Many profuse apolgies for now having written sooner. I love my new job, but it has been keeping me mondo busy compelling me to practice absolutely everything I’ve ever written about regarding Web design and software development. None-the-less, you deserve more posts from me more often. Massive mea culprits.
I mean, my lack of posting wouldn’t have been so bad had I turned you onto a neat set of free-as-beer tools like those offered by Pablo Software Solutions – a site I found by religiously reading Gadgetopia, who writes of Pablo’s pages:
Here’s the thing: Pablo’s site just seems…I don’t know…happy. Like he’s Johnny Appleseed with a copy of Visual C++, skipping down a country road, flinging free apps around the countryside…
The point is, since all the utilities offered by the generous and capable Pablo van der meer are free for non-commercial use, I suggest giving them the once over as some might help you maintain a more usable and accessible church website. Here is a quick enumeration of just some of the tools I found useful:
- ASP 2 VB – an ASP to Visual Basic ActiveX DLL Converter. This utility converts one or more ASP source files into a single Visual Basic 6.0 project that can be compiled into a ActiveX COM DLL
for maximum performance, safety and security. Include files are integrated in the output VB classes.
This could be potentially useful in those cases where you’re transitioning to .NET and want to encapsulate legacy server-side functionality — provided of course you’re running on an IIS Server.
- Cookie Viewer Version 1.04 – Cookies provide websites with a mechanism to store and retrieve state information on your computer. This mechanism allows Web-based applications the ability to store information about selected items, user preferences, registration information, and other information that can be retrieved later.
As a developer, this can be incredibly helpful when dealing with Open Sores code which utilizes cookies very well, but document how they’re used all that well.
- Little Install Builder Version 1.04 – There are a lot of setup applications available, but I found that their code may add more than 250KB to the total size of the final setup application, and because most of my applications are not much bigger than 100KB, I decided to write my own installation builder.
This one could really help you out when you deploy a little piece of software for your church and charity without all the overhead of InstallShield.
- MDB 2 XML – Version 1.0 Build 002 – This utility converts a MS Access database (MDB) to an XML document. Simple enter the name of the MDB file, give the name of the output file and press Convert. The total number of converted records is displayed in the results list control. MDB2XML makes is build using the classes CXmlDocument and CXmlElement which are explained in the Classes section of this website.
A must tool for those of you with older versions of Acess that don’t yet convert/export to XML. Which could really put your XML programming on steriods when you think about it — you use MS Access as a sorta visual design tool for your layout and schema, use MDB 2 XML and presto — output!
- Visual Scripter – Version 1.0 – Visual Scripter is a visual script designer where the user can visually design the scripts without having a lot of programming experience. This is a complete solution with a build in expression parser and debugger to test the created scripts. The user can drag objects (nodes) from the toolbar to the document area and link them together using linking arrows. You can also define error links in case a node fails to execute.
Yo Pablo, if you’re reading this. This rocks already, but I wouldn’t think it would take that much more to push the underlying engine to create a simple use case diagramming tool — I think if I could just replace the icons I could force it to work for me to create executive summaries that could be understood by the non-geeks helping me run RBC.
- WYSIWYG Web Builder – Version 1.53 – The program generates HTML (HyperText Markup Language) tags while you point and click on desired functions; you can create a web page without learning HTML. Just drag and drop objects to the page position them ‘anywhere’ you want and when you’re finished publish it to your web server (using the build in Publish tool).
In other words, programmers will find this an excellent tool for quickly prototyping mock-ups and/or quick content … just make sure your wanna-be geek pastor doesn’t see this page or your website is toast!
So now that I’ve got you droolin’, go and play. Just remember, don’t come crying to me if and when you shoot your foot clean off.