Thursday, January 27, 2011

jQuery UI and MVC

So I have been working on an ASP.Net MVC app in my spare time and have found at times that the UI is a little stale and clicky. What do I mean by clicky, well I mean the user has to do a lot of clicks to do certain tasks. All these clicks require full post back to the server. I like how I broke up the tasks into steps, but wanted a jazzier way to for the UI to work with the user, so low and behold I added some jQuery UI widgets and the whole process seems way smother and even a little quicker.

First let me talk about jQuery UI. It is a bunch of Widgets and UI interactions developed in jQuery. What is super cool is they have a theme editor so I could easily take the color scheme from my site and theme the widgets so they look like they belong on the web pages. The widgets included are Accordion, Auto Complete, Button, Date Picker Dialog, Progress Bar, Slider, and Tabs. The interactions are Dragable, Dropable, Resizeable, Selectable, and Sortable.

So far on my website I am using Tabs and Dialog. Now I want to state that in my Web Forms days I did work with AJAX.Net controls and although not difficult to use, no where near as easy as jQuery UI has been. To intergrate a dialog box on the page all I had to do is create a div tag and wire the jquery code to the tag. The Tabs was a little more work, however it was just create some simple HTML and wire that html to jQuery.

In my next post I will try to show code examples for both of these process. I was going to do it here, but was having trouble with my code syntax highlighter plugin and it was not looking good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

WiZdl Tool for Testing Services

This is a blog post I should have done months ago, but finally I am getting around to it.

Where I work we have many web services to support. Every new release it seems we are adding to the services or making changes to them. From the development standpoint we can create unit tests to test parts of the service, but when the QA folks need to do their testing it was a challenge. See we created an MVC app that just wrapped the services and the QA could use this app to do their testing. It worked ok until one day we started getting bugs opened. See a lot of the bugs were really with the test app and not the services. So now we have to support not only the services but a throw away test app.

I said to myself that this has to change. So I searched for a better way. What I found was the Wizdl tool. This is a great tool. It is not pretty or anything but it gets the job done. How it works is simple. You point it at the web service, and it dynamically creates an interface for it. you can then enter the needed data and it executes the service. On top of that it gives you some other nice things like, taking the response up into fields and displaying the data. It also shows the soap messages for the request and response. The tool also lets you save your data as an xml file so you can load it up later and do a regression test.

If you have to support web services check this tool out. It is free and works great.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all. Hopefully you will have a healthy and fruitful 2011.

This time of year really gives me time to reflect on the things I did in the last year and where I really want to grow my skills in the coming year. In the last year I really focused on MVC.Net for the most part. I also took some time to look into Entity Framework, Silverlight, StructureMap, NCommon, among some hardware concepts like the cloud.

In the coming year I am planning to look into Razor view engine, more jquery, and Nu Get, added functionality of MVC 3, BDD, and DDD. I am also going to learn more about Scrum. I have been doing Scrum in some form for the last 5 years and really think I need to understand it better to make it a more useful tool for working on projects.

Well that is where I plan to take my skills in the next year. Like all plans of course I may hit a crossroads and explore somewhere else.