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September 2006 - Posts - Wallace B. McClure

Wallace B. McClure

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September 2006 - Posts

One of the Dangers of software development: Easy to Say != Easy to Do
One of the dangers of software development is that people tend to believe that because something is easy to say means that it is easy to do.  For example, all Windows does is provide a user interface to load programs and handle devices.  This sounds rather easy.  Unfortuantely, it is over simplistic.  Let's look at some of the issues that must be overcome:
  • Handle the differences in video.  There are many video cards on the market.  How do you handle the differences between them? 
  • What should a user interface look like?
  • What kinds of devices should be supported?  Hard drives, USB, Firewire, Printers, etc.
  • Who is responsible for handling these devices?
  • How do you handle networks?
  • On and on.....................

Just because something is easy to say, doesn't mean that it is easy to do.

Original post: 

CodeCamp Alabama - Montgomery, AL on Saturday October 28th

On Saturday, October 28th, the third Alabama Code Camp will occur.  My buddy Bruce Thomas is putting on the codecamp.  Check out the web site at for more information.  Why should you go? 

  • The list of speakers at the group is a who's who from the Southeast. 
  • If Joe Healy is involved, you know that he will treat the attendees right.

On a personal note, I went and did a talk in Montgomery back at the beginning of August.  Their meeting was at lunchtime.  50 people showed up.  The room was full and people standing/sitting in the aisles.  Bottom line, beat the rush and sign up now.

AJAX interaction with a Screen Reader for Section 508 users

It surely would be nice if there was some type of event or notification mechanism that an AJAX library could raise / fire / set that would cause a screen reader to notify a user that an update has occurred to part of the screen.  Perhaps this could be accomplished through some type of DOM  "event" or something similar.  Ideally, the user would like to know specifically what was updated.  I hope that everyone could get together on this and solve the problem for the screen reader / Section 508 users.

Original Post:

Posted: Sep 28 2006, 08:35 AM by Wallym | with 1 comment(s)
Filed under: ,
VirtualPC 2007 - Beta Nomination Opens on October 11, 2006
Are you frustrated by the development scenario of Vista?  Yeah, you can run .NET 1.1 apps, but Visual Studio 2003 won't be fully supported (Debugging will likely not work).  Do you want to develop all from one system and under Vista?  I do.  I just found out that VirtualPC 2007 Beta Nominations will open on on October 11, 2006.  Make sure you mark a calendar event for that date.  Hopefully, this will solve some of the development pain that we all feel.
Posted: Sep 28 2006, 08:02 AM by Wallym | with no comments
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Does your browser support the UpdatePanel? Test it programmatically. Get IE, Firefox, and Opera to work with the UpdatePanel.

Original post:

 I wrote the following simple code to test to see if a browser supports the UpdatePanel, which is a control on the server, that provides Ajax support and is a part of the ASP.NET 2.0 Extensions for AJAX.  This code doesn't test for Javascript, ActiveX, or other features, it just tests the browser version.  Basically, the test is for Internet Explorer 6 or later, Firefox 1.5 or later, and Safari, though I don't think Safari works with the UpdatePanel at this point in time.  I test this with Opera for Windows, and I got the full postback.  I ran this against IE and I got the async postback.  Both were behaviors that I expected.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know.  I'm always trying to learn something new.

Another part of my test is in the Page_PreInit() method, I put in a call along the lines of

protected void Page_PreInit(object sender, EventArgs e)


if ( true == IsValidForUpdatePanel() )


      ScriptManager1.EnablePartialRendering = true;





      ScriptManager1.EnablePartialRendering = false;




public static bool IsValidForUpdatePanel()


        bool IsValid = false;



            IsValid = IsIE6OrLater() || IsFF15OrLater() || IsSafari();




            IsValid = false;





        return (IsValid);


    private static bool IsIE6OrLater()


        return ((HttpContext.Current.Request.Browser.IsBrowser("IE")) &&

            (HttpContext.Current.Request.Browser.MajorVersion >= 6 ));


    private static bool IsFF15OrLater()


        return ((HttpContext.Current.Request.Browser.IsBrowser("Firefox")) &&

            ((HttpContext.Current.Request.Browser.MajorVersion == 1) &&

            (HttpContext.Current.Request.Browser.MinorVersion == .5) ||

            (HttpContext.Current.Request.Browser.MajorVersion >= 2)));


    private static bool IsSafari() // <-- The  Safari is currently not supported in the latest CTP.


        return (HttpContext.Current.Request.Browser.IsBrowser("Safari"));


Posted: Sep 27 2006, 07:21 AM by Wallym | with 1 comment(s)
Filed under: ,
Javascript enhancements chapter shipped

I have shipped out the first draft of my Javascript Enhancements for our "Beginning Atlas" book on Sunday evening.  That puts me at the half way point for my content (well kinda).  My next chapter is the UpdatePanel.  I must confess that I have cheated and spent Saturday working some UpdatePanel issues which I will use for my UpdatePanel chapter.

The Javascript enhancements chapter has the updates to the base objects as well as the addition of namespaces, classes, inheritance, and such.

Battlestar Galactica Webisodes

Ok, this is cool.  Battlestar Galactica has released some webisodes that span the timeframe between Seasons 2 and 3.

I have also recently gone out and bought Season 2.5 on DVD.  I watched it over the weekend.  Good stuff.

Programmatically adding triggers to an UpdatePanel - Microsoft AJAX Library and ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions

If you want to add a control to fire the UpdatePanel, you have to add the trigger.  You add this through the ScriptManager control.  The method is .RegisterAsyncPostBackControl(ControlName);

I put this call in the Page_PreInit() method.  I put it there because of some other Atlas stuff was doing that needed an early place in the page lifecycle.  .RegisterAsyncPostBackControl()  will also work in the Page_Load() event. 

Original post:

Posted: Sep 26 2006, 11:59 AM by Wallym | with 2 comment(s)
Filed under: ,
Windows Vista and Office 2007 - My test drive has been rather bumpy
I've been running with Windows Vista RC1 for the past 10+ days or so.  Everything has been fine.  This is the first build of Vista that I have found that runs well.  All previous builds were pretty bad.  I have installed Office 2k7 Beta2 Technical Refresh.  I hooked up Outlook to go to my Exchange Server through IMAP because thats all that I can get to work given ports that are blocked..  Now, the damned thing runs horribly.  I'll go ahead and say that the package is just not ready for shipment in November.  I think the package will have a number of problems.  I just don't have a comfort level with Vista and Office 2k7 at this point.  Here are the problems that I have run into at this time:
  • Outlook 2007 does not seem to perform very well.  Often times, it give me inaccuate information regarding the status of emails.  It says things are in the sent folder, when they aren't according to my exchange server.  While not specific to Outlook 2007, it saves sent emails in the local sent email folder, not the one on the server, like every other IMAP client I have ever dealt with.
  • Windows Mail is horrible.  It often locks up on me.  I have mail in the outbox that never gets sent.  It marks emails that I have kept around for years as spam.  I've just given up on this app.
  • Trying to play some wmv files, I have run into problems with the audio and video getting very out of sync.
  • Outlook 2007 is continually complaining that the data file was closed improperly and Outlook must repair it.  Well, I didn't kill the Outlook process, though it SHOULD be shot and put out of its misery, so what is the deal with this app.  I merely have clicked on the close X button. No error messages, no "Do you want to kill this prcoess" type of messages, no nothing, just this error message on startup

I'm running on a system with an AMD64 3000+ with 1 gigabyte of RAM.  I don't think the problem is that my machine is underpowered.  I'm using the 32 bit version of Vista as I gave up on the x64 version a while back.

I feel that Vista and Office 2007 are being run out the door to meet some self imposed deadline.  I think it needs some more time to resolve issues.  I honestly don't think I'll be jumping into Vista and Office 2007 until the first service packs.

Originally posted from:

Posted: Sep 21 2006, 07:42 AM by Wallym | with 2 comment(s)
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Windows Longhorn / Vista Server is out for MSDN Subscribers
I downloaded build 5600 of Windows Longhorn/Vista Server last night.  I had the x64 and 32 builds by this morning. 
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