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Showing posts from May, 2012

Using async in .NET 4.0

The new async and await keyword in C# 5  is just syntactic sugar. Behind the scenes the code got rewritten to a state machine implementation. As both of .NET 4.0 and .NET 4.5 are using the same CLR, it should be possible to use the async functionality in .NET 4.0 too. AsyncBridge The first thing you could try is AsyncBridge. It's a NuGet package that lets you use the real VS 11 C#5 compiler to write code that uses the async and await keywords, but to target .NET 4.0.  . You just add it to your project, and the compiler will pick it up and use it to implement async/await. The only requirement is that you also have Visual Studio 11 installed on your machine. The code is available here: . It follows the same idea as LINQBridge , which let you use C# 3 LINQ, but only require .NET 2.0. Async Targeting Pack for Visual Studio 11 Another option you have (and an official one) is the Async Targeting Pack for Visual Studio 11 . (As the long

Creating a .gitignore file for .NET development

Why a .gitignore file? By default Git will monitor all the files inside your folders.  So this means that even bin and obj folders and (if you are using Resharper, your _ReSharper files) are listed to be added to your repository. I don’t think you want to include these files inside your source control system(at least I don’t). Creating the .gitignore file in Windows I’m not a commandline guru, so I tried creating this file the easy way. I created a new text file inside my repository folder and tried to rename it to .gitignore.  Unfortunately no success: It seems that Windows doesn’t understand dot files (and Git uses this a lot; .bashrc, .gitignore, etc…). Windows expects your files to have a name.extension convention. So back to the Gitbash console…  but no .gitignore. Type “touch .gitignore”. This will create the .gitignore file with no content. Adding the .gitignore content to support .NET development So now we have our .gitignore file, but it is still empty.  W


A colleague sent me the link to the following useful Visual Studio plugin: VSColorOutput . “VSColorOutput is a Visual Studio 2010/2011 extension that   can change the color of a line emitted to the output window based on specified rules. The rules consist of regular expressions. Rules map to classifications which in turn map to colors .” More information: Download:

Open Office trend: my opinion

Reading Jef Claes post on The open plan fallacy inspired me to share my opinion too. (Go read Jef’s post before you continue reading). I don’t know how it is at other places in the world, but here in Belgium, the ‘Open Office’ idea is really popular. The idea is that everyone is sharing the same workspace. In the morning, you enter the building, take your first cup of coffee and go sit where ever you want. Everyone is sitting in the same open office. In the evening you remove everything from your desk, put your stuff inside a locker and the next day it start’s all over again. (And if you don’t like the person sitting next to you, the next day you can go and sit somewhere else). As Jef mentions in his post the open office layout certainly has some advantages. It stimulates communication, creates more networking opportunities, optimize the usage of the available space and reduce costs.  I have to agree with all those advantages (it’s always fun to chat with a colleague you have no

jQuery Dialog: don’t close on escape

The default behavior of the jQuery Dialog allows you to close a dialog by using the Escape button. For a specific use case I did not want the user to close the dialog without explicitly specifying a value. The solution is to change the value of the closeOnEscape setting to false :   $('#myConfirmDialog').dialog('option', 'closeOnEscape', false );

I’m a problem solver, not a coder

Last week I was reading the ‘Please don’t learn to code’ post by Jeff Atwood where he complaints about the intentions of Mike Bloomberg(New York City’s mayor) to learn coding. Although I think that Jeff is missing the point about what Mike Bloomberg is trying to achieve with this initiative, there are some other things inside his blog post that resonates with me. Jeff talks about the fact that writing more code is most of the time not the desirable thing. It took me a long time to understand as a programmer that my job was not writing as much code as possible. Instead the real skill is writing as little code as possible .  (I think I have some colleagues that can agree that I’m more busy removing code, instead of writing ) There are a lot of people out there that can code way better than me , but I do not care. I have evolved from someone who thought that coding was the goal to someone that believes that problem solving is my main job. And writing code is just a tool in my tool be

TFS Build: The assembly has already loaded from a different location

When trying to run a build on a build server, the unit tests failed with the following error message: API restriction: The assembly ‘someassembly.dll' has already loaded from a different location. It cannot be loaded from a new location within the same appdomain. This error is caused by a combination of 2 elements. First the solution that I’m trying to build contains a web application. As a consequence the binaries are available at 2 locations; the binaries folder itself but also inside the _PublishedWebsites directory that is created beneath the Binaries folder during a team build. The second thing is that I’m using the default Test pattern to search for Test assemblies: **\*test*.dll. This pattern indicates that the build engine will search for test assemblies containing the word ‘test’ in the binaries folder AND all subfolders.  As we have 2 places where the same assembly is found(the Binaries folder and the  _PublishedWebsites\Project\bin folder), we are getting into

Must use the rewriter when using Contract.Requires<TException>

Last week, I was trying to create a continuous integration build for a client, but the unit tests always failed. So I logged on to the build server and ran the tests from the command line. After a few tests, I received the following error message: This errors tells me 2 things: First I need to install the Code Contracts functionality on the build server. (You can download it here ) Second I have to turn on the runtime checking for the project which is using the code contracts.

ASP.NET: Load DLL’s from another location

By default your application DLL’s in ASP.NET application are loaded from the bin folder. But what if you want to use a different folder? The application has some default DLL’s in the bin folder, but I want to be able to load my Module DLL’s from the bin\Modules subfolder. (Don’t ask me why ) To do this add the following to your web.config(also works for the app.config): <runtime> <assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1"> <probing privatePath="bin;bin\Modules" /> </assemblyBinding> </runtime> Remark: Don’t forget to also add the bin folder to the probing path. First we forgot to do this and our default DLL’s were not loaded.

TFS 2010: Enable work item only view

WIOV (Work Item Only View) is a restricted version of TWA (Team Web Access). It provides a limited set of operations(but you get them for free because no Team Foundation Server CAL  is needed. But where can I find this WIOV? In TFS 2008 it was a separate web application but in 2010 there is only one application and the WIOV is controlled by the security system. On the TFS application-level there is a permission called “Use full Web Access features”. If the user connected to TWA is denied for this permission, the application switches automatically to the WIOV. To help you a “Work Item Only View” users group is created out-of-box, which is denied for this permission already. So the only thing you need to do is start adding users to this group. Log on to the Team Foundation Server Open the TFS Administration Console Click “Application Tier” under host name. On the right hand side under Application Tier Summary, click “Administer Group Membership”. Double click “Wo

Community Day 2012 is getting closer

Last week the registrations opened for Community Day 2012 . This (completely free) event joins all the Belgian usergroups to offer you 6 tracks with over 40 deep-technical sessions and the best networking opportunities available. Together with Kristof Mattei I will give a session about Git and GitHub for .NET developers. Register here . Below you can find all the details of the event: Location: Utopolis Mechelen ( Map ) Address: Spuibeekstraat 5 2800 Mechelen Event date: Thursday June 21th Start & end time: 8.30 - 19.00 Add Community Day 2012 to your agenda: Outlook *.ics file

Goodbye Visual Studio macro’s, we will miss you…or not

For the people who have missed the news: In the next version of Visual Studio(Visual Studio 11) the macros automation feature is taken out. This includes macro record/replay, macro projects and the Macros IDE. Based on some usage data that showed that less than 1% of Visual Studio developers use this feature, they decided to not invest in this feature anymore and focus on other improvements instead. So starting from VS 11, if you want to automate some behavior in Visual Studio, you’ll have to create a Visual Studio extension. You have the following extension options at your disposal: Visual Studio Package: This is used for the older VSPackage style pugin-ins. Editor Classifier: Used for creating your own syntax highlighting Editor Margin: Used to adorn the margins in an editor window Editor Text Adornment: Used to adorn text within an editor window Editor Viewport Adornment: Used to place editor visuals relative to the editor’s visual surface [VB/C#] Item

CSS Lint: CSS Code Quality Tool

CSS Lint is an open source CSS code quality tool originally written by Nicholas C. Zakas and Nicole Sullivan . Similar to JsLint for JavaScript it performs static analysis of source code and flags patterns that might be errors or otherwise cause problems for the developer. CSS Lint points out problems with your CSS code. It does basic syntax checking as well as applying a set of rules to the code that look for problematic patterns or signs of inefficiency. The [rules] are all pluggable, so you can easily write your own or omit ones you don't want. Let’s try it on a simple CSS class(with a small typo): After clicking on the ‘LINT!’ button, we get a nice overview with all the errors found.

Windows 8 Metro: A better Grid application template

Brent Schooley prepared a Visual Studio template for Grid Applications that improves on the user and developer experience that Microsoft delivered in their Grid application template. Lets compare the out-of-the-box Visual Studio templates for Metro style apps: and the Better Grid Application template: To install the template, put the file in Libraries\Visual Studio 11\Templates\ProjectTemplates\CSharp\Windows Metro style\1033\ and then restart Visual Studio. The template should now show up in the Visual C#\Windows Metro style category in the New Project window. Download the Better Grid Application template (.zip file, 81 KB)

Creating a list of comma separated values using String.Join()

I’ve seen a lot of extension methods that allowed you to create a list of comma separated values. public static string ToCSV(this IEnumerable<string> input) { var temp = String.Empty; foreach (var entry in input) { if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(temp)) { temp = entry; } else { entry += ", " + entry; } return temp; } I even created a similar extension method myself until I discovered the String.Join method while reading this blog post by Scott Hanselman: var temp = String.Join(", ", input)

Project Liike: Exploring the Mobile Web

Project Liike is an effort by the Microsoft patterns & practices team  to produce guidance that helps organizations build mobile web experiences based off of existing web applications. There are countless devices available today and all indications suggest this number is only going to grow, without convergence. The factors to help choose between native apps and web apps are fairly well-known. Those who choose the web face numerous decisions and challenges based on their requirements. This project aims to help. The team is building a sample application, called Mileage Stats Mobile. It will be released as open source along with all of its unit tests. This reference application, began with the source from a previous effort Project Silk . Project Silk was about building cross-browser web applications with a focus on client-side interactivity. However, it was optimized for desktop browser. Project Silk's reference application was simply called Mileage Stats. Project Liike is a

pServiceBus: a cross platform ESB

While looking for a cross platform ESB solution, I stumbled over the pServiceBus project on Codeplex. “The goal of pServiceBus(Phoenix Service Bus) is to provide an API and Service Components that would make implementing an ESB Infrastructure in your environment easy. It's developed in C#, and also have API written for Javascript and Java Clients.” Maybe a good alternative for NServiceBus ?

Adding AutoRegistration to the Microsoft Unity container

The default way to use an IoC container is to register all objects and their dependencies yourself. So somewhere in your code you have a long list of registrations like: var container=new UnityContainer(); container.Register<ITypeA,TypeA>(); container.Register<ITypeB,TypeB>(); container.Register<ITypeC,TypeC>(); container.Register<ITypeD,TypeD>(); container.Register<ITypeE,TypeE>(); container.Register<ITypeF,TypeF>(); ... Most IoC containers allow you to simplify this registration process by using ‘AutoRegistrations’. Based on some rules or conventions, your assemblies are scanned for types and if these types match those rules, there are registered in the IoC container automatically. The Microsoft Unity container does not include autoregistration out-of-the-box. However you can use  the Unity Auto Registration addon by Artem Govorov . “Unity Auto Registration extends Unity IoC container and provides fluent syntax to configure rules for auto

Async Ajax testing using QUnit

Testing Javascript code is not that hard, but as most Javascript functionality contains some level of asychronity, testing becomes a lot harder. Let’s have a look at how we can tackle this problem. Although other testing frameworks are available, I’m using QUnit , a powerful JavaScript unit testing framework written by members of the jQuery team. QUnit Introduction So how do you write unit tests with QUnit exactly? First, you need to set up a testing environment. Create an html file with the following content: <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html xmlns="" > <head> <title>My Tests</title> <script src="../Scripts/jquery-1.7.2.js" type="text/javascript"></script> <link href="../Content/qunit.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" /

Copying reports from one Report Server to another.

Microsoft released the Reporting Services Migration tool . A tool that migrates reports and other artifacts from one report server to another report server. It can also be used as a backup and restore tool for Reporting Services. The tool is available both as a command line tool, a GUI and a powershell script. Current features and limitations You can use RSMigrationTool or RSMigrationUI to backup your native report server. To restore or migrate the native server, run the Migration.ps1 from a PowerShell console. Source and target server must be SQL Server Reporting Services 2008 R2 or later. Source server Source server must be native mode using Windows authentication. (MS is working on support for SharePoint integrated mode and other authentication schemes.) Permissions and roles from source server are not backed up o Configuration in source server is not backed up. Reports and other artifacts in deeply nested subfolders may not be backed u

Visual Studio error: An error was encountered while opening associated documents the last time this solution was loaded.

Last week a colleague reported the following error when opening a solution in Visual studio: “An error was encountered while opening associated documents the last time this solution was loaded. Document load is being skipped during this solution load in order to avoid that error.” No idea what the root cause of this issue was, but the first trick you should try is to throw away your .suo file inside your Visual Studio solution directory. This file caches a lot of project information. Throwing it away isn’t a problem because Visual Studio will create a new one for you. Helped me in a lot of scenario’s…

TF30027: Team Explorer encountered an error adding the document library.

A colleague got the following error when trying to add a new subfolder to the Documents folder in Team Explorer. Although the error message doesn’t reveal a lot of information, solving this error is easy. Probably the user doesn’t have the necessary rights to add a new Document Library in Sharepoint. So login on the Sharepoint site and check if the user has the "design" permission.

TFS 2010 Build: Where have my test results(.trx) gone?

Last week I had some trouble opening up a test results file from our build server. Every time I clicked on the link in the Build Report I got an error back. OK I said, let’s browse to the drop folder and have a look at the test results file(*.trx) directly. However I noticed that the Test Results folder is not copied to the drop location anymore. This is a change compared to TFS 2008 where the test results are available at the drop location. So where are my test results than? In TFS 2008 MSTest.exe used to copy the TRX file and other files to the drop location. In TFS 2010, the test results are uploaded to the Test Case Management server. Luckily the test result files are still created at the build location. So, if you log in to the build server, you can find the .trx file there. To simplify the process I added a custom activity to my build workflow that re-introduces the copy of the Test Result files to the drop location.