Monday, 31 January 2011 web server control for rendering script blocks

There are many ways to add script block to our pages. This is a very simple problem until we had got a complex project with custom controls, partial page rendering, updatepanels and dynamically loaded controls.
We have to add script blocks different ways if we asynchrony post backs or full page post backs.
The other problem is when the script block don’t have to load at the first page load, it depends on some logic dynamically.

After many trying I use this solution since about half year and it works at any case.

The simple and easy to use source code is:

public class InlineScript : Control
        protected override void Render(HtmlTextWriter writer)
            StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
            base.Render(new HtmlTextWriter(new StringWriter(sb)));

            string script = sb.ToString();

            ScriptManager sm = ScriptManager.GetCurrent(Page);
            if (!(null == sm))
                if (sm.IsInAsyncPostBack)
                    ScriptManager.RegisterStartupScript(this, typeof(InlineScript), UniqueID, script, false);
                this.Page.ClientScript.RegisterStartupScript(this.GetType(), this.ID, sb.ToString());

After registering into web.config, we can use it easily everywhere on our program:

<wc:InlineScript ID="isTest" runat="server">
    <script type="text/javascript">
        function pageLoad() {

Saturday, 29 January 2011

How to set up Windows 7 environment for PHP + MySQL development on IIS7

We need a following tools for an average PHP + MySql development procedure:

- a good IDE

- something for managing database

- web server

- ability to debugging applications

- get all of them free.

IDE: We need intellisense support and tools for debugging. Smart people doesn’t start any development without these. If you have Windows operating system, you can use Web Platform Installer and it offers a development environment named Webmatrix free of charge. Webmatrix doesn’t have debugger or intellisense support so it’s only a memory killer, good looking notepad. After some googling and based on my experiments I have been chosen Netbeans IDE.

Database Manager: I don’t use MySql too often so I let to choose my tool. I wanted a native sql IDE and found MySql Workbench. It doesn’t have too long feature list but we can do the basic SQL tasks and it is not PHPMyAdmin so we doesn’t need to run web browser for insert a simple record into our database.

Web server: I use Windows 7 and of course it will IIS7. I have been bought my Windows before and I can install it free of charge.


Installing IIS7: I won’t describe how to install it. There is a good description how to install it on IIS website.

Installing Netbeans IDE:

- Download from the php development version (or we can choose version named ALL, that will install every development tools from C to Java that netbeans supports).

- Install the executable. (Not too hard, next-next-next…..-finish).

- Navigate to PHP tab on Tools->Options on Netbeans menu. If we got ALL version, we have to make a new php project. In that case Netbeans initializes himself for php development and we will see PHP tab on Options->Tools after creating New PHP Project. If we installed the PHP version, we don’t need to make new PHP project, Netbeans initializes php settings during the first run.

- Check the php development settings. We need to set Debugger Port to 9000 and Session_ID to netbeans-xdebug for debugging php applications.

Installing Mysql

- Go to MySQL Download page.

- Download the proper version for our operating system (In my case it means Windows (x86, 32-bit), MSI Installer).

- Install the executable. (Not too hard, next-next-next…..-finish). We have to set security settings during the installation.

- Download MySql Workbench. We have to chose a version again.

- Install the executable. (Not too hard, next-next-next…..-finish).

- Start MySql Workbench and test if we can connect to our database. WorkbenchStartPage

Installing PHP binaries:

- Start Web Platform Installer. If doesn’t have, download and install it.

- Go to products tab, Frameworks entry and check PHP 5.3 for WebMatrix and PHP Manager for IIS.WebPlatformInstallerSelectItems

- Click on Install button.

- Installer shows us what will it install and what will it install more. We didn’t check WebMatrix but we have to install it. Click on Accept button. Ha must install it but don’t need to use this piece of shit.WebPlatformInstallerDependencies

- At the end of the installation Web Platform Installer shows us a message window and offers to run WebMatrix. Simple close the window, don’t need to start it.WebPlatformInstallerInstalComplete

- Install CGI Extension for IIS7:

  • Start Control Panel and go to Programs entry.
  • Click on Turn Windows features on or off entry.
  • Got to Information Services-World Wide Web Services->Application Development Feature and check CGI
  • Install it.

Installing xDebug:

- Start IIS7 manager.

- We can find PHP Manager on IIS section on IIS Manager.IISManagerPHPManagerIcon

- Click on Check phpinfo() link.


- Choose site and url.

- Start our browser and go to the home page of xDebug. There is a page named fnd binary on that site and it helps us deciding which xDebug version we need. There is a big, empty textbox in that page. Paste our phpinfo output into this textbox and click on Analyse my phpinfo() button. After analysed, the page offers the proper xDebug version for us. That means MS VC9 – Architecture: x86 in my case. After analyising this page offers a link direct to download page under Instructions.

- Download the proper dll and copy it to an ext subfolder to our php installation. At my case it means the folder c:\Program Files (x86)\PHP\v5.3\ext\ .

- Go back to PHP Manager on IIS and click on  Configuration file link and we can edit our php.ini settting file.

- Add the following lines to the end of the file:

- Restart IIS.

- Check phpinfo() again. If we installed xDebug successfully we will find a ‘… with xDebug…’ part of the output at the end of the first block of the html result of phpinfo that signs that our installation is successful.PHPInfoWithXDebug

At that point we don’t have any to do, only write our firs PHP application (of course a simple Hello World) and check if we can debug it and if we can connect to our MySql database.


Note: We have to use the same port at xDebug port in php.ini and netbeans-xdebug port in Netbeans settings. If we start a php project on debug mode in Netbeans and we have wrong port settings, we can’t debug and Netbeans cannot connect to xDebug process only shows a messange: Waiting for conncection (netbeans-xdebug).NetbeansWrongXDebugSettings

Saturday, 8 January 2011

C#: throwable exceptions and Visual Studio Productivity Power Tools


There is a really great add-on for Visual Studio named Productivity Power Tools. It helps a lot during my work but hides some information that so important for me: the list of throwable exceptions.

At the university I didn’t have a choice. I had to learn Java. Java is a great language and has a restriction that I like so: you must specify the list of the throwable exceptions at the specification of each method. I work with C# nowadays. It doesn’t has this rule but Visual Studio tries to help us on a simple way: it shows us this list when we hover on the name of the given method with the mouse like this:

As we can se, we now a bit closer to the Java restrictions. We can find out fast the given list but the language still don’t force us into handle all exceptions. It smart or not – I don’t know. But in fact I’m happy to see this list.

There is a bit problem with the power tools: It gives us a new window for our Visual Studio, named Solution Navigator. It has a lot of functions among others coloring the hints that I shown before:


Ops! As we can see, the list of throwable exceptions has disappeared. We have an other function instead of this, every can try this out by clicking on the triangle at the right side of the popup.

At this time we have two choice. We can use our Visual Studio with these settings or we can disable this function by setting of on the Visual Studio menu –> Tools –> Options –> Productivity Power Tools –> Solution Navigator. We got the original function after restarting our development environment.



Remarks: Solution Navigator is so slow. Sometimes useful but the most part of my times it only slows down my work without any benefits.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Sql server–Using indexes with LIKE operator in stored procedures


In the most cases msdn is a trusted source of information. Of course sometimes some mistakes are slipping into. The other day I read a documentation about CREATING STORED PROCEDURES when I found an interesting slip-up:

“Avoid using a wildcard as the leading character in a LIKE clause, for example, LIKE ‘%a%’. Because the first character is non-deterministic, the query processor is unable to use available indexes. Use LIKE ‘a%’ instead.”

Well, I thought there was a catch in it because I use the LIKE operator with leading wildcard in many cases and I know, we can get a significant speed increase with indexes in this case too.

I made a simple test using my Northwind database:

-- create sample stored procedure for demonstrate
-- the using of indexex with leading wildcards
create procedure SelectCustomers
as begin
    select * from Customers
    where CompanyName like 'a%'


-- running the example
exec SelectCustomers


-- delete the example
drop procedure SelectCustomers

After running I got the following result in my actual execution plan:


The conclusion about using indexes with LIKE operator is the following:

- without wildcards: Index seek (like ‘a’)

- with wildcards: Index scan (like ‘a%’, like ‘%a’, like ‘%a%’)