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The new WebsiteSpark program for web developers/designers

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Microsoft has introduced a new program for website designer/developer startups.  This is a 3 year program where you get development tools and servers for free.  At the end of the 3 years you have to pay the $100 fee.  Not a bad deal, and there are a few other requirements.  If you are considering being a web startup you should take a look at the WebsiteSpark program.


Warn users if they are using IE6

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Many web developers are beginning to shun support for IE6.  Here is a simple and reasonably nice way to warn any visitors still using IE6 that they need to upgrade.  If you are still using static HTML files, you can put this code at the very beginning of your HTML file, before the HTML tag. If you are building an ASP.NET site, you can place this code at the top of your MasterPage file.  I put it after any "<&@ Master" .... and "<&@ Register..." tags and before the "<!DOCTYPE..." and "<HTML..." tags.  This will cause the warning message to appear at the top of the page for any visitors using IE6.  Other browsers will ignore the code.   You could certainly modify the CSS to tailor the warning appearance to your liking.


This code sample and usage is adapted from a post by Scott Hanselman.


Free Online Computer Classes

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I know there is a ton of free information available on the internet, but here are a couple sites I like that offer some free online classes.

  • HP (yes the computer maker) has several free online courses about Digital Photography, Computer Security, and Home Office topics. Check them out here: HP Online Courses
  • Did you know you that MIT offers much of their curriculum online for free? They make a point to tell you that you won't get any college credit from using the material, and the professors will not assist you. But the information is there for over 1800 courses; lecture notes, labs, videos, etc. You can see the course list here and information to help get you started here.
  • Google also offers what they call "Google Code University". There are some general tutorials on programming languages (C++, Java, Python) as well as web technology and security. These are more oriented toward geeks and not so much the first timer. You can find that here: Google Code University
  • For anyone wanting to learn about web development and design, I would direct you to the W3Schools site. This awesome site has step by step tutorials on just about every web topic you can think of; HTML, CSS, XML, SQL, ASP, and the list goes on. Many of the college courses I took referenced this site. Check it out here:


Last Updated on Thursday, 13 January 2011 19:41

Preparing your MS SQL database for use with ASP.NET Membership Provider

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The ASP.NET Membership provider by default, will use a SQL Express database.  But if you want to use a database on an external SQL Database, you must prepare it.

This method uses Visual Studio 2008 (.NET 3.5) but will also work with ASP.NET 2.0.  It assumes you have already created a database(empty) and user name.

1)Go to Start Menu>Programs>Microsoft Visual Studio 2008>Visual Studio Tools>Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt

2)You will enter the following command(with the appropriate values)

aspnet_regsql.exe -U UserName -S ServerNameOrIp -d DatabaseName -A m

3)Doing this creates all necessary tables and objects in your database to support the membership provider.  

4)After preparing the database, you are ready to add the connection string to you web.config.


For more information on using the ASP.NET Membership Provider, see the MSDN article here.  


Modifying the appearance of ASP.NET GridView using CSS

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If you are using the ASP.NET GridView control in any of your web apps, you are likely frustrated by its display options.  Khaled wrote a great article on how to modify the appearance of the GridView using CSS.  It is a very simple process of adding a few tags to the gridview and defining your CSS.  He was even thoughtful enough to provide a downloadable sample.  If you are tired of the default appearance of this control then check out his great tutorial here.


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