Dynamsoft Releases the World’s First Hosted SCM Solution!

I’m sure Rally Software or Axosoft might beg to differ about the "world’s first" claim, but there’s another contender in the SCM/Hosted SCM arena:

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Dynamsoft SCM Anywhere Hosted, the world’s first hosted Software Configuration Management solution.

With integrated version control, issue tracking & build automation, SCM Anywhere Hosted is specifically designed for teams looking for an integrated Software as a Service (SaaS) solution to manage the entire software development life cycle.

With SCM Anywhere Hosted, development teams can achieve great benefit from the simplified IT infrastructure, the lowered cost of ownership, the high availability with anywhere/anytime access, the uncompromised security, and also the excellence of other features.

For more information about SCM Anywhere, please visit:
A 10-minute introduction video can be found at:

Features of note are CruiseControl.NET and ANT integration (even in the hosted version), source control with SourceAnywhere, and three users free (hosted; installed=1 user).

I’ve used Dynamsoft SourceAnywhere for a while now, and it’s really nice.  The Visual Studio integration is almost perfect, and the workflows are up to part with Subversion.  If the SCM compares to SA, expect good things.

DotNetKicks Image

SSIS Error: [DTS.Pipeline] Error: component “” (1) failed the pre-execute phase and returned error code 0xC0010001.

I was working in an SSIS package recently, and kept getting the following error:

[DTS.Pipeline] Error: component “<taskname>” (1) failed the pre-execute phase and returned error code 0xC0010001.

Pretty non-descriptive.  This source is using a parameterized query in an OLE DB source.  The problem was I had forgotten to set the parameter’s value to a package variable.  So if you’re getting this error, check your query’s variables.

PHP and Yahoo Store

In my previous post regarding getting started with Yahoo store, I remarked that PHP seemed to be the direction Yahoo was moving its store.  If that’s the case, they’re pretty mum on the subject.  I asked YS support the following question:

I’m starting to set up my site, and I see so much documentation on generating HTML pages and inserting store tags, which pretty much means I need to create a page for each item in my catalog (unless I use RTML templates).  There is very little on PHP, but apparently I can’t use PHP and Store Tags.  Is that a problem?  Is is possible to create a database driven cart using PHP and, rather than store tags, the HTML output of the store tags, changing the proper variables (such as the category or item)?  I’m an experienced web developer, so this is a pretty basic concept for me, but there just isn’t a lot of information to go on.

This was their reply:

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Small Business Support.  I understand you are having trouble with store tags and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.  You can use php pages and use store tags on that.But there is a small problem.When you use store tag on php page you cant directly put store tag on to php page.Instead create an item page with an extention .html and use store tags on that.Use IFRAME tag to bring that item page to php page.If you put store tag directly to php code there will be rendering
issues.  I am putting a sample skeleton of the code below

<IFRAME src="itempage.html"></IFRAME>

Please use the below help link for store tags http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/smallbusiness/store/tags/.  You can use your custom php scripts to create custom shopping cart.  But if you do that , you cant take advantage of shipping,payment option etc that is been provided by Yahoo! Merchant Solution plan.You dont need to be in Yahoo! Merchant Solution if you want to use custom PHP scripts and
create custom shopping cart.You can downgrade your plan to Yahoo! Web Hosting if you want to create custom shopping cart using php scripts. If you want to utilize tools provided by Merchant Solution you will have to
use Yahoo!’s Check out.

So, long story short–there really isn’t a way to develop a truly dynamic cart on a Yahoo! Store.  The best you can do is RTML templates, which do allow for a good deal of functionality.  But not a truly dynamic cart.

DotNetKicks Image

The Frustrating World of Dell Driver Downloads

I like Dell hardware.  Between home and business, we own 7.  My brother's laptop is here for some work, and Dell once again proved why its the company people hate to love.  Harware good, support not so much. It's been over an hour and I'm not sure if I have all the drivers I need, or even how to install them.

I don't know if they never had a drivers CD, or they forgot to send it, but it's not here.  This is an older laptop, and Inspiron 600m, and apparently not everything is plugh-and-play, or XP failed to recognize the hardware.  Whatever, I need to go find some drivers.  Should be easy–just go to Dell's site, download the divers I need, install, and good to go.

Simply finding the drivers proved to be the first challenge.  I can look them up by service tag, but that takes me to a page with drivers for every possible configuration, not the specific drivers.  If I log in to my account and look it up by service tag, I can see exactly what was installed.  I now have to cross reference one list to another.  A better idea is that I'd enter the service tag and be shown only the drivers I actually need.

Selecting the drivers was an even bigger challenge.  You can download them one at a time, or you can add them to a download list and download them all at once.  Good idea in theory, but the javascript was so poorly written that I somehow ended up with 4 partial lists.  Once yo've built your list (or partial list), you go to another page to confirm the downloads and uncheck any you don't need, then choose ZIP or TA, then download the file.  Not so bad, but why can't I have the checkboxes and format on the previous page?

Dell recommends installing in a particular order, and they have a handy page you can print.  Great, until you open the ZIP you just downloaded.  All the contained drivers have names like R113575.EXE and R56673.EXE.  OK, which one goes first?  This will be fun.

In an ideal world, this would have been about a 5 minute operation.  Log in, select system by service tag, then download all relevant drivers.  The filenames would clearly indicate what they are, or even the install order.  Here's hoping for some improvement on supporting the older machines. Experiencing this makes me wonder how support will be for our other PCs when they need it.

Silverlight Firestarter in Pittsburgh

I wish I wasn’t going to be out of town this weekend!  Ugh–looks awesome!

Full details and registration at http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032402422

Saturday, February 28, 2009 8:00 AM – Saturday, February 28, 2009 5:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Welcome Time: 8:00 AM

Pittsburgh MPR

30 Isabella Street
2nd Floor Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 15212
United States

  Title Description
Session 1 Keynote Intro and overview of the Silverlight 2 platform.
Session 2 XAML Basics What is this funny mark-up language?
Session 3 The Tools Get the skinny on what you need to start your work.  A look at designer & developer tools that work together.  Coverage of Expression Blend 2.5 & Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008
Session 4 Controls, Data Binding Silverlight 1 was just a tease. Now see what you can do with real controls, styles, and rich data binding.
Session 5 Server Communication Silverlight 2 is a rich Internet application platform. So how do you talk back to the cloud?  Coverage of all the communication options.  WCF/Astoria/REST/POX/AJAX/etc.
Session 6 Silverlight and SharePoint
DotNetKicks Image

Getting Started with Yahoo Store

Yahoo! Store has come a long way in the past several years.  When we were bringing our wedding accessories site online in 2004, we looked at Yahoo! Store, and felt the costs were too high, and features too few, to use them.  So we went with Lagarde Storefront.  The features were good, but the code left a lot to be desired.

It’s time for an upgrade and a redesign, and we evaluated YS again with several other packages.  In terms of hosting cost, features, ease of setup and use, the YS will be our new platform.

Yahoo! Stores are really divided into two functions, which I’ll call "catalog" and "cart".  The distinction is important because you have complete control over catalog, but you can only skin the cart to a limited extent.  The cart functions (including SSL) are provided by Yahoo as a single resource shared amongst all merchants, which is nice because you don’t have to worry about payment integrations, etc.

Yahoo! Stores traditionally use static HTML pages for their catalog, and they have several ways you can develop these pages.  The simplest is with their wizard, which binds you to a few template and color choices, but gets you online quickly.  YS also has a SiteBuilder tool, which has even more templates and is more customizable, and ties right into your catalog so you can generate and upload the pages directly.  They recommend this tool for around 100 items or less, so that won’t work for us (plus, we want a very custom look).

You can use Dreamweaver, FrontPage, Expression Web or even Notepad to generate your own catalog top to bottom, but this is very time consuming since you need to generate a page for every item, and manually paste in little snippets that the store uses at load time to place the content on the page.  Dreamweaver has a plug in to generate these snippets, but other tools will require a cut and paste from the YS store manager.  This would be a total pain, but could be improved with a code generation tool if your database is available outside your store.

For automatic page generation in larger catalogs, YS supports a vaguely documented templating language called RTML, which when your site is "published" regenerates all static HTML pages.  All editing of RTML is done online, using YS’s site tools.  In their help files, YS claims to be committed to RTML, but they don’t offer support or documentation for the language.  It seems to be a legacy tool for YS, supported because of a large installation base and vibrant RTML ecosystem of developers.  A couple of dev shops offer e-book references, and in most cases if you outsource development, the results will be RTML templates.  It’s actually a pretty cool language (I bought one of the e-books), and there is some pretty amazing work being done with RTML, but I have an issue with static HTML catalog pages.

For a truly dynamic catalog, YS offers PHP/MySQL support.  Even the Amish know what this is, and Microsoft Expression Web 2 offers full PHP support built in.  Yahoo! makes the documentation and references for this option more visible than RTML, so it seems like this is the direction they’re trying to nudge their stores.  For me, this seems like the best option, even though I don’t know PHP.

  Static HTML DB Driven
Speed/Performance Usually a little faster and lighter on the CPU; in most cases, negligible difference Usually a tad slower and a little more CPU; in most cases, negligible difference
Timely updates Need to regenerate every catalog page to update one item Instant, since details are pulled from the database each time the page loads.
Suitable for Carts that don’t change very often Dynamic carts with defined inventory levels or impromptu specials
Pain/Tedium factor Very painful and tedious for large catalogs, although greatly alleviated if you learn RTML (which involves some pain on its own).  Not to mention regenerating the site when visitors are browsing might cause some issues. A little painful to learn a new language if you don’t know PHP/MySQL, but no maintenance required once your site is programmed.
Choice Nope! Winner!  If I’m going to learn something new, it’s something that will make my life easier.
DotNetKicks Image