Alex Hoffman

Perspective on development, management and technology




    IASA Member

March 2003 - Posts

Feeling Nostalgic

These two articles on the history of Windows on include a lot of screenshots for those feeling nostalgic for some of the early versions of Windows.

This GUI timeline is also definitely worth a look, even though the author seems to have a serious aversion to IE.

While your at it - remind yourself what could have been ... Microsoft Bob

Posted Friday, March 21, 2003 4:21 PM by Alex Hoffman | with no comments

Posting against your Dotnetweblog using InfoPath

Tim Marman writes...

Is there anything particular we would need to do to post to our blogs here, or is it all stuff built-in to InfoPath? (source).

Access to the service's WSDL is all you need to submit/receive data against a web service with InfoPath.

To post to your dotnetweblog, create a new web service data source using the Data Source Setup Wizard.

Doing so will reveal that the InsertBlog service operation has some required fields (other than those which are immediately obvious) that need to be populated - ID, PTRCount and DateCreated.  The first two can have their default values set to 0, but setting the required DateCreated to the current date/time as a default requires that you set the node value via script in the OnLoad event.

Drag the Title, Text, Description, Key and Is Active fields to the form canvas.

Choose to fill out the form.


Et voila - a new log entry.

Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2003 10:51 PM by Alex Hoffman | with no comments

The Three Hour Rule and Blog-Stress

Ole Eichhorn's article (via John Udell) which includes his three-hour rule, is a great read for anyone like me trying to fit an increasing amount of stuff in my day.

It used to be simple, but these days there are umpteen articles and umpteen blogs leading to many more articles - all of which can lead to a nagging feeling that one is missing out on great content. Content that probably fully discusses that big issue that is going to appear just around the corner.

Let me put a name to it... blog-stress.

Who said technology was supposed to make life easier?

Posted Monday, March 17, 2003 9:55 AM by Alex Hoffman | 1 comment(s)

InfoPath 'Submit' - Where Art Thou?

An initial couple of sessions with the InfoPanel Beta certainly highlights for me what a great product MS have produced.  For me - it is so much more intuitive and user friendly than Altova's Authentic, although the fact that Authentic is now free means that another look is warranted.

Suprisingly, given the recent quality of MS's betas, I seem to get at least one exception each time I use InfoPath.  They largely seem to occur when I reposition existing controls on a form.

While I can convert an exisiting XML schema into a rich form in about 20 seconds, save form data to XML and export the form to a binary representation (and an XSL transform to DHTML), I can't work out how to 'submit' a form to a web service or file.  The 'submit' button on the File menu remains stubbornly disabled no matter what I try.

I suspect it might be because I have only installed the InfoPath 2003 Beta and not Office 2003 Beta.  A search of the documentation hasn't helped.  Ideas?

Posted Wednesday, March 12, 2003 10:28 PM by Alex Hoffman | 1 comment(s)

Mapping a schema to parts of an Excel 2003 workbook

This downloadable video shows how one can map a schema to parts of an Excel 2003 workbook.

I have to confess that for the first time I'm really excited about an Office release.  Can't wait to try using InfoPath to gather input which can ultimately be displayed in one of the Office apps - all driven through just a schema.


Posted Monday, March 10, 2003 7:10 PM by Alex Hoffman | with no comments

Why Visual Tools for Office?

The forthcoming release of Visual Studio Tools for Office, begs the question - why not include .NET runtime scripting in Office? What about VSA?

In response to a post on the Windows-Script MSN group this week regarding the state of .NET scripting, I wrote...

"Scripting in .NET has been undergoing something of a crisis. Architectural issues prevent either a VSA or a CodeDom based scripting solution from offering effective "integration" scripting at run-time. Integration scripting provides for customization of program functionality by providing access to live objects and events.

Additionally, despite being initially advertised as the .NET replacement for VBA, VSA is currently only suited to a scenario where customization is performed at design-time rather than at run-time. For example, it's suited to a web-based application that offers end-user customization at time of setup.

I believe this limitation to be the reason that Office 11 continues to support VBA and only provides .NET extensibility through Visual Studio.NET at design time or the Office PIA's.

However, .NET is ideal for administrative scripting due to the depth and breadth of the Framework Class Library (FCL) and the productivity of the languages."

Posted Monday, March 10, 2003 5:38 PM by Alex Hoffman | 1 comment(s)

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