November 2007 - Posts

People often ask me where to find resources to learn ASP.NET

I must say that I learnt almost EVERYTHING from the QuickStart Tutorials:
http://quickstarts.asp.net/QuickStartv20/aspnet/Default.aspx
These tutorials are very good and shows every features of ASP.NET with code samples in C# and VB!

The forums also provide invaluable answers to questions you could have:
http://forums.asp.net/

Also there are a great number of videos available and the famous "How Do I?" series, small videos each focusing on a specific feature:
http://www.asp.net/learn/videos/

So this is it, everything in the same place! I definitely recommend WWW.ASP.NET !!!!!
This is far behind the only place in the world where you can find such great resources.

You start from the ground?
Get the free Visual Web Developer Express and try the MSDN Beginner Developer Learning Center:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/beginner/ 

Mike Harsh, program manager on the Silverlight team at Microsoft, has made available more than 70 training videos on Lynda.com!!

http://movielibrary.lynda.com/html/modPage.asp?ID=473

Posted by pluginbaby | with no comments
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Zune 2

New Zune are available, as well as new software!

What's really nice is the upgrade is also available for previous Zune (device + desktop software)!!!

I am very disappointed by this upgrade, some really good points, some really bad, but both software and firmware can be a lot better!

Good:

  • Podcast support
  • WiFi sync!!
  • Online Zune Card (social)
  • New menus are nicer

Bad:

  • WiFi sync do not support WPA2 (ok, not a big deal).
  • No music resume
  • No "Stop" button
  • No genre filtering
  • No live search box
  • Zune software UI is such a piece of crap
  • Still no "Add to now playing list" feature in the device
  • Still no "Recently added" list in the desktop software

The simple fact that the last 2 features are missing is a problem for me, because I *still* need to use Windows Media Player. And I still don't understand why they had to create a new player, everybody already have WMP 11 right ?

Conslusion: This software is unusable for anyone with a large quantity of music files.

For those who got the upgrade don't forget to check the cool but not so easy to find (almost hidden!) "now playing" feature: it displays your current playlist in front of a wall filled with your albums art collection! To launch it you have to click in the small icon at the very right bottom.

Best album ever ?

Another feature well hidden.. the "search as you type". To get this, you have to click somewhere in the artists list first and then start typing. Why the top right search box does not have the same functionality as in WMP ???

To finish it is good to know that you can download for free the preloaded content that come with the new Zune, in case you "accidentally deleted the preloaded content"... or not!
Preloaded content for Zune devices

Posted by pluginbaby | 4 comment(s)
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In case you wonder how Expression Web deals with custom ASP.NET controls, there are 2 things to notice :

  1. Having the control assembly into the \bin directory will not give you any design time rendering in Expression Web.
  2. Expression Web do not support custom controls into the Toolbox.

Ok, that's not good so far...
So how do you get custom controls to work in Expression Web ?

Andrew Jewsbury, the Expression Web program manager gives a solution on his blog :

http://blogs.msdn.com/andrewj/archive/2006/12/13/custom-asp-net-controls-and-expression-web.aspx

Basically you have to install the custom control in the GAC, then use a "<%@ Register Assembly=..." tag with fully qualified name, or a "<add assembly=..." tag in the <controls> section of your web.config.

Humm, this is not a designer friendly solution... but it works.
Note only the "<%@ Register Assembly=..." seems to work for me.

Then you get full design time support and even smart tag as well as IntelliSense in code for your customs controls.

Whoohoo that is a great news !!!

Microsoft has now licensed the technologies from Eolas, removing  the “click to activate” requirement to use pluggins such as Flash in Internet Explorer, which caused so many headaches since april 2006.

What is going to change [again] ?
In april 2008 IE will rollback its behavior as it was before, removing  the “click to activate” message when using pluggins like Flash or Quicktime.

So why would you think it was so long..... maybe to push Silverlight....!!??

ComponentOne is preparing a suite of Silverlight 1.1 controls that looks pretty amazing!! Button, CheckBox, ListBox, DatePicker, Accordion, DataGrid, ... the list of controls is totally incredible (see below) *more controls than ASP.NET !!!* and they even use Astoria for data access!

You can test the demos live there:
http://labs.componentone.com/sapphire/

I have admiration for companies who spend money and efforts on a technology which is not even beta, nothing is feature complete and nothing guaranteed by Microsoft. If you read the Silverlight alpha licence it is not even guaranteed that it will ship one day...

"PRE-RELEASE SOFTWARE. This software is a pre-release version. It may not work correctly or the way a final version of the software will. We may change it for the final, commercial version. We also may not release a commercial version."

ComponentOne Silverlight Control Gallery:

Buttons
  • Button
  • RepeatButton
  • CheckButton
  • CheckBox
  • GroupButton
  • RadioButton
Containers
  • FlowPanel
  • StackPanel
  • DockPanel
  • HyperPanel
  • SplitContainer
  • ScrollViewer
Date/Time
  • DatePicker
  • MonthCalendar
Lists
  • ListBox
  • TreeView
  • Menu
  • Accordion
Sliders
  • Slider
  • RangeSlider
  • ProgressBar
  • ScrollBar
Text
  • Label
  • LinkLabel
  • TextBox
  • NumericTextBox
  • MaskedTextBox
  • ComboBox
Miscellaneous
  • ControlBase
  • ColorPicker
  • RotatingCube
Advanced
  • C1DataGrid
  • C1Chart
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This website has some Silverlight 1.0 tutorials :

http://designwithsilverlight.com/

You can test them live and download the code. Check out the nice Photo Gallery Wall  and Photo Gallery Viewer samples!

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This week I had to debug some asp.net pages that has a weird behavior. They work well but each time a Js alert() raise, the hover menu are no more available (it is a classic asp:menu with dynamic hover for sub-menu).

The problem was simple: the current function attached to window.onload (which display the hover menu) was ripped by another one (which throw the alert).

Keep in mind that such line window.onload = alert('warning!'); remove the existing function attached to onload event.

To prevent this I added a new function on the Js library :

function AddOnload(funcToAdd)
{
    if (window.onload)
    {
      var currentfunc = window.onload; 
      window.onload = function()
      {
        currentfunc();
        funcToAdd();
      }
    }
    else
    {
      window.onload = funcToAdd;
    }
}

And now I call the script like this:

AddOnload(alert('warning!'));

I am sure there are plenty of ways to do this, but this worked fine for me.

Just a simple useful Live Writer plug-in I wanted to talk about:

Paste from Visual Studio
"Easily transfer syntax highlighted source code from Visual Studio to elegant HTML in Windows Live Writer. Copy from Visual Studio and insert directly to Windows Live Writer to maintain your unique syntax highlighting settings."

You can download it there:
http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=d8835a5e-28da-4242-82eb-e1a006b083b9&bt=9

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.NET Framework 3.5

It is available to download and print:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=7B645F3A-6D22-4548-A0D8-C2A27E1917F8&displaylang=en

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