Friday, 29 August 2008

IE 8 Beta 2: Rolled Back

I've had to roll back IE 8 Beta 2 :-(

I couldn't work out how to adjust the security enough to make our menus work in our own application, and also our intranet menus weren't working either. Looks like I'll have to have a look at the UserAgent string to fix that.

So I'm back on IE7, which I love.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

IE8 Beta 2: First Thoughts

IE8 Beta 2 is available from

I installed it today - haven't given it much of a workout yet but here are some first thoughts.

Standards mode by default is interesting, I think I'm going to see some odd result over the next few weeks.
I love that items in the Address Bar history can now be individually removed, the drawback with this is where they've put the button. It'sright on the right-hand edge of the dropdown area, which means if you drop it down from the arrow, it's then far too easy to click on a url and delete it instead of going to it. More usability research required here Microsoft!
Looks like security has been bumped up a bit again, which as a general concept I approve of. However it looks like it's broken our scriptlet-based menu and I haven't found how to turn the security down enough to resurrect it yet :-(

Friday, 22 August 2008

Recovering the Sharepoint Central Admin Website

I've been through a process of discovery today of some of the rules of Sharepoint.

  1. You do not stop the Sharepoint Central Admin service.
  2. You DO NOT stop the Sharepoint Central Admin service.
I stopped the Sharepoint Central Admin service (by accident). This is such a fundamental thing not to do that it totally baffles me that Microsoft provide a UI to do it for you.

To get it back, you need to run the Sharepoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard. If you've already created a site, you'll be asked if you want to overwrite it, create a new site, or not to create a site. I chose not to create a site as I didn't want to screw up previous work. The wizard then ran through and at the end of it I had a working admin site again.

I tried some playing around with the STSADM command-line tool with the -createadminvs option, which looks like it ought to create a new admin website for you (I'm assuming the vs bit is short for Virtual Site) but I couldn't make this work and I couldn't find any discussion of this through Google to suggest what I was missing.

Friday, 15 August 2008

What I Want in ASP.NET 4.0

Well, a thing rather than the thing...

We're looking at redoing the menu ystem for our application which means we're getting into all the yummy provider goodness that shipped with ASP.NET 2.0.

Except there's a provider missing and it's one we could really do with. Although we can use the XmlSiteMapProvider to generate a menu, it doesn't stop a user typing a URL directly into the address bar. We can stop this by setting up each URL with a element in web.config, but this isn't manageable. What we really want is a LocationProvider, though we'd settle quite happily for an add-on to the SiteMapProvider that does the same thing. The frustrating thing is there's already a ConfigurationLocation class that wraps the element but I can't see any way to get at it to generate a collection that is used across the site.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

ReMix Discount

Kudos to the boys and girls at El Reg. They've posted a discount code for £50 off a ticket to Remix.

Am I going? Certainly not on the strength of this discount on it's own.

Now that an agenda's been published, I'm considering it. I'd be interested to see ScottGu's (all hail, we're not worthy etc) session on ASP.NET MVC, but right now that's about the only must-see. Hopefully it'll all be videoed so I can watch at my leisure later.

Windows Search 4.0

I'm sort of blogging this to see if anyone else has had similar symptoms.
I've been having trouble getting the security patch KB948109 installed on my laptop - SMS has tried installing the patch about six times now, it seems like my SQL Server instance is patched but my SQL Express instance refuses to take it even if I stop the SQL Express service :-(
One of the things I tried last week manually going to Windows Update to install it. While I was there I noticed Windows Search 4.0 and thought I'd install that too. Big mistake.
Immediately after I installed Search, any use of the Google Toolbar crashed the toolbar and then IE. It took me a day and a half to get back to some kind of working configuration, even using Windows Restore didn't solve the problem. I don't have a proper resolution now, I can't use the Google Toolbar and using the IE Search box with Google has ... interesting effects.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Non-Relational Databases

I read this piece on The Register yesterday about the new database from the original makers of MySQL. I was particularly intrigued by the statements 'won't support Windows ... and neither will it be SQL relational compliant'. All I could hear was Sir Humphrey congratulating them on a 'courageous decision'.
But I got to thinking about it last night and it occurred to me that Velocity does more or less the same things i.e. allows you to perform CRUD operations on data in a non-relational store, is suited to cloud computing etc.
Except Velocity works on Windows, and Drizzle doesn't. Which really is a courageous decision - love it or hate it, it's the most widely used OS. As a Microsoft developer, if I can't use something on Windows I'm not going to use it at all, so it's difficult to see Drizzle taking off. Maybe Microsoft should make a publicly-available Velocity store available in the cloud and position it as a competitor to Drizzle. Now that would be a Live/Mesh/Whatever service I'd like to use.