Recent Technology Research

I really want to return to creative pursuits but I’ve been spending most of my free time keeping up with changes in technology. I have a long list of research that I plan to do. Over the past week I did complete the following tasks:

1. Integrated a JavaScript Lightbox into Storefront’s search results. Lightbox is a fancy way of showing a bigger version of an image. It darkens the web page and shows the image in a pop-up window. I had added a demo of Lightbox to my notes as part of my collection of useless information. I’m pleased that I’ve now taken the trouble to find a use for it. Storefront can show product thumbnails in its search results. I’ve added the ability to click on the thumbnail to see the larger version of the image in the “lightbox”.

2. Created a Yahoo! Pipe for the USPS shipping rate web service. The USPS web service only returns XML but I prefer to work with the JSON data format so I created a Yahoo! Pipe to get shipping rates in that format. This works a lot better in my compiled help files. I do plan to build this into the documentation for one of my Storefront clients. They use USPS shipping and have some trouble getting the correct shipping rates.

3. Google now provides a web service for translating text into various languages. I added a web page to my notes so I’ll have a handy form for using this translation service.

4. C# for loop step value. Recently I had to increment a for loop by 7 to set weekly dates. It was surprisingly difficult to find out how to use a step value in the C# for loop. I added that to my notes. The obscure syntax is: for (int i = 0; i < tsWeek.Days + 1; i+=7) 5. Web Resources. I researched how to use embedded resources in an ASP.NET web application. The tricky part is that this cannot be done if you open a web site in Visual Studio 2005. You must create a web application project. I tried to convert a JavaScript file into an embedded resource and it seemed to work but I was unable to call the functions it should have provided. I did not waste time trying to troubleshoot that problem because it was impossible to view the embedded JavaScript.

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