About Anthony Mattson

If you want to know more, read my About section.

ASP.NET and Web Development

Been a while, but I can’t say I haven’t been busy. Getting oh so much closer to finally getting my bachelors degree in web development and administration. System administration with Windows I’ve got as that is one of my jobs at work. Web development has become interesting.

While I can work my way though HTLM and CSS, all of my advanced classes have been purely ASP.NET. I can’t completely complain considering I manage an ASP.NET site at work, but they are focusing more on the C# code-behind elements. I need to make sure I work more on my HTML5 and CSS skills, which I can use with ASP.NET. Will have to do that on my own time though.

I have to admit, learning ASP.NET has been fun at least, and very easy to get started with. Helps that I already know C# and I use C# at work; but those Web Forms make this so easy, in my opinion. Especially when using Web Forms and Visual Studio with the GUI. Granted, I remember Dreamweaver working similar, just been a while since I’ve used it.

At this point, I’ve built/worked on a few full ASP.NET websites. A bit rudimentary as these were for a class and they aren’t publicly accessible. So while I did implement user login and user access, it was very basic and not the most secure. Can’t imagine using a Session variable that holds “A” for administrator being all that secure. Not to mention, not enforcing a secure connection between the database when validating credentials is also not ideal. At least I’m aware so I know what not to do on a production site.

At least with all said and done, I can develop and maintain an ASP.NET website using C#. FYI, don’t ask about Visual Basic. I try to avoid that at all costs. Just not a fan of Visual Basic.

HTML and Centering Block Elements

Someday, I’ll eventually figure out how to properly position elements on a web page. Always seems like when I think I know what I’m doing, and then I get something that I just can’t seem to display where I want it to on a page.

Case in point, I was trying to center a <section> element that contained three images side-by-side horizontally. Had no issues getting the images to display how I wanted them in the element; but didn’t seem to matter what I did, I couldn’t get the <section> to center. Did some digging and found the most common answer I came across was to use this CSS style for the block elements like sections:

margin:auto;

So, I added this to the style for my <section> element containing the photos, and nothing. After looking at a few other examples, it finally clicked. Technically, my <section> element was “centered”. It just happened to be the full width of the page with the images left justified. Without defining a set width for the block element, it defaults to the full width of the page, not what is in it.

Sure, I could have tried to center the images within the block element, but still figured centering the block element would be easier. So, I set a defined a width for my <section>, just enough so the images remained side-by-side, and bingo. All three images are now centered in the page.

section.imgcenter {
    width:775px;
    margin:auto;
}

Granted, I then came across https://www.w3.org/Style/Examples/007/center.en.html, and thinking I could have just used left and margin-right styles set to 50% and -50% respectively to get the same effect. This just points out I have to keep in mind the default behavior of each element.

ASP.NET Class Update

Really happy I had this class to be honest. Learned a lot about ASP.NET (granted, that should be the case considering this is a class towards my degree) and how it to use C# to code the page functionality. The format of the class was nice. Each week had a lab that culminated in the final course project due in the final week. Have to admit, it was fairly easy and I can see setting up my own multi-page site fairly quickly. Granted, I’m restricted to Windows based on what I learned if I were to build a site. Haven’t dug into how .NET Core works with ASP.NET and if/how it would be possible to deploy an ASP.NET site on a Linux system. At least I understand how ASP.NET works now.

Now I just need to review the website I administer at work built using ASP.NET. Biggest hurdle with that though is the fact it was built using Visual Basic about 10 years ago. Not a fan of Visual Basic and haven’t played with it in over 10 years.

Side note, while I was taking the class, I came to find out Microsoft also released Blazor WebAssembly 3.2.0. While I’m thinking of a side project to setup an ASP.NET site, I’m now thinking about digging into Blazor first. Not sure if I’ll completely deploy it though based on how easily I can deploy it for a minimal cost. Thinking my first site will be a static site written in HTML/CSS hosted on S3. No cost unless I go over 5GB, or traffic spikes enough. So many options.

New Class, Here I Come ASP.Net

Back to expanding my knowledge with a new class at DeVry. This time, developing an ASP.Net website with C#. Looking forward to this as this will directly help me with an ASP.Net site that I took over as admin last year. Fortunately, I still have a few developers who are familiar with the code; but I can’t say it has been easy trying to figure it out only having experience setting up basic websites just with HTML. Granted, the site at work uses Visual Basic; but the the underlying idea is the same. Main page file that defines the page, and and an underlying file that controls the more advanced programming logic.

The first few chapters I had to read helped out immensely as now I understand how ASPX files actually work with the two files. That is what has honestly been throwing me off this whole time with the website at work. I would see the top ASPX file and kept wondering how the hell it actually worked. Now I know. Granted, I should have been able to figure this out as it isn’t that difficult, I just never had time at work since I still had two developers and had other tasks needing to be completed. Now I can better understand how the hell it works.

Back to my class though. Got through the first week without any issue. The class is setup to have a final project that we progressively build throughout the course each weak via the lab assignments. First lab was basically to get familiar with Web Forms by creating two. One that just displayed simple text and the other to have a very basic salary calculator. Since that wasn’t to bad, I spent the rest of the time setting up an Azure DevOps project to track this course project. I’ve got each week setup as an Sprint on my Scrum board and I have a the code setup in the project repository so I can control project versioning. Struggled a bit trying to setup a lab branch tied to my Task, so I held off on branching for now. Going to give another go at setting up a dev/LabWork branch this next week so I can better familiarize myself with GIT branching.

This should be fun and I am legitimately looking forward to this.