Archive

Archive for June, 2010

Cappuccino – Open Source Javascript Framework

While searching for online tools for web site prototype and mock-ups, we came across a very good and free online tool “mockingbird”.

“mockingbird is an online tool that makes it easy for you to create, link together, preview, and share mockups of your website or application.” – http://gomockingbird.com

Mocking bird is built using HTML and Java-script, you can give it a try to observe the rich interactivity. mockingbird is developed using open source framework “Cappuccino”.

“Cappuccino is an open source framework that makes it easy to build desktop-caliber applications that run in a web browser.” http://cappuccino.org/

You can further learn about Cappuccino at http://cappuccino.org/learn/

Categories: Javascript Tags: ,

Dev Watch – DotNetNuke Skinning

Categories: DotNetNuke Tags:

Dev Watch – jNiceIt

jNiceIt – jQuery plugin to customize design of textboxes, radiobuttons, checkboxes, and more! (ajaxBlender.com)

jNiceIt is a jQuery plugin which allows you to customize generic form controls and apply your customized design to them. You may use this plugin to emulate MS Windows, Linux or Apple MacOS controls or your own unique style.
Design of each control can be fully customized via CSS. The plugin supports both fixed and fluid page layouts because it does not use absolute positioning of skinned controls like most jNiceIt alternatives do.

Reference URLs:

Categories: CSS Tags: ,

Google Analytics Support in DNN

Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you’re more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites. – http://www.google.com/analytics/
Stop messing around inserting bits of script into your skin files, and fiddling about with making small changes. Get this totally free module and do it once, and do it properly!It installs as a standard DotNetNuke module, then by updating the settings with your Google Account Id, the site will immediately start reporting back to Google.
This simple, lightweight module does away with the messy business of inserting the Google Analytics (GA) script in the right place on the page and allows quick integration of a DotNetNuke portal website with Google Analytics.
This great free module can be downloaded from: http://www.ifinity.com.au/Products/Google_Analytics_Script_Module
You will have to login using Host account on your DNN installation to install this new module. Once the module is installed, it will be available to be added to DNN pages.
First of all include the module on one page and provide the Google Analytics settings. Setting screen would be simmilar to following:
GoogleAnalytics Settings

Google Analytics Settings

Once the settings are saved, Google Analytics will start working on the page. If you want to include this on all pages of your site, you can select the following settings of the iFinity Google Analytics Module:
Google Analytics Add to Pages Setting

Google Analytics Add to Pages Setting

Categories: DotNetNuke Tags: ,

What if Google is blocked by PTA

Every developer/designer is well aware of importance of Google as it plays very important role in quick and accurate searching of information and required material. Though there are many other search engines available online, but Google is first choice for most users due to its speed, ease of use,  and accurate results. See stats of Google position in search engines http://websearch.about.com/od/faqs/f/most_pop_search.htm, http://searchenginewatch.com/2156451

There are news that PTA (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, which is also responsible for internet regulation) is monitoring Google (http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2010/06/100625_urls_banned_pak.shtml) and it may decide in future to block Google temporarily. Imagine, if Google is blocked, how difficult it would be for people who are so addict to Google.

We had an internal discussion in our company on how to deal with this possible blockage. PTA blocks sites on URL and IP level so proxy tunnel solutions cannot bypass this check.

One quick solution is to create a page that takes search input from user and  post that search string to Google, this page needs to be hosted on some server which is out of scope of the blocking authority. Catch in this technique is that we will have to post the search query to Google from server side as posting from client side will be blocked.

Following the same concept, i have created a quick sample page which can be used in-case when Google is blocked by local authorities. Sample one pager application can be downloaded here. You can host this page on a server which is out of scope of the blocking authority.

Please note, this is just a simple adapter page, some links will not work, it can be further enhanced to make the missing links work as well.

Categories: ASP.Net Tags: ,

Make PDF Documents Secure

June 25, 2010 1 comment

Close the door on document leaks and piracy (http://www.fileopen.com/)

We mostly serve our documents as PDF over web. PDF files may contain valuable information that we need to make secure and we may need to control the access to PDF files. We can control some rights like copy of text and images but these rights are of static nature and are done on file level and we cannot control these basic rights on basis of users or access time. Further more by default there is no way to control the print, save access on user level.

If we really want to control PDF security in a dynamic and real time fashion, File Open is the solution.

“FileOpen Systems provides digital rights management software to prevent piracy and control access to documents, on your Web site, via email, on DVDs, CDs and mobile devices.

Built on open standards for data encryption and display, FileOpen document security solutions are trusted by corporations, governments, and publishers worldwide.”

FileOpen provides command-line tool as well as a Dot Net assembly, which can be used in desktop and web applications.

We can control rights on PDF files on individual user level, we can also control if we want to restrict PDF access on the basis of machines. To manage custom access rules, we can write our own authentication server, which will simply be a page (in ASP.Net or any other server side language) and we can write custom code according to our custom needs and it can control the access rights at following level:

  • File Access – Check if user has access to open the file or not
  • Save Access – Check if user has access to save PDF copy on disk
  • Copy Access – Check if user can copy content from PDF file
  • Print Access – Check if user can print PDF content (we can also control print access for specific pages)

In some next post, i will show some code and process to make PDF files secure.

Categories: ASP.Net, Secure PDF Tags:

Web Charting Tools

There are different options available to show charts/graphs on web, each method has its own pro and cons. Following is a quick comparison study on different techniques.

Flash Based Charts:

This is a technique to create a data-set in the form of XML or Java-script arrays and pass that data to flash SWF files. There are some freely available flash based charting solutions. Following are a couple of freely available flash based charting solutions for web:

The advantage of these charts is that all the flexibility of flash (provided by the solution) we can utilize. Flash based charts show very nice animations and transitions. Another advantage is that integration of these charting solution is very easy, we just need to create data-set that is compatible to the solution requirement. This technique is independent of the server-side technology of your web application.

Disadvantage of this technique is that we are dependent on an external package and we are also dependent on the flash player on client side. So these charting solution can only work where flash player is available on client side. So if we are targeting iPhone or iPad as target platform, we should not consider this option.

Crystal Report Based Charts

Crystal Report support charts and graphs. We can show graphical representation of the data in a section of report.

Crystal report has all charting capabilities on design time and it gives no control to developers to modify the behavior/shape of charts on run-time. This makes it difficult for complex charting requirements. This technique is suitable if we have simple charting requirement and charts are shown in-line in a tabular report.

This technique requires Crystal Reports license on server-side and Crystal Report viewer on client side.

ASP.Net Based Charts

Charting capabilities can be utilized in ASP.Net 3.5 by installing Data Visualization Add-on, these Add-ons are available at following URLs:

This technique is very good as it gives full access to charting library to programmers. We can control the shape, behavior, width, height and other attributes based on the data available for charts. Developing and using these charts is more easy as compared to other options. These charts can take Data Sets directly to show data. These charts do not need any extra software on server or client side. These are shown as images on client side. These can be supported on mobile devices including iPhone and iPad. We might need to adjust the width and height according to resolution of the target device.

The only disadvantage of this technique is that it is only available in ASP.Net. It cannot be used in older technologies like ASP and PHP.

Client Side Java-script Based Charts:

This is kind of new technique which is gaining momentum and is being used by more and more sites. There are many free java-script based charting solutions available. Most of these are based on JQuery. Some of the famous JQuery based charting solutions can be found here:

Google also provides a very good charting library which falls in the same category, Google visualization API is free and is very good one.

This technique is good as it load charts/graphs on client side which takes load off from the server. I could not find a reference on how these charts behave in mobile devices.

Categories: ASP.Net Tags: , ,