Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I've been using this super-handy note-taking utility called EverNote lately. It's kind of hard to describe; here's how the Wall Street Journal describes it:

"Note takers, take note...EverNote turns your computer into a notebook that is, in effect, comprised of a continuous long sheet of paper -- like a Web page that keeps going and going."

I love it.. and it's free (for now, anyway)

Wow - so much to do, so much to cover. I've been busy this week with Sharepoint and Content Management Server, in preparation for this pesky 74-132 test this weekend. This is one of those "partner" tests. No practice tests are available for this; let's just hope it all goes well..

In other news - SQL Server 2005 has been occupying a large part of my small brain lately. I attended a 2-day overview of the new features in SQL Server 2005 for developers. Wow. Not only was the little class very well done, but SQL Server 2005 has some great new things to play with, such as: A service broker that can be manipulated all with Transact SQL (it's all at the database level), some very cool CLR integration, the XML data type, etc and so on. It's been fun.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Jeez, time sure flies when you're gainfully employed. Since my last entry, the holidays came and went, and now we're halfway through February. I 'll bet that a lot of blogs suffered low volumetric updates this past period - I mean you figure, well the holidays are always busy, and they are followed by the long, dark Jan and Feb. I heard that a study was recently done to find the ONE day of the year on which most people just feel the worst out of the whole year, and it's sometime in January. I believe it, in fact I've had whole weeks where I've felt about like crap, for no particular reason. Not bloggy at all...

But spring is making its way, in a little over a month.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Is there anyone in the world that moves text around by hilighting some text and then dragging that little rectangular outline to a new spot with the mouse button? Is there anyone in the world that has ever renamed a folder while selecting a download location? Is there anyone in the world that wants to see folder contents in any view other than Details?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I like to collect lists of valuable resources - the kinds of things that you can get cheap, but are incredibly useful. For the past 6 months I've been doing all VB.NET / ASP.NET work, so here's a list of recommended reading and resources that good enough and cheap enough to get anyone going in a big way:

Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Programmer's CookbookPaperback: 800 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 2.01 x 8.99 x 7.38 Publisher: Microsoft Press; 1 edition (June 11, 2003) ISBN: 073561931X

Building Applications and Components with Visual Basic .NET By Ted Pattison, Dr. Joe Hummel Paperback: 512 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.07 x 9.32 x 7.04 Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1st edition (October 17, 2003) ISBN: 0201734958

Essential ASP.NET with Examples in Visual Basic .NET
by Fritz OnionPaperback: 432 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.03 x 9.28 x 7.38 Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1st edition (February 11, 2003) ISBN: 0201760398

ASP.NET Data Web Controls Kick Start
by Scott Mitchell Paperback: 432 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.99 x 9.22 x 7.38 Publisher: Sams; 1st edition (February 12, 2003) ISBN: 0672325012

XSLT Quickly
Excellent XSLT tutorial with tons of examples. The ebook is available from Manning for only $15 for a download.

Essential XML Quick Reference: A Programmer's Reference to XML, XPath, XSLT, XML Schema, SOAP, and MoreFree download : http://www.theserverside.net/books/addisonwesley/EssentialXML/downloads/EssentialXML.zip

1. Go to msdn.com
2. Select “Library” in the menu bar at the top
3. Select “.NET Development” in the left navigation menu
4. .. then “.NET Framework SDK”
5. .. then “.NET Framework”
6. .. then “Reference”
7. .. then “Class Library” for documentation on ALL the .NET framework namespaces
8. .. or “Compiler and Language Reference” for VB.Net manuals

About LearnVisualStudio.NET
This website contains over 350 video tutorial lessons on many .NET topics spanning every experience level from beginner to advanced. You can obtain access to every single video via a Gold or Platinum Membership subscription for as little as $29.95, or try out the service for FREE via a Bronze Membership subscription and receive new videos every week or two.(Note – the “videos” are Windows Media Player files that you download and play on your PC)
GOLD Membership - 3 Month Subscription - Only $29.95 - Instant Activation - Get access to any new videos added to the site for the next 3 months!

The Safari Bookshelf is an electronic reference library for programmers and IT professionals. Unlike an online bookstore, with Safari you can search the electronic versions of over 1,300 books simultaneously. Get started with a 10-slot bookshelf for as little as $14.99 per month

DotNetRocks! is a weekly "radio" show conducted online by Carl Franklin and his sidekick Rory Blyth. Every week, they put the archive on the site as downloadable MP3 files, which you can then burn to CD. The material and the guests are incredible! Great free resource.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The challenge of multiple and incompatible IDEs ... In the past few weeks it's been a constant shuttling between VS.NET 2003 for ASP.NET code, SQL Navigator for Oracle work, Stylus Studio for XSL work, and an occasional TextPad for various odd catch-all usage. All of these are used on the same project, so it's a constant Alt-Tab-festival between the various open tools. Tabbing and keyboarding is different and incompatible within at least SQL Navigator, which exhibits some very bizarre and different behavior in the area of text selection and tabbing for copy/paste.

There should be some sort of standard keyboard action sets that different products can officially support. Didn't there used to be the Windows UI standards or something? All I know is when I'm (trying to) quickly whip around, and it's all day every day, it really starts to wear on you. Brings to mind the bread factory that Joel desciribes - and he's right! It's the little things add up and wear you down...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

OK. Yea it's been awhile. Reporting with DataGrids, ay? No way. Not a good idea. Oh we found another way. One team member is using the HTML object model to add a row, add a column, add the data, set the style, etc etc row by row by row. Well that's one way to get it done, I guess.

I on the other hand opted to use XSLT. From a web page (maybe on a button click after grabbing the desired parms set on the page by the user manipulating the UI, selecting dates, etc) I call into the business layer and eventually come up with a typed dataset with the desired results. I do a GetXML on that, and then translate the resulting XML into a thing of rapt beauty - a "report".

This has been both interesting, fun and enjoyable, while aggravating at the same time. I like the seperation of function and data -- I have a folder full of various XSLT stylesheets. For a typical report page, there's an Xml control on the page and not much else. Most of the page is embodied in the XSL.

I can't remember the exact sequence that takes place to transform the XML, although I think the method is actually called "Transform". Details to follow..

Kudos to Stylus Studio -- I work out the details of the XSL required and then copy/paste it into the solution once it's working. Stylus Studio lets you target the .NET XSL processor (which is XSL 1.0, and not as robust as MSXML 4.0)

I've used XML Spy before - it seems to be everybody's favorite.. I dunno why.

Kudos also to XSLT Quickly - really good XSLT book, and at a good price for the e-book. Bob DuCharme does a great job at using MANY examples to demonstrate the topics in great detail. I need that..

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

It's been rough these days...

The project I've been working on has been. You want details? OK.. it seems that the client is afraid of using Crystal Reports.NET, the version bundled with VS.NET. Afraid? Well, apparently there's been rumors about the designer interface being buggy, or lack of good books on the product, and other such FUD-like fears. And, since this is an all-Oracle (plus .NET) shop, SQL Server Reporting Services is out too...

I tried to convince them otherwise. There's at least one good book out there. And there's a fair amount of users using it.. But 'twas for naught; they want to create "reports" using the DataGrid. Details as the grunge of it all wears in ....

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