Ken Kopczyk

Hurdles in .NET Development

Archive for February, 2009

Impressive (and Free) WinForm Controls!

Posted by Ken on February 25, 2009

Recently, I was searching for a third party WinForm component solution in an attempt to make my application look enterprise worthy.  Doing some googling yields all the heavy hitters:  Telerik, ComponentOne, etc.  These are very nice, but come at a hefty price (about $1000 per seat).  Digging deeper, I stumbled upon the Krypton Toolkit from ComponentFactory.  

For a freebie suite of controls, I was impressed.  The toolkit includes all your basic controls (Label, ComboBox, etc), 38 in all, and are very customizable.  You can also apply out of the box themes, such as Office2007, also free.  It integrates seemlessly into Visual Studio (I was using VS2005) and includes a very nice demo app that shows off what all the controls can do.

Also in the Krypton family are the Ribbon, tab control, and workspace control.  These are upgrades that you have to pay for, but still cheap when you consider all the very expensive alternatives out there.

Next time you are building an little app from the ground up, consider using these controls.  You should be able to make your app look a ton better at no extra cost.

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My New Favorite Regular Expression Tester

Posted by Ken on February 3, 2009

Awesomeness —>

Use it. ‘Nuf said.

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Fun With the “ref” Keyword

Posted by Ken on February 3, 2009

By default, parameters are passed by value in C#.  Passing by reference requires the “ref” or “out” keywords to precede the parameter in both the method declaration and the call to the method.  Using “ref” or “out” is fairly straight forward…..or so I thought.

I recently came across two cases where parameters are valid if passing by value, but result in compilation errors after adding “ref”. Consider the following member and method:

// SuperDataTable inherits from DataTable
// Indexing a SuperDataTable yields a SuperDataRow 
// which inherits from DataRow.
private SuperDataTable mySuperDataTable = new SuperDataTable();

public void DoSomethingSuper(ref DataRow myDataRow)

Now examine the following three scenarios:

// #1 You receive a compiler error "A property or indexer 
// may not be passed as an out or ref parameter"
DoSomethingSuper(ref mySuperDataTable[0]);

// #2 You receive a compiler error "Cannot convert from 
// 'ref SuperDataRow' to 'ref DataRow'
SuperDataRow mySuperDataRow = mySuperDataTable[0];
DoSomethingSuper(ref mySuperDataRow);

// #3 Only does it work in the following manner, when you 
// explicitly "upcast" the row to the exact type in the 
// signature of the method
DataRow myDataRow = mySuperDataTable[0];
DoSomethingSuper(ref myDataRow);

Try it again, this time passing by value. No compiler errors! I probably am just lacking an intimate understanding of “ref”, but this came out of left field for me and I haven’t seen it documented online. Can anybody fill me in as to why scenarios #1 and #2 don’t work?

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Posted in Programming Languages | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Displaying Source Code in a WordPress Post

Posted by Ken on February 1, 2009

While setting up this blog, I came upon my first challenge:  How can you display source code in a WordPress post?

There are many solutions to this problem which include various plug-ins.  The problem with the plug-ins is that they don’t work with freebee blogs.  The simplest solution that I found for blogs was to simply wrap the code you want to post in “sourcecode” tags and let javascript take care of the rest. Implementing this is easy because you don’t have to worry about a big blob of HTML. All that is required is the code you want to paste and the javascript tags. Example:

static void Main(string[] args)
      Console.Out.WriteLine("Hello World!");

Being the perfectionist that I am, I wanted to see if I could get the code to look closer to the default fonts and colors used in Visual Studio. Thanks to this posting, I discovered  It does a nice job of converting source code into html.  And it has syntax highlighting for most languages, including C#.  To streamline the process, I wrote a parser.  This code will parse the full source of the pastebin output, yank out the relevent html, and add style to make it look close to Visual Studio.  The following source code is a solution to the problem and also a demonstration. Which method do you think looks better?

using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;
namespace PasteBinCodeScrubber
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            FileInfo[] allHtmlFiles = new DirectoryInfo(“.”).GetFiles(“*.htm*”);
            foreach (FileInfo htmlFile in allHtmlFiles)
                string allHtml = File.ReadAllText(htmlFile.FullName);
                // capture all relevent html
                Regex sourceCodeRegex = new Regex(“<div class=csharp style=font-family: monospace;><ol>[\s\S]*?</ol></div>”);
                string sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeRegex.Match(allHtml).Value;
                // doctor the html
                sourceCodeHtml = ScrubHtml(sourceCodeHtml);
                sourceCodeHtml = ReplaceCssClassWithStyle(sourceCodeHtml);
                File.WriteAllText(htmlFile.FullName + “.out”, sourceCodeHtml);
        private static string ReplaceCssClassWithStyle(string sourceCodeHtml)
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=de1, string.Empty);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=de2, string.Empty);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=inp, “style=color: red;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=li1, “style=background: #ffffff;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=li2, “style=background: #f4f4f4;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=kw1, “style=color: #0600FF;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=kw2, “style=color: #FF8000;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=kw3, “style=color: #0600FF;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=kw4, “style=color: #0600FF;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=kw5, “style=color: #000000;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=co1, “style=color: green;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=co2, “style=color: green;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=coMULTI, “style=color: green;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=es0, “style=color: #008080;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=br0, “style=color: #008000;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=st0, “style=color: maroon;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=nu0, “style=color: #FF0000;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=me1, “style=color: #0000FF;);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“class=me2, “style=color: #0000FF;);
            return sourceCodeHtml;
        private static string ScrubHtml(string sourceCodeHtml)
            // add font size
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“<div class=csharp style=font-family: monospace;>”,
                                                    “<div style=font-family:monospace; font-size:1.3em;>”);
            // remove list tags
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“<ol>”, string.Empty);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“</ol>”, string.Empty);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“<li “, “<div “);
            sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(“</li>”, “</div>”);
            // remove hyperlinks
            Regex hyperLinkRegex = new Regex(“<a href=.*?>(?’linkWrappedHtml'[\s\S]*?)</a>”, RegexOptions.ExplicitCapture);
            MatchCollection hyperLinkMatches = hyperLinkRegex.Matches(sourceCodeHtml);
            foreach (Match hyperLinkMatch in hyperLinkMatches)
                string sHtmlInsideHyperLink = hyperLinkMatch.Groups[“linkWrappedHtml”].Value;
                string sFullHyperLink = hyperLinkMatch.Value;
                sourceCodeHtml = sourceCodeHtml.Replace(sFullHyperLink, sHtmlInsideHyperLink);
            return sourceCodeHtml;

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Posted in WordPress | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »