June 29, 2008

RADE – Build custom web applications, without writing custom code

Filed under: RADE — Tags: — Darrin Maidlow @ 7:21 am

In response to numerous queries, I put together this post to help answer the question – what is RADE (formerly known as WebRADE). RADE is a development framework that delivers custom web applications using existing data without having to write a single line of code.  RADE provides a rich set of functions including security, prompting queries, configurable reports and charting using existing database and mapping data, without the need for expensive consultants and programmers.

RADE includes a configurable web mapping interface that incorporates queries, reports, charts and basic editing tools. These “components” work with the data you have stored in one or more databases (Oracle, SQL Server, Access) and can be used by any application made with RADE. Right now RADE supports MapGuide 6.x, we are in the process however of extending the mapping interface to allow RADE applications to use multiple web mapping engines including MapGuide 6.x, MapGuide Enterprise 2009 / Mapguide Open Source 2.0 and Google Maps. Other mapping engines may be implemented in the future.  

An application made with RADE is a collection of queries, reports, charts, and of course users/groups managed by the integrated RADE security model. They are your custom solutions founded upon the bedrock that RADE provides.

A user with basic knowledge of their underlying database structure can design customized queries, reports, and charts in a matter of hours. Solutions can be as broad or as narrow as needed depending on the requirements of the organization. All of this work is done using RADE’s web-based administration tools.  

Before RADE, I worked for a provider of customizable desktop GIS, automated map standardization, and facilities management solutions for both government and industry. GIS/Geospatial implementations involved a lot of customized work, specific to particular clients, and could seldom be easily reused. This is when and where I came to realize that there had to be a better way to develop solutions.  

As RADE developed, we put it to the test and have been developing a series of standalone applications build on its framework. With RADE, we are saving time on projects which results in significant cost savings and rapid delivery for our clients.  

Out of curiosity one day, I connected RADE to my accounting and bug-tracking databases just to see what would happen. With a little research into the underlying databases — I was able to create both queries and reports on both data sources. No map required.  

As a developer I have projects that require me to extend RADE with more proprietary code. Take for example. FloorView is a complete vertical application built on top of RADE. It uses the RADE security/authentication system in addition to the RADE queries and reports — but is in itself a full application. This allowed us to leverage the existing functionality saving time, and money. In addition to this, FloorView appears as a RADE application when authorized users login to the site keeping all of the RADE based applications in one convenient location.  

In addition to FloorView a number of other vertical applications have been developed on top of, or using RADE. They include solutions for address management, disaster planning and recovery, sexual predator and offender tracking, crime mapping and analysis, oil and gas lease management and service request tracking and management.  

The best analogy I have for RADE is “Developer in a Box”.  Much of the work is already done for you…

June 25, 2008

Easy color ranges for developers in Mapguide Studio 2009

Filed under: Mapguide — Tags: — Darrin Maidlow @ 6:30 pm

Typically developers are color stupid (myself included).  I’ve seen some really really ugly maps.  I’ve created some really really ugly maps.  With Mapguide 6.5 in particular – I gave up on trying to create visually appealing maps.  The 255 colors, in the ranges defined I just could not do it.

With Mapguide Enterprise – I may have found a solution.  Recently I created a themed layer for municipalities.  There were twenty five municipalities in a single spatial table.  Each municipality had a unique code.   In an effort to bang these off quickly I added the twenty five municipalities and the filter condition.   Next I entered the twenty five legend labels.

Here is the developer friendly method I came up with creating a somewhat visually appealing color range.  In the first condition I set first set the transparency to 50%.  The transparency affects the resulting color.  Select the color combo and choose "More Colors".  This should bring up the custom color dialog.  First, select one of the "Custom Color" boxes and set the Hue to 0. Next I created a color I wanted to use as my starting shade.

At this point, I saved the color using the "Add to Custom Colors" button.  Your form should look something like this:

Mapguide Color Dialog

Click OK a couple of times and your first condition should be set.  Next I selected my next condition, and clicked the color combo again choosing "More Colors" once again.  This time, select the saved custom color and it should reset the form with the previously saved shade.  At this point I incremented the Hue by 20 to 20.  Click ok a couple of times and repeat.  I was not re-saving my shade, though I suppose that might have made sense.  Each time you repeat this process increase the hue by 20 until you hit the max of 239.

If needed, and you do hit the max hue start the process over starting with another complimentary base shade with a hue of 0. Using a hue increment of 40 might have resulted in more distinct colorations and may be a good idea.

I think it turned out OK, but then again as I stated earlier – I’m color stupid. 

Resulting Color Range

June 24, 2008

Convert Mapguide 6.5 colors to Mapguide Enterprise/Open Source/AutoCAD RGB equivalents

Filed under: Mapguide — Tags: — Darrin Maidlow @ 11:59 pm

I’ve been authoring some test data for my ongoing Mapguide Enterprise \ MGOS work.  For consistency with my existing tabular test data, I need to migrate some Mapguide 6.5 maps over to Enterprise.  This is quite the chore.  I really wish Autodesk would have kept updating the Mapguide 6.5 and bring that up to support a current release of Mapguide.  Even with the tools flaws, it was still a good start on migration – but oh well, that’s another rant completely..and maybe another side project that I just don’t have time for =)

Anyhow, I wanted to share the .  I can’t believe I hadn’t found this page sooner.  A fantastic, and crucial reference.   Tons of useful settings for the chart generator.  Show the hex codes for using the colors in HTML, Decimal RGB values for Mapguide Enterprise \ Autocad.  The colors under the Decimal heading are the RGB values – ordered in Red, Green, Blue.  I’ve been using the chart in .

Thanks Pima County.  Hopefully, you guys were able to come up with a programmatic method of creating this chart.  I’d hate to be the guy tasked with ‘eyedropping’ all these colors using Photoshop or something.

The decimal values by the way should work with AutoCAD too.

 

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June 13, 2008

Upgrading SourceGear Vault Server to new x64 release on Windows 2003 x64/IIS6

Filed under: General — Tags: — Darrin Maidlow @ 11:11 pm

recently released a 64 bit native built of the server.  I’m on a real x64 kick lately and really enjoy not seeing *32 beside my processes in task manager.  Vault is one of the best source control providers out there, and you cannot beat the price either.  It is core to my professional life.  Next to Visual Studio – it is one of the most important pieces of software I use. So, did a quick backup of my databases, un-installed the old server and installed the shiny new x64 code.  Problems!

First off, my server was running IIS in 32 bit mode.  This was required to run the previous releases of Vault.  Once the install was complete, I started a dos window and set IIS back to 64 bit:

cscript.exe C:\Inetpub\AdminScripts\adsutil.vbs set W3SVC/AppPools/Enable32BitAppOnWin64 0

Then I ran an iisreset.

When I fired up my browser to check the vault service, there was a problem.  All it would display was "Service Unavailable".  At this point, even html files were not being served out.  Did a search on the Sourcegear forums and couldn’t find anything.  It’s been a long week and I was not firing on all cylinders – so I called up the support team.  (Good thing I renewed my maintenance, oh, this morning =D).  At this point Beth from SourceGear and I brainstormed through the situation and came to the following conclusions:

I was the first customer to call with x64 problems.  Yay for being first!

In IIS Manager, the application pool was disabled.  A check of the event logs showed the following information:

Source: W3SVC-WP

Event ID: 2268

Could not load all ISAPI filters for site/service.  Therefore startup aborted.

This prompted a check the web service extensions.  Sure enough, there was a web service extension there configured for ASP.NET pointing to the 32 Bit assemblies.  I prohibited this extension, and added a new one pointing to the 64 bit aspnet_isapi.dll.  Re-enable the application pool and load a page in the browser – still nothing.

Finally – the last step needed to get everything serving properly was to run the following from the x64 framework folder:

c:\windows\microsoft.net\framework64\v2.0.50727\aspnet_regiis -I -enable

So in summary the following steps should get your Vault server upgraded and running in native x64.  Bear in mind, my server is ONLY running Vault and these steps will break ASP.NET 1.1 applications (and lower) and possibly other code you might have running on the server.

   1: Backup SGVault and SGMaster databases (did I even need to include this?)
   2: Un-install the 32 bit Vault server
   3: Install the 64 bit Vault server
   4: Run cscript.exe C:\Inetpub\AdminScripts\adsutil.vbs set W3SVC/AppPools/Enable32BitAppOnWin64 0
   5: Run c:\windows\microsoft.net\framework64\v2.0.50727\aspnet_regiis -I -enable
   6: Start IIS Manager. 
   7: Double check the vault virtual directories to ensure the ASP.NET version is set to v2.0
   8: Prohibit the ASP.Net 32 bit isapi web service extension
   9: Add the ASP.Net 64 bit isapi web service extension
  10: run IISReset.exe

 

mmmm x64 goodness.  Thanks again to Beth for helping me work through this =)

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