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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Immediately Useful - BB>187

There is a part of a web admin console that we have that displays a MAC address of a device, which our network admin routinely punches in value by value into Calculator and converts it to a decimal format:


…and that becomes:

He has to do that because there is another utility that expects the decimal format of the MAC address.

AND, this has to be done each time we add a new device/customer/end point on our network.

I am using c# to convert the MAC address to decimal in this example.  .Net provides some quick-and-easy ways to convert from hex to decimal and this is ideal when converting a MAC address.

There are a number of approaches on how to solve this kind of issue, but I chose one that doesn’t require (much of) a user interface.  The only visible aspect of the program is a task tray icon that, when double-clicked, converts the contents of the clipboard from hex to decimal.

I chose this approach because, for the most part, we’re dealing with one (or few) of these conversions at a time.  He can copy, double-click and paste into the other app without having to introduce a third, windowed interface into the mix.

Here’s the meat of the method that does the work:


// grab whatever's on the clipboard
// and try to break it apart
string input = Clipboard.GetText();
string[] parts = input.Split(':');

// convert the data to integers
// and build a string
StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
foreach (string part in parts)
sb.Append(int.Parse(part, NumberStyles.AllowHexSpecifier));

// need to drop that last . from the
// string and set the clipboard
string result = sb.ToString();
Clipboard.SetText(result.Substring(0, result.Length - 1));
catch (Exception)
// nothing fancy here, anything goes
// wrong and we bail...
Clipboard.SetText("Hrm...Bad data...");

Put that into a double-click event handler for a NotifyIcon and you’re sailing.

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