Version Control via FTP

A few years ago, I was looking for a version control system that would be easy to implement and not cost a fortune.  I was splitting my time between my laptop and my desktop, and was always forgetting my thumb drive somewhere else.  I did not have a separate NAS device at the time, so that was out of the question.  I was paying for shared hosting, and was greatly underutilizing my disk space allotment.

Enter FtpVC, a version control system that works via FTP.  It was perfect for my needs!  I installed the client on both machines, configured it to use a folder on my hosting account, and got back to work.  Setup was very easy, and the shared hosting space was accessible to either machine, and offsite.  At $50, it was not a budget breaker, either.  All the usual version control features are there, including history and comparisons.  If you’re a lone ranger picking up the odd client job, or a small development shop, FtpVC could be a great solution for you.

There’s a new version out, and their announcement e-mail reminded me I should blog about it.  No relation other than happy customer.  As a matter of fact, I’ve since moved on to another solution, but I still recommend FtpVC as a lightweight and inexpensive way to get into version control. Launches

Shiny new thing to eat up bandwidth!

I’m a solo developer in a corporate environment, so I’m really on my own to learn new things.  As good as blogs and books are, there’s sometimes no substitute for being shown how.  That’s why Microsoft highlights so many videos on its site.  ASP Alliance also has a growing library of videos.

Enter onto this list one more site–  Right now there are around 100 videos on a great number of topics.  Apparently there are a couple hundred more in the pipeline.  And, if you sign up now, you get 6 months of ASP.NET Pro magazine for free.  That alone is worth the sign-up.  ASP.NET Pro is one of my favorite trade mags (I have an online subscription, and have for several years).

When you’re Googling for info on whatever you’re working on, don’t forget to check out this site, too, and see if someone is showing you how it’s done.

Full disclosure: I was asked to say something about the new site, and I usually ignore such requests.  But after checking it it, it’s one I’ll be spending some time on, and recommending to others.

(edit – fixed links)

Ankh Subversion Plugin for Visual Studio Final Release

The flippin’ awesome Ankh Subversion plug-in for Visual Studio has its 1.0 Final release the other day.  Official post at!E99F8B43533149B0!221.entry.  Download from, you want the 2727-Final build (list isn’t in order).

Congrats and thanks to Arild for a great tool.

(hat tip: Daily Grind 1064)

Just Arrived – Microsoft Visual Studio 2005: Unleashed

VS 2005 Unleashed

After a couple of publishing delays, I received my copy of Visual Studio 2005: Unleashed a week or so ago (ordered for Christmas 2005).  The first thing you notice when you pick up this book is that it’s GINORMOUS.  No joke—832 pages of VS 2005 goodness.

I’m not done with it yet—not by any stretch of the imagination.  That would require a diet much higher in fiber.  But, like all books in the Unleashed series, this one is well written, with copious code samples and illustrations.

Code samples, you ask?  Oh yes, there are some.  Aside from the chapter on language enhancements in C# and VB.NET, there are examples for creating your own code snippets, writing Visual Studio 2005 add-ins, and creating templates you can share with the community.  How-to’s are illustrated with screenshots.

Informaion I’m eager to dig into includes refactoring, unit testing and managing databases via VS 2005.  I’ll have a more formal review once I reach the end.

Use Web Deployment Projects To Replace Web.config Sections

In a comment to my Web
Application Settings in ASP.NET 2.0
article, I was asked about overriding
default web.config values by replacing external files using the file attribute,
as he could in .NET 1.1.  The web.config has several new sections, and none
support the ‘file’ attribute–instead, the configSource is used.  This
wasn’t so satisfactory to the commenter, so I recommended MS Build for the

Over the weekend, I worked a little with Web
Deployment Projects
, and there is functionality to replace web.config
sections built in to the tool.  You could create several different build
configurations–Debug (Dev), Debug (Test), Release (Test), Release (Prod) for
your web application.  Then, create a different deployment project for each
build config, and specify different SMTP or connection strings as
necessary.  This is probably where the commenter wanted to go, but I found
this out a little too late.  Hope it helps someone else down the road,

My Programming Mantra

I read a variety of technical blogs.  Some are agile, some are
pragmatic, while others are iffy, lazy, angry or corporate.  Most of them
have extensively documented approaches to programming, and zealots of each
approach engange in long blog battles over why they’re right and everybody
else is an idiot.  I don’t really have a name for my approach, but my
entire programming philosophy can be boiled down to a single mantra:

I will not write a Daily

This is what I repeat to myself everytime I open Visual Studio or Enterprise
Manager (“Enterprise Damager” as my network buddy Brad calls it).  I like
it because there’s no rational counterpoint.  No matter how many specs I
have, nor how many meetings I’ve endured, in the end, it all comes down to my
mind and its control over 8-10 of my fingers (I’m not a very good typist, so
sometimes I only use 6 fingers).

VS 2005 Speaks the Truth

When you have VS 2005 generate a strongly-typed dataset for you, it also adds
some comments as to the date and time of generation, as well as who generated
the code.  Here’s one line of these comments (you’ll find this at the top
of MyFile.Designer.vb):

‘    This code
was generated by a tool.

Sometimes, truer words were never spoken…

ASP Alliance Article: Getting Started with the Club Site Starter Kit

My latest ASP Alliance article has been
published, titled Getting Started with the
Club Site Starter Kit

Since the release of ASP.NET 2.0, several starter
kits have been released as examples of programming practices. These kits are
also good starting points for actual websites and can be valuable to novice
webmasters. This article will demonstrate how to download and install the Club
Site Starter Kit, configure a different database to prepare for a production
site and change the appearance by modifying the master

There is one correction to the article–Listing 4 is incorrect. 
The MasterPage filename in Figure 20 should be “caddyshack.master”, and Listing
4 should then read:

<%@ Page Language=”VB” MasterPageFile=”~/caddyshack.master”
Title=”Untitled Page” %>

Find the full article at