Oh, fer cryin’ out loud. Close the darn tag!

By James at July 22, 2009 09:18
Filed Under: Web Development, Ajax and Javascript

I’ve been working on a side project for a while now. A big AJAX-y web application with tons of moving parts. Last night I was getting ready to publish a version for the client to review when I noticed something odd when viewing in Internet Explorer 8. It started out peculiar, turning out to be extremely frustrating.

How a portion of the page looked in Firefox 3.5



And how the same page looked in Internet Explorer 8 (with and without Compatibility Mode) Notice how the font style changes at “State”.


I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Thinking I had hosed a style somewhere, I opened up Firebug and inspected the element. This is what I saw. Ok, looks normal to me.


But using Internet Explorer’s Developer Tools, I saw this. Notice how the span does not close, and the rest of the elements are a child of the span tag.


So, going over the HTML in the ASPX page, I find this, I hadn’t closed the span tag properly. DOH!


Fixing the markup like such, makes the page render properly.


So, is this a bug or a feature of Internet Explorer 8? Or, a bug or a feature of Firefox 3.5?  For me the moral of the story is to make sure that all my block element tags are properly closed.

Time to code,


Inland Empire .NET User’s Group – 2nd Annual Most Valuable Member Event

By James at July 22, 2009 09:16
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG, Life in General

Last Tuesday (July 14th, 2009) was the 2nd Annual Most Valuable Member Event for the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group. The first MVM event was a great success, and I wanted this time around to be just as, if not more, spectacular. I’d like to say it was, and boy howdy.

The sponsors really came through with tons of prizes. Riverside Medical Clinic allowed us to use both the conference room and classrooms – the conference room for the meeting, the classroom for serving the food. My cunados, Ricki and Mauricio prepared authentic Salvadoran food - pupusas, chilaquiles, chiles rellenos y arroz - which was sponsored by Patrick Conway at TekSystems.

William played his guitar during the breaks, and there was tons of conversation, laughter, geekiness and all out fun. Efren Toscano and Josh Highland of TechZulu were there to video tape the event. Wm. Marc Salsberry was taking tons of pictures (in that fantastic way he does).

And, there were four special guests presenting. Volkan Uzun on ReSharper, Dustin Davis on Red Gate ANTS Profiler, David Jung on User Interface testing with Visual Studio 2010, and the lovely and fetching Lynn Langit, gave an update on what is going on with SmartCare in Zambia.

Everyone won prizes, and went home with giant bags of swag. Carmina and I were up till after midnight the night before preparing everything.

Up late packing the swag
Inside the MVM backpack

So after a fun evening of geeking out and eating great food, it was time to announce the winners.

MVM Second Runner Up with 8,360 points - Dennis Palmer

MVM First Runner Up with 17,980 points - Matt Penner

Most Valuable Member for 2008-2009 with 26,350 points - Volkan Uzun


You may be wondering, so what does it mean to be the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group Most Valuable Member and First and Second Runner’s Up. Here is what they each received.

Sponsor Most Valuable Member 1st Runner Up 2nd Runner Up
JetBrains 2 products of choice 2 products of choice 2 products of choice
Developer Express Dxperience Enterprise Dxperience ASP or Winforms CodeRush/Refactor
TechSmith Camtasia Studio Camtasia Studio Camtasia Studio
Telerik Premium Collection Premium Collection Premium Collection
Infragistics NetAdvantage for both .NET and Silverlight NetAdvantage for both .NET and Silverlight NetAdvantage for both .NET and Silverlight
O’Reilly Safari 5 book subscription, 10 books of choice 5 books of choice 5 books of choice
Apress 7 books of choice 5 books of choice 3 books of choice
Wrox 5 books of choice 3 books of choice 2 books of choice
Pearson LiveLesson LiveLesson LiveLesson
InnerWorkings Annual Subscription to complete library    
Red Gate ANTS Performance Profiler Pro    
Microsoft Premium Backpack, Wireless Mouse, Web camera Premium Backpack, Wireless Mouse, Web camera Premium Backpack, Wireless Mouse, Web camera

Additional sponsors stepped forward and provided software to raffle off. Telerik provided a copy of their suite of tools. TechSmith donated a copy of Camtasia Studio. Balsamiq Studios provided three copies of Mockup. TimeSnapper provided ten copies of their software. Red Gate sent books, shirts, lanyards. ComponentOne, Telerik, JetBrains, Developer Express, and Apress provided tons of shirts.

Some fun facts

  • 44 RSVP’s for the eventa new record
  • 58 actual attendeesa new record
  • 159 pictures taken
  • 10 real live women in attendancedefinitely a record

Thanks to all who helped out, who came to see what was what, who participated in collecting points, who provided the TONS of swag, and, who made the evening something to remember.

So, in no particular order…

  • Rachel Hawley – Developer Express
  • Britt King – JetBrains
  • Betsy Weber – TechSmith
  • Emily Parker – Telerik
  • Patrick Conway - TekSystems
  • Kathleen Rader – Infragistics
  • Marsee Henon – O’Reilly
  • Leonardo Cuellar – Apress
  • Ashley Zurcher – Wrox/Wiley
  • Eve Turzillo – Component One
  • Andrea Bledsoe – Pearson
  • Erin Jacobs – Microsoft
  • Janine Rood - InnerWorkings
  • Annabel Bradford, Sarah Grady, Sofie Westlake – Red Gate Software
  • Leon Bambrick and Atli Björgvin Oddsson – TimeSnapper.com
  • Peldi Guilizzoni, Mariah Maclachlan, Valerie Liberty – Balsalmiq Studios
  • Melisa Castro, Amy Gonzalez, and of course,
  • Carmina Johnson

Time to breathe again,


About the author

James James is a five time and current Microsoft MVP in Client App Development, a Telerik Insider, a past Director on the INETA North America Board, a husband and dad, and has been developing software since the early days of Laser Discs and HyperCard stacks. As the Founder and President of the Inland Empire .NET User's Group, he has fondly watched it grow from a twice-a-month, early Saturday morning group of five in 2003, to a robust and rambunctious gathering of all types and sizes of .NET developers.

James loves to dig deep into the latest cutting edge technologies - sometimes with spectacular disasters - and spread the word about the latest and greatest bits, getting people excited about developing web sites and applications on the .NET platform, and using the best tools for the job. He tries to blog as often as he can, but usually gets distracted by EF, LINQ, MVC, ASP, SQL, XML, and most other types of acronyms. To keep calm James plays a mean Djembe and tries to practice his violin. You can follow him on twitter at @latringo.

And as usual, the comments, suggestions, writings and rants are my own, and really shouldn't reflect the opinions of my employer. That is, unless it really does.

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