Saturday, April 30, 2005

Cleaning up the Recent Workspaces list

You know that option in PowerBuilder under Tools -> Options -> Workspaces, the command button marked "Clean Up"? It scans the registry and automatically removes references to workspaces and targets that are no longer available.

What drives me nuts is that is that the one thing that option doesn't to is clean up the File -> Recent Workspaces list. That's something I use quite frequenty, and I wish the Clean Up option would address it too.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Ajax versus Smart Clients…

Back in December of 2004, I commented in my editorial in the PowerBuilder Developer's Journal (PBDJ) about the advent of Smart Clients and how they would give us the benefits of standard client/server applications and internet applications without the downsides of either.

A couple of months later, in February of 2005, we published an article by Rahul Jain about the use of XMLHTTPRequest to develop more rich client internet applications.

Well, it appears that the XMLHTTPRequest approach is gaining some ground. It and other standard technologies like CSS and DOM, are being used in combination in a methodology called Ajax that is delivering some of the same promises that Smart Clients are supposed to bring. If you've seen Google's mail service (Gmail) or Google Maps, you've seen just what it can do.

Of course, the new beta version of Google Groups is also based on that technology. But I don't think that should reflect poorly on Ajax. It just means that even the best technology can be applied poorly. (As you might infer, I'm not particularly impressed wth the latest version of Google Groups.)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Wither VB?

In case you haven't been following, there is an online petition to Microsoft to keep classic Visual Basic alive. So far, they have over 5,000 signatures (including 241 Microsoft MVPs). I have a mixed reaction to this. On one hand, I believe it's a sign that RAD client/server development is alive and well. On the other hand, I'd like to see those frustrated VB developers become PB developers instead.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

How do you deploy an ASP.NET application to a non default web site?

Well, it's a bit tricky, at least until VS 2005 arrives. Until then, take a look at Microsoft Tech Note 821335. It comes with a new version of DCPA.DLL, and a JavaScript file called EnableHostHeaders.js.

What to do with that though? Well, to make it simplier for me, I created a quick and dirty VS Add in. It's pretty simple. Just use the Add In Wizard. Then add a form to the project and code a button on it to allow you to select the MSI file:

OpenFileDialog openFileDialog1 = new OpenFileDialog();
openFileDialog1.Filter = "MSI files (*.msi)|*.msi|All files (*.*)|*.*" ;
openFileDialog1.FilterIndex = 1 ;
openFileDialog1.RestoreDirectory = true ;
if(openFileDialog1.ShowDialog() == DialogResult.OK)
msifile = openFileDialog1.FileName ;
textBox1.Text = msifile ;
bOK.Enabled = true ;

Then add another button that uses Process.Start to run the EnableHostHeaders file on the MSI file:

""c:program filesteamsybaseenablehostheadersEnableHostHeaders.js"", """ + msifile + """) ;
this.Close() ;

Finally, go back to the add in class and in the Exec function simply display the form:

EnableHostHeadersForm myForm = new EnableHostHeadersForm() ;

The add in wizard automatically creates a setup project as well. Compile the entire solution, then exit VS.Net and run the setup program outside of VS.Net. If you run the setup from within VS.Net, the changes to the Tools menu aren't saved.

From now on, after compiling your setup project for an ASP.Net project you simply run the add in on the resulting MSI file. When the setup is run now, it will display a DDLB that allows you to select the web site on the server to install to.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Just found my next PDA…

The OQO. Unfortunately, it's based on the Transmeta Crusoe. That's the chip that HP originally used for their Tablet PC before switching to the Intel Pentium M. It's also the chip that the vendor is no longer producing.

An update. There are some other manufacturers in the same space including FlipStart and some indication that Microsoft is also working with an undisclosed OEM to provide something similar.