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Published: Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009's Most Popular Articles

By Scott Mitchell


The end of the year is upon us, 2009 is about to be in the books. When closing out a year I like to take a look back at the articles I wrote over the year and see which ones resonated the most with readers. Which ones generated the most reader emails? Which ones were read the most? Such a retrospective analysis highlights what content was of most interest to developers in the trenches, and this data is used to guide article topics in the new year.

While cataloging this year's most popular articles I thought others might find the data interesting. Such a "Best Of 2009" list would give both regular and new readers a chance to discover (or rediscover) the most favored content from the year. So here it is - a list and synopsis of the 2009's most popular articles on 4GuysFromRolla.com.

- continued -

Implementing Incremental Navigation with ASP.NET

Incremental navigation. Traditionally, website navigation has been focused on minimizing the number of clicks required to open a given page. For instance, menu controls strive to compact as much data into a single, expanding menu. This goal of minimizing clicks has nothing to do with the real purpose of navigation, which is to make finding information easy, consistent, and transparent to the user. Implementing Incremental Navigation with ASP.NET, by author Andrew Wrigley, looks at how to build an incremental navigation style where users find information by clicking through a series of lightweight pages, with each click resulting in a small, but highly visible change to the navigation user interface.

In a nutshell, this article shows how to build a powerful, incremental navigation user interface using the existing SiteMap class and the configured sitemap provider. Long story short, with Andrew's code you implement this navigation system using your existing Web.sitemap file. To see the incremental navigation system in use, take a look at the The Encephalitis Society website, which consists of hundreds of pages nested in a hierarchy that is up to five levels deep. The site's navigation is implemented using three user interface elements that work in concert: site tabs along the top of the page; a section menu, which appears beneath the selected tab; and a menu on the left.
Read More >

An Extensive Examination of LINQ

LINQ, or Language INtegrated Query, is set of classes added to the .NET Framework 3.5 along with language enhancements added to C# 3.0 and Visual Basic 9, the versions of the language that ship with Visual Studio 2008. An Extensive Examination of LINQ is a multi-part series that explores the basics and motivation behind LINQ, the core classes and language enhancements that comprise LINQ, and different ways to use LINQ in an ASP.NET application.

The first installment in the series, An Introduction to LINQ was first published in February 2009. Between then and the end of the year I authored seven additional installments:

In 2010 I plan on delving into LINQ to XML in more detail, as well as showing how LINQ fits into the LINQ to SQL and Entity Framework libraries.
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Using Microsoft's Chart Controls In An ASP.NET Application

Microsoft Chart Controls example. In September 2008 Microsoft released a free charting suite named Microsoft Chart Controls for the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, which are also part of the upcoming .NET 4.0 Framework. The Chart Controls include an encompassing set of charts for both WinForms and ASP.NET applications. The Chart Controls offer all of the standard chart types - line charts, bar charts, pie charts, and so forth - as well as more specialized ones, like pyramid and bubble charts. They also offer a comprehensive set of charting features, including support for multiple series, customizable legends, trend lines, and labels.

Using Microsoft's Chart Controls In An ASP.NET Application is a multi-part article series I started in July 2009 that looks adding charts to an ASP.NET application using the free Microsoft Chart Controls. By the close of 2009, the series has grown to following eight installments:

The more I use and write about the Microsoft Chart Controls the more I am impressed with the functionality. Expect to see more installments to this article series in 2010!
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Exception Handling Advice for ASP.NET Web Applications

Exceptions are a construct in the .NET Framework that are (ideally) used to indicate an unexpected state in executing code. For example, when working with a database the underlying ADO.NET code that communicates with the database raises an exception if the database is offline or if the database reports an error when executing a query. In my experience as a consultant and trainer I have worked with dozens of companies and hundreds of developers and have seen a variety of techniques used for handling exceptions in ASP.NET applications. Some have never used Try ... Catch blocks; others surrounded the code in every method with one. Some logged exception details while others simply swallowed them. Exception Handling Advice for ASP.NET Web Applications presents my views and advice on how best to handle exceptions in an ASP.NET application.
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Creating a Filtering User Interface With jQuery In a Web Forms Application

Creating a Filtering User Interface With jQuery In a Web Forms Application This two-part article shows how to use jQuery to create a collapsible filtering user interface in an ASP.NET Web Forms application. The collapsing functionality is designed to maximize screen real estate and is implemented entirely on the client-side. jQuery is a lightweight, cross-browser JavaScript library designed to ease JavaScript's most common tasks, including inspecting and manipulating the Document Object Model (DOM) and making out of band HTTP requests to support AJAX functionality. In plain English, jQuery makes it easy to perform client-side tasks like adding or removing attributes or CSS classes to elements in the DOM, or showing or hiding elements on the page in response to a user action (such as clicking a button). In fact, jQuery is included with Visual Studio 2010.

Part 1 walks through the nuts and bolts of the collapsible filtering user interface and includes a primer on jQuery. Part 2 looks at how to extend the collapsible filtering user interface functionality so that it remembers the collapsed/expanded state on a user-by-user basis.
Read More >

There you have it, 2009's five most popular articles! If you missed any of the above articles, there are a couple of ways you can keep abreast of the latest 4Guys content. There's our weekly newsletter, WebWeekly, as well as our RSS feed.

Happy Programming and Happy New Year!

  • By Scott Mitchell

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