If anything can drive this Irishman into a fit of cursing, it's the need to create a regular expression quickly. With a little application, I know I could learn to create them myself but I figured some time back that the frequency with which I use them would not equate to the time invested in the study. So, I either have to rely on ones that I have, and can never locate, or turn to a good tool.

Well, I was reading Professional ASP.NET 3.5 in C# and VB by Scott Hansleman and others recently when I saw mention of a Regular Expression Editor in VS 2008. This was news to me! Then I noticed a regular expression facility in the Find and Replace tool (CTRL-F); how long has that one been around? Anyway, it was just what I needed for some basic regex's for email and phone numbers.

VS 2008 Regular Expression Editor

 

The only problem is trying to find the thing... they couldn't have hid it better if they tried. First, you have to be in design view to begin to locate it. Do people actually use design view? Then you have to refer to the control's properties window and click on the button next to the ValidationExpression property to launch the editor. Obvious, huh? :-|

VS 2008 Regular Expression Editor

 

Granted, it's pretty basic but if you're in a hurry this will save you some Googling time! I wonder is it possible to extend this tool to add in one's own custom regex's for reuse?

One more thing: Scott's book is a great reference with over 1600 pages of info. I have only two gripes about it: 1) If you read it in bed you'll need a hoist to avoid the hernia, and 2) The entire book is based on the Web Site template. What were they thinking of?

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RIA Scott Guthrie has just announced that Microsoft is going to include the JQuery JavaScript library as part of Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and the free Visual Web Developer 2008 Express SP1. JQuery is has quickly become the most popular JavaScript library out there, despite the competition and weighs in at only 15KB.

On the face of it, this is an unprecedented move by Microsoft. Nobody would have even dreamed of seeing an open source project being adopted by the Big M... exciting times! They are going to make it an integral part of their own framework and build upon it in the shape of controls for the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit and new Ajax server-side helper methods for ASP.NET MVC.

My achilles heel as a developer has always been my limited knowledge of JavaScript but I recently took steps to immerse myself in it. Having JQuery to build upon is like getting Christmas early and should provide some great fun and excitement over the coming few years as we start to construct richer and more creative Web experiences.

Some JQuery Resources:

    * 10 Smart JavaScript Techniques
    * 10 Useful JQuery Plugins
    * Comparing Popular JavaScript/AJAX Frameworks
    * JQuery Documentation
    * JQuery Selectors Reference Card (PDF)

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I've covered the setting up of a SharePoint development machine in the past but I thought I might just add a few notes on setting it up on the new Windows Server 2008.

The main difference you'll notice is in the configuration of IIS7. You will need to enable the correct set of features before installing anthing else. You will install the tools in a specific order. The VM I built is a Workgroup machine for development and learning at home, so I can get away with using my MACHINENAME\Administrator account for everything. I am using VMWare Workstation version 6. I use NAT to access the Internet via my host machine.

SharePoint Server 2007 on IIS7

When installing SQL Server 2005, you can ignore VS 2005-related compatibility errors. However, there is one serious gotcha: you must install the KB 950636 hotfix before installing SQL Server 2005 (only applies to Web Server Edition). If you do not do this, the install will not work on Windows Server 2008. For more details, check Bill Staples' IIS blog.

I created a base VM with just the OS and latest patches. I configured IIS7 and relaxed the browser security settings. I set a maximum size for the VM to grow to dynamically and configured it in 2GB chunks. Then I defragged and ran the VMWare shrink.

At this point, I created a full clone on which I installed the following, in this order:

KB 950636
* SQL Server 2005
* SQL Server 2005 SP2
* Windows Updates
* VS 2008
* Windows Updates
* Office 2007 Enterprise
* Windows Updates

Finally, install SharePoint Server 2007 with SP1 and you should be good to go :-)

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