Wim's .NET blog

  • PayPal API: what a nightmare!!!

    I've been trying to get up and running with the PayPal API, see www.paypal.com/developer.What a complete nuisance that is!

    The test accounts you create (on the sandbox, http://www.sandbox.paypal.com) actually need to be verified, before you can request an API cerificate. I finally managed to complete 2 out of the 3 verification steps but setting up the bank funding just fails:

    I can add a US bank account, and according to the documentation (PP_Sandbox_UserGuide , page 22), you will see the 'Continue' button after adding an account which will take you to the overview page. Well, there is no 'Continue' button, and no 'Confirm Bank Account' link in the Activate  Account box either, which means I cannot complete that step, and can't request an API cert. to start using the API.

    I have tried to add a UK bank account, using the sortcode prodived in the same user guide, but it always fails saying that it's an incorrect sort code and incorrect 8 digit account number.

    Why the bloody heck is their documentation inconsistent with the behaviour of the sandbox? And why on earth do people have to jump through so many hoops to use their API?

    Have you used the PayPal API? Any thoughts on this?

  • Public available data - FREE screenscraping or pay for API

    Been working on a semi-commercial pet project of mine, for which I need a data feed.

    A decent enough subset of this data feed is publicly available from this content provider's main website. However, the full dataset (though I won't need all that) is available through an HTTP GET XML API... For a flat fee of over 500 dollars per year.

    What would you do? 1) Roll it yourself in about 20 lines of .NET code (using HttpWebRequest & Regex's) and scrape it; 2) Pay for the API...?

    Needless to say, I went for 1)...even for just the fun.

  • Hack: turn your optical mouse into a scanner

    Why? Because it can be done. :-)

    "Ever wonder what your desk surface looks like up close? No. No one has. Not even [Sprite_tm], but upon disassembling his optical mouse and discovering its 18x18 CCD he decided to put it to use (well, a different use). The optical chip outputs serial information to the USB chip in the mouse. [Sprite_tm] wired the optical chip to a parallel port and wrote a simple program to interpret the data. Not really useful, but it does generate some interesting pictures. Program provided, natch."

    Via: Hackaday.com

    Very cool, indeed.

  • Tesco's UK - only 3,000 XBOX 360's at launch....!!!

    Just been told by a member of staff of Tesco, here in the UK that there's only around 3,000 XBOX 360's in Britain. I'm definitely guessing he meant 3,000 XBOX 360's at launch with Tesco's, which seems like an incredibly small amount for such a big superstore.

    I phoned a big Tesco Extra's store in Swansea, Wales. They only had 11 XBOX 360's in! And people had been waiting for them from 6'o clock...

    Surely MS must be putting some pressure on the production of these units! Get on with it! If you want to win the battle with Sony's PS3, better increase production! Sounds like the demand is enormous...despite the rumours of crashes and BSOD's etc.

  • Why don't we see any patches for Visual Studio .NET? (2002, 2003, 2005...)

    Frans has mentioned this on numerous occasions I believe, and this topic has reared its ugly head once again. Dan Fernandez' post back in March 2004, doesn't really address the reasoning behind it.

    Personally, I really don't see the difficulty for Microsoft in releasing publicly available patches or hotfixes for VS.NET. It happens for the .NET framework, all OS'es and Office products, why not for VS.NET?

    At the lowest level, it's only shuffling around a few bits and bytes for the affected binary files. Even with the different VS.NET product versions, they could release a patch for each version if needs be.

    Anyone care to comment on the reasoning behind this?

  • The pollution on the main weblogs.asp.net feed...

    When I go through the main feed here on weblogs.asp.net, the last thing I'm looking for is:

    - Posts in any other language but English. I'm saying that as a Dutch native speaker.
    - Simply regurgitated posts from (wait for it...) weblogs.asp.net!!! Sometimes it even is regurgitation upon regurgitation...
    - How many virtual bucks your blog is worth.
    - Politics or completely unrelated things like non-technical news items. If I want to read the news, I'll check out the BBC, CNN, MSNBC and other sources, thanks.

    What am I looking for? Well:

    - Posts with technical content, related to Microsoft or competitive technologies.
    - Techical news items, gadgets, technologies, architecture, tools; as long as it hasn't been posted or linked to before on weblogs.asp.net.
    - Links to blog posts outside of weblogs.asp.net which contain content similar to the above.

    I may have missed out some, please let me know your thoughts. If we all stuck to it (even only 80% of the time), the mainfeed would be much, much cleaner.

    I guess having global categories when posting, and the ability to exclude global categories on the mainfeed and for the RSS feeds (personalized setting) would help. Anyone know whether this exists in CS 2.0?

  • PhotoCritters.com

    I've launched the very first stage of my Photography Critiques community website, PhotoCritters.com.

    People that are interested can reserve their spot in the initial beta program, which is limited to 1,000 beta users.

    If you're interested in photography, please have a look.


  • Possible Bug : HttpPost and class name conflicts

    A colleague and friend of mine run into some very odd web service behaviour on ASP.NET 1.1. Anyone who can shed some light on this, please leave a comment. I have pasted his exact text describing the problem below.

    Included below is a minimal web-service implementation to recreate a problem
    I've encountered in a web service that has methods returning classes with the
    same local name (but in different namespaces).

    If only the SoapHttp protocol is enabled in the web.config, everything works
    as expected - with the different "Something" classes being serialized in to
    different XML namespaces as defined by the ResponseNamespace property of the
    SoapDocumentMethod attributes.

    However - if HttpPost or HttpPostLocalhost are enabled (the latter being
    enabled by default), and I browse to the asmx file in IE, I get this error :

    Types NsProblem.B.Something and NsProblem.A.Something both use the XML type
    name, Something, from namespace http://example/NsProblem/. Use XML attributes
    to specify a unique XML name and/or namespace for the type.

    If I un-comment both of the "XmlRoot" elements I get this error

    The XML element named 'Something' from namespace 'http://example/NsProblem/'
    references distinct types NsProblem.A.Something and NsProblem.B.Something.
    Use XML attributes to specify another XML name or namespace for the element
    or types.

    Now for the really strange bit : leave one XmlRoot attribute commented, and
    the other not, and it works!

    When it is working, the example responses (on whatever.asmx?op=GetArrayA)
    don't appear to tbe any difference!

    (aside: I also tried setting the responses to be different using Xml
    Serialization attributes, i.e. putting [return: XmlElement(... )] on the
    methods, but like the SoapDocumentMethod attribute this only seemed to change
    the response for the Soap method - making no difference to the HTTP POST

    Various workarounds are available
     - disable (remove) "HttpPost" and "HttpPostLocalhost" in web.config
     - Rename the classes (making the namespaces redundant)
    but I would prefer to be able to keep the class names as they are, and keep
    the HttpPostLocalhost enabled for testing / debugging purposes - and I
    anticipate needing to support 3 or more classes with the same local-name
    across different namespaces.

    ---- Minimal test case ----

    <%@ WebService Language="c#" Class="NsProblem.XmlTestSvc" %>
    using System;
    using System.Web.Services;
    using System.Web.Services.Protocols;
    using System.Xml.Serialization;

    namespace NsProblem.A
    //    [XmlRoot(Namespace="AAAA")]
        public class Something { }

    namespace NsProblem.B
    //    [XmlRoot(Namespace="BBBB")]
        public class Something { }

    namespace NsProblem
        [WebService(Description="Conflicting name problem example",
        public class XmlTestSvc : System.Web.Services.WebService
            public NsProblem.A.Something[] GetArrayA() { return null; }
            public NsProblem.B.Something[] GetArrayB() { return null; }

  • MSN Search textbox: make the thing wider!

    How annoying is that little MSN search input textbox. Especially if you specify a literal string query which contains several words and combine this with some other logical AND or OR search terms.

    Just quadruple its width!

    Google has had a decent textbox since its inception...

    You'd have thought the MSN folks would have learnt something from Google by now.