I like to work with scripting languages be it PowerShell or Batch or VB… One of the reasons for liking is it gives me “false sense” of Linux environment … But the main reason I like scripting because I am lazy by nature and scripts are great way to automate lot of things which are routine of my work.
But even will all greatness there are few quirks like no GUI, cryptic syntax exists that make one bit shy to use these scripting languages. I think it is one of the reasons why usually scripting is considered forbidden knowledge for anyone other than likes of system administrators
This week I ran into strange issue. Out of no where my Who Is report stopped working. To be exact, InfoDB API stopped working ! With little digging I found that it needs to have format=xml not XML !! For some reasons InfoDB guys just decided that it has to be in lower case, but then again I can’t complain about it because it is free and you don’t expect much out of free service …
Few weeks back I went to North Dakota at one customer site, that town was literally in middle of nowhere. And roads were just flat straight line. Being long time resident of CT, I find it difficult to drive when I have to drive in one straight line for 70-80 miles
Past few weeks have been super busy for me, and I have not got enough time to do any “experiment” or prepare better post. So think of this as a “filler” post …
Due to change in my role in our company, I had to do traveling on different customer locations for installation projects and it is usually a week long stay. But I kind of like travelling because it gives me a chance to meet new people and gives me chance to interact with them.
But it could be difficult sometimes because you never know what customer is going to ask you and you have to be ready to answer that thing. Now I know that you don’t necessarily have to have an answer for all questions but then again you don’t want them to feel that you don’t know your product enough (or just say … look dumb ? ) !! …
Overall I would think traveling to customers as a good learning experience and in time it improves your people and professional skills .
Prototyping in terms of software development can be seen as a process of modeling concept of a software with some interaction. In some cases it could be totally different than final product but in general it is really helpful process because it gives developers / product owners better idea about what to expect from product and what can be improved. There is another term commonly used among web developers called Wireframing. It is same as software prototyping but it is specifically used for web sites.
As both of these things are very visual they give better idea about product and they are usually worked/reworked to improve final product. There are many many tools available for out of which Axure, Balsamiq and Expression Blend (which is part of
Expression Studio Visual Studio 2012) are my favorite.
While back I was involved in a project where I was required to prepare initial concept of application design … it was very early stage of application designing and application itself was more of an idea than actual product. So I was required to create something very basic which gives an idea to developers and product owner how application could look like and how it will be interacted etc … as I had played with Expression Blend before so I ended up using it for my sample prototyping project.
So in this post I probably give basic introduction to the tool of trade and in another post I will actually show to we can use Expression Blend addin Sketchflow to prepare prototype applications in Silverlight or WPF. I am using expression blend show the tool but it has met end of lifecycle and MSFT has integrated it into Visual Studio 2012 but usability vise you probably will not see any difference at all. I personally still prefer to use Expression Blend over Visual Studio because it loads faster and is less resource hungry . If you look at screenshots below you will notice that both Blend for VS 2012 and Expression Blend 4 looks almost same.
Something I really hate is to do same thing again and again manually … and so I always try to automate that task using scripting … weather it is simple Batch Script … VB Script … Bash .. or my new favorite PowerShell . What I really like about PowerShell is, it exposes whole .NET stack to you and you can do just about anything you can do in any .NET application … but with lot simplicity (should I add … without need to build whole project !)
From past few months I am beginning to get involved in more system preparation tasks for our production and one of the requirement is to configure Windows Firewall to have some rules for our application. And we have to repeat this process on any machine that goes into production. At one point I realized that if you keep doing something repetitively chances are you will make mistake at some point and you will not notice it until you run into some issue and you back trace your steps !!
Then I found that all of these machines have same configuration in them both hardware wise and software wise … and they will also have same firewall exceptions. So it would be nice if I can seamlessly import – export firewall rules from one machine to another machine. Actually this can be done via UI from Windows Firewall with Advance Security (which can be reached by opening up Windows Firewall in control panel and then clicking on “Advanced Settings”). And there you should see two options, Import Policy and Export Policy. And those options does what they say … import / export firewall policy.
Back in Pre SQL Server 2005 editions of SQL Server there was nice feature called SQL Mail which basically allowed users to send email from within database server. But that system has many dependencies and major one was requirement of Microsoft Exchange… thus usage was severely limited to enterprise customers who has resources to setup such a system. When MSFT released SQL Server 2005 they introduced new feature called Database Mail which replaced SQL Mail … and they removed all kind of external dependencies. Now all you had to do was to provide just SMTP server and you are all set !!
I always thought that I have blogged about process to setup Database mail but it appears that I never did so today I am going to write about step-by-step process to setup / configure database mail. Since we have moved on from 2005 to 2008 to 2008R2 to 2012 …. I am going to use SQL Server 2012 edition but process remains same for previous editions too.
Database Mail can be found under “Management” group in SQL Server Management Studio. To configure Database Mail right click on it and select “Configure Database Mail” which will start configuration wizard. It will show bunch of options like “Set up Database Mail”, “Manage”, “Change system parameters”. Since we have not setup this before we are going to select first option, “Setup Database Mail by performing following tasks”. And with that selected click next.