Sauce Reader is my favorite RSS Reader – level 000

Sauce Reader v1.8 (BETA)

Sauce Reader v1.8 is now available for download.


I had been using RSS Bandit, and I was pretty satisfied, but I’m using Sauce Reader now, and it is just amazing.  No longer do I even have to click on a title to read a post, because it previews them for me.  I can now easily post to my own blog right from the reader and write comments right from the reader.  I know this is possible with other readers, but it is completely intuitive with Sauce Reader.

It also looks just like the Outlook 2003 UI.

MSDN – “. . . all without writing a single line of code.” – level 100

Scott Stewart laments what he saw at his local MSDN event, and I have to say that I experienced the same thing at the Austin, TX MSDN event.  I, too, like writing code, and I tend not to use the designer to much.  Back in the days of FrontPage and Interdev, I didn’t use the designer.  I found that I had to tweak the designers code anyway, so it didn’t take me long to write the code myself. 

I think what Microsoft is trying to showcase is that ASP.NET 2.0 reduces a whole lot of plumbing, and while the designers help, they don’t actually write any code.  If the designers wrote code, it would be in the .cs class.  In v1.1 we have “Designer-generated code don’t touch”, but that doesn’t exist in 2.0 because of partial classes.  and pulling more functionality into the base classes.  The new GridView control supports sorting and paging through properties.  Now, the designer will write the markup for you, but it just sets the appropriate properties.  In the DataGrid, we have to write sorting and paging code (just a few lines), but the GridView abstracts that into the control so we don’t even have to do that.  I think the changes are better, and writing less code is better, but I know that I will always have to write code because there isn’t a way that a designer can write my business logic. 

Sure we’ll see some newbies that will hammer out something that works with the designer, and it may work fine for a small company, but as soon as the requirements get a little more complex, the need to actually type the code will be apparant.

Just by adding features to the language and the .Net Framework, Microsoft is meeting the needs of enterprise developers like us, Scott, but it seems to me that the MSDN events are really touting the hobbyist and RAD features that it adding on top of the features you and I use.

If I ever took a test on the RAD features in VS or the designers, I’d fail.  But I know exactly what code is generated by them because I write it every day. (Except for DataSet-DataAdapter stuff – I tend to use a DataReader to populate my custom objects).

RegisterClientScriptBlock() incompatibility in .Net v2.0 Beta 1 – level 100

This may impact many people because it is a change in the validation of the parameters of this method.  The method is defined below:

RegisterClientScriptBlock(string key, string script);

In .Net 1.1, the key parameter could not be null, but it COULD be a zero-length string.  In .Net 2.0 Beta 1, this parameter is validated so that an empty string is not valid input.  It throws an exception. 

Maybe a validation change for the better, but a breaking change none-the-less.

Grassroots news from the field & .Net & blogs – level 000

Steve Smith has set up a blog site for soldiers in Iraq.  Now this site won’t be technical at all, but it’s interesting how blogging and specifically, .TEXT, is spreading.  

I’ve been a subscriber to Steve’s army blog since returning from Iraq myself this past April.  I was over there for a little over a year from 2003 to 2004, and I can tell you that no matter where Steve goes, he’ll be able to find a connection to the Internet.  When I arrived in April 2003 (shortly after the initial invasion), there were a few Internet connections available (and usually only available for official business), but as time when on, Internet cafes (full of computers provided for the soldiers) began to pop up, and now most camps have Internet Cafes. 

I wonder if Scott had any idea how popular his .Text app would become.

XPSP2 installed successfully – level 100

I was intentionally not a first adopter on XPSP2 because of the problems some had with installation, but yesterday I attempted to install it on my secondary computer at home.  This isn’t your normal e-mail/MS Word computer.  This computer has so many peripherals attached to it that it’s hard to route the wires.  Two video cards, 3 hard drives, 2 optical.  and it has so much software on it that Program Files is around 20GB by itself.  VS 2002 and 2003, Virtual PC, Adobe stuff, SQL Server, IIS, etc.  While I was away in Iraq for 14 months, I had it set to auto-update so my wife didn’t have to mess with it, so it’s always had the latest patches.  I run Ad-aware and Norton anti virus, and I have to say that I don’t have any spy ware or viruses.  Norton hasn’t caught anything in over 2 years, and I keep it up to date (I don’t open email attachments from strangers).

I was a little uneasy about installing XPSP2 because some people have had problems, but I’ve always had success with MS’s patches.  I shut everything down and turned Norton off and then proceeded to install.  The install went fine, and everything is great.  In the back of my head I wonder if the people who had problems left programs running during the install, left anti-virus on, actually continued to work during the install, or something else besides:  shut down all programs (even extra services you have running – sql server) and let the computer do its thing. 

All in all, it has been as painless as every other MS patch that has been automatically installed.