. Topicala Page Index Token

A Journal about the experiences I have developing little applications in C#, Perl, Html and Javascript and talking about things new things that I use. Always Geeky; Always Nerdy; Always poor Grammer!

I am a Software Analyst Developer working in Southport, England but living in Liverpool. I develop mainly in C# and ASP.Net. I have been developing comercial software for several years now. I maintain this site (hosted at SwitchMedia UK) as a way of exploring new technologies (such as AJAX) and just generally talking about techie geek issues. This site is developed through a host of Perl scripts and a liberal use of Javascript. I enjoy experimenting with new technologies and anything that I make I host here.

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Web www.kinlan.co.uk

Friday, May 26, 2006

I wish I could easily move away from blogger

No significant updates to functionality, incosistent abilty to publish pages, little flexibilty. I really wouldn't recommend blogger.com to anyone.

Some things about XLinq

I have been playing around with XLinq in C# 3.0, and I must say I am not that fulfilled by the querying aspects of the API.

I must say this right now, I have not explored its potential fully, and I am definatly not an expert on the subject but I was hoping for something more. For instance, my biggest gripe at the moment is that it has an "in-memory" query language (unless I am mistaken) which means that the XML document has to be fully loaded into memory.

I don't have the code I was using in hand at the moment, but I wanted to load a 900MB XML file to do some simple processing on it. I had the code ready to itterate accross the XML document and do a simple select on the data fields that I wanted and it would return a List<> of the correct objects (this part seemed cool). I ran out of memory though :( I did the same thing with a normal XML Reader in just the same time it took me to create the SELECT statement (admitadly I had to learn about XLinq) and it was soooooo much quicker and the memory footprint was a lot smaller. It just struck me that using XLinq was an overkill, it didn't offer me anything extra for this simple task and it had to load the whole document into memory. I would like to see an XLinq that didn't have to load the whole document but could SAX push or XmlReader pull the data as it scanned through the document. I am pretty sure (after I thought about it) that this would be achieve able quite easily on Microsofts part, because I presume (and I am only presuming) that the XLinq has to forward scan and depth traverse through the DOM that it would be like scanning through the document with an XMLReader, after all the way the .Select arguments are ordered is pretty intuative to that sort of scanning. Other operations such as grouping could be done one the array of filtered objects has been brought back. This way he document would not have to be completly loaded into memory first and only a subset of the data would be loaded.

Maybe XLinq can do this already. I am definatly not seeing how, but I know I can miss things. It just seems that it will be okay at the small things, but after a certain size document it loses its appeal.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

C# 3.0

I have just a comment in a really old post :) about C# 3.0

Functional programming is for the academia and not from the industry and should be left as such.

Amen.


At first read of the comment, i seem to agree whole heartedl. However, I have had a little time to think about the statement. C# 3.0 isn't functional programming, it takes some aspects from academia and puts them into a context where it can be used in industrin and business.

Now I am not saying a understand C# 3.0, functional programming or LINQ very well, but some of the test that I have done have made what I am doing quite clear and presentable. Now anyone new to the language might find it hard to read my tests initially but I belive it is not to hard to learn the simple things.

There are still some problems with my understanding and I still belive that the Generic Delegate syntax is hard to read :) and I also find it hard to translate the "sql" syntax to the object syntax. Ah well, more learning for me :)

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Sky+

We've just had Sky+ installed here at home. I must say it is pretty cool. Set it up to record my programs :) Star Gate SG1, Simpsons :)

It is the toshiba 80GB box and it has 2 USB ports on it, however I hear that you can't do anything with it :( ah well.

If anyone has any cool info about Sky+ let me know :)
paul.kinlan@gmail.com

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Topicala now has its own Blog!

I have just launched a blog on topicala.com @ http://www.topicala.com/blog check it out for all news about my aggregating search engine :)
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Thursday, May 18, 2006

A new .Net Blogger

A Friend (Paul Pierce) of mine has launched a new blog it will contian plenty of stuff, but he said he will be talking about .Net a bit. His second post contains info about how to use NMock 2.

I think it reads really well and is better than my blog, but I could always just be fishing for praise :)

Anyway, check it out if you get chance. http://www.paulpierce.co.uk

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

C# 3.0 and XLinq

I have just been playing around a little with C#3.0 with XLinq trying to see how easy it would be to parse a simple xml document and create a list of strongly type objects out.

I had fun doing this and I will show you what I was doing so that you can either:
a) learn a little of what I learnt
b) tell me where I am going wrong, i.e, if there is a simpler method.

The XML file I am trying to parse is the MusizMox Style XML Document http://musicmoz.org/xml/musicmoz.lists.styles.xml:

<musicmoz>
<style>
<name>A Cappella</name>
<category>Styles/Vocal/A_Cappella</category>
</style>
<style>
<name>Acadian</name>
<category>Styles/World/Cajun/Acadian</category>
</style>
...
...

And I want to produce a List of Name and Categories.

First I created a class as follows:
public class TagCategory
{
public string Name
{
get{return name;}
set{name = value;}
}

public string Category
{
get{return category;}
set{category = value;}
}

private string name;
private string category;
}

This is just a really simple class that holds the tag name and the category of the style.

Now comes the interesting part. The C#3.0 bit. I used XLinq with this, it is only a couple of lines, but it seems to be pretty cool.

Firtly I need to load the XML file, which is simple enough:
XDocument xdoc = XDocument.Load("musicmoz.lists.styles.xml");
XElement root = xdoc.Element("musicmoz");

Now that it is loaded I simple declare a List and run some XLinq as follows:

List t = new List(
root.Elements("style")
.Select(
a => new TagCategory{ Name = a.Element("name").Value,
Category = a.Element("category").Value}
)
);

What I can tell is happening is that we are looking at the root element and pulling back all the "style" elements, then for each element Select all of them but return a new TagCategory using object initilaizers for the Name and the Category class properties.

Clear as mud! :)

Any questions let me know and I will try and answer them :) paul.kinlan@gmail.com

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Topicala OPML Results are LAUNCHED!

Following on from yesterday about my http://www.Topicala.com topical result aggregating engine being launched, I have now added OPML output of results. Therefore everything that you see on the screen is now also output as OPML. Cool!! :)

Let me know what you think:
paul.kinlan@gmail.com

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Topicala Is LAUNCHED!

I might as well anounce the first of the major projects I have been developing in my spare time.

Topicala (http://www.topicala.com/): A Topical search aggregator.

Enter a Topic, and see all the related information about that topic.

It is still a work in progress but it is nearly finished, some bug fixes and also OPML output is needed, but that won't take long.

So feel free and have a play (some example searches):
http://www.topicala.com/tag/Kinlan
http://www.topicala.com/tag/msdn
http://www.topicala.com/tag/opml
http://www.topicala.com/tag/rss
http://www.topicala.com/tag/atom

Let me know what you think as feedback is very important.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google Calander Mashup with BBC Programme Listing API

I have developed a little program that converts a BBC Listing into an iCal format file.

Simply put the keyword of the programs you want to be alerted for at the end of the following url "http://www.kinlan.co.uk/bbc/" and it will return a calendar iCal file with the events for the related programs over the next week.

Examples are:
http://www.kinlan.co.uk/bbc/breakfast
http://www.kinlan.co.uk/bbc/top%20gear
http://www.kinlan.co.uk/bbc/ross

You can use this url in your Google Calendar (http://calendar.google.com) by simply clicking on the manage calendar link, then on "Add calendar" link in the other calendars section; Select the "Public Calendar Address" tab and then enter the url that you want to subscribe too.

I will be working on it more, but with this file you can link it to your Google Calendar account so that you can see when BBC programs will be on TV, it also imports into MS Outlook.

Let me know of any suggestions :) and problems
paul.kinlan@gmail.com

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Updates

I have not had a lot of time to update this blog recently. I have been working on a couple of side projects. One of which is one I hope to get released this week. Another is a .Net hosted site to host examples that I do on this blog.

The .Net hosted site is behind schedule and probably won't see the light of day for another couple of weeks, but I aim to use it as a guide to help people use .Net 2.0 and ASP.Net 2.0 (as well as helping myself learn more about it). I intend to host controls that I create on there too and maybe some simple tutorials.

I will let you know about the former project soon. But be aware I have fallen for the FIELDSET tag in HTML, I don't know how I lived without it!!! :)

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