aspnet, net comments edit

I was doing some experimentation with custom web server controls in ASP.NET 2.0 so I created a quick Web Application Project and started throwing some controls in, using them on the page that gets put in the app by default.  Unfortunately, I started getting the following warning:

Generation of designer file failed: Unknown server tag ‘cc1:MyServerControlName’.

For a minute, I thought maybe I had forgotten the <%@ Register %> directive at the top of the page, but, no, there it was:

<%@ Register Assembly="MyTestAssembly" Namespace="MyTestNamespace" TagPrefix="cc1" %>

I struggled for this with some time, building and rebuilding, searching and not really finding much on the web at large, and then I tried something that worked:

If the page and the custom control are in the same assembly, remove the “Assembly” portion of the directive.  For some reason, the designer just doesn’t understand it if you specify the assembly you’re tasked to build.  I’m not sure why.  So the directive becomes:

<%@ Register Namespace="MyTestNamespace" TagPrefix="cc1" %>

Once I did that, everything worked great.  YMMV.

UPDATE: If you’re using master pages and the control in question is inside a Content control, you may still see weirdness about unrecognized server tags.  In that case, add the tag prefix registration to web.config, again omitting the assembly:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
        <add tagPrefix="cc1" namespace="MyTestNamespace"/>

One thing I noticed was that this seems to be… maybe a little flakey.  Depending on the circumstances, you may get a page that says your control tag is unrecognized at runtime.  That will require you add the “assembly” bit to the tag prefix registration in web.config… but that will cause you to have trouble in design time because the designer file won’t be generated properly.  Erg.

We went to the Washington County Fair on Saturday and had a blast.  There’s something about going to the fair that’s just generally fun.  This time, they had this great show called “The Pirate’s Parrot Show” going on when we got there.

The Pirate’s Parrot show is this great show where this guy brings out something like 15 parrots of different varieties and, dressed as a pirate (of course), shows you different tricks with the parrots and educates you about them.  None of the parrots are caged - they all just wander around however they want to - and the highlight of the show is him letting them fly freely around the area, passing very close overhead.  It’s definitely not something you see every day.  The whole audience was sort of baffled about why the birds wouldn’t just make a break for it, but he explained that with an analogy: “Why do your kids come back when they wander off?”  At the end of the show, he lets you hold and pet the parrots and answers any questions you might have about them.  All in all, a fantastic show.

Of course, we also had to partake in the fair food - BBQ pork sandwiches, fresh lemonade, and funnel cake.  It really doesn’t get much better than that, though I’m glad we walked all over the place so at least I could say I worked off two or three bites of that funnel cake.  I’m sure my arteries are still irritated with me.

A heck of a lot of fun, and, as Tom Peterson says, “Free is a very good price!”

media, music, auto comments edit

For my birthday, my lovely wife Jenn saved up and got me a new car stereo - an Alpine iDA-X001.  I’ve been wanting a stereo that has direct iPod integration for quite some time now so she took me to Car Toys and we picked this one out.


It’s more of a controller than anything else, relying on external peripherals to supply the music source.  It’s got a USB connection that you can use to connect pretty much anything to (they have adapters) - iPod, USB memory stick, Zune.  It’s also got an iPod-specific connector that you have to use with older generation iPods (that’s what I have to use).  It doesn’t have a CD player on it, but that’s okay because I don’t really listen to CDs anymore - basically they’re only around long enough for me to put them on the iPod, then they get archived.

What I like is that you control it just like your iPod - you can browse your playlists, listen to your podcasts, the whole bit.  Love it.  The thing that sold me, though, is that this unit has this “MX” feature (“Media eXpander”) that takes the music and “rebuilds” it, making compressed sources (like MP3s and such) sound much closer to the original source.  It’s definitely noticeable, and it’s one of the features I was specifically looking for.  It’s very similar to the functionality of the DFX Audio Enhancer plugin for Windows Media Player.

It also has the ability to plug into a bajillion external devices and control them - Bluetooth, XM Radio, HD Radio… it seems like it can control just about anything.  Only downside is that each of the boxes that you have to get to enable these features run around the $200 - $250 range.  So, like, if I want to control my phone through Bluetooth, I have to buy a $220 box.  If I want to listen to HD Radio, that’s another $250.  You get the idea.  They really get you coming and going on that stuff, but I can’t really complain - the modularity of the thing makes it such that you only really have to buy the bits you want and ignore the stuff you don’t.  I’d consider getting the Bluetooth box, for example, but probably will pass on the XM Radio.

While I was there, I also got an amplifier and a 10” subwoofer with a custom box for the trunk.  I had the stock Bose stereo that came with my car, and it was decent and all, but the bass… sounded great when you were sitting still but disappeared as soon as you’d start driving down the road.  The new amp/sub combo has me back in action.  Thanks, Jenn!

GeekSpeak comments edit

When you’re working on a software project, there are times you’re faced with decisions:  Do I implement this functionality or not?  Do I add this feature or not?  How far do I take the feature I’m working on?

Since you’re trying to ship product, sometimes you have to take shortcuts in the name of pragmatism.  What will get me to a shipping state faster?  Decisions get made on the YAGNI (You Ain’t Gonna Need It) principle:  If the functionality doesn’t get me to the goal, I won’t implement it.  In an agile environment, this can sometimes mean “If this doesn’t get us to the goal of the end-of-sprint-demo, add it to the backlog.”

This is generally not a bad thing.  After all, you want to be successful, and success is meeting your goals and shipping.  That said, you have to use this as a general guideline, not a hard and fast rule.  You have to adapt your view of what pragmatism means in light of current circumstances.

For example:  While it isn’t something that can be demonstrated at the end of a sprint to a business user, setting up your source code repository structure and other infrastructure items (build server, etc.) is not generally something you can put off until later just because it’s not demonstrable.

Another example:  If a change to the codebase has half the team in a non-functioning state, it’s probably not OK to push forward on development until the whole team is productive again, even if it’s only a week until your demo and even if it means you might not make the goal.

In some cases, you may have to adjust your sprint goals.  That’s what it means to be agile - to be able to adjust and accommodate change, not use the principles as a crutch.  If you’re demonstrating the UI of the application and you don’t have a solid deployment mechanism, that’s probably OK.  On the other hand, if it’s only building on your local development machine and the rest of the team can’t get it to work, that’s a little less OK.

Don’t use pragmatism as an excuse to avoid work.  Let common sense prevail.