Friday, May 26, 2006

using a custom database for persisted SQL Server ASP.Net session state

I am in the process of upgrading a major project from ASP.Net 1.1 to ASP.Net 2.0, and my ideal is to have 2 versions of the web application able to be run so that I can compare what's going on in the .Net 2.0 version to what should go on according to the .Net 1.1 version. This doesn't seem too difficult, just use a different web folder right? Well, this would be the case except that we're using SQL Server persisted session state and although they use a different schema between .Net 1.1 and .Net 2.0, the default database name is the same "ASPState". After a bit of fiddling around I eventually solved the problem.

Step 1 run the following command line from the appropriate .Net 2.0 directory replacing ASPState_2_0 with the database name you wish to use

aspnet_regsql -S localhost -E -ssa
dd -sstype c -d ASPState_2_0

This creates the session state database with the appropriate schema in the specified database name instead of the default.

Step 2 modify the following line in the web.config file accordingly

<sessionState mode="SQLServer" allowCustomSqlDatabase="true" stateConnectionString="tcpip=" sqlConnectionString="data source=localhost;Initial Catalog=ASPState_2_0;Trusted_Connection=Yes;" cookieless="false" timeout="15" />

Step 3 Manually give the ASPNet user (or whatever user you are running the ASP.Net web application as the appropriate priviledges on the database tables in the newly created session state databse.

MEDC 2006

Just got back from the MEDC 2006 conference where I was lucky enough to recieve an I-Mate SP5 simply for attending.

The sessions were all very interesting, my personal favourite was probably the session on performance in the compact framework.

The other interesting thing I learnt is that people are actually reading my blog. Well, if that's the case I might have to buck up my ideas and actually put some half decent content on.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A new and exciting project

This week I started a new and very exciting project. I can't really give away all the details as the project is still in the planning phase, but what I can say is that it will be a Web 2.0 project. Now I know Web 2.0 can sound like a bit of a buzz word and as such looses meaning, but I think this article by O'Reily explains Web 2.0 in a way that cuts through most of the marketing hype.

The Web 2.0 concepts that we are thinking of using in this project involve the idea of Mash Up's of a few different services, the idea of collaboration and collective intelligence, technologies such as ATLAS (AJAX for ASP.Net) and the concept of the quick release cycle.

It is interesting that I have ended up on this project. I must be the least experienced ASP.Net developer at Readify, and the last time I did anything commercially for the WEB (almost 2 years ago now), was firmly rooted in Web 1.0 mindset. Since then I have been firmly stuck on the Rich Client side of the divide writing Pocket PC and Desktop style applications. The team lead on this project has suggested that this is probably a good thing as we can take my experience designing and working with rich UI's and not be limited in my thinking of what is capable on the web. We are all getting really excited about the potential of this project, and I will give more details as the project progresses.

Monday, May 08, 2006

To Train or Be Trained... That is the question

Over the past 15 months I have been consulting to QSR and it has been a fantastic experience. The only issue has been that since I've been there I have worked exclusively on a winforms .Net 2.0 application. This has meant that my ASP.Net 2.0 skills were fairly rudamentry, and weren't improving beyond the tiny bit of time I've been able to allocate to professional development on the bus on the way to work.
So I decided to do the Readify Professional .Net which has been recently re-vamped for .Net 2.0. So I rang Chris Hewitt who was instructing the course to tell him of my intention. Chris's paraphrased reply was something like ... "You've been using .Net 2.0 for over a year now, you know more about .Net 2.0 than I do, you can teach some of the course".

So this is how I ended up teaching three modules of a course I was originally intending to sit. The 3 modules I taught were Generics (one of my favourite .Net 2.0 features), Click Once (on Chris's suggestion) and refactoring. It is my goal to to be trained up to a point where I can teach the course myself, and it was good sitting under Chris who has extensive teaching experience. I have always enjoyed teaching ever since I supported myself through uni by tutoring high school maths and physics, and I know it is one of the best ways to ensure your own grounding of the material. The thing that scares me the most is questions. I know I shouldn't be scared, we aren't expected to know everything, and in the rare cases when Chris didn't know the answers, it proved to be a real journey of discovery for allpf us as we attempted to find the answers to these questions.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Click Once Deployment Gotcha

In attempting to prepare for a module I am teaching tomorrow, I am putting Click Once through its paces, and I'm finding there are some strange issues. I have been struggling with an unusual error for half the night.

I am Publishing my files to a local site, then openning up internet explorer, navigating to the site and then attempting to Install the application. The application contains a 4 files that require downloading, and it uses SQL Server Express. The Install starts out fine, it then decides it needs to momentarily open a browser window. Now my default browser is Fire Fox, and it decides to open this. At this point firefox decides to prompt me for a username and password. Why I don't know, but seconds after typing in my credentials, it brings up an error saying that it cannot download the application as there are missing files. The install fails.

I eventually figured out that if I change my default browser back to be internet explorer, the problem goes away. Hope this helps someone.