Jim's Blog Ramblings about novels, comics, programming, and other geek topics


How to prevent web.config inheritance in ASP.NET child virtual directories and applications

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If you add a new ASP.NET web site as a virtual directory/application under an existing ASP.NET web site, then you'll probably be having some problems with web.config inheritance.

Even if the sub-webapp is physically separate, just being in a virtual directory located within another webapp will result in many of the settings being inherited and messing up your sub-webapp.

The method to resolve these issues can be found over at Rick Strahl's blog entry titled "IIS/ASP.NET Settings and Virtual Directory Inheritance".

The key is adding in the web.config XML element of <location inheritInChildApplications="false"> to surround the sections of your top-level web application's web.config file.

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Web 3.0 or whatchamacallit

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Bernard Lunn of ReadWriteWeb started an interesting series of articles concerning the direction of the next phase on the Internet during the coming/current recession. He states that we are now in the "whatchamacallit, post-recession phase transition" between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 (or whatever it will be named).

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Monday’s Moment of Programming Enlightenment – Part 3

A manager went to the master programmer and showed him the requirements document for a new application. The manager asked the master: "How long will it take to design this system if I assign five programmers to it?"

"It will take one year," said the master promptly.

"But we need this system immediately or even sooner! How long will it take if I assign ten programmers to it?"

The master programmer frowned. "In that case, it will take two years."

"And what if I assign a hundred programmers to it?"

The master programmer shrugged. "Then the design will never be completed," he said.

- Book 3 - Design, The Tao Of Programming

This quote refers to a subject that many have written about and discussed. The most popular book is the Mythical Man Month, which nearly every person with a computer science degree or in a role of project management should read.


Why is the San Diego Padres’ mascot a Friar instead of a Padre?

While attending a Padres game this weekend I was asked "why do the Padres have a friar for their mascot and not a padre?" (paraphrased)

I really had no answer to this question. I hadn't even thought much about it during my numerous years living in-and-around San Diego.

I attended my first Padre game back at Jack Murphy ("The Murph") Stadium around 1996 just before Qualcomm purchased the naming rights in 1997.

As a young kid playing baseball very far east of southern California in the 80s, I was (still am) a huge fan of Tony Gwynn and so I watched the Padres from afar. (I'm still holding out hope that he'll run for mayor and fix all of our city problems...)


How to turn off the annoying restart dialog after installing Windows updates

I have this IIS bug that can't be squashed. Every time my laptop is rebooted, IIS becomes disabled and can't be re-enabled without a uninstall and reinstall. I've asked everyone that I know and even posted on the Microsoft IIS forums with no luck. So I've limited my laptop reboots to only when I'm forced to travel or when I have no other options.

Having to uninstall and re-install IIS means having to also re-install ASP.NET and re-configure all of my virtual directories, web sites, and permissions. This sucks, so when I walked away from my laptop to get a cup of coffee and came back to find that my laptop had automatically rebooted itself, I wasn't very happy.

So here's how you can turn off the annoying restart dialog that pops up every 5 minutes or so after a Windows update has been downloaded to your computer.


Monday’s Moment of Programming Enlightenment – Part 2

This week's koan comes from Scott Hanselman, the Microsoft ASP.NET guru.

People think it is hard to see .NET,
but in reality
it is neither difficult nor easy.
It is a matter of responding
to C# and VB.NET while remaining detached
from the runtime,
living in the midst of managed code yet being detached from managed code, seeing without seeing, hearing without hearing, garbage collecting without garbage collecting.


How to use XnaContent XML Files

There's a couple methods to working with XML documents in the XNA games. First, you can just serialize and deserialize your class files at run-time.

Why use XML files for game development?

By saving data outside of your executable, you can keep your data and code separate. With external data, you can make updates to the files without needing to write more code. You can also easily update and maintain the files without rebuilding your projects.

What's the difference between using XnaContent and Serialization methods?

Run-time vs. Design-time Validation

The biggest difference between the two methods, is that using XnaContent XML files allow you to catch errors when you build your project rather than getting XML errors at run-time.

Of course, you could build XSD documents to validate your serialized class files or just trust that however the files were created, that they were created correctly.


The second difference is that the XnaContent XML documents will be converted and compressed to XNB format and your serialized files will still be XML documents.


Power Toys that I can’t live without

These are quite old tools, but not everyone has been using them for years like me :)

You can download each of the PowerToys (and there's more than the ones listed here) at Microsoft PowerToys web page.

Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP

PowerToys add fun and functionality to the Windows experience. What are they? PowerToys are additional programs that developers work on after a product has been released.

Open Command Window Here

This PowerToy adds an "Open Command Window Here" context menu option on file system folders, giving you a quick way to open a command window (cmd.exe) pointing at the selected folder.

Tweak UI

This PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more.

ClearType Tuner

This PowerToy lets you use ClearType technology to make it easier to read text on your screen, and installs in the Control Panel for easy access.


Monday’s Moment of Programming Enlightenment – Part 1

Each Monday, I'm going to try to post a programming related enlightenment. It may be from a book such as the Tao/Zen of Programming or a quote.

The Tao gave birth to machine language. Machine language gave birth to the assembler.

The assembler gave birth to the compiler. Now there are ten thousand languages.

Each language has its purpose, however humble. Each language expresses the Yin and Yang of software. Each language has its place within the Tao.

But do not program in COBOL if you can avoid it.

- Book 1 - The Silent Void, The Tao Of Programming

Very few people, nowadays, have programmed in COBOL. I'd imagine that even fewer readers that stumble upon this entry has written or seen COBOL code, so most people will not fully understand these words from the master programmer.

Numerous years ago, we used COBOL for an "Introduction to Programming" college course. This was before Java and .NET and I don't know why we didn't use C - but it was probably due to the professor's preference.

If you could update the above quote to any modern language, which one would you choose: C, C++, C#, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby, VB.NET, or something else?



These are not the bugs you’re looking for

As I mentioned before, I have a weakness for geeky sci-fi quotes in relationship to programming. Leon Bambrick of secretGeek recently described his code review experience using quotes from Star Wars...


Leon: So, can I can check it in? You like my code?

Joseph: You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.


Leon: So I'll check it in?

Joseph: I have a very bad feeling about this... [pauses] It's a TRAP...


Finally, Leon resorts to Jedi mind tricks...

Leon: These are not the bugs you're looking for (wave hands). These are not the bugs we're looking for.

Joseph: You may go about your business. Check it in.


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