Drew's Blog

The Joys of Technology Explored

  • New Blog Now Online

    Ok, it's been awesome here at weblogs.asp.net and I just want to thank Scott personally for including me in the experience very early on. However, it's time for me to move on over to my new web site where I'm hosting my own .Text weblog now. So, without further adieu:


  • Comments on FedEx Aquisition of Kinko's

    Hmmm... this is very interesting to me personally. CNet has chosen to put a more technical spin on it and so they're relating it to e-document printing and delivery. The thing about that is my company, Mimeo, is much better positioned in e-document printing and delivery than Kinkos is. I've written about the Mimeo process before, so I don't think I need to go into it again, but if FedEx had truly wanted a quality e-printing solution, they would have purchased us... and for a hell of a lot less than $2.4 billion. ;) It's more likely that the importance of this aquisition is the Kinko's store front presence as reported by this article. FedEx needs to compete with the UPS Store and this is how they're going to get into doing that.


  • The Future of Scripting?

    Everyone's blogging about Daniel Boyd's open letter to Microsoft regarding the future of scripting technologies on the Windows platform. Personally, I think that the new Microsoft Shell (MSH) will be the answer to these people's prayers.

    Here's a couple of nice articles by Jason Nadal with some specific details and examples. Also, if you're running Longhorn, you can join the MSH beta by going to BetaPlace, entering a Guest ID of "mshPDC" and filling out the survey there.


  • Happy Holidays Everyone

    Just wanted to send out a big “Happy Holidays!” to everyone. Hope you and your families have a great, safe holiday and a happy new year. Cheers!


  • Can't Install XPSP2 Beta On XP-MCE

    I just dl'd XPSP2 beta from MSDN Subscriber Downloads only to find out that it won't install on XP Media Center Edition. Bummer.

    This seems silly to me as MCE is really just a thin veil over XP Professional. As far as I know, there's no real OS changes to support media center. It's simply an application (written in .NET btw) which provides the fancy Media Center “shell” over the underlying OS.

    What a pain. I wonder if there's a build of the SP2 for MCE... I'd love to check it out.

    Update: I forgot I was invited to the closed beta for SP2, before it was posted on MSDN subscriber downloads, and they have a version of it for MCE. Now I just gotta wait to see if I can get it.


  • True Streaming Reads from ASP.NET

    Simon Fell1 is venting about the lack of true streaming reads in ASP.NET. I agree, it really sucks that everything gets buffered.

    I'm not quite clear why this is the way it is. After all, if you look at what is basically the lowest layer of the CLR based ASP.NET runtime, HttpWorkerRequest, you can see it has a ReadEntityBody method which would appear to enable a streaming read scenario. Underneath the covers, I would imagine Microsoft's concrete implementation could reach back into their native ISAPI extension and leverage IIS' ISAPI server support functions HSE_REQ_IO_COMPLETION and HSE_REQ_ASYNC_READ_CLIENT to get the job of an asycnhronus streaming read done.

    Hopefully someone from the ASP.NET team can comment on this. The public, well at least two of us anyway, is dying to get streaming reads within the ASP.NET environment. For now, ISAPI is the only way to go.

    1 Correction, I originally said Sam Ruby, but I meant Simon Fell. For some reason, I have no clue why, I always confuse those two names. Sorry Simon and Sam. ;)


  • Don Box and Chris Anderson MSDN TV Episode on XAML

    A new MSDN TV episode just rolled out. This one is all about XAML. Don and Chris do an awesome job showing us once again that XAML really has nothing to do with Avalon. *grin*

    Their demo happens to be creating a custom console framework and then leveraging that framework in a XAML based application. They do an excellent job showing how XAML actually maps to CLR types, properties and events. They also show how to implement the IAddChild interface that allows you to integrate more closely with the XAML parsing engine, making your custom classes more XML friendly.

    Oh and uhh... be prepared for a couple (scary) little holiday duets at the end of the episode. I know it sent shivers down my spine. Consider yourselves warned. ;)


  • Application Global Resources In XAML

    Nathan Dunlap points out that resources can be defined at the application level in XAML. This enables the resources to be used across all “pages” in an Avalon application. He then makes the analogy between this technique and using a base CSS file for your web application. Finally, he wraps up by mentioning the BasedOn property of the Style class. This property allows you to create a new style by deriving from an existing style and overriding or extending the base style definition.

    The great thing about styles in Avalon is that they're much more than just decorating an element. You can completely re-define the internal composition of a visual. You can also define a set of visual triggers that alter the visual based on dynamic property notification. The more time I spend studying styles in Avalon, the more impressed I am with the implementation.