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Tyler’s Blog

Browser Compatibility Issues

Last week, we ran into a problem with a form not working.  The problem was that it wasnt completely not working. If that was the case we would have noticed it right away and found a solution. The problem was the form would work on Firefox, Chrome and Opera, but not work on IE (Internet Explorer).  We tested it in several versions of IE six, seven and eight - all with the same problem.  The problem is when a submit button is an image in IE, it doesnt pass the variable as a single scalar like those other browsers. Instead it passes the variable as a structure with X and Y coordinate values underneath it where the user clicked within the button image.  For example, the submit button below would send one value in FireFox form.submit and in IE it would send form.submit.x and form.submit.y in a Coldfusion page  The form wasnt working in this particular instance because the way the page was checking to see if the page was submitted.  What it was doing was checking if form.submit was defined to do the proper error checking and email generation.  So instead I modified the form to check to see if form.submit was defined or form.submit.x was defined.  There are many other techniques to get around this problem like putting a hidden value within the form and then checking to see if that exists or testing within the server-side scripting if the request method is equal to POST.  The problem shows the importance of cross browser/platform testing,  something we should all do.  I can’t remember how many times something works perfectly in Firefox and then someone tells me it’s doing something weird in IE.  Sometimes it works the other way around, but I would say the breakdown is 90/10.

<input src=”submit.png” mce_src=”submit.png” id=”Img1″ onmouseover=”MM_swapImage(’Img1′,”,’submit-O.png’,1)” onmouseout=”MM_swapImgRestore()” name=”submit” value=”Submit” type=”image”>

<cfif isdefined(”form.submit”) or isdefined(”form.submit.x”)>

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Entry by: T-Bone

Server Message Block

SMB is an acronym for server message block.  It is a protocol used for networked nodes (computers or devices) to communicate with each other to provide access to shared resources like directories, files, and printers. SMB works similar to a client-server relationship where there is a request from one node then a response back to the requesting node.  The SMB protocol has been in Windows since Windows 95. Also, Linux and Apple OS X have the ability to connect to computers and devices through SMB. The SMB protocol is usually used on top of the NetBEUI., TCP/IP, or IPX protocol.

At the office, we use the SMB protocol to connect to computer shares where we can exchange files by either putting it in our shared directory for the user to access it or uploading it to the users computer that needs it.  It can be very practical when dealing with files too large to email (our email system that we use caps our attachment limit to twenty megabytes and also doesnt allow executables or batch files).  It is much easier then finding a USB flash memory drive, copying the data onto it, then going over to the person and handing them the drive for the them to copy over what they need.  It works well here because most of our workstations are PCs, but some are Macs and there arent any problems connecting to them; just the way to do it is different.  For PCs users, they open up windows explorer and type in backslash, backslash then the computer name (\\computername).  For Macs, select the Go menu and then select Connect to Server then type in smb colon, forward slash, forward slash then the computer name (smb://computername).

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Entry by: T-Bone

Remoting in Windows

In a lot of versions of windows, Microsoft dumps down or removes features in the operating system distributions like in there home XP vs. professional XP editions.  Some of the features that they remove are the remote desktop service, dynamic disk support, multi-processor support, encrypting file system, and active directory membership to name a few features removed in home.  Several weeks ago, someone with a Windows Vista Home Basic workstation needed to connect regularly to a Windows XP Home workstation with out continuing to get up and go over there.  It is somewhat superfluous to mention what computer that the user is using to connect from because for the most part, all Windows released within the decade have remote desktop connection client installed, or the ability to add it on.

Rather than pay over a hundred and fifty to purchase the upgrade from home to pro, I found a free program called RealVNC which has a server program and a viewer program.  I installed and configured VNC Server on the XP home computer which installed itself as a Windows service and VNC Viewer on the Vista machine, then opened the necessary ports on the firewall in order for the connection to be made.

A few days later I had to setup VNC server on a Vista Home Basic computer and ran into some troubles.  I found out after doing some research that apparently Vista doesnt allow VNC server to run as a service due to its new security model.  So I had to run the server in user mode and run it as start-up when Windows loads, which worked well when I configured the VNC program to do that.

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Entry by: T-Bone

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