May 2007 Entries

A quick tip for working with UpdatePanels

UpdatePanels are a pretty neat part of Microsoft's Ajax Extensions. It's interesting to note how much faster pages *seem* when you remove all visual aspects of the postback. Sure, the postback is still happening, but without the need to re-render the entire page things seem so much snappier. However to make sure that your page is running as fast as it possibly can, remember to set the UpdatePanel's UpdateMode to Conditional (which isn't the default). It might seem like an obvious thing, but when you're working on complex pages that contain multiple UpdatePanels, multiple UpdateProgress controls, as...

C# and the Compilation Tax

I write this post at the risk of sounding like a complete and utter ReSharper fanboy. However I had a great moment while reading C# and the Compilation Tax when I went "Huh?" at a couple of paragraphs: What's particularly sad about this is that, in my experience, most C# developers think manually compiling all the time is a natural state of affairs. Well, it isn't. In VB.NET we have this clever little technology we call background compilation. Background compilation saves you the effort of all that meaningless, repetitive, mind-numbing manual compilation. It's very simple: as...

ReSharper Keyboard Shortcut of the month

CTRL-SHIFT-V. The funny thing about this shortcut, is that it's so close to CTRL-SHIFT-B that I can't believe I haven't hit it accidentally before now while building a solution. Today however, after having used ReSharper for over a year, I did hit it by accident and found out that it's basically ReSharper's version of a clipboard paste which allows you to paste any of the last 20 text items that were copied to the clipboard (from any application) into your current window. ReSharper also provides you with a simple preview window to make sure you're pasting exactly the...

Microsoft AJAX Extensions: Sys.Debug is null or not an object

One of the breaking changes which was made with the 1.0 release of the Microsoft Ajax Extensions was the renaming of the 'Debug' class to 'Sys.Debug' for reasons of compatiability with other frameworks. Breaking changes like this can often be a source of frustration, however today I was pretty glad that they renamed the class, as it helped me to troubleshoot issues with the awful MSI on a Vista development box. The problem shows as a JavaScript error which states "Sys.Debug.IsDebug is null or not an object", basically telling you that something is using the wrong version of...

From the 'why oh why' department..

Sort of following on the theme of Visual Studio customisations, here's one which I don't use: VIEmu is a piece of commercial software which provides full VI/VIM editing inside Visual Studio. There are also versions for Word & Outlook, and SQL Server 2005 Management Studio - each priced at $69.95. Ouch, however there are also a couple of package deals which mitigate the pricing somewhat. For the 3 people out there who happen to code in Visual Studio and love VI, then this is for you! On a related note, I tried to adopt gVim (a...

My Visual Studio Customisations

Every developer has their own list of customisations and tweaks which they apply to their IDE to give it that personal touch. This is my personal list of settings and customisations for Visual Studio 2005. I'm partly writing this down as a reference guide for myself lest I forget - reinstalling Visual Studio is something I try to do as little as possible, and so having a reference list is useful for those moments after a reinstall where you know something doesn't quite feel right in the IDE, but can't remember exactly which setting you've missed! I realise...

Hardware troubleshooting techniques, Volume 1

PROBLEM: Noisy fan on my FreeBSD box SOLUTION: Disconnect noisy fan It's amazing how much quieter my FreeBSD/Squid cache box is with it's 120mm fan disconnected. I should know in about 24 hours as to whether my quick estimations on it's heat output and cooling requirements were accurate, but for now the acoustic improvements are worth the risk! Tags: FreeBSD

Problems Installing/uninstalling Guidance Automation Extensions and Toolkit

Installation issues surrounding the Guidance Automation Extensions and Toolkit seem pretty common, including the infamous error 2869. There are a lot of postings where people had their issues solved by simply running the installers with elevated Administrator prilleledge, either via a command prompt or .cmd file. I recently had some issues installing the Web Service Software Factory on a Vista box, and no amount of Administrator elevation would shift it. The Web Service Software factory claimed it needed GAX to be installed, however GAX was already there. The GAX uninstaller wouldn't run, giving error 2869. I tried using...

Back on the train

I'm back to taking the train after driving for a couple of months. It looks like the reliability issues have gotten a bit better since their alltime February/March lows, however there are still delays and they're still (apparently) being caused by signal failures. It looks like most of the major earthworks have been completed along the western line, and so from here on in things should be getting better. One thing which has surprised me a lot over the past few days commute is that the trains seem noticably busier. I'd actually expected their use to maybe...

Shure E2c Sound Isolating Earphones

About 6 years ago I bought my first pair of Sony MDR 'in ear' earphones, and was an instant convert. At the time they were pretty revolutionary and until then I'd used a lot of different types of earphones but failed to find anything I found truly comfortable. That first pair was solid and has lasted me well, in fact they're still operational and intact today, however the sound quality was becoming a bit dated so I decided to upgrade to a new pair. Unfortunately, the latest version of Sony's MDR earphones turned out to have an incredibly shoddy build quality...

IIS7 beta3 now available

The IIS 7.0 Beta3 shipped a few days ago with a Go-Live License for those of you who simply can't wait to get your production apps installed on the latest and greatest version of Microsoft's web server. Alternatively, there are plenty of webhosting providers who have installed the beta and are now offering it to customers so you can perform some testing without needing to perform any upgrades. This is especially handy if you're still using Windows XP or 2003 server, and don't have any spare hardware available to install Longhorn or Vista (which IIS7 requires). On a...