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  • Welcome to my geeks blog

    - by bconlon
    Hi and welcome! I'm Bazza and this is my geeks blog. I have 20 years Visual Studio mainly C++, MFC,  ATL and now, thankfully, C# and I am embarking on the new world (well new to me) of WPF, so I thought I would try and capture my successful...and not so successful...WPF experiences with the geek world. So where to start? WPF? What I know so far... From wiki..."Windows Presentation Foundation (or WPF) is a graphical subsystem for rendering user interfaces in Windows-based applications." Hmm, great but didn't MFC, ATL (my head hurt with that one), and .Net all have APIs to allow me to code against the Windows Graphical Device Interface (GDI)? "Rather than relying on the older GDI subsystem, WPF utilizes DirectX. WPF attempts to provide a consistent programming model for building applications and provides a separation between the user interface and the business logic." OK, different drawing code, same Windows and weren't we always taught to separate our UI, Business Layer and Data Access Layer? "WPF employs XAML, a derivative of XML, to define and link various UI elements. WPF applications can be deployed as standalone desktop programs, or hosted as an embedded object in a website." Cool, now we're getting somewhere. So when they say separation they really mean separation. The crux of this appears to be that you can have creative people writing the UI and making it attractive and intuitive to use, whist the geeks concentrate on writing the Business and Data Access stuff. XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language) maps XML elements and attributes directly to Common Language Runtime (CLR) object instances, properties and events. True separation of the View and Model. WPF also provides logical separation of a control from its appearance. In a traditional Windows system, all Controls have a base class containing a Windows handle and each Control knows how to render itself. In WPF, the controls are more like those in a Web Browser using Cascading Style Sheet, they are not wrappers for standard Windows Controls. Instead, they have a default 'template' that defines a visual theme which can easily be replaced by a custom template. But it gets better. WPF concentrates heavily on Data Binding where the client can bind directly to data on the server. I think this concept was first introduced in 'Classic' Visual Basic, where you could bind a list directly to a data from an Access database, and you could do similar in ASP .Net. However, the WPF implementation is far superior than it's predecessors. There are also other technologies that I want to look at like LINQ and the Entity Framework, but that's all for now. #

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  • Connecting Windows 7 to legacy Linux Samba share

    - by bconlon
    I have had to rebuild my Windows 7 PC and all has gone fairly well until I tried to connect to a Samba share on a legacy Linux box running Redhat 8. No matter what combination of domain / user /password I would just see the same message of: "The specified network password is not correct." This is a misleading error, very annoying and a little confusing until I found a hint that Windows 7 default authentication was not supported on older Samba implementations. I guess I figured this out once before as it used to work before the rebuild! Anyway here is the solution: 1. Control Panel->System and Security->Administrative Tools->Local Security Policy (or run secpol.msc). 2. Select Local Policies->Security Options->Network security: LAN Manager authentication level. 3. Select 'Send LM and NTLM - use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated' and click OK. #

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  • How to sort a ListView control by a column in Visual C#

    - by bconlon
    Microsoft provide an article of the same name (previously published as Q319401) and it shows a nice class 'ListViewColumnSorter ' for sorting a standard ListView when the user clicks the column header. This is very useful for String values, however for Numeric or DateTime data it gives odd results. E.g. 100 would come before 99 in an ascending sort as the string compare sees 1 < 9. So my challenge was to allow other types to be sorted. This turned out to be fairly simple as I just needed to create an inner class in ListViewColumnSorter which extends the .Net CaseInsensitiveComparer class, and then use this as the ObjectCompare member's type. Note: Ideally we would be able to use IComparer as the member's type, but the Compare method is not virtual in CaseInsensitiveComparer , so we have to create an exact type: public class ListViewColumnSorter : IComparer {     private CaseInsensitiveComparer ObjectCompare;     private MyComparer ObjectCompare;     ... rest of Microsofts class implementation... } Here is my private inner comparer class, note the 'new int Compare' as Compare is not virtual, and also note we pass the values to the base compare as the correct type (e.g. Decimal, DateTime) so they compare correctly: private class MyComparer : CaseInsensitiveComparer {     public new int Compare(object x, object y)     {         try         {             string s1 = x.ToString();             string s2 = y.ToString();               // check for a numeric column             decimal n1, n2 = 0;             if (Decimal.TryParse(s1, out n1) && Decimal.TryParse(s2, out n2))                 return base.Compare(n1, n2);             else             {                 // check for a date column                 DateTime d1, d2;                 if (DateTime.TryParse(s1, out d1) && DateTime.TryParse(s2, out d2))                     return base.Compare(d1, d2);             }         }         catch (ArgumentException) { }           // just use base string compare         return base.Compare(x, y);     } } You could extend this for other types, even custom classes as long as they support ICompare. Microsoft also have another article How to: Sort a GridView Column When a Header Is Clicked that shows this for WPF, which looks conceptually very similar. I need to test it out to see if it handles non-string types. #

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  • Five development tools I can't live without

    - by bconlon
    When applying to join Geeks with Blogs I had to specify the development tools I use every day. That got me thinking, it's taken a long time to whittle my tools of choice down to the selection I use, so it might be worth sharing. Before I begin, I appreciate we all have our preferred development tools, but these are the ones that work for me. Microsoft Visual Studio Microsoft Visual Studio has been my development tool of choice for more years than I care to remember. I first used this when it was Visual C++ 1.5 (hats off to those who started on 1.0) and by 2.2 it had everything I needed from a C++ IDE. Versions 4 and 5 followed and if I had to guess I would expect more Windows applications are written in VC++ 6 and VB6 than any other language. Then came the not so great versions Visual Studio .Net 2002 (7.0) and 2003 (7.1). If I'm honest I was still using v6. 2005 was better and 2008 was simply brilliant. Everything worked, the compiler was super fast and I was happy again...then came 2010...oh dear. 2010 is a big step backwards for me. It's not encouraging for my upcoming WPF exploits that 2010 is fronted in WPF technology, with the forever growing Find/Replace dialog, the issues with C++ intellisense, and the buggy debugger. That said it is still my tool of choice but I hope they sort the issue in SP1. I've tried other IDEs like Visual Age and Eclipse, but for me Visual Studio is the best. A really great tool. Liquid XML Studio XML development is a tricky business. The W3C standards are often difficult to get to the bottom of so it's great to have a graphical tool to help. I first used Liquid Technologies 5 or 6 years back when I needed to process XML data in C++. Their excellent XML Data Binding tool has an easy to use Wizard UI (as compared to Castor or JAXB command line tools) and allows you to generate code from an XML Schema. So instead of having to deal with untyped nodes like with a DOM parser, instead you get an Object Model providing a custom API in C++, C#, VB etc. More recently they developed a graphical XML IDE with XML Editor, XSLT, XQuery debugger and other XML tools. So now I can develop an XML Schema graphically, click a button to generate a Sample XML document, and click another button to run the Wizard to generate code including a Sample Application that will then load my Sample XML document into the generated object model. This is a very cool toolset. Note: XML Data Binding is nothing to do with WPF Data Binding, but I hope to cover both in more detail another time. .Net Reflector Note: I've just noticed that starting form the end of February 2011 this will no longer be a free tool !! .Net Reflector turns .Net byte code back into C# source code. But how can it work this magic? Well the clue is in the name, it uses reflection to inspect a compiled .Net assembly. The assembly is compiled to byte code, it doesn't get compiled to native machine code until its needed using a just-in-time (JIT) compiler. The byte code still has all of the information needed to see classes, variables. methods and properties, so reflector gathers this information and puts it in a handy tree. I have used .Net Reflector for years in order to understand what the .Net Framework is doing as it sometimes has undocumented, quirky features. This really has been invaluable in certain instances and I cannot praise enough kudos on the original developer Lutz Roeder. Smart Assembly In order to stop nosy geeks looking at our code using a tool like .Net Reflector, we need to obfuscate (mess up) the byte code. Smart Assembly is a tool that does this. Again I have used this for a long time. It is very quick and easy to use. Another excellent tool. Coincidentally, .Net Reflector and Smart Assembly are now both owned by Red Gate. Again kudos goes to the original developer Jean-Sebastien Lange. TortoiseSVN SVN (Apache Subversion) is a Source Control System developed as an open source project. TortoiseSVN is a graphical UI wrapper over SVN that hooks into Windows Explorer to enable files to be Updated, Committed, Merged etc. from the right click menu. This is an essential tool for keeping my hard work safe! Many years ago I used Microsoft Source Safe and I disliked CVS type systems. But TortoiseSVN is simply the best source control tool I have ever used. --- So there you have it, my top 5 development tools that I use (nearly) every day and have helped to make my working life a little easier. I'm sure there are other great tools that I wish I used but have never heard of, but if you have not used any of the above, I would suggest you check them out as they are all very, very cool products. #

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  • How to add a permanent redirect (301) for an htm file in IIS 7

    - by bconlon
    Looking in Web Analytics I could see several external sites pointing at an old .htm file on my web server that no longer existed, so I thought I would get IIS to redirect to the new .aspx replacement. How hard could it be? This has annoyed me for quite a while today so here is the answer. 1. Install the Http Redirection module - this is not installed by default!! Windows 7 Start->Control Panel->Programs and Features->Turn Windows Features on or off. Internet Information Services->World Wide Web Services->Common Http Features->HTTP Redirection. Windows Server 2008 Start->Administrative Tools->Server Manager. Roles->Web Server (IIS). Role Services->Add Role Services. Common Http Features->HTTP Redirection. 2. Edit your web.config file <configuration>     .....     <location path="oldfile.htm">         <system.webServer>             <httpRedirect enabled="true" destination="/newfile.aspx" exactDestination="true" childOnly="true" httpResponseStatus="Permanent" />         </system.webServer>     </location>     ..... </configuration> When a user clicks or Google crawls ‘oldfile.htm’ it will get a permanent redirect to ‘/newfile.aspx’ - and should take any Page Rank to the new file.  #

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  • .NET Reflector Open Source Alternative

    - by bconlon
    When I found out yesterday that one of my top 5 development tools .NET Reflector will no longer be free at the end of February, I thought I'd see if work had started on a good open source alternative...and guess what...work on ILSpy is already well underway!! There seems to be a difference of opinion on what Red Gate said when they purchased .NET Reflector from Lutz Roeder in 2008. They say that they would try to keep it free, where as others think they promised to keep it free. Either way at the time I thought it was a smart purchase by Red Gate as it would raise their profile overnight within the .Net community. But not only are they going to charge $35 for v7 (which is up to them), they have also time-bombed v6 to force users to pay. This I think will lower their profile overnight within the .Net community!! Maybe they are been slightly naive in thinking the community wouldn't just write an alternative?  #

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  • T-SQL select where and group by date

    - by bconlon
    T-SQL has never been my favorite language, but I need to use it on a fairly regular basis and every time I seem to Google the same things. So if I add it here, it might help others with the same issues, but it will also save me time later as I will know where to look for the answers!! 1. How do I SELECT FROM WHERE to filter on a DateTime column? As it happens this is easy but I always forget. You just put the DATE value in single quotes and in standard format: SELECT StartDate FROM Customer WHERE StartDate >= '2011-01-01' ORDER BY StartDate 2. How do I then GROUP BY and get a count by StartDate? Bit trickier, but you can use the built in DATEADD and DATEDIFF to set the TIME part to midnight, allowing the GROUP BY to have a consistent value to work on: SELECT DATEADD (d, DATEDIFF(d, 0, StartDate),0) [Customer Creation Date], COUNT(*) [Number Of New Customers] FROM Customer WHERE StartDate >= '2011-01-01' GROUP BY DATEADD(d, DATEDIFF(d, 0, StartDate),0) ORDER BY [Customer Creation Date] Note: [Customer Creation Date] and [Number Of New Customers] column alias just provide more readable column headers. 3. Finally, how can you format the DATETIME to only show the DATE part (after all the TIME part is now always midnight)? The built in CONVERT function allows you to convert the DATETIME to a CHAR array using a specific format. The format is a bit arbitrary and needs looking up, but 101 is the U.S. standard mm/dd/yyyy, and 103 is the U.K. standard dd/mm/yyyy. SELECT CONVERT(CHAR(10), DATEADD(d, DATEDIFF(d, 0, StartDate),0), 103) [Customer Creation Date], COUNT(*) [Number Of New Customers] FROM Customer WHERE StartDate >= '2011-01-01' GROUP BY DATEADD(d, DATEDIFF(d, 0, StartDate),0) ORDER BY [Customer Creation Date]  #

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  • Is now the right time to move to .NET 4?

    - by bconlon
    The reason I pose this question is that I'm looking at WPF development and so using the latest version seems sensible. However, this means rolling out the .NET 4 runtime to PCs on old versions of the framework. Windows XP is still the number one O/S (estimated 40%+ market share). To run .NET 4 on XP requires Service Pack 3, and although it is good practice to move to the latest service packs, often large companies are slow to keep up due to the extensive testing involved. In fact, .NET 4 is not installed as standard with any Windows O/S as yet - Windows 7 and 2008 Server R2 have 3.5 installed. This is not quite as big an issue as it was for .NET 3.5 as .NET 4 is significantly smaller as it doesn't include the older runtimes - .NET 3.5 SP1 included .NET 3 and .NET 2 and was 250MB, although this was reduced by doing a web install. The size is also reduced a bit if you target the .NET 4 Client Profile, which should be OK for many WPF applications, and I think this may be rolled out as part of Windows service packs soon. But still, if your application is only 4-5 MB and you need 40-50 MB of Framework it is worth consideration before jumping in and using the new shiny features. #

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  • Getting a virus is *very* annoying

    - by bconlon
    I spent most of yesterday removing an annoying virus from my PC. I feel slightly foolish for getting one in the first place, but after so many years I guess I was always going to eventually succumb. I was also a little surprised at the failure of various tools at removing it. The virus would redirect the browser to websites including ‘licosearch’, ‘hugosearch’ and ‘facebook’, and the disk would be thrashing away infecting dlls in some way. I had the full up to date version of McAfee installed. This identified that there was an issue in some dlls on the system and was able to ‘fix’ them. But they kept getting re-infected. So I installed Microsoft Security Essentials and this too was able to identify and ‘fix’ the infected dlls. The system scans take forever and I really expected better results. I also tried Malwarebytes, Hitman Pro, AVG and Sophos to no avail. Eventually I thought I’d investigate myself. It turned out that on reboot, the virus would start 3 instances of Firefox.exe which I’m guessing would do bad things including infecting as many dlls on the system as possible. I removed Firefox and the virus cleverly then launched 3 instances of Chrome! So I uninstalled Chrome and yes, it then started to launch 3 instances of iexplore.exe. If I’m honest, by this stage I was just seeing if it would be able to use any of the browsers! As it was starting these on reboot, I looked in my User Startup folder and there was a <randomly named>.exe and several log files. I deleted these and rebooted. When I looked they had been recreated. So I then looked in the registry Run and RunOnce entries: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Sure enough there were entries to run a file in C:\Program Files\<random name folder>\<random name file>.exe. I deleted this and rebooted and it was fixed. I also looked in the event log and found a warning that Winlogon had failed to start the file C:\Program Files\<random name folder>\<random name file>.exe So I also checked HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon and this entry had also been changed. Finally I ran a full system scan to clean up any infected dlls. I hope it’s gone for good!  #

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  • Liquid XML 2012 Service Pack 1 available

    - by bconlon
    Liquid XML Editor is one of my favourite tools, but I was slightly concerned with the original 2012 release as the new XML Data Mapper tool was a bit buggy. So I was pleased to see SP1 is now available for download.Sure enough the issues have been fixed and it's once more a great tool!The data mapper can also now be run from the command line (this was a little limiting before as you had to open the IDE to run the mapping) and the Help now contains full documentation.#

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  • Slightly off topic - How to Fix Sky Go Error [t6013-c1501] (and [t6000-c1501])

    - by bconlon
    Sky doesn't seem to understand what their own errors mean, so I cobbled together an understanding from some other posts and managed to get it working.When you see the error [t6013-c1501] instead of your TV programme in Sky Go, it seems to mean:'You registered a device, but then changed the hardware, so now I'm confused!'In other words, the Digital rights management (DRM) used between Sky Go and Silverlight stored an old fingerprint of your PC, but rather than recognising this and allowing you to remove the device, it just disappears from the 'Manage Devices' page.DISCLAIMER: Perform the following steps at your own risk. It worked for me, but I didn't care if it broke stuff. If you care....don't do it!So, to fix this I did the following:1. Login to Sky Go and click 'Watch live TV' from the home page. It will attempt to show Sky News and fail with the error [t6013-c1501].2. Right click on the error and you should see the Menu option 'Silverlight'. Select this and a dialog should appear. Click the 'Application Storage' tab and delete any entry that relates to sky go. Clcik OK to close the dialog.3. Open explorer and navigate to the folder C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\PlayReady4. Rename the file mspr.hds to mspr.hds.OLD5. Go back to the browser and click F5. You may need to logout/login (not sure).Note: Don't rename/delete the folder C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\PlayReady or you will get the error [t6000-c1501]. The folder must exist in order for the new file to be created by Silverlight. Techie talk:So whoever wrote the code to create a new mspr.hds file didn't write code to check the folder existed causing what I assume is a generic error t6000, probably something like:catch (Exception ex) { WriteToLog("Oops, something broke!"); }#

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  • Visual Studio 2012 first impressions...no Macros!

    - by bconlon
    Yesterday I installed Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 for the first time (all 8.5GB) and after 20 years of (mostly) happy times using VS they have removed Macros, one of the most handy features.The first thing I wanted to do when I upgraded my VS2010 project was to add a #elseif block to each file. This would usually be simple case of find in files of the previous #elseif and then Ctrl+Shift+R to record a macro which would be: F8 (to select the next file from find list), F3 (to find the correct position in file), Ctrl+V to paste the new code. Then all I would need to do is keep Ctrl+Shift+P (Play Macro) pressed until all the files were processed.But alas Ctrl+Shift+R does nothing! I won’t say that I use Macros every day but it was a very useful feature.To continue my moaning a little more, I also don't like the bland interface. This has been well documented by others, but now I have used it myself, I find it difficult to tell one grey area of screen from another and the lack of colour makes the icons unclear.I also don't see why the menus now need to SHOUT in capital letters?On the plus side, they have now added the ability to see WPF properties in the debugger...a bit of an oversight in Visual Studio 2010. Oh, but you still can't edit and continue on files that contain templated code.Whilst Visual Studio 2012 is not a complete disaster like Windows 8 (why develop a desk top OS to be the same as a Smart device OS), it does not float my boat.Rant over.#

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