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My Standard Web Design Practices

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During a phone interview recently I was asked what practices (layout, accessibility, etc.) I used during web design. So here's a quick write-up of what easily came to mind. It's not exhaustive nor in any particular order.

  1. Tables are for tables. Don't use tables to format your content. Only use them if you actually need to display data in a tabular format.
  2. Use appropriate header tags progressively at the appropriate levels. The title/text that describes what's on the current page should be in an H1 tag. Sections below that should use H2 for their titles, etc. Don't use an H4 tag if you don't have an H1, H2 and H3 above it.
  3. Use appropriate tags for the content. Use header tags for headings, use P tags for paragraphs (not DIVs!), use OL and UL for lists, etc. Don't try to use DIVs or SPANs with goofy formatting for everything.
  4. Make sure your content looks orderly and readable even if there's no CSS. Text only readers will ignore most if not all of your CSS.
  5. Make sure links are visually obvious. Underlining is the standard cue for links. Don't take that away from your users.

SQL Server Management Studio Tricks

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This post was inspired by Quick poll : what is your favorite Management Studio tip or trick? by Aaron Bertrand on

My favorite SMSS (2005 for me) tricks include:

  • CTRL-Tab for switching between windows.
  • CTRL-R for showing and hiding the results pane.
  • Include column headers when copying or saving the results options under Tools | Options | Query Results | SQL Server | Results to Grid.
  • Highlight any table or view name in T-SQL and hit Alt+F1 for sp_help and a list of its fields. (Suggested by dan from the above mentioned post.)

More tips here: DAT315 – Session Review for SSMS Tips & Tricks Session by Bill Ramos.


More SQL Server 64-Bit Issues

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Here are some more issued we encountered when moving up to a 64-Bit SQL Server 2005. 

  •  64-Bit Product level is insufficient errors - This happened to us because we didn't have full SSIS installed on the server, just the development version.
  • 64-Bit Offline Mode is True error - This just required a regsvr on a DLL.
  • 64-Bit Linked Server Error - 64-bit SQL Server calls a stored procedure that doesn't exist on linked SQL 2000 servers. Creating a wrapper around a similar existing procedure fixed the problem for us.

    64 Bit SQL Server SSIS Packages with Excel and Access Data

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    If you've just switched to the 64-bit version of SQL Server and have SSIS packages that access Excel or Access, you may find that you packages stop working. That's because the JET driver that is used to access Excel and Access is 32-bit only. SSIS normally uses the 64-bit DTExec to run SSIS packages, it has not access to the 32-bit drivers. Here are some articles with all the details and work arounds

    Quick Reference: SSIS in 32- and 64-bits

    SSIS Snack: SSIS, Excel, and a 64-bit OS 

    64-bit Excel Driver in Microsoft Office 14

    Excel (and Access) Data Source in 64-bit environment


    Facebook Groups vs. Pages

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    Facebook Groups

    • Has a set look for all groups
    • Can enable or disable discussion board, wall, photos, videos, links, related groups, related events
    • Cannot rearrange elements on the group's web page
    • Limited amount of basic info you can post at the top of the group's web page
    • Can easily message all group members
    • Can change your group type at any time
    • When a group administrator posts to the group, it appears as though that individual posted it
    • Group admins' names appear on the group's web page

    Facebook Pages

    • Starts out with a "wall" page that shows recent posts, like individual profiles
    • Supports multiple "tabs" (or "pages") that can have different content
    • Can include any applications you want (wall, photos, etc) on different tabs
    • Allows you to add blocks of artibrary HTML so you can show anything you want
    • Allows you to rearrange the applications on the page
    • No way to easily message all page fans
    • Cannot change the page type after it's created
    • When a group administrator posts to the group, it appears as though the page posted it
    • Page admins' names do not appear on the web page
    • Provides a Facebook "badge" you can put on your other websites that includes the logo, name and counts of updates and fans
    • Allows you to have a "username" for your page so you can have a shorter URL

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