Delays from what's on front page

Aug 21, 2007 at 5:01 AM
Yes yes yes - it's a week and a day past the original day.

Things are slogging along. I have some code, but it's not stable enough to check in yet.

I've spent about 6 hours today on the DNN part of the code. The DNN module reads the roster code and properly displays the data in a module...and at the moment I'm building up the 'Settings' module and the 'Control Panel' module that will allow admins to add/select what to display.

What took me so long? Well...
- I had to change around the SqlDataProvider works in order to let the DataProvider live in the base module and let the DataProvider work in DNN - and not have to require the developer to worry about connection string properties and what is in which config file.
- Controller files - yet another 'a tale of two assemblies' in order to allow things to work in the base business logic assembly and in the DNN specific assembly.

Those two issues along cost me a couple hours of trial and's so much easier working from the ground up...this whole working within a framework while not building for that framework is for the birds.

I still need to port over the drop-down value selections in order to deal with character class and profession drop-downs (sigh), and then work on tying this together in a way that people can deploy without needing to hand-guide the whole thing.

I have a DNN manifest in process, and I'm not looking forward to packaging the SQL code to create the tables and stored procedures - there's more stored procedures in this thing than I would like.

But, all of that being said, I'm quite pleased at the direction...I just wish it was going faster.
Aug 25, 2007 at 4:15 AM
I've checked in the major portions of the DNN code. What the project does not adequately reflect at the moment is the database changes.

However, I've gotten the settings sectin done and put in what I think is an excellent drop-down handler. At the moment, I'm stuck on showing a grouping of entity stats (in this case reputations). I will package this up this weekend into something that can be installed.

At the moment, for those with source code, you can "Publish..." the UI.DNN project, and place that into the DesktopModules folder, move the bin items into DNN's bin folder, and create the database items/module config, and jam away though. I'll make it easier this weekend for those not quite so adventurous.

OF COURSE, I need to put in the new Armory parsing DLL, too. :)
Aug 27, 2007 at 6:07 AM
Okay - I've posted the first complete cut of code.

The DNN manifest file is intact and it has the proper SQLDataProvider file to create the database. The only thing I wasn't able to figure out when creating the manifest this morning was how to create a scheduled that has to be done manually, unfortunately.

I still need to do the following in the next week
  • Add the ascx to view the player/character entry
  • Add the ability to track mains/alts, and link them to DNN users
  • Add the ability to show a list by reputation
  • Add the ability to save/edit Guild Levels (I track them; but only as 0-6 right now)
  • Figure out how to create the scheduled task in the manifest
  • Create a summary view
  • Allow the user in the control panel to specify which rosters to Armory update and which ones not to
  • (under debate) The ability to specify which stats you want pulled by guild

Beyond that, I just need to do some window-dressing. Then I think it's ready for public consumption (at least it will be on my guild's website ^_^ ) and I'll be really curious as to what others think. But, I'm still curious this week what people think too -- so let me know.

It's been tested on DNN v4.5 only - so please let me know what your experiences are. Please note that the DNN install packages I create up through next week's beta release will not upgrade, they will drop and recreate tables. I think this should be okay until we start tracking mains/alts and linking them to DNN - because it just means having to rerun an armory pull.
Sep 3, 2007 at 4:32 AM
I've posted a new version of the file, and actually got it to upgrade from the prior installation...which is pretty cool.

Additions to the updated release:
  • Added the ascx to view the player/character entry
  • Add the ability to track main/alts
  • Add the ability to save/edit Guild Levels

Still outstanding for the next week:
  • Ability to link mains/alts to DNN users
  • Ability to show stats in the char entry
  • Ability to show a list by reputation
  • Create a summary view
  • Allow the user in the control panel to specify which rosters to Armory update and which ones not to
  • Allow the user in the control panel to specify which stat groups to retrieve when downloading from the Armory

Unreachable items:
  • Scheduled tasks can only be added via DB INSERT command
Sep 10, 2007 at 5:25 AM
Edited Sep 10, 2007 at 5:26 AM
More running commentary.

I've made some progress, but not enough to post a stable code cut. For the most part, the biggest part of the delay - to be honest - is that we're putting in new floors...and I spent the free time getting my druid from 62 to 63. :)

I've fixed the database scripting errors that were reported, changing the error table's data type from TEXT to varchar(3000) and bumping down the stored procs for adding errors down to the same data type. I've also added the data schema changes for the DNN User to Roster Character mapping, and I'm in the process of redoing the Control Panel page to allow for multiple control panel 'options': rosters (as it is currently), data loads (to view the Armory interaction history), and errors (to view the error messages I'm already tracking). As I revisit the guild roster control panel page, I will add in the change to track which data is to be retrieved from the armory - I will probably store it as a string in the database to provide future flexibility without requiring schema changes as Armory data changes over time.

I will then also add in the stats and summary view into the existing ASCX files and probably make that the next cut. I am going to publicly say next weekend here, but I'm hoping for a Weds/Thurs posting.

An additional set of features that I will put into the module is RSS list capabilities, and the tracking of PVP information (and active PVP teams).
Sep 17, 2007 at 5:35 AM
I've posted up 0.9.4 - which is stable and adds a bunch of functionality...and really starts to hint at what is possible with the character entry page.

As a note to those interested - subscribe to this post and I'll make a point of posting as new versions get "released." It's as close to a release notification as I think CodePlex gets.
Sep 21, 2007 at 8:42 PM
I'm making some nice progress on v0.9.5.

I've completed the code for assignment of characters to DNN users, and the ability to let end-users 'claim' characters, as well as dictate which is their 'main'.

On the UI front, I've started adding icons into the 'character sheet', and will start moving information from the right side of that pane to the left.
Sep 24, 2007 at 5:24 AM
I've posted the v0.9.5 release.

I had been hoping to get the 'Char Quick Stats' business object added within this release, but ended up getting rat-holed into some CSS issues (and I only had half the time I had hopef for this weekend to work on it).

That being said, I'm not sure how many folks beyond myself are using it -- so who knows if anyone is even reading this. ;)
Oct 1, 2007 at 4:40 AM
Edited Oct 1, 2007 at 4:41 AM
Okay - not enough has been done over the past week to justify posting. I will try to get something up on Thursday, although I have a couple SharePoint presentations I need to get done this it may be a couple weeks before the next code cut gets posted up.

Blame Halo 3 (but at least I finished the fight). ;-)
Oct 29, 2007 at 1:31 AM
Picking this back up again after a month of work distractions and travel.

I've finished a usable character view that displays stats in the left box and reps in the right box - but how DNN does localization is eluding me.

I will try to get the quick stats section done (I have the table, stored procs, and the business object added - just need to get in the presentation layer) and wrap this up for a release. I'm shooting for next Sunday, with something that will give people a reason to update.
Oct 29, 2007 at 5:23 AM
As a side note, the quick list stats are done, and I've used this to replace the one-prof listing on the view page. At this point, reps now display properly on the front page (Yay!).

I will also change the multi-prof listings to use the quick-list settings, to remove the visual bug that happens when paging in one profession, it toggles back on all of the second profession skills for the other profession lists on the page.
Nov 8, 2007 at 6:25 PM
I've begun work on the next release - mostly cleaning up of ASCX files last night.

I will bite the bullet on this next release and go to the 1.0 beta moniker. I'm using the issue tracker - if there's anything you want included in this next release, speak now. :)
Dec 1, 2007 at 8:04 PM
The next drop has been released for a few reasons:
  • I've been on the road presenting some new technical material, which has kept me in PowerPoint a lot more than I would like
  • I've installed the new RTM version of Visual Studio 2008, and I've been working with the new version of VSTO, to help show off to my partners as well as for my own learning
  • I will be trying out the module in VS2008 and target it at .NET v2, and see if it works - the advances in AJAX and Javascript debugging makes me excited for reduced work to get this module up and running using VS2008...but I've backed up my Virtual PC image with the VS2005 image in case this doesn't work out so well
  • My wife has gotten excited about her WoW characters, and so we've been playing some on the weekends
  • To be honest, I'm not sure if anyone is awaiting the final - so I'm letting some other stuff rise in priority since the beta build posted is pretty stable at the moment

I will be heading off to Europe on Tuesday and will be out there until the 16th. My plan is to get some coding done while I'm out there, but things will probably slow down until the week of Dec-17th, when I will be able to give this project some serious attention again.
Dec 2, 2007 at 5:53 PM
I, for one, am definately waiting on the final! In fact, I have been attempting to have our guildies use DNN instead of a hosted guild site, but of course, I run into the problems of the functionality of DNN is not as much as they'd like.

In fact, once this is done, I am hoping you'll work on projects that will further enhance DNN's attractiveness, like the GEM integration tool.

Appreciate your hard work and I would donate gladly if you put up a PayPal link. Your work is definately appreciated!

Dec 4, 2007 at 4:24 AM
Okay - I'll definitely try and get some work in on the plane rides at least. :)

My current thoughts, after I get the "final release" done for this is to take a month and get some smaller modules done (e.g., 'Realm Status', 'Search Thottbot/WoW Head', etc).

The GEM Integration tool is a much larger effort. :) I'm almost thinking of initially just creating a raid calendar module, and adding an LUA import tool to import information from GEM as a first step. My other thought is to see if there's a way to hang off of the DNN Events module and simply put an LUA parser in the middle to update that calendar with WoW events. Placing a 'sign-up' capability on DNN and then trying to parse that back out to GEM was giving me a headache just trying to think of how that would work without violating the Blizzard ToS/EULA. :) That being said, I would be more than happy to help out on a GEM Calendar module if someone were to own the effort. :D
Dec 4, 2007 at 3:58 PM
As a side note...I got VS2008 installed and pointed at CodePlex today. I went ahead and checked everything out (assuming no internet connectivity...and no one else was really doing anything on this project anyway, so it's not like I'm shutting anyone else out from being productive! ;-) ).

The DNW-WGR code installed beautifully, built/published awesomely, and works without issue in DNN v4.6.2. Although the code won't open up in VS2005 anymore, I have it "targeting" .NET v2.0 and I'm using the old AJAX Framework DLLs that were targeted at VS2005.

Also, I updated the graphics for classes and also changed the class and profession list ascx files to use AJAX UpdatePanels - everything is working very well. It seems my fears were overblown. :D
Dec 6, 2007 at 5:20 AM
Okay - so then is there anything outstanding that you need from v1.0 beta that is needed in the final product?

Assume that there will be a 6 week gap between the v1.1 release and a v1.2 beta, and then a 2 week between beta and v1.2 final...with a 8-week gap between final revisions.

I have the update panel functionality in place, will try to get the tooltips in, improved graphics, and will address the control panel usability a bit (adding service installation/monitoring to make that easier for people and some better error list management), and hope to have a 'quick start config' for new installs. But what is important to you to see in the final release?
Dec 22, 2007 at 3:49 PM
So the update panel is done, tooltip is in (with a minor visual bug, which I will probably release the code with it in place), the new graphics are in, and I'm part way through having suggestive text for main name and account name - but getting the AJAX code to connect to the web service to supply the data is giving me some issues. Also part way done is the control panel usability treatment.

I will try getting to work on this over the weekend and definitely some strong attention next week (I'm taking some time off of work to get this done).
Jan 14, 2008 at 3:34 PM
As a heads-up, I'm working on packaging this up now. Really sorry for the delays, but I've gotten my druid to 70 finally and I've been doing some dailies trying to earn my epic mount money...and I ran Kara for the first time a couple weeks ago.

What we're looking at will be v1.1.1 beta (I know - not final release yet), it will have...
- Update panels in the char lists and in the settings page. This introduces a new DLL dependency on the AJAX Control Toolkit (, which I hope folks don't mind.
- All of the control panel updates are in there, but the service install/monitoring has been a pain and no one is helping me out on the DNN forums with API info -- I may drop this 'feature' as I don't want to implement this via db calls as that opens up all kinds of potential problems.
- I finished the 'show by levels' section, which has a few new stored procs to go with it
- I finally added in the code to pull health and secondary bar information on the character pane (sorry for that delay)
- I'm using the latest WoWArmoryParser DLL
- Recoded the data loads (woohoo!) to properly update/drop people from the rosters and do some improved caching of data to deal with the flakiness the Armory servers have been showing as of late - this will prevent the massive number of internal errors the code is throwing today (which you can see on the control panel error page)
- Ability to clear the error and data load lists from the control panel, and new stored proces to go with it

Code that is in the update but doesn't do anything (yet - and hence the reluctance to drop the 'beta' moniker):
- Arena information, the Armory XML files are in flux on this one, and waiting for them to stabalize
- 'Signature graphic' generation - this is some pretty cool code, I just need to find a way to allow some additional customization/preferences, and a performant way to generate/update them. :)

Known issue:
- The AJAX pop-over has some scrolling issues. Minor issue, in my mind...but interested in hearing others' thoughts.

I want to say I'll get a code cut posted tonight, but it will probably be tomorrow. I need to test out some new DNN manifest flag entries and make sure all the database changes are done properly...this is by far my least favorite part of the development effort. ;-)
Jan 17, 2008 at 5:48 AM
As a status update, the v1.1.2 beta release has been posted.
Feb 4, 2008 at 3:01 AM
As a status update, the v1.2.2 beta release has been posted.
Feb 25, 2008 at 3:52 PM
As I had mentioned elsewhere, Feb has been a tough month -- lots of meetings and travel in the first half. In the second half, I'll be honest...I played a lot of WoW (I cleared Kara last week, got my first 40 badges of justice doing Kara and some heroics, grinded a lot of dailies for 300 riding skill, I got my epic flight form for my druid last night, and I've just been having a blast rediscovering the fun of running with my guild). This week I have an interview loop with another group, which may demand some time from me, as well.

I'm going to address some of the problems raised here, and then get back to work on this over the next couple weeks. I've checked a couple AJAX/Javascript books out of the company library, and will be taking a couple days off from work to try and give this some serious attention.

My intent after next week (Woohoo - MIX!) is to create a Silverlight v2 UX for this and to start pushing a web service middle-layer to push info for the AJAX DNN webparts (probably using JSON), as well as the SL stuff. Also, I've been doing some side research around ASP.NET AJAX and DNN, and I figured out why the 'suggest' functionality wasn't working for the 'who is my main' textbox -- I will revisit this and hopefully get it to work.
Feb 27, 2008 at 4:57 AM
Okay - new version posted with a couple fixes added in.
Mar 9, 2008 at 1:59 AM
For those subscribed to this thread, I've released v1.3.0 - much prettier and speedy! Enjoy!