Every time someone tells how powerful today’s computers are
and how one should always trade performance for good architecture, testability
and thousand other great things - I want to hit guy on the head. And I'm not a
violent person. It just sucks to right click in the windows explorer and wait
20 seconds before context menu shows up or get "calculating remaining
time" when trying to copy files around (yes, I'm still getting those in my
all powerful Vista occasionally). Apparently, today’s computers have so much
power that they can't concentrate on such minuscule tasks, and processor has to
do complicated calculations in the background just to keep itself entertained. More...
Code Formatter extension
For those who use BlogEngine as a technical blog (which is pretty common at this stage) code formatting feature is a must. Sure, you can squeeze your code in between “pre” tags and you are done – well, almost – editor will probably remove most of the white spaces and you’ll have to add some non-braking-spaces instead. But if you want coloring and nice formatting you’ll need more than that. There are several options to explore, and most obvious one is BlogEngine’s code formatter extension that comes with installation bits. To use extension you simply enclose your code within square-bracketed tags and specify what language you are going to format. If you do it from Tiny MCE rich box editor, it will add “p” and “pre” tags automatically for you, if you prefer doing it from HTML view you’ll have to add some tags manually, as shown in the picture on the right. Because Tiny MCE has a habit of re-formatting your HTML, based on your configuration results might vary and sometimes not be pretty. And you may not use Tiny MCE at all – if you replaced it with another editor. So you might run into problems using formatting extension, lots of people do (based on discussions in the BlogEngine's forum). No worries – there always more than one way to skin the cat! More...
Don’t be jealous – I haven’t had real vacation for more than three years now, since my kids were born. These few days in Vegas are well deserved! I’m leaving early Saturday and will be back Wednesday, hopefully in one piece and not much poorer. And I’ve done everything I’ve promised: Dark Blog is up and running and Mp3 Player got face lift and don’t choke in IE any more. What more do you want? No, seriously…
In case you didn’t notice, I “enhanced” this site with SnapShots. If it annoys you too much, you can easily turn it off by opting “disable” in the upper right corner any pop-up that jumps when you hover over some of the links (you’ll have to delete cookies to re-enable it again if you’ll get bored afterwards). I can turn it off all together if you’ll start complaining, but so far I’m more like having fun with these little guys. It took about five minutes total to register and set it up, so if you are into this kind of things go ahead and add it to your own blog, it is really that simple. More...
Since BlogEngine finally got its extensions section up and running on the project’s home page, I put my Mp3 Player extension up there. Also I’ve been pointed on a small glitch this player has – in IE you have to click once to activate it and only after second click it will play. Not a big deal and I did not pay a lot of attention to it, mostly because pretty much every flash player I used so far has this same problem (see the picture). After short investigation I found out that reason Microsoft can’t fix this glitch is a legal one – there is a dispute over a patent going on. But MS (and Flash people) do provide works around “click to activate” problem, most of which comes down to writing “object” tag by JavaSript rather than embedding it directly into HTML code. Can be done in variety of ways for different situations and I think I found one that will work in my case. Needs a bit more testing, but looks like it should work just fine. More...
That was busy weekend – Saturday I went to see amateur AIBA World Boxing Championship, and it took almost all day (finals in all categories from 48kg up to heavyweights). I used to box (and kick) myself, so it was really exiting to dive into it again, it has special atmosphere around it I really like a lot, special sort of excitement. And I play soccer games on Sunday’s – so I was dragged out of cyberspace into reality for a wile :)
But I did manage to finish BlogEngine’s theme I’ve been working on lately, so you can download and try it if you are interested – I added a page for it in the menu bar, or just click this link.
Just read a great article at coding horror on becoming a good blogger. It says that it takes at least a year to even get noticed and main peace of advice is to keep punching and feel good about it. Well, it sounds… hmmm… encouraging. Thanks God I’m not aiming that high. Anyways, I decided to follow advice and throw a punch – even though my new shiny theme for BlogEngine is not quite ready yet and I was hoping this will be my next subject. Funny how it goes – takes about an hour to convert any CSS template into BlogEngine theme, this is how simple it is and how good ASP.NET overall and BlogEngine in particular implemented skinning. Almost too good to be true – and it isn’t. Dirty little secret is that it takes ten times more to polish it to the dissent “production” state, when it looks good in all major browsers and scales fine for reasonable range of screen resolutions. I’ve heard that there are about ten testers for every developer in Microsoft – totally makes sense! More...
There are two
important things to understand when dealing with CSS - how to address element
you are styling and why in the world it does not picking the style you are
trying to assign it. For the first part you might consider to install add-in to
your browser, there are many for FireFox and IE alike, so that it will actually
show element address for you. For
example, Developer Toolbar for FF can show you full path to tag cloud link in
the browser panel like shown in the picture. The second important thing to
remember is that CSS called "cascading" for a reason: all styles down
the road will cancel those on top. Which is a good thing - this way you can
style all anchors first and then be able to override style for the second layer
anchors canceling some attributes, keeping others and yet adding some on
top. And this is what we generally doing
here: first level menu buttons have it's own style, sub-menus keep some of the
attributes and cancel others so that sub-menus look different. To overcome browser incompatibility we will
add conditional block to the header of the page: More...