Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Sweet Coding Success

Well... after wrestling with my XP install in VMWare on my Linux box all weekend, I discovered this evening that the glorious (and free!) ASP .NET Web Matrix program allows you to write ASP .NET code and test it with its own built in mini-web server on XP Home. So, I can use it on my laptop! (The whole point of doing my web development on my laptop is so that I can bring it with me to do live demos to clients on the laptop... it being portable. And with all servers running locally, I don't need to rely on a client's internet connection).

Anyhooo so I won't be needing that XP install after all (though I'm glad I did it, because I'll eventually move all of my Windoze related stuff to that new virtual machine since it has the larger virtual hard disk).

So I stopped at Borders this evening to find me an ASP .NET book that has some detail on the Calendar control. I have a few books already, but none did anything but show the default calendar, and I needed something to demonstrate binding data to it. The goal of this little piece of the application is to display the current month's calendar, with hyperlinks to dates with events scheduled. Click on a highlighted date, and the event will show beneath the calendar.

I found what I needed in a Wrox book - "Beginning ASP .NET 1.1 with VB .NET 2003." You too for $39.99 can use 5 pages of the entire book! But I really can't complain - it saved my life and sanity by clearly explaining what I needed to do. After some monkeying around to make it fit my database, it finally worked.

Ya see - I haven't coded ASP .NET in, oh, at least 2 years. My dumb arse took on a web project requiring Microsoft Front Page and ASP .NET. (Barf!) I figured - it's all programming, it'll come back to me.... RIGHT! I stared at a blank screen the other night, completely unable to remember anything useful about ASP .NET. So this book will actually be good to have on hand, since the only ASP .NET books I have already are at least 2 years old. That's ancient in programming years.

And let me tell ya - the community of ASP programmers is way less friendly about sharing code than the open source community! I couldn't find a useful tutorial on the web to save my life. When I need PHP help, all I have to do is google and shazam - tons of helpful links. Here's a plea to all of the Microsoft programmers out there: share share alike! The world would be a much friendlier and productive place! But I guess proprietary code is just the essense of what it is to be "Microsoft." I won't be joining that club anytime soon.

So... my calendar is now working. All I have to do is integrate it into the site template I developed, and then start working on the database manipulation page for the calendar db, which I don't anticipate being nearly as "new" to me as the calendar. (I've worked with databases in ASP .NET before - I'd never played with the calendar until now).

I will sleep well tonight after this sweet coding success, and the rest of this project will hopefully go smoothly. Wish me luck!

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