Archive for December 2007

Dotnetspider makes you march ahead more active ...

Dotnetspider makes you march ahead more active ...

Just yesterday I had a chance to peek at the Diamond Level of Dotnetspider which I have discussed over here. But sometime late night when I was checking the profile pages, it had come back to Gold level again. But, as part of a response to another query, the webmaster of the site was kind enough to unravel the mystery. :)

The process of 'Level Launch' had one more phase that was released yesterday the essence of which goes like this:

"Calculating from the date of registration, the top members are deducted a few points (you can find it Adjusted Points in the profile page. This is basically to ensure that a few members do not block the top rows for ever and then do not participate for a said prolonger period." If you can closely observe, the other forum website (http://www.community-credit.com/) has also a similar feature to encourage more vibrant participation. They call it as 'Credit Curves'.

We see the following advantages due to this new feature in Dotnetspider:

1) More excitement
2) Vibrant Participation from all members to compete in the 'Top Honors' list.
3) Avoidance of any kind of stagnation or squatting by a few people in the 'Top Honors' list. Of course, if there is an active participation from your side, you keep clinging on to your position.

With this, my current profile set reflects the following stats as of 23rd December 2007 1450 hours. You can also check it out from here anyway.

1) Total Points: 5008
2) Adjusted Points: 3988 (About 1020 points have been offset calculating from the date of registration 07th March 2005)
3) Effective Points: 2988 (Effective Points = Total Points - Gifts Recieved)
4) Member Level: Gold

Sunday, December 23, 2007
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Just became 'Diamond' Member in Dotnetspider

Just became 'Diamond' Member in Dotnetspider

Sometime back we were discussing about new membership levels that have been introduced in Dotnetspider over here. Today I was actually busy revising for my MBA fourth semester examinations and for a while to relax trying to answer some questions and help out peers in some of the forums. While I was online, Ramesh just sent me a message indicating that my dotnetspider profile shows up my membership level as 'Diamond'.

I have attached a quick screenshot below. However, you can also see out the profile URL here



Saturday, December 22, 2007
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
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CodeProject as an ASP.NET Powered Website...

CodeProject as an ASP.NET Powered Website...

If you had been actively participating in the discussion forums of http://www.codeproject.com/ you would have already known about the significant upgrade that had been going along in the past week. The previous Sunday; Scripting and ASP finally got migrated into Managed Code (ASP.NET).

With always heavy traffic at the website, it is really a nightmare for the team to get running with the new upgrade. The CP development team really did a very hard work and a meticulous job of upgrading the entire website to .NET successfully. Let us join together to congratulate the CP Team and wish them all success in all quarters of life and in thier future endeavors.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

[Persits ASPEmail Review] A Powerful Server-Friendly SMTP Component for Microsoft Environment

[Persits ASPEmail Review] A Powerful Server-Friendly SMTP Component for Microsoft Environment

Introduction

Email and messaging has become an inseparable part of any web application. The days of static HTML have just disappeared. The era of depending on CGI scripts for email functionality and rest in the native applications is slowly disappearing. The compelling point is that every application should support fully tuned and fine-grained SMTP functionality be it Desktop or Web.
Applications use email for a diversified reasons. A few of the requirements are here under:

  1. Contacting back to (Parent) Website
  2. Newsletter Solutions
  3. Peer Email Services
  4. Current Solutions and Situation
The Classic ASP had two types of email support with Windows:
  1. CDONTS (Colloborative Data Objects for NT Server)
  2. CDOSYS (Starting with Windows XP).
When Managed Realm took control, these components were still used under a friendly cover namespaces like System.Web.Mail. The COM exceptions were taking ugly faces in some occasions and hence we had troubleshooting websites like http://www.systemwebmail.com/. However, if you are lucky to have started using .NET Framework 2.0, you are at relatively safe hands with System.Net.Mail (http://www.systemnetmail.com/) which does not get hands very much dirty with COM Interop since it is a complete rewrite of the SMTP functionality.

The ASPEmail

Although for most cases, we can live with the base class provided libraries there are occasions like newsletter mailing and similar SMTP-heavy applications which would bog down the server with overwhelming number of requests for emails. Here comes Persits ASPEmail (which is a lucid COM Component) that can help us with.

Features of ASPEmail from Persits

Although it is a COM component, you can use it with greater degree of ease in your ASP.NET applications through COM Interop. The site itself now says as "Free Mail Component for ASP and ASP.NET"

In one of my previous organizations, I had to have a newsletter component written. While the engine was ready, the significant problem we faced during the actual customer deployment was performance. After a bit of research, we moved the email setup to Persits ASPEmail. The Premium Version supports Message Queuing. This works in the free version also but as a trial feature and stops after the trial ends.

Support for Digitally Signed Messages. Note: However you need to use the sister component called ASPEncrypt to use this functionality and also purchasing a digital certificate from a certificate authority like Verisign or Thawte

Transparent and simple use in any type of application like Windows Service, Desktop Applications or Websites.

While preparing this note, I have also just observed from the vendor website that they have released the 64 bit version of the product now. However note that there may not be trial version for this product.

URLs of Interest
  1. Persits ASPEmail Primary URL: http://www.aspemail.com/
  2. ASPEncrypt (for Digitally Signed Email Messages): http://www.aspencrypt.com/
Summary
I am sure this would be a quick eye-opener note for developers who are looking at SMTP components that need to be be aggressive in the applications of type NewsLetters and High Traffic websites where any burden on the CPU for a single operation is not tolerable.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

[Software Review] Granular Print Control with Internet Explorer

[Software Review] Granular Print Control with Internet Explorer

Introduction

Most of us developing web applications and JavaScript would have, in one time or another used window.print() to print the active document. And for most of the simple applications and plain vanilla documents, this would actually fit the needs excellently. However, there are a few business requirements that might dictate a more granular control over the printing, nature of printing (Unattended -- No Prompting), Custom Stylesheets, Nonstandard documents (like PDF).

When the need of accomodating such business requirements knock our door, I would say, there is neat little ActiveX From Meadco which answers the queries.

The Inspiration and Problem Requirements

The inspiration to dig deep into my memory on my use of MeadCo ScriptX Basic somewhere around in 2003 for a Fi-Serv group company based in California was a few queries last week in our forums about 'Unattended Printing'. By default, Internet Explorer would mandatorily throw open the Print Dialog and the user has to give his consent of sending the document to the printer. But when it comes to business applications like Banking, Library Management system etc, the user would be really irritiated to keep clicking OK button for each and every print request that he is enqueueing to the device.

The next salient example would be printing non-standard documents like PDF or Word. Currently, there is only option left. Link to the document and guide the user that he has to choose 'Print' from the document helpers' functionality. But with ScriptX, it provides a direct 'Print' command for such documents too. Of course, it internally downloads the document, calls the 'Print' function of the helper application, on behalf of us.

The Power-Features of ScriptX

A few of the features have been based from ScriptX Webpage here(http://www.meadroid.com/scriptx/)

  1. Enabling ScriptX in our web applications is as easy as telling 1, 2, 3. Meadco provides a simple latest CAB file for free (Basic).
  2. Support for IE 7 Templates. Internet Explorer Print Templates had been one another way to circumvent the limitations of window.print(). But without ScriptX, using the Templates directly and manipulating them would mean a little tricky whirlpool.
  3. Support for Framed Pages
  4. Optional Preview Support
  5. Unattended Printing
If you are a tech-savvy user wanting more out of ScriptX, some of the advanced functions might be wanting for you. However, you may need to purchase appropriate license for the same.
  1. Queued Printing
  2. BatchMode
  3. Zoom Facility
  4. Non Standard documents like Document and PDF
Summary

I am sure this would be a quick eye-opener note for the programmers in getting a more powerful print solutions for thier web applications. It also provides a cleaner wrapper on Print Templates besides unlearning the retired Web Browser object which is not considered safe post Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

Online Winmail.DAT Opener

Online Winmail.DAT Opener

About sometime back we have been discussing about a few free tools that help us in managing the attachments that get stuck into Winmail.dat (the magic formatting file of Microsoft Outlook that no other email client can open). You can check out the permalink of the post here.

Today while casually surfing on the Internet, I came across a quick free online tool which helps you to upload Winmail.dat to thier servers and it would decode the attachments and give the same back to you. You can check out the website Winmaildat.com here:

http://www.winmaildat.com/

Note: Since it is an online viewer and you need to upload Winmail.dat attachment to a hosted webserver, they have restricted the upload file size to 5 mega bytes.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
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New Opening Level ("Gold Standard Member") in Dotnetspider

New Opening Level ("Gold Standard Member") in Dotnetspider

A few days back we actually discussed about the new features that have been introduced in Dotnetspider over here. I just thought of sharing one more delightful information that with the current points I have earned over there, I am currently a 'Gold' Member in Dotnetspider.

You can check out my profile over here.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
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Congrats to Pradeep for being Monthly Winner of Dotnetspider

Congrats to Pradeep for being Monthly Winner of Dotnetspider

It is a moment of rejoice that one of my colleague also has now become a very active participant in discussion forums and has also won the first 'Monthly Winner' prize in Dotnetspider for the month of November.

Let us join to congratulate Pradeep Joe Felix for his achievement and wish him success in more quarters.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
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New Features in Dotnetspider

New Features in Dotnetspider

I had been away from being online for a while the previous week and I had a pilgrimage to take to Sabarimala from December 5 to December 10. I just noticed a few cool and interesting features that have been introduced in Dotnetspider and thought I would write about them over here. These features are for sure, kindle the encouragement of technical fraternity making them to participate with more vigor and helping peers in the discussion forums.

  1. Dotnetspider's Sister Channel (India Study Channel) opens up 'Jobs for Freshers'.
  2. New Active Members' Widgets: On the left hand side of the website, you can find a cool widget called 'Active Members'. Currently it shows two categories
    1. Very Active Members Today
    2. Very Active Members for the last seven days (1 week)
  3. Enhancements in Profile Page
    1. The Profile Page now shows up the Points Earned (Total Effective Score) directly without one needing to visit 'Potential Winners' page. For an example, you can visit my profile page here.
  4. New Member Level concept has been introduced. Currently the management of Dotnetspider seems to have five levels like Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond and Platinum. You can check out the details here.
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

[Book Review] The Microsoft Encyclopedia of Security

[Book Review] The Microsoft Encyclopedia of Security

When I attended the Microsoft Security Summit 2007 event at The Park Hotels, Chennai on December 13, 2007, as part of the free goodies and gifts they were giving for the first two hundred registrants, I got a copy of the book "The Microsoft Encyclopedia of Security" by Mitch Tulloch.

I just thought I would share a few points about the book:

  1. No matter what is the level of knowledge of the reader in Information and Computer Networks security, this book is for sure, a definitive and a valuable resource that needs to finds its place in everyone's bookshelf.
  2. Even the most harder to remember and recall security concepts are explained in a way that we learn them in a breeze.
  3. Even though it is a dictionary-style encyclopedia, it never gives any boredom for reading it every page continuously. It is each user's individual preference. You can just jump into your appropriate topic of interest whenever you want or read from cover to cover.
  4. The book has also a cheaper-priced Eastern Economy Edition for sale in India and other Asian countries which would mean enormous savings for us.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Posted by Deepak Vasudevan

A New Role :: As a Community-Credit Forum Moderator...

A New Role :: As a Community-Credit Forum Moderator...

I would like to share the happier moments when I recieved an email from Community-Credit.com sometime a week back stating that my account also has been given privileges as a forum moderator. This brings in a new wave of encouragement for further more passionate community participation and helping peers with even more vigor.

I thank the Community-Credit Team for selecting me as a member in the moderator panel and my friends and other well-wishers for the continued encouragement besides humble pranams to my Lord Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa.

Posted by Deepak Vasudevan
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