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Application Development

Table-Valued Parameters

Being able to pass a table as a parameter to a stored procedure is a welcome addition to SQL Server 2008. In previous versions you had to use an XML document or a delimited string, both of which required additional processing. Below is a simple example that populates the Shippers table in the Northwind database. See table-valued parameters in the MSDN documentation for more information.

Windows Phone 7 (Part 2)

Well, it has been a several months and I have had more time to get to know my new Windows phone.  For this post, I would like to just go over several different parts of its functionality, along with accompanying screenshots and tell you what I like, what I don't like and what I think could be improved.  I mentioned at the end of my last post on the subject that I would write on the actual programming of WP7 (Windows Phone 7) applications.

Getting the best feedback on your user interface design

Screen mockups of software functionality provide enormous value when trying to communicate how an application is supposed to function. It helps both the client and the development team envisage how the application will look, feel and function. But how polished should it for your target audience?

MS CRM 2011: Date Controls and Column Width

A coworker of mine was recently experimenting with some changes to the Account entity in our MS CRM 2011 test environment and came across an interesting quirk. They had formatted a section to be four columns wide and set the labels to a reasonable width of 100 pixels. To their surprise, every column in every section on the form was suddenly inflated, pushing items off-screen, including the horizontal scrollbar. As it turns out, the Date control was the culprit.

WCF, Entity Framework and N-Tier Solutions - Part 1

Because of a new project at work, I have recently had the opportunity to do my first real WCF based project. It has been a great deal of fun and a learning experience as well. While doing the project of course, I have been doing a great deal of reading and web research. Over the course of the project, two main issues have come up. 1. How do I use WCF with the Entity Framework (Referred to hereafter as EF) 2. How do I use WCF in an n-tier project So, with the caveat that I still have a lot to learn, so far here is what I have found on the subject.

Debugging MS CRM 2011 Issue

I encountered an issue while attempting to use the JavaScript "debugger;" statement within a MS CRM 2011 script. If I have JavaScript that executes on the onChange event of a drop down, it seems to freeze my system and I never break into Visual Studio for debugging. The only way I've found to recover is to Ctrl-Alt-Delete and select "Log Off". I usually get lucky and Windows brings up the screen telling me something is holding it up from logging off and I can select "Cancel" and get my system back.


I have been reading and working a lot with Grouping Sets in SQL lately. So, I decided to write about it this month. Grouping Sets is a feature which was introduced in SQL 2005 however, MSSQL 2008 has a different syntax which I will mention on this blog. The old syntax which was introduced with MSSQL 2005 will no longer be available for future versions of MSSQL so, that is an important thing to take into consideration. As a reminder, a general GROUP BY clause includes GROUPING SETS, CUBE, ROLLUP, WITH CUBE, or WITH ROLLUP. Let’s start creating an example table first.

Script Compatibility Between MS CRM 4.0 and 2011

During an upgrade from CRM 4.0 to CRM 2011 we discovered an issue in scripting that caused things to break even though scripts are backwards compatible. There is a field/attribute called fullname that is hidden and auto-populated based on first, middle and last names and is saved with the record. The issue was the syntax used in MS CRM 4.0 - while it worked, it wasn't the "supported" MS CRM method. There are two fixes.

Searching XML with XPath: Fun & Easy!

Well, maybe it's not that fun for the typical developer, but it sure is easy. Some of our legacy projects are using XML data islands to store business rules on the client-side, and using XPath makes node navigation a snap. For instance, let's say we want to populate a picklist with a couple options when two other controls have a certain value.

Getting Into the Developer Flow

I often find that as a consultant/developer, my most productive times are Friday evenings after about 4:30 or 5:00. Why is this? It's because the office usually clears out a little early on Friday and there's no one here to bother me. I often joke I can get done more on Friday evening between 4-7 than I can in the rest of the week combined because there are fewer distractions: fewer people stopping by my desk, fewer phone calls and fewer emails (both internal and external).