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Archive for 05/2006

Disposing BDP objects
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 06:30 PM

One of the tasks in the BDN 2 project was migrating the old BDN content from the Oracle database where it was stored. Of course, we wrote a migration program using Delphi and accessed the database using BDP. When running the migration, however, we kept getting errors from Oracle: the program was opening cursors but not closing them. The BDP documentation isn't very detailed, but BDP is simply an ADO.NET provider, so what works on other providers should work with BDP, right?

Well, not exactly. For the providers included in the .NET framework, you're required to call Close for any command or data reader object. Turns out this isn't enough for BDP - you also have to dispose of the object. You can do so by explicitly calling the Dispose method. If you're using Delphi, calling Free automatically calls Dispose for you. So, if you're accessing Oracle using BDP, make sure to call Dispose or Free when you're done with the object (you should probably do that with other databases as well, but I've only seen the open cursors issue with Oracle so far).

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BDN 2
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 05:11 PM

BDN 2 is now public. The site looks pretty much like BDN 1, but is in fact a complete rewrite using Borland Developer Studio 2006 (and yes, I'm just going to ignore the fact I haven't posted here in almost a year). You can read about the new features here. I've been heavily involved in the project, and my most visible contribution is the new GetPublished system. On BDN 1, GetPublished was a form that let community members submit articles. We've kept the name, but extended the system to a full content management system for the site.

One of the cool things about GetPublished is that it implements a community process for publishing content. The basic workflow for a new article is as follows:

  • An author posts a new article.
  • The author signs a agreement allowing Borland to publish the article.
  • The article is reviewed for accuracy, usefulness, depth and clarity.
  • A price for the article is negotiated.
  • The article is published and the author is paid.

There are additional workflows, such as updating an existing article, translating an article, or reviewing and editing articles. GetPublished implements these processes based on roles, which are greanted to community members and Borland employees. The roles dictate what each user can see and do. The main difference from the old system is that the entire process is implemented in publicly accessible system, and any user could be granted any role. For example, community members could be granted the "reviewer" role, allowing them to review unpublished content. Trusted members could even be allowed to publish content, since the system already makes sure only content meeting spcific criteria could be made public.

The big news for authors, though, is the new submission interface. Authors are no longer forced to write their articles in HTML format (although they still can). You can write your article in Word (or any word processor that can save Word files) and upload it directly. GetPublished will convert the document to HTML, extract embedded images, and post the article. You can even sign the necessary agreement electronically on BDN's new digital signatures system.

GetPublished and BDN 2 are a work in progress. Just yesterday I added an option to edit HTML directly on the submission page (although we're still working out the kinks - if anyone has experience with making FreeTextBox work well with FireFox, or knows of a really good ASP.NET HTML editor we should use, drop me a line), and more improvements are coming. If you find any problems or want to suggest new features, post a report to the GetPublished area in QualityCentral.

Right now, there isn't much documentation for GetPublished. More information should be available soon, but in the mean time I'll try to post here and elsewhere about some of the features.

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Copyright 2004 Yorai Aminov