Monday, June 27, 2005



I will be leaving for Karachi again tomorrow for my vacations, I came back to Dubai on the 17th of this month to wrap-up some work which I left undone, therefore the past few days were really tight. 10 days and here I am again, packing bags (doing some shopping too).
It will be great to be home again and meet with family and friends. Below is one of the images I had taken near my office, by the way, I will be flying at the same time (8:00am) with the same flight so you can preview me flying.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


ASP.NET 2.0 Skills Assessment

Test your knowledge about Microsoft technologies, Microsoft has provided a free Skills Assessment for Visual Studio 2005 and ASP.NET 2.0 and other technologies.

Just for the sake of testing my current knowledge about ASP.NET 2.0, I took the the free assessment for "What's new in ASP.NET 2.0?", and guess what!

In my first not-so-serious attempt, suprisingly, I scored 73% and correctly answered 22 out of 30 questions (WOW!) .

Well, I know the score is not good enough, but I was not expecting something closer to the current score even. I am sure going to take the assessment again soon.

Assess yourself!

Monday, June 20, 2005


ASP.NET 2.0 Resources

For those of us who have questions about ASP.NET 2.0. Check out the
Frequently Answered Questions also check out the Visual Web Developer Resource Kit aswel as your feedback on installing .NET Framework Beta 2

Happy Coding!

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Pakistan Developer Conference Day – 3

I came back to Dubai last night at 1:00am, I have yet to blog about the PDC Day-3 so here it is.

The first session I attended was ASP.NET 1.1 Web Parts Programming for Sharepoint Portal 2003 by Hammad Rajjoub, the session was informative, but Hammad focused too much on explanation and less on demos, may be that is because the topic was too broad for one session, so should have been divided into two sessions. A month earlier, I suggested Hammad to cover Web parts Programming in ASP.NET 2.0 for Sharepoint Portal and pointed him to the article Webparts: From Sharepoint to ASP.NET 2.0 by Dino Esposito. Web Parts in ASP.NET 1.1 are a bit tough to implement, with a lot of coding but fortunately as Hammad mentioned at the end of his session that Web Parts in ASP.NET 2.0 are really easy to develop (See my earlier post about Web Parts)

The next session MS Speech Server 2004: Building Applications that Talk, Listen and Respond by none other than Adnan Farooq Hashmi, was brilliant and Adnan’s knowledge about the topic was excellent. Microsoft has made it really easy to integrate speech into ASP.NET Web Form applications, the topic again faced the same problem of being a little lengthy to be actually covered in one session, and in the end Adnan had to go too fast to finish the demo. Overall the session gave a great insight into building ASP.NET Speech Applications.

Just for the sake of knowing something I already don’t know, the next session I attended was Programming with Master Pages, Themes/Skin and Navigation Control in ASP.NET 2.0 by Goksin Bakir. However, his next session on Web Development Security Fundamentals was informative and he emphasized that Application Security should be considered at the very beginning of an application design stage, the topics he covered were IIS Security, ASP.NET Security and Threats, he gave examples of different type of threats and vulnerabilities such as Buffer Overrun, SQL Injection, Cross Site Scripting and Hidden Field Tampering. He demoed some software for testing your application against security vulnerabilities e.g. Active Ports, FxCOP and AppScan as well as Threat Modeling your applications.

PDC concluded with the Closing Session, where Microsoft X-box was awarded to 7 randomly selected delegates in a lucky draw by Nine year old Arifa Karim of Faisalabad, the Youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in the world.

It was great to be a part of the Pakistan Developer Conference 2005; it provided a great opportunity to learn from the world’s renowned speakers with highly informative sessions and provided an opportunity to collaborate with peers.

See you in PDC’ 2006!

Below is a snapshot with the speakers and INETA Leaders.

From Left: Hammad Rajjoub, myself, Saqib Ilyas and Adnan Farooq Hashmi

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Pre-PDC and Pakistan Developer Conference Day-1

Saturday 11th June 2005: PDC Registration

I wrote before that Salman Ahmed Khan did my registration for the PDC when I was in Dubai and my visit to Karachi got confirmed. Me and Salman met at DNUG a Dot Net User Group around two and a half years ago that is back in 2003, in the following months, our friendship was strengthened and we started participated on a number of other user groups namely PAKITS, Core.NET, Pakistan.NET, .NET Wizards and INETA Pakistan, but sadly besides online discussion, we never even spoke to each other until Thursday and didn’t see each other until today (now that’s too bad on my part).

But I scheduled to finally meet Salman today for the registration (you can call me selfish here, forgive me Salman if you are reading this ;). He is a really nice guy, as enthusiastic as he looks online, we chat for a while, before entering the PDC Secretariat.

The PDC Secretariat
During the registration, I was informed that no one is allowed to bring laptop, digital camera and not even cell phone during the PDC. Now that was really surprising for me, because I brought them with me especially for the PDC.

The PDC Day 1
Today, I made it a little early to the venue, due to security restrictions no one was allowed to bring any electronic device, but to my dismay, I saw people with cell phones and found myself a little left out. I was planning to sit in the lobby and wait for Salman and other guys, but the seating started just after I reached the venue followed by the opening keynote from various speakers.

I attended the Overview of ASP.NET 2.0 session by Abdelmalek Kemmou, session went fine nothing new for me though, I guess people new to ASP.NET 2.0 must have taken advantage of it, I heard some interesting questions come up from the audience, this gives the evidence of its popularity and willingness to adopt.

Next session on Implementing Data driven Caching with VS2005 and SQL Server 2005 by Stephen Forte was really interesting and one of my favorite topics (this would have been the next post on this blog after Script Callback in ASP.NET 2.0, because I had already investigated it). Starting from the caching implementation in ASP.NET 2.0 Data controls, he explored the caching engine; output caching as well as Partial Page Caching and introduced SQL Cache Dependency; he demoed how the SQL Cache Invalidation which works in ASP.NET 2.0 in conjunction with SQL Server 7 & 2000.
Next session I attended was Using VS 2005 to build Data driven application in ASP.NET 2.0 but I didn’t like the session as well as the presentation of Abdelmalek, the presentation style was not interesting at all and most of the content was repeated from the Overview of ASP.NET 2.0 session.

I also met the three prominent leaders of INETA Pakistan, speakers in the PDC and also the recently awarded MVPs, Adnan Farooq Hashmi, Saqib Ilyas and very own Hammad Rajjoub; it was great to talk to them. I have always admired their efforts to promote .NET development in Pakistan and to organize events and create awareness among the Pakistani youth to come forward and participate in user group meetings and learn revolutionary new ways to code or improve their knowledge about existing technologies. Keep up the good work guyz!

All in all, it was a great first day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Pakistan Developers Conference-Day 2 (Live!)

These lines are being written from the Community Lounge in the PDC’05 in Pearl Continental, Karachi, thanks to the Wi-Fi connectivity, today is actually the Day-2 of the conference (I will blog about Pre-PDC and PDC Day 1 shortly), I attended the two sessions about Smart Clients development in Visual Studio 2005 from Goksin Bakir, both sessions were really informative, the presentation was very interesting.

INETA Pakistan has setup a community lounge here, where developers can come and interact with the peers or discuss their issues with the MVPs. Saqib Ilyas and Hammad Rajjoub are solving issues with many developers (as I write these lines). It’s pretty interesting to interact with the community. Just when I was writing these lines, Aseel Mansoor joined in the community lounge; he has a session on SQL Server 2005: CLR Integration and one on SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence.

So far everything is pretty interesting.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Karachi and the PDC

I will be leaving for Karachi tomorrow for 1 week after staying in Dubai for 13 months, so wrapping-up things. Backup of my machine (3.7ghz, 1 gig ram, 120 x 2 sata hdds) drove me really crazy today as I tried different CD/DVD burners, but none of them worked (No not even Nero), therefore leaving everything as it is (without backup..........o'man). Yea, yea, I know it doesn't matter, after all its only 1 week, but after having gone through many similar situations in the past when you leave your computer working only to have it develop a serious issue afterwards, I have learnt to take backups.

I will be attending the upcoming PDC'05 aptly named as Pakistan Developer's Conference 2005 in Karachi from June 13th-15th, thanks to Salman Ahmed Khan (I will write about him shortly) for pre-registering me. This is going to be the 3rd (and I hope the biggest) event after 2003 an 2004, specially due to .NET 2.0 being just round the corner (already playing with the beta builds). This is going to be my first time (yes couldn't attend it before) so I am really looking forward to it, I am also looking forward to meeting peers from PAKITS, Pakistan.NET, Core.NET, INETA Pakistan and .NETWizards, where I participate. I will be posting about my PDC experience soon.

See you soon!

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Sites in ASP.NET 2.0

Have you developed a website in ASP.NET 2.0? I also dont have one either yet, but thanks to for providing me with a free trial hosting account for ASP.NET 2.0, I am also planning to launch one as soon as my host integerates SQL Server 2005. Well I know its too early to actually develop a website in ASP.NET 2.0. But there *are* some websites out there, built completely in ASP.NET 2.0, some personal and some *really* professionals ones too. Thanks to Brian Goldfarb for Calling all ASP.NET 2.0 sites

Check them out below!

If you know any other websites built using ASP.NET 2.0 Beta, let me know {Thanks}

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Script Callback in ASP.NET 2.0

A lot has been said and done about updating part of an ASP.NET page without posting the entire page back to the server. The concept is rather not new, there have been many implementations in the past e.g. using Remote Scripting, Web Services, Java applets and lately in ASP.NET 1.1 using AJAX or (Asynchronous Javascript and XML), which relied on XMLHTTP. But fortunately ASP.NET 2.0 natively supports Out-of-band calls; in fact many of ASP.NET 2.0’s new controls like GridView and Treeview use script callbacks extensively. There is an API available in .NET Framework 2.0 to implement Script Callback in your own controls.

In my example below, I select an "Employee Name" from a HTML Select control and press the send button where I have attached a Javascript code, the page does a callback to a server-side script, where the server-side script hits the database, finds the required information, sends the information back to the client-side Javascript code, the Javascript code using browsers DHTML capabilities, populates the <div> control on the page with the "Department" of the Employee. That’s it! You get the information from the server without refreshing the entire page and re-rendering each control on the page.

In the code above, I bind a Javascript code to a button control that sends some information required for a callback such as the target object that handles the call, which is the same as the calling page (Me), value from the HTML Select control, the name of the client-side Javascript that receives the information sent by the server-side script and an optional error handler and context object.

The client-side script above receives the results and populates the <div> with the result sent from the server.

The server-side function accepts and returns a string, and contains all the server-side code to hit the database and retreive additional information. One caveat with the script callbacks is that the browsers should implement advanced DOM and has strong DHTML support, therefore the browser ideal for this scenario should belong to the uplevel family of browsers like Internet Explorer 5+, Netscape 6+, and Safari 1.2+.

Download the source code

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