eWorld.UI - Matt Hawley

Ramblings of Matt

Personalization Changes in VS.NET 2005 CTP

March 31, 2004 19:24 by matthaw

I started trudging my way through some more hands on labs, and when I got to the personalization HOL, the suggested web.config entries wouldn't work:

property name="NickName" type="System.String"
property name="Address" type="System.String"

So, after doing some digging around the newsgroups...I found a thread in one of the private Whidbey newsgroups, stating that personalization had been changed, and that you need to use the following format in the CTP drop:


        <add name="NickName" type="System.String"/>
        <add name="Address" type="System.String"/>
        <add name="SelectedTheme" type="System.String"/>


Happy Whidbey Coding!

Categories: Whidbey
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VS.NET 2005 CTP & ASP.NET - Round 2

March 31, 2004 01:00 by matthaw

I started digging into ASP.NET 2.0 some more today, playing with the new security controls & data binding. I've very impressed in how both of these work, with the ability to "open" things up by providing your own providers & databinding against custom business objects.

I was able to throw together a very simplistic secured application using the security controls in a matter of minutes.  Sure, it didn't look pretty, but I was able to register, log in, change my password, and logout without writing more than 5 lines of code.  One word comes to my mind... "wow".  I wanted to dive in further, and see if I could create my own provider, but I decided against that for now because I wanted to get into the nitty gritty stuff.

So...I travelled along, following the Hands on Labs from PDC, and only got as far as databinding.  Again, one word comes to mind..."wow".  It was one thing seeing Scott give a demo on it, but was a completely different experience when actually creating data-bound pages with ease.  So far, I've only had a beef with the IDE when trying to bind against business logic layers that return something other than DataSet or DataTable (List<T> just doesn't like to show up in the Wizard).  But, after looking at the code to reference a business object, I was able to use a List<T> return type, and again...was thuroughly amazed.

After my rant from yesterday, I'm starting to get more used to the environment.  It still would be nice to go back to the traditional way if we wanted, but I can handle without it for now. So...I guess my next steps are to continue going through the Hands on Labs, and eventually create a working website that showcases everything I've learned.

Categories: Whidbey
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Reporting Bugs in VS.NET 2005 CTP

March 30, 2004 00:21 by matthaw

As I'm starting to use VS.NET 2005 CTP more and more, I'm coming across some bugs...duh!  Well, I was hunting around the IDE to see if there was a "Submit a Bug" menu item, or a shortcut to a website...however I could not find anything.

Then it dawned on me...I bet theres a newsgroup for this in the private sector...sure enough there was.  So, I've posted a few bugs there, and will do so for future ones, and I would suggest everyone else doing the same (unless MS has another form of collecting bug submissions that I'm not aware of).  So if you want access, point you're preferreed news reader to:

Server: privatenews.microsoft.com
Newsgroup: microsoft.private.whidbey.aspnet.bugs
Username: privatenews\VSUser
Password: Password

This news server also has some other whidbey related newsgroups that I've subscribed too as well, but there isn't that much activity.  Lets turn that around and make that the place to go for help & bug submissions!

Categories: Whidbey
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VS.NET 2005 & ASP.NET Projects

March 29, 2004 18:53 by matthaw

Well I started to get into using ASP.NET in VS.NET 2005 CTP this morning, and I definately have to say, its much further along than the windows forms.  So far I'm really impressed with it, and I would like to share some of my experiences & impressions:

  • When adding a Web.config file to a web site, the debug attribute in compilation is set to "false". Why is that? When I'm developing an application in this stage, I want it set to "true".
  • I miss not having "Add new Webform" or "Add new User Control" from the context menu for a project.  I realize that they're are more options that you can choose from, but sometimes all I need is a webform/user control.  Maybe we could see these come back, which will not prompt you like in VS.NET 03, but will add the file, then automatically allow you to edit the file name?
  • I like the new interface to open up websites, with the ability to choose your site via UNC, Local IIS, FTP, Remote Sites (FP Extensions?), and Source Control.  I've not tested all of these, but probably will in the near future.
  • Typing HTML is now XHTML compliant! VS.NET auto-reformats it so it is complaint.
  • When I attempted to add a new item, no templates were visible, however I didn't know I had to choose a language...after doing so, the templates were populated in the list view.
  • The new Wizard control is very sweet...though adding controls to different wizard steps produces duplicate control ids.

And then I stopped - because I couldn't figure out how to add code classes to perform actual processing logic...that will wait till later...however, I do have a major rant about this...

I really hate how web applications are now supposed to be built.  We have to use a "Code" folder to place all code which is to be compiled whenever you view a webpage.  We have no option to "Build" projects, or web applications anymore...so finding syntax errors, or incorrectly referenced namespaces requires you to go to your web browser, hit refresh, and see the detailed error report.  So - why do I hate this, well I want to know what my build errors are prior to viewing the webpage, I want to build assemblies...so to sum it up... I want the old functionality back!  Now, if they're is a way of doing this (and I believe there is), please let me know.  I only say this because we're breaking a HUGE enterprise rule, and that is deploying source code with applications, and when you're developing applications for clients, this is a big NO NO because the source code could fall into someone's lap that isn't supposed to have it.

Now that my rant is over, please let me know how to develop like this, I really hate not having that functionality present, or very apparent.

Categories: Whidbey
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Scott Guthrie on Data with ASP.NET in VS.NET 2005

March 29, 2004 18:20 by matthaw

I just finished watching Scott Guthrie's episode on MSDN TV on "Data with ASP.NET in Visual Studio 2005", and I definately have to say that this is one of the better demonstrations of databinding I've seen for Whidbey.  During the first half of the demo, it was the "quick-n-dirty" way of creating data-bound pages, which in corporate environments, have no play for "reality".  This half went back to my earlier rants (which I can't find :( ) about why some properties are set the way they are...and that is to provide the quickest & dirtiest way of providing a working demo for non-technical users in the least amount of time.

However, the second half of the demo was right up every enterprise and corporate developers alley... databinding with the use of business tier objects.  This was by far the best & easiest example of how to do this.  Being able to do this in future versions has really amazed me, only because this is THE only way business applications should be using databinding.

Great job & Thanks a TON Scott!!

Categories: Whidbey
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New Utility: Resizer

March 29, 2004 17:07 by matthaw

How often do you need to resize & compress images after taking a TON of pictures on your digital camera?  I've come across this issue many times, and resizing & compressing 50+ images at a time is always a pain.  Now, with Resizer (current version 0.2), this pain is illeviated by allowing you to load a directory of images, select which ones to resize, choose a size, then sit back...wait...and view the resized images.  The wizard based approach allows any non-technical user to resize images with ease.

Resizer is available as freeware, and source code is not available.  Please post any comments/suggestions/bugs to this blog.

Download Resizer Now! (You will need the .NET framework 1.1.4322 to run this application).

Categories: Resizer
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XP SP2 RC1 - Dead, after 3 days

March 27, 2004 05:10 by matthaw

Well, it took 3 days to officially kill my computer after installing Windows XP SP2 RC1.  Well, it didn't necessarily kill it, but it would freeze during the bootup.  That was only the peak of things this evening, however earlier this afternoon everything just shut down...no blue screen of death, nothing.

So, after booting into Safe Mode, I was able to successfully uninstall SP2 RC1 and all the extra beta updates from Windows Update, and all is well once again.  Phew, good thing I don't have to rebuild my laptop this weekend...would have been dificult since I'm at my parents.

Categories: General
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BlogJet BETA Released

March 26, 2004 18:15 by matthaw

BlogJet Beta Release Notes
March 25, 2004

* Multiple categories support.
* Quick test of FTP settings.
* pMachine support.
* "Delete Draft files after posting" option in settings.
* New keyboard shortcuts:
   - Ctrl+Tab - switch between Normal/Code view.
   - Ctrl+M - indent
   - Ctrl+Alt+M - outdent
   - Ctrl+Shift+N - numbering
   - Ctrl+Shift+L - bullet style
   - Ctrl+Shift+I - insert image
   - Ctrl+Shift+V - attach voice
   - Alt+D - select text in Title bar
   - F5 - change account

* BlogJet This! did not work with long selection.
* Draft files handling errors.
* Login window when opening draft.
* Installer issue on "Launch BlogJet".
* Printing from code editor did not work.
* Fixed various issues with b2-based blogs.
* Ctrl+A, Ctrl+K in code editor did not work.
* Fixed issue with blog URL for Blogware.
* Code tab wouldn't appear with large fonts.
* "Access violation at address 005489A4" fixed.
* Some main window shortcuts worked in Login dialog.
* Sometimes "t" didn't work in editor - fixed.

Download here!

Categories: General
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VS.NET 2005 CTP - First Impressions

March 26, 2004 06:26 by matthaw

Well, I just finished installing VS.NET 2005 CTP, and first I have to say - great job on the installation VS.NET Team!  This was the shortest install I've ever seen for VS.NET.  It didn't eve look like the thing was installing, I thought I was still installing Pre-Reqs...but no - its done.  Here were some of my first impressions/insights/notable items:

  • The splash screen is funky, some text is overlayed on the image, and the separate images for whats installed look like crap...but I digress because it is a non-Alpha version.
  • Upon the first launch, I had to choose some layout that I really didn't understand... and well, I chose the wrong one, and my solution explorer/class view were on the left, and toolbox was on the right.  After trying to just drag them over there, I realized you had to make them sticky prior to moving it.  Bug? I think so.
  • I definately like the new look of it, very Office 2003 ish...though, I wish it could support my current theme like Office 2003 products.
  • Startup time is tremendously faster...but I haven't opened up any projects yet, or started VS.NET with any projects, so who knows about that.  It is much obliged on the speed increase though :)
  • Some of the icons in the menus are still "old" looking.  Its really hit & miss on which ones are updated and which ones are not.  Am I really that picky?
  • I'm definately diggin' all the new project types.  You've really outdone yourself on these.  Even the Excel and Word Applications/Templates are in there.  I'm not really sure why I would want to use those, but I'm sure theres a reason.
  • I like the option to automatically add a project into source control right when you're creating it.  Saves a lot of headache later on when you're trying to figure out how to do it.
  • So I launched up a Windows Forms app... I definately like the new look of the toolbox & tabbed items... Another thing to note, the grid lines are gone...and I really can't find out how to turn them on.  I guess I'll just get used to not having them.
  • Woah - the properties for a project got revolutionized...instead of a dialog window...now its all in the editor area.  Very sweet lookin too.  It does seem a little laggy switching between everything, but maybe thats just VPC for ya.  Either way, still uber cool looking.
  • When in Debug mode, and an exception is thrown, a very nice window is shown... Well, mostly nice - its using Magenta for most of the window...eek!
  • I did get my first error message trying to preview data after I setup a data connection. Doh!  Mental note...don't do that again.
  • Dropping components with no UI is done just like before, however a nice Magenta (why magenta?) area is shown instead.  Uber ugly, but I can live with it.
  • Ohh - found some more magenta, the grid lines for the "Task List" are the pretty color we've all got to know and love.

Well, I think thats about it for tonight...very cool stuff.

Categories: Whidbey
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Downloaded VS.NET 2005 CTP - Now What

March 26, 2004 03:57 by matthaw

Okay, so you just finished downloading the massive 2.67 GB .IMG file from MSDN, and go figure, you don't have a DVD burner available.  Time's crunching away until Apprentice starts, you haven't eaten, and all you want to do is get VS.NET 2005 CTP installed on that freshly installed VPC image.

But wait, theres a problem, that darn .IMG file is for burning DVDs only...VPC can't mount it. Man, that sucks - so with the help of a little Googling, I found Undisker which allowed me to open the .IMG file and extract the contents to my hard drive.  And the crowd goes wild!  Now, I have 5 minutes left until Apprentice, can I get it started installing?

Categories: Whidbey
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