Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

Category Archive for "Custom Software Development"

Streamlining ELMAH With A Logging Platform in ASP.NET

Logging and tracing are both critical components of enterprise software development. And yet they are often overlooked or otherwise treated as an afterthought. However, as any programmer worth his or her salt will tell you, proper logging and tracing saves countless hours and headaches when it comes to tracking down bugs in a production environment. To serve these needs, there are numerous logging frameworks to choose from. In this article I am going to explore two popular frameworks and how to best use them together as a comprehensive logging and tracing solution.
Before we begin, let’s define the difference between logging and tracing. Logging is the broad process of recording events that occur in a running software program. The resulting logs include any information about these events that the developer deems necessary. Tracing, on the other hand, is a more specialized…

Getting Started Processing and Converting the Quill.js Delta Format

There are many WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors out there just waiting for you to drop them into your website, but one reason to choose Quill.js is for its ability to represent its contents as a JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) object.  Doing so allows you, the developer, to process those contents easily and convert them to another format. Also, it’s free, which is always a good thing.
For this, we will be focusing on some of the basics of how Quill.js expresses its contents in the Delta format and how you might go about processing those contents to fit your needs.  The examples below begin after the JSON string is converted to a C# object. For the features that are being covered here (bold, underline, italic, font color, and numbered/bulleted lists) the class structure might look something…

Exploring Buffer Overflows In C, Part One: Theory

Intro
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest evolving tech fields and the stakes are high. Mistakes can be in the order of millions of dollars. Computers have invaded all aspects of our everyday lives. Although this means I can access millions of cat pictures with the touch of a button, it is dangerous to assume that everyone using a computer is in it for the fuzzy felines. Credit cards, passwords, and social security numbers are moving across the internet just as quickly as cat pictures but with a lucrative black market. There is a lot to gain from a successful hack and hackers will be doing their best to break into the systems we rely on and use daily. Ranging from high-tech exploits such as 2018’s Spectre and Meltdown to low-tech exploits like phishing and social engineering, it is important for…

Design Patterns – Factory Method

The Factory Method design pattern is a creational pattern for simplifying construction of similar objects through means of subclasses and a superclass or interface/class relationships. Makes perfect sense right?  Alright, more simply it helps reduce the complexity of your code when it comes to creating similar objects and taking action with them.
So… where is this pattern helpful?  For the sake of this post, imagine you run a popular website where users can come to get rewards for activities or purchases they have made, and that your site currently only lets users receive payouts from PayPal. More than likely the application will have a lot of code written with only PayPal in mind, scattered throughout the code base with conditional behaviors at every step of the way. Now, let’s imagine that times are changing and your users would rather be paid…

How I Found Myself Involved in #WomenInSTEM

#WomenInSTEM isn’t a movement I ever expected to get involved in, even as recently as six months ago.  That said, I couldn’t be any happier that I’m part of a team that is taking on this subject head-on.
So – backing things up a bit – I joined Tallan in May of 2018.  I quickly noticed that our own office is, by a vast majority, male consultants.  This made it all the more exciting to learn about the scholarship program we put in place at the beginning of 2018 to promote the #WomenInSTEM movement.
Plans to keep the scholarship going in 2019 were in place before my arrival, but the team that put the program together wanted to do more, and I wanted to be a part of that.  I worked with some of our own #WomenInSTEM, alongside a few fantastic educators…

Chosen as an advocate for Women in STEM

Most of my life I have been the only female in the room in a male-dominated profession.  No matter what obstacles I faced, I persevered and found myself at a great company called Tallan. I was honored when Ben Fischbein, a colleague of mine here at Tallan, approached me and acknowledged my achievements as a female programmer.  He shared his findings about the scarcity of women in STEM while offering me the opportunity to present to the students of Conard High School about the importance of women in these fields during their Computer Science Education Week.
To open my presentation, I wanted to connect with the students about why there is a gender gap in STEM.  I had asked the students what they had thought an artist looked like and I featured a picture of a painter, a musician, a male…

Live Webinar on 11/29! How Digital Strategy Helped American Financial Resources Compete

Do you have lunch plans next Wednesday, 11/29? If not, why don’t you plan to treat yourself to some takeout, and register for our Webinar.
Our Live at Lunch Webinar features Bill Packer, the Chief Operating Officer of American Financial Resources (AFR) and our New York Region Managing Director, discussing the strategy surrounding AFR’s decision to transition to cloud-based infrastructure.
In an hour we plan to ask our client’s advice on what to consider when prioritizing a digital strategy, whether he’ll give us some insight on what he could have done differently – if anything, and how this modernization has empowered his employees as well as his customers (both in the B2B channel, and direct-to-consumer) to take control.
I bet you wouldn’t believe that he was actually hired specifically for his attitude toward innovation to transition AFR.  Mortgage banks are in the financial…

Designing & Developing The Award-Winning malegislature.gov

At this year’s National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Los Angeles, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took home the NALIT/LINCS Online Democracy Award for the best legislative website in the country. Tallan has worked hand-in-hand with the Massachusetts General Court for the better part of a decade, and this is the second time we have helped them take home this prestigious award. This is, however, the first time we’ve done it with a complete website redesign from beginning to end. This will be an exploration of some components of the redesign, and what helped make it such a successful effort.

Accessibility First
A key component of any government website is accessibility. Designers and developers need to make sure that all information is available to all users through the same interface. With Massachusetts, we approached every feature or idea by asking…

Developing Your First VSTO Add-In

Anyone planning to develop a VSTO Add-In may come to realize that documentation and examples are scarce or nonexistent. Recently I have found myself in this exact predicament as I have been developing a Microsoft Word VSTO Add-In to be used in the legislative drafting process. Throughout development, my team has created a handful of solutions for both simple and complex tasks. Many of these solutions could not be found online, and as a result, required significant research and testing. Here are a few examples that I wish I had when I started to develop a VSTO add-in that will hopefully jump-start your VSTO development.
Overriding Default Save Behavior
One of the core features that was required for our Word Add-In was version control. In order to support this functionality, we would need to override the default behavior of Word’s save functionality….

Genetic Algorithm: An Overview

The genetic algorithm is part of a family of algorithms used for optimization problems first conceived of in the 1950s at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.   The algorithm didn’t gain much commercial use until the late 1980s.  In this post, I will briefly discuss genetic algorithm and how it works, going over an example of its implementation.  I will also discuss what practical problems genetic algorithm can be used to solve.  Lastly, I will provide some links for more reading on the subject should you feel like learning more.
So, the Genetic Algorithm gets its name from the fact that it attempts to simulate biological evolution.    If you recall from high school biology, all life is composed of DNA, and that DNA is made up of chromosomes, which are made up of Nucleic Acids.  When an organism reproduces,…

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