Chris Pietschmann

husband, father, hacker, entrepreneur, futurist, innovator, autodidact


OpenStreetMap: Get FREE Web Mapping with Road Maps for your Applications

OpenStreetMap has been around for awhile and provides free geographic data that can be used by anyone. The data is all community created/contributed and that’s why it’s free to use. Other mapping services such as Bing Maps for Enterprise and Google Maps license their geographic data from some other third party and that’s why they cost thousands of dollars per year to use within commercial applications. Using OpenStreetMap with JavaScript The screenshot on the left is showing ... [More]

JavaScript: Easily "Extend" an Object/Element

If you use jQuery then you may be familiar with its "jQuery.extend" method. The "jQuery.extend" method allows you to easily extend one object with one or more others. This is something that can really come in handy, especially when dealing with passing in "options" to a method, and needing to have them "default" to certain values. For Example: [code:js] // "Default" to showing both Toolbar and Footervar defaultOptions = { showToolbar: true, showFooter: true }; function MyObject = function(op... [More]

jHtmlArea 0.6.0 Update with Improved Functionality

I just posted a pretty good update the the jHtmlArea project that includes quite a few more toolbar buttons and a new Color Picker Menu extension/plugin (jHtmlAreaColorPickerMenu) that adds a nice, simple color picker when using the "forecolor" toolbar button. jHtmlArea is a simple, light weight, extensible WYSIWYG HTML Editor built on top of jQuery. This component allows you to easily display a WYSIWYG HTML Editor in place of any TextArea DOM Elements on the page. The minified script alone is ... [More]

jHtmlArea - The all NEW HTML WYSIWYG Editor for jQuery

The last couple days I spent time working on a new simple, lightweight, extensible HTML WYSIWYG editor that's built on top of jQuery. I know there are a ton of existing editors, but I couldn't seem to find any with a truely simple, lightweight design that allowed for really easy extensibility, and that's built on top of jQuery to take advantage of the cross-platform capabilities that jQuery has to offer. I feel that I've come up with a really nice HTML editor component that has some pretty usefu... [More]

Adding a DotNetKicks Image/Badge via jQuery

A while ago Jon Galloway posted a short article titled "Adding a DotNetKicks image via JavaScript" which contains the small amount of JavaScript code necessary to add a Image / Badge to your web pages. The DotNetKicks Badge is essentially a link that allows users to go to to vote for you web page, and the badge also displays the total number of "kicks" that your page has received. Since jQuery has become insanely popular since Jon originally posted his JavaScript ... [More]

Creating Ruby-like "Extensions" in JavaScript

I've been spending a little time here and there learning Ruby. I haven't dug much into Rails yet, but have mostly been just focusing on the Ruby language and what it has to offer. Ruby has some nice "helper" methods attached to it's base data types that make iterations and other simple operations even simpler. I've ported a couple of these methods over to JavaScript so I could play around with using some of these "Ruby-isms" with my favorite web-based, dynamic programming language. Below are so... [More]

What's the Minimum Hosting Cost for Windows Azure?

NOTE: Azure pricing and functionality has changes alot since this post was written making the details below out of date. Microsoft has announced the initial pricing for Windows Azure, SQL Azure and .NET Services. My question is still "What is the Minimum it will cost to host a small website/application on Azure?"If your application is racking up "Compute" time when ever it is "live", then that equals a total of approximately 720 hours of "compute" time for a total of $86.40 per month.If you stor... [More]

Managed JScript on the DLR from Microsoft is DEAD!! WHY?!??

I’ve been questioning here and there as to what happened to Managed JScript on the Dynamic Language Runtime. The most recent preview release is really old, and it has since been taken out of any further preview releases of the DLR, where as IronRuby and IronPython continue on. No More Managed JScript on the DLR? For some time I never really got any good answers. Well, it’s really sad to hear that apparently Microsoft decided to drop it completely. According the this link, a member on the DLR ... [More]

Building JavaScript / HTML based Applications using Adobe Air for FREE

As a web developer I use JavaScript, HTML and CSS a lot. I do however build desktop applications too, but can’t use those same tools/languages to build them. So, for quite some time now I’ve wanted to be able to build Desktop Applications using the same JavaScript, HTML and CSS that I use to build Web Applications. Now with the help of Adobe AIR it can finally be done with ease, and even have multi-platform support. In this post I’m going to discuss the basics of creating a Ja... [More]

Bing Maps for Enterprise (formerly Virtual Earth) Licensing FAQ

I usually get at least 1 email a month asking me some form of the below questions about Virtual Earth / Bing Maps for Enterprise Licensing. So, I’ve decided to post some information on the topic. I’m not a Bing Maps for Enterprise (formerly  Virtual Earth) Reseller, nor do I work for Microsoft or represent Microsoft in any way; so the following tips/faq are my own opinion and do not represent Microsoft in any way. For official answers, please contact Microsoft directly and refer to the “Mi... [More]

Bing Maps Shapes (VEShape) to WKT (Well-Known-Text) and Back using JavaScript

One of the standard methods of representing geometric shapes is by using the WKT (Well-Known-Text) standard. This is a human readable standard method of representing geometric shapes that can be used to easily pass spatial data between applications. I know GML or GeoRSS may be a little more applicable since they are based on XML, but WKT can work just fine in some cases. If you don’t know what WKT is here are a couple links for reference: [More]

Awarded 2009 Microsoft MVP - Windows Live Platform

Congratulations 2009 Microsoft MVP! Dear Chris Pietschmann, Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2009 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. The Microsoft MVP Award provides us the unique opportunity to celebrate and honor your significant contributions and say "Thank you for your technical leadership." Toby Richards General Manager Community... [More]

Prototype of VEToolkit + ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Component Checked In

I just checked in an initial prototype of a reusable Virtual Earth component for ASP.NET MVC. The “VEToolkit.Web.MVC.Map” component is written as an Extension to the ASP.NET MVC AjaxHelper class, and allows for a simpler experience when implementing Virtual Earth mapping within ASP.NET MVC applications. This is an early prototype of what the component will be; it’s not a final release; but you are free to use it. Download the latest Change Set of VEToolkit The code is subject to change at any ... [More]

ASP.NET MVC: Implement Theme Folders using a Custom ViewEngine

One of the things that ASP.NET MVC 1.0 is missing is the ability to easily implement Themes. The older, more mature standard ASP.NET framework includes theme support via the App_Themes folder; however limited it can be, it’s still more than ASP.NET MVC currently has. Well, at least until I wrote this little custom ViewEngine and ControllerBase class to help out and allow us to very easily implement Themes within our ASP.NET MVC applications. A little history: A few months back I wrote up a... [More]

Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Using MouseClick Event To Add "Pushpins"

In previous tutorials I covered the “Basics of Adding Polygons and Polylines” and “Adding Media (Images, Video, etc.)”, but what about handling user input via Map Events? Well, in this tutorial I’ll cover the basics of working with the Map.MouseClick Event (equivalent of the old “onclick” event in the Virtual Earth JavaScript Control). This was written for the Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Release. Adding a MouseClick Event Handler In order to wire things up to manipulate the Map using the MouseC... [More]

I'm starting a Virtual Earth Developer Resource list

I just started a page at the below link that I'm lising a bunch of Virtual Earth Developer Resources that I know of. The reason I'm doing this is because there just aren't any really good lists of resources out there, and there are a TON of resources that you probably don't even know about. This isn't going to be an all inclusive list (that would be impossible), but I'll try to make it the best list of resources I can. Hope it helps some of you discover great content. ... [More]

Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Overlay OpenStreetMap, OpenAerialMap and Yahoo Map Imagery using Custom Tile Layers!

UPDATE: I have written a newer version of this article to specifically target the latest Bing Maps Silverlight Control Version 1.0 Release. You can find the new article here: Display OpenStreetMap Imagery using Bing Maps Silverlight Control v1 In the “Using Tile Layers to Overlay Custom Map Imagery” article I showed you how to overlay your own Custom Map Imagery that you generated using the MapCruncher tool on top of the Map. Now, in this article I’ll show you what you need... [More]

Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Using Tile Layers to Overlay Custom Map Imagery

One of the features that the Virtual Earth JavaScript Control has is the ability to add custom Tile Layers to overlay your own custom imagery over the map. The Virtual Earth Silverlight control also supports this feature. This was written for the Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Release. Before I begin to explain how to add custom Tile Layers to the Map it’s important to note that you can still use the MapCruncher tool to generate Map Imagery Tiles to be used with the custom Tile Layers. The specific... [More]

Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Adding Media (Images, Video, etc.) to the Map

This was written for the Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Release. In the previous tutorial (“Basics of Adding Polygons and Polylines using XAML and Code”) I mentioned that there is no Pushpin Shape Type in the new Virtual Earth Silverlight Map Control SDK CTP. Instead, the Silverlight control has the flexibility of plotting/displaying anything (as long as it inherits from UIElement) you want at a specific Latitude/Longitude Coordinate. This opens up a ton of UI options that can be built to allow the ... [More]

CTP: Bing Maps Silverlight CTP: Basics of Adding Polygons and Polylines using XAML and Code

This was written for the Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Release. Now that we’re familiar with the basics of the Virtual Earth Silverlight Map Control SDK CTP (from my Getting Started with Virtual Earth Silverlight CTP tutorial), we’re ready to move on to adding Shapes (Polygons and Polylines). After all what use is a Virtual Earth Map Control without plotting some data on it. If you’re not familiar with how to get a Map displayed within a Silverlight Application, I really encourage... [More]

CTP: Getting Started with Bing Maps Silverlight CTP Map Control SDK

UPDATE: I have written a newer version of this article to specifically target the latest Bing Maps Silverlight Control Version 1.0 Release. You can find the new article here: Getting Started with Bing Maps Silverlight Control v1.0 It seems like forever since MIX’08 when a demo was shown of a new Silverlight-based Virtual Earth Map Control. Well, now FINALLY we actually have a version of the control to “play” around with. The reason I say “play” is because it&rsq... [More]

Virtual Earth Silverlight Control CTP Teaser and Some Initial Thoughts

Yesterday, the Virtual Earth Silverlight Control CTP (Community Technology Preview) was announced at MIX’09. I was also fortunate to get early access to the CTP, so I’ve been playing with it for a few days. I can’t show you any code yet (until it’s released publicly), but I can tell you a little about it for now. Once it’s released I’ll be posting some articles that range from Basic How-To to Implementing Some Cool Stuff; but you’ll have to wait a little bit for those. For now, here’s a little ... [More]

Windows 7 Beta: Change the Logon UI Background Image

Apparently, Windows 7 will "officially" support Logon UI Background Customization. The previous link describes what needs to be in place (a registry key and image file) for you to be able to have Windows 7 use any image you want as the Logon UI Background. What the previous link doesn't specify is if this works with the Windows 7 Beta (build 7000). Actually, I just test and confirmed that it does work perfectly in the Windows 7 Beta. Good news for us of whom can't (or don't want to) run a newer ... [More]

Bing Maps: Modify the Opacity of an Existing Custom Tile Layer

One of the features that the Custom Tile Layer functionality of the Virtual Earth JavaScript control is the ability to modify the Tile Layers Opacity after it's been added to the Map. It does include HideTileLayer and ShowTileLayer methods to dynamically toggle the display of Custom Tile Layers, but sometimes that's just not enough customization. However, I do have some good news, there is a small technique that you can use to modify the Tile Layer Opacity as necessary. How to Change Custom Til... [More]