A gross misuse of the fabric of space-time

XP VMs with VirtualBox

2 minute read Published:

For web developers, if you want to test your site on IE7, go download the free XP image from Microsoft here. Once it’s fully set-up, install IE7 on it; the image comes with the installer on the desktop. Don’t bother with the Vista image unless you need to support something OS-specific, which if you do - you should just stop what you’re doing and severely rethink your web dev stragedy.

Google Calendar API v3 Undocumentation

5 minute read Published:

Over the many collective months that I’ve been working with Google Calendar API v3, I’ve noticed many undocumented “features” and behaviors. I thought I should sum up my experiences here so that someone else struggling to use this “simple” API would have at least some forewarning of the adventure they’re about to embark upon. The documentation up on Google’s site is woefully incomplete. Yes, it lists all the methods and most of the parameters and such, the reference documentation; that’s great for starters, but it’s the bare minimum amount of useful information.

Google Calendar API access with 2LO (2-legged OAuth) and .NET

5 minute read Published:

Getting this scenario to work has been one of the most frustrating experiences of my development career as yet. I’m writing this incredibly detailed and informative blog post to save others from self-inflicted premature baldness. Your scenario is that you want to write a background task or service in .NET to communicate with Google’s servers specific to your Google Apps domain for business or education. Your service will not have any external exposure to end-users of your apps domain.


3 minute read Published:

I put together a web-based SQL query tool written using ASP.NET’s IHttpHandler interface, packaged as a single query.ashx file. Its main feature is that it guarantees that you cannot construct a query that inserts or updates data. The SELECT query form is forced upon you and any means of escaping that form via SQL injection is detected and the query is rejected in that case. This makes it safe to deploy internally so that your developers may query data in a read-only manner.

IVO-CMS - Part 2 - The New

6 minute read Published:

Any good system architecture is based on the concept of layering. A basic premise of layering is that one layer should not concern itself with the details of any other layer. With the proprietary CMS described in Part 1, my failure to realize that fact was the critical design and implementation flaw of the system. The implementation of the system is obsessed with the revision control part. However, with IVO-CMS, I’ve designed the content management system aspect to be ignorant of the revision control system.

IVO-CMS - Part 1 - Mistakes of the Past

5 minute read Published:

For the first time, I’m starting a series of blog posts. This series will focus on a web content management system (IVO-CMS) that I’m currently designing and developing, partly out of curiosity to see if it can be done, partly out of the fun in implementing something new, and partly out of a need to correct my own mistakes of the past. This first post will explain the past mistakes in designing an existing proprietary CMS for my current employer; one you’ve never heard of, never seen, and never used due to its proprietary nature.

Immutable Versionable Objects (IVO) a.k.a. The Git Object Model

5 minute read Published:

Git is a distributed, content-addressable and versionable file system that is primarily used as a revision control system for project source code. That’s great and all, but we’re not really interested in what git does, but more specifically how it does what it does; we’re interested in its internal object model. I started a simple C#(5) .NET 4 project that implements git’s internal object model as a reusable library. Git As a slight change of pace, I will now redirect you to first read Git For Computer Scientists (if you haven’t already) as a basic yet effective crash course on the git object model.

Feather: A new language based on asynchrony

3 minute read Published:

I’ve spent most of my free time over the last few weeks in pursuit of designing a new programming language, one designed for asynchrony from the ground up. I call this language “Feather,” in the hope that it will be lightweight, simple, elegant, and just might possibly enable one to fly. My core goals for this new language are: asynchronous execution by default with explicit mechanisms to revert to synchronous execution.

RabbitMQ .NET client API is terrible (rant)

7 minute read Published:

I’ve seen some pretty poorly-designed APIs in my time, but RabbitMQ’s .NET client API has got to be among the top worst that I’ve seen lately. Specifically, I’m talking about the RabbitMQ.Client library that appears to be officially sanctioned by the RabbitMQ project and “documented”. The very first problem you’ll quickly see when you get into using this “API” is that everything (e.g. return values and parameters) is typed as a string.

RunQuery commandline tool

3 minute read Published:

As a useful companion to LinqFilter (which I have given considerable attention to over the last few weeks), I put together a tool called RunQuery, which, you guessed it, runs SQL queries from the console… BUT (and here’s the kicker) it formats the results in an escaped, TAB-delimited format for direct use by LinqFilter. For tool interoperability, I created (read: quite possibly reinvented) a useful, near-universal data interchange file format which uses TAB characters as column delimiters but also backslash escapes characters in each column to eliminate the possibility of actual TAB chars in the data interfering with the format.