Codeguru Update eNewsletter - October 24th, 2006


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CodeGuru Newsletter
October 24, 2006

This newsletter is part of the Developer.com, EarthWeb, and internet.com networks.
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--> Editorial -
--> Recently Published Books

--> New on CodeGuru:
 - Articles

        ==> ASP.NET Tip
                - Sending Mail with ASP.NET 2.0
        ==> Controls
                - ASP.NET Booking Calendar User Control
        ==> C# Syntax
                - Implementing Nested Functions in C#
        ==> Graphics
                - [Updated] Deriving Projection Matrices
        ==> Reporting
                - Dynamic Data Grouping Using MS Reporting Services
        ==> Windows Forms
                - Windows Forms Tricks You May Have Missed

--> Discussion Groups -- HOT Threads
        - SQL standalone - Using a freely distributable database with your app.
        - ACSingleLock question (VC++)
        - Loading a matrix into a vector of vectors (C++)

--> Highlighted new articles on Developer.com  
        1. Testing with Mock Objects
        2. Eclipse Tip: Use the Execution Environment to Create Portable Java Projects
        3. BEA WebLogic 9.x New Features and Configuration Gems

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Comments from the Editor

Microsoft is poised to stir some great excitement over the next three to six months. There are more products and bigger launches planned than ever before. This all starts with the release of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP.

Microsoft released the newest version of their browser last week. Although you hear lots of drum beating about security, that isn't what will catch most people's attention. Rather, the thing that is brining me back to Internet Explorer (from primarily using Firefox) is simply the Tabs feature. Even cooler is Quick Tabs. Because this is a text-based newsletter, I can't show you a picture of Quick Tabs, but suffice it to say that Quick Tabs is a quick view of all the pages you currently have on Tabs in Internet Explorer. You don't have to search through each tab to find the one you need. You can easily display them all on the Quick Tabs page.

Also improved in the browser is its printing capability. Microsoft is working hard to get rid of the annoyance of losing the side of the web page when you print.

Internet Explorer 7 has a number of other improvements and changes that are worthy of a look. Granted, it arrived just in time to beat the next release of Firefox. That, however, is fine. A little healthy competition can help those of us using the tools!

But not everything is good in the coming products from Microsoft. The new Internet Explorer - and the coming Vista - offer a few things that we can learn from as developers. In this case, it is things we can learn to avoid.

If I show you a small button with an X in it, what would you think that button would do? Would you think it might close something? Because Microsoft uses the small X button to close a dialog or window, it would make sense that this is what all X buttons would do. In fact, Microsoft adds an X (not with the button look, though) to each tab in Internet Explorer 7. This allows you to close the tab.

Unfortunately, Microsoft also uses an X button in one other place that I believe they should not have. This is next to the refresh button. They have used a simple X button as the stop button. Granted, there was an X within the stop button of the prior version of Internet Explorer as well; however, it was an X on a piece of paper. That was different than a plain X in a small button. Then again, the piece of paper in the icon for the refresh button has also gone away. Also gone is the word "go" next to the "go" button.

There are always the menus to fall back on for clear directions on what can be done. Unfortunately, here too Microsoft is simplifying the interfaces. Menus are generally turned off by default. The icons in toolbars are the defaulted manner of interacting with a product. While simplifying icons and the interface to an application can make things look nice and clean, at some point, your icons lose meaning if you reuse them for multiple purposes or worse, you oversimplify them. If someone isn't already familiar with them, the icons become almost worthless.

The new interface for Internet Explorer looks nice and clean. The new interface for Windows Vista does too. But Usability comes by making it clear what things do. Oversimplifying your interfaces can be a danger because, if someone isn't already familiar with an icon, then they won't necessarily know what it does. Internet Explorer 7 is a viable upgrade to consider. Additionally, Windows Vista offers a lot of underlying enhancements. Microsoft may be increasing the potential for confusion by oversimplifying the icons and interfaces in the products that are coming. It is my recommendation that developers don't fully follow this trend and oversimplify to the point of confusion or dilution. Microsoft has a lot of programs coming out soon that follow the release of Internet Explorer 7. Unfortunately most are likely to follow the same simplifications that Internet Explorer did.

Until next week...

Disagree or want to comment - go to: http://nl.internet.com/ct.html?rtr=on&s=1,2squ,1,hsii,aidt,jorm,i5r0

Bradley L. Jones

Recently Published Books

For those of you keeping up by reading books. The following are just a few of the new books that have been recently released. If you've read any of these, feel free to write a review to be posted on CodeGuru. See the submission guidelines at:


A bit out side the Developer focus, but technology books none-the-less:

--> Windows Server 2003 Netowrking Recipes
      By Allen, Hunter, and Dinerman for Apress
      432 pages for $49.99 

--> SMS 2003 Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach
      By Ramsey and Byle for Apress
      620 pages for $49.99

New & Updated Articles on CodeGuru

Following are short descriptions of new articles on CodeGuru. If you are interested in submitting your own article for inclusion on the site, then you will find guidelines located at


This week's CodeGuru posts:

==== Articles ====

==> ASP.NET Tip

- Sending Mail with ASP.NET 2.0
    By Eric Smith
The new System.Net.Mail library in ASP.NET 2.0 introduces some useful features, but it also includes bugs. Find out how they come into play when you send mail.


==> Controls

- ASP.NET Booking Calendar User Control
    By Mike Knuckey
When developing enterprise ASP.NET applications, it is common to have a calendar booking facility. Learn about a booking calendar user control that can be used for reservations and accommodation lettings.


==> C# Syntax

- Implementing Nested Functions in C#
    By Paul Kimmel
Want to test just how broad and expressive a language C# is? Learn how to implement nested functions for C#, which so closely models nested functions that nested behaviors practically exist already for the language.


==> Graphics

- [Updated] Deriving Projection Matrices
    By Joe Farrell
Walk through the mathematical derivation of orthographic and perspective projection matrices used in 3D graphics.


==> Reporting

- Dynamic Data Grouping Using MS Reporting Services
    By Asif Sayed
Discover new ways to "pretty up" your reports and perhaps get you noticed at the office.


==> Windows Forms

- Windows Forms Tricks You May Have Missed
    By Mark Strawmyer
Here are several lesser-known tips and tricks that will assist you in building fully functional and well performing Windows Forms applications.


Discussion Groups

Check out the CodeGuru discussion forums at:


Forums include Visual C++, General C++, Visual Basic, Java, General Technology, C#, ASP.NET, XML, Help Wanted, and much, much, more!


Some of the current threads with the most activity are:

==> SQL standalone - Using a freely distributable database with your app.

==> ACSingleLock question (VC++)

==> Loading a matrix into a vector of vectors (C++)

New Articles on Developer.com

Below are some of the new articles that have been posted to Developer.com (http://www.developer.com).

1. Testing with Mock Objects
    By Daniel Gartner -
Mock objects can be created to act as stand-ins for actual implementations in order to isolate unit tests. This makes it easier to detect defects during development. Discover how to create your own mock objects using NMock 2.0.


2. Eclipse Tip: Use the Execution Environment to Create Portable Java Projects
    By Peter Nehrer -
Here are things to consider when working with others on a project.


3. BEA WebLogic 9.x New Features and Configuration Gems
    By Vlad Kofman -
Look into the new features, enterprise configuration options, tips on the development environment setup, and other configuration and maintenance gems for the latest BEA WebLogic server 9.x platform.



About the Author

Bradley L. Jones



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