ASP.NET 2 and Providers

by Administrator 31. October 2005 23:20

So, working on my first web app using ASP 2.  I had really only messed around with the mobile stuff during the betas.  My goal here is to see how robust the built-in controls and frameworks are.  On the surface everything seems very nice and configurable but we'll see what things are "toys" and what things are worthy of serious consideration.

Visual Studio installs SQL 2005 express by default.  This caused me some woe today since I uninstalled Express and installed Developer Edition instead.  Using the site admin tool, my AspNetSqlProvider is not working, and suggests I run aspnet_regsql.  Did that, did not fix it although it did create the membership tables in my SQL 2005 database.  Hmm, looking at machine.config and did a search for AspNetSqlProvider.  A connection string called "LocalSqlServer" is referenced everywhere and the value was...

<connectionStrings>

<add name="LocalSqlServer" connectionString="data source=.\SQLEXPRESS;Integrated Security=SSPI;AttachDBFilename=|DataDirectory|aspnetdb.mdf;User Instance=true" providerName="System.Data.SqlClient" />

</connectionStrings>

Well then, that won't work if I just got rid of Express.  I suppose there really was no need to un-install express after all if its just an Access replacement and isn't running a service taking up my CPU cycles?  I'm just guessing by looking at the connection string here.

At any rate, in your web.config you can do the following

<connectionStrings>

<remove name="LocalSqlServer"/>

<add name="LocalSqlServer" connectionString="data source=BigFatLaptop\SQL2005;Your info here" providerName="System.Data.SqlClient"/>

</connectionStrings>

and then it should work for you.  More observations as I get time to mess around.

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MySQL 5.0

by Administrator 26. October 2005 17:05

I saw over on Sean's blog that MySQL 5.0 is released.  Before I get too into this rant let me say that MySQL is a fine tool in some situations.  I'll steal the highlight's of the release from Sean as well:

  • Stored Procedures and SQL Functions -- to embed business logic in the database and improve performance;
  • Triggers -- to enforce complex business rules at the database level;
  • Views -- to ensure protection of sensitive information;
  • Cursors -- to allow easier database development and reference of large datasets;
  • Information Schema -- to provide easy access to metadata;
  • There's more but this is enough for me to talk about.  Take a look at that list.  Does anything strike you as odd?  If not, let me roll back the clock just a little while to when MySQL added another great new feature.  The developer team called this feature "Support for Transactions", I believe it was added in version 3.23.  I'm being an ass of course, Transactions had been in every other relational database, including crap like Access, since the dawn of time.  The MySQL fans made such a big deal out of this that I had to grin. Transactions!  What will they think of next?  Pretty soon they'll support sub-selects and ANSI standard JOIN syntax. This is the database I am constantly hearing is "better" than things like Oracle, and UDB, and SQL Server. 

    Now we have another release with some great new features.  I have many complex feelings on this issue, since I do in fact like MySQL.  Despite liking it, I think I can sum up my feelings with this press release:

    "Kia Releases new Car V2.0.  Standard options now include:

    • Tires: increases vehicle handling and makes wheels last longer
    • Brakes: car now has the ability to "stop" at a rate greater than the coefficient of rolling friction on standard road surfaces
    • Side Windows: Driver can now see in directions other than forward, huge safety increase
    • Seat Belts: we know this "air bag" fad is very popular, but we feel seat belts provide the best balance of total cost of ownership with safety.

    "

    I guess the reason I feel inclined to poke at MySQL is that I am always hearing from its fans how it is so much better and faster than big expensive RDBMS's.  The speed one I found especially irksome, and my quest to prove or disprove this rumour led me far and wide.  I landed at the Transaction Processing Performance Council's web site: http://www.tpc.org/;  I was shocked (by shocked I mean utterly un-surprised) to find that MySQL is nowhere on these performance lists.  A little digging shows that its somewhat expensive to participate, which may be a barrier for a free product.  A little more digging shows that a non-profit company can submit their product for a ridiculously small fee ($500-$1000), now I was shocked to find MySQL not on the lists.  A little more digging shows that MySQL just plain isn't standards compliant so cannot participate in the test anyway.  I do not have a list of what features are missing but I suspect near the top are various transation isloation settings and things of this nature.  Specifically: the type of things you'd want in a big enterprise database where disastor recovery and data integrity are of paramount important, the type of things that slow your database down just a little bit...

    I like MySQL, but I doubt its "better" than Oracle or SQL server unless your sole metric for judging value is the fact that its free.  "Free" is a loaded term anyway, but the MySQL team is working on making it easier to use and providing good tools.  There seems to be an aweful lot of people willing to accept on blind faith that MySQL is better than high-priced alternatives.  That's fine if you want to defend your religion, but if you want to convince me that you are better, you have to show me.

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    Palm gives up

    by Administrator 13. October 2005 21:19

    This is by no means new:

    Palm/Microsoft are going to port WindowsMobile to run on Palm hardware.  Microsoft makes very little money off of licensing for WindowsMobile/CE so this move must be an effort to sell more of the things that go along with mobile systems: back end integration, lock people into the WindowsPlatform, etc.  Does this mean we may see ActiveSync get some more attention and maybe get ported to more platforms?

    Palm has always had great hardware in my opinion and was absolutely an innovator in this field.  I believe having their own OS has contributed greatly to their downfall.  With Windows CE we have had eVB, eVC, the .NET CF for years.   They weren't always great but they were all VERY usable small device development environments.  With Palm you have had C++ using CodeWarrior and J2ME using the KVM.  I have not looked at J2ME in a couple of years, but I have seen some big names post about it: it's not very good.  Maybe I am out of touch with the community, but I've never heard of a big app being written on PalmOS the way I do about windowsmobile stuff.  I run into mobile apps all over the place: at the airport, in Kohls or Target, at the rental-car place; every one I've gotten a chance to look at was undoubtedly a  Windows CE based device.  Big apps being written on these things means companies like DAP, TDS, Symbol, Intermec get orders for hundreds of units at a time, meanwhile Palm has been (as far as I know) relying on individual purchasers to upgrade their units to be able to view their calendar faster or store that extra million contacts they were missing. 

    Since I may end up evaluating palm units on a future project I'm curious: can anyone else tell of their experience developing for Palm over the past several years?

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    Unmountable boot drive

    by Administrator 4. October 2005 15:58

    Yesterday in the middle of compiling some code my computer blue-screened.  Subsequent attempts to start it up kept giving "Unmountable boot drive", the hard drive had bit the bullet.  Luckily I back things up to an external drive semi-regularly.  I went to a friend's work where he builds PCs and got a laptop hard drive.  He also had an adapter so that I could hook my crashed HD up to a regular PC's IDE chain and sure enough I could get most of my data off of it and burned onto a DVD so I didn't even need to go to my backups.

    If anyone knows a quick way to get the contents of My Documents off of an NTFS drive let me know.

    Due to some funky display driver problems I spent 6 hours last night:

    1. Install windows xp
    2. get display drivers working
    3. Windows update
    4. service pack 2
    5. more windows update
    6. Office
    7. Office update
    8. ActiveSync
    9. Messengers, etc.

    Today, I had to stop by the office to get MSDN discs for:

    1. Visual studio
    2. MSDN
    3. Source Safe
    4. eMbedded C++4
    5. Visio
    6. Sql Server

    ... and on and on and on.  Despite having a halfway decent laptop I estimate it will be a total of 12 hours of installation easy.  Despite the various advances in hardware and software technology in recent years a couple of things are still sorely missed:

    • Can we get these things to boot up faster?
    • Can we get the install time for a complete development environment below 12 hours?

    Visual Studio is 50% done, I'm going to go read something.

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    About the author

    Damon Payne is a Microsoft MVP specializing in Smart Client solution architecture. 

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