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Building Great Software

Archive for September 2008


with 3 comments

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Chrome wiped out Firefox’s market share, ended up with 10-20% of the market and relegated Firefox to an Opera-like status while everyone else stayed with Internet Explorer?

I like Firefox by the way, I want to see it thrive because of its extensions like firebug and its standards compliance.

In the late 90’s Internet Explorer soundly beat Netscape. Now Netscape’s descendant who has been working tirelessly to gain marketshare for several years could be in jeopardy.

Do you think Chrome poses a real threat to Firefox?


Written by Chris Sutton

September 29, 2008 at 10:56 am

Posted in Technology, Thoughts, Web

jQuery and ASP.NET MVC

with one comment

I just saw Scott Hanselman’s announcement that jQuery is going to be packaged with ASP.NET MVC. If you haven’t already been using this Javascript library with ASP.NET development you are missing out on a great library.

For more about this announcement see Scott Guthrie’s post and John Resig’s post.

This doesn’t change anything for me as I’ve been using jQuery in my ASP.NET and ASP.NET MVC projects for about 8 months, but having it packaged in will bring much wider adoption to this library. I think there will be a lot of happier web developers because of this choice.

Written by Chris Sutton

September 28, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Posted in Technology

Tagged with ,

Looking Back at the MVC Pattern – Prologue

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Looking back at original writings surrounding an idea is important when you are trying to take your understanding deeper.

My goal in this series is to draw attention to some of the original documents and highlight what people said about MVC in its inception.

It’s been noted before that naming a pattern is important. With the MVC pattern you really need to start with Trygve Reenskaug’s writings since he named and described MVC.

In my next post we’ll look at his original MVC paper called Thing-Model-View-Editor.

Written by Chris Sutton

September 27, 2008 at 9:52 am

Please stop using Visual Source Safe

with 2 comments

I’ve had this kind of error dozens of times in the last 8 years. Does this inspire confidence? If any other database that you work with corrupted itself this frequently and this drastically would you keep using that database?

If you answered ‘no’ in both cases (and I hope you did), then consider something better, stable and free like Subversion and TortoiseSVN. Or if you have the money and you need to stick with Microsoft technologies then consider Team Foundation Server. At a very minimum both of these options have atomic commits where Visual Source Safe does not.

This is a fraction of the error message by the way. I cut out 9/10 of the error message for brevity.

Visual SourceSafe Analyze Version 8.0
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Database analysis in progress @  7/16/08;11:18a.
Unable to open file ‘\\nhdev\nhvss\data\G\GGBAAAAA’.
File “\\nhdev\nhvss\data\G\GGBAAAAA” not found
The project User references a child whose physical file (GGBAAAAA) is missing or corrupted.
Unable to open file ‘\\nhdev\nhvss\data\H\HGBAAAAA’.
File “\\nhdev\nhvss\data\H\HGBAAAAA” not found
The project User references a child whose physical file (HGBAAAAA) is missing or corrupted.
The file ‘web.config’ (LEBAAAAA) lists ‘ZDBAAAAA’ as its parent, but that file does not reference it as a child or is missing/corrupted.
The item ‘Registration’ (ZDBAAAAA) is orphaned and needs to be removed.
The item ‘User’ (WEBAAAAA) is orphaned and needs to be removed.
Analysis complete @  7/16/08;11:19a
Potentially serious errors or inconsistencies were found: run ANALYZE -F to fix these problems.
To fix the database problems, you can restart the analyze using the following command:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual SourceSafe\analyze.exe” -F -V3 -D “\\nhdev\nhvss\data”

Update: If you are not the admin for VSS then you may not have seen these messages, but you see them fairly frequently if you are the admin.

Written by Chris Sutton

September 25, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Technology, Thoughts

Tagged with ,

Chat with Sarah – the future of automated help

with 12 comments

PayPal has a virtual agent that is supposed to help field questions. Maybe it is helpful in some cases, but for a significant question it is useless. Here is the actual text from our “conversation.”

Sarah – PayPal :
Hello, I’m Sarah, and I’m here to answer questions you have about PayPal. Just type into the box below and click Submit to get started.
I’m in training now, so if I don’t know the answer to your PayPal question, I’ll try to learn it for next time!

You :
I forgot my password and I can’t get it reset, can you help me?
Sarah – PayPal :
If you have forgotten your PayPal login password, or if your password has been locked, you can reset your password by confirming your identity.

1.  Visit the PayPal website at https://www.paypal.com/
2.  Click the Forgot your Password? link.
3.  Enter the email address you used to register.
4.  Enter the code shown in the security text box.
4.  Click Continue.
6.  Confirm your account ownership and click Continue.
7.  Confirm additional account information and click Continue.
8.  Create a new password and click Submit. Anything else I can do to help you?

You :
I’ve already tried that.
Sarah – PayPal :
Ok, what’s your question?

You :
I already asked my question, you need to give a better answer.
Sarah – PayPal :
I was trained to give personalised answers, which sometimes means that I may have to ask a private question or two! If you think of anything else I can help you with, I’ll be here.

You :
Can you help me?
Sarah – PayPal :
As a virtual advisor I’m here to help you with questions about PayPal.

You :
Can I talk to a real person?
Sarah – PayPal :
I may be able to help with your request. However, if I can’t answer your question, you can visit the Help Center, or Contact Us.

You :
Do you know anything about Alan Turing?
Sarah – PayPal :
I don’t understand. If you think of anything else I can help you with, I’ll be here.

You :
That’s what I thought.
Sarah – PayPal :
If there’s anything else you’d like to ask me, I’m here 24-7 to answer any questions you might have.

Written by Chris Sutton

September 16, 2008 at 3:10 pm