Journey
  • Transform XML into HTML in .NET

    I was recently working on a project where I needed to create an HTML receipt for a client. Instead of building the HTML on the fly I decided to keep the data and display separate. My goal was to create a mail-merge type of process where XML is referenced in an HTML template. I accomplished this using XSLT. This article explains the steps I performed to complete this process. I began by adding the details of my receipt into XML using the XmlDocument object. To make this easier I added some helper extensions to my project. These extensions make it

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  • Copy – Are Its Features Comparable to Dropbox?

    There are many cloud storage options available in this day and age. We have Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, SugarSync and OneDrive to name a few. When it comes to your precious files, all of them offer the convenience of backups and synchronization through a special folder on your computer. I’ve grown to love cloud storage and the accessibility benefits it offers. It’s good to have options and now a new player has surfaced. Copy is a new cloud storage service created by Barracuda Networks – a worldwide leader in security products. We will cover some feature comparisons between Copy and

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  • PHP Development in Eclipse

    I’m a Windows user that had a need to build a project in PHP. Spoiled by Visual Studio I was seeking a sophisticated IDE that supports breakpoints, IntelliSense, syntax coloring, source formatting and the ability to view output. I wanted it to be a free solution and not with limited features. After trying some disappointing nugets in Visual Studio, itself, I began looking into Eclipse. Eclipse is an open source development environment that supports many languages. It is free, powerful and respected. The vast majority of Android apps owe their existence to Eclipse. For this project, that was the route

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  • Alternative to Using Tables for Layout

    Most developers are familiar with tables and how they behave. They have relied on them heavily in the past to display data as well as templating and design. But as we learned in my previous post you are no longer encouraged to use them for layouts. You should use CSS instead. When I first started dabbling with DIV tables I used the CSS float property to mimic cells. But in many situations that method forced me to be overly specific on the heights and widths of my cells. It seemed to be two-times the work. Also vertical alignment and centering

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  • When and How to Use Tables

    If you are web developer then you have probably heard at some point NOT to use tables for layout. This has to do with best practices for website accessibility. But what really are the rules? The WC3 defines the table model as follows: The HTML table model allows authors to arrange data — text, preformatted text, images, links, forms, form fields, other tables, etc. — into rows and columns of cells. On the same page it also mentions that you should not use tables for layout: Tables should not be used purely as a means to layout document content as

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  • jQuery TE Validation

    In one of my latest projects I utilized the jQuery Validation Plugin to handle the error validation of a page. It is a popular plugin that examines all elements in a form and validates them based on rules and/or classes. For instance, you can set a class on an textbox to be "email" and it will notify the user (as they leave the element) if the data they entered has correct email syntax.   One of the fields in my page was a rich text editor (WYSIWYG) using the jQuery TE Plugin. Unfortunately, validation would not work with it because

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  • jQuery UI Setup in MVC 5

    When you create a new ASP.NET Web Application with the MVC template jQuery, itself, is already included. You can see it and a couple default jQuery plugins in the Scripts folder. If you desire to use datepickers, dialogs, etc. you will need to set up jQuery UI along with a theme. To start off this process I would recommend adding this Nuget to your solution: jQuery UI Combined Library (or jQuery.UI.Combined). It sets us up quickly, will handle updates and is a dependency for some other nugets (i.e., jQuery.jqgrid). Right-click on your project in the Solution Explorer and go to

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  • jQuery Masked Input Plugin

    Today I want to discuss a jquery plugin that I have found to be useful.  It is the Masked Input Plugin.  It does three things: gives a visual representation to the client of the format of data we require, ensures they enter it that way, and does immediate validation. Here is an example of a mask a user could see for phone input: (___) ___-____ The mask is shown when the textbox receives focus. Underscores indictate where the user should type. Your mask restricts what you can type, and you cannot type anything beyond the mask. Masks Rules: When building your

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  • Hidden Accessible Fieldsets

    It is good to group checkboxes and radio buttons for accessibility purposes.  The fieldset and legend elements allow developers to group related controls and labels.   Grouping elements make it easier for users to understand their purpose.  Screen readers will detect fieldsets and inform the user of their purpose via the legend tag.  Keep in mind that an elaborate interface may not transfer logically to someone using a screen reader.   With CSS you can cater to both worlds.  You can utilize fieldsets but also hide them if they are not visually pleasing.  A hidden fieldset is completely detectable by

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