Some Nice Utility Classes for ASP.NET Developers

posted on 06/27/07 at 10:20:12 pm by Joel Ross

A couple of weeks ago, Phil Haack (developer of SubText)?posted about?some utility type functionality?that most people reinvent rather than use what's built-in. And he's completely right. Most of what he writes about I have either seen others build or have built myself - and it's not NIH syndrome, it's IIB syndrome (Ignorance Is Bliss).

The .NET framework is so big that for some of the more obscure classes, you either have to see it used in a code sample or randomly stumble upon it. Yeah, they're all documented on MSDN, but how many of you have actually gone out to MSDN and 1.) tried to read through their dry documentation, and 2.) looked through all of the namespaces? By the time you were able to do it, a new framework would be out!

Anyway, the article is definitely worth a read - now I just have to remember these!

Also, read through the comments - there's some nice tips about other oft-reinvented functionality, as well as some?gotchas to watch out for with the utilities listed.

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Categories: Development


Timely Comparison of Web Sites vs. Web Applications

posted on 06/27/07 at 10:19:34 pm by Joel Ross

Susan Warren does a comparison of web sites vs. web applications. I thought it was a good comparison, and actually thought it was biased towards web sites at first, and fairly balanced by the end.?But the first commenter takes her to task for favoring web applications too much. You can't please everyone, I guess.

Honestly, as soon as the web application beta came?out, I jumped on board and converted everything over that I could.?I find it easier to manage, building is easier (and full builds are quicker), and there's less "magic" involved.?

Of course, maybe I wouldn't see a bias even if it was there.

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Categories: ASP.NET


Open Source .NET Donations From Microsoft

posted on 06/27/07 at 10:17:49 pm by Joel Ross

Jeff Atwood (of CodingHorror fame) is working with Microsoft to find the most deserving open source .NET projects - and then inject some cash into those projects. Both Microsoft and Jeff are ponying up $5,000 and they'll distribute it based on popular demand. All that's left is for us to head over to his post and nominate our favorite open source projects.

My initial reaction was to say CruiseControl.NET because I use that on a daily basis, but as I read through the comments, someone pointed out that they are pretty well backed by Thoughtworks - it's not to say they don't deserve it, but there are probably some projects that could use it a bit more. I'd hate to see another popular project go the way of NDoc.

So, what projects would I like to see get the money? Good question. My top projects would probably be NAnt and NUnit.

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Categories: Software


CruiseControl.NET 1.3 Released

posted on 06/22/07 at 09:43:00 am by Joel Ross

The release notes were out two days before the release, but it's out there?now. Time to start upgrading!

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Categories: Software


Web Navigation Strategies on the Polymorphic Podcast

posted on 06/21/07 at 11:22:24 pm by Joel Ross

Craig Shoemaker's latest podcast is on something he came up with called WebNavigator, and I listened to it this afternoon. it's very similar to what I now do on most of my projects, but better.

From his site, here's the problem he's seeking to solve:

You and Joe are working on a sizable web application. Nasty-Coder Joe, who is on another team, creates a new page that requires 2 session variables and a query string parameter in order for his page to work properly. You now need to pass data to this page to finish your last feature before you leave for vacation in one hour. Without reading Nasty-Coder Joe's code to try and figure out what the necessary session variables and QueryString paramenters are, how do you use his page?

Good thing he used Joe and not Joel! Anyway, I typically create a static set of classes that contain public readonly fields that hold the URLs. Most of my URLs are obtained by using those fields. I also usually create a UrlController class that handles the case when you need the URL to have parameters attached to it, but after looking at Craig's solution, I think I like it better than what I've been doing - mainly because by using methods to get the URL, you know what data can be sent to the page based on the method parameters.

Bottom line: give it a listen. It's worth at least checking out.

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Categories: Development


Microsoft Surface Advertising

posted on 06/20/07 at 11:47:30 pm by Joel Ross

Here's a great parody video on Microsoft Surface. It's funny 'cuz it's true!

via Furrygoat

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Categories: General


CruiseControl 1.3

posted on 06/20/07 at 11:21:36 pm by Joel Ross

I monitor the RSS feed for updated documents on the CruiseControl.NET website, and the other day, I saw the release notes for version 1.3 come through. Now, I'm not quite like i used to be?- as soon as a new release was out, I'd pull it down and get it up and running. Now, I'm a little more cautious when I upgrade. I need a reason - either a new CI installation or a compelling reason to upgrade.

Well, 1.3 has a compelling reason to upgrade! Queues. You don't realize you need it until you, well, need it. But once you realize you do need it, you seem to butt up against it more and more. On a couple of projects in the past, we've used shared DLLs which would get compiled in the same location for two different projects, and sometimes, when those built at the same time, we'd get build failures because the files it was trying to write to was locked. I know, I know - each should have gotten latest to a different folder, so this wouldn't happen, but we had reasons for doing what we did. Anyway, if we had queues though, we wouldn't have had to worry about this situation. We could have just queued up the builds, and avoided the collisions.

Coincidentally, this week, I'm doing training on how to use continuous integration, and I went to download the latest, expecting to see version 1.3. But it apparently hasn't been released yet - even though the release notes are out there. At least it gives me something to look forward to!

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Categories: Development


VHDMount - A Life (And Time) Saver

posted on 06/19/07 at 11:45:51 pm by Joel Ross

I've said it before, but I am a huge Virtual PC fan - all of my development is done in a virtual environment. Off of the top of my head, I can think of 10+ virtual machines that are either on my laptop or backed up on an external drive.

But there's always been one thing that's been a pain about using Virtual PC - my files I work on day to day end up stored in a file that's pretty much a black box to the operating system - until now! With the release of Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, Microsoft added a tool called VHDMount, which allows you to mount a VHD file in the host OS, and access the files without opening up the virtual machine. This means when I need a file from one project while I'm working on another one, I no longer have to shut down one VPC to open another - or open two at the same time, and watch my laptop start smoking! I can just mount the drive, grab the file I need, unmount the drive, and never lose my momentum!

The Virtual PC Guy has full details on how to use it, and Dave Northey has the low down on how to install it without installing all of Virtual Server.

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Categories: Software


PayItSquare's Latest Feature

posted on 06/13/07 at 12:03:24 am by Joel Ross

We've added a cool new feature to that makes it easier to play around with the payment features without having to sign up. We made it so that anyone can get to the Group Payment page to mess around with it. If you decide you want to actually collect money, then you sign up - but only after you're comfortable with the site.

We've been getting quite a bit of traffic, but not as many sign ups as we'd like, and we think this is one of the biggest reasons why. Hopefully this will help!

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Categories: Develomatic Reviewed By

posted on 05/29/07 at 09:34:24 pm by Joel Ross

Last Friday, before the big holiday weekend, Brian and I got a nice surprise - we got an email from one of the writers over at asking about, which Brian happily answered. Later that afternoon, the post was up, which gave us a nice little traffic boost over the weekend, not to mention it was a favorable review!

I've been a big fan of Download Squad since its inception, so it was pretty cool to see them review something I've been a part of.

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Categories: Develomatic


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