Monday, May 30, 2011

CSS Rendering with IE 8 and IE 9

Well, despite all of the statements regarding the greater CSS rendering compatibility of Internet Explorer 8, I have found that to be not true.  Though the CSS rendering between IE 8 and other alternative browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome is not nearly as significant as it was in the past, it nevertheless differs.  I imagine this was because IE 8 had to support IE 7 backwards compatibility, thereby contributing to its continued CSS rendering flaws whereas IE 9 only supports IE 8 backwards compatibility. 

CSS styles which make heavy use of margins and padding are simply not treated the same as they are in these other browsers.  Therefore, to accommodate IE 8, you will nevertheless have to manage your CSS stylesheets based on which browser you are supporting.

However, on the bright side, IE 9 seems to provide a nearly comparable experience against alternative browsers.  When compared side by side against Mozilla Firefox 4.01, Google Chrome 11.0 and Opera 11.10, the CSS rendering of IE 9 only differed very slightly.  The overall layout and appearance remained roughly the same.

Unfortunately, since IE 9 was just recently released, you will not find the same widespread usage as with IE 8 which came shipped with Windows 7. 

So it looks like, at least for the time being, you will have to continue to modify your CSS stylesheets to accommodate the various browser platforms and add special handling for IE 8.  Never fear, though, there will eventually come a day when IE 9 will become the primary IE browser on the market and many of your CSS rending compatibility hassles will go away...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Viewing SharePoint Designer workflows in Source view/Xml view

If you ever need to duplicate a List-based workflow across multiple site collections, in all likelihood, you do not wish to re-create each workflow on each site collection completely from scratch using the User Interface Designer.

Fortunately, you can perform a copy/paste operation of the workflow on the individual site collections by accessing the source view for the workflow.

You can accomplish this through SharePoint Designer in the following manner:

  1. Open the Site you wish to access in SharePoint Designer
  2. Beneath Site Objects in the left hand navigation pane, click on All Files
  3. In the All Files view, click on the Workflows folder
  4. Find the name of the workflow you wish to view and click on the name
  5. You should now be able to view the various files associated with your workflow such as the .xoml and .xoml.wfconfig.xml files
  6. Click on the .xoml.wfconfig.xml file to open the SharePoint workflow in source code view
  7. Once the Workflow displays, you should see a section titled Customizations
  8. Beneath that heading, you should find a link for Edit File
  9. Click on that link to edit the file in xml view/source code view
  10. Now you can easily copy and paste the source code to your respective target site collection!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Alternatives to .Net Reflector

Now that Red Gate is no longer offering Reflector for free, you may think that you have to purchase a copy of Reflector now in order to be able to use it for examining and researching assemblies.  Personally, I use Reflector most heavily for examining assembly dependencies and looking at assembly attributes such as Signing Keys etc.

Fortunately, there are several alternatives. 

If you just simply need to use Reflector for a brief period of time, you can simply download the trial version of Red Gate Reflector from here:

If you want a free version, there are 2 alternatives from major vendors available now:

The 1st is from Telerik which now offers a tool in beta form called Telerik JustDecompile:

The 2nd alternative is from Jetbrains, the company that brought you Resharper and TeamCity:

So now, in regards to assembly decompilation, you can once again have your cake and eat it too!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Internet Explorer Gallery

The list of available Add-Ons in the form of Internet Explorer Accelerators and Search Providers has grown tremendously since the release of IE 9. 

You can search through the list of available IE Add-Ons through the Add-Ons Gallery here:

Displaying Images in Internet Explorer

While I was checking my GMail using IE 9, I noticed that I had no option to "Display images below" in my e-mail messages, however, this option displayed in all other browsers that I used.

Therefore, I did a bit of research and discovered that the following steps were required in order to be able to display images through GMail.  I actually found this article on Google's Support site for GMail (, but the detailed steps are below:
Internet Explorer users: Your browser settings may prevent images that are being sent through HTTP from being shown within messages.

You may need to adjust Internet Explorer's mixed content settings to view images sent through HTTP by following the steps below. Please note to be cautious of enabling displays of HTTP content, as some sites may have risky or malicious content that the browser setting is trying to protect you from.
  1. Access Internet Explorer's Tools menu.
  2. Select 'Internet Options' and click the 'Security' tab.
  3. Select 'Custom level.'
  4. In the 'Display mixed content' section, select the 'Prompt' radio button so you can make the choice on a case by case basis.  If you wish to display all images by default, select the 'Enable' radio button.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lesser Known MSBuild Properties

I was looking through the MSDN MSBuild Reference and I noticed that I could not find several built-in MSBuild properties that I was expecting to find.  In fact, I was only able to find these built-in MSBuild properties through using MSBuild Sidekick.  Since Visual Studio Intellisense does not assist with MSBuild properties, I thought I would list these properties here for anyone who may have a need for them in the future

The properties listed below are from using a sample MSBuild 4.0 project file:

  3. CommonProgramFiles
  4. CommonProgramW6432
  6. ComSpec
  14. OS
  21. ProgramData
  22. ProgramFiles
  23. ProgramW6432
  24. PSModulePath
  25. PUBLIC
  26. Registry
  28. SystemDrive
  29. SystemRoot
  30. TEMP
  31. TMP
  38. windir
  39. windows_tracing_flags
  40. windows_tracing_logfile
In addition, the following article provides some additional information on new Reserved Properties introduced with MSBuild 4:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Detecting Graphics Card Drivers

If you would like to figure out which NVidia Graphics Card you have installed without having to crack open the case and physically look at the Graphics Card, you can now use a free online scan tool from NVidia!

If you happen to have an Intel Graphics card, Intel has a similar utility for you:

After scanning your system, it will not only tell you the current driver that you have installed, but also recommend the latest up-to-date Graphics driver for your respective Graphics Card.  How sweet is that??