Tag Archives: Visual Studio

Disable Windows Antivirus When Installing aspell English Dictionary

A lesson I learned the hard way today, while installing aspell support for Notepad++:

If you’re installing Kevin Atkison’s English dictionary for aspell, you need to disable your antivirus program (at least, if you’re using Avast, as I am).

If you don’t, the dictionary installer can’t write its unpacked files to disk and will fail silently. As in, it just plain closes, and Notepad++ will report something along the lines of “Aspell and/or dictionaries are missing.”


Also, if you haven’t heard of Notepad++, you should check it out. It’s an open-source, GPL-licensed Win32 text editor. (It runs perfectly fine in Win64).

Highly extensible via plugins, translated to all kinds of languages, exceptionally powerful, with support for syntax highlighting in just about every programming language under the Sun and syntax checking for a fair number of them, too.

It’s pretty much the only tool I use any more for Web coding, even when writing ASP.NET Web Forms. (I still use Visual Studio for some Windows coding. But Notepad++ has completely replaced Dreamweaver.)

All links in this post on delicious: http://delicious.com/dougvdotcom/disable-windows-antivirus-when-installing-aspell-english-dictionary

New England GiveCamp 2011: What A Weekend!

Last weekend was New England GiveCamp 2011, in which 100+ developers, designers and other volunteers gathered to donate time and skills to some 30 charities who needed IT help.

This year, I was project lead for Alex’s Team Foundation, based in Andover, Mass. Our team was Saurabh Moondhra and William Wade, both experienced ASP.NET developers.

Alex’s Team Foundation, named after 16-year-old Alex Miliotis, who passed away from leukemia in 2002, raises money to support nurses and other oncology professionals, and supports youth sports. The foundation is largely the labors of Patti Rae Miliotis, Alex’s mother, and a handful of reliable volunteers. Like every small nonprofit, Alex’s Team doesn’t have a lot of money.

Like every other leader of a small nonprofit, Patti is pulled in a lot of different directions and has all she can do to keep track of the people with whom she comes in contact, nonetheless all the donations she gets. Patti also hosts a few events every year. She basically needs a way to keep track of who attends those events or otherwise supports her organization, and to mail merge thank-you notes.

So that was the project I led this weekend: Converting a bunch of data stored in (of course!) Excel spreadsheets into a more relational database, with the ability to export that data in order to mail merge thank-you and fundraising letters.

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Automatically Hash Tagging Text With ASP.NET Web Forms (VB.NET)

I had previously blogged a solution in PHP to automatically hash tag an input string with various terms stored in a database. Here’s an ASP.NET Web Forms version of the same solution (this one should work for ASP.NET 2, 3.5 and 4).

To review, a hash tag is a bit of text, led with a hash mark (#), that serves to indicate to some Web sites / services — notably, Twitter — that the word thus marked should be treated as a tag. This code will take some piece of input text, search it for terms we generally want to tag, and mark the instances in that input string with hash tags.

As in the previous solution, we’ll define a “word” for the purposes of this demo to be any alphanumeric character sequence that is followed by a space or a newline. Also, this demo will only tag text; it won’t automatically add new terms to the database. That will be the subject of an upcoming post.

I’m going to use three ArrayLists as the workhorses for this solution. One will hold the terms from the database; the second will contain all the distinct words in the input string; and the third, the words from the input string that are hashtag terms.
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Getting QueryString Values From A Rewritten URL / ASP.NET Routing URL

During today’s similcast of the ASP.NET Firestarter in Atlanta, G. Andrew Duthie discussed .NET 4’s new support for routing — or, what everyone in Web development calls “URL rewriting.” *

Someone online asked, “If I use routing, can I access query string variables using JavaScript?”

The question isn’t as confused as it sounds on the surface. Of course, if one uses routing / URL rewriting, it’s to remove query string variable and make them part of what appears to be a permanent file structure.

In other words, this:


Becomes this:


The questioner really means, is there a way, after rewriting a URL, to extract key->value pairs from it via JavaScript? The answer is yes; rather than using the location.search property, which allows JavaScript to get the querystring parameters of a URL, we use location.pathname to get the part of the URL that follows the domain, and use that to create our key->value pairs.

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