Australian Weather Radar Vista Gadget v1.1

Friday, 11 May 2007

I’ve published an updated version of my Australian Weather Radar Gadget.

I had a request from Simon to enable the 256km images as he lives just out of range of his closest radar’s 128km image.

A small number of the Bureau’s radars also support a 64km image (Adelaide’s Buckland Park being one), so I also added that option while I was at it.

When you set the image height, it also now resizes the “centering” image on the settings page, so it should now correspond to the same size as is shown in the sidebar.

Ideally, I’d re-write the re-centering so that it would use a drag/drop method like Google Maps etc, but my initial trials weren’t successful. Either I’m not coding it right, or drag/drop is disabled for sidebar gadgets.

Despite comments on the gadget page asking for weather details, I’m not planning to add them to this gadget at this stage - I figure it’s better to concentrate on one thing and try and do that well.

Comparing Refactor Pro, ASP.NET and VB.NET

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Developer Express have released new versions (2.2.2) of their ASP.NET and VB.NET refactoring tools.

These are both free cut-down versions of their Pro product (USD99 per license).

I was curious as to what the overlap was between the three products, as they don’t appear to have a nice comparison table on their website. So here’s list of the included refactorings in each edition:

Refactor! Pro Refactor for ASP.NET Refactor for VB + Bonus
Add Block Delimiters    
Add Parameter   Add Parameter
Add Validator Add Validator  
Boolean to Enum    
Break Apart Parameters    
Case to Conditional    
Change Tag    
Collapse Accessors    
Combine Conditionals    
Compress to Null Coalescing Operation    
Compress to Ternary Expression    
Conditional to Case    
Convert to HEX    
Convert to Named Color    
Convert to RGB    
Create Method Contract   Create Method Contract
Create Method Stub    
Create Multi-variable Declaration    
Create Overload Create Overload Create Overload
Create Setter Method    
Create With Statement   Create With Statement
Decompose Parameter    
Encapsulate Field Encapsulate Field Encapsulate Field
Expand Accessors    
Expand Null Coalescing Operation    
Expand Ternary Expression    
Extract ContentPlaceHolder Extract ContentPlaceHolder  
Extract ContentPlaceHolder (and create master page) Extract ContentPlaceHolder (create master page)  
Extract Function (outside of class)    
Extract Interface Extract Method Extract Interface
Extract Method Extract Property Extract Method
Extract Property Extract Style (Class) Extract Property
Extract Style (Class) Extract Style (id)  
Extract Style (id) Extract to User Control  
Extract to User Control Flatten Conditional  
Flatten Conditional   Flatten Conditional
ForEach to For    
For to ForEach    
Inline Format Item    
Inline Macro    
Inline Recent Assignment    
Inline Result Inline Temp  
Inline Temp   Inline Temp
Inline With Statement Introduce Constant Inline With Statement
Introduce Constant   Introduce Constant
Introduce ForEach Action    
Introduce Format Item Introduce Local  
Introduce Local Introduce Local (replace all) Introduce Local
Introduce Local (replace all)   Introduce Local (replace all)
Introduce Result Variable    
Introduce Setter Guard Clause    
Line-up Arguments    
Line-up Parameters    
Lock to Try/Finally    
Method to Property Move Declaration Near Reference Method to Property
Move Declaration Near Reference Move Initialization to Declaration Move Declaration Near Reference
Move Initialization to Declaration   Move Initialization to Declaration
Move Method to Header    
Move Method to Source File Move Style Attributes to CSS  
Move Style Attributes to CSS Move to Code-behind  
Move to Code-behind    
Move Type to File    
Property to Method   Property to Method
Optimize Namespace References    
Remove Assignments to Parameters   Remove Assignments to Parameters
Remove Block Delimiters    
Remove Empty Handler    
Remove Parameter   Remove Unused Parameter
Remove Private Setter    
Remove Redundant Conditional    
Remove Setter Guard Clause    
Remove Tag    
Remove Type Qualifier    
Rename File to Match Type    
Rename Style Rename  
Rename   Rename
  Reorder Parameters Rename Local
Reorder Parameters Replace Temp with Query Reorder Parameters
Replace Temp with Query   Replace Temp with Query
Replace with Alias    
Replace with Constant    
Replace with Local Reverse Conditional  
Reverse Conditional Safe Rename Reverse Conditional
Safe Rename Simplify Expression Safe Rename
Simplify Expression Split Initialization from Declaration Simplify Expression
Split Initialization from Declaration   Split Initialization from Declaration
Split Multi-variable Declaration Split Temporary Variable  
Split Temporary Variable   Split Temporary Variable
Split With Statement Surround with Update Panel  
Surround with Update Panel    
Use IsNullOrEmpty    
Use StringBuilder    
Use String.Compare    
Use String.Format   Use String.Format
Using to Try/Finally    
Widen Scope   Widen Scope

Do Not Call Register

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

I’m sure this was in the news, but somehow I missed it.

The Australian Do Not Call Register is now open for business.

“On your bike” Telemarketers!

Lean Software Engineering

Monday, 7 May 2007

“Lean Thinking” is a process management philosophy, and is often associated with Toyota Production System.

I first heard of this via my friend Jane, who is applying this in a healthcare setting.

It might sound a bit strange using a manufacturing philosophy (where the business is all about production lines and making widgets) to a hospital (which normally deals with lots of people with various health problems). However I’ve heard they’ve been applying the lean principles with some positive effects to things like waiting times for people in emergency and also improving how patients are moved through the hospital - the “patient journey”.

And so it isn’t just in healthcare that a manufacturing philosophy is being used - we now have Lean Software Engineering too. I’m not an expert on all the details, but it does seem to relate to a lot of the Agile practices that are becoming more popular now.

Unit testing, Mock objects, Inversion of Control, Model View Presenter and Supervising Controllers

Thursday, 3 May 2007

For a while now I’ve been trying to figure out a good way of using unit testing to validate more of my code with ASP.NET applications.

Most of our applications correspond to the n-tier model with the data-layer and business objects separated from the presentation layer.

I’m still trying to find a good solution, but I think that some of these new ideas might help once I get my head around all the concepts.

Mock objects seem like they can play a part, especially when you want to test something in isolation from the other layers (eg. testing the code that calls the data layer, without actually depending on the data layer to be all correct and available). Rhino Mocks is the mock object framework I’m trying out at the moment.

Inversion of Control is another concept that seems to help with this by removing direct dependencies between classes. Josh has some thoughts on this while using the Castle Project’s Windsor Container

Finally, the Model-View-Presenter design pattern might be a way of hooking this all up together. Billy McCafferty outlines his ASP.NET architecture and also has published an artile on using MVP with ASP.NET. Phil Haack also illustrates using the Supervising Controller pattern (an update on the MVP pattern) with ASP.NET.

Then again, I could have it all mixed up, but I do think some of these techniques are going to be valuable tools - a pity that the learning curve is reasonably steep at the moment.