Some months we bring you theory in these pages. Other months, we bring you practice. Now, in theory, there's not much difference between theory and practice, but in practice... you've probably heard the joke before. Our November articles focus on how to accomplish specific tasks, complete with working source code. As the days get colder and shorter, you'll find yourself pleased enough to have something to paste into your current project.
Kenn Scribner has completed his review of XML, what it is, how it works, and why it's going to change your life. Now he's rolling his sleeves up to show you how to use the MSXML parser you can all get for free. It implements the DOM and SAX APIs as a collection of COM interfaces, so working with it isn't all that foreign. See how to search for nodes, get the text they hold, add nodes, and so on.
In June of 2000, we ran a testing article by Roman Korchagin. He's back this month with a follow-up article that addresses something near and dear to all of us who write client-server or n-tier apps: How can you test one half of the application when its behavior depends on the other half? Roman's solution is ingenious and useful.
Have you ever wondered whether your status bar could display something more useful than just text? Would you like to plop a little control down there that could show users what was going on? Martin Cook shows you how, by piggybacking on indicator panes, you can get a lot of functionality with a little bit of code.
We round out the issue with a tip from Sunil B.G. designed to help you deal with empty strings in your database programming.
As winter approaches, I'll be sure to bring you some fireside reading about theory, the way neat new things work. But I plan to keep bringing you practice, actual examples of neat stuff in harness, to balance it out. Let me know if I'm striking the right balance at firstname.lastname@example.org, as always.