Why Certifications Are Important

MCSA certifications

Last month I reviewed a new Java book written by the venerable Michael Ernest on my blog. While it was an excellent book and I felt it would help any developer pass the first level of Java programming certifications, Mike brutally pointed out passing an exam didn't mean that much. The remark struck me as odd, at first, but then he went on to explain that learning to become a good programmer was much more important than the certification. I agree... like totally! The other day I caught a ... Continue Reading

MarkdownPad 2: Smart Tool for Markdown


If you really want to get your geek on, I just discovered a great new tool for producing PDF, EPUB and MOBI e-books. The language is called Markdown and the tool I use to build Markdown documents is MarkdownPad 2. Created by Evan Wondrasek, a software engineer in Minneapolis, MN, MarkdownPad 2 is pretty comprehensive. There are two flavors (as with most projects of this kind): the free version and the licensed version. A single-user license costs 14.95 (USD). The Skinny on Markdown ... Continue Reading

Learnable: Inexpensive Open Source Training


The ideas behind the Open Source Software (OSS), and more recently Free License Open Source Software (FLOSS) movements has always been about providing great tools at little to no cost. However, in recent years open source technology has become increasingly complex. In my opinion, that means the real return on investment comes in learning these tools. That's where Learnable comes in. ... Continue Reading

NINJA-IDE: A Python Environment


I'm keeping a more thorough accounting of my journey through learning Python (which I've opted to learn at the same time as Ruby on Rails—I must be out of my mind) for personal blog entries. Being new to these languages, I first started learning by simply using Notepad++, but quickly found it tedious. I assumed others here on ChurchMag might be in the same boat, so undaunted, I went in search of an integrated development environment (IDE) for Python. That's when I discovered Ninja-IDE. ... Continue Reading

Programming Languages: Which One is Right?

Code Screen

An interesting article at SitePoint.com on programming languages caught my eye while trolling through various sites. (I've been on a Python kick lately as it's a language I've always wanted to learn but haven't had time.) It occurred to me in reading Craig Butler's article that there may be times where ChurchMag readers might be interested in building decent web applications for their churches and ministries. But if you're a newb or maybe a computer science student still in your first year, ... Continue Reading

JavaScript: Design is the Issue!


An article insanely titled Is the Death of Java Script Upon Us, or Is a Universal Language Transformation Underway? was posted on TechCrunch recently. Since its posting, it's gotten one thousand Tweets and a lion's share on LinkedIn. In reading the entire  article (twice), I had to ask: "Are you insane?!" ... Continue Reading

ASP.NET: Sources for Video-Based Training


When it comes to finding sources for video-based training for ASP.NET, there are many organizations who don't necessarily provide the best quality but are more than happy to make you part with your money. Having experienced these courses, both good and bad, I've narrowed this down to my three top choices. Any of these sites I would strongly recommend for watching videos on ASP.NET. Two have a moderate cost and one is free! ... Continue Reading

LINQ to SQL: Object-Relational Mapping in .NET

LINQ to SQL Insertion Form

Developing ASP.NET applications that work with data in Microsoft SQL Server can be daunting, even for professional developers. The idea of developing web applications has always been separating the code from the underlying data structure. While Microsoft's declared that Entity Framework is the way they're going, LINQ to SQL classes still remains an extremely fast and flexible method of object-relational mapping in .NET. It's also a very good way for simplifying your own development efforts. ... Continue Reading

Code Tip (C#): Properties and Methods

ChurchStaff table

In all C# applications, you typically build classes that contain properties and methods. Properties store data and methods perform work. Quite often you may encounter a situation where you need a property that contains information you can access from your application. However, you never want to perform method work directly inside the property. Instead, your properties and methods should perform their separate purposes and never the twain shall meet. You do this by letting your properties call ... Continue Reading

NuGet: Do You Get NuGet?


If you've never heard of NuGet, or even if you have but not tried it, there's never been a better time. It was only a few weeks ago that Scott Hanselman, a member of the Microsoft Web Platform team, recently announced that the runtime ADO.NET Entity Framework, DbContext API, and tools were being open-sourced! Entity Framework may be obtained as quick download utilizing a Visual Studio extension called NuGet. NuGet also allows you download other common packages that can make you more productive ... Continue Reading