ailon's DevBlog: Development related stuff in my life

Error? Yes/No

11/30/2007 11:50:34 AM

Today I tried upgrading Office Mobile in my phone to the new Microsoft Office Mobile 6.1. No matter what I tried I was presented with this very informative error message:


Installer asked me: "Error?". Since I didn't see any reason for this very well explained error I answered "No" and installation failed. 3 times. Then I gave up and pressed "Yes" and all went smoothly from there and newly installed office even seems to be working fine.


Boiling Point

11/29/2007 5:43:16 PM

The worst moment of contract work is when you think you are done with the project and then you show it to your client.


Effectively Disabling Themes in ASP.NET Web Forms

11/29/2007 11:19:32 AM

Apparently, if you have Theme set across your web application, it's not enough to just set EnableTheming="false" in the @Page directive of your ASPX file to disable theming. You have to set Theme="" StyleSheetTheme="" too. Otherwise, if your aspx pretends it's something else (image, javascript, etc.) and has no <head> element, you'll get a nice exception like:

System.InvalidOperationException: Using themed css files requires a header control on the page. (e.g. <head runat="server" />).



11/26/2007 8:24:34 PM

We've released SPAW Editor .NET Edition version Release Candidate.

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Using Symlinks to Ease Development with Visual Studio Express

11/21/2007 8:01:16 PM

As you probably know, since Visual Web Developer Express and Visual C# Express (or VB for that matter) are separate products and you can't create DLLs in VWD or build web sites in VCS it is painful to develop ASP .NET controls using the Express editions of Visual Studio.

There are several ways to workaround this limitation. Personally I prefer the one where you develop your control in App_Code directory of a test web site in VWD and then when you are ready you copy the .cs files to a project in Visual C# Express and build your DLL(s) from there.


The problem with this approach is that you have 2 copies of your files and as it often happens sometimes you edit the files in one place then in the other dir and you have a mess.

Fortunately this problem can be solved using symbolic links - feature well known to *nix guys and now available in Windows Vista using mklink. As far as I understand you can get the same effect using linkd command in Windows Resource Kit for Windows 2000 and newer but mklink comes with Vista out of the box.

So, what I do is make a symbolic link in my Visual C# project directory which points to a subdirectory in my Visual Web Developer web site:


The syntax for mklink in our case is this:

mklink /D new_dir_path original_dir_path

Now we just need to include our newly created "fake" directory into Visual C# Express project and we are all set


This approach can be used in many different scenarios. Currently I work on a couple of related web sites with a colleague. All of the sites originate from one "base" web site. The class files of this base web site are still under development (we update them from time to time). It's too early to compile them and include in our "inherited" web sites as DLLs, so we use the same technique to "include" these common files in our "child" projects.

kick it on

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?? operator in C#

11/14/2007 11:24:00 AM

As embarrassing as it sounds I somehow missed the "new" ?? operator and Nullable types (int?, etc.) in C# 2.0. It helps preserve my self-esteem a little that ScottGu thought that this was new in C# 3.0 too. :)

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Good News for Flash Developers &amp; Co.

11/9/2007 10:54:20 AM

Back in April 2006, we made a change to how Internet Explorer handled embedded controls used on some webpages. Some sites required users to “click to activate” before they could interact with the control. Microsoft has now licensed the technologies from Eolas, removing  the “click to activate” requirement in Internet Explorer. Because of this, we're removing the “click to activate” behavior from Internet Explorer!
IEBlog: IE Automatic Component Activation (Changes to IE ActiveX Update)

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File Encoding in Visual Studio

11/5/2007 3:43:02 PM

It appears that there's no way to set default file encoding for new files created in Visual Studio 2005 through "Options" and it will save your files in UTF only if it encounters characters it can't save in your systems default non-unicode locale.

What does it mean? It means that if you develop a simple web site in a language of your system (Lithuanian in my case) and you hardcode some local text in your .aspx it will save in non-unicode encoding (Windows-1257 in my case) and when you move it to the server (or other computer) with other default non-unicode encoding all your localized text will be ruined.

What can be done about it? It looks like we have 3 options:

  1. manually save or re-save your files using "Save with Encoding";
  2. change your system language to "English" in control panel (this is kind of wrong);
  3. re-save Visual Studio templates (in Common 7\IDE\ItemTemplates) in UTF-8 with signature

Only the last option somewhat solves the problem but you'll have to go through all of the templates you ever plan to use and hope that this doesn't break anything.

Hopefully this issue will be addressed in VS2008. I had no time to play with the betas yet, so I have no idea if there are any changes in this area. Can anybody confirm this?

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11/1/2007 7:02:41 PM

Today I was playing with Gmail's IMAP implementation and Outlook 2007/Pocket Outlook. As a result (not counting a couple of known issues that will hopefully be fixed soon) I can read email in native clients on my work PC/laptop, PDA/Phone and use Web UI elsewhere (like wife's PC, daughter's PC, mistress's Mac ;). And all my read/unread/deleted mail will be in sync without additional efforts on my side (fingers crossed).

My next thought was: I want the same for my RSS! I used RSS Bandit back in the day when online RSS readers sucked. But synchronizing read/unread items between work and home PCs was pain in the ass and I didn't even read my feeds on my phone back then. So I moved to Bloglines, then to Google Reader, now back to Bloglines (beta). But it would be super cool if I could use desktop RSS reader when on my own PC and web-based reader when elsewhere and this wouldn't require jumping over my head to keep all the feeds and read/unread items in sync.

Creating such a protocol (let's call it IFAP) is not a very difficult task. The difficult part is making it de-facto standard so that both online and offline readers support it and writing/hosting IFAP servers. And this is a task that only someone like Google or Microsoft can pull. Or probably some very ambitious and aggressive startup. Not me, unfortunately.

So, if you have balls of steel (or just happen to work for Google) and you like the idea, please, oh please, implement it. You can count me in as your alpha-tester.

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