Visual Studio Lost Toolbox

Every once in a while I lose my toolbox. I am the king of copy and past, saving scriplets and reusing the template of a code piece so I do not have to remember or need to retype stuff I use over and over again. I typically have 20-30 recenly and useful scripts that make my life easier.

I lose this “Toolbox” at least 3-4 times a year. it is not just vs 2013, it’s been going on for some time. the file get’s reset and voila, a clean toolbox. Shit. There is no backup made by VS – you need to manually do this yourself. You also to remember to back them up. The file you need is located at:

C:\Users\[Your_user_name]\Documents\Visual Studio 2013\Settings\CurrentSettings.vssettings

Copy it asap and save it for later. Wen your toolbox disappears, close VS and just delete the CurrentSettings.vssettings and rename your saved one back to this name. Open VS back up and there it is.

Save often, especially after some great code piece updates. hope this helps others.

What value does a URL have

If you’ve been in the web and website business for as long as I have, or if you’ve ever come up with a great product idea, or company name, only to find out your .com domain name is taken, you are not alone. It is down right depressing in many instances because more often than not it is not a real website, not a legit company, not a great product, but a cyber squatter.

A val;uable URL

A Valuable URL?

Many companies have been built on cyber squatting, and many businesses operate right now buying and selling URLs. They grab then when they expire, or they registered a bunch a long time ago because they thought someone in the future might want them and might pay a premium for them.

I have been party to a purchase of a domain name that was 4 figures (over $3000 – it was and is a great domain) and I have owned a few domains where people were looking to purchase from me (I did not sell).

A great find…

What is the true value of a great URL?

Well the top URLs that sold (which is a great indicator of value) starts with Sex.com for $13M and Hotels.com for $11M. Porn.com was number 4 at $9.5M from a listing of the ‘all time biggest URL sales’.

A notable one (non-smut related) is fb.com which was actually number 5 at $8.5M. I bet someone right now probably feels like they could have got a bit more out of facebook for the url?  But hey, not bad for a $15.00 investment.

Sometimes the value is in the name, like google or yahoo, which meant nothing before the company started but now a re mega-valued properties toed to the company’s value. Others are generic terms like the above hotels.com – great name for sure. But what about the rest of us?

What happened to us, is typical. When we re-branded our training company and found that training.com (owned by NIIT Ltd.) was already taken. We had to go back to the whois drawing board.

We actually tried to do one a little better, because the company name is Think Training, well guess what – ThinkTraining.com is also taken. Doh!

We ended up changing our name to Think Business Training. The URL was available www.thinkbusinesstraining.com and our Canadian version www.thinktraining.ca of a website is doing us proud, but was not our first choice, not our second choice, alas. But what about a really great URL?  Why cant we all have a great one?

Maybe we can…you just have to look a little farther afield. Please drop us a line and tell us your opinion on this topic. I would love to hear your story.

Forms Authentication

asp-net-logoAs a self taught programmer (MS VB for me pls.) every once in a while I come across a technology late that would simplify my application development immensely.  While the MS site (MSDN, etc.) always makes things way too complicated for my simple programming skills, there is usually a blog, or post that simplifies things so someone like me can implement it simply and successfully.

For me the post here on forms authentication got me started in the right direction. While you still need to know what it does, and how it works, with a few simple code pieces you can have your whole application secured by the .net infrastructure.

Entity Framework 5.0 for VB.Net – Good enough for me

Our soon to be open source CRM versino 5 is using the Entity Framework 5.0 for data connection. It is FAST, easy to wire up and has some amazing time saving features.  I have yet to find a data/webUI need yet that I cannot do with EF5 and MSSQL.  I am using more stored procs than ever, but the elegance of calling them with EF5 makes them a treat to use.  I used to not appreciate them, as I could do a lot in code, and never really ran out of or needed more resources.

Here  is a Step-By-Step of how I start my projects with VS2012/13 and EF5.

Part I

In VS >>File >> New Website -VB Template and an ASP.Net Empty Website

Choose and appropriate location to start (filesystem) – I like to have my sites start at D:\clients\<Client or Project Name>\wwwRoot\

start hereThis is a blank site so add an Images folder and a Data folder, and a default.aspx file to get started. In between the Div tags add “Hello World!” then hit F5 to see if the app compiles and runs.

You should see a localhost website run in your default browser with the words Hello World! in the top left.

If all is OK, proceed.

Part II

In VS >>Tools >> Library Package Manager >> Package Manager Console
Run >> install-package entityframework -version 5.0.0.0

If ok proceed.

Part III

This part makes the assumption you have a database ready to do some work in. If not please refer to my other tutorials to create the basic CRM application repository (MS SQL for me).

Right Click on the DATA folder >> Add >> Add New Item (CTRL-Shift-A) data

Choose ADO.Net Entity Data Model >> give it a useful name (CRM.edmx)

>> Generate From Database, then next

crmEntityCreate a new connection to your local (or web hosted) server, save the Connection String to the Database, and give the the entity connection a useful name such as crmEntites.

tables

Choose the tables you wish to connect to.  Give the model name a useful name: crmModel is what I use.

Simple Yet Elegant CRM

I started a new version of our own in-house CRM for Think Business Training and ITO Hosting using Visual Studio 2012/2013 and MS Azure cloud services, MS SQL 2012 and Visual Basic ASP.Net 4.5 focusing and using the Entity Framework 5.0.

We choose EF 5.0 because of it’s ability to use the visual tools when designing webpages with data connections, Saving us countless hours by easily dragging and dropping an EntityDataSource on a new webpage and choosing the connection, and wiring up a Details view or a GridView.

We purchased a skin to make it look pretty and it included some great functional design elements that make it look more professional than most of the commercial CRMs on the market.

We are now poised, after 3 or 4 implementations to take it to the world. I am going to chronicle our endeavor and the adventures we are on here in both business terms and technical terms.