<CharlieDigital/> Programming, Politics, and uhh…pineapples

29May/08Off

Awesome News For Web UI Developers

Posted by Charles Chen

Google's new AJAX Libraries API should help quite a bit with developing web UIs.  From Dion Almer:

I just got to announce the Google AJAX Libraries API which exists to make Ajax applications that use popular frameworks such as Prototype, Script.aculo.us, jQuery, Dojo, and MooTools faster and easier for developers.
Whenever I wrote an application that uses one of these frameworks, I would picture a user accessing my application, having 33 copies of prototype.js, and yet downloading yet another one from my site. It would make me squirm. What a waste!
When I joined Google I realised that we could help out here. What if we hosted these files?

Read more about it here.

By the way, I caught this little tagline from ajaxian:

Because after 10 years, we're still hand-coding.

There's a lot to be said for the productivity gained from drag-&-drop RAD tools, but ultimately, software engineering is still at a stage where craftsmanship matters (a lot) and there is no substitute for a skilled craftsman.

Filed under: Awesome, Dev No Comments
28May/08Off

When Will The Stupid End?

Posted by Charles Chen

Seriously, what is this country coming to?



Does Dunkin’ Donuts really think its customers could mistake Rachael Ray for a terrorist sympathizer? The Canton-based company has abruptly canceled an ad in which the domestic diva wears a scarf that looks like a keffiyeh, a traditional headdress worn by Arab men.



Some observers, including ultra-conservative Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin, were so incensed by the ad that there was even talk of a Dunkin’ Donuts boycott.


‘‘The keffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad,’’ Malkin yowls in her syndicated column.


‘‘Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant and not-so-ignorant fashion designers, celebrities, and left-wing icons.’’


First of all, Michelle Malkin is a fucking idiot; everyone uses "Arabic" numerals every day...guess we need to start a ban of Arabic numerals lest the enemy think that we are sympathizers!  What's next?  A boycott of ottomans?  Gum arabic?  When will the stipid end?  Second of alll, Dunkin' Donuts must be run by a bunch of idiots, too.  Have some balls, especially after you've already paid Rachel Ray for the spot.  And gosh, just use some common sense, people.


Hit the link to see a pic of the supposed keffiyeh (not even close).


The stupidity...it hurts my head.

Filed under: News, Rants No Comments
17May/08Off

Digging Into REST

Posted by Charles Chen

I've been on a REST kick for a while now.  It's been brewing in the back of my head since an interview I did a few months back.

Pete Lacey gives an in depth interview on the topics of REST and WS-* over at InfoQ.  And he points to Dave Megginson's one line pitch for REST:

With REST, every piece of information has its own URL.

It's an incredibly powerful concept and it's empowering for the end user, IMO.

One thing that's bugged me about REST is that -- without having written an explicitly RESTful application -- is that using REST over SOAP means much more "plumbing" for web services development.  It was kind of interesting to hear Lacey address this:

There's scalability, there's performance, which is primarily influenced by caching, which is built deep into the bones of REST and HTTP, there is simplicity of architecture, not necessarily of development, and this is especially true if you are a client side developer, the point is that we don't want to hide the network from you and so you actually have to do more work as a RESTful developer of clients that you would simply by spitting out code from a WSDL.

Indeed.  I think this is where I'm a bit torn on REST since the ideal of a resource based view of a system is empowering for end users but today's tools for working with WSDL allow for much greater producitivity for developers.

Filed under: Dev No Comments
13May/08Off

Impulse Buy…Almost

Posted by Charles Chen

I usually have problems spending more than a few dollars on anything non-functional.  For example, art or posters (which to my wife's chagrin, leaves most of the walls in our house bare).  However -- for a moment -- I actually considered if I would be willing to go all out and buy a hand written letter from Einstein:



A letter being auctioned in London this week adds more fuel to the long-simmering debate about the Nobel Prize-winning physicist's religious views. In the note, written the year before his death, Einstein dismissed the idea of God as the product of human weakness and the Bible as "pretty childish."


The letter, handwritten in German, is being sold by Bloomsbury Auctions on Thursday and is expected to fetch between $12,000 and $16,000.


I dunno...$16,000 seems like a bargain for a piece of history that seems almost priceless. A hand written letter by one of the greatest scientific minds in human history on one of the most oft debated aspects of his personal life?  $16,000 is a downright steal.


Which reminds me, I should pick up a print of the cover of Newton's Principia Mathematica one of these days.

13May/08Off

log4net With SharePoint Layout Page Applications

Posted by Charles Chen

Using log4net with SharePoint layout page applications is really no different from using it with other types of web applications with the exception that there really isn't a convenient way to initialize the logging configuration from your custom binaries.

The answer lies in the oft overlooked AssemblyInfo.cs file.

Add the following line to the file:

[assembly: log4net.Config.XmlConfigurator(Watch = true)]

You may also want to add log4net binary to the /App_Bin directory of the WSS virtual directory GAC (as well as the configuration into the web.config file of the application, of course).

Filed under: SharePoint No Comments
6May/08Off

Buy This Book!

Posted by Charles Chen

This is quite exciting: my wife is now a published author (with her own ISBN and everything :-D)!


Check out her book The Parent Connection for Singapore Math.



:-D She's also got a media set, you know, if you've got $459 and nothing better to spend it on :-P

Filed under: Life No Comments
6May/08Off

SharePoint “Unknown Error” Quirk

Posted by Charles Chen

Anyone who's done any bit of SharePoint development is probably familiar with the completely useless "Unknown Error" view.  Well, in fact, SharePoint actually knows what the error is, it just doesn't want to tell you (okay, it's really just disabled for users).


In ASP.NET, you can usually get error messages to show up by setting <customErrors="Off"/>


However, this is not sufficient with SharePoint. As Stefan Keir Gordan points out, to get the nitty gritty details, you also need to set <SafeMode CallStack="True""/>

Filed under: SharePoint No Comments
5May/08Off

MbUnit And TestDriven.NET On x64

Posted by Charles Chen

I came across an interesting issue while trying to run some MbUnit RowTests this morning.

Namely, it seemed that the rows being passed in contained all null values.  It left me scratching my head.  I ran the tests using MbUnit console and it worked fine but didn't work as expected from TestDriven.NET in VS2005.

Well, it turns out that (I think) the install for MbUnit does not create the requisite registry keys in an x64 environment.  It properly creates the keys under the Wow6432Node, but it does not create the keys under the path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MutantDesign\TestDriven.NET\TestRunners

So to make it work, all you have to do is to copy the string values from the Wow6432Node to the key above and restart VS.

Hope this saves some headaches for other developers working in an x64 environment!

Update: Jeff Brown notes in the comments that this should be fixed with future releases so that x64 environment registry keys are properly generated.

Filed under: Dev 2 Comments