Thinking about database schemas


I’ve worked with databases on average about four days a week for the last two years. My experience with databases includes: taking over maintenance, creating from scratch, incrementally improving and even completely redesigning a few. The experience has given me a lot of practice when it comes to design choices but not enough to truly be called a “Database Manager”. It takes a lot of knowledge and experience to know exactly where to put an index to maximize performance or how best to structure your tables to minimize the need for join queries. I recently read some great articles about how best to implement “tags” structurally and I thought I would share them. (more…)

Error Handling Correction


Today I realized a huge problem with the global.asax error handling method that I provided in my last entry. The problem is that if you ever run into compilation errors you are left completely in the dark as to what page it came from. You just have the date, logged in user and ip address which isn’t very helpful. (more…)

ASP.Net Error Logging


Like any good ASP.Net developer I have Scott Guthrie’s blog bookmarked in my GReader. Recently I was browsing through the archives and came across an entry about not using Debug=”True” in production applications. I have to admit that I am VERY guilty of this since pretty much all of my applications are production and are using Debug=”True”. The reason for this is simple, I am just me and I have to monitor/update all of these applications. I do as much testing as I can before sending it off to production and moving on to the next project but often once the users start working with it something bad happens. The ability to have the errors logged including the line number in the source code is invaluable when going back to an application to fix a bug after a length of time. However, in light of Scott’s points it stops now. (more…)

HTML Tags I had never heard of


I recently checked out the source code written by our in-house web designer for the main page of the Housing and Residence website. To my surprise she had used some tags that I initially didn’t believe was valid markup. I quickly realized how wrong I was, kicked my self for my ignorance and set off to learn all the HTML tags I was missing out on. There are quite a few tags in the HTML 4.01 standard developed by the W3C so really I shouldn’t have been too surprised that I didn’t know them all. (more…)

Downlevel Forms Authentication


I ran into this issue a couple of weeks ago and have been itching to throw together an article about it. I initially suspected that it was a bug that was causing the problem but now I realize the truth. When you force a page into “Downlevel” mode using the ClientTarget property of the <%@ Page %> tag .Net doesn’t use cookies anymore. Out of the box forms authentication is done using session tracking via cookies and thus you are unable to log in. (more…)

Object-Oriented JavaScript


Today, for the first time, I used JavaScript in an object oriented way. I must say that I am impressed. The job called for a few parameters and some methods that all operated on the contents of a single div element, so an object to contain it all just made sense. (more…)

Pink for October


I am planning on doing a quick redesign for the month of October to support breast cancer awareness month. If you are interested in participating check it out. If instead you wish to donate money to the cause make sure to buy a few ribbons, bracelets or any other supporting product. Most importantly get the word out that checking for breast cancer is simple and should be done by all women, get a mammogram.

Disabling JavaScript


There seems to be a small but significant backlash to the proliferation of JavaScript. These days with buzzwords like Web 2.0 and AJAX becoming unavoidable, (see there they are again) some users seem to be getting sick of it and have started to “fight” back. Many people have started using the Firefox NoScript plug-in and others have just simply disabled JavaScript in their browsers. “Take that Web 2.0!” they shout. (more…)

Code Control Freaks vs Magic


I am a code control freak. If I don’t understand every aspect of how something works I can’t get comfortable using it. I don’t know a lot of programmers so I don’t know how common this is in the community. At work I program in ASP.Net using Visual Studio 2005, however, I only use it as a text editor (for the syntax highlighting and intellisense). I am not comfortable with the web project front-end since there is way too much magic going on in there. I don’t want to click a button and have the software generate a bunch of web pages, change some configuration settings and update the database. “Why?” you ask; because what if something goes wrong? I would have no idea how my own application actually works or where to begin looking for bugs. If you surf in a couple ASP.Net forums you will see a lot of users posing questions that show a definite lack of understand about how things work. (more…)

Choosing a PHP framework


I’m in the market for a PHP framework to use for my future projects. Compiling a list is fairly simple using Google, there are quite a few blogs that mention which are best overall or best for certain applications, for example, this one and this one. With all the talk about Ruby on Rails lately I was curious about it but for the most part I don’t see the point in learning a new programming language just to use the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture and scaffolding. There are quite a few PHP frameworks that use the same concepts (including one that is being directly copied from Rails). My goal is to find the best for my needs. (more…)

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