Archive for the 'Microsoft' Category

SQL – XML in SQL Server 2000

September 13, 2006

I managed to try out the sp_makewebtask T-SQL stored procedure for exporting the result of an SQL query to XML file that I mentioned in an earlier post. I’m happy to say that it works a treat! I’m quite excited about it and would love to know if there is something similar for mysql now that stored procedures are supported (mysql 5).

The conversion is as simple as creating a .tpl file with the following (root can either be removed or changed to represent a doc type definition, much more useful then just root!):


And then calling the stored procedurce in the query analyser, or however way you wish to call it.

sp_makewebtask @outputfile = ‘c:\temp\myxmlfile.xml’,
@query = ‘select * from sysobjects for xml auto’,
@templatefile = ‘c:\temp\template.tpl’

The result is an XML file created in c:\temp called myxmlfile.xml. I tried a few different queries such as: select * from customer where custID=1… which created a node called customer with the customer details as attributes.


<Customers custID=”1″ custFirstName=”John” custLastName=”Smith” custAddress=”123 Queen St”/>


I see this as being useful for sites such as where a user may want to export their url list to a file ( actually offer this service, just using it as an example).

Monad / PowerShell

August 6, 2006

I’ve written a bit about how much I like using the Linux/Unix CLI and how powerful it can be, not to mention ease of use for many tasks and ease of scripting, well Microsoft now have a shell and scripting technology called PowerShell. Looks like a vast improvement from the exisitng CLI interface which is somewhat lacking.

You can read about it on the Windows PowerShell MSDN Blog.

Scripting with Windows PowerShell 

How to get Windows PowerShell RC1

Mozilla Active X control

August 5, 2006

Yesterday I got a little sidetracked while working on a report and started helping a friend with a web-browser project (well a shell) he is working on. He had been using the Internet Explorer engine until we decided the Geeko engine would be the go. After a few Google searches we found an official Mozialla Active X control to be used in any environment that supported importing of Active X controls, In our case Delphi. We didn’t get it installed and registered as we did not have admin privlages on the computers we were using, a bit of a shame really but I don’t imagine it would be a hard install.

I looked so interesting I am planning on making a RSS feed reader based on it, will hopefuly at least have the control installed and showing a webpage by tonight.

MSDN Library for free download!

July 30, 2006

I’m surprised it hasn’t been available sooner as its always been available online, nevertheless Microsoft have released their MSDN Libary for free public download (no subscription to MSDN required). From the webiste:

MSDN Library provides access to essential programming information, including technical white papers, software development kits and code samples necessary to develop web services and applications. This is an updated version of the MSDN Library for Visual Studio® 2005.

The downloads are available as CD-ROM image files so will need to be burnt to CD or mounted.

Interestingly Microsoft have an unsupport iso mounting application available, although I havn’t tried it.

I’ve been using the web based version a huge amount recently for the project I’m working on and can see the advantage of having a local copy. For general reference the online version with google search is proberly the best bet!

Something of my own, Tag clouds and Gaim

July 15, 2006

I’ve been having a good play with some wordpress themes lately and have installed a few to try out. I still love the K2 variants and have found a couple of others I like alot, but I have made the decision; I will be making my own theme. All the themes I have come across have one or two changes that need to be made for me to be happy and if I am going to be modding something I’d rather just start from scratch. That way I can say I did it all.

I have a design currently that I am very happy with, still needs a little work but it is simple and effective, will suit a tumblelog format well I think (looks much better in the browser):

blog design

I used the sketch I posted as a bit of a guide but the Flickr photos will not be where I had planned and I’m a little unsure if I love or hate tag clouds. I like the fact that they display the tags in a creative way and using fonts and colours give a good indication of usage , although I do feel they are a little over done and can look ‘tacky’.

Rounded corners is another issue, currently my header has rounded edges as well as the content. The footer will not be (although its the same colour as the background anyway) and the navigation will not be. Hopefuly this will still give it a sharp look and draw the eye to the left side first?

Will post a progress pic when I have made a few changes. I hoping to have it done in two weeks or so, working on it bits at a time.

I have also been connecting to MSN via Gaim at the moment. Windows Live was getting a little annoying with all its features people seem to love and Gaim looked like a nice alternative. As well as the fact it runs on multi platforms and a disk drive. Features that I will be finding useful soon!

Finally RE: YouOS and browser based desktops , There has been quite a bit of debate on the term OS (Operating System) in relation to what they provide. Ok , YouOS is not an operating system as it requires a browser to run and does not provide the basic tasks of an operating system. I don’t think the name is too misleading as it will help with marketing and works well as a proof of concept for the browser based desktop concept. It’ll be interesting to see where this heads but I am starting to favour browser based remote desktop type applications more (why reinvent the wheel?). This is of course just my opinion.

Windows Live Mail Screenshots

June 6, 2006

Here are some screen shots I took oy my hotmail live account today, I would have like to supplemented them with a review or so but don’t have the time this week. If you are a Gmail user I wouldn’t worry too much, If you are a hotmail user then you will love the new interface and features.

Drag and drop


Classic view

Bottom Pane

Right Pane

My friend Tom also has a nice short review on Paint .NET. I have seen this before and it is a very impressive program so take a look at toms review and try it out, Oh its Freeware of course :).

Gone Live!

June 5, 2006

I have finally recieved an invite to join Winodws Live Mail and have upgraded my hotmail account. The look was no suprise as I have seen plenty of screen shots and friends accounts have been upgraded. Initial impressions are that it is a HUGE improvement over the 1999 (or so) hotmail interface and hotmail users should be quite happy with it. Although classic view may be perfered. I'll have a good play around when I have more time.

They are offering 2GB storage as well which is welcomed. 

Java Java Java

May 26, 2006

I have spent all day trying to get my java application (just a test application) to connect to MS SQL server 2003 from a Linux box. My code compiles and I am using the jTDS JDBC driver which allows me to connect to the server without having to use the ODBC-JDBC driver which is buggy and not recomended for production use, although it is fine for the prototype I am doing. I am getting ClassNotFound exceptions so I'm obviously setting up the driver wrong.

Among my travels I did come across The DocBook Project. Looks like it would be very useful for documentation I plan to start using this soon.

I was also going to add a music page to my blog today with some of my personaly picked essential albums and artists to look out for. I'll proberly end up doing it tomorow now as the Java stuff took much longer than expected!

I really should update my about me page too! 

Learning C#

May 15, 2006

For my up and coming industry project I have decided what ever it is I decide to do, I will be doing development work with C# (pronounced "See Sharp"). This is because I have never used it and it looks like a very capable programming environment. I am familiar with Java programming so it should be a fairly easy transition. There are also increasing jobs for C# and decreasing jobs for Java programmers in the entry level positions and positions targeted as graduates. This is not always the case but I see having C# on my resume as a very good advantage.

There are lots of conflicting arguments on the web on the Java vs C# debate and I'll do a proper writeup myself when exams are done (there are going to be some pretty good posts in 4 weeks!). We all know Microsoft has always had an interest in Java, or seen it as a large threat. Their answer? C#. From what I have seen of C# it is very good, Java/ C++ like syntax and extensive XML capabilities, as well as all the features the .net framework provides. C# has gained huge industry recognition as can be seen with the many companies/ workshops porting existing applications to C# and the large number of C# programming jobs available.

Over the holiday break I'm going to purchase a book and start having a go! I still really like Java programming and find Java to be as capable as C++ in many situations, as well as its cross platform support, and the non Microsoft workshops obviously are usually more Linux, open source friendly which is important to me. I would like to specialise in Java at a high level some day.

Windows Live Messenger BETA

May 9, 2006

I finally updated to the latest version of MSN 8.0, not that I had a choice, I couldn't sign in without updating, not a big deal though. Initial impressions are: I quite like the ability to choose colour scheme, Nicknames! This feature is great! It allows you to rename a contact on your list, very good for people who's names change often or if you are tired of long emo lyrics as names, much improved profiles and profile interaction with the application (Contact update subscription option availiable on contacts), and a few extra options here and there that I have yet to fully explore.

Messenger is starting to get very good! 😀