Lance's Whiteboard

Random scribbling about C#, Javascript, Web Development, Architecture, and anything else that pops into my mind.


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Blogs I Read

January 2004 - Posts

Sql Server 2000 Reporting Services

After months of developing reports with the various Beta's, its nice to finally see the official product launch.

I really have a high-opinion of this product, especially considering that it is Microsoft's first forray into a general-purpose server-based report-generator.

The flexibility of Sql Server Reporting Services, along with its integration into VisualStudio.NET gives us a huge step-up....especially at the cost (FREE if you already have SqlServer 2000 licenses). I hear that this was developed by the same team who created the other excellent Sql Server product Sql Notification Services

Posted: Jan 29 2004, 09:54 AM by CodeSniper | with 2 comment(s)
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Win32 to .NET API Map

Those of us coming from a background in ASP and Visual Basic have been hamstrung a bit with the .NET Framework because most of us don't have much experience with the Win32 API, and therefore didnt understand what functions each class or namespace was wrapping within the OS. Its one of the reasons I believe that many C++ programmers (esp. MFC) have seemed to have a leg-up on the rest of us.

Based upon their latest MSDN article, Microsoft must have finally recognized this. The latest MSDN posting "Microsoft Win32 to Microsoft .NET Framework API Map" is a much appreciated contribution, that I only wish was available a year or two ago.

Posted: Jan 26 2004, 03:33 PM by CodeSniper | with no comments
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Rant: Patents on Software

This SlashDot article "Parens on Patents" really struck a chord with me, and brought back alot of anger I have repressed for some time.  (yes, I am seeking professional help now  :p )

Basically, it discusses the fad of patenting software or its various features, and the subsequent stifling affect it has upon development. Many of the comments about this article really cover the main points, so I won't rehash, but I will give you an anecdote of how this affected me once:

So, I'm working on a project at my company where we want to help our customers organize their business by automating the sending of E-Cards as a meeting invitation. We started developing this application, but were forced to abandon it because some company has patented the concept of “Sending an Email with a Link back to a web-page that contains an invitation“ and were requiring a royalty of 25-cents per email. Since we wanted to offer this for Free to our customers, and didnt like paying people for their “Concept-Patent“, we asked our legal department to research the claim.  They spent months researching ways around it, but basically told us to we were screwed, and that we must either "come up with a different implimentation", or pay the royalty.

Now, its bad enough having management try to dictate code & functionality, but when Legal starts changing programs I get really upset.

So, the moral of this story is: If you are a fan of Open Source, then Patents should be the bane of your existance. Even if you are just an average developer with no care of open-source, you should at least be concerned about how this affects your future employment.

Write to your congressmen & congresswomen about the current abuse of Patents with software!

If this article is true its time to get religion and prepare for the final days before the apocolypse, because there can be no other explanation for the headline “Sun machines to run Windows”!!!
internal research Xen : X#, C# { // The Future?? }

Many of us have heard the occasional rumors and comments about Microsoft working on a new XML-based programming language.

Here is an interesting article discussing the MS Research project “Xen” which replaced the X# project, and includes full language support of C#.

Is this our future, or just an alternate reality?

Export IE Favorites To OPML file!

Lastnight while working on some new RSS-related projects, I created a simple app to Export your entire list of IE Favorites to OPML (XML).

Click here, to download “FavoritesToOpml” [ .NET 1.1 ]




"VS.NET 2003 Build Here" bug-fix...

I just posted an update to the utility to fix a bug that left the /bin folder empty after a build. 

Thanks for the quick feedback!

Posted: Jan 20 2004, 07:21 PM by CodeSniper | with no comments
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"VisualStudio.NET 2003 Build Here" Explorer Extension

Have you ever wanted to build a project or solution without opening up Visual Studio.NET?

There are plenty of command-line utilities (including “devenv.exe /build“) to do this, but I couldnt find anything that worked from within Windows Explorer.

Lastnight, I finally whipped-up a new utility much like the “Command Prompt Here“ Power Toy that Microsoft created.  It gives you a “VS.NET 2003 Build Here“ Prompt which invokes the command-line call to build.  It is associated with the following file-extensions: .csproj, .csdproj, vbproj, vbdproj, jsproj, and .sln.

(added screenshot)

To setup this functionality,  download and Save my new “VS.NET 2003 Build Here” installer, Right-Click the file and choose “Install”.

NOTE: The utility expects Visual Studio.NET 2003 to be installed on drive “C” using the “Program Files” folder and using the default directory names.



Posted: Jan 20 2004, 05:59 PM by CodeSniper | with 5 comment(s)
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Unit Testing in .NET

TheServerSide.NET has an excellent article on Unit Testing in .NET.  Having used NUnit for some time, I found alot of statements I agree with, and even a few techniques and philosophies I hadnt explored.

Great job!

Free WinForm Tree Control

in the latest MSDN Flash newsletter, there is an offer from Infragistics for a FREE CD-Key for their UltraWinTree control.

It's definitely worth the download.
Posted: Jan 12 2004, 10:30 AM by CodeSniper | with 1 comment(s)
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