August 2002 - Posts
Mozilla 1.1 Released
Mozilla 1.1 has been released and includes plenty of bug-fixes and enhancements across all platforms.
Article: .NET Object Serialization
Another article* from The O'Reilly Network. This time they're covering serialization in .NET. The article covers the main facets of serialization: SerializableAttribute, ISerializable and IFormatter. Then the author goes into detail with a nice sample Windows Forms drawing application that uses serialization to persist the shapes drawn on the canvas to and from a Stream. In all, a good read for anyone looking to get a basic understanding of serialization in .NET.
(note: The actual title is C# Object Serialization, but you all know how I feel by now about making unecessary ties to languages when it comes to .NET neutral technologies)
Microsoft Web Services Development Kit (Technology Preview)
Microsoft has just announced it's tech. preview of the WSDK for ASP.NET. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but this is certainly great news for anyone building more advanced web services which require GXA.
.NETUnit v0.9 Released
I've finally managed to find some time to get v0.9 of .NETUnit released. Version 0.9 now includes the long awaited console test driver which enables you to actually execute the tests that you've written. *gasp* ;)
Here's a quick link to the console test driver download, which is essentially all the typical developer needs to install. The other packages are there for people who want to play with the core .NETUnit framework and MetaUnit extension.
I'll be updating with more information later including:
- Links to more samples and richer documentation
- Details about what features to expect soon
- A feature comparison of .NETUnit and NUnit
Also, if you find any bugs, would like to request a feature or need help, please use the project's bug tracking, feature request and discussion forums systems. Enjoy!
Top Ten Tips to Using XPath and XPointer
An article was just posted to The O'Reilly Network which lists some useful tips to remember when using XPath and XPointer. All ten tips are definitely worth committing to memory. I've seen the first tip alone snag so many people it's ridiculous. Everyone always seems to forget our poor friend the text node. ;) Truthfully I think it has a lot more to do with the human brain not processing whitespace as efficiently as the XML specification would like us to.
SSPI Channel Sink for .NET Remoting
Jonathan Hawkings just announced, over on the DOTNET-CLR list, the availability of a .NET remoting channel sink which leverages SSPI. The entire project is documented in a two part article:
Part 1: Microsoft.Samples.Security.SSPI Assembly
Part 2: Microsoft.Samples.Runtime.Remoting.Security Assembly
Both articles are very in-depth and include source code and samples. Definitely worth a look!
I'm surprised I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere yet, but the GotDotNet site is working on a project which seems to be the equivalent of SourceForge for .NET component/application developers. They're calling it Workspaces and here's the basic gist of what they hope to accomplish:
GotDotNet Workspaces provides a dynamic online environment where professionals and students alike can collaborate on software projects without the barriers created by geographical or network boundaries.
You can find more details in the whitepaper available online. This is definitely exciting news. I know a project like Genghis could have benefitted from this today. According to the site, the project is due to go to beta in September 2002 and will go live some time in 2003.
NUnit 2.0 RC1 Available
NUnit 2.0 RC1 available. Highlights of the updated unit testing framework for .NET:
- Attribute based mechanism for identifying test fixtures and test methods.
- Automatic creation of test suites.
- Improved GUI runner allowing dynamic reloading of test assemblies.
- The Console runner supports XML output.
- Mostly backward compatible with NUnit 1.0. [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
On a related note, I'm packaging up v0.9 of .NETUnit right now. There are some major updates in this release, but most of the are on the framework side. The most important thing for the average developer that's new to this release is the console test driver. It supports executing single test fixtures, whole test assemblies and pre-defined tests which can be written by hand in XML. The console test driver also optionally generates an XML report which you can then run through an XSLT to generate a report.
Coming down the pipe I have a GUI test driver, GUI test builder and full VS.NET integration. The test builder will enable simpler creation and manipulation of test suites which currently has to be done with your XML editor of choice.
A Little More About Mimeo
Drew asks that you use Mimeo if you want to print out the Wrox ASP.NET Web Matrix book.
If you've never used Mimeo. It is awesome. It is easy to install and use. It works from any application that has a printer selection dialog. I've used them a couple of times. I printed out Roy Thomas Fielding thesis on Representational State Transfer (a.k.a. REST). And I've printed out Geological findings for the Arizona area. Everytime I get an awesome bound notebook delivered via FedEx.
 In all honesty, I've only tried Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Word. I've only done black and white printings with no complex graphics. :-) [News from the Forest]
First off, thanks for the kind review Justin!
The beauty of our client software, other than the fact that it's free, is that it really does accept print jobs from any program in Windows. You do have to be concious when printing graphics however due to DPI issues. For example, if you're printing web sites, which usually use 72dpi images geared towards monitor output only, you can't expect those images to come out looking stellar when printed as even the average home user's printer prints at 600dpi+ these days. However, this is usually not a problem since most end users who print on a regular basis are aware of DPI issues already.
The truth is, the success of our company can mainly be attributed to our client software. If you look at the online printing sector, most companies that exist[ed] (most have died) allow print files to be uploaded via the web browser. This seems like a great idea, right?? I remember the marketing cries that went something like:
"No software to install! Runs from any OS that has a web browser!"
Yeah... right. Now, consider these little factoids:
- They can only support a finite set of file formats.
- For every file format they support, they have to have a licence for the applications which print those formats.
- They have to write an entire architecture for actually loading the uploaded file on the OS from which the application that handles the file format came and actually print the file (hint: doesn't scale well at all). Yes, some files formats have applications on multiple platforms, like Office, but it's rare.
- They have to have every font that a person could possibly use licensed and installed, which is basically impossible since I could be using a font Joe Artist created and put online in my file.
The list actually goes on, but it's late so I'll stop there since I think I've illustrated my point.
Another major factor in Mimeo's success is that every single document is printed out of the same facility off of the same set of super high-performance printers which are calibrated and constantly monitored by our in-house printer technicians. Other companies will print your document in their branch office closest to you off a printer that is essentially no better than the one in your home or office. This can lead to quality defects such as color differences, alignment issues, etc. This doesn't seem too bad until you consider the scenario where you ship the same document to more than one recipient and those recipients live near two totally separate branch offices. Those recipients may get documents that look completely different from one another. Mimeo sacrifices same day delivery, essentially what you gain from branch offices, for quality control. As an added bonus, we also don't incur any of the expenses associated with running all those branch offices*.
Mimeo is about as "brick and mortar" as a company can get. We essentialy have no costs unless an order is placed, since everything in our inventory, which consists mainly of paper stock and bindings, never goes bad or out of date. A user places the order, we fulfill the order... it's just that simple. ;)
* Nor did we have to shell out who knows how much for stupid little volkswagon beetles which were used for same day delivery. Ahh... remember the Internet boom? And to think, they received way more funding than we ever have. They're dead; our sales are constantly rising. Victory sure tastes sweet! :)
XSLT Processing with .NET
Yet another article from The O'Reilly Network. This one's all about the implementation of XSLT in .NET. The article starts off with a basic introduction to the System.Xml.Xsl namespace, the main class of course being XslTransform. Next, we're shown various ways you can \"feed\" the stylesheet to the XslTransform class' Load method. Then there's some light coverage of a couple of I/O approaches that can be used when calling the Transform method. Following that, the author touches on how to parameterize the transform, including how to pass all empowering extension objects. Finally the article is finshed off with a quick example of how to embed script right into the stylesheet itself.
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