Archive for the_time('F Y')

IE Development Toolbar Beta 3
28 February 2007 in Code & Microsoft | Comments (0)

Recently I’ve been working on a website and I need to make sure it’s standards compliant. I’ve blogged before about some tools I use to make sure that the process of standards compliance is hassle free. In the weekend I was hunting around the Microsoft site, as you do, and I stumbled across the “IE Development Toolbar“, Beta 3. So I pulled it down and installed this this week to have a play.

This is a pretty scrunched up screen shot (I really need to move to a fluid width theme):

IE Web Developer Toolbar Beta 3

Overall, very nice. Lacks pretty icons yet but packs a punch in terms of functionality. It’s got a complete DOM inspector, validation links (both for public pages and local), allows CSS modification and considerably more. Looks promising for when it comes out of beta and so far I haven’t had any issues with it being in beta (hopefully that means pretty icons will be added, I like them ;)

Just thought I’d share as it’s a logical addition to my earlier post. Grab it here.

- JD

Web based operating systems?
27 February 2007 in General | Comments (5)

Recently with all the Web 2.0 hub-bub that’s been going on there is increasing talk about how rich we can make applications in the browser. This has drawn some to start saying that perhaps maybe, just maybe, soon all you’ll need is your web browser and that will be your operating system.

What baloney!

I can only assume people who make these sort of statements are misguided in their understanding of what an operating system actually does. An operating system is NOT the applications you’re working with, it’s what actually governs how the machine and the software interact. No matter how elite a person considers them-self at manipulating the DOM with AJAX I somewhat doubt they’re capable of marshaling interrupts and altering the state of special registers on the chip. A web browser has to run on an operating system.

Applications will always sit on top of an operating system. The richer the applications become in the browser the less likely you are to directly interact with the applications that ship with the operating system however these applications are simply value add and not the actual operating system.

Why am I posting this? It’s been a personal annoyance of mine lately at how much people are buying into the Web 2.0 so heavily that they draw irrational conclusions. Sure there are great opportunities but I wouldn’t disregard rich smart client applications that are simply consumers of core services (composite applications). I’m sure most of you already know all of this but I just wanted to vent some frustration at the whole topic of web based operating systems :)

- JD

Windows Vista Memory Usage
26 February 2007 in Microsoft & Windows | Comments (30)

A while back I made a post about Windows Vista memory requirements and saying I didn’t think it was the issue that some people thought it was. Now I’ve been using Vista RTM for a few months I thought I should do an update on my experience in terms of memory consumption.

First off, I’m using Windows Vista Ultimate Edition. I’d consider myself a bit of a power user, typically I have the following things running at any one time:

  • IIS 7
  • SQL Server 2005
  • Two instances of Visual Studio 2005
  • FeedDemon
  • FireFox (with about 10 tabs open)
  • Internet Explorer 7 (with about 10 tabs open)
  • Live Messenger
  • A smattering of open directories

Until recently I used to always run my taskbar as a 2 row height just to allow me to easily see everything I leave open. The reason I raise this is to say that I’m probably not a normal user in terms of memory usage, the applications and services listed are just those I use constantly, often there is about 30 processes running relating to just applications I’m using.

I’m running Vista on two machines, a home machine with 1GB of memory and my laptop which has 2GB of memory. My home machine gets much less of a workout and is more for browsing, gaming with occassional development (which means it is running VS 2005 and IIS). The following figures are my “under load” figures. It’s important to note I wasn’t especially scientific, I just keep an eye on memory usage and these have been the common figures I’m seeing.

Home Memory Useage: 70%, 720MB
Laptop Memory Usage: 60%, 1.2GB

Personally I don’t think these figures are too high. Sure, I’d love everything to be written in tight assembler and have the entire system to sit there using 100MB of memory but it’s simply more important to me that my environment is performing well.

When I consider these figures I would still recomend 1GB of memory for any home user to ensure a comfortable time with Vista and certainly 2GB for any developers out there. I’ve tried to be balanced and give my figures when I’m actually using the system (rather than after a clean boot which would be unrealistically low) but do take them with a grain of salt – most of my issues, when I experience them, result from some applications just bleeding memory everywhere and this isn’t something Vista can really control.

- JD

Custom HttpHandlers and IIS7
23 February 2007 in .Net & Code & Microsoft & Tools & Windows | Comments (3)

I’ve been developing an ASP.NET solution and was starting to get some odd behavior on my development machine (Vista Ultimate). We’ve written a custom HttpHandler for managing user authorisation and when running the solution up against the ASP.NET Cassini web server (the “built in web server”) everything ran fine however when running against IIS7 authorisation wasn’t working correctly. Some debugging and it became evident that the handler wasn’t even executing when running within IIS7.

IIS7 provides a whole swag of great new functionality so after some hunting around I found that the module wasn’t registered with IIS7.

How do you register a custom module in IIS7?

Fire up IIS Manager

Select your website you want to add the module for (IIS will inspect the Web.config of the site to get the modules)

Open up “Modules”:

IIS7 Modules

You should find that your modules will be of Module Type “Managed” if you’re writing them in .NET, check it’s not already listed

Click “Add Managed Module…” on the Action pane

IIS7 Add Managed Module

Type in the name of your module and select it from the drop down list (IIS will populate this from what it finds in the web site, if the module isn’t listed then you’ve made a mistake somewhere :)

Add IIS7 HttpHandler Module

Click OK and you should now find that your custom HttpModule works :)

Another way

Some of you will already know that IIS7 configuration is now XML and you can configure IIS7 from the web.config. This was recently demonstrated at a local .NET User Group in Wellington by Jeremy. It’s a pretty kick ass change from how things work in IIS6 and earlier and makes explaining some of these things easier. After adding the Module reference I noticed Visual Studio warned me that the Web.config file had changed so I took a look at what it had changed and, sure enough:

<system.webServer>
<validation validateIntegratedModeConfiguration="false" />
<modules>
<add name="CustomAuthModule"
type="Mindscape.ResearchProject.Website.Infrastructure.CustomAuthModule" />
</modules>
</system.webServer>

So you could just drop this block into your Web.config and get the same module registration that I detailed earlier. Fantastic.

- JD

SQL Server 2005 SP2 Available
20 February 2007 in Microsoft | Comments (0)

Just a quick post to let you know that SQL Server 2005 SP2 is now available for download (for all editions) 

Download SQL Server 2005 SP2

View a complete list of changes in SP2

Hat tip to bink.nu for this one :)

 - JD

Get Windows Vista Ultimate for $199
16 February 2007 in .Net & Events & Microsoft & Windows | Comments (7)

Many of you will be starting to see more and more people talking about Windows Vista now it’s come out in the retail market. I’ve been using it for quite some time and it has really grown on me, I strongly suggest you grab a copy and start using it today :)

Anyway, that aside, you may be questioning which version you need? Given the audience of my blog, I’d suggest Ultimate. It has some kick ass features that make doing development work a lot more enjoyable as well as things such as Windows Ultimate Extras. However, ultimate also comes with the biggest price tag so how can you get it a bit cheaper? You can come along to the Microsoft 2007 Technical Briefing event in Auckland/Wellington/Christchurch.

The cost is $199 to attend and you get to select either a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate or Office 2007 for yourself. Great sessions and software, what more could you want? :)

One of the coolest Ultimate Extras is DreamScene which allows a video to play as your desktop “image”. It’s really cool, Jeremy and Andrew have been loving it too.

- JD

P.S. Disclaimer, I’m speaking at this event so I’m taking the opportunity to pimp it as well as show it’s a great offer to get software :)

Introducing Mindscape
15 February 2007 in Blogging & Business | Comments (6)

Following my post about leaving Intergen, I’d like to introduce my new venture – Mindscape. Mindscape is a software company specialising in products development that I’ve started with two other ex-Intergen folk, Jeremy Boyd and Andrew Peters.

Mindscape

Mindscape was founded based on the vision of creating fantastic software that really steps up a level in terms of being robust, usable and functional. We’re all committed to creating fantastic solutions both with our own products and in consulting work that Mindscape delivers.

I’ll still be blogging personally here and will share some of the highlights as well as mixing in more of the same sort of content that I was posting in 2006. Hopefully all of this explains some of the quietness here as of late, it’s been a huge amount of effort to get things moving and looks like the exciting ride is just beginning!

- JD

Leaving Intergen
15 February 2007 in Business & Intergen | Comments (3)

After a fantastic three years working at Intergen I’ve decided it’s time for me to depart and start my own company. I’ve always wanted to run my own company and I’m at a point where I can realise that dream. I’ll be posting more about the business in the future on this blog and look forward to this exciting new chapter :)

For anybody wishing to find out more please either leave a comment or contact me on usual means.

 - JD