VistaDB 3.0 – Final release date announced!

Attention .NET, Compact Framework and Mono developers!

VistaDB 3.0 is now just 3 days away from official release!

A reminder that that you have until Feb 24th to take advantage of our pre-release offer and get $100 off VistaDB 3.0.

This is our last email announcement before final release.

Key features in VistaDB 3.0:

– Truly embedded SQL database for .NET, Compact Framework and Mono

– Small 600KB footprint

– 100% managed and verfiably typesafe architecture developed in C#

– Build ASP.NET, WinForms and Web Services applications

– SQL Server 2005 compatible data types and T-SQL syntax support

– Royalty free distribution!

Read more here:

Using Output Parameters With Enterprise Library 2.0

I couldn’t find a quick example when I was looking for one, so here’s mine.

First, create your stored procedure with an output parameter:

(@MyParameter varchar(50) OUTPUT)

And in your sproc, set your parameter to a value

set @MyParameter = scope_identity

Then, add an output parameter to your database command:

Dim _db As Database = DatabaseFactory.CreateDatabase
Dim _cmd As DbCommand = _db.GetStoredProcCommand(“MySproc”)
_db.AddOutParameter(_cmd, “@MyParameter”, DbType.Int32, 4)

Then, execute your stored procedure, and assign the parameter value to a variable (remember to DIM the variable)

_result = _db.GetParameterValue(_cmd, “@MyParameter”)


Web Application Settings in ASP.NET 2.0

My latest ASP Alliance article has been published:

ASP.NET 2.0 brought about a number of improvements in the way configuration settings are stored and accessed. Several new configuration sections have been added to the web.config schema, settings can be updated via code, and can be more easily encrypted and decrypted than before. In this article, Richard examines these new features with the help of code samples.

Read it at


EZWeb Quick Start

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably the IT manager for for family
and circle of friends.  The trick to being the IT manager for this group is
to maximize their benefit, while minimizing your own pain.  In such a role,
I needed something “simple and easy”, and one thing I checked out was Jeffrey
Palermo’s EZWeb

Installation was a snap–download
a ZIP from GotDotNet
, and extract the contents.  Create an IIS
virtual directory, drop the extracted files into the virtual dir, and grant the
ASPNET (or Network Service if Win2K3) user Modify permissions on the directory
(documentation says Full Control, but I haven’t had any problems with
Modify).  Once this is done, browse to your new virtual dir.

The first thing you’ll see is the welcome page below

Click the [sign in] link, and you’ll get the usual login box.  Log in
with the admin credentials (admin/ezweb, in case you didn’t read the welcome

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll see the menu has added some administrative

Your site consists of only the Home page right now.  To add a page,
click on the Manage Page link in the menu.  You’ll be taken to the Page

To create a new page, click the Add button in the “Children and Hyperlinks”
section.  You’ll be prompted to enter the title of the new page, and if the
page should open in the same window (Target = Self), or a new window
(Target=Blank); if you’re not using frames, the other options won’t matter.

Click the Update button to save the new page.  You’ll stay on the Page
Administration, but you’ll see your new page appear in the menu.

The page title will also appear in the browser’s title bar, as well as the
page title and breadcrumbs in the default skin.

If you click on the menu link to your new page, you’ll have management
options in your menu.

Clicking on the Edit Content link will open a rich text editor, where you can
enter the text to appear on the page.  You can add and format text in
Design mode, or switch to HTML mode to enter HTML code.  Switch modes by
using the tabs in the lower left corner.  When you’re done, click Save in
the lower right corner.

To add an image to your content, you’ll need to upload the images to your
website.  To add them one at a time, you an use the built in File Manager
tool.  The File Manager is right above the Editor, and is minimized by

Click on the Show link to expand the File Manager.

Click the Browse button to find the file you want to upload, then click the
Upload button.  If you’re uploading a file (such as an Excel spreadsheet),
it will be listed in the Files column.  Images, such as GIF or PNG, will be
listed in the Images column.  Note that JPG files are not supported, so
you’ll need to use GIF or PNG files.  After the upload, you’ll receive a
message that your file already exists on the server–I think that’s a bug right

To insert the image, right-click on the image’s file name, and choose Copy
Shortcut.  Then click the Image button in the text editor (looks like
mountains–) to open the Image Editor.  Paste the image path into Image
Source box, add some ALT text, set any other image parameters, and click OK.

You’ll be returned to the text editor, and your image will appear in the
editor window.  As before, when you’re done editing, click Save.

In this application, images, files and content don’t disappear.  For
each page, a new folder is created in the Images, Files and
FilePageConfigProvider directories.  Images and files are stored
accordingly, in the proper folders.

Page content is stored in XML files in the proper folders under

If the day comes where you need a new system, you can either cut and paste
your content out of the XML (provided you don’t have a zillion pages), or a
competent developer can write a widget to read every file and upload the content
into your new system.

Flash-based Photo Gallery

Another little gallery app I used recently is ThumbGallery from FlashRelief.  It’s $20, but that’s really cheap considering how nice this gallery is.  You don’t need Flash at all–they provide you with a pre-compiled Flash control which you embed into a web page, and you configure the whole thing with a simple XML file.  Downside is having to make both a thumbnail and full size image yourself, which can get tedious if you have a lot.

We used this recently on our prom corsage and boutonniere gallery at

Still Getting Mileage From nGallery

nGallery was a great application on its own, but Community Server is just far too much overhead when all you need is a simple gallery app.  Even though it haven’t been updated in a while, nGallery is still one of the better gallery apps out there.  After quite a bit of template tweaking, I have very customized gallery up at  The template seems difficult at first, but after fooling around with it for a little bit, it’s actually quite easy.  You need either a great mind’s eye, or you need to use the refresh button liberally as you tweak, and very liberal use of source control for the different template bits is highly recommended.  “I told you so”, in advance, for those who don’t.

BTW – CleanTown USA is Pittsburgh’s favorite car wash and interior detail center.  Find them online at  Shameless plug, but the marketing coordinator threatened to cut off my supply of free Mountain Dew if I didn’t say it.  I hope you understand.