Archive for the ‘C# 2.0’ Category

PolygonF and Polygon code posted.

June 26, 2007 Comments off

I have just posted the PolygonF code I discussed in Testing to see if a Point is within a Polygon. The file includes both PolygonF and Polygon classes. Visit the Free Code page or download it from the PolygonF home page.

Categories: .NET 2.0, C# 2.0

Testing to see if a Point is within a Polygon

June 7, 2007 8 comments

I’m on a brief respite from my Compact Framework woes: I am instead in the process of rewriting a very old Java Sketching program. Our legacy application stores text-based vectors for drawing 2D sketches of the external footprint of structures. Until I wrote this Java program in 2001, our sketches were always rendered in Text. Yes, I said TEXT. Dashes, underlines, plus signs, forward slashes and backward slashes – well you get the idea. We began displaying some of this information on the Internet and needed something a little more modern. This program in particular reads through our entire database and creates all the Sketches as JPGs, storing them locally on the C drive. There is a companion program that creates and displays in a GUI a single sketch requested by the user (via a function key in our iSeries RPG program).

In fact, one interesting note about it: this was the first PC based program I ever wrote. Since I was in the throes of learning Java anyway (my first PC or Web related language), I took on the task of making something out of nothing. Of course, I had no idea what I was getting in to, but I ended up with a crash course in Object Oriented design, JDBC and disconnected databases, Swing (shoot me if I ever go down THAT path again!), and of course 2D graphics. For someone who did not know the first thing about GUI development, this project was way too much for a first try. But 5-6 months of reading, studying, trial and error, and labor and I ended up with a workable program.

Don’t get me wrong: it is an abhorrent behometh, chock full of bad techniques and poor implementations. Worst of all, it is a Java program, and on more than one occasion has broken due to updates in the JRE. Couple that with the fact that it is slow as death (again, certainly my own fault) and almost NEVER deploys properly thanks to myriad Classpath woes and divergent operating system. After my last machine bit the dust, I never even bothered to recreate my Java environment (as I had completely moved on to VS2003 by then). As a result, legitimate complaints by users have gone unaddressed, largely because of my own unwillingness to return to Java.

Fast forward to today: now experienced in Java, PHP, Perl, and of course my favorite, C#, and having done quite a bit of GUI and OO development in the intervening years, I finally decided to tackle the rewrite of my old behometh. I rewrote the engine Wednesday afternoon, and by the end of the day had rudimentary sketching working. 5 Hours to do what originally took 5 months. I spent part of yesterday working on the Text labelling, which is quite a bit more difficult than the actual drawing. I’ll probably spend another few days hashing all that out.

During my labors, though, I discovered a shocking omission in the C# language: there is no Polygon Class. Drawing the Polygons is easy enough using the Graphics DrawPolygon member, but as I am inserting labels, I need to check and see if the proposed position is within the Bounds of the Polygon, and I would like to center some labels, so I need to know what the center point is, etc., etc. So, I quickly whipped up my own Polygon class. The class manages a read-only Array of PointF objects, so right now it is immutable. I may change that if the need arises, but for now I need to work with the complete closed Polygon.

It is not overly complex or anything like that, but here are some of the key features

  • Bounds of the Polygon
  • CenterPoint of those Bounds
  • Minimum and Maximum X and Y
  • Number of Points
  • Determine if a PointF is in the Bounds
  • Calculate Area of the Polygon
  • Determine if the Polygon Contains a PointF (different than above)

That last one was a real challenge. A PointF could easily be in the Rectangular Bounds of a Polygon but not inside the Polygon itself, so the Contains check determines whether or not the PointF is actually inside the boundaries of the Polygon. This required more math than I was able to come up with, so I turned to my trusty friend Google and found this link. At this site, you can find the formula originally written in Fortran and converted to C. Naturally, I converted it on to C#, and I am now sharing that code with you.

public bool Contains(PointF pt)
    bool isIn = false;
    if (IsInBounds(pt))
        int i, j = 0;
        for (i = 0, j = NumberOfPoints - 1; i < NumberOfPoints; j = i++)
            if (
                 ((_pts[i].Y <= pt.Y) && (pt.Y < _pts[j].Y)) || ((_pts[j].Y <= pt.Y) && (pt.Y < _pts[i].Y))
                ) &&
                (pt.X < (_pts[j].X - _pts[i].X) * (pt.Y - _pts[i].Y) / (_pts[j].Y - _pts[i].Y) + _pts[i].X)
                isIn = !isIn;
    return isIn;

You can see that I bypass any points that are outside the rectangular bounds altogether since there is no point in running the rest of the checks at that point, but that is really the only fundamental change I made. Of course, I return an actual Boolean but the orginial C returned an int.

When I complete the rest of the Polygon code, I’ll post it in the Free Code section. This one is actually PolygonF for using floats, but it could easily be modified to use Integers instead.


Download PolygonF.

Categories: .NET 2.0, C# 2.0

Using the KnownColor Enum

May 4, 2007 1 comment


I was recently searching for a color to use as a warning color for one of my apps. Basically, when the user entered a particular state in the application, I wanted to change the background of a panel to something unusual so they would immediately see that something had changed. While I ended up using standard Color.Red, I don’t really like it (and it washes out something onthe panel that is already red). So I was looking through the named colors in Visual Studio, and more than a little frustrated that I didn’t know what some of the colors really were.

So I got to thinking that a it might be handy to have a utility that would let me scroll through the System names and see the colors. So I took a few mintues, spent a little time on the Internet, and popped out a SystemColorChooser. It’s a really simple form:

And if you change one or both of the drop downs, you immediately see the results:

Finding the Magic

The magic in this is the System.Drawing.KnownColor Enum. In it is a list of all the color names you see listed in Visual Studio. I used the code I supplied previously to loop through the Enum and populate the ComboBoxes. I then cast the selected values and used them to set the rightside panel’s color values based on the selections:

private void cboxBackgroundColor_SelectedIndexChanged(object sender, EventArgs e)
    this.splitContainer1.Panel2.BackColor = Color.FromKnownColor((KnownColor)Enum.Parse(typeof(KnownColor), this.cboxBackgroundColor.SelectedItem.ToString()));

private void cboxTextColor_SelectedIndexChanged(object sender, EventArgs e)
    this.splitContainer1.Panel2.ForeColor = Color.FromKnownColor((KnownColor)Enum.Parse(typeof(KnownColor), this.cboxTextColor.SelectedItem.ToString()));

Now I have a simple way to select colors based on their System Names.

Categories: .NET 2.0, C# 2.0

Deploying CF .NET 2.0 applications using MSI

January 17, 2007 Comments off

So I’ve been developing Smart Device apps for the last two years, both in VS2003 and now in VS2005. But as the only CF developer in a tiny shop, I have always been able to install them by just using the Deployment option in Visual Studio. Now, however, one of the products I’ve been working on is ready to go to the field for some testing, which means other people have to be able to install it.

Frankly, most of the documentation on deplying CF.NET apps is pretty scary. CAB files, custom INI files, Registry entries, the works. I’ve definitely been spoiled by the MSI features available to Windows forms apps. So I’ve been digging around and experimenting, and I created a CAB file for install and then found the Smart Device CAB project, so I created that but it still required the user to manually copy it over to the device and double click it and yada yada yada. Too much for most of my target audience, and not very professional.

So I dug some more, and I was about to give up, when I found this article on MSDN about using MSI to handle the install to a Smart Device. I went through the article, and after a little trial an error I got it to work. Here are the highlights:

  1. Create your solution and build all the projects. Use Release to keep them as small as possible.
  2. Add a Smart Device CAB project to your solution. Add all your project outputs to the applications folder and add a shortcut to your EXE to the Program Files folder. Build this project.
  3. Add a new Class Library project to your solution. This is an MSI installer helper class that handles events like before_install and after_install. The cool thing is that these events will be found and used automagically later. Fill out the events and build this project. This file has some Registry stuff in it and references a custom INI file that you will need to create, but the forumla is very simple.
  4. Add a new Setup project to your solution. This will be the MSI file that is eventually used to communicate with ActiveSync and install the CF application. By adding custom actions to the installer and referencing the helper DLL we created in step 3, the before and after events will automagically find themselves and fire.

OK, so this is in no way a step by step instruction list. For that, you will want to read the article (like 20 times). It is a little dense but thorough, and I was able to get it to work. I did encounter a permissions problem in the afterInstall event, so I still need to hash that one out, but it did install the app on my device.

One quirk I found was that the article instructs you to add a reference in the MSI project to the System folder and to place your output there for the CABs and the INI file. Unfortunately, this doesn’t jive with the pathing samples in the Helper class code in the article, which references System/TEMP/MyProject. In looking at it, I think the TEMP path is the best way to go, so just create the TEMP/MyProject path in the System special folder and dump your output CAB and INI files there.

Next I’ll be tackling how to integrate CF .NET deployment in the same MSI, so stay tuned.

C# foreach howto.

January 16, 2007 2 comments

I was getting sick of doing for loops so I decided to read up on the foreach statement. The foreach statement is small, clean, quick and much easier to read if you ever plan on having a programmer help you out with your coding. There is no need for me to ramble on so check out this code. The foreach statement basically lets you define an object, and loop through a collection of the same object type.

This simple example “checks” all the check boxes for all the items in a ListViewControl.

foreach (ListViewItem lvi in lvTBS.Items)
    lvi.Checked = true;

This is way better than doing this:

for ( i=0; i<=ListViewControl.Items.Count(); i++ )
    ListViewItem lvi = ListViewControl.Items[i];
    lvi.Checked = true;
Categories: .NET, C# 2.0

Finding an Enum value based on its text

January 4, 2007 1 comment

I’ve been a fan of custom Enums since I started coding for .Net: like most software packages, we have tons of selection lists. Many of these are table driven, code-based lists like so:

Code : Description
10 : Asparagus
12 : Carrot
73 : Tomato

etc, etc.

Naturally, I don’t want my users to have to know that 73 means Tomato, so like a good little developer, I put these values into an Enum:

public enum Vegetables
    Asparagus = 10,
    Carrot = 12,
    Tomato = 73

Then I use that Enum to populate a ComboBox on my Form. To do so, I utilize the Enum class’s GetNames method.

foreach (string s in Enum.GetNames(typeof(MyClass.Vegetables)))

The trick here is to point the typeof parameter to the full class designation of the enumeration you want to list. This method returns an IEnumerable you can use to loop through the names.

So far so good: pretty straight forward and probably something most of us have already figured out. The problem I had recently was that I needed the Enum value in order to properly update a database. In other words, when the user selected Tomato, I needed 73. Getting the int value of an enum is easy enough via a simple cast:

MyClass.Vegetables veggie = MyClass.Vegetables.Tomato;
int veggieValue = (int)veggie;

So if I could figure out which Enum value was selected, I could easily get the int. The problem was, I only had the Text string from the ComboBox to go off of. I suppose I could do some sort of brute force loop through all the Enum members until I found a matching string, but that seems like overkill. It would be especially bad if I had lots of options in the ComboBox and lots of ComboBoxes.

Fortunately, I was able to find something a little better built right in to the Enum class:

MyClass.Vegetables veggie = (MyClass.Vegetables)Enum.Parse(typeof(MyClass.Vegetables), this.cboxVegetableNames.SelectedItem.ToString());
int veggieValue = (int)veggie;

It’s definitely a little ugly, but gets the job done. The trick to getting this to work is the cast into an Enum variable of the same type. Again we use typeof() to get a reference to the full class name of the Enum and then cast the results into an int.

Now you can easily work with Enums to put the list of strings into a ComboBox and later retireve the Enum value from the selected string. In a future article, I’ll demonstrate how you can use attributes to show different text than the actual member name.

Categories: .NET, .NET 2.0, C# 2.0

The underlying connection was closed.

December 20, 2006 Comments off

There seems to be a big problem with the underlying code behind the sockets classes that Microsoft uses in their .NET framework. Many people are getting a ?The underlying connection was closed.? error message, but there doesn?t seem to be any consistency to it. I sent a simple test program using the code below to a friend in Singapore and he gets the error. Well, I decided to create a very simple Socket program to see if he gets the error with it as well, and sure enough he does. His Windows XP computer is fully patched too. Some people are getting this error when connecting to a web service, and they have found a way to get around it most of the time, but the error still comes back from time to time even with that patch. This however, isn?t a web service, just a simple WebClient piece of code that connects to a web server.

Microsoft has yet to release anything on this.

WebClient Class

a_url = ?;
System.Net.WebClient WC = new System.Net.WebClient();
data = WC.DownloadData(a_url);

The follow socket class also throws the error, not with me, but with some people that I send it too. It seems to be random.

Read more…

Categories: .NET, .NET 2.0, C# 2.0