Saturday, 28 April 2007 Links For 28/04/2007

.Net Starter Web Site Tutorials - 28 April, 2007

Various .NEt started Site tutorials, cover a broad range of applications Link:

The Importance of Knowing Your Data

I have been developing a custom Google Calendar plugin for a site I am developing and for use in Dot Net Nuke. However for a few hours I have had myself perplexed by the fact that when I was trying to ouput and render the events title, start / end date and location all that was rendered was the title. Initially I though my code was wrong, so I compared it to Thom Shannons PocketGCalSync code, and found that I was doing it right, if only a bit different, I was choosing to loop through the times and locations collections instead of specifying to use just the root. So I was stumped. In work yesterday Chris mentioned if I was sure the data structure was correct. Now at the time I said it was. According to the gData API :

<category scheme='' term=''></category> 
<title type='text'>Lunch with Darcy</title> 
<content type='text'>Lunch to discuss future plans.</content> 
<link rel='alternate' type='text/html' href='' title='alternate'></link>
 <link rel='self' type='application/atom+xml' href=''></link> 
<name>Jo March</name>
<gd:transparency value=''></gd:transparency>
 <gd:eventStatus value=''></gd:eventStatus> 
 <gd:feedLink href=''></gd:feedLink> 
<gd:when startTime='2006-03-30T22:00:00.000Z' endTime='2006-03-30T23:00:00.000Z'></gd:when>
So I was assuming that the nodes gd:when and gd:where existed in my stream. However this is where I was wrong, what I had failed to spot whas that in the GData API its uses examples showing the basic and full versions of the feed. So i was using my basic feed url not the full one.
Using "basic" returns a basic Atom feed without any extension elements. Using "full" returns a feed that includes all event properties
Stupid I know but now i know, and so do you. So here's to wasting time for not checking the data feed your application is actually using ;) Now this is solved I may be closer to publishing my little addon and see if i can use in in DotNetNuke

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Monday, 23 April 2007

Must be the night for Blogging - iTunes & Vista

Well part three of my early encounters with Vista has lead me to quickly post about using iTunes with it. I have been using Vista for three days now and on neither day have I been able to connect to the iTunes music store and auth my music. I kept getting: "Connection attempt to Apple web site was successful. Connection attempt to iTunes Store was successful. Secure connection attempt to iTunes Store was unsuccessful. An unknown error occurred (-9808)." However tonight I decided to try and fix it, first I disabled my firewall just to check that wasn't blocking it, even though iTunes is an exception and it still err'd. I then decided to reactivate it and restart the service. Lo and behold it worked and now all my lovely iTunes purchases are back ;) So if you get this problem try restarting the Vista Firewall.

Code Snippet - Extracting Meta Descriptions

On Saturday I spent some time working on my new website, which will one day be finished, and decided that it needed to extract a Meta Description from the Database for each page, to help provide search engines with suitable descriptions. Now the easiest way is to just have a field in your database and admin / cms system for this, however when you don't want a specific description from the database it would be useful for the page to instead pull 20 words from the body text. So i decided to write myself a small function that would strip out any HTML and return a specified number of words from a string input. I have included it below with a possible use, in this case Meta Description.

   public string extractWords(string input, int wordNum)
       string output = "";
       int i;
       int maxi;
       input = Regex.Replace(input, @"<[^>]*>", string.Empty);
       Array words = input.Split(new char[] {' '});
       if (words.Length < maxi =" words.Length;" maxi =" wordNum;" i =" 0;" output="" return="">
       if (pageContent[0]["metadescription"].ToString() != ""){
           stringDescription = pageContent[0]["metadescription"].ToString();
           stringDescription = extractWords(pageContent[0]["body"].ToString(), 20);

Notice of Attendance

Just a quick post to say that tonight I discussed attending Hack Day ,17th - 18th June London, with my wife and she is fine for me to attend, so I'm all signed up and quite looking forward to attending. If you are attending drop me a comment and I'll try to say Hi.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Frolicking with Vista - 2 - How Not To Do It

So yesterday was a long day, Im way behind in doing me mates church a website and was meant to be working on that al day. However I decided to try out the new Orcas CTP. Mistake, started installing it and the .Net Framework 3.5 install failed. Not only did it fail but it corrupt my entire ASP.Net. DOH. So I could no longer code. So I tried to do repair installs on all my frameworks, but nahdah. So, I decided to get my spare HDD installed into my machine, and configured it to be my main hdd and successfully installed Vista as I thought this would be quicker than trying to fix my XP's. Now I tried to do a clean install of Vista by doing a bodge However when i tried to activate with my official key it failed and told me i had to do an upgrade from XP :( So I was gutted, I then tried to reboot into my old XP's using the bootcfg app I posted on the other day but they fail to load. So Im currently royally screwed. Cant get to old boots and new vista although working fine won't activate, looks like I'm going to have to format all 3 OS drives, then install XP on 2 of them and then upgrade one of those for Vista, oh the joy. At least Ill get another storage drive out of it ....

Friday, 20 April 2007

Frolicking with Vista - 1

Well after waiting roughly 9-10 weeks for my Vista "free" upgrade, which actually cost me £12 handling and shipping :S It finally arrived. A nice new shinny Vista Home Premium - OEM. Now as expected this was an upgrade edition, so as with all older Windows OS' i was expecting to do a clean install and simply provide my XP media to prove i qualified for the upgrade. So after slapping another HDD in so i could triple boot, Dev1, Games and now the new Dev2 which will eventually lead to Dev1 being formatted, I started up the install process, slapped in me key and then was very nicely told that i couldn't clean install a Vista Upgrade it could only be done in an existing OS. Slap in the face number 1. So I then and rather rashly might I add, decide to get rid of me third HDD for now, as it was running off the slave IDE on the Secondary controller anyway and was installed under the cdrom, which took some fiddling. I decided to upgrade Dev1 as it was only reinstalled no more than 2 weeks ago following some tedious AMD X2 upgrade. I started this process fine, loads up, copies files in windows, all looked very pretty. Scheduled reboot so it can uncompress the Vista image and take over your old OS and guess what happens when the OS Setup kicks in. STOP: 0x0000007B Yes thats right a dreaded BSOD. Bugger was the first thing i said, and felt like cussing our mate Bill again. Slap in the face number 2. So here I am pondering what my next move is. Reboot and try it again. Reboots BSOD again. So here's to me hoping i can get the Old OS back as really its not changed anything, so i reboot and choose load previous version of windows. Luckily this then presented me with the usual choose your XP boot and I was happy again. However when ever I reboot now it trys to start installing vista again and if i forget to cancel it I get my loving BSOD. So after waiting for an age my Vista experience has been a bit crap so far. And last night I had another friendly encounter with it. I helped a guy from church setup his new laptop, printer and wireless Internet. Wireless took no more than 15mins. To then find that his brand new printer didn't come with Vista drivers was shocking. HP should be ashamed! So we then spent about 20mins downloading 180Mb Vista drivers off of the HP site. So it all worked fine once we had the drivers but it not shipping with them is, in my opinion, shocking. Any how hopefully tomorrow I will grace these bloglines with more joyful tales of my Vista experience

Wednesday, 18 April 2007 Links For 18/04/2007 Links For 18/04/2007

VistaBootPRO - Go PRO with Windows Vista and VistaBootPRO - 18 April, 2007

Multi OS booting for Vista - the easy way

Tuesday, 17 April 2007 Links For 17/04/2007 Links For 17/04/2007

YUI Theater â€" John Resig, “Advancing JavaScript with Libraries” » Yahoo! User Interface Blog - 17 April, 2007

Another presentation on using Javascript and how Javascript Libraries will enhance our development lives.

Thursday, 12 April 2007 Links For 12/04/2007 Links For 12/04/2007

SlideShare - A Place to share & discover presentations and slideshows - 12 April, 2007

Looks like a great little site for sharing and finding powerpoints for tutorials / general information. Lots on Web Technologies

HOW-TO: Debug JavaScript in Internet Explorer - 12 April, 2007

Javascript Debugging in IE - Blog Article on this to follow

Yahoo! UI Library: Graded Browser Support - 12 April, 2007

When explaining what browsers our code will work in use this document as a standard / guideline

Tuesday, 10 April 2007 Links For 10/04/2007 Links For 10/04/2007

Geek to Live: Top Firefox 2 config tweaks - Lifehacker - 10 April, 2007

Just a short article with some invaluable Firefox tweaks, most are well known but it never harms to have them stored somewhere for future reference

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Does anyone have a web developer to manager dictionary?

This evening I read Chris Heilmann's blog article The business case for web standards - call for wiki participation And I realised how true this is in my work place. now I haven't given any presentations in my work place on web standards, but I have had many discussions with various people about web standards and other practices. In particular I remember trying to explain a certain problem to our managing director and failed to do so in a meaningful way. In trying to portray the problem in a non developer way I ended up confusing him and made myself look a little foolish. I also do this with my wife on a regular basis and yesterday tried to explain what classes and members to her using fruit as an analogy. I failed miserably. Now why is it that us web developers and developers in general fail to convey what we mean to non developers? Especially when it means essential processes and standards are jeopardized, just because people don't understand what it's meant to mean or what it does. This leads me to think about clients and users and how we fail them by not being able to explain why our applications and their websites must conform to certain standards and behave in a certain way. As a community we need to improve our explanations of technology and standards so other people understand the need and importance of such things and why it makes our web experience better. I hope the wiki on the business case for web standards is the start of trying to find a better way of explaining and discussing web standards with our managers and clients.

Monday, 2 April 2007 Links For 02/04/2007 Links For 02/04/2007

A List of common BSOD error codes and explanations - 2 April, 2007

A good list that shows common error codes for that nasty blue screen of death, also gives hints on fixing