It can take a long time to learn a programming language. After the initial period of study during which you learn the language syntax, there is a long period of learning how to do various useful tasks. For a programming language used in web applications, you need to know how to do these things; send emails, connect to a database and perform the CRUD functions (Create, Report, Update, Delete), parse text using regular expressions, generate Excel spreadsheets and Word documents, create text files, transform XML using XSL, determine if services are running, show disk space usage, list files in a directory, validate forms, etc.
I have been spending a lot of time recently polishing my ASP.NET skills. I’ve been adding a lot of material to my notes. Among the recent additions to my ASP.NET expertise is how to get the disk free space and disk used space totals using VB.NET. I was surprised to find that this simple task is not well documented but eventually I found some code that uses the Windows API to get this information. Maybe there is an easier way but at least I have an example of making Windows API function calls.
I’ve also learned how to do some simple AJAX using ASP.NET 1.1. There are AJAX Extensions for ASP.NET 2.0 but I have not learned how to use them yet and I cannot upgrade some client applications to ASP.NET 2.0 unless they request it. Therefore it was quite useful to figure out how to do AJAX with ASP.NET 1.1. This also required me to fill out my knowledge of how to work with XML in ASP.NET. I learned how to use a Memory Stream for the XmlTextWriter to use and how to use a XmlTextReader to load that into a XML document in order to perform a XSL transformation. I also learned how to transform XML from a remote server which is useful for consuming web services.
Last night I expanded upon my knowledge of the DataGrid which proved to be more spotty than I realized. I learned how to set the PagerStyle to the NumericPages mode. I also worked out a more complete example of how the TemplateColumn should be used to edit multiple fields in a row. The example from my book did not illustrate this very well.
Most of my work with ASP.NET has been to customize Storefront 6.0 but that does not require much original programming. I’m now doing a lot more ASP.NET work from scratch.