Saturday, September 20, 2008

Visual Web Developer Express 2008 SP 1

The Service Pack 1 for Visual Web Developer 200 Express was released sometime back by Microsoft. I upgraded my VWD 2008 to SP1. This now allows me to have multiple projects within the same solution. This feature was not present in any of the express editions and is a welcome addition.

Earlier if  you wanted to build separate class library projects for Data Access and Business Logic, you could not do so in Express editions. What one had to do was to create different sub-folders within the App-Code directory and code the classes in these sub-folders. The problem with this was that if your application was big then compiling the whole thing took a lot of time. With different projects you can easily separate your classes which allows for fast compiling and easy debugging.


With SP1, the Entity Data Framework has also been added. I had seen a video on Entity Framework at and this was something which I would love to explore.

There must be other feature enhancements, which I haven't looked at right now. But if you haven't upgraded to SP1, I suggest you do so!

Monday, September 15, 2008

All India Anti Terrorist Front - Website Hacked?

After the Delhi blasts, I was discussing with my friends that what could be done by the people to fight terrorism. During this discussion, All India Anti Terrorist Front was mentioned. I remember the organization had its office near Mandir Marg, New Delhi because it used to be on the way to my uncle's house. I was wondering what was this organization doing in the wake of recent terror attacks. So I googled to find their website. And guess what I found?


The site is marked as harmful by Google. When you click on the link of the site you get the following warning.


I wanted to be surprised, but given the hi-tech nature of the terrorists, I was not.  This organization seems to be defunct and dead. Do any of you know of any similar organization? What can we do to fight terrorism?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

ZedGraph : A Useful Graphing Control

In one of my recent projects, an aspx page had to have a graph which would indicate the performance of the system being monitored. This had to be developed quickly, so I was looking for a free graph control which I could use. And I came across ZedGraph, the open source graph control developed for .NET. There were other alternatives as well, but the good thing about Zedgraph was the documentation and examples given. With these I was able to develop what seemed like the most complicated piece of software in a matter of hours.


Zedgraph is a really flexible graphing control with lot of options. You can have line graphs, bar graphs, or any other type of graph that you may think of, multiple Y axes, multiple curves, different types of X axes from time based scaling to logarithmic scaling. For a free control it really provides a lot of features that will fulfill all your essential requirements.

So, if you are searching for a Free Graph control, I suggest you give Zedgraph a try.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


After a very long time, I was catching up with the news and happenings of the technology world thanks to the three day Independence Day weekend. I read this post on WATBLOG about Live Search and its new features. It is titled "Microsoft Live Search - will it steal the show?". I just wanted to discuss whatever has been written.

I always knew LIVE Search’s algorithm was as good as the other alternatives (Read:Google) - I had done enough trail-n-error to prove this - but users have been slow in adopting.

The author says that LIVE's search algorithm was as good as other alternatives (Read:Google). Every now and then when I get bored, I do test the prominent players in search to see whether anyone has caught up with Google. I did this recently when Cuil was launched and hailed as David who would take down Goliath. Of course, the results were far from satisfactory. Nothing compared to Google! Yahoo was pretty reasonable and Live Search wasn't as bad as it was 6-7 months back. And Cuil was over-hyped, thought they have improved a lot since then.

But when I read the post on WATBLOG, I decided to test once again and put up the results for people to decide. The latest hero for India is our very own Abhinav Bindra. Lets see how does Live Search fare against Google when you Search Abhinav Bindra (supposedly its algorithm is as good).



First, let us look at Live Search. It gives information about him from Cool! Isn't it? That is what one would think. But if you knew that NBC is using Silverlight for its Olympics site, you can easily do the Math as to why that particular site is showing as the first result. It is not the result of the as good algorithm used by Live Search, but is actually a strategy to get as many desktops installed with Silverlight as possible. That is why nbcolympics comes at the top. Secondly, the next result that you see is that of wikipedia. The snapshot shows that Abhinav was born in the year 1983. I will come this later. Thirdly, I went till the third page to see if his blog has been listed in the results. But why should it be? Our as good algorithm does not see it fit to be listed in the first three pages.

Let us now have a look at what Google gives us.



As you can see, Google gives the first Links as News Results and a YouTube link before that but very nicely places it as a Sponsored Link. But that is insignificant, and people's views on it will always differ. What I am concerned about are the results! Even here you get the first link as Wikipedia but a closer look reveals that Abhinav's year of birth to be 1982. How is this possible, as both results point to the same page? That is because the Google results are the latest. Also, his blog is listed in the first page as the fifth result. While the champ is not giving the TV media any masala to broadcast and is happy to be himself, he is connecting to his many fans and well wishers through his blog. While this really is an example of the power of Web 2.0, his blog is not listed in the results of our as good algorithm.

And not just with Abhinav Bindra, try any other search term and you will find that Google lies way ahead of Microsoft. When you search for any ASP.NET related query, Google would give you in its first page and would always give a result which you are looking for. Live Search did not even show in its first three pages till recently. However, they have improved but still have a very long way to go.

The usability changes done to the LIVE search are just wonderful. Add a lot of value to the user.

I have to agree that the Video and Image Search was indeed impressive. They are certainly trying new things or as one would say in Hindi "Haanth Paon to maar rahe hain".It will be interesting to see how do they fare but without a competetive algorithm, presentation is going to be useless.

Local Search

Hmmm, three taps in my room were leaking today. Stuff in my room were floating. I wanted a plumber. Heck, I needed a plumber. I didn’t know just hours later, I;m gonna witness something which could have helped me. Googling for plumbers in Mumbai is hardly useful, as you might know. So, what ? Well, plumbers in Bandra is what I was looking for. This was exactly what was demonstrated to me by Ravi, today at Microsoft. Putting in a search query like this, gives you names and numbers of the relevant services in that area. I actually noted down a number.

Although it’s not actually a unique feature. Asklaila has been doing it for ages now. And even Google local results can show you ones. Just that Microsoft LIVE search results were more relevant and they could be done right from the main interface. You don’t need to know of a different sub domain (like to perform the search. An incremental improvement.

Googling for plumbers in Mumbai is hardly useful, as you might know.  Well that is exactly what I did!


But first let us look at Live results. It does give local listings with address and phone numbers. But it gives only three results. No link for more results or similar results. What about Google?

image It gives about 12 results with phone numbers but without any addresses. But it does give you a more results link.And mind you I did not do a local search from a subdomain. And what happens when you click on it?

image It takes you to and gives you 218 results with addresses and phone numbers. Isnt that better? And since we are talking about relevant local results I tried another thing which really was the nail on the coffin for the as good alogrithm. I searched for "The Dark Knight in Bangalore" in both Live Search and Google. The results are below.


Just one result for Live Search. And Google....

image me the show timings for cinemas in Bangalore along with about 105,000 results. Phew!

So there you are! Now what prompted me to write this article? People might think that I am one of those Google fans and Microsoft haters. Well I am not! Google is simply a far better search engine at this point than any other, and Microsoft knows this. That is why all the hullabaloo to buy Yahoo! It is playing catch up but still has a long way to go. But it certainly does have the capability to play a hard game. Just look at them! From OSs to Databases to Enterprise Software to Developer Tools, they are everywhere.

But what really peeved me was this. The author has written a lot of misleading things and the tone of the post is completely biased. And he is not ready to acknowledge this!

Wherever I see, I just find WANNABE's!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Upgrading from SQL Server 2005 Express to SQL Server 2008 Express CTP

I currently have SQL Server 2005 Express Edition installed on my system. I also have the Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Beta 1 installed, but while installing it I did not choose for SQL Server 2008 Express to be installed. So now I am going to try and install it separately. This post is about what I am doing on my system and the steps here may not work in your case. But still I am putting it up as a reference.


Go to the Microsoft Express editions site and click on download SQL Server 2008 CTP. Also back up your existing databases. One thing I have learnt in the industry is that it is never too expensive to keep backups. Always keep a backup, at least for those things that you feel are critical.




After you have downloaded the setup, when you execute it, the first screen you get is the EULA.


Read the License at least once. Most of us don't read and select the I accept terms checkbox and click next. By reading I do not mean understand each and every thing, but just skim through it once to see if it contains anything that might interest you. e.g The above License says that it is valid till July 25, 2008, which is not very far and that the software will stop working after 180 days since installation. These are things which caught my eye.

When you proceed you get the following screen.



I clicked on Install and then get the following screen.


I see the option of Upgrade SQL Server 2005 to 2008 which says I should run the Update Advisor first. I can't find the Update Advisor so I just select the option to see what happens. It opens a new windows where it checks my system. In the options on the left side of the Wizard I can see Select instance, meaning I would have to select my SQL Server 2005 Instance which I want to upgrade. Since I came across this post in ASP.NET forums, I am not sure that is what I want to do. Plus there is nothing wrong in having both the versions of SQL Server running as different Instances. At work, I have seen people with both SQL 2000 and 2005 on their systems. So I cancel the Wizard and then in the window above I select New Installation.


I get the System Configuration Check again which is Successful. But now on the left side in the steps, I DO NOT see Select Instance. So my guess is that this is going to install a new Instance of SQL Server 2008 and not do anything to SQL Server 2005 already alive and kicking. I click on Next.



I select all the options and click on Next. (Actually I had already clicked on Next and moved to the Next Step when I realized that I had not taken the screen shot of the step. So I moved to previous one to take the screen shot. But notice that in the steps on the left, the Next Step is already checked. A BUG!)


Instead of Default Instance, I select Named Instance and Give it a new name SQL2008CTP. I can see 2 existing Instances towards the bottom, one of which is SQL 2005 instance.


Next it is asking for the User Name and Password (Credentials) to configure the service. Provide the appropriate details. You are then shown the screen below for database engine configuration.


I chose the mixed mode authentication. I am no DB guy and I do this because one of my first mentors told me that always choose Mixed Mode.


I then get a screen above for sending data to MSFT. I click on Next.


I then get the summary of the Installation order.I click Install to begin the installation.


Above is a screen shot I took while the installation was in progress. Though the progress bar did not reach 100% the next button was enabled and the progress bar remained that way for quite some time so I just pressed next to go the following screen.


I then go to services.msc  and check if the service has been installed.


As you can see, now there are three instances of SQL Server running. So SQL2008CTP seems to be running fine along with SQLEXPRESS which is SQL Server 2005 Express.  I now go to SQL Server Management Studio Express but I cant find the 2008 CTP instance I just installed. So I think I should restart my computer once. It is always better to restart in my experience.

I restarted and checked but still I don't see the 2008 CTP instance in Management Studio Express, probably because the Management Studio Express is and older version and may not recognize newer versions of SQL Server. So now I open VWD 2008 Express Beta 1 and go to Database Explorer and try to add a new connection.


As expected I can see the 2008 CTP instance I installed.  I provide the sa login and password and select tempdb database and test the connection and Voila!


So things seem to be working fine. Phew!

Hope this was helpful! Please comment if you have any queries.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Firefox 3 launch Goof up?

Many a times when techies talk about goof ups and product launches, they remember the OS crashing at the launch of Microsoft Windows 98, the video of which I have included just in case you forgot about it.

While that certainly is something which will probably rank first in the list of product launches and goof-ups, we have another one today.

Yes, today is Download Day. I did get the mail on time reminding me about the download. But there has been a goof up in this all hyped Guinness style product launch.


As you can see in the above screen shot, I have showed you the mail which I got informing of the download time. There when I hover above the link download Firefox 3, I get the url on the status bar of the browser which I have encircled.

Now, when I go to the same url what do I get?


Firefox 2?? You got to be kidding me!! And all we get is a sneak peek into Firefox 3, to test drive the latest version.

Probably, the guys at Mozilla were so busy counting the numbers pledged for the download that they forgot to make the to do list, or worse they made the to do list and forgot to update the page that the url redirects to.

I dont know what was the mistake and who made it, but you sure dont want to this to happen when you are publicizing the event with the Guinness tag attached to it!

So what do you guys think went wrong?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Date with the VC's

As I had said in one of my previous posts, one fine Saturday I had been to an event called Startup City organized by the The Smart Techie. I had mailed a few of my friends about the event and lured a few of them to wake up early on a Saturday morning. I almost did not make it, as I was feeling very sleepy and did not feel like getting up, but since I had promised NEO that I would be picking him up around 8:00 am I got up and got ready. We reached 10 minutes before the start of the event and decided to have breakfast somewhere. By the time we were finished with our Masala Dosas and Musambi Juice it was well past 9:30. I had already missed the event which I had come for, opening address by Mr. Ashish Gupta about the milestones in the journey from an idea to a successful venture. When I reached, a techie from Sun Microsystems was talking about how Sun can help startups. Frankly, it was more of a marketing presentation which I did not find very riveting.


I moved around the stalls where some startups were displaying their products and services. It reminded me of BangaloreIT.In of 2006 where Darshan and me had gone though the venue this time was very small as compared to that. You can read about the exhibiting startups here. I then went in to the room where you could meet the VC's. People from different Venture Capital firms from over India were present.


I must say that never before has there been a better time to start a company. With 13 Venture Capital firms, each planning to invest around a million dollars per annum into new Ventures in India, you have approximately 10 million dollars of Venture Capital flowing in. That is huge! And it is not just for the technology companies!


So what did I get to know in my date with the VC's? I have put them down in points as follows:

  • They got the money and they are looking for ventures to invest.
  • An Idea is not good enough! They need a Proof of Concept!
  • If you worry about the hassles of managing things like marketing, finance etc., don't worry. They have their networks and will help you find people who can help you manage aspects of your company.
  • They are looking to invest in areas which have a proven market and growth areas. So in case you have something revolutionary as Google, don't expect it to be easy to get funded.
  • People in their network help them to evaluate their ideas. e.g. if I have been funded by a VC and have been successful, she may ask me to evaluate your idea.
  • Be as frugal as you can.

One very important thing that I noticed there was that there were quite a lot of people there who had already started off something and were looking for venture capital to expand. I mean like anything else in India, the competition to get a slice of the VC pie is hot here as well. But that doesn't mean you wont get a slice.


All said and done, it is always good to be aware of what is happening in the world. I became aware of a whole range of things thanks to event.

So, what do you feel about the points I mentioned above?

Guinness World Records

If you have studied MIT, Manipal around the same time that I did, you would think I was talking about the successful attempt by students of MIT to break the Guinness World Record for the longest chain of straws in the world. Around 1500 or so students of MIT joined hands and made a straw chain of over 8 kilometers if I remember correctly, breaking a record by made by some 16 school kids in the US. The record made has already been broken by someone else quite a while back, though I think it still holds good in the Limca Book of Records.

So how did a thousand students decide to come together to break into the Guinness Book of World Records? Was Manipal such a boring and dull place that the restlessness of the students got the better of them? Well, by no means is Manipal dull. With just students it is one of the most vibrant and energetic places to study in India.

The Guinness World Record attempt was a branding and marketing strategy by my old pal Rishabh Sachdeva, for the inaugural edition of techtatva. He wanted to create a niche brand for the event among other similar events in the region, and if I may say so, it is one of the most successful marketing and branding strategies that you will come across. Not only did it generate a buzz within Manipal, but was also responsible for attracting sponsorship for the inaugural edition of the event. Without this strategy I wonder how would the sponsors have looked at the event which was happening for the first time! The sheer genius of the idea is why I would have Rishabh be the marketing and strategy guy if I were to start a company some day.

Anyway, the idea behind the post was not to discuss about Rishabh or Manipal, but how Guinness World Records provide a great way to market your product. That is what Mozilla Foundation is doing by targeting for the maximum number of downloads in 24 hours for Firefox 3.They are calling this initiative as Download Day, which is on June 17. I have tried the beta version and it was pretty impressive. It is supposed to be fastest browser till date. I have already pledged my support for the initiative. What are you waiting for?

Monday, June 9, 2008

What's Cooking?

Now that the IPL is over, what am I up to these days? Well, last week I was completely involved in understanding the concepts and implementation of a 3 tier architecture using C# in an ASP.NET application. In fact, I had started on this subject about two weeks back and I am quite satisfied with the progress over the last the last two weeks. But more detailed posts on that may not be coming anytime soon as I have some other engagements till July.


Meanwhile, another news is that I have invested a heavy chunk of my savings in buying a Lenovo Ideapad Y500.Why the need for a notebook PC? Well first of all, I was kind of bored with my desktop. It has been a very good companion for the past five years and has been party to many memorable times, but was somewhat losing its charm. Secondly, there were issues with the Ethernet Card which really started to get on my nerves. Thirdly, and most importantly, I felt the need for a notebook PC. This was because earlier I was not at a level to use my desktop for writing code or anything like that. In fact, I did not write a blog as frequently and never felt that I needed my stuff with me all the time wherever I am. But lately, I have been having an itch for such an arrangement and decided that it was time to graduate to the next level. Plus Notebooks have a very different feel to them don't they!


So I guess now that I have a Notebook, you would expect a lot more blogs and info from me. Well, I don't blame you, especially given the fact that I am writing this blog using Windows Live Writer, a special editor especially for writing blogs easily. And I must confess, that the experience has been good so far. One of the only problems is that the Ideapad shipped with Windows Vista Home. I had heard a lot of people criticize Vista and after using it, I can see why. You will be a bit challenged by the OS and some of its irritating features like User Access Control, which prompts you for your permission every time you start a installation or a program. True that it improves the security vastly, but I was beginning to wonder what was better, being irritated by the security alerts every now and then and being secure or just plain and simple reinstalling Windows whenever you had taken a bad hit from a Virus attack. Or as some of my friends would say, use Mac or Ubuntu.


Anyway, I guess I am getting used to it. The UI certainly makes it a nice experience and goes to show how rich applications are going to be the driving force for developers in the next few years.


Here's a picture of mine clicked from the webcam. This is just to test how easy is it to post pictures using Live writer. It may look as if I am sleeping but my head is positioned in such a way that it looks like that. When I was in school, I was reading a book kept on my lap rather than on the desk and my head was straight but my eyes were down on the book. The teacher thought that I was sleeping but was surprised when I responded to the question that was asked. I told her that I was merely referring to the book. Later on I have used the same ploy many a times and teachers have never been able to make out if I was sleeping or awake! (At least no one has ever asked me not to sleep in the class or go and wash my face.  My aunt thinks that's because I look like a cute baby when I am asleep(Ahem! Are the girls listening??)and no one would want to wake me up.)BTW, the notebook has a face recognition software which is pretty cool. 


I had been to an event organized by The Smart Techie in Bangalore focusing on Startups. My friend Darshan Santani had asked me how was my date and I am yet to respond to him. Will be doing that in the next post soon.

And lots more coming on 3 tier architecture and Object Oriented Design in the weeks to follow. Cheers!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What have I been upto?

There haven't been many posts in the past few weeks. I had promised that I would post a few things about UI and Web Designing but haven't done that as yet. I will definitely write a post about Web Designing within the next 2 months. But right now that is not what I am doing. I am learning UML.

Why this sudden change of course, like an aircraft on autopilot, whose autopilot program was infected with a virus? Well, there was a training being held on UML and sighting the opportunity I jumped right in. Now, I already had had a training on UML when I joined my company but that was a long time back and I hardly used UML in the past one and a half years. (I guess hardly would be a blatant exaggeration, but anyway!) So I decided to refresh my concepts and enjoy the 2 day break from work. Moreover, having just finished the first version of the application that I was working on at work, I thought it would be a really nice time to learn how can I use UML in action.

The problem with these trainings is that they start at wee hours of the morning (come on, 9:30 am is toooo damn early) and you have to reach on time. To reach on time you also have to get up early because you dont want to get caught in the rush hours (8-10:15 am). So you see how much of an ordeal these trainings are! Still, for both the days I managed to reach on time. The very first day as I entered the training room I was greeted with the familiar sight of our trainer. He was the same guy who had conducted training almost 2 year ago. I wondered if he would remember me.

After the introductions I was pretty sure that he did not remember me as he went on with his lecture. Man I hate lectures! Why can't they be more interactive and give you a problem and then have discussions on how to solve it and explain the theory along with that? Still I was intrigued by the object orientation concepts he was talking about, which was a very good refresher and managed to stay focussed. But when he started off with the History of UML, I could not help myself and however hard I tried I lost my concentration and was feeling drowsy. I guess my sleepy face was enough to ring a bell in the instructor's mind of having faced something similar sometime before and he quickly moved on to UML diagrams. The 2 days on UML was not enough but it was a good refresher and the best part was that we got UML in a Nutshell by O'Reilly as the Reference Material. Also this time the audience in the training was a nice mix of people, from varying backgrounds and experiences so some of the discussions were enlightening.

In the end, the training was over and I was happy to have attended it and gained from it. But as with all trainings, if you do not apply what you have learned then with time you will forget. So I decided to put other things on the back burner for the time being and decided to learn a bit of UML.(The keywords there were BIT OF)

There is an opportunity to put what I have learned into practice so I guess would be a bit tied up. But that is what I have been up to lately.

One of the interesting things to come out of the training was looking at Systems from an Object Oriented point of view. I sort of have been doing that but you will not find any pure classes in my application for real world entities. More on this on the next post where I will talk about using Typed Data Sets vs Custom Business Objects in your application. But the object oriented approach has thrown a few questions to me for which I haven't been able to find any answers till now. All this and more coming up in future posts.

Disappointment and Google Reader

Why would I title my post as "Disappointment and Google Reader"? What were my expectations and why am I disappointed with Google Reader? Wait! I never said I was disappointed with google reader. In fact I am pretty satisifed ever since I started using it. I had wondered before how do RSS feeds work and what is their advantage? I had tried Google Reader a long time back when I was inept at understanding and using technology like geeks. I did not try to understand how does it work and left it. Recently, I got a mail from my old friend Darshan Santani where he had sent an article through Google Reader. This prompted me to try out Google Reader once more and so I logged in hoping I would get the hang of it now since I was a little less technically challenged.(I hope!) I really understood what RSS is and how it has lead to people sharing content over the web. It is just amazing but still very few people who browse the internet use it.

One thing that Feed Reader does is that it brings all the interesting content you would want to read under one roof. You can even share whatever you like with your friends or even with people who visit your site or blog. And so I have put Some Shared Sassy Articles for you on the side. It is nothing but what I share from my reader. You will find some interesting articles on various topics, mostly related to technology. Hope you like this new feature!

Coming back to disappointment, in my previous post I had mentioned about IPL and the fact that I was supporting the Royal Challengers from Bangalore. But being at the bottom of the table is not what I was expecting from them. I have been terribly disappointed and dont see how things are going to change.Dr. Mallya had fired the CEO Charu sharma and brought in Mr. Brajesh Patel as the new one in charge of the affairs expecting some change. But that didn't happen either. I 'don't see where will they go from here! Where will they get the change? Maybe Dr. Mallya should get Mr.Barack Obama to give a speech to the Royal Challengers on "Change We can Believe In!". The way he speaks might just be the pep talk that these guys need.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Great Indian Developer Summit 08

One of the best getaways when in office is to go to the International Tech Park (known popularly as ITPL) and have a Zinger Burger meal at KFC. Though there are other options like buffet at Sindbad, I really enjoy the Zinger Burger meal at KFC. Often I go to ITPL because I got some work at the bank and most of the times end up meeting old friends over a burger.

I went this week as well after quite some time and it was there I saw boards advertising The Great Indian Developer Summit. I always used to wonder when something like this will happen. The registrations for the event are pretty decent and you get early bird discounts if you register before 28 April.

Unfortunately, I might not be able to attend the summit but if you can do attend. And even if you are not attending do vote for your favorite tools and people.

The Indian Premier League has really spoiled the 3-4 hours of time after office and 6-8 hours on the weekends. I can't help but watch the matches and this is eating into my blogging time, so dont really expect many posts till June 1. And yeah FYI, I am supporting The Royal Challengers!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Apps on Orkut-Live in India!

I remember the days when as a teenager I had created my VERY OWN email account. I used to accumulate money to go and check mail once a month at the nearby cyber cafe. Not that I expected any mails from anyone, but the whole concept of having an own email id was very thrilling for me at that time. Over the years, emails changed from being standard "How are you doing?" mails to long lost cousins in the distant US, to forwards about the whackiest things in the world from your not so distant schoolmates. Standard emails gave way to mailing lists and groups.

Then Web 2.0 happened and you had applications like Orkut and Blogger where your personal presence on the web grew from an email address to your own profile or blog. You could upload and share videos, photos and so much more. More and more people got hooked to the Web 2.0 phenomenon.

The evolution of Web 2.0 is still underway, as engineers around the world come up with ideas to increase the interactivity and richness of the web experience for the user. Facebook was the first one to come up with Social Apps which turned it into a huge phenomenon over a few months. Google had announced its own OpenSocial initiative a few months back. Today, the seeds sown months back have blossomed into flowery plants, as OpenSocial Apps goes Live in India!

This in my view is a defining moment which will change the way Indians surf the web. Orkut being the No. 1 Social Networking Site in India has created huge prospects for social applications. And what a way to boost its OpenSocial initiative! Though Facebook was catching up, it still had a long way to go to really threaten Orkut's dominance in India. With Orkut concentrating on launching Apps on Orkut in India first and then to the rest of the World, it is clear that the site does not take its No. 1 position in India for granted and is always working on ways to enrich the experience of its users, 10% of which are from India.

There are tremendous possibilities ahead and consumer internet in India is going to go to a whole new level because of this.

What a coincidence that IPL and Apps on Orkut are being launched around the same time! Both will change the way Indians kill their spare time for years to come!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Upcoming Attractions

Well, its been a long time since there was a post about Web Dev using ASP.NET! Sorry about that! Will be coming up with a few posts about Web Design using CSS pretty soon as that is something I have been trying lately.

Apart from that a few posts on ASP.NET as well, on what exactly I am not sure but will decide on as I write.

Also, I will be posting about something very intriguing I came across today! Right now , just posting this to let you know what to expect this month!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Save The Developers!!

Who is after them anyway? Well, the day is not yet here when AI programs can create programs themselves and you don't need developers to code. We are still years from what I call "Matrix" era programs ending the era of developers building applications. So what is the threat to developers? While some may think I may be talking about the credit crunch and the ongoing cost cutting going on in companies, even that is not the case. It is about the Web!

Save The Developers is a movement to bring about browsers that are web standards compliant. What do I mean by this? Well if you go through the Browser Usage Statistics at W3schools you find that 30% of the users still use IE 6. So what is the problem with that? I realized the problem when, a sample UI I had made for a web app, on my system at work, which has IE 6, was run on a colleague's notebook which has IE 7. The layout was completely haywire! Even though the W3C is working to bring in standards across the web, many companies (read Microsoft ;) )have implemented rendering and other features in their own way. IE 7, thanks to Mozilla Firefox, is I heard (not confirmed) more standards compliant than IE 6. Microsoft also showcased IE 8 this year and said it will be their most standards compliant browser yet. Huh! What the hell was Microsoft doing till now providing its own standards? My guess is that because Microsoft used have the single largest share in the browser market, they really didn't bother about the standards. After all, during the OOXML and ODF ISO Standards debate, one of the arguments Microsoft was giving was that "Office dominates on the desktop worldwide and that OOXML is a de facto standard anyway."
Perhaps Microsoft thought that with IE being the single largest browser over the years, it had won the Battle for the Browser by defeating Netscape, and that the standards would change to what Microsoft preached. But with Mozilla Firefox teaming up with Google, a new challenger had come which seemed a potent threat to IE's domination. And it was as the statistics tell you. So while Microsoft may try and show a face that it really is concerned about developers and their call for standards compliance it is because of competition that Microsoft has been forced to change its ways.

All said and done, it means that we now have more standards compliant browser available, from Microsoft and other vendors as well. But still we have a long way to go before you have to stop worrying as a web developer/designer about IE 6. So join the movement and upgrade your browser! And save the developers!!

P.S: Personally I prefer Mozilla Firefox, which you can download by clicking on the banner at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you may try the new Flock browser which you can download by clicking on the image to the right!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

.NET and Open Source

Generally one would not associate Microsoft .NET with open source. But I have come across 2 tools built on .NET which are Open Source and free to use.From the looks of it , they seem to be pretty impressive.I have used one of them PAINT .NET, which is an alternative for GIMP and Adobe Photoshop. I have never used Photoshp but seen some people use it. Paint .NET is pretty impressive in those terms. It may not the features the experts look for(don know coz its really not my cup of tea), but it sure has some nice features of an image editor. Here are some of my pics that I modified with it.

Impressive, isn't it? You can download it from Another one is Creative Docs .NET. I haven't tried that one as yet but it should be as good I guess.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Orkut vs Facebook

When you are surfing where do you spend most of your time? Chances are with the Web 2.0 revolution you must be spending a substantial amount of your time online on Social Networking Sites like Orkut or Facebook! Well for those who are unaware, Orkut is the social networking site by Google which is extremely popular in India and Brazil. Facebook is the Social Networking site by 26 year old Mark Zuckerberg that has taken the US and the rest of the world by storm! I do not have statistics as to which one is more popular in the world but probably Facebook is way ahead of Orkut.

But when it comes to India, most likely if you have an account on any Social Networking Site it has to be Orkut. Probably the Google factor is the reason why Orkut caught attention of us Indians before Facebook. Within no time, you were a loser if you did not have an Orkut account. It was the in-thing for the youth. People could catch up with long lost friends. In some cases, people would search for long lost teenage crushes (that boy or girl in school who made your heart beat like oscillations of pistons in a steam engine!) and be happy to see that the subject was still single and praise Orkut for the infinite possibilities it opened up or be heartbroken once again to find that the subject was committed with a sentimental testimonial thrown in from the subject's love interest and curse Orkut for ruining your dreams! For some it would be teasing another friend on receiving a scrap from a hot girl, only finding out later from another person that the girl was your friends sister! It was about snooping into what people are doing online, which basically was a reflection of what people were doing in their lives. It provided the much needed masala to gupshup or bakchodi between friends. The openness of Orkut was something which worried some but it was essentialy the spice that kept people hooked on to the site. I was one of the people hooked on to it. I have had some unpleasant experiences as well. But overall, it was THE way to kill time.

Slowly, the abuse of the openness started. And around the same time Facebook as an alternative to Orkut started gaining ground. People talked about how Facebook was the most popular social site in US. People who loved Orkut for what it was didn't bither about Facebook. But many people joined it just to give it a try. Slowly but surely the privacy issue was moving in favor of Facebook. Many more joined it and stopped frequenting their Orkut accounts.

As a response Orkut introduced many features to control who has access to do what. While this feature is welcome, it has taken away the openness that once provided the spice to Orkut. Now, chances are that the girl with the beautiful photograph does not wish to receive you scrap for friendship. You cant scrap and hence are not looking forward to any response. Such features are already present on Facebook. But what Facebook has done by opening up itself to applications by third parties is phenomenal. In Orkut you can scrap, participate in communities and see what others are upto.

In facebook, with 3rd party applications, you can go a step further and play online games with your friends. The experience on facebook is more interactive and enriching than Orkut. If you haven't tried facebook then try at your risk. I have got a taste of the blood it has to offer and I must say that it seemed pretty delicious. Orkut is fine but I believe it is losing out to facebook.

Unless Google does something about this, Orkut may lose the No. 1 spot in India as well to Facebook.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I've Been Fired!!

That is what many people in the Indian IT industry will be saying this year according to The Times of India. The recent months has not been good for the Indian Techie. The feel good factor of being in the IT Industry has diminished for many, even gone for some. Recently about 1800 or so employees were fired within the span of a week from companies like TCS and IBM, or at least the news of firing from both the companies was reported within a week of each other. Yahoo India's firing of their employees and giving them just half an hour to pack their things and leave the premises was one of the points of discussion among techies in Namma Bengaluru and elsewhere, over coffee, lunch or the much awaited break for a smoke. Even people who are safely employed are not very optimistic. "Don't expect a good hike this year. IT Industry is in a slowdown.", a colleague warned me."Something to do with some sub-prime crisis in the US. The US economy is also heading into a recession." I expect to hear something similar maybe when I have my discussion with my employer regarding the annual hike.

You know the situation is bleak when instead of hearing news about people you don't know, you hear news about people you know (including you). One of my friends was told that his services would not be required after March when the client for which he was working decided to close the project ( The client was severely hit by the mortgage crisis.) Thankfully, he got another job with a better pay. But not everyone would be as lucky as him. What about the people who were fired by IBM and TCS? Many of them were not freshers but people in the middle management. To get fired at such a point in your career! This is new for many of us Indians. And what about the hundreds of students who are joining engineering colleges in the hope that someday they end up in TCS, Infy or Wipro? Colleges like Vellore and Manipal have increased their intake by great numbers in the past few years. Since more than 90% of the students used to get placed in companies and with newspapers carrying reports of shortage of skilled IT professionals the bodies running these institutions decided to cash in on the gold rush. I being an alumni of Manipal am still in touch with some of my juniors and hear how the college has changed. From almost 800 students graduating in 2006, about 2000 are expected to graduate in 2012! What a phenomenal increase, but what about placements. Will the services companies like TCS and Infy still continue to hire in the same way they used to until now. With already there being a lot of talk about cost cutting and reducing or even in some cases eliminating the bench strength of these companies, I doubt that they are going to be in a hiring spree they were in over the past few years. The bench strength no longer remains a strength but is a turning to be a liability.

In fact, at a placement party in college a friend observed how great it was to be passing out when the placement boom was there. Another guy agreed, but said he failed to understand why were companies hiring so many people when they had so many people on bench, to which he got the response "Why the hell do you care! Be happy you got placed and enjoy the booze." While all of us certainly enjoyed the booze, we did wonder time and again what the rational was behind this bench policy, because it didn't have any common sense element to it.

While attending an ITIL foundation training I sort of understood what the management of these companies thought. Most of these companies provide Services to their clients. They have a Service Catalog or a list of services which they currently provide and a Service Pipeline or services which they plan to offer in the future. When designing your service you take a lot of factors into account. One of them is the availability of resources to accomplish your tasks. In the tough and competitive world today service companies cannot wait for a project to come and then look for resources. You need to be resource ready. That is one of the things that these companies show to their clients when they bid for projects, or at least that is what I have heard of. It does make sense for me as a client when you show me that you have 100 people who are trained and ready to fulfill my company's service requirements. But all these service companies in my view never anticipated a slowdown like the one that we see, which is the reason why they are in this situation today.

I have an analogy for this. In your growing years, say you need a certain intake of carbohydrates and fats, the intake varying over the years, less at first and increasing as the years go by, for you to grow into a well nourished person. But if you start eating extra food at the age of 10 saying that anyway you will be requiring this extra diet at the age of 17, what is going to happen? You will turn into an unhealthy and obese person, your extra diet now a liability. That is exactly the situation these companies find themselves in today, looking for ways to shed the extra fat in their skins.

So far this post has been depressing. What is going to happen? Well, I am not worried by the slowdown and neither is Bill Gates. He said in the past week that conditions were very favorable for the technology industry to grow in the next decade. I agree with him completely. If you are excited about the Apple i-phone and the upcoming Microsoft Surface and how the world is going to be a different place in the years to come, you have to see the video on Morph, a concept by Nokia based on Nanotechnology.

But what about the Indian Techie? I know many people in the services industry who are plain and simply bored of their jobs. Many of them feel that their engineering and analytical skills have been wasted doing the job that they are doing, mostly writing emails and filling excel sheet status reports. What is going to happen when there are highly talented and amibituous people with experience in the industry but no path which satisfies them? Some, not all but some, of them are going to be the contributors to the technological development that Bill Gates has talked about. When the dot-com bubble burst in the 1999/2000 era there weren't many options in terms of Open-Source software which could be used in production level environments. But now you got so many flavors of Linux and Open Source databases like MySQL and PostGRESQL! Even Sun Microsystems now follows an open source model. In 1999/2000 you needed to pay for this stuff. Now its available for free making it a lot easier for anyone to get their company up and running. The environment exists today for people to concentrate and invest on their core competencies and deliver better products and services and not worry about investing valuable dollars just for software like Microsoft Office. I read an interview of the founder of Juniper Networks where he said that post the 1999-2001 slowdown you could hire a lot of talented people at very low salaries making it the best time for his company to expand. Is a similar time coming in again?

We have already seen this year the launch of products designed and developed in India. Tata Nano has created a buzz worldwide. (Even though I tried very hard, I can't remember when was the last time something like that happened!) Spice has designed a new mobile phone which will cost less than $20. Are we going to see similar innovative products in the field of software and technology? Well, only time will tell, but I have a hunch we could have something in the making here!

What is wrong with Google?

The header certainly got your attention, didn't it? What can be wrong with Google? Almost for a decade now Google has been there for us, searching the internet and finding us what we want. Apart from search, Google has brought us services which are part of our daily lives now, services like Gmail, Orkut, YouTube, Blogger and Google News. I use most of these services and as I said earlier you would hardly ever get any disruptions in these services. So reliable is the Google brand that one of my friends said they dont need any error pages. Except Orkut of course, where we abuse the Orkut server for refusing us donuts!!

But in the past two weeks I feel things are starting to come apart. Firstly, with Google News there have been almost five instances when the service failed its service levels. These were disruptions that I myself experienced being an avid Google News visitor. Then the Gmail spam filter, has started detecting genuine mails as spam. The ironical thing was the mails sent to spam were from ZDnet and I have a filter in place to divert them from the inbox to archive folders under the label ZDnet. But i found my spam folder filled with six such messages today!!

Of course these are just minor errors, but given my nature to speculate and the fact that such disruptions and mistakes have happened in a very short span of time, I thought I write about it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Just Like That - a PJ??

 An accomplished lawyer of the 60s era was visiting his grandson who was a developer. The lawyer was sitting on the sofa reading a newspaper while his grandson was on his laptop coding something.

Suddenly, the grandson sweared "*#@$&@#&$". Startled his grandfather said, "Son, whatever the matter, you shouldn't use words like those"

"Sorry about that grandpa! It's just that every time I run my program, OS shuts it down saying it has performed an illegal operation"

"Do you think it has performed any illegal operation?", asked the lawyer.

"I don't know. I don't think so!"

"Then ask that OS guy to prove that your program is illegal in court. I will take care of him."

Broken Laptop Screen

I saw from some distance a colleague in office using his laptop keyboard and desktop monitor. Intrigued, I went up to him to see what he was really trying to do. Actually, somehow his laptop screen had broken down, so he had plugged in a desktop monitor to a laptop and was working.

I had never seen a broken screen like that. So I asked him to take a picture of it and send me. Well here they are!! The Broken laptop and the desktop images. Fascinating, wat say you??

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Free ASP.NET Hosting!!

I came across a site a month back or so which had free ASP.NET 2.0 hosting for 100 MB. WOW! I thought. I immediately registered to see what exactly were they offering. Upon my registration I was told that i could begin hosting only after 24 hours. I could not understand the reason they had given, something about many users registering and not using the service.

Well, I had completely forgotten about the whole thing. But today I was thinking of starting my own personal website. I knew that had a lot of sample starter kits with a personal site being one of them. I thought I might just download the starter kit and upload it to the free hosting service I had registered for. So I searched my mail as I had no clue where I had registered. Finally, I logged into the site and chose the appropriate things to get started. But nothing was appearing for the site manager, the place where the web-master can upload files etc. Stumped I noticed a few lines at the bottom which said that i had to contribute 5 answers or post a few genuine articles on to the community section of the site!!

Now, I appreciate the gesture that the people who have started the service are giving. But Please DO NOT call this FREE hosting. A day has just 24 hours. How a person utilizes his/her time decides how much he/she may earn. Wasting a valuable resource as your time and patience is a cost, though not in terms of dollars, but still it does get you peeved!

The UI for the forum and articles is so obsolete that you dont feel like staying on the site. And with all the Google ads over shadowing the main content of the site, I wonder what the real intentions of the service providers are. In my view, this could be a way to fool people to return to their site, increasing the number of hits and earning them revenue while the user is exasperated and exhausted by the harrowing experience.

I have surrendered and am not going to waste any more time trying for free hosting. This time around the w3schools punch line doesnt hold good - "The best things in life are free" If you have the patience you are free to try it out here.

All the best!!

Do you Flock?

Are you a Web 2.0 Freak? Do you visit Flickr quite often? Can't get enough of facebook? If the answer to the above is yes then you have to try out Flock. What is Flock? Well if you are asking me that then surely you are not aware of the new sleek Web Browser based on Mozilla engine that has caught on with people. It is said to be a social browser.

I do not use facebook that often but just a trial run of the browser and you see that surfing with flock is a totally new experience. But let me not waste your time anymore. Go ahead! Download and try it out yourself! You can find the link on the side.

Or you can download it from here. Enjoy!!

In Theory & In Practise

During my engineering studies, I had to undergo three weeks of Industrial Training. The purpose of this training was to gain insight on how the things that we were studying in college were actually being used in the Industry. The training had different meaning for different people. For some it was an opportunity to go to places they hadn't been to before, like my friends from Mechanical who spent their winter of 2004 in Haridwar visiting the BHEL facility, trying a hand at photography and God knows what. For some it meant to visit a friend's home, a friend who thanks to his/her contacts had arranged the Industrial Training for you. For some, it was a time to laze out at home as usual, getting the  "Successfully Completed Training" certificate from the company without really going even one single day and then overjoyed on getting an "A" for three weeks of partying with friends. For me, it was about getting up early in Winter, catching a bus to visit facilities 40-50 miles from my home; braving the cold, the dust of coal and then the response of the clerk at the facility to somehow learn how the electrical equipments I had studied about were being applied in the Coal Mining Industry. I managed a "B" for the 1 credit that the training carried even though the lecturer who took my viva was convinced that I had actually been to those facilities and seen things in the report that I had written . (FYI: Many reports submitted were merely ones that people got from the companies imparting the training)

Anyway, for me the training was a learning experience. I realized that theoretical knowledge has to be supplemented by practical knowledge and vice versa. While the foreman who was telling me knew a hell lot about the the faults that occur and what they do to repair, he was unable to answer some questions. Reading my book back home I found out the answer to some of the questions I had. I realized that being an engineer you need both practical as well as theoretical knowledge.

 I also learnt that getting things done is more about managing people than anything else.  But the reason why I have talked about the training is to emphasize on theoretical as well as practical learning.

Now as the first phase of the web app I was building is nearing to a close, I was reminiscing on what have I learnt so far. I have gained confidence in understanding requirements and some level of confidence on how to code to get those requirements done. But most of my coding has involved Googling a particular problem and finding out a solution or trying out a few things. But after building a complete Web App I am still not confident of how much I know about Web Development using ASP.NET. Just the other day I was going through a ASP.NET book and realized that I have managed to learn how to do things. But not what was going on behind the scenes. I was just like the foreman knowing what to do, not knowing why we are doing it.

This approach will never allow me grow and be competitive. So I decided to refresh the concepts from the books once again. If you are not reading to understand the underlying concepts, change your approach or stagnate!!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Working on a Sunday - Why??

Normally, I spend my Sundays reading The Sunday Times or sleeping or cooking ( that is a recent addition). But today I am in the office!! What the hell am I doing here? Well, I have been thinking for sometime to spend some extra time on the Web Application I am working on add some spice to it. Something which will earn me some bonus points. I have been thinking of this for the past 3-4 weeks now, but none of the weekends saw me coming to office. After a tiring 5 day week, there has to be some real motivation for you to get up and get going.
That motivation was not there the past few weeks.

So what has motivated  me this weekend to get me up and running? Many might say that with the end of the year performance review going on, I want to score some bonus points. After all, most of us have very short memory. I would not say that the review is not in my mind. It is, indeed. But had that been such a motivating factor, I would have done quite a lot by now to really make a hot delicious curry out of my Web App. Alas! That is not the case.

There is another motivating factor, a force so strong that has pulled me out of my sleep and brought me to my office driving 14 kms in the sun. What is this force? Well, it is ASP.NET AJAX!!

On Friday, I AJAX enabled my web app and went through the sample website that is present along with the AJAX Toolkit. WoW! The things that AJAX can do. You see them everyday in new Web 2.0 sites and wonder how was this achieved. With ASP.NET AJAX, I got a glimpse of how I can achieve such functionality. So, on Friday I decided that I would definitely be spending some time this weekend to see how I can apply the spices of ASP.NET AJAX and make my web app curry that extra spicy and delicious.

So here I am at the office. While the demo videos I downloaded and saw seem to be very simple, I have been unable to use any Controls from the toolkit till now. They just dont seem to be working. Only the Update panel and Script Manager have been functioning perfectly, but none of the controls from the toolkit.

Whatever the case may be, ASP.NET AJAX is definitely the way forward. So expect a few posts on that in the coming weeks.

And yeah, Blogger on the Move really Rocks!!


Friday, March 7, 2008

Blogger on the Move - Posting by Email

Well, this has been on my mind for some time now. Posting by email!! There is nothing much to this post except for the fact that it is a test. However, as far as development is concerned I have been a bit off lately about posting anything. I have become pretty inactive on forum considering that I aggregated a 100 points within a fortnight.

The exciting bit is that I explored a bit of ASP.NET AJAX and I think I will be involved with it a lot more in the coming days. Lets see. Meanwhile hopefully with email posting enabled you will see a lot more posts now.

Till the next post!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Making the World a Better Place - The Microsoft Way

In my previous post I had talked about Microsoft and how it has had to bow down to open source and change some of its strategies. So how does this impact you and me and the world in general? Some people may argue with the Microsoft way of doing things. As far as the Web is concerned I tend to agree with them. Google has outwitted Microsoft on the web by leaps and bounds. But come to the desktop and Windows is THE operating system used worldwide. Using Windows is so easy that anybody can learn it! That is why it is so popular. Another thing which I have liked about Microsoft is Visual Studio and the way they want developers to to develop applications. Many Java people would tend to disagree with that, but frankly speaking, I was tired of setting the environment and classpath and whatever you do to get a simple "Hello World" program to run.

Java is a beautiful language to learn. I have touched Java, and perhaps that is the reason why I like C#(which is a rip off from Java). But I never could end up programming in Java. Its not that I did not try, but I just wasnt able to acquaint myself with the IDE or the language. Probably, I needed some good company to learn Java.

Anyway, I find Microsoft tools easy and familiar to use. Many of the things in .NET framework are taken care of and you dont have to worry about them. Of course, you may curse Microsooft when you are stuck in a runtime exception and not knowing if the fault is in your code or Microsoft generated code!

But the crux of the matter is, for guys like me who are beginning web development, if you dont keep things simple, we would end up studying finance!!When you have an idea which can change the way the world is today, implementing that idea should be as easy and simple as possible. I believe Microsoft does this and hence enables hundreds of dreamers like me to pursue and try ideas which may destroy the world! Just imagine right at this moment, a hundred people are thinking/working on an idea which may change the world, fine tuning the idea and not worrying about how to do it.

These ideas may make the World a better place - and Microsoft IMO is helping them immensely.

Microsoft vs Open Source - Strike 2!!

I wasn't really aware about the open source hoopla till my first year in college when thanks to my dear friends Shashank Shekhar and Darshan Santani, I heard about Linux. It was the first time that I had heard of an operating system other than Windows. Well, I have come a long way since then. I even gave a seminar on Linux to educate and spread awareness amongst my classmates about the Open Source and Free Software Movement. Though I tried at times to learn Linux I never really could get over using Windows.

Anyway, I have always liked people who love Linux. They remind you of the Freedom Fighters of India, fighting for Independence through non-violent means; the 60's and 70's generation of US fighting for world peace and an end to the Vietnam War through Rock Music. Those kind of people in this decade and the previous ones have been fighting against the Microsoft View of software. It has been a long and hard battle between the 2, but clearly we see a strong movement in Open Source and Free Software which has gained momentum which has sent alarm bells ringing in Redmond. Read this and you will know how the movement has forced Microsoft to change its viewpoint.

You must be wondering why I called this post as Strike 2!! Well, in my previous post I had mentioned how the Express Editions of Microsoft tools were really a response to the growing popularity of Open Source and Free Software Development packages. That in my view was Strike 1 for Microsoft! Recently, Microsoft announced that it is going to provide students with its Professional Development tools for free. Also, it is going to share details of some of its technology with open source developers. This for me has been Strike 2!

I am not a Microsoft hater like some people. I just tend to disagree with some of their moves at times. I am just happy that more people will be able to contribute to innovation using Microsoft tools!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Passing Values between Web Pages (Beginner)

During a coffee break at work, I was explaining my friend how I had used a Wizard control in my Web App for the User registration process and had saved myself from headaches involving passing data between pages, storing user selection of choices in each page etc. My friend was pretty impressed with what the Wizard control could achieve and commended Scott & his team at Redmond for making things simple for programmers. "Developing Web Apps is pretty challenging compared to a Windows Application. And that is the sex appeal of developing Web Apps.."

True!! I started to wonder about the difference in approach between a Web App and a Windows Application. In case of a windows application passing data between 2 forms is a piece of cake. But how do I pass values between web pages? I was sure that it wasn't something very complex, but I realized that it was something I did not know. So I decided to try that and did so in a matter of minutes. Thanks to the documentation and example at msdn! This is what I did.

1. I created a new website with 2 pages Default.aspx and Default2.aspx

2. In Default.aspx I added a Textbox and a button.

3. In Default2.aspx I added a Label. My Objective was to display text entered in the text box in the label on click of the button.

4. I set the PostbackUrl of button to Default2.aspx

ID="Button1" runat="server" Text="Button" PostBackUrl="~/Default2.aspx"

5. Next I write the following code in the page load of Default2.aspx

if (Page.PreviousPage != null)
TextBox SourceTextBox = (TextBox)Page.PreviousPage.FindControl("TextBox1");

if (SourceTextBox != null)
Label1.Text = SourceTextBox.Text;

6. And that's it! The value of the text box is passed onto the Label on the second page.

This is one of the many ways of passing data between pages. I will explore and post about them in the coming weeks.

Till Then Happy Programming !!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Techsassy Now also available at Wordpress!!

In my last post, I said that I would be posting a few tips over the weekend. But 3 weekends have passed since my last post and nothing has come!! Well the weekends after my last post have been involved in learning new things about ASP.NET, catching up with my cousins and whats been happening back home. And yeah on one of the weekends there was a power surge which resulted in my UPS blasting and smoking off. I have given it for repair and hope it will be functional by next weekend. Also we have been facing a few electrical problems( meaning no electricity ) since last week which was fixed just today. So I guess you pretty much get the idea WHY there have been no posts for quite some time.

Anyway, for the past three weeks I have been trying to build a sort of registration page using the WIZARD control of ASP.NET 2.0. This has been quite challenging. I am on the verge of finishing it off ( hopefully I will do that by tomorrow). I will then be posting an article on CodeProject about how I used the wizard control to achieve my objectives. Of course, you will find that here as well.

Over the past few weeks, I have also started using the forums to post queries and answer whatever I can. Using the forums, I definitely feel a part of the ASP.NET developer community. The community is very active and I got replies to my queries within the hour.

Which reminds of one of the headlines in tech news for today. Microsoft, is about announce a program wherein it is going to give software like Visual Studio Professional Edition, Windows Server, SQL Server Developer etc. to student across eight countries for free.More about that here Definitely this is good news but India is not in that list. This to me is a defining moment. This is what Open Source and Free Software have done.

And before I end, I have made a copy of this blog at wordpress. It is Why wordpress? Till not it is now completely blocked at my office. Dont know what is the company achieving by blocking blogger and other blogs.

Anyway, hopefully my next post will be helpful for developers and should be up soon. Till then, Happy Programming!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What A Rough Day!!

That was yesterday!! It was a very bad one in terms of productivity. We literally spent the whole day trying to access one instance of SQL Server from other system on the network. But in vain. Microsoft does provide a Knowledge Article on what changes to make to enable remote access but even after that we were left high and dry!

My aim was to understand how data flows in a 3-Tier architecture. But without database connectivity, building the DAL itself was impossible. In the end we decided to proceed with local databases instead of Remote access and try and meet some of the fast approaching deadlines.

Today, was a fruitful one! Referring to msdn and my MCTS prep book I was trying to build one small module and that too with the proper architecture. Some of my team-mates were initially averse in building separate layers for Business Logic and Data Access but I pressed and convinced them. For the time being at least.

The best part was after a days work, of the three Unit Test Cases I had written for this module, I was successful in 2 of them at the first shot. And the third case which failed was debugged in no time, thanks to the proper segregation of business logic and data access from the presentation.

The coming days are going to be more exciting as I hope to learn more about Disconnected classes for data access in ADO.NET. Will surely post a few useful tips around the weekend!! Hopefully!

Till then, Happy Programming!

Happy New Year!!

Wishing all a Very Happy New Year!! Though we are already a month into it!!

Well, its been quite a while since I posted anything here. DO NOT think that my inactivity at this blog means that nothing is happening at the tech front! In fact, a lot has been happening and I really haven't had the time to write things down. Also, the buggers at my company have now blocked all access to blogger. Forget about posting, I can't even visit this blog anymore from my company to refer to some links and ideas that I had posted here!!

Anyway, this week we have kicked off with development for our project so a lot of exciting times lie ahead. Lots of things to learn and share with you all :). Also I hope to kick off development of my own trial project in 3 weeks time or so. Lets see where that ends up. I seem to have lost all motivation to work on that idea anymore. i also got a new idea which seems to be fairly simple but attractive. I just hope that it doesn't end up being another Wild Goose Chase!

Expect some useful posts soon....till then ...... Happy Programming!!