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Application Development

IE7 vs IE8: CSS, Positions, and Nested Divs

While it is widely known that there are many differences in how IE7 and IE8 handle CSS, I'm still occasionally thrown off by the quirks. Long story short, there was simultaneous development happening on one of our projects where coordination between developers was impossible, but overlapping development was not permitted. Fortunately, a feature of this project is that it's capable of rendering content based on metadata, meaning I could define elements without touching the existing code, but was limited to inline CSS to position and style them.

Random Error Message: Mandatory updates for Microsoft Dynamics CRM could not be applied successfully

I was installing the Microsoft Outlook CRM client and got the error message: Mandatory updates for Microsoft Dynamics CRM could not be applied successfully. I didn't bother reading any instructions before installing and when prompted to enter the server, I entered: I solved the problem by removing the "/OrgName" from the URL I had entered.  From there, everything was fine.

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Date Comparison Methods

A few days ago, I was asked to look into one of the biggest stored procedures we have here at work. It copies the information from the main database, storing it into the archive database, according to the dates in which the data was originally stored. But I better not say anymore, otherwise this could be my last blog. However, I will risk a little for the benefit of the blog. On top of all the private and ultra-secret commands, the stored procedure is comparing dates. Something I noticed is that it was doing the dates comparison in different ways along the whole SProc.

Black Backgrounds Vs. White Backgrounds

If you have read some of the other blog posts here at Topline Strategies, you might have seen some screen shots from several of the developers here. If so, you may also have noticed that some of us here have changed their Visual Studio settings so that their code windows display lighter text against a black background. I, by the way, am not one of them. From time to time, however, I end up at the desk of one of these non-conformists and struggle to decipher what is going on in their code, completely befuddled by the color scheme they are using.

Getting a Handle on Error Handling

Though it is certainly not a good coding practice, no error handling is far better than half-baked error handling. Without any sort of error handling in your code, any time the user performs an action that defies reason or your sysadmin throws the server out the window, you'll likely get some ugly exception splashed across the user's screen. However, no matter how distasteful project managers often find them, these error messages usually contain helpful information that gives some poor codemonkey a hint as to what the problem might be.

Remove "ArrayOf" from a serialized list of class objects

Well, if you are reading this because you found it through a google search, you are probably already annoyed at the fact that your serialized list of a class inserts a node that includes the text "ArrayOf". I had the same problem this last week during a project and I thought that I would explain the solution. To begin with, I might mention that I found many blog posts around the web that gave me the answer that I needed, but most simply mentioned the concept of a "container class" or gave a couple lines of code as an example.


I have found XQuery to be of good use when persisting serialized objects to Sql Server. Using XQuery we can pass an xml string to a stored procedure and derive the expected results with fairly simple code. We start with an XML string, which may contain multiple nodes and values. [code language="sql"] DECLARE @testXmlString XML SET @testXmlString = ' <Root> <employee> <name>Tim</name> <age>27</age> <company>ToplineStrategies</company> <title>Developer</title> <Education>B.S.