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# Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We heavily use kendo.ui.Splitter widget. Unfortunately it has several drawbacks:

  • you cannot easily configure panes declaratively;
  • you cannot define a pane that takes space according to its content.

Although we don't like to patch widgets, in this case we found no better way but to patch two functions: kendo.ui.Splitter.fn._initPanes, and  kendo.ui.Splitter.fn._resize.

After the fix, splitter markup may look like the following:

<div style="height: 100%" data-role="splitter" data-orientation="vertical">
  <div data-pane='{ size: "auto", resizable: false, scrollable: false }'>
    Header with size depending on content.
  <div data-pane='{ resizable: false, scrollable: true }'>
    Body with size equal to a remaining area.
  <div data-pane='{ size: "auto", resizable: false, scrollable: false }'>
    Footer with size depending on content.

Each pane may define a data-pane attribute with pane parameters. A pane may specify size = "auto" to take space according to its content.

The code can be found at splitter.js A test can be seen at splitter.html.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:34:59 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | kendoui | Thinking aloud | Tips and tricks
# Monday, May 13, 2013

Although WCF REST service + JSON is outdated comparing to Web API, there are yet a lot of such solutions (and probably will appear new ones) that use such "old" technology.

One of the crucial points of any web application is an error handler that allows gracefully resolve server-side exceptions and routes them as JSON objects to the client for further processing. There are dozen approachesin Internet that solve this issue  (e.g., but there is no one that demonstrates error handling ot the client-side. We realize that it's impossible to write something general that suits for every web application, but we'd like to show a client-side error handler that utilizes JSON and KendoUI.

On our opinion, the successfull error handler must display an understandable error message on one hand, and on the other hand it has to provide technical info for developers in order to investigate the exception reason (and to fix it, if need):

collapsed error dialog collapsed error dialog

You may download demo project here. It contains three crucial parts:

  • A server-side error handler that catches all exceptions and serializes them as JSON objects (see /Code/JsonErrorHandler.cs and /Code/JsonWebHttpBehaviour.cs).
  • An error dialog that's based on user-control defined in previous articles (see /scripts/controls/error.js, /scripts/controls/error.resources.js and /scripts/templates/error.tmpl.html).
  • A client-side error handler that displays errors in user-friendly's manner (see /scripts/api/api.js, method defaultErrorHandler()).

Of course this is only a draft solution, but it defines a direction for further customizations in your web applications.

Monday, May 13, 2013 11:09:02 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | ASP.NET | javascript | kendoui | Tips and tricks
# Monday, April 29, 2013

Useful links to those who are still dealing with Cool:GEN.

The site is not cool by itself, but the value is in the tools that authors provide to simplify Cool:GEN development. Especially we would like to mention:

  • GuardIEn - Version control, change and model management and automated builds for CA Gen, and
  • VerifIEr - Automated code checking and standards verification.

These tools help to manage clean and error free models, which simplifies next migration to Java and C# that we perform.

Monday, April 29, 2013 3:54:56 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
Tips and tricks
# Thursday, April 18, 2013

We have upgraded KendoUI and have found that kendo window has stopped to size properly.

In the old implementation window set dimensions like this:

_dimensions: function() {
  if (options.width) {
  if (options.height) {

And here is a new implementation:

_dimensions: function() {
  if (options.width) {
    wrapper.width(constrain(parseInt(options.width, 10), options.minWidth, options.maxWidth));
  if (options.height) {
    wrapper.height(constrain(parseInt(options.height, 10), options.minHeight, options.maxHeight));

Thus nothing but pixels are supported. Earlier we often used 'em' units to define dialog sizes. There was no reason to restrict it like this. That's very unfortunate.

Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:44:24 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | kendoui
# Wednesday, April 3, 2013

To simplify KendoUI development we have defined, which extends class.

Extensions in

  1. As with there is fields Object - a set of key/value pairs to configure the model fields, but fields have some more options:
    • fields.fieldName.serializable Boolean - indicates whether the field appears in an object returned in model.toJSON(). Default is true.
    • fields.fieldName.updateDirty Boolean - indicates whether the change of the property should trigger dirty field change. Default is true.
  2. When model defines a field and there is a prototype function with the same name then this function is used to get and set a field value.
  3. When property is changed through the model.set() method then dirty change event is triggered (provided that fields.fieldName.updateDirty !== false). This helps to build a dependcy graph on that property.
  4. When model instance is consturcted, the data passed in are validated, nullable and default values are set.

Model example

Here is an example of a model: =

  name: { type: "string", defaultValue: "Product Name" },
  price: { type: "number", defaultValue: 10 },
  unitsInStockValue: { type: "number", defaultValue: 10, serializable: false },
  unitsInStock: { type: "string" }

unitsInStock: function(value)
  if (value === undefined)
    var count = this.get("unitsInStockValue");

    return ["one", "two", "three", "four"][count] || (count + "");
    this.set("unitsInStockValue", ({one: 1, two: 2, three: 3, four: 4 })[value] || value);


Notice that:

  • unitsInStock property is implemented as a function - this helps to map model values to presentation values.
  • when you call model.toJSON(), or JSON.stringify() you will see in result name, price, unitsInStock values only - this helps to get model's state and to store it somewhere (e.g. in sessionStorage).
  • in a code:
      var model = new{ price: "7", unitsInStock: "one" });
    the following is true:
      (typeof(model.price) == "number") && (mode.price == 7) && ( == "Product Name") && (model.unitsInStockValue == 1)

As with UserControl the implemntation is defined in the controls.js. The sample page is the same index.html

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 8:37:49 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | Thinking aloud | Tips and tricks
# Thursday, March 28, 2013

Two weeks ago we've gotten new Lenovo 13" laptops (Yoga-13 with touch screens and Windows 8 Pro on board).

The first expression was WOW! Touch screens! Windows 8! Now we'll try our hand on that new (for us) API. So new, so cool...

A day later. What a shit this new UI. Where are my desktop, "Start" button, all the programs... After googling we've understood - we're not alone.

Few more days later. We've recognized that our SSD hard disk won't live long life with our projects. We generates output several GB a day. Thus we've decided to buy external SD cards - additional 64Gb, class 10. That's enough for us. No sooner said than done. After several attempts to copy our projects from hard drive to SD card (~9Gb of sources) we strongly believe that such a vigorous mix (Lenovo + Win 8 + external SD card) won't survive. Windows 8 hangs up when display off (in middle of data copy, after an hour of work). What a .... of .... this Windows 8, Lenovo and SD cards all together.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 10:39:55 PM UTC  #    Comments [2] -
Thinking aloud
# Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Developing with KendoUI we try to formalize tasks. With this in mind we would like to have user controls.

We define user control as following:

It is a javascript class that extends Widget.
It offers a way to reuse UI.
It allows to define a model and a template with UI and data binding.

Unfortunately, KendoUI does not have such API, though one can easily define it; so we have defined our version.

Here we review our solution. We have taken a grid KendoUI example and converted it into a user control.

User control on the page

See index.html

<!DOCTYPE html>

  <!-- (1) Include templates for controls. -->
  <script src="scripts/templates.js"></script>

  <script src="scripts/jquery/jquery.js"></script>
  <script src="scripts/kendo/kendo.web.min.js"></script>

  <!-- (2) UserControl definition. -->
  <script src="scripts/controls.js"></script>

  <!-- (3) Confirm dialog user control. -->
  <script src="scripts/controls/confirm.js"></script>

  <!-- (4) Products user control. -->
  <script src="scripts/controls/products.js"></script>

  <link href="styles/kendo.common.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
  <link href="styles/kendo.default.min.css" rel="stylesheet" />
$(function ()
  // (5) Bind the page.
    // (6) Model as a datasource.
    { source: [new] });
  <!-- (7) User control and its binding. -->
  <div data-role="products" data-bind="source: source"></div>

That's what we see here:

  1. Templates that define layouts. See "How To: Load KendoUI Templates from External Files", and
  2. Definition of the UserControl widget.
  3. Confirm dialog user control (we shall mention it later).
  4. Products user control.
  5. Data binding that instantiates page controls.
  6. Model is passed to a user control through the dataSource.
  7. Use of Products user control. Notice that "data-role" defines control type, "source" refers to the model.

User Control declaration

Declaration consists of a view and a model.

View is html with data binding. See products.tmpl.html

We build our project using Visual Studio, so templates packaging is done with This transformation converts products template into a tag:

<script id="products-template" type="text/x-kendo-template">

thus template can be referred by a utility function: nesterovskyBros.template("products-template").

Model inherits Here how it looks:

// (1) Define a ProducsModel class. =

// (2) Model properties.
  productName: { type: "string", defaultValue: "Product Name" },
  productPrice: { type: "number", defaultValue: 10 },
  productUnitsInStock: { type: "number", defaultValue: 10 },
  products: { type: "default", defaultValue: [] }

// (3) Model methods.
addProduct: function () { ... },
deleteProduct: function (e) { ... },


// (4) Register user control.
nesterovskyBros.ui.Products = nesterovskyBros.defineControl(
  name: "Products",

That's what we have here:

  1. We define a model that inherits KendoUI Model.
  2. We define model fields.
  3. We define model methods.
  4. Register user control with  nesterovskyBros.defineControl(proto) call, where:
    • - defines user control name;
    • proto.model - defines model type;
    • proto.template - defines optional template. If not specified, a template is retrieved from $("#" + + "-template").html().

UserControl API

Now, what's remained is API for the UserControl. See controls.js.

  1. UserControl defines following events:
    • change - triggered when data source is changed;
    • dataBound - triggered when widget is data bound;
    • dataBinding - triggered befor widget data binding;
    • save - used to notify user to save model state.
  2. UserControl defines following options:
    • autoBind (default false) - autoBind data source;
    • template (default $.noop) - user control template.
  3. UserControl defines dataSource field and setDataSource() method.
  4. UserControl defines rebind() method to manually rebuild widget's view from the template and model.
  5. UserControl sets/deletes model.owner, which is a function returning a user control widget when model is bound/unbound to the widget.
  6. When UserControl binds/unbinds model a model.refresh method is called, if any.
  7. You usually define you control with a call nesterovskyBros.defineControl(proto). See above.
  8. There is also a convenience method to build a dialog based on a user control: nesterovskyBros.defineDialog(options), where
    • - a user control name (used in the data-role);
    • options.model - a model type;
    • options.windowOptions - a window options.
    This method returns a function that recieves a user control model, and returns a dialog (kendo.ui.Window) based on the user control.
    Dialog has model() function that returns an instance of model.
    Model has dialog() function that returns an instance of the dialog.
    Dialog and model have result() function that returns an instance of deferred object used to track dialog completion.
    The example of user control dialog is confirm.js and confirm.tmpl.html. The use is in the products.js deleteProduct():

    deleteProduct: function(e)
      var that = this;

      return nesterovskyBros.dialog.confirm(
        title: "Please confirm",
        message: "Do you want to delete the record?",
        confirm: "Yes",
        cancel: "No"
          if (!confirmed)


User controls along with technique to manage and cache templates allow us to build robust web applications. As the added value it's became a trivial task to build SPA.

See also: Compile KendoUI templates.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 9:40:05 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
javascript | Thinking aloud | Tips and tricks
# Monday, February 11, 2013

At present we inhabit in jquery and kendoui world.

There you deal with MVVM design pattern and build you page from blocks. To avoid conflicts you usually restrict yourself from assigning ids to elements, as they make code reuse somewhat problematic.

But what if you have a label that you would like to associate with an input. In plain html you would write:

<label for="my-input">My label:</label> <input id="my-input" type="text">

Html spec suggests to use element id to build such an association.

So, how to avoid introduction of id, and to allow to select input while clicking on the label?

In our projects we use a little utility function that solves exactly this task. It's easier to quote an example than to describe implementation:

<!DOCTYPE html>
  <script src="scripts/jquery.js"></script>
<div class="view">
  <div>A template:</div>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field1]">Name1:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field1" type="text" /></td>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field2]">Name2:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field2" type="text" /></td>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field3]">Name3:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field3" type="text" /></td>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field4]">Name4:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field4" type="checkbox" /></td>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field5][value=0]">Name5:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field5" value="0" type="radio" /></td>
      <td><label data-for="[name=field5][value=1]">Name6:</label></td>
      <td><input name="field5" value="1" type="radio" /></td>
    var target = $(;

    target.closest(target.attr("data-view") || ".view").

Monday, February 11, 2013 9:40:18 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
# Sunday, February 10, 2013

In our applications we must support IE 8, and unfortunately we hit some leak, which is registered as Ticket #7054(closed bug: fixed).

While bug declared closed as fixed we can see that memory leak in IE8 like a mad. Not sure if something can be done about it.

The test case is:

<!DOCTYPE html>
  <script src="scripts/jquery/jquery-1.9.0.js"></script>
function testLeak()
  var handler = function () { };

  $('<div></div>').html(new Array(1000).join(new Array(1000).join('x'))).bind('abc', handler).appendTo('#test').remove();

$(function() { setInterval(testLeak, 1000); });
<div id="test"></div>

Update: jaubourg has pointed that we have missed to define element with id="test". With this element leak stops.

Sunday, February 10, 2013 5:17:33 AM UTC  #    Comments [2] -
# Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kendo UI Docs contains an article "How To: Load Templates from External Files", where authors review two way of dealing with Kendo UI templates.

While using Kendo UI we have found our own answer to: where will the Kendo UI templates be defined and maintained?

solution tree

In our .NET project we have decided to keep templates separately, and to store them under the "templates" folder. Those templates are in fact include html, head, and stylesheet links. This is to help us to present those tempates in the design view.

In our scripts folder, we have defined a small text transformation template: "", which produces "templates.js" file. This template takes body contents of each "*.tmpl.html" file from "templates" folder and builds string of the form:

document.write('<script id="footer-template" type="text/x-kendo-template">...</script><script id="row-template" type="text/x-kendo-template">...</script>');

In our page that uses templates, we include "templates.js":

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <script src="scripts/templates.js"></script>

Thus, we have:

  • clean separation of templates and page content;
  • automatically generated templates include file. contains a web project demonstrating our technique. "" is text template transformation used in the project.

See also: Compile KendoUI templates.

Sunday, January 6, 2013 7:43:19 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | ASP.NET | javascript | Tips and tricks
# Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our goal is to generate reports in streaming mode.

At some point we need to deal with data streams (e.g. xml streams for xslt transformations). Often a nature of report demands several passes through the data. To increase performance we have defined a class named StreamResource. This class encapsulates input data, reads it once and caches it into a temp file; thus data can be traversed many times. StreamResource can read data lazily or in a eager way thus releasing resources early. This class can be used as a variation of PipeStream, which never blocks, as if a size of a buffer is not limited, and which can be read many times.

The API looks like this:

public class StreamResource: IDisposable
  /// <summary>
  /// Creates a StreamSource instance.
  /// </summary>
  /// <param name="source">
  /// A function that returns source as an input stream.
  /// </param>
  /// <param name="settings">Optional settings.</param>
  public StreamResource(Func<Stream> source, Settings settings = null);

  /// <summary>
  /// Creates a StreamSource instance.
  /// </summary>
  /// <param name="source">
  /// A function that writes source data into an output stream.
  /// </param>
  /// <param name="settings">Optional settings.</param>
  public StreamResource(Action<Stream> source, Settings settings = null);

  /// <summary>
  /// Gets an input stream.
  /// </summary>
  /// <param name="shared">
  /// Indicates that this StreamResouce should be disposed when returned
  /// stream is closed and there are no more currently opened cache streams.
  /// </param>
  /// <returns>A input stream.</returns>
  public Stream GetStream(bool shared = false);

The use pattern is following:

// Acquire resource.
using(var resource = new StreamResource(() => CallService(params...)))
  // Read stream.
  using(var stream = resource.GetStream())


  // Read stream again.
  using(var stream = resource.GetStream())

StreamResource is efficient even if you need to process content only once, as it monitors timings of reading of source data and compares it with timings of data consumption. If the difference exceeds some threshold then StreamResource caches source greedily, otherwise source is pooled lazily. Thus, input resources can be released promptly. This is important, for example, when the source depends on a database connection.

The use pattern is following:

// Acquire resource and get shared stream.
using(var stream = new StreamResource(() => CallService(params...)).GetStream(true))

Finally, StreamResource allows to process data in a pipe stream mode. This is when you have a generator function Action<Stream> that can write to a stream, and you want to read that data. The advantage of StreamResource over real pipe stream is that it can work without blocking of generator, thus releasing resources early.

The use pattern is similar to the previous one:

using(var stream = new StreamResource(output => Generate(output, params...)).GetStream(true))

The source of the class can be found at

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 7:01:57 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | Thinking aloud
# Friday, November 9, 2012

Two monthes ago we have started a process of changing column type from smallint to int in a big database.

This was splitted in two phases:

  1. Change tables and internal stored procedures and functions.
  2. Change interface API and update all clients.

The first part took almost two monthes to complete. Please read earlier post about the technique we have selected for the implementation. In total we have transferred about 15 billion rows. During this time database was online.

The second part was short but the problem was that we did not control all clients, so could not arbitrary change types of parameters and of result columns.

All our clients use Entity Framework 4 to access the database. All access is done though stored procedures. So suppose there was a procedure:

create procedure Data.GetReports(@type smallint) as
  select Type, ... from Data.Report where Type = @type;

where column "Type" was of type smallint. Now we were going to change it to:

create procedure Data.GetReports(@type int) as
  select Type, ... from Data.Report where Type = @type;

where "Type" column became of type int.

Our tests have shown that EF bears with change of types of input parameters, but throws exceptions when column type has been changed, even when a value fits the range.  The reason is that EF uses method SqlDataReader.GetInt16 to access the column value. This method has a remark: "No conversions are performed; therefore, the data retrieved must already be a 16-bit signed integer."

Fortunately, we have found that EF allows additional columns in the result set. This helped us to formulate the solution. We have updated the procedure definition like this:

create procedure Data.GetReports(@type int) as
    cast(Type as smallint) Type, -- deprecated
    Type TypeEx, ...
    Type = @type;

This way:

  • result column "Type" is declared as deprecated;
  • old clients still work;
  • all clients should be updated to use "TypeEx" column;
  • after all clients will be updated we shall remove "Type" column from the result set.

So there is a clear migration process.

P.S. we don't understand why SqlDataReader doesn't support value conversion.

Friday, November 9, 2012 4:41:27 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | SQL Server puzzle | Tips and tricks
# Monday, October 29, 2012

If you deal with web applications you probably have already dealt with export data to Excel. There are several options to prepare data for Excel:

  • generate CSV;
  • generate HTML that excel understands;
  • generate XML in Spreadsheet 2003 format;
  • generate data using Open XML SDK or some other 3rd party libraries;
  • generate data in XLSX format, according to Open XML specification.

You may find a good article with pros and cons of each solution here. We, in our turn, would like to share our experience in this field. Let's start from requirements:

  • Often we have to export huge data-sets.
  • We should be able to format, parametrize and to apply different styles to the exported data.
  • There are cases when exported data may contain more than one table per sheet or even more than one sheet.
  • Some exported data have to be illustrated with charts.

All these requirements led us to a solution based on XSLT processing of streamed data. The advantage of this solution is that the result is immediately forwarded to a client as fast as XSLT starts to generate output. Such approach is much productive than generating of XLSX using of Open XML SDK or any other third party library, since it avoids keeping a huge data-sets in memory on the server side.

Another advantage - is simple maintenance, as we achieve clear separation of data and presentation layers. On each request to change formatting or apply another style to a cell you just have to modify xslt file(s) that generate variable parts of XLSX.

As result, our clients get XLSX files according with Open XML specifications. The details of implementations of our solution see in our next posts.

Monday, October 29, 2012 3:34:38 PM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
.NET | ASP.NET | Thinking aloud | xslt

Recently we had a discussion with DBA regarding optimization strategey we have selected for some queries.

We have a table in our database. These are facts about that table:

  • the table is partitioned by date;
  • each partition contains a month worth of data;
  • the table contains at present about 110 million rows;
  • the table ever grows;
  • the table is most accessed in the database;
  • the most accessed part of the data is related to last 2-3 days, which is about 150000 rows.

The way we have optimized access to that table was a core of the dispute.

We have created filtered index that includes data for the last 3 days.

To achieve desired effect we had to:

  • create a job that recreates that index once a day, as filter condition is moving;
  • adjust queries that access the table, as we had to use several access pathes to the table depending on date.

As result we can see that under the load, stored procedures that access that table became almost 50% faster. On the other hand maintainance became more complicated.

DBA who didn't like the database complications had to agree that there are speed improvements. He said that there should be a better way to achieve the same effect but could not find it.

Are there a better way to optimize access to this table?

Monday, October 29, 2012 8:34:39 AM UTC  #    Comments [0] -
SQL Server puzzle | Tips and tricks
# Friday, September 7, 2012

We're implementing UDT changes in the big database. Earlier, that User Defined Type was based on smallint, and now we have to use int as the base.

The impact here is manyfold:

  1. Clients of the database should be prepared to use wider types.
  2. All stored procedures, functions, triggers, and views should be updated accordingly.
  3. Impact on the database size should be analyzed.
  4. Types of columns in tables should be changed.
  5. Performance impact should be minimal.

Now, we're trying to address (3), (5) and to implement (4), while trying to keep interface with clients using old types.

As for database size impact, we have found that an index fragmentation is a  primary disk space waster (see Reorganize index in SQL Server). We have performed some partial index reorganization and can see now that we can gain back hundreds of GB of a disk space. On the other hand we use page compression, so we expect that change of types will not increase sizes of tables considerably. Indeed, our measurments show that tables will only be ~1-3% bigger.

The change of types of columns is untrivial task. The problem is that if you try to change column's type (which is part of clustered index) directly then you should temporary remove foreign keys, and to rebuild all indices. This won't work neither due to disk space required for the operation (a huge transaction log is required), nor due to availability of tables (we're talking about days or even weeks to rebuild indices).

To work-around the problem we have selected another way. For each target table T we performed the following:

  • Renamed table T to T_old;
  • Created a table T_new with required type changes;
  • Created a view named T, which is union of T_old for the dates before a split date and T_new for the dates after the split date;
  • Created instead of insert/update/delete triggers for the view T.
  • Created a procedures that move data in bulks from T_old to the T_new, update split date in view definitions, and delete data from T_old.

Note that:

  • the new view uses wider column types, so we had to change stored procedures that clients use to cast those columns back to shorter types to prevent side effects (fortunately all access to this database is through stored procedures and functions);
  • the procedures that transfer data between new and old tables may work online;
  • the quality of execution plans did not degrade due to switch from table to a view;
  • all data related to the date after the split date are inserted into T_new table.

After transfer will be complete we shall drop T_old tables, and T views, and will rename T_new tables into T.

This will complete part 4 of the whole task. Our estimations are that it will take a month or even more to complete the transfer. However solution is rather slow, the database will stay online whole this period, which is required condition.

The next task is to deal with type changes in parameters of stored procedures and column types of output result sets. We're not sure yet what's the best way to deal with it, and probably shall complain about in in next posts.

Friday, September 7, 2012 8:57:36 PM UTC  #    Comments [2] -
SQL Server puzzle | Thinking aloud | Tips and tricks
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