# Wednesday, 14 September 2005

Be scared part II

110 namespaces in .NET 1.0

260 WinFx namespaces

100,000 fields and methods in WinFX

Knowlegde shock is alive and well.

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Be very scared

Here's a fact from PDC '05 about Windows Vista:

Beta 1 had 4000 new unmanaged APIs

Beta 2 so far as 1500 additional ones over beta 1, and counting.......

No wonder the SDK is going to weigh in at 900GB.

The good news - I quote, "I know we have said in the past unmanaged development is dead - we don't think that anymore"

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# Monday, 12 September 2005

New Zeepe makes great looking desktop widgets

A little while ago one of our Zeepe customers asked about being able to draw alpha-blended to the desktop shadows on their skinned hardware interface widget that had been developed in Zeepe. Then I saw the BBC Listen Live Player for Apple computers, it looks like this:

Someone at the BBC had tried to duplicate this for Windows using Konfabulator, but failed.

My interest was two fold - here was a widget that listed 'official' access urls to the listen live feeds from the BBC and here was a difficult thing to do for Windows but for which, by downloading the BBC's prototype, there was source HTML+script+css, albeit intended for Apple Dashboard.

Here's what our technical development clone for Windows looks like:

Now, because the clone uses the BBC imagery we can't make it available, but here is another player widget:

Written entirely in HTML+script+css this player relies on Real Player being installed and Zeepe 7.2.2 - the BBC have not, do not and probably will not endorse this player but if you want to play, it is availabe on the Zeepe samples page.

Back to the BBC Listen Live clone - what is interesting is that to produce this clone required re-jigging the graphics files a bit, some edits to the HTML for Zeepe, some minor edits to the script to work for Windows rather than Apple and some dynamic html stuff didn't work with Web browser on windows and voila.

And finally - our player is delivered from the web site - once you have the Zeepe framework installed, no downloads, just follow a link.

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# Saturday, 10 September 2005

Questions for Microsoft at the PDC - Part II

Quick one, and one of my favourites - an SDK for IE 7 Beta? There are at least new actions going through on ProcessUrlAction() calls and presumably there is a fair bit more.

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# Thursday, 08 September 2005

Questions for Microsoft at the PDC - Part I

Yep, goin' to this one. Haven't been for a while, perhaps they missed me?

Q1. Internet Explorer 7 seems to have introduced a new format for Internet shortcut (.url) files - why? Or more pertinently, why are old files not supported and in particular the IconFile parameter? The ability to write .url files as a simple text file without having to get into silly API calls is useful and described in many, many places on the web.

Q2. Any chance that the Vista fix for layered windows (WS_EX_LAYERED extended style) disappearing when the user chooses Start Menu -> Turn off and the prompt is displayed being back ported to XP? There are a number of widget makers out there, e.g. Konfabulator and the soon to be released Zeepe with a loverly look, that are negatively affected by this.

More as I think of them....

(BTW -  Beta 1 of Vista is not doing any favours to the look of 'legacy' applications - the system rebars/toolbars in Beta look aweful).

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# Wednesday, 03 August 2005

Howto: Printing html documents/reports with ScriptX.

In the 'classic' usage of ScriptX to provide an enhanced printing experience of HTML documents in Internet Explorer, the printing UI is included in the page to be printed. This is the approach taken in the standard ScriptX samples; the HTML page to be printed is displayed to the user and includes the ScriptX object and a 'print' button. When the button is clicked, unwanted content is hidden using a CSS stylesheet for the print media and then the displayed HTML document printed.

A common alternative requirement is to provide either:

  • a menu of available reports (where clicking a link results in the chosen report being printed) or
  • some set of options by which a particular report may be customised.

The latter technique is illustrated here: after choosing the customisation options, the report is printed. This requires the downloading of the customised report and automatic printing - the user has already clicked a 'print report' button, they will not wish to complete another dialog.

There are many ways in which the above requirement can be implemented; this sample implements many of them - one approach may be more appropriate in a particular usage scenario than another or techniques from the different approaches may be combined.  [via MeadCo's ScriptX Sample - Printing Reports]

Personally I prefer the iframe based solutions or use printhtml().

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# Tuesday, 02 August 2005

How to print html documents or reports with custom headers and footers in Internet Explorer.

The headers and footers printed when a web page is printed in Internet Explorer is defined in the IE Page Setup dialog - a number of meta commands are available for including page numbers and dates etc - but then you knew that.

When printing an html document or report in a corporate environment or on specialist pages from web sites (e.g. printing a post card) it can be desirable to use headers/footers appropriate to the report or remove the headers and footers altogether, but only for the particular report/page.

ScriptX is an ActiveX control from MeadCo that provides this control, and much more. For just controlling the headers and footers it is free.

1. Include the ScriptX object on the page, either in the <head> or <body> sections of the document:

<!-- MeadCo ScriptX Control --> 
<object id="factory" style="display:none" viewastext

(The installation cab file can be downloaded from your own servers).

2. Initialise the required print parameters in the onload event with a little bit of javascript:

<script language="jscript">
function initPrinting() {
   factory.printing.header = "ScriptX Printing";
   factory.printing.footer = "";
<body onload="initPrinting()">

Now, when the user chooses print (either from the File menu or via some scripted button), the page will be printed with the defined headers. When the user navigates away from the page their default print settings will be restored.

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# Monday, 25 July 2005


MacWorld: "Yahoo on Monday will announce the acquisition of Konfabulator, a Macintosh and Windows application that allows users to run mini files known as Widgets on their desktop -- the same model used by Apple for its Dashboard application." [via Scripting News]

Depends what you mean by model. The Apple Dashboard application is HTML based, Konfabulator, the last time I looked, isn't. As far as I am aware, the nearest thing there is to Dashboard is Zeepe though Dashboard does things that Zeepe doesn't (like the canvas element) but then Zeepe is usable for way beyond 'widgets'.

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# Sunday, 24 July 2005

Muggers or shooting to protect.

Simon Phipps's comments/observes:

... One might guess he didn't understand the shouts of his pursuers (even those whose English is excellent can find shouted orders incomprehensible) and assumed they were armed muggers, not policemen. He fled, was pursued, was pushed to the ground and was shot in the head in cold blood. ... It's a tragedy in every sense....

I don't live in London anymore, I have in the past when bombs were going off (my late father was in town when the Harrods bomb went off - Harrods was on his drive route so a call to mother was required to let her know he was no-where near) but I am convinced that guns are not making the difference some might hope for. I argued against armed police at school and I agree with Simon:

I'm sure the investigation will find the truth but there's a deeper truth here. We had it right - we don't want or need guns on London's streets. Get those guns off London's streets, they kill people rather than making us safe, no matter whose hands they are in. [via WebMink]


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# Friday, 22 July 2005

I can see clearly now....

Peter has an amusing view:

Vista?! Are you serious?.  .... I suppose Longhorn will be one of those form over substance things then: it will look pretty, and don't forget that, and remember the name, and it's all about the view, the view is great, and don't expect stability or neat features, half of which we have gutted. Of course, the meaning of a "distant view or prospect" could also be a subtle hint about infinite delays of the product (and then Redmond could smugly say: "But we told you so!"). ... [via Peter on Tech]


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