Saturday, June 30, 2007

Install an ASP.NET Assembly into the GAC

To add an assembly to the global assembly cache manually (specifically the ASP.NET AJAX assemply), go to Start > All Programs > Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 > Visual Studio Tools > Visual Studio 2005 Command Prompt. Type the following comman and insert the path/version you have:

>cd C:\Program Files\Microsoft ASP.NET\ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions\[version number] gacutil -i System.Web.Extensions.dll

Declare ASP.NET Controls in web.config Instead of Individual Pages

Instead of declaring controls on individual ASPX pages, declare them once in web.config.

<add tagPrefix="myCompany" src="~/ctl/usercontrol.ascx" tagName="MyControl"/>
<add tagPrefix="otherCompany" assembly="OtherControlAssembly"/>

Monday, June 25, 2007

A$$hole Driven Development

Scott Berkun has a funny post all of the different development methodologies out there. I'd say where I'm working now is somewhere between...
Development By Denial (DBD): Everybody pretends there is a method for what’s being done, and that things are going ok, when in reality, things are a mess and the process is on the floor. The worse things get, the more people depend on their denial of what’s really happening, or their isolation in their own small part of the project, to survive.

Shovel-Driven Development: Get it out the door as quickly as possible, cut-n-paste from anything that you find that works on Google, if it works it’s ready. Closely related to “Duct-tape Driven Design”

…with a healthy smattering of…

Decapitated Chicken Process: A time honored micromanagement technique where each day managers identify a drastic emergency and require developers drop what they are doing (and whatever process they are using) and immediately attend to the latest conflagration. Since this does the double duty of creating new bugs and making other tasks fall behind, fires become easier and easier for managers to spot and then freak out about. Practically a standard in the games industry.

Sad, but true.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

ASP.NET Dynamic Array

This is one approach to creating a dynamic array in ASP.NET:

public string[] CreateArray()
ArrayList myArrayList = new ArrayList();
// Connect to the database and create a data reader (myReader)
while (myReader.Read())
// various lines commented out
myArrayList.Add((string) myReader["name"]);
return (string[])myArrayList.ToArray(typeof(string));

ASP.NET Custom Validator for a Comma Separated List of Email Addresses

In your ASPX page:

<asp:CustomValidator ID="txtToCustom" runat="server" ControlToValidate="txtTo"
Display="Dynamic" ErrorMessage="One of the &quot;To:&quot; email
addresses you provided is not in the proper format or is not separated by a comma."

In your code beside page:

protected void txtToCustom_ServerValidate(object source, ServerValidateEventArgs args)
args.IsValid = ValidateToAddresses(args.Value);

protected bool ValidateToAddresses(string addresses)
string[] myAddresses = Tokenize(addresses);
foreach (string address in myAddresses)
if (!IsEmail(address.Trim())) return false; // If it's not a valid address, return false.
return true; // If none of the addresses returned false, return true.

protected bool IsEmail(string address)
/* This regular expression is provided by the .NET Framework and is the same
* as the one used to check the from address. If that changes for any reason
* this should be updated to match. */
Regex emailRegEx = new Regex(@"\w+([-+.']\w+)*@\w+([-.]\w+)*\.\w+([-.]\w+)*",
if (emailRegEx.IsMatch(address)) return true;
return false;

protected string[] Tokenize(string addresses)
/* This is pulled out as a separate function because I expect it to mature
* and change over time, and it will probably to move into a class library
* at some point. */
Regex separatorRegEx = new Regex(",");
return separatorRegEx.Split(addresses);

There is at least one very big assumption here: the domains provided by the user are correct. If you'd like to check these, there is a bit of code at that offers an approach.

Also, to do this, you need some sort of approach to string tokenization. Unlike Java, C# does not have any helper classes for this. There are basic approaches to this problem at and

Friday, June 8, 2007

Quck and Dirty MySQL Database Backup

Here is a quick and dirty way to backup a database in MySQL, structure and data included. Run this from the command line, NOT the MySQL Client command line:
C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Server 4.1\bin>mysqldump --user=root 
--password=mypassword --databases mydbname
Of course, this assumes a Windows environment and that the installation directory is the same.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Apache Xalan from the Command Line

Check your Xalan environment:

C:\>java org.apache.xalan.xslt.EnvironmentCheck

Set your environment for the proper JARs (check the Apache site for updates):
C:\>set classpath=.;C:\jdk1.2.2\jre\lib\ext\xalan.jar;
Run a basic XSL transformation:

C:\>java org.apache.xalan.xslt.Process -IN c:\tmp\intput.xml -XSL c:\tmp\transform.xsl -OUT c:\tmp\output.xml

Additional command line options:

Common Options

-XSLTC (use XSLTC for transformation)
-XSL XSLTransformationURL
-OUT outputFileName
-V (Version info)
-EDUMP [optional filename] (Do stackdump on error.)
-XML (Use XML formatter and add XML header.)
-TEXT (Use simple Text formatter.)
-HTML (Use HTML formatter.)
-PARAM name expression (Set a stylesheet parameter)
-MEDIA mediaType (use media attribute to find stylesheet associated with a document)
-FLAVOR flavorName (Explicitly use s2s=SAX or d2d=DOM to do transform)
-DIAG (Print overall milliseconds transform took)
-URIRESOLVER full class name (URIResolver to be used to resolve URIs)
-ENTITYRESOLVER full class name (EntityResolver to be used to resolve entities)
-CONTENTHANDLER full class name (ContentHandler to be used to serialize output)

Options for Xalan-Java Interpretive

-QC (Quiet Pattern Conflicts Warnings)
-TT (Trace the templates as they are being called)
-TG (Trace each generation event)
-TS (Trace each selection event)
-TTC (Trace the template children as they are being processed)
-TCLASS (TraceListener class for trace extensions)
-L (use line numbers for source document)
-INCREMENTAL (request incremental DTM construction by setting to true)
-NOOPTIMIMIZE (request no stylesheet optimization proccessing by setting to false)
-RL recursionlimit (assert numeric limit on stylesheet recursion depth)

For more information see

Basic Java Questions and Answers

This is a great list of Java Q & A from a JDJ article. I'm repeating it here because I can never find anything on their site after a month or so.

Q1. How could Java classes direct program messages to the system console, but error messages, say to a file?

A. The class System has a variable out that represents the standard output, and the variable err that represents the standard error device. By default, they both point at the system console. This how the standard output could be re-directed:

Stream st = new Stream(new FileOutputStream("output.txt")); System.setErr(st); System.setOut(st);

Q2. What's the difference between an interface and an abstract class?

A. An abstract class may contain code in method bodies, which is not allowed in an interface. With abstract classes, you have to inherit your class from it and Java does not allow multiple inheritance. On the other hand, you can implement multiple interfaces in your class.

Q3. Why would you use a synchronized block vs. synchronized method?

A. Synchronized blocks place locks for shorter periods than synchronized methods.

Q4. Explain the usage of the keyword transient?

A. This keyword indicates that the value of this member variable does not have to be serialized with the object. When the class will be de-serialized, this variable will be initialized with a default value of its data type (i.e. zero for integers).

Q5. How can you force garbage collection?

A. You can't force GC, but could request it by calling System.gc(). JVM does not guarantee that GC will be started immediately.

Q6. How do you know if an explicit object casting is needed?

A. If you assign a superclass object to a variable of a subclass's data type, you need to do explicit casting. For example:

Object a; Customer b; b = (Customer) a;

When you assign a subclass to a variable having a supeclass type, the casting is performed automatically.

Q7. What's the difference between the methods sleep() and wait()

A. The code sleep(1000); puts thread aside for exactly one second. The code wait(1000), causes a wait of up to one second. A thread could stop waiting earlier if it receives the notify() or notifyAll() call. The method wait() is defined in the class Object and the method sleep() is defined in the class Thread.

Q8. Can you write a Java class that could be used both as an applet as well as an application?

A. Yes. Add a main() method to the applet.

Q9. What's the difference between constructors and other methods?

A. Constructors must have the same name as the class and can not return a value. They are only called once while regular methods could be called many times.

Q10. Can you call one constructor from another if a class has multiple constructors

A. Yes. Use this() syntax.

Q11. Explain the usage of Java packages.

A. This is a way to organize files when a project consists of multiple modules. It also helps resolve naming conflicts when different packages have classes with the same names. Packages access level also allows you to protect data from being used by the non-authorized classes.

Q12. If a class is located in a package, what do you need to change in the OS environment to be able to use it?

A. You need to add a directory or a jar file that contains the package directories to the CLASSPATH environment variable. Let's say a class Employee belongs to a package; and is located in the file c:\dev\com\xyz\hr\ In this case, you'd need to add c:\dev to the variable CLASSPATH. If this class contains the method main(), you could test it from a command prompt window as follows:


Q13. What's the difference between J2SDK 1.5 and J2SDK 5.0?

A.There's no difference, Sun Microsystems just re-branded this version.

Q14. What would you use to compare two String variables - the operator == or the method equals()?

A. I'd use the method equals() to compare the values of the Strings and the == to check if two variables point at the same instance of a String object.

Q15. Does it matter in what order catch statements for FileNotFoundException and IOExceptipon are written?

A. Yes, it does. The FileNoFoundException is inherited from the IOException. Exception's subclasses have to be caught first.

Q16. Can an inner class declared inside of a method access local variables of this method?

A. It's possible if these variables are final.

Q17. What can go wrong if you replace && with & in the following code:

String a=null; if (a!=null && a.length()>10) {...}

A. A single ampersand here would lead to a NullPointerException.

Q18. What's the main difference between a Vector and an ArrayList

A. Java Vector class is internally synchronized and ArrayList is not.

Q19. When should the method invokeLater()be used?

A. This method is used to ensure that Swing components are updated through the event-dispatching thread.

Q20. How can a subclass call a method or a constructor defined in a superclass?

A. Use the following syntax: super.myMethod(); To call a constructor of the superclass, just write super(); in the first line of the subclass's constructor.

Q21. What's the difference between a queue and a stack?

A. Stacks works by last-in-first-out rule (LIFO), while queues use the FIFO rule

Q22. You can create an abstract class that contains only abstract methods. On the other hand, you can create an interface that declares the same methods. So can you use abstract classes instead of interfaces?

A. Sometimes. But your class may be a descendent of another class and in this case the interface is your only option.

Q23. What comes to mind when you hear about a young generation in Java?

A. Garbage collection.

Q24. What comes to mind when someone mentions a shallow copy in Java?

A. Object cloning.

Q25. If you're overriding the method equals() of an object, which other method you might also consider?

A. hashCode()

Q26. You are planning to do an indexed search in a list of objects. Which of the two Java collections should you use: ArrayList or LinkedList?

A. ArrayList

Q27. How would you make a copy of an entire Java object with its state?

A. Have this class implement Cloneable interface and call its method clone().

Q28. How can you minimize the need of garbage collection and make the memory use more effective?

A. Use object pooling and weak object references.

Q29. There are two classes: A and B. The class B need to inform a class A when some important event has happened. What Java technique would you use to implement it?

A. If these classes are threads I'd consider notify() or notifyAll(). For regular classes you can use the Observer interface.

Q30. What access level do you need to specify in the class declaration to ensure that only classes from the same directory can access it?

A. You do not need to specify any access level, and Java will use a default package access level.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Installing TortiseSVN after Installing and Configuring WordPress

If you have WordPress installed and running successfully on a Windows server, then you install the TortiseSVN client, and then you export a block of code from Subversion, you may notice that the WordPress admin UI can no longer save edited presentation files. I found that the TortiseSVN install removed the IIS guest user account I had allowed on the themes directory, changing the permissions on that directory back to what they were originally, so it had to be added back to allow access.


Monday, June 4, 2007

Getting a Count of Posts in The Loop in WordPress

I had a hard time finding this information. Here's how you can get a count of the number of posts in your current loop and the index of the current post you're accessing. post_count starts at zero and current_post starts at 1. In this example, I'm outputting a horizontal rule after all posts except the last one in the loop.

/* From */
if( ($wp_query->current_post + 1) < ($wp_query->post_count) )
echo("<hr />");