Syncfusion Report Viewer Control

Written by rsolberg. Posted in All, Software Development, Technology

I’ve recently been exploring many of the Syncfusion controls and one that jumped out to me as potentially being very useful is the Report Viewer control. Many companies and development shops out there want to make you think they are the ones who have nailed the perfect reporting platform and the fact of the matter is I don’t believe any of them have truly nailed anything. I’m not saying their products are garbage, I’m simply pointing out the obvious that is not obvious. You see every project and every business demand is unique and having a one size fits all approach is difficult. Larger organizations attempt to work around this by having huge investments into database systems from Oracle and Microsoft with nice reporting features like SQL Reporting Services. But what about small businesses without the capital to invest into these platforms?

Entity Framework Seed Data for States & Counties

Written by rsolberg. Posted in All, Software Development, Technology

One of the great benefits of Entity Framework and Code First for ASP.NET MVC application development is the ability to seed data for your application when you run your application for the first time. Earlier today I was working on an implementation of EF and Code First for a new app and I had all kinds of fun in Excel concatenating() my c# code to seed States and Counties in my app. Rather than force everyone else out there to experience the same joy I did, I through the code into a quick app and posted it on GitHub for you all.

Forcing SSL/HTTPS With ASP.NET MVC

Written by rsolberg. Posted in All, Software Development, Technology

I have recently been working on a new internal application for my family’s insurance agency and I knew I wanted to force a secured connection. Being an insurance agency, there are various rules and regulations regarding data security that you can’t take for granted. We use SSL connections for all of our web applications and I needed to force this new application to use HTTPS.

Cascading DropDownLists Inside Telerik RadGrid

Written by rsolberg. Posted in All, Software Development, Technology

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about the Telerik controls is that they do things out of the box quicker than the standard ASP.NET controls, but if you venture off the beaten path just a step or two you might be entering hell… I literally spent hours googling yesterday trying to find where someone else had actually accomplished this feat and much to my surprise, I had to pick and pull a line of code or two from 7 different sources just to get to a place where I knew I could finish what I was working on. Perhaps this post will save you all some time…

Year In Review – 2012

Written by rsolberg. Posted in All, Reviews, Technology

Introduction

Recently I’ve been thinking about accountability quite a bit.  In many facets of each and everyone of our lives, accountability is what sets many of us apart from one another.  It is certainly extremely easy to look at others whom lack accountability and point it out, but tonight as I type I’m looking at myself in a mirror.  Accountability starts with each and everyone of us and I’ve decided that I’m going to try and hold myself more accountable by sharing what my annual goals are. I will then provide a mid-year and a end-of-year review to update everyone on where things ended up.

Since I didn’t start off 2012 with this plan, I didn’t have many formal goals to look back on so I figured I’d start by documenting what 2012 was for me.

Family

This has been a pretty crazy year full of ups and downs in terms of family. I’m still happily married to my bride of 7 years Melissa and we absolutely love our two year old son Owen to pieces. He definitely has my personality (Lord help us all, now!) and he looks exactly like his Uncles on his mom’s side of the family. Owen keeps us grounded and very busy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

In May of 2012, my sister Dani passed away after a very courageous fight against Clear Cell Sarcoma (CCS) Cancer. Looking back, I’m very glad that I was able to be there with her and the rest of my family in her final days and moments. Now that I’ve had a little over 7 months to reflect upon my sister’s battle and ultimately her death, I have learned that you have absolutely no idea what life is going to throw your way, but if you get to decide how you’re going to go about dealing with life. Dani never played the “why me” card and taught me that NOW is the most important time. If you spend all of your time thinking and worrying about tomorrow, then you are neglecting NOW.

Given my sister’s battle, Melissa and I were not able to travel as much as we would have liked to have. We started off the year in TX with my family and that was our only big trip together for the year. I was able to spend Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas with my father-in-law, two brother-in-laws and my brother Rob. I then spent another 7 weeks or so in TX throughout the remainder of the year. I may as well refer to San Antonio, TX as my second home at this point.

Business/Career

I spend most of my time working for my family’s Medicare Insurance Agency VibrantUSA (VUSA). I’m the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for VUSA which basically means I’m responsible for making sure that all of the current and future technology needs are met for the business. But given the size of our organization I end up wearing many hats from operations to marketing to human resources. 2012 was the best year that VUSA has ever had with record setting revenue and net income, but we’ve still got some very important work to do and investments to make to remain competitive.

When I’m not burning the midnight oil as they say for VUSA, I run a technology consulting company called TechDoba (TDOBA). The reality is that I didn’t push for new clients in 2012 for TDOBA as we spent most of our time enhancing our CRM solution that VUSA has used for the past few years. But we still did get a couple of new customers and saw revenue of about $1,000 (clearly not bragging). The good news is that 2013 will start off with a project near completion that will yield about $500.

Technology

While Technology is my profession, it is also my hobby and passion. I absolutely love learning new things and trying to solve new problems. Here is a quick list of some of the areas I spent some time:
  • WordPress
  • Windows Azure
  • ASP.NET MVC4
  • Arduino
  • NetDuino

Where is the professionalism Lenovo?

Written by rsolberg. Posted in All, Reviews, Technology

Late in the evening on Thursday June 21st I was browsing my Facebook “timeline” and came across an interesting post from a friend of mine. Essentially my friend was looking at the Outlet website for Lenovo and while using their compare laptops feature, he discovered a very friendly message from Lenovo. I didn’t believe him at all, I mean this is Lenovo we’re talking about…

How to select the first element of a dropdown using jQuery?

Written by rsolberg. Posted in All, Software Development

Let’s suppose that you are trying to identify what the first element or value us within a dropdown menu or specifically a select list. Suppose that your select list looks like this… If you wanted to figure out what the very first element of the drop down was, you could use this line of jQuery to get it. Suppose that you wanted to update all the selects or dropdown menus on your page to the first item in the list… You could do that by executing this line of jQuery.    

Data Localization With JavaScript

Written by rsolberg. Posted in Software Development, Technology

I worked on an ASP.NET app with localization and globalization. I was having some difficulty understanding how to get the Date() function in javascript to work properly given the user’s environment. My user base was split between Mexico (spanish) and the US (english). Since the Mexico date format is dd/mm/yyyy and the english format is mm/dd/yyyy, the standard Date(strDate) javascript constructor does not work for me. Then i found Datejs… What a savior! I started off by reading their blog post titled “Getting Started With Datejs“…. Hopefully you’ll find the tool as useful as I did.

Website Templates & Stock Photos

Written by rsolberg. Posted in Software Development, Technology

Over the years as a developer, you tend to create quite a collection of useful links… Below are some links that have proven very useful to me in the various projects I’ve worked on…

WordPress Templates

WooThemes ThemeFuse ThemeForest

Web Templates

FreeCSSTemplates OpenWebDesign OpenSourceWebDesign MVC Template Gallery StyleShout

Stock Photography

iStockPhoto stock.xchng CorbisImages 123RF ShutterStock

Convert ASP.NET Website to ASP.NET Web Application

Written by rsolberg. Posted in Software Development, Technology

HatM /Free Photos
It wasn’t that many years ago that it seemed like I’d create a new ASP.NET website a few times a week.  Some for rapid prototyping and others for release.  At the time, the applications felt really easy to manage.  That is until they grew and became a beast with all kinds of integration needs. As soon as you start needing to integrate with other systems, databases, applications, etc. the ability to use namespaces and existing components becomes a requirement.  Without it, your code would become completley unmanageable with a complete lack of reuse of components and functions.  I’m not saying that you can’t maintain some good coding practices within an ASP.NET website, but when the app grows and its being integrated with, I absolutely hate code sprawl.   My philosphy on coding is rather simple:  Code it once so that you can reuse it at least twice. Obviously not every code block you write will be reused, but say you have a function to get a contact’s name from your CRM system…  It would seem like this is something you’ll do over and over and over again, so code it once, use it at least twice… With all that said, the need arose to be able to convert these growing ASP.NET websites into ASP.NET Web Applications.  When I got to that point, I was able to find a great resource by Mohamed Meligy on this very topic. Essentially it comes down to a few steps…
  1. Create a new blank solution within Visual Studio
  2. Add a new Web Application Project to the newly created solution
  3. Import existing website files into newly created Web Application project (overwrite files as needed)
  4. Manually add references into the new project that you had in your old website
  5. Once all refernces are added, you likely have many namespace errors.  Create the new namespaces as required.
  6. Now we need to perform a conversion process on the web application project, right click on the new Web Application Project and select “Convert To Web Application”.  This should fix missinging designer.cs or designer.vb.
The above steps will still keep all of your code within a single project in Visual Studio.  Depending on what the application is, does, etc. you may be better off adding a few different projects to seperate database connectivity, data models, and classes that interact with the DB.
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