hear ASP.NET 1.1 anyone?)

[tags: MS Ajax, JSP, Tag Libraries]

NE Ohio and Pittsburgh Area -- Available to Speak

16 July 2007
Jay Kimble

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

So I have a new contract going on right now.  This contract takes me to Canton, Ohio once a month.  I've found that flying into Pittsburgh is actually cheaper for me (and my client), so I'm also in that area (for a short time... I am a Browns fan) as well.

Anyway, take a map and draw a line from Cleveland, Ohio to Canton, Ohio, and then to Pittsburgh.  If you run a .NET users group in any place near the line I had you draw, I would love to present to your users group.  I love to speak (even though I am way outside my comfort zone) and present and would love to find some speaking engagements in that area of the country.

If you don't have a users group in your neck of the woods, but its within my range... why not consider starting one?  You can join INETA and the INETA guys will send you speakers occasionally, and I would be willing to speak as well... and I know of someone else on CodeBetter who lives there, and I may have a couple other friends I could kick into gear to speak...

So why not?  It's a great thing to do.. you'll really upgrade the talent in your area and possibly raise the local rates, and I hear that MS will occasionally reward people for doing this type of thing.

[tags: Ohio, Pittsburgh, .NET, User Group]

Review: - web testing for the rest of us

13 July 2007
Jay Kimble

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

[I'll be making another post on this later, but I gotta talk about this one now... It's very cool!]

Personally I have been looking for a set of testing tools that don't require a superhuman effort.  In particular I want to regression test a Web site's GUI. Since I do a lot of Ajax stuff these days, I have yet to find anything that fits the bill for what I need... Enter In

It's a testing suite that comes with browser recording capabilities that creates VB or C# unit testing code.  While most recording utilities do a decent job for traditional web sites, the problems start to arise when you try to test an Ajax site.

I've looked at another tool similar to this one, but it came with no recording capabilities making the effort superhuman IMO.  You also have to put some mockups into your html code to help the testing suite.  No such issues here.

You could probably write tests against gmail with this thing (it really doesn't care what the web site was written in and doesn't really have a requirement). 

Recording Suite

So here's what it does.  Recording is an overly simplistic description of their tool.  A better description would be a testing studio.  You browse the web site with the internally referenced (IE6 or IE7) web browser within a pane in the main window. 

In the right hand sidebar see the source of the page as reported by the browser's DOM (so it's not the actual page source, it's the "resulting" source after all the current list of dynamically generated elements were applied to the source code.  You can actually right click elements in the DOM after setting up a sequence of clicks or keyboard presses and perform various actions against elements in the DOM (for instance, you can assert (test) that something exists or can cause a mouseclick on a dynamically generated element).

Meanwhile in the bottom frame, you see your code as it is being recorded.  Once this is done you can simply copy the code into an test project in Visual Studio (or you can use it with the Vs2008 Test facilities, or with Nunit, or...)

The test framework

The author of seems to be very much aware of what is going on in other frameworks.  In fact he's borrowed a couple features from other frameworks like MbUnit's ability to create parameter driven tests, and it appears to be very similar to most xUnit test frameworks.  I can definitely see this tool used to create a set of web tests against a web site and then doing some checks against the database to make sure that records added were added, records updated were updated, etc (the flexibility to scrape data from the browser's html is definitely there). 

To me it seems like the perfect tool for TAD (test after development)  unit testers (like me), or for apps where you need to scrape something from an HTML page.

[tags: testing, Ajax, unit testing]

.NET as an Alternative to JavaScript in the browser talk

10 July 2007
Jay Kimble

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

Ok, I think I missed announcing this.  I'm giving a talk on alternatives to writing JavaScript as the clientscript in the browser.

The talk will center around 2 technologies (and be mostly demo-driven). 

One of the two technologies, Script#, is available today and gives you a translator from C# to JavaScript.  So you can write C# and have well-written JavaScript produced for you behind the scenes.  The produced JavaScript will look very similar to the original C# code.

The other technology is a future one, but no less cool (and if you read my blog, you know about it).  Silverlight can be used to manipulate the DOM (Html) Document in the browser.  Nearly everything that you can do with JavaScript you can do with C#, VB, Python, etc. via the Silverlight plugin running in the browser (albeit with a tiny bit of effort).  Come see how to do it!

Oh, yeah if you missed the Day of Ajax, I'll be repeating my talk on Best Practices with MS Ajax.  I promise to have a better delivery this time (hopefully, I'll be awake... Kabza scheduled me for early morning... I am NOT a morning person)

[tags: Tampa Bay Code Camp, Silverlight, Script#, ClientScript is yucky]