Archive for the ‘.NET’ Category

UpdateFrom is out of ASP.NET MVC Preview 5

11 Sep

Well I really liked the UpdateFrom method that lived in System.Web.MVC.BindingHelperExtensions.  I dug it all the way back when it was actually an extension method, but the latest version of ASP.NET MVC Preview 5 has kicked it out.  I haven't read it anywhere but microsoft seems to desire that we think of viewdata as being an extension of the model.  So now you use UpdateModel and so you switch it up by passing the form keys so that it knows what properties to update, not a name value collection.

This really isn't that big a deal as far as fixing your code.  I resolved my issues using a find and replace in visual studio using regular expressions.  For the find I used BindingHelperExtensions.UpdateFrom(({:w}), Request.Form); and for the replace I used UpdateModel(1, Request.Form.AllKeys);.  As I need to do more I will make note of what is needed to get Preview 5 rolling.

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Posted in .NET


New Blog New Focus

06 Jun

Over the past year I have grown quite a bit as a developer and realized that I should talk more about being open to expanding your knowledge outside of the technologies you are currently comfortable with.  One year ago I was a ASP.NET C# webform developer that didn't know exactly why people didn't like ASP.NET and considered it a leaky abstraction.  

I really wanted to get better with testing my software and the path that lead to developing testable websites brought me to the View-Presenter pattern.  This pattern worked wonders to be able to test a webform site and really allowed me to focus on the TDD experience.  During this work I felt that I was finally writing some rock-solid code that was doing what I thought I wanted it to, and with the testing would keep doing it through the changes.

After getting comfortable with this I started to look into Ruby on Rails since there was so much talk about it and how completely agile it was.  The first couple of months that I sat down and used ruby I was not sure that it was worth looking at.  Some of my posts here show my skepticism that I felt.  I thought that without a compiler and with the looseness of the language that "real" applications weren't possible and that it was more the realm of the casual developer that didn't have to make a serious professional program.

After struggling for a couple of months I started to see the light.  Once I was writing tests and really understanding what I could do with Ruby, using C# started to become frustrating.  To get software written in Ruby you really can just go and have a great amount of ease in re-factoring your code because everything isn't tied down so tightly that you had to expressly expose all aspects to being extended or overridden.  In Ruby if you want to replace functionality of a class you can, no special keywords or design considerations.  With C# the style of code that you have to write to become testable changes from what you would write even with good OO principles.

I was learning Ruby so that I could create Rails applications.  What I have enjoyed about Rails the most would be the guidance and ease of developing an application.  Testing is required practically and supported to an extent I had never seen.  The design of the system made sense, it is put together by people that used it daily.  It is added to by people using it and the community was very helpful and exciting to be around.  I was very excited, but thought there must be something that makes Rails development not as easy as it seems.  Otherwise why isn't everyone developing using it?  So far I have not run into frustration.  The only aspect that I am hesitant of is running the web servers using rails.  At the start of my experience there seemed to be quite a bit of memory usage and a need to do frequent server resets.

Worried about this I didn't feel comfortable pushing the technology to co-workers since I didn't want to recommend a system that may not be as solid as what we were used too.  Then Microsoft announced that they would be making a version of ASP.NET that is built with an MVC architectural pattern.  Initially this was somewhat exciting.  All of the benefits of rails I thought, but with the stability of .NET.  

So far this has been a good direction for Microsoft, but it feels to me like I know that the people writing it aren't thinking about using it first.  They are driven by the desire to make maintaining the software easy.  This has led to pain in my experience.  Releases aren't very easy to use with testing.  There are side projects that have been created to ease this, but it is obvious to me that these solutions could have come from the actual framework creators.  To me there is still this we will make the framework you figure out if it works for you mentality.  Usually this isn't a problem if that attitude is from people that are working with the technology, but here I don't believe this is the case.  

I have more and more felt that Ruby on Rails is the best way to develop web based software.  I am more intrigued every day and have yet to run into a decision that I thought was made without the first priority being a benefit to the usage of the framework.  Now with this experience I wonder what other languages and skills would help me solve problems better.  This will be my focus on this blog so that I can chronicle my experience and hopefully meet more people that enjoy solving problems the best way they can.

RenderUserControl from Controller

15 Jan

Ran into a situation today where I wanted to render a ViewUserControl from my controller.  I had a couple of hard times getting this done with the Microsoft MVC CTP1, but finally have it working.  We did this to support using the Prototype observe to get behavior similar to a cascading drop down.

ASPX View Page

 <% using (Html.Form<Web.Controllers.PlaqueOrderController>
          (action => action.Create())) { %>  
       <%= Html.Select("SeasonId", ViewData.Seasons, "Name", "Id")%>  
  <div name="statistic" id="statistic"> 
      <select disabled="disabled">
        <option>Select Sport</option>

 <% } %>
 <script type="text/javascript"> 
   Event.observe("SeasonId", "change", function() { 
          new Ajax.Updater('statistic', '/PlaqueOrder/GetStatistics/'
                           + $F("SeasonId")) }); 


This will observe the season drop down and when it is changed call the PlaqueOrder controller’s GetStatistics action passing the selected SeasonId to the action. The action in the controller then looks like this.  I should mention that I’m using LLBLGen for the ORMapper here.



public void GetStatistics(int id) 
   SeasonEntity season = new SeasonEntity(id); 
   HtmlHelper helper = new HtmlHelper(
                             new ViewContext(this.ControllerContext, 
   string html = helper.RenderUserControl(
                       "/Views/PlaqueOrder/Statistic.ascx", season);


We had to give the absolute path to the RenderUserControl because we kept getting The relative virtual path ‘Statistic’ is not allowed here when we used helper.RenderUserControl("Statistic").  We also had to use Response.Write to get the html created from the ViewUserControl to the browser to replace the innerHtml of the statistic div.  Next is the ViewUserControl.



<%@ Control Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true"
    Inherits="Web.Views.PlaqueOrder.Statistic" %>
<%= Html.Select("StatisticId", 
                ViewData.Sport.Statistics, "Name", "Id")%> 


And here is the codebehind that types the ViewUserControl to the Season that we are passing as the ControlData.



namespace Web.Views.PlaqueOrder 
   public partial class Statistic : 
   { } 


We had a hard time find much information how to do this.  I’m sure there are other ways to accomplish this, but to us being able to render a ViewUserControl from a Controller is helpful with how we have used Prototype for AJAX communication.


Posted in .NET, Web/Tech


First Ruby WTF

19 Sep

Well I was reading through Chris Pine’s Learn to Program and he made a curious statement about how money is handled when programming.

In practice, most programs don’t use floats; only integers. (After all, no one wants to look at 7.4 emails, or browse 1.8 web pages, or listen to 5.24 of their favorite songs…) Floats are used more for academic purposes (physics experiments and such) and for 3D graphics. Even most money programs use integers; they just keep track of the number of pennies!

Now does anyone actually do this in the outside of the Ruby world?  When I use .NET I use an ORM and I map to the SQL money column type to a decimal.  I’m somewhat interested to see what ruby does in this situation.


LLBLGen Upgrade from 1.x to 2.x

17 Jul

I have found this search to be pretty helpful with my upgrade from LLBLGen 1 to 2. 

  1. To use it start a find and replace and enable regular expressions. 
  2. Then in the Find What box enter PredicateFactory.CompareValue({:w}FieldIndex.{:w}, ComparisonOperator.Equal,
  3. now in the Replace with box enter 1Fields.2 ==

This will then replace the string with the correct syntax for the new query language that uses operator overloads.  These can be modified to capture most of the query types used in LLBLGen.  You will have to go back in however and remove an extra closing parenthesis.


LLBLGen Presentation

07 May

The presentations went well.  I think they are definitely something that you have to do to get better.  So now I need to find ways to do more talks.  I enjoyed the chance to get to meet people and discuss technology with people I normally wouldn’t. 

The audience for the two presentations I gave were very different.  For the lunch crowd a simple direction was best.  The time was much more crunched and the environment lent itself to more distraction and less interaction.  For the evening you only have 10 people and more time.  So a more in depth presentation would most likely be beneficial for them. 

Other than that I thought that the presentation went well.  It’s a large subject that I will get better at presenting when I show to other developers at MTM and present other topics.  I also won something for the first time ever, a book that started out with this quote.

… the highest simplicity of structure is produced, not by a few elements, but by the highest complexity.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Goethe; or, the Writer"

That’s a good quote, but I think that the development circle I’m following more and more lately tries to do these Simple Complex things as simply as possible.  I know a lot of developers still like their complexity, hopefully every day I’m less and less like that.

P.S. The presentation material will be posted here very soon.


Mix 07 News

02 May

Interesting News from Mix 07.  There has been a lot of attention today to many of Microsoft’s announcements about upcoming development projects.  Most notable have been Silverlight 1.1 with built in Cross Platform CLR and Jasper.  But two other interesting bits of technology are ASP.NET Application Services and Dynamic Data Controls.

Dynamic Data Controls for ASP.NET

Dynamic data controls are a set of ASP.NET server controls that obtain database schema information at run time, provide default display formats according to common user expectations, and enable you to easily customize those formats. Watch a video showing how to build a task list application using the Dynamic Data Controls from the ASP.NET Futures Release.

ASP.NET Application Services

New services for ASP.NET enable you to add search to your ASP.NET Web applications, using a commercial search engine’s API (such as Windows Live Search) and custom search providers. You can also publish custom and dynamic sitemaps that are configured to assist search engine crawlers. A new service lets you capture JavaScript errors and report them to server-based ASP.NET code.

Source: ASP.NET Futures: ASP.NET Web: The Official Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 Site


Looming Presentation

12 Apr

Well I am going to be giving a couple of presentations for the OKC .NET user group this month.  I’ll be discussing LLBLGen, a great ORMapper from Solutions Design in the Netherlands.  It is the only reason that many of our projects have been successful.  That’s great and worthy of enthusiasm, but getting in front of 40+ developers and explaining why this is so great is somewhat intimidating.  What if they don’t think so, what if they say "so, I already do something better"?

Along these lines I’ve been interested in learning about NHibernate more and more lately.  I’ve been reading and attempting to practice a more Test Driven & Domain Driven style and many of these people use NHibernate.  What if I get up and everyone goes that’s great, but NHibernate does this better.  Well I’m pretty comfortable so far with my arguments that LLBLGen deserves a shot and with some groups will be much better than many other systems.

There seems to be two subtle, but important differences between the camps.  Domain Driven people want to think of the domain as an isolated system free of dependencies to the database.  They may not have the ability to change the database and must work around a schema that doesn’t match their desired application well.  They need something that can map these two disparate systems and many are happy with how NHibernate does this for them.

The feeling I have is that with LLBLGen along with the ability to control the database completely was able to save many many hours of development by planning the DB for the application.  Many of the tables are used to map directly to objects.  New features have been introduced that help this type of design be a little more flexible now.  Inheritance allows us to define tables as base types and have subtypes that inherit fields from these base tables.  Projections have been added recently that will take entity objects that were fetched from the DB and map them to any object.

My job now becomes come up with a way to present LLBLGen that makes it look like it does it’s job well.  I’ll have to make sure that people understand the views of the software creators.  How they think a database should be built and the rewards that you can reap if you follow their pattern.  I know it has been very rewarding, now I need to let everyone else know.