Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Navigation in XAML Browser Applications

XAML browser applications also known as XBAPs have the features of a web application as well as those of rich client applications leveraging most of the capabilities of WPF. As web applications they can be published to a web server and can be browsed on IE and Firefox.
Page navigation is an important part of application development and Windows Presentation Foundation supports navigation in two types of applications. These are the standalone application and the XAML browser application also known as XBAP applications. In addition to navigation between pages in the application it also supports navigation to other types of content such as HTML, objects and XAML files.

Read the details here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Windows Azure Platform Training Kit December 2009 Update and Windows 7

Although Windows 7 appears to be a great improvement over Windows Vista and Windows XP

to be replaced by Windows 7, the common prerequisites for working with Windows Azure Platform
appear to be limited to:
Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista; Windows XP as shown.

How come Windows 7 was left out of this?

How come VS 2010 was left out of this?

The common prerequisites from the Microsoft site are:

.NETFramework 3.5 SP1
Visual Studio 2008 SP1 [VS90sp1-KB945140-ENU.exe]
Windows Powershell 1.0

The OS requirements for the above are :
Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista; Windows XP
Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008(for Powershell)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Greening the internet access

WiFi has become a fact of life and many home computers access the internet freely from wherever they are, be it in the kitchen, be it in front of the television. Most of the laptops come with WiFi connectivity. They need a modem and a RF router to get this level of flexibility. It is high time that these devices be integrated to reduce the clutter and the wastage of material. The ISPs supply the cable modems which can really be replaced by an integrated device that has both the functionalities.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

SQL Azure and Spatial Data Types

The present version of SQL Azure (10.25.9085) does not support the 'Geometry' and 'Geography' data types of which the 'Geometry' data type conforms to Open Geospatial Consortium's Simple Features of SQL Specification Version 1.1.0.

However businesses may be interested in tagging data from their far flung resources with some information on their location which may involve these data types. Perhaps this is one of the items on the feature wish list of future versions of many businesses. With SQL Azure data being resident in the 'clouds', this feature is all the more important.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Want to hear a 15 minutes intro to SQL Azure?

Come and attend my talk at NJSQL User's group meeting here.

These questinos will be answered:
What is SQL Azure?

Where does it fit in?

How do you get a SQL Azure Account?

How do I get on to it?

What is the first thing I do with it?

How do I create a database?

What do I need to work with it in SSMS?

How do I populate a database with objects?

What tools are available for me to work with SQL Azure?

Can I create a linked server?

Does it work with XML?

How do I migrate data to SQL Azure?

How do programs interact with data?

How do I synchronize data ?

What tools are there for me in Visual Studio?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Microsoft Access and SQL Azure

MS Access is one of the oldest of Microsoft products cherished by many. It makes business sense to enable MS Access developers to leverage their knowledge base to create front end while pushing their data to SQL Azure thus making use of Microsoft Access Projects supported in the 2007 version. This not only increases SQL Azure platform adoption but also that of MS Access. The main problem, as it stands now is connectivity between MS Access and SQL Azure. The ODBC connectivity can be improved if a driver can be created specifically for SQL Azure, or the existing driver tweaked to support SQL Azure. The ODBC driver that downloads with SQL Server 2008 R2 Nov-CTP has problems to connect via ODBC.

Problem uninstalling Visual Studio Team System 2010 Team Suite Beta 1

Betas roll out fast and of course you need to have the latest beta. VS 2010 Beta 2 has been out for some time. I wanted to install and before doing so I had to unistall (on my Windows 7 RC Ultimate). The removal went fine but the program asked for a particular file of the TFS Object Model(executable file). It was installed online and there was no disc for this. The named executable was not in the file system. I aborted and got this message saved.

[12/09/09,11:50:00] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates VC 10.0 Runtime (x86) was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:01] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Microsoft Help 3.0 Beta 1 was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:01] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Microsoft Visual Studio Macro Tools was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:01] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010 Team Suite Beta 1 - ENU was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:01] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Visual Studio Tools for the Office system 4.0 Runtime was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:01] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Microsoft Office Development Tools for Visual Studio 2010 was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:01] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Dotfuscator Software Services - Community Edition was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:02] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates SQL Server Compact Tools for Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 ENU) was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:02] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Microsoft Sync Framework SDK v1.0 (x86) ENU was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:02] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Performance Collection Tools (x86) was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:02] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Network Emulation (x86) was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:03] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates Microsoft SQL Publishing Wizard 1.4 was not attempted to be installed.

[12/09/09,11:50:03] VS70pgui: [2] DepCheck indicates TFS Object Model (x86) was not attempted to be installed.


Finally looking through Control Panel I saw this file (TFS Object Model related) but it was disabled. I tried uninstalling it (it was an .msi file). Voila it worked.

After this I uninstalled the one I wanted to within a very short time.

Monday, December 07, 2009

New 'Upgrade' feature in Windows Azure quite nice

You created a Hello World Sample like I did and wondering what if you wanted to run another sample with your account. 1 token in CTP gives you just one hosting service. You have the option to delete your service and create a new service.

I was not prepared to do this because I was not sure whether I still retain the ability to create a new service.

I went back to my Hello World project and made changes to the Default.aspx and then rebuilt the project and published it again. This time, in the Windows Azure portal, I chose to make a upgrade in the staging area. It took quite sometime (when I was holding my breath). But finally it did work as intended. Quite good.

The new upgrade approach can directly upgrade an incremenatl version in 'Produciton' rather than going thru' 'Staging ' first. Reduces time to deploy.

OK. Now, can you make it a little faster?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Synchronizing with a cloud database

In fortifying and solidifying its relational cloud database service-SQL Azure, Microsoft has come up with a new tool, the Microsoft Sync Framework Power Pack for SQL Azure November CTP. All that you need to do is to click and presto, you are in sync.

This tool [SQL Azure Data Sync Tool for SQL Server] makes synchronizing SQL Azure with a local server that much more efficient (compared to force fitting ADO.NET) and that much more reliable.This power pack provides the SqlAzureSyncProvider that automates much of the synchronizing task, that is, a wizard will step in, and take charge. However you may need to keep your SQL Server Agent up and running and happy.

My Experience with this tool:

It's a pretty neat tool except that it did not install the client template in my Visual Studio 2008 SP1(go to bottom of the posting). The database syncronization works like a Swiss clock. The tool needs to create a scope for synhronization. If the two databases (one on SQL Azure and the other on site) exist then the database on SQL Azure must be dropped and a schema is created first time you run the sync program. Run it again and you see the data. Make sure the SQL Agent Service is well oiled.

You want my other syncronization articles. Here they are:

Added after first post:

A forum posting resolved this issue:
The template is visible if you were to create a C# application rather than a VB.NET application

Another update 12/6/2009
The wizard throws a exception when you try to connect to SQL azure in a C# project

Final update 12/08/2009
By design the template is not included in VB.NET
There is an error in the first window of the wizard
Review the threads here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rivalry in the clouds

With deep pockets Microsoft is able to fight it out on multiple fronts. With Azure, in the coming months, it will take on as a formidable cloud platform provider. It's no more just software as service; it will be framework as a service at the finishing line. Read up this article to get a picture of what is brewing.

Here is Microsoft market place positioned to start any time soon:

Here is the opponent with a big repertoire:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Do you need to send data in XML? Use SQL Server Integration Services

Integrating data into applications or reports is one of the most important, expensive and exacting activities in building enterprise data warehousing and reporting applications. SQL Server Integration Services which first appeared in MS SQL Server 2005 and continued into MS SQL Server 2008 provides a one-stop solution to the ETL Process. The ETL Process consists of extracting data from a data source, transforming the data so that it can get in cleanly into the destination followed by loading the transformed data to the destination. Enterprise data can be of very different kinds ranging from flat files to data stored in relational databases. Recently storing and exchanging data in XML  has become common as exchanging data in XML format has many advantages.

This article describes how you may extract data in XML from your database using a stored procedure and persist it to the file system in either XML or text formats using Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services.

Writing XML data to the File System with SSIS

You may also want to read these recent articles on SSIS:

MySQL Data Transfer using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)

Ground to SQL Azure migration using MS SQL Server Integration Services
Read my book and get a handle on many other package tasks:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Connecting to SQL Server Compact from SQL Server 2008 R2 Nov_CTP

The database file is in the installation directory but you need to modify permissions. You can work on it in SSMS once you connect to it.

Review the following blog post:

SQL Server 2008 R2 Nov CTP installs easily on Windows 7

I had problems installing on Windows XP SP3 but it was very easy on
Windows 7 Ultimate Evaluation copy (build 7100). If you have Visual Studio
2008 you may need to apply SP1 before you complete installation on
Windows 7.

I installed a named instance Hodentek\KUMORI (ver 10.50.1352) which is a minor
upgrade to SQL Server 2008 RTM. If you want to work with a database in the cloud
(SQL Azure) you need SQL Server 2008 R2 Nov-CTP.

SSMS treates Cloud based database like a second (poor) cousin by not offering the full
support like it does for the on the premises database. Well, well the SQL Azure looks like it is still 10.25. Is it becasuse I used the October CTP?

Notice the missing green color. For the ground based databases it provides the
full GUI but for the Cloud based database you get mostly script support that means
sharpen up your TSQL scripting skills.

Ground based database options for Users

Users options for Cloud based database

Click New User.. and you don't get a GUI window but a script template like this:

But this is a great improvement over the previous version of SQL Server 2008.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On installing/Upgrading SQL Server 2008 R2 Nov_CTP

On a Windows XP Professional with XP3 attempts to upgrade/install SQL Server 2008 failed. The correct authentication was not recognized and only a few files were created.


First attempt: To upgrade an existing SQL Server 2008 Enterprise (evaluation) [Mysorian] failed in the last step of the upgrade. However the following files were added to the SQL Server folder on the machine. It appears that the upgrade process created not only Upgrade files but also install files as shown here.

Second attempt: Tried to install a new server[Ganga]: failed.

Later in the maintenance mode, the repair option to repair the failed fresh install worked but cannot connect to the named instance of SQL Server 2008 R2 Nov CTP.

Named instance Ganga of the fresh install

Error Message:


A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 - Error Locating Server/Instance Specified) (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: -1)

For help, click:

The splash screen of the SQL Server 2008 in Management Studio appears to belong to R2 November CTP as well as the short cut for the CTP programs. However the following files were added to the SQL Server folder [MSSQL10_50.GANGA] on the machine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

IE 8.0 going over to IE 9.0

I thought IE 8.0 was work in progress!

It looks like Microsoft will be talking about IE 9.0 soon. If that is the case, what about IE 8.0? The frequent hanging of the browser driving you crazy is one of the most exasperating experiences I have ever had. The funny thing is, if you click on a new tab and go back to the one that stalled it refreshes faster. But wait, Google Chrome is no better either. It hangs, and after a while the screens refresh, crawling from top to bottom soooooo slow that you wish you had clicked open  IE 8 instead. Also several of the videos I have recently viewed have pushed Chrome to crash.
May be Firefox is the sure thing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Retrieving data on New York Times and Twitter

There is a wealth of information (tons of it) in New York Times and  the micro-blogging leader Twitter and it will be very useful and could be even remunerative to access data on them.

In this article, I look at two APIs, the Twitter API and the New York Times API and see how we can access data on them using the JavaScript libraries available on the Microsoft Edge Content Network also know as Microsoft Content Delivery Network (CDN). While jQuery is used to access API retrieved data on the intranet web server, the Microsoft AJAX client templates are used in displaying them.

Data in JSON objects are retrieved from New York Times and Twitter using jQuery and pushed into  Microsoft AJAX templates.

Read this article brought to you from Packt Publishing company at
Hacking New York Times and Twitter with Microsoft AJAX and jQuery

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Printing to Canon MP 210 printer using Windows 7 Ultimate

The printer driver to print a document from a Windows 7 Ultimate computer to Canon MP 210 must be upgraded with a new driver before you can print. After installing the new driver whose download details given here it is easy to print from a computer running Windows 7 Ultimate RC.

However to print to a Canon Printer MP 210 connected to a Windows 7 computer from a WiFi networked computer you may face some problems. This notes describes in detail how you may successfully print from the networked computer.

Computer network details
  • Acer Laptop computer running Windows 7 Ultimate RC. The MP210 Canon printer is connected to this computer.
  • The Toshiba Laptop (Satellite P105-S6134) is WIFI networked with the Acer as well as several other desktops.

Follow these steps:
  • Verify that you can print from the Acer computer to the connected Canon MP 210.
  • When you Add a printer on the Windows XP the program prompts that a suitabe driver will be downloaded to the machine. If you go ahead it will indeed discover the MP 210 on Acer after some time as in Figure 1. However you will not be able to print.
  • Use the Canon diagnostic tool and enter into Troubleshooting window and choose the option to download a new driver. It will take you to Canon site where you can download the driver. After downloading and installing the driver restart your computer so that the changes can take effect.
  • First of all the discovered printer in step 2 would have disappeared and you need to browse for a printer again. This time it will discover the printer (make sure that Acer computer is on and running). Now you will be able to print from the Windows XP.
Here are some screen shots of the various steps above.

Figure 1: Shared Printers

Figure 2: OS Compatibility of printer

Figure 3: Downloading the driver

Figure 4: Installing the driver

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Opera browser upgrades from 9.1 to 10.01

It has a nice look and easy to install or upgrade. I did a fairly easy install. The file size is small around 6.8MB. It has quite a few new features that includes a bunch of gestures: Window, mouse, navigation, link, and wheel which allows various kinds of movements. I suppose if one is using this browsers daily one will get used to it. If you are like me who is whimsical then you may get confused. SpeedDial gets you the page you want with one click. It is turbo-charged and getting to there should be super fast. Here is a screen shot of the speed dial. It worked quite well with several web sites but when it came to showing my intranet it did slow down a bit for some of the pages. Perhaps there is some more configuration involved. What I did was an out-of-the box experiment.

p.s: While I upgraded from 9.1 there may be a later version aswell.

Here is a screen shot of a new window in Opera10.

Here there are 9 place holders. Five of them are taken up. Click on the sixth and you get a drop-down pick list of various web sites previously visited. Pick the one you want and you are done.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Open Source Surge (Google Closure Tool)

Javascript has suddenly matured and perhaps these are its best of times. There is a large number of JavaScript libraries vying for your attention and capture your heart. Review the article describing the various libraries on Wikipedia.

It all really started with the introduction of Dynamic HTML[DHTML] when Javascript provided the scripting ability to interact with the web page which had remained mostly static till that time. With the support of CSS and Javascript the stage was set for the web pages to take the users to the next level. The next big push came in with the introduction of AJAX. The concurrent effort by developers to somehow address the display disparity with the existing browsers and make the user experience uniform across different existing browsers and versions resulted in packaging the various libraries. Of course Microsoft Visual Studio also worked hard on making this uniform user experience across browsers a priority and the applications developed using this IDE fulfilled this wish mostly.

Most recently Google made available its toolset, the Closure Compiler. It is supposed to make Javascript to download and run faster according to Google. It is more like a refactoring tool for Javascript. It also checks for script coding errors etc. Moreover it is integrated with Firefox's PageSpeed and you can see for yourselves the gain in performance using the Google Tool. The tool can be used from command line as well as a simple web application.

The above Google URL also has links to examples of the tool's usage. One such example shows optimizing code by removing white spaces. Review this example here.
In the above example, it took in the script shown here:
function hello(name){
//Greets the user
alert('Hello, ' + name);
hello('New User');
and the Closure Tool optimized it to the following after removing white spaces (as well as the comments) :
function hello(name){alert"Hello, "+name)}hello("New User");

Parse errors with line number and character position are provided by the tool but you will have to go and count those on your input code. Also there is no color coding or error position highlighting.

How to access the Closure compiler?

Click on this URL and you are ready, set and go.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Regarding IE 8.0 and jQuery

Microsoft has chosen jQuery from among the different javascript libraries and has been giving increasing attention to it in its programming software regardless of this  IE 8.0 still does not render all of jQueries selectors.

I read on the internet about other IE 8 problems vis-a-vis jQuery. The following figures show how different IE 8.0 renders the same content (I threw in a lot of selectors) when compared to other browsers. It appears that IE 8 can render the ID tag selector well but none of the others. I tried it out in the latest issue of Microsoft Blend Super Preview but it appears that rendering (interpretation) has remained the same from IE 6.0 to IE 8.0.

This is in IE 8.0

This one in Firefox

This one in Opera

This one in the latest issue of Super Preview. The left one is IE 6.0 and the right one is IE 8. I am not sure if the Super View is supposed to render css styles.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Installing Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate was a breeze

VS2010 comes in three flavors with increasing capabilities, Professional, Premium and Ultimate. Ultimate can do everything the others can and much more.

With the gathering of stuff in the clouds VS 2010 is built-in with capabilities to master the clouds by supporting Windows Azure.

It's only a short hop from now to launch time (March 2010) but it is worth trying it out.

Although it was a marathon installation experience (some 4 hours are so with two or three boots), it went on well on my Windows XP with Sp3 without a hitch except for the fact that Silverlight 3(one of the many programs in the installation package) failed to install. Yes, there was one more thing. The last message screen had a button which would take me to some documentation that failed as well. Anyway this time around the experience may be even termed pleasurable.

Here is a screen shot of the latest of the Visual Studio products.

Download Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional here.

Download Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium Beta 2 – Web Bootstrapper here

Download Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Beta 2 Web Bootstrapper here

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Competition in the clouds for Microsoft - Amazon RDS

Microsoft cannot sleep comfortably. There is assault from all flanks- be it mobile, be it OS, be it the venerable Office, almost anything one can think of. Now SQL Azure has a competitor. Amazon Web Services is out with a relational database service, the Amazon RDS. It is still in beta and seems to do everything that SQL Azure will and can do: infrastructure provisioning, software maintenance, etc. What's more MySQL 5.1 database, the darling of open source gang will get stronger as it takes up center stage for Amazon RDS.
Also it is not 1GB or 10GB database, you can start up with 20GB if you want. It's going to cost money. Looks like it can range from 11c/hr to $3.10/hour depending on the size of the database you want to take to the clouds.

Sign up here for Amazon RDS

When you sign up you will be agreeing to use the following:

Amazon RDS
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
Amazon Simple Storage Service

Even if you don't use the latter two, you may have to pay for ECC since RDS uses ECC for CloudWatch Metrics.

After this you will be allowed to explore Amazon RDS

What about the tool to use to work with Amazon RDS?

You can use the MySQL tools to work with the RDS. For monitoring the usage, you use CloudWatch.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oct 2009 CodeCamp a grand success

This was my second attendance at Code Camp at DeVry in Fort Washington (Oct 17) and I found it extremely interesting.The joie de vivre was contagious and all pervasive; the attendance was massive; the tracks were plenty and plenty of tracks covering most of everything about Microsoft products. The organizers must be congratulated for their excellent work.

I attended and sampled the various talks and the impression I carry is very positive. There were tracks for the beginners as well as for those who were already adept with many years of field experience.

I attended the following talks:

In Joshua Lynn's, ‘Advanced Workflow Process in T-SQL', he discussed the subtle differences between Exec and sp_executesql; executing dynamic strings; inversion of control, DQSM etc.

Miguel Castro did an excellent job of uncovering the innards of ASP.NET in his 'Understanding ASP.NET Under the covers'. He had seriously prepared and the talk (mostly on HTTP) was very informative and detailed.

John Angelini in his 'XAML Animation' did a good job of explaining Xaml animation both using Code and Expression Studio. I wish I were nearer to the screen. The code is too crowded to see from a distance.

Tim Dodd's 'Case Study: Clouds Demystified' was very informative. This was mostly infrastructure related and would have been more interesting if a portion of the talk was spent on laying the ground work for the general audience.

Chris Rolon's 'Introduction to SQL Azure' was very informative as he described his own experience in working with this product which is still in CTP. His presentation was clear and concise.

Well, I plan to attend the Code Camp coming April and if any of you are near Philly or South Jersy, I urge you to register with

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do you want to create a web page with Microsoft CDN?

Recently Microsoft placed javascript files that can be used to create web pages a la ASP.NET AJAX on their CDN. You can use them for free and create web pages. This article shows you how with an example and some background information. You can also access jQuery from the CDN.

Read this article [brought to you by].

Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX on M CDN

Web page on IE 8.0

Web Page on other browsers

Oct 22, 2009 Updated the link

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

EnterpriseDB ratchet up its Postgres Plus Standard Server one more rung

With the release of v8.4 today this open source database is moving ahead full steam. The new release is reported to include many new features such as,

Parallel Database Restore
Per-column permissions
Per-database collation
ANSI SQL 2003 windowing functions
Provide pre-integrated and pre-installed enterprise add-on modules
Value integrated testing of add ons
and many, many more...

Download page for Postgres Plus Standard Server 8.x is

For getting one-up on working with EnterpriseDB read my comprehensive earlier articles on this product at:

Monday, October 12, 2009

You want to chart XML Data?

You can use Microsoft's Chart Control in ASP.NET 3.5 and craft your chart with ease. The following article brought to you from Packt Publishing shows you how. You can chart both attribute-centric as well as element-centric data with this chart control. The article also shows the code you need to write to add title and configure the axes.

Microsoft Chart with XML Data

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Finally SVG in Visual Studio

I really liked SVG from the time it surfaced. Few tags are all that is needed for stunning graphics and amazing animations that can be scaled up and down. It's cute. Previously (even now, perhaps) all kinds of plug-ins were needed for visualizing, but now it appears that VS studio supports SVG files and what is more you can get even intellisense support.

According to the referenced link the author extrapolates that it would work in VS 2010. With the VS 2010 on my Windows 7 RC, it could not be repeated. However, the browser (internal as well as IE 8.0) seems to recognize the svg canvas. The intellisense also seems to work (so,so) but perhaps the SVG.xsd file may still have some cleaning up remaining.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Ground to SQL Azure Migration with SSIS

With the popularity that SQL Azure is gaining [over 2 mega hits on Google today], one of the first things you may want to do is get your hands on to the product and get some experience creating databases, creating tables, populating tables, etc. Various tools have emerged, briefly summarized here and available in detail elsewhere on the internet and the MSDN forums. One such option is to use the SQL Server BI' s Integration Services [built for the specific purpose of integrating enterprise database resources]. This article brought to you from Packt Publishing shows the details of taking a table from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Azure using the Integration Services template in Visual Studio 2008.

Slice and dice with Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts

You want to visualize your data and make business decisions using your data on the backend server, but you are not an experienced BI developer using Microsoft SQLServer's BIDS or Visual Studio. Well, you can do nearly the same thing using your Excel product. You can look up data on an ad-hoc basis using Pivot Table and Pivot Charts using Microsoft Excel. If you want to know the mechanics of doing it, read the detailed article brought to you by

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX debut on CDN

Microsoft's ASP.NET launched a new Microsoft AJAX CDN service that provides caching support for AJAX libraries (ASP.NET AJAX and jquery) recently.

Google, Yahoo and AOL have been doing the same for quite sometime. The idea of hosting these files on CDN is to distribute your javascript and css libraries on several servers around the world and serve the user with requested information from a location nearest to the user. This is the main advantage of a CDN, delivering content from a location closest to the user to reduce delay. The CDN's are a combination of software and hardware.This is mostly used for content that does not chage over time significantly. The content servers are provided by such companies as Akamai, Mirror Image Internet, Limelight etc. It was rumored that Microsoft has an interest in Limelight but it appears many more are interested.

  • Google hosts several popular ajax libraries at the Google site. These libraries hosted on Google CDN can be used for animations, easier DOM navigation, Gadgets, etc.

  • Dojo Toolkit organization hosts its javascript and style related files on the AOL CDN. If you need to use Dojo this may be easiest place to start with. These are also on Google CDN.

Read my article where I used javascript hosted on AOL CDN and the style sheets from my intranet to demo jQuery inside a DOJO accordion.

  • Yahoo's YUI (Yahoo User Interface) library hosts its Javascript and CSS on Yahoo CDN. Read more about Yahoo CDN here..

Friday, October 02, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi - Champion of the under dogs

To day is the day we should remember Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948). He was the root cause for India coming out of the occupation by the  British Empire and find itself once again as one nation under the sun. He was a straight shooter and did not mince  words. He has to his credit many quotes, the one I like is this,

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

India has entered a new era of prosperity but we should always keep in mind how Gandhi overcame the odds against him, and the nation. We should remember that he did it in a manner that is gentlemanly,  unique and original.

Read his autobiography on

Read my Cold Fusion articles

Not the low-temperature nuclear fusion articles but the down to earth Adobe's Cold Fusion. Presently it is version 9.0 but the articles I wrote a couple of years ago are still useful. In fact I am planning to revisit Cold Fusion 9 to savor the enhancements.

I hear there is even a <cfspreadsheet> tag to interact with all kinds of data. This and the <cfchart> tag should be a very interesting combination. To get the latest on Cold Fusion and find out what's new read this article by Ben Forta.

In the mean time brush up your skill set reveiwing the following articles.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

SQL Azure and MS SQL Server Integration Services

Enterprise data can be of very different kinds ranging from flat files to data stored in relational databases and XML datasources. The extraordinary number of database related products, and their historic evolution, makes this task exacting. The entry of cloud computing has brought area into the forefront as SSIS has been one of the methods indicated for bringing ground based data to cloud storage in SQL Azure, the next milestone in Microsoft Data Management. Presently the following methods are indicated:
  • Run Insert statements SQL Manager to populate tables schema created using SQL Azure MW*
  • Configure SSIS to bring in data
  • BCP [perhaps in next CTP of SQL Azure]
The first method works and can be very fast (only a small table was tested )

It may be noted that SSIS is another tool to bring in tables (so far only tried this object in the initial tests) to SQL Azure although only table schema is migrated and not the data. If the table were to have a clustered index, data porting may also be possible. In the test conducted the table did not even have a primary key column.

* It appears that the recent tweaking of SQL Azure MW can bring in the entire database according to a posting on the Oakleaf Systems blog site.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Designing a data access page with EnterpriseDB Data

Microsoft Data Access Pages (DAP) was a great hit when suddenly data could be web enabled dynamically and user could say good bye to static HTML. There are still many DAPs fans who continue to use DAPs. With Office 2007 that ability was lost and Microsoft showed that ability was available in MS SharePoint Services. However, there are many who cannot move over to Office 2007 as they have their resources (programs) tied to older technologies.

The following article brought to you by is addressed to those folks and DAC aficionados and shows step by step how you may develop a DAP with data on a Postgres Database.

Please review the article at

Web access to EnterpriseDB with Data Access Pages

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two great tools to work with SQL Azure

You got an invitation, and you figured out how to create a database. Now you want to see some action. You want to look at database objects and populate the databases with data you can work with. Here are two great tools that you can use.

SQL Azure Manager and SQL Azure Migration Wizard are two great tools to work with SQL Azure. SQL Azure Manager can be downloaded from <>here. SQL Azure Migration Wizard can be downloaded from <>here.

SQL Azure Manager takes your credentials and access your database on the SQL Azure. Presently I could see only tables and views in this version. No stored procedures. I tried to delete a table I had created earlier with SSIS, but somehow it could not drop that table. Perhaps table names with white spaces are 'no,no'. It is a very easy to use tool.

SQL Azure Migration Wizard is a nice tool. It can connect to (local)Server as well as it supports running scripts. I tried running a script to create 'pubs' on SQL Azure. It did manage to bring in some tables and not all. It does not like 'USE' in SQL statements(to know what is allowed and what is not you must go to MSDN). For running the script I need to be in Master(but how?, I could not fathom). I went through lots of "encountered some problem, searching for a solution" messages. On the whole it is very easy to use tool.

If these tools can be attached to IIS 7 Database Manager there will be one great tool to work with SQL Azure.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My experience connecting to an SQL Azure database

I got my invitation code to a space on the SQL Azure. After accepting and validating the same, a master was created for me. I created my first cloud based database HodentekModa.

I tried connecting to my database using SQLCMD but got a strange syntax error.

Pursued another avenue. Created a UDL file to test the connection. This was a success. Here are the steps if you want to test.

Step 1: Create a text file and change its name and extension to create a UDL file. Herein it was named: AzureSQL.UDL

Step2: Double click the file to open the Data Link Properties page

Step3: Fill the details as detailed here:

Provider: SQL Server Native Client 10.0

Select or enter servername:

Use a specific user name and passord:

User Name: yourUserName@xxxx

Password: Your Password (1 number, 1 special character and few letters)

Select Database : Type in the name of database you created in SQL Azure

Your test connection should be successful with the above settings.

Twitter and Pornography

Recently I have noticed a number of people trying to follow me (http://twitter/subbagiri). I was naturally flattered. My elation subsided when I clicked on the URLs to find they just had Pornographic content.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My articles on Data Access Pages

Dynamic content is at the heart of successful presentation of enterprise information on the Internet. Without the ability to present data with user interaction, Internet based commerce will be ineffective. It is possible to create dynamic web pages with data from the enterprise by using several technologies, including MS Access. Why MS Access in these days and times? Well, many businesses still use them.

Data Access Pages, a client side technology, depends on DynamicHTML. It is DHTML data binding with ADO that makes Data Access Pages possible. If you are using MS Access and attempting to place your data on the web do yourself a favor by reviewing the following articles:

Data Access Pages: What they are and how to create one ?

Using Microsoft Script Editor for Data Access Pages

Scripting a Data Access Page: a Simple Example

Creating Data Access Pages from Scratch

Creating Data Access Pages with Charts using Office Web Components

 [compare these charts to those created by MS Chart Control in ASP.NET 3.5]

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Teacher's Day (September 5) in India

"The aim of education is not the acquisition of information, although important, or acquistion of technical skills, though essential in modern society, but the development of that bent of mind, that attitude of reason, that spirit of democracy which will make us responsible citizens"
Dr. S. RadhaKrishnan

President and philosopher who figured in the early years of India whose birthday is celebrated as Teacher's day

Friday, September 04, 2009

On USING SSIS to transfer data between SQL Server 2008 and MySQL

There are a large number of posts on various difficulties experienced while transferring data from MySQL using Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services. While the transfer of data from MySQL to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 is not fraught with any blocking issues, transfer of data from SQL Server 2008 to MySQL has presented various problems.

For data interchange with MySQL there are two options one of which can be accessed in the connection wizards of SQL Server Integration Services assuming you have installed the programs. The other can be used to set up a ODBC DSN as described further down. The two connection options are:

  • MySQL Connector/ODBC 5.1
  • Connector/Net 5.2 New versions 6.0 & 6.1
In this article we will be using the ODBC connector for MySQL which can be downloaded from the MySQL Site. The connector will be used to create an ODBC DSN. The article describes in detail how the transfer is carried out. Read on ....
this article brought to you by PACKT PUBLISHING.

MySQL Data Transfer using Sql Server Integration Services (SSIS)

Pick up the mechanics of working with SQL Server Integration 2005 under 10 days reading my no brainer book on SQL Server Integration Serivces.

Do you want to generate a Microsoft Chart chart from your Linq Data?

LINQ, short for Language Integrated Query, provides an object oriented approach to not only querying relational databases but also any kind of source such as XML, Collection of objects, etc. LINQ to SQL provides (O/R) object-relational mapping and Visual Studio 2008 IDE provides a (O/R) designer. Visual Studio 2008 also has a web server control called LinqDataSource control. This control requires a DataContext which is provided by the LINQ-to-SQL classes, a class generator that maps SQL objects to the model. Without this control one may have to generate the classes from scratch or by using the SQLMetal.exe utility which generates tables and columns.

This article brought to you by PACKT PUBLISHING shows how a table on your SQL Server 2008 can be bound to a LinqDataSource Control and then use it as the source of data for the chart. Read on...

Binding MS Chart Control to LINQ Data Source Control

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Things I did not know about India

Visiting Bengaluru in India I found there were things I did not know about India. I found India is tougher (more frequent) on emission standards than USA. Here are some I did not know about. I may add to this list......

  • I did not know that they do emission testing for cars every six months
  • I did not know that they do emission testing every 3 months for two wheelers and three wheelers
  • I did not know by constitution you have a choice of not casting your vote to any candidate if you so wish as, "I do not want to vote for anyone on this poll as no one in my opinion is good" is one of the choices.
  • I did not now that gas prices can be set as odd as Rs 15.32 per liter. [While Rs 0.3 is worthless what good is there in going to the next decimal place].
  • I did not know that selection of students to top technical / medical colleges has become very transparent (no influence peddling)
  • I did not know that there is a constitution backed PCPNDT act in India which makes it illegal to determine the sex in prenatal diagnostics.
  • I did not know that most traffic signals derive their power from Solar panels.
  • I did not know...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bringing to you a new video tutorial on Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services

I confess this is my first video tutorial and it is made possible by an evaluation
copy of Adobe's Captivate. Adobe Captivate is an easy to use program.

The video describes fully, in a matter of 10 minutes the SSIS 2005 IDE. SSIS 2008
is almost similar to SSIS 2005 in most respects. The IDE is described in even fuller detail
in my book on integration services, 'Beginners guide to Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services 2005'
published by Packt Publishers in UK.

Video: Visual Studio 2005 IDE for SQL Server Integration Services

Watch this video on the site and update your knowledge about this important product from Microsoft. You may watch this video for free by regstering as a guest.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Extremely promising High performance 'Lithium Air Battery' Development in Japan

A February 2009 report by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) describes a new type of Lithium Air battery, the salient features of which are as follows:

  • The lithium air battery uses a combination of aqueous and organic based electrolytes
  •  Has achieved a capacity of 50000mAh/g based on an air electrode
  • The lithium fuel battery is comprised of using lithium metal in the form of cassettes or other forms

Here is a schematic of the battery from their publication and a chart showing its performance.

Figure 1: Schematic of the battery

Figure 2: Performance of the battery being developed

The author of this blog is responsible for the translation of figure details and is grateful to the public relations department of The Naional Institute of Advnaced Industrial Science and Technology for the use of the notes and figures (Figures 1 and 2).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My problem with VS2010 Beta was due to a bug

Microsoft recently provided a link to fix the problem in response to my Connect feedback:

This appears to be a bug which will be corrected in Visual Studio Beta2 (date tbd).

The following preventative measure is provided in this KB article from Microsoft. Thank you Microsoft for following up the connect feedback.

The problem is summarized here:

Friday, August 07, 2009

Microsoft Jet or MSDASQL for Linked Servers?

In SQL Server 2008 you can create linked servers with a variety of data sources as seen in this figure. Linked Servers are created using OLE DB technology and there are two possible ways that
you can connect to MS Access, using Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0 or MSDASQL.

The connection strings for these are:

; Everything after this line is an OLE DB initstring
Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;Data Source=C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\SAMPLES\Northwind.mdb;Persist Security Info=False

; Everything after this line is an OLE DB initstring
Provider=MSDASQL.1;Persist Security Info=False;Data Source=FromAccess

Now which is better for a linked server? You will find the answer to this in the following article brought to you by SSWUG.ORG. This is site where you subscribe, but you can register as a guest to view this article.

Microsoft Access 2003 Linked Server on SQL Server 2008 using the JET and MSDASQL Providers

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Problems installing Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010

Installing this software (humongous) has been very challenging. Take for example the following which I removed completly from my Windows 7 RC by restoring the system to the earliest date (When windows 7 RC was installed for the first time) since it did not work.

Tried to install  once again after restoring, the program stopped as seen here,

Here is the Setup failed messaage,

Here is the wasted time and effort downloading (hours) of programs

The installation program might have sent what went wrong to Microsoft perhaps a dozen times. I have posted the problems to the appropriate forums after each such trial, but no positive answers so far.

Well, Windows 7 itself is in RC and on top of this another beta. It is really getting out of hand.
Looks like I am not the only with the problems,

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

MySQL Linked Server

Linking servers provides an easy solution when you are faced with running queries against databases on distributed servers or looking at your distributed assets on disparate databases.

This article (brought to you by Packt Publishing Inc.) explains how to set up a MySQL linked server on SQL Server 2008 Enterprise. Configuring a linked MySQL server as well as querying a table on the MySQL linked server is described. The reader would benefit reviewing the first article on this series on MySQL Servers.

MySQL Linked Server on SQL Server 2008

Monday, August 03, 2009

Web enabling MySQL Data

Web enabling business data is one of the key devices used to advertise and market products. This can be done with various technologies such as VB, ASP, JSP, ASP.Net and many others. This article shows how you may view data from a table in a database on a MySQL database server on a web page.

This article is brought to you by Packt Publishing Inc.

Displaying MySQL data on an ASP.NET Web Page

Am I missing an Indian Language here?

Microsoft has a big stake in India. Microsoft has lotsa software workers of Indian origin. How come I cannot see any Indian Language here?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Improved calculator application on Windows 7

Some new features have been added to the calculator (calc.exe). Even programmers and statisticians may want to use this tool.

All 4 calculator types can be accessed from the view menu. Here are the four different types.




Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Vista Home Premium computer name is not in the hosts file

I am not sure if this is a default. But this is what I found.

If you try to ping your own computer by name which has Vista Home Premium then you will

get a General failure. However if you add the computer name to your hosts file then

you can ping using the computer name. Note that hosts file is not a text file.

The first ping to Hodentek3 returned General Failure
I modified the hosts file to include the computer name
The second ping is now accessing the computer by name

C:\>ping Hodentek3 [Vista Home Premium]

Pinging HODENTEK3 [fe80::2c52:eb4:3f57:fe99%13] from fe80::2c52:eb4:3f57:fe99%13
with 32 bytes of data:

General failure.
General failure.
General failure.
General failure.
Ping statistics for fe80::2c52:eb4:3f57:fe99%13:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

After modifying the hosts file

C:\>ping Hodentek3 [Vista Home Premium]

Pinging Hodentek3 [] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128

Ping statistics for
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Average = 0ms

Homegroup on Windows 7 is not the same as Workgroup

This is an exclusive Windows 7 club as you see here.

I have shared folders on my wireless connected Windows XP SP3 computer but I cannot access them from my Windows 7. However Windows 7 computer belongs to my workgroup computers on Windows XP SP3. I can access files in the shared folders of my Windows 7 on the XP Computer.

However I managed to get the Remote Desktop functionality and can access my XP SP3 through this remote connection.

Looks like Homegroup is not the same as Workgroup.

Exporting data from MS Access to EnterpriseDB

These days no software has monopoly and businesses use a software mix that makes
business sense to them. Because of this businesses sometimes need to migrate, only
a part or all of their data to another kind of software.

This article discusses how to move data from MS Access to EnterpriseDB. Although EnterpriseDB
has a custom Migration tool, it does not provide out of the box support for MS ACCESS. However
MS ACCESS can export a table to EnterpriseDB using an ODBC Data connection.

This article appeared on the site recently,

 Exporting a table from Microsoft Access to EnterpriseDB

For a number of other EnterpriseDB related articles search my blog.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Turn off Microsoft Oracle Client and turn on ODP.NET

Excellent support from Oracle to its products has prompted (it appears) Microsoft to
deprecate the System.Data.OracleClient. The developers will of course migrate their applications
that use this product.

The comparison  listing of ODP.NET and Microsoft Oracle Client shows a lot of no's for Microsoft and lots of yes's for Oracle's ODP.NET. Of course you want to join the "yes" gang.

The ODAC downloads are on this page for specified versions of Visual Studio and Oracle versions

For example the ODAC 11g include the following:
a) Oracle Providers for ASP.NET (
b) Orale Data Provider for .NET 2.0 (
c) Oracle Data Provider for .NET 1.x (
d) Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio (
e) Oracle Database Extensions for .NET 2.0 ( -- upgrade only
f) Oracle Database Extensions for .NET 1.x ( -- upgrade only
g) Oracle Provider for OLE DB (
h) Oracle Objects for OLE (
i) Oracle ODBC Driver (
j) Oracle Services for Microsoft Transaction Server (
k) Oracle SQL*Plus (
l) Oracle Instant Client (

In order to install the above Visual Studio 2008 and Oracle 11g Servers are needed. While installing make sure that there are no white spaces in the installation folders and sub-directories.

I tried to install with my 10G XE and I got this: Protection Status