Contents tagged with Dummies

  • Using the Silverlight Server Control in ASP.NET Pages

    Microsoft makes available server controls that help you insert rich media such as Silverlight into your ASP.NET pages. If you’re confused about where to find the latest version of these controls, you’re in good company! Pre-release versions have appeared with various Community Technical Previews (CTP), ASP.NET Futures, and ASP.NET Extensions.

    The code is now (at this hour, anyway) part of the Silverlight 2 Software Development Kit, a free download.

    You need to download the full Silverlight SDK even though you only need a small part of it for use in ASP.NET page. Follow these steps to locate the required file and install it on your computer:

    1. Browse to
    2. In the Search box, enter Silverlight 2 Software Development Kit and click Go.
    3. From the list of results, download the latest version of the SDK to a temporary directory on your hard drive.
    4. Using Windows Explorer, double-click the downloaded file (probably named silverlight_sdk.exe) and follow the installation steps to install the complete contents of the SDK.

    For a quick introduction to using the Silverlight server control in ASP.NET and Visual Web Developer 2008 Express, you can view a PDF that I've created as an update to my book ASP.NET 3.5 For Dummies: Silverlight in ASPNET.pdf



  • My Book Excerpts at the Beginner Developer Learning Centre

    Hey folks, Microsoft has licensed four chapters of my book, ASP.NET 3.5 For Dummies! You can browse the chapters at in the Microsoft Visual Studio Express Editions Beginner Developer Learning Centre.

    Yup, MS has some of the best chapters and makes them available to you for free. You need the XPS viewer to read them.

    • Chapter 5: Handling User Input and Events
      In this Chapter we cover gathering data and pushing buttons, using drop-down lists and list boxes, presenting multiple choices, and sending data with forms.
    • Chapter 7: LINQ as a Data Language
      In this Chapter we look at using From, Where, and Select clauses, filtering, grouping, and narrowing scope, aggregating, creating and querying XML with LINQ, and using object initializers.
    • Chapter 8: Using LINQ to SQL and the LinqDataSource
      Diving deeper into LINQ, we'll cover using the object relational designer, filtering data in LinqDataSource, understanding LINQ to SQL syntax, grouping and displaying hierarchical data, updating and inserting with DataContext, and creating a user interface with the ListView control.
    • Chapter 15: Enhancing Pages with the AJAX Control Toolkit
      In this Chapter we cover completing data as users type, using a lookup Web service, masking and watermarking text boxes, creating a pop-up calendar, and keeping content on top.

    Note that there's an error on the page: You need Visual Web Developer 2008 for LINQ, not 2005.

    There's tons of free information for Web development beginners at MSDN. It's a great resource that has gone unnoticed (by me at least) for too long!


  • Soma, Scottgu, and I Are on the Same Page!

    Ah yes, S. Somasegar, Scott Guthrie and Ken Cox. What an influential trio! It's kind of a geeky rat pack.

    We definitely run in the same circles... the MSDN Home page where my MVP profile is part of the current random display cycle. Just in case I disappear before you get there, here's a screenshot:

    Ken Cox, Scottgu, and Soma together again.

    Thanks to my old MVP colleague (and current MSFT blue badge) Carl Prothman for the heads-up!


  • Set a Validator's Display to 'None' for the ValidatorCalloutExtender

    If you look at Figure 15-1 in ASP.NET 3.5 For Dummies, you'll notice that there's an almost-hidden question mark (?) behind the AJAX Control Kit's ValidatorCallout control. The arrow in the picture points to the mistake (bug) in the book.


    At the time I took the screenshot, I couldn't figure out how to get rid of the underlying validator's error message text. I left the question mark with the intention of getting back to it but I never did.

    I figured out the problem by the time I shipped the book's source code...

    The trick is to set the validator control's Display property to 'None' so the error text doesn't appear. However, the control kit's callout still picks up the text and uses it. I know it seems obvious, but I was just implementing the same validation for a client's application and had trouble recalling the technique.

    So, here's the code to remind myself and anyone else how to deal with the built-in validator and the ValidatorCalloutExtender at the same time:

    <asp:TextBox CssClass="TextBox" Width="200px" ID="txtUserName" 
        runat="server" TabIndex="1">
    <asp:RequiredFieldValidator ID="rqdUserName" runat="server" 
        ErrorMessage="The user ID (an email address) is required." 
        ControlToValidate="txtUserName" Display="None" >
    <cc1:ValidatorCalloutExtender ID="ValidatorCalloutExtender1" runat="server" 


  • ASP.NET 3.5 For Dummies Published

    I hope you'll forgive a bit of self-promotion. I haven't blogged much about my book ASP.NET 3.5 For Dummies because it's a beginner's book. Most readers here are ASP.NET experts who could (and do) write advanced books and articles on ASP.NET.

    That said, I finally have a bound, hardcopy edition on my lap and wanted to talk about it. It feels good to see the tangible result of months of work. I did my best to write a hands-on, tasked-based book that serves as a useful introduction to a very sophisticated technology. As I say in the book, we're all beginners at some point. Even the lifeguard started in the shallow end of the pool.

    The nice thing about writing a Dummies book is the chance to include some humour. For example, I often poke fun at geeks and their strange, bloated words like "disambiguating".

    It says a lot that the Dummies concept has done so well in the marketplace. Are people so desperate for clear, readable information on complex subjects that they're willing to buy a book that labels them a dummy? Maybe book stores should sell these titles in a brown paper wrapper!

    Let's say you've just started a new job and feel insecure about the technology. Perhaps you'd buy a Dummies book to increase your comfort level and get up to speed. You devour the contents in the privacy of your home, sure. But would you leave the book open on your desk at work? Would you worry about sending an unsettling message to your new boss and colleagues?

    Then again, maybe buying a Dummies book makes a bold statement that the purchaser has a life and doesn't intend to spend all his/her waking hours accomplishing a few technical tasks?

    If you want to know more about the book, check out my support site at