December 2010 Entries

EC2 VM Import

Another neat feature was recently added to EC2 - VM Import. Right now there’s some OS and virtualisation technology restrictions (it only supports VMware images for Windows 2008 SP2), but as a developer based on Windows who uses VMware technology that suits me just fine. One of the recurring themes of 2010 has been the features that Amazon has been adding to their products, most noticeably EC2 and S3. There’s something about a stream of constant unobtrusive updates from a company that make you go “heh, cool” and leave you with a nice positive feeling about working in technology.

Feedsource for WHS v1

Do you have a Windows Home Server on your network? Do you use it to stream media? If so you might be interested in Feedsource for WHS, bought to you by our good friends over at Tentacle Software. Tags: Windows Home Server

Powershell to the rescue

A few days ago I found myself mentioning that I’m not really using Powershell very much, and today I find it helping me out – proving my point, it’s incredibly powerful if you can take the time to get to know it well.. which I’ve not really done yet! One of the solutions we’ve inherited from another development company is littered with previous Visual Source Safe files. As you can imagine, all trace of VSS is something that needs to be exterminated from this earth, so even though these files aren’t harming anything* their existence alone is a source...

You down with MVC? Yeah you know me!

I resisted ASP.NET MVC for quite some time. Not intentionally, and not for for any real compelling reason, but for a while WebForms coupled with my version of an MVP implementation was doing its thing pretty nicely, and a few of the WebForms projects I was working on had customers who really had no reason to shift technologies. Whether you’re charging by the hour or working in a fixed price scenario it can be a little hard to justify jumping into new technologies (although at this point you could hardly call MVC ‘new’) without good reason. Having said that,...

Best Practices for Form Design

Best Practices for form design is a slideshow on the topic of… form design! Boom! Hopefully not a surprise, however I did find a few things in the slides a little surprising. Vertical labels often lead to the fastest form completion times – I like vertical labels because they usually require simpler HTML, so I’m happy now to have another reason to recommend them. The pros and cons for the other layout options also make for interesting reading. Avoid optional fields – when you read this as a best practise recommendation you stop and pause for a moment...

My 2010 developer tools and utilities post

Everyone has their own set of tools and utilities that they can't live without. This is my list. There are many like it, but this one is mine. These lists are actually interesting to write as they force you to stop and think about what software you're actually using on a daily basis as well as being interesting to look back on and revise in a few months/years from now. I’m excluding the obvious developer tools such as Visual Studio, SQL Management Studio, Microsoft Office, MSN Messenger, Outlook, and focusing more on additional tools and utilities. ...

MVC Radio buttons

While working with radio buttons in MVC2 I’m seeing some strange behaviour. I suspect I’m overlooking something obvious here, so please jump in dear reader and laugh at my expense. The scenario involves radio buttons, and wanting to set one of the options as being selected (“checked” for a radio button). According to logic and many Stackoverflow posts, you should be able to do something with the checked property, however this seems broken for me – consider the following, where none of these three attempts at setting check should be valid, however all three of them result in the...

Introduction to jQuery templates

If you’ve read anything about the story around Microsoft’s adoption of jQuery then you may of heard mention of jQuery templates. I’ve seen a few older examples of templating approaches using JavaScript before using Microsoft’s Ajax, and while I could easily see the value and appeal it didn’t feel like it was worth switching over to MS Ajax just to use it. As of jQuery version 1.5, templates will be included as part of the core functionality, which says to me that it’s time to get interested and start paying attention, and one of the best way’s to get...