Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Still having trouble with the javascript, but I posted the final query for my 'month' issue. SQL is such a powerful tool, yet not easy to understand alone. Thankfully there are friendly people out there who will help. One book I use frequently to help me with SQL is listed on my page in the books section. Take a look, it's worth having if you are going to be doing any ammount of SQL programming.

If you are getting data from SQL for your apps, get comfortable with Stored Procedures and queries. Let them do the work, so your code doesn't have to. I had to just take the plunge and do it. It was easy for me to just build my query strings on the fly and load down my apps with code just to get some data out of the database, but as I go on, I am trying to unload my app, and use the tools that are at your fingertips in SQL. Jump right in and have some fun. It's worth it, and another feather in your cap as well!

Thursday, December 18, 2003

My website is having lots of Javascript errors. I am not sure why since the problems seem to lie in the ads that Geocities tacks on to my page. But I am trying to keep it updated. I want to use that site to post chunks of code that I feel should stay available.

I posted my final code for watermarking. It's nice because it watermarks one image at a time as it is called for, leaving the original image alone. It's very quick.

I am now working on getting a drop down list with only the months that have orders visible. This is tricky. The SQL query that gets them is on my page (see link in Tuesday's post). It gives me numbers for the months. I also want text.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Okay, I've updated my website with bits and pieces of my current projects. I currently have an issue with my Wedding Site project, The Image Connection. Here's the link straight to that project's page.

I'm having trouble generating a JPEG stream. It works, but gets very grainy. Also, does anybody know how to do text effects? Like changing the opacity?

Monday, December 15, 2003

So, for all you following my adventures, I am currently working on my Windows Service. I am attempting to have a windows service that monitors a certain folder, checking it using a timer every x seconds. When the folder is populated with files, the service moves those files and enters data into our business system and our production system. I am hoping to make this service flexable enough so that it can be used at other photo labs and even with other business and production systems. (Or none at all.) To be able to do this I want to allow the user of the service to be able to select the database of each of the systems. But I want to make it easy. I may need to cut out the flexibility for now, but we'll see. This is my first Windows Service.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I am going to begin dedicating my site and this Blog to new developers. I myself view .Net (VB) as my first programming language and feel that I am still a beginner. So I will chronicle my educational path as I progress through the learning process. Please feel free to view my website for tips and books that have helped me along the way. I will be continuing to update this page as well.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Threre, got commenting going. Please, place comments. Even if it's just a 'I read your BLog.'
So, we've had our first snow storm (Alec) and it was a doozy. Snowed in for two days. Saturday I didn't do much of anything, tho I did get my wife to try Kielbasa and cabbage. Sunday I was able to visit my bible study and go over some scriptures with him, so that was good. But I didn't do much else. Trying to fix my wife's stereo but that's another story.

On the work front, I am going to try to get a book on software project management. I gotta get myself together, I have 3 major projects (2 web apps and 1 windows app). I have one person working with me on the web apps and I gotta clean things up and put them in order so that it's easier to bring somebody else up to speed as well as having all my files in a logical order.

Friday and Today I've been cleaning up our main site (www.centurycolor.com) codewise as it is about to get a major face lift. One nice thing about .Net is that I can do all the code behind the scenes and have our web designer do the front end. This is new as I use to do everything.

Haven't gotten to do much on the wedding site, but I have set up some documents as to what features are proposed, in progress, and completed for the 3 projects. These things are ongoing. Currently only the home site's new look and the overhaul of the wedding site are in progress. But version 3 of our software is going to be big.

Guess that's it for now. I wish I had a way to add commenting to this BLOG. I have to find a way to add a counter also.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Now to anybody who is a major programmer this may not be a big deal, but it was somewhat exciting for me. I was published! The Feedback was published in the November 2003 issue of .NET Developer's Journal http://www.sys-con.com/dotnet/article.cfm?id=452

I've been published before, in a poetry compilation. But this is exciting because it seems that some thing I have said has been taken seriously by part of the programming industry. Very exciting.

Now, back to my project. I created a variation of the Stored Procedure from Monday's post for the administration portion of the website. I could have used that SP by adding in more code, but it was already getting bloated. I actually took out the if statement, since I will not be needing to select only from certain groups and added some fields I would need. I may post some of this on the dotNetJunkies site or at least a comment that points them back here if they would like more.

I am going to be looking at allowing the various photographers that use our site customization so that their customers who browse the site can see the photographers logo and color scheme instead of the default. If anybody reading this has an info, ideas, pointers, or articles about this let me know. I'm sure I could do something with XML and schemas but as of yet I have not learned enough to feel I could rapidly release a project using those technologies and I already have an idea of what I want to do, but let me know.

It's nice to have some validation once in a while.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Back from a long weekend. Had some in-laws up, Clint and Beth Shrom. Had a wonderful, fun, weekend with them. But now it's back to work.

I'm working on our wedding site here at work. For any who would like to see the current version, it's www.theimageconnection.com.
I am working on some enhancements including the introduction of grouping for pictures as well as paged image viewing for previews. I am using a SQL stored procedure for this which gets passed the order number for the images to view, as well as the current page requested, number of images per page, and the group to show. It also has logic in it that if the group is All, it shows the next page of all the images. Kinda tricky, complex, yet delightfully functional. I got this from another page and enhanced it.
Here's where I got the stored procedure from (Dot Net Junkies, of course. The easiest to navigate and search.):

And here it is in all it's glory:
@CurrentPage int,
@PageSize int,
@Job int,
@Group nvarchar(50),
@TotalRecords int output
--Create a temp table to hold the current page of data
--Add and ID column to count the records
ImageName nvarchar(40)
--Fill the temp table with the Photo data
If @Group = 'All'
Hide = 1 AND JobNumber = @Job
Hide = 1 AND JobNumber = @Job AND mGroup = @Group
--Create variable to identify the first and last record that should be selected
DECLARE @FirstRec int, @LastRec int
SELECT @FirstRec = (@CurrentPage - 1) * @PageSize
SELECT @LastRec = (@CurrentPage * @PageSize + 1)
--Select one page of data based on the record numbers above
ID > @FirstRec
ID < @LastRec
--Return the total number of records available as an output parameter
SELECT @TotalRecords = COUNT(*) FROM #TempTable

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

We're back from Florida!
When can I go back! It was wonderful! Warm weather, no rain, beaches, swimming in the ocean. (For those of you who don't know, I am a swimming freak. Dream trip: Scuba in the Caribbean!)

My cuz Nick is now married. Congrats to him and his wife.

So, as far as work goes, I got the go ahead to update our wedding site www.theimageconnection.com! Alright! I've been looking forward to this. Right now it's pretty basic, ASP classic. I'm gonna jazz it up with ASP .Net and improve the features of it. Upgraded the database to MSDE for better development efficiency. And I hope to introduce some new features.

So, let's see where this takes us.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Ciao'! Gotta put this in here: http://jpbrown.i8.com/cubesolver.html
Somebody built a lego Robot that solves the Rubix cube. Man, what will they think of next!

In other news, I have put my Windows service on hold for now, in lieu of digging deeper in to the DP2 (Kodak's Digital Production Software) API. It's language is KPL which is a C deriviative. This should prove useful in using some of their render engine's capabilities in our online forms. I found a hunk of code (well, an ASPX page with now HTML) that will pass an image from one address out as a stream. This is great for using images stored behind a firewall. I may eventually use this code to serve up other files that reside behind the firewall, but for now it returns a jpeg stream. So my image tag looks something like this:
<img src='thumb.aspx?Order=xxxxxx&Roll=xx&Frame=xxxx'>

Here's the page for that code: http://www.aspalliance.com/cookbook/ViewSource.aspx?Filename=Recipe2215vb.aspx&RecipeType=ASPX

Now I want to see how to pass more parameters so that I can change the images representation in some way, ie. rotation, size, position... we'll be working on that today.

BTW, if anybody knows Great Plains, I am looking for info. We have ver. 7.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Catching up on news, friends, and the world. Working on a thumbnail project now. Trying to see how I can get a JPG stream so that I can have dynamic JPGs on my site. Thumbnails of live images, to be exact, hiding behind my firewall.

In other news, for those that know me... I am still working on Italian. Trying to learn it as best I can. However, I was invited to learn Chinese. Hmm... well, there is a need here for that. We'll have to see.

I updated some of my links. I have a few friends (GASP) that have sites. Hope they don't mind my posting their links, but it seems that they are public. Let you know more later.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Okay, changed the template I was using. It Bluebird was koosed, though I want to go back to it. Some funky stuff going on with this BLOG today. I also added some other Tech BLOGs. Now that I'm getting used to these, it's going to be my morning paper. If only I could take it to the Cafe with me... But my Clie is koosed as well. Needs a new screen. Donations are welcome.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Okay, so today I resolved the issues with DataMatch Labs reports. Stupid really. I was setting the data adapter's query string after I loaded the table. That comes of quick fixes for un expected uses. Resolved some Web Forms issues, and have another. Getting info into DP2. So we will work on a DP2 script tomorrow.

Also worked some more on my Windows Service to get Montage into DP2. Learning a lot here.
Okay, now it is for real, this is what I shall do.

Today I will be working on DataMatch Lab. DataMatch Lab is the Lab end of the software I have written for the Photographic comunity. DataMatch is the Studio end.

DataMatch is an application in which you can enter Student/Subject information and then link that information to Order data. So for instance, you can Import a database of Students, print camera cards, and then after photographing the students enter in the Package information for each student very quickly. From within DataMatch you can send your order to us at Century Color via the web.

DataMatch Lab helps us to take those jobs, integrate them with the system, and print reports about your job, such as a total list of all the students that have ordered, or Package Labels so that we can correctly assign each student their package of pictures.

I will be working on some other projects today, but I should get to work... it looks like DataMatch Lab has compiled.
So this is Blogging?! I hope this is something that doesn't offend or bug you. But I guess I would like to be heard in the world. It's kinda cozy here.