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Archive for April, 2007

D ‘OH

In SGI FORTRAN77, “Real*8” is a real number with 8 bytes of storage, and “Real*16” is a real number with 16 bytes of storage. So in SQLServer 2000, the default decimal type “decimal(18,0)” in Management Studio and in Enterprise Manager, is a decimal with 18 bytes of storage, right? Today, I heard a lot of “Hey Greg, why are my interest rates rounding to the nearest percent?”

OK, it wasn’t a big deal and it was easily changed once somebody noticed. And I know I shouldn’t be letting FORTRAN experience guide me in the ways of SQL Server. But why does the default decimal in SQL Server effectively give you an integer?

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I submitted an article recently to The Code Project on how to use a GridView control in a Business Layer. The article and accompanying code demonstrates a way to use the GridView control with a business layer. Though I’ve been using that solution in several projects successfully for several months now, I’m still bothered by the baroqueness of it all. When I started out, I really just wanted to bolt the Grid control onto a generic list of business objects. One by one, I encountered various roadblocks. First, the elements in the list had to be Serializable, and of course in a rich domain model this means practically the whole business layer has to be declared Serializable. Then the ObjectDataSource had to get it’s data from a stateless class. Then I couldn’t use static methods in the ObjectDataSource. Etc, etc, etc.

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The Ulterior Solution

I am truly thankful for people who spend their time helping others online in tech forums. Please keep posting!

Often when I embark upon a learning experience about controversial gizmos like iframes, I run across forum threads that follow this basic pattern, which I call the Ulterior Solution:

Alice: “How do I use iframes to do X?”
Bob: “Uh, why do you want to use iframes? IFrames are evil. By the way, the solution to your problem is Y.”
Alice: “I don’t know any better. Thank you so much for your answer. By the way, Y doesn’t work.”
Bob: “Oh that’s too bad. Please elaborate on what you’re trying to do in greater detail and let’s see if we can do it without iframes.”
Carl: “Indeed, you shouldn’t really use iframes. IFrames are so evil. By the way, Bob’s solution didn’t work because he forgot about Z. And that’s also the super subtle reason why you shouldn’t use iframes.”
Alice: “OK, thanks! Yes, iframes are evil. I know I shouldn’t be using frames. By the way, Y+Z worked. Thanks again!”

It might be fun to collect and catalog common forum thread patterns. This one reminds me of arguments that my parents used to have, each claiming the other had “ulterior motives” for arguing one way or another.

But again, I am truly thankful for people who spend their time helping others online, something I should really do more of. Please keep posting! (And if I have ever used iframes in the past, it is only because I have a job ;-)

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Keywords: IE, iframes, printing

First I should admit that I don’t think of myself primarily as a frontend web developer. I’ve always thought of myself as an enterprise architect first, and a backend programmer second. I have no stake in the debates over liquid design versus tables, or over the inherent evilness of frames and iframes. But sometimes, like today, I have to wade right in. Briefly, I have a web application which allows users to build an HTML report from various dynamically generated ASP.Net forms, and users have the ability to upload attachments to the report. The attachments are primarily Microsoft Office documents with a few JPEGS and plain text thrown in.

So naturally the users want everything to display inline and print from a single button. (more…)

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Mail Authentication

Keywords: Exchange Authentication, SMTP Authentication, Network Credentials

This is turning into a blog about weird errors.

So we have a .Net web application at work that takes orders for services internally. It has the feature that for authenticated users, an email will be generated to the service provider notifying them that a service has been ordered. Meanwhile the Email inbox of the service provider has a rule set up to generate a confirmation Email to the user when this Email from the web application has been received. This gives the users confidence enough not to generate a lot of phone calls, “Did you get my order?”, etc. However, we had the particular problem that while the service provider was getting all of the order Emails, the confirmation emails were only being generated sometimes. “All the time” or “none of the time” is OK. “Sometimes” is pure evil.
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A Good Start

Got my bike back from the shop, nice weather, and took Gracie out for a ride.  10 miles, no problem!

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