“Connect to a server” option in IIS Manager is not available

If you are running Vista, and are wondering why you can’t use IIS Manager to connect to any remote servers, sites, or applications…you’re running the wrong version.

Here’s what the wrong version looks like:

The wrong version of IIS Manager in Windows Vista

You need to grab the “IIS Manager for Remote Administration” instead, as shown in the picture below. It has an active toolbar in the connections panel, and extra menu options. It allows you to administer IIS sites and applications on remote machines.

The right version of IIS Manager in Windows Vista: IIS Manager for remote administration

Download links:

It took me ages to figure this out — I thought there must be some option, service, or permission I was missing that would allow me to connect to remote sites. But no, you need a completely different version of the damn tool. Vista Ultimate, my ass. I hope this makes the answer a bit easier to find for the next person who is stumped by the same issue.

Dynamically created (or included) Javascript

Dynamically created page elements? No problem. Dynamically created Javascript? As in, using document.createElement() to create a <script> element? Sounds like black magic, and it’s not something I would have tried myself until I saw the article @import voor JavaScript on Naar Voren (in Dutch). Basically, it’s a technique for giving Javascript the ability to include other script files “on demand,” much in the same way as PHP’s include() and include_once() functions.

This technique has actually been around for a while: a quick google showed me the article “Javascript includes – yet another way of RPC-ing”, by Stoyan Stefanov from July of this year, which in turn points back to articles from 2002. In addition to making the whole include() thing possible (a fantastically useful feature), using dynamically generated script also allows you to use make remote calls to other domains–something the HmlHttpRequest object forbids. In fact, Simon Willison was just talking about this the other day, in the context of Yahoo!’s web service APIs now providing output in JSON format as well as traditional XML.

It’s all coming together. A bundle of key techniques that have been around for ages (Unobtrusive javascript, object-oriented javascript, Ajax/remote scripting) have suddenly seen massive adoption and tremendous development. Javascript has matured a great deal over the course of 2005, and is rapidly tuning into one of the cornerstones of modern web development. It’s a very exciting time for the field.