April 2008 - Posts

April's Toolbox Column Online
14 April 08 06:04 PM | Scott Mitchell

My Toolbox column in the April 2008 issue of MSDN Magazine is avaiable online. The April issue examines:

  • Techniques for logging Web application errors. Provides an overview of two technologies for automatically logging web application exceptions: Microsoft's Health Monitoring system and Atif Aziz's open-source ELMAH library.
  • Blogs of Note - Coding Horror, the interesting and popular blog written by (now) full-time blogger Jeff Atwood.
  • The Bookshelf - Pro LINQ, by Joseph C. Rattz, Jr.

Enjoy! - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc500592.aspx

As always, if you have any suggestions for products or books to review for the Toolbox column, please send them into toolsmm@microsoft.com.

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Final Three Security Tutorials Published
02 April 08 10:55 PM | Scott Mitchell

As noted in previous blog entries, I've been working on some tutorials for the www.asp.net site on the topics of forms authentication, authorization, membership, and roles. The first set of tutorials covered security basics and examined forms authentication in detail; the second set looked at the Membership system and the SqlMembershipProvider. The third set of tutorials examined the Roles framework and the SqlRoleProvider. The final slate of tutorials includes three on implementing common administrative tasks.

  • Building an Interface to Select One User Account from Many [VB | C#] - when we needed to select a user account in previous tutorials we used a drop-down list. While a drop-down list is sufficient if there are only a handful of user accounts, it becomes unusable when there are hundreds or thousands of users. This tutorial looks at building an interface to efficiently and easily select one user account from a large number of accounts.
  • Recovering and Changing Passwords [VB | C#] - shows how to use the PasswordRecovery and ChangePassword controls to allow users and administrators to recover lost passwords and change existing passwords.
  • Unlocking and Approving User Accounts [VB | C#] - as a security measure, if a user supplies an incorrect password too many times, they are locked out. Users may also be unapproved. In either case, they cannot login. This tutorial examines how these properties are set, how they can be modified by an administrator, and how the user's approved status can be utilized to prevent new users from logging in until some action has been completed (such as clicking a link in an email message or receiving approval from an administrator).

All tutorials are available in C# and VB versions, include a complete, working source code download, and are available to download as PDF. The next batch of tutorials examines creating administrative pages to manage user accounts.

Enjoy! - http://asp.net/learn/security/

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Boggle, Anyone?
01 April 08 02:35 PM | Scott Mitchell

My immediate and extended family enjoys playing games, and one of the favorites is Boggle. Boggle is a word game trademarked by Parker Brothers and Hasbro that involves several players trying to find as many words as they can in a 4x4 grid of letters. At the end of the game, players compare the words they found. During this comparison I've always wondered what words we may have missed. Was there some elusive 10-letter word that no one unearthed? Did we only discover 25 solutions when there were 200 or more?

To answer this question that plagues every completed Boggle game, I created a simple Boggle solver (using, of course, ASP.NET 3.5 and C#). Enter in the tiles in each of the 16 cells of the 4x4 grid, and the Boggle solver will spit out all solutions in the puzzle. You can give this toy project a run at http://scottonwriting.net/Boggle/.

I've also written an article on this fun little project on 4Guys: Creating an Online Boggle Solver.

Boggle Solver!

Article: http://aspnet.4guysfromrolla.com/articles/040208-1.aspx
Live demo: http://scottonwriting.net/Boggle/
Complete source code: http://aspnet.4guysfromrolla.com/code/BoggleSolver.zip

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