Ang3lFir3 – Life as a Code Poet

March 26, 2008

Developing InfoPath 2007 Solution == Most Painful experience in my life

The title says it all!!! Well almost. For the last few days I have been banging my head on InfoPath 2007 as a platform for developing a solution. There are great many painful experiences in InfoPath 2007 as a development platform that I was already expecting (it is after all an Office product thus making it inherantly painful)¹ but I wasn’t expecting to have it just randomly crash VS any time I write a little code.

What I am trying to do, and hopefully someone smarter than me can tell me how, is to incorporate a custom dll into an InfoPath 2007 Template project in VS2005 AND be able to use that dll to do work on the Template (the library contains validation functions specific to US and I need it to be reusable). Now you might be thinking life was easy here, but let me through in a few wrenches…

We aren’t using the forms on machines that are NOT connected to our network. The Templates are published to machines that are in the field. No SharePoint,  No Forms Server, just templates and a mdb with the values for the drop down menus in it. Yup… each template comes with its very own personal copy of the database that contains nothing more than tables with values and labels for drop down lists. At a later date the data in the .xml files will be uploaded to a Database after being collected.

 Hopefully I have made it clear how these templates are being used (not my idea so i can’t provide any justifications)

So how does one use InfoPath 2007 to publish a template containing custom validation routines (complex enough that they need to be written in C#) that use a shared library and access fields on the form? WITHOUT THE WHOLE THING EXPLODING!!!! There are no examples that I can find anywhere of even developing with InfoPath in this sort of manner. I am not finding anything related to my issues on the team blog either.

Maybe I am missing something or simply just don’t get it…. what ever the case… hopefully someone can explain this to me…. cuz right now… I’m drowning.

HELP!!!

1) office applications in general always seem to have the goofiest API’s and worst documentation. If I just want to do something once and not become an expert in <Office_application_X_Development /> the pain is almost unbearable. It should be easy guys…. no really it should!

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March 21, 2008

ASP.Net MVC Code on CodePlex

Filed under: .NET, ASP.Net MVC, Microsoft, technology, Uncategorized, web development — ang3lfir3 @ 1:29 pm

Scott Hanselman just announced here that the ASP.Net MVC code was available on Codeplex.

Now you can download and mess with the ASP.NET MVC code all you want… more importantly you can become seriously familiar with its internals and offer suggests to the MVC team for everything from refactorings to spelling corrections in comments (if you really want to).

So … read Scott’s post and download the bits…. and get moving!!! The best part is you can build ASP.NET MVC yourself and have anything your heart desires in your own personal build!!! no more excuses about it not being in the framework :p

Vista SP1 is out…

Filed under: Microsoft, technology, Windows Vista — ang3lfir3 @ 11:00 am

Early the other day i noticed that my personal laptop was notifying me of a Windows Update that wanted to be installed. So taking a look to see if it was worth starting I realized that it was indeed Windows Vista SP1….. I began the install and waited while it downloaded and stepped through the three part installation process. I’m pretty open with my personal laptop….. I treat it like a VM so beta software and Service Packs etc are installed without too much concern. I do develop on my laptop but I try to keep it as “up to date” as possible.

While googling for additional info this morning I ran across this blog entry by Tim Sneath. Tim really gives a great quick synapsis of what Vista SP1 is all about or at least what it means for Developers. I personally think of this as possibly the best Service Pack experience I have ever had with Windows. I for one noticed some slight performance increases when waking from Hibernation (I absolultely abuse Hibernation in Vista). I also noticed that several basic application showed as being new ; paint, notepad and several other basic apps. I presume this has a lot to do with being upgraded to handle the security in Vista better.

 All in all I have so far been decently impressed.

March 19, 2008

Time for a Theme Change.

Filed under: Argh, Blogging, technology, Uncategorized — ang3lfir3 @ 11:48 am

I decided I HAD to change my theme today when I realized I was contributing to the one thing I dislike most on other blogs.   I realized that the dates for my entries were difficult to find and only located at the bottom of the post. That doesn’t make them very useful especially when often times what I might be commenting about could be information that changes in days/weeks/months. I find this a lot when I am looking for information regarding a topic. I will start googling and looking through blog entries of known bloggers like Scott Hanselman and Ayende Rahien only to find that on details for each entry the dates are only listed at the bottom of the entry, which could be a considerable distance to scroll. Leaving me to realize later that the information I was reading was out of date and potentially no longer accurate and that any links I followed may be stale.

I really like blog themes like Phil Haack’s and Jean-Paul Boodhoo’s where the dates are clearly displayed above each entry even in the detail view.

So I changed my theme to one that lists the complete date clearly. Anyone who manages to stumble along here should have a better idea now of when entries where made and what the potential validity of that information is.

March 12, 2008

ASP.Net MVC Framework, Give Me Rescues!

Filed under: ASP.Net MVC, Microsoft, technology, Uncategorized, web development — Tags: , , , , — ang3lfir3 @ 2:45 pm

Having played with and loved MonoRail I was overjoyed when I learned about ASP.Net MVC ,(Yay!!! supported MVC Framework!). Now that Preview 2 is out I have been trying to find out as much as I can.

Having just gotten it installed on the laptop yesterday before bed (and having to actually work at work <sad/> ) I haven’t had time to play around too much. I have watched  ScottHa’s Demo at Mix08 and the videos from the ASP.Net site. One thing I didn’t see tho was anything the really and truly resembled the MonoRail idea of Rescues so I decided to see what others had done.

Rescues are a great concept that MonoRail uses to really allow me as the developer in an advanced scenario to make decisions about if I want to display something special to alert users about errors or not. They just feel clean and don’t require me to do a lot of “if/else” or “try/catch” which can dirty up the code real fast especially where catching different types of potential exceptions.

After a few minutes of searching I came across this blog entry . I am hoping this will inspire MSFT to possibly bake this into the framework. It might already actually be there and I just haven’t looked hard enough, but if it’s not I would love to really see it.  The post by Agile Joe does ceratinly show what a great job the guys on the MVC team have done so far to really make the framework very extensible.

I am really loving where ASP.Net MVC is going and certainly can’t wait for it to “go gold”. MVC has always been the way I have wanted to go with development (even in my work environment where webforms and auto-magical databinding are the norm) the seperation of concerns and testability of MVC make it so much more interesting to work with.

 So there you have it… my $.02 on Rescues and ASP.Net MVC

March 11, 2008

Blogging again and this time from Seattle.

Filed under: Seattle, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — ang3lfir3 @ 7:41 pm

After totally abandoning my blog for a few years or something like that (yeah i know I am odd). I decided I would start blogging again. Now that I live in the Seattle area and Commute to Seattle daily (the WSF employees are sadistic….but that is another story) I have some time on the boat every day to spend blogging.

I’ve left my previous job and am now working for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I’ve also droped VB.Net as my main programing language…. sad truth… the tools for C# are just better and more mature. That and C# always gets the kewl stuff first…. so I decided to join em.

So there you have it… thats my life in a nutshell. (at least the parts you need to know about).

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