Delay's Blog is the blog of David Anson, a Microsoft developer who works with C#, XAML, HTML, and Azure.
A short while ago we made available the 10301 release of the AJAX Control Toolkit. With this release, we managed to add some great core functionality, a couple of new controls, and a bunch of bug fixes for popular issues (as identified by our user community in the support forum and online issue tracker).
The 10301 release includes two new controls:
We also managed to add three pieces of core functionality that users have been asking for:
And, with the help of our contributors, we fixed a bunch of bugs along the way...
We hope you like the new release!!
Recall that you can sample any of the controls right now (no install required). You can also browse the project web site, download the latest Toolkit, and start creating your own controls and/or contributing to the project!
If you have any feedback, please share it with us on the support forum (or email me)!
By default, the AJAX Control Toolkit's AutoComplete extender doesn't have a notion of "words" and will try to auto-complete whatever text is currently in the text box, treating what's there as a single "word". One request that has come up a few times was for the ability to auto-complete multiple words individually. According to the comments of that work item, it looks like someone's made a set of proposed changes to do just that! It's great to have such an involved user community!! (Please note: The work item comments suggest those changes don't work in all browsers.)
One thing I'd been meaning to do was write a quick sample of how to get reasonably good multiple-word auto-complete without making any modifications to the released AutoComplete extender. In other words, you can use the latest official Toolkit release (10301 in this case) and get some nice multi-word completion today. The key observation here is that the Web Service used to provide the list of candidate words has all the information it needs to do multi-word completion as well:
The complete code for the sample page is included below for anyone to look at or modify for their purposes. A few notes about the code:
Here's the complete ASPX file:
I've previously blogged about my data storage/backup strategy. Briefly, I've got one big drive in my home server that stores all the data my family cares about: mostly music, pictures, and videos (with a little bit of other stuff for good measure). To protect the data, I've got another equally big external drive that I connect occasionally and use for backups by simply mirroring the content of the internal drive.
As things stand today, the internal drive is 320GB and the external drive is 300GB, but I've hit the wall and am almost out of space to add new files. Looking at hard drive prices these days, the sweet spot (measured in $/GB) seems to be with 500GB drives at about $140 (PATA or SATA). Any smaller than that and the delta from 300GB isn't enough to be interesting - any larger than that and the cost really goes up.
I was already prepared to buy a new drive every year or so to allow for growth, so I was curious if getting a 500GB drive now would do the trick. I wrote a quick program to look at every file I backup and tally up the size according to the date the file was created. The C# program walks the whole directory tree, sums the sizes by date, and writes out a simple CSV file with the results. The idea here is to chart the rate at which I'm adding data in order to predict when I'd run out of space next. (Yes, it's easy to come up with more sophisticated heuristics, but this is really just a back-of-the-envelope calculation and doesn't need to be perfect to be meaningful.)
Last night I opened the CSV file in Excel and charted the data. The resulting chart looks like this:
The blue line represents the cumulative size of the data I had at each point in time (horizontal axis) measured in GB (vertical axis) - you can see that I'm just above 300GB today. The red line is Excel's exponential trend line for the same data - it matches the blue line almost perfectly, so it seems pretty safe to say that my data storage needs are increasing exponentially. I was kind of afraid of that, because it means the 500GB drives I've been considering are likely to fill up within the next 8 months!
Clearly, I need to be prepared to spend more on hard drives than I'd initially planned to - or else I'm going to need to significantly change how I do things. I've got some ideas I'm still considering, but charting this data was a good wake-up call that drive capacity isn't increasing as rapidly as I might like. :)
I think that data storage and backup are issues that will affect all of us pretty soon (if they're not already). Backing up to DVDs doesn't scale well once you need more than 10 or so DVDs, and backing up over the network just doesn't seem practical when you're talking about numbers this large. Even ignoring the need to backup, simply storing all the data you have is rapidly becoming an issue. With downloadable HD movie/TV content becoming popular, high megapixel still/video cameras being commonplace, and fast Internet connections becoming the norm, it seems to me that content is outpacing storage right now.
Here's hoping for a quantum leap in storage technology!
Updated on 2007/03/14: I've just posted the source code for the program I wrote to gather this data.
Yesterday I mentioned a quick C# program I wrote to help analyze storage space requirements. There was some interest in how that program worked, so I'm posting the complete source code for anyone to use.
Earlier today I presented two talks about the AJAX Control Toolkit at the ASP.NET Connections conference in Orlando, Florida: AMS305: ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit: See How to Take Advantage of the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit and AMS304: ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit Unleashed: Creating Rich Client-Side Controls and Components.
The content for these talks was based on stuff I've previously presented at TechReady4 in February and ASP.NET Connections in November of last year. However, this time around I was able to go into quite a bit more detail because I had over twice as much time to speak and do demos. The introductory AMS305 talk took the ImageFlix sample I've used before and expanded on it to demonstrate the Toolkit's new support for ASP.NET Skins/Themes and advanced animations followed by a quick walkthrough of what to do when things don't work like you'd expect (demonstrated here by adding a DropShadow to the popup panel). The more advanced AMS304 talk used an updated FontSize extender demonstration like the one that was demonstrated at the November ASP.NET Connections and included an overview of working with the Toolkit project, highlighting the automated testing framework and new localization support. Overall, there are about 15 completely new slides with fresh content, covering topics such as localization, automated testing, and more.
I've attached the slide decks and the demo content for both talks to this post so that anyone who's interested can have a look at the slides or play around with the demos.
I hope those of you who attended today enjoyed the talk and learned more about the Toolkit - it was great to have an opportunity to spend time with you!