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  • Using FiddlerCore to capture HTTP Requests with .NET

    - by Rick Strahl
    Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on my Web load testing utility West Wind WebSurge. One of the key components of a load testing tool is the ability to capture URLs effectively so that you can play them back later under load. One of the options in WebSurge for capturing URLs is to use its built-in capture tool which acts as an HTTP proxy to capture any HTTP and HTTPS traffic from most Windows HTTP clients, including Web Browsers as well as standalone Windows applications and services. To make this happen, I used Eric Lawrence’s awesome FiddlerCore library, which provides most of the functionality of his desktop Fiddler application, all rolled into an easy to use library that you can plug into your own applications. FiddlerCore makes it almost too easy to capture HTTP content! For WebSurge I needed to capture all HTTP traffic in order to capture the full HTTP request – URL, headers and any content posted by the client. The result of what I ended up creating is this semi-generic capture form: In this post I’m going to demonstrate how easy it is to use FiddlerCore to build this HTTP Capture Form.  If you want to jump right in here are the links to get Telerik’s Fiddler Core and the code for the demo provided here. FiddlerCore Download FiddlerCore on NuGet Show me the Code (WebSurge Integration code from GitHub) Download the WinForms Sample Form West Wind Web Surge (example implementation in live app) Note that FiddlerCore is bound by a license for commercial usage – see license.txt in the FiddlerCore distribution for details. Integrating FiddlerCore FiddlerCore is a library that simply plugs into your application. You can download it from the Telerik site and manually add the assemblies to your project, or you can simply install the NuGet package via:       PM> Install-Package FiddlerCore The library consists of the FiddlerCore.dll as well as a couple of support libraries (CertMaker.dll and BCMakeCert.dll) that are used for installing SSL certificates. I’ll have more on SSL captures and certificate installation later in this post. But first let’s see how easy it is to use FiddlerCore to capture HTTP content by looking at how to build the above capture form. Capturing HTTP Content Once the library is installed it’s super easy to hook up Fiddler functionality. Fiddler includes a number of static class methods on the FiddlerApplication object that can be called to hook up callback events as well as actual start monitoring HTTP URLs. In the following code directly lifted from WebSurge, I configure a few filter options on Form level object, from the user inputs shown on the form by assigning it to a capture options object. In the live application these settings are persisted configuration values, but in the demo they are one time values initialized and set on the form. Once these options are set, I hook up the AfterSessionComplete event to capture every URL that passes through the proxy after the request is completed and start up the Proxy service:void Start() { if (tbIgnoreResources.Checked) CaptureConfiguration.IgnoreResources = true; else CaptureConfiguration.IgnoreResources = false; string strProcId = txtProcessId.Text; if (strProcId.Contains('-')) strProcId = strProcId.Substring(strProcId.IndexOf('-') + 1).Trim(); strProcId = strProcId.Trim(); int procId = 0; if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(strProcId)) { if (!int.TryParse(strProcId, out procId)) procId = 0; } CaptureConfiguration.ProcessId = procId; CaptureConfiguration.CaptureDomain = txtCaptureDomain.Text; FiddlerApplication.AfterSessionComplete += FiddlerApplication_AfterSessionComplete; FiddlerApplication.Startup(8888, true, true, true); } The key lines for FiddlerCore are just the last two lines of code that include the event hookup code as well as the Startup() method call. Here I only hook up to the AfterSessionComplete event but there are a number of other events that hook various stages of the HTTP request cycle you can also hook into. Other events include BeforeRequest, BeforeResponse, RequestHeadersAvailable, ResponseHeadersAvailable and so on. In my case I want to capture the request data and I actually have several options to capture this data. AfterSessionComplete is the last event that fires in the request sequence and it’s the most common choice to capture all request and response data. I could have used several other events, but AfterSessionComplete is one place where you can look both at the request and response data, so this will be the most common place to hook into if you’re capturing content. The implementation of AfterSessionComplete is responsible for capturing all HTTP request headers and it looks something like this:private void FiddlerApplication_AfterSessionComplete(Session sess) { // Ignore HTTPS connect requests if (sess.RequestMethod == "CONNECT") return; if (CaptureConfiguration.ProcessId > 0) { if (sess.LocalProcessID != 0 && sess.LocalProcessID != CaptureConfiguration.ProcessId) return; } if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(CaptureConfiguration.CaptureDomain)) { if (sess.hostname.ToLower() != CaptureConfiguration.CaptureDomain.Trim().ToLower()) return; } if (CaptureConfiguration.IgnoreResources) { string url = sess.fullUrl.ToLower(); var extensions = CaptureConfiguration.ExtensionFilterExclusions; foreach (var ext in extensions) { if (url.Contains(ext)) return; } var filters = CaptureConfiguration.UrlFilterExclusions; foreach (var urlFilter in filters) { if (url.Contains(urlFilter)) return; } } if (sess == null || sess.oRequest == null || sess.oRequest.headers == null) return; string headers = sess.oRequest.headers.ToString(); var reqBody = sess.GetRequestBodyAsString(); // if you wanted to capture the response //string respHeaders = session.oResponse.headers.ToString(); //var respBody = session.GetResponseBodyAsString(); // replace the HTTP line to inject full URL string firstLine = sess.RequestMethod + " " + sess.fullUrl + " " + sess.oRequest.headers.HTTPVersion; int at = headers.IndexOf("\r\n"); if (at < 0) return; headers = firstLine + "\r\n" + headers.Substring(at + 1); string output = headers + "\r\n" + (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(reqBody) ? reqBody + "\r\n" : string.Empty) + Separator + "\r\n\r\n"; BeginInvoke(new Action<string>((text) => { txtCapture.AppendText(text); UpdateButtonStatus(); }), output); } The code starts by filtering out some requests based on the CaptureOptions I set before the capture is started. These options/filters are applied when requests actually come in. This is very useful to help narrow down the requests that are captured for playback based on options the user picked. I find it useful to limit requests to a certain domain for captures, as well as filtering out some request types like static resources – images, css, scripts etc. This is of course optional, but I think it’s a common scenario and WebSurge makes good use of this feature. AfterSessionComplete like other FiddlerCore events, provides a Session object parameter which contains all the request and response details. There are oRequest and oResponse objects to hold their respective data. In my case I’m interested in the raw request headers and body only, as you can see in the commented code you can also retrieve the response headers and body. Here the code captures the request headers and body and simply appends the output to the textbox on the screen. Note that the Fiddler events are asynchronous, so in order to display the content in the UI they have to be marshaled back the UI thread with BeginInvoke, which here simply takes the generated headers and appends it to the existing textbox test on the form. As each request is processed, the headers are captured and appended to the bottom of the textbox resulting in a Session HTTP capture in the format that Web Surge internally supports, which is basically raw request headers with a customized 1st HTTP Header line that includes the full URL rather than a server relative URL. When the capture is done the user can either copy the raw HTTP session to the clipboard, or directly save it to file. This raw capture format is the same format WebSurge and also Fiddler use to import/export request data. While this code is application specific, it demonstrates the kind of logic that you can easily apply to the request capture process, which is one of the reasonsof why FiddlerCore is so powerful. You get to choose what content you want to look up as part of your own application logic and you can then decide how to capture or use that data as part of your application. The actual captured data in this case is only a string. The user can edit the data by hand or in the the case of WebSurge, save it to disk and automatically open the captured session as a new load test. Stopping the FiddlerCore Proxy Finally to stop capturing requests you simply disconnect the event handler and call the FiddlerApplication.ShutDown() method:void Stop() { FiddlerApplication.AfterSessionComplete -= FiddlerApplication_AfterSessionComplete; if (FiddlerApplication.IsStarted()) FiddlerApplication.Shutdown(); } As you can see, adding HTTP capture functionality to an application is very straight forward. FiddlerCore offers tons of features I’m not even touching on here – I suspect basic captures are the most common scenario, but a lot of different things can be done with FiddlerCore’s simple API interface. Sky’s the limit! The source code for this sample capture form (WinForms) is provided as part of this article. Adding Fiddler Certificates with FiddlerCore One of the sticking points in West Wind WebSurge has been that if you wanted to capture HTTPS/SSL traffic, you needed to have the full version of Fiddler and have HTTPS decryption enabled. Essentially you had to use Fiddler to configure HTTPS decryption and the associated installation of the Fiddler local client certificate that is used for local decryption of incoming SSL traffic. While this works just fine, requiring to have Fiddler installed and then using a separate application to configure the SSL functionality isn’t ideal. Fortunately FiddlerCore actually includes the tools to register the Fiddler Certificate directly using FiddlerCore. Why does Fiddler need a Certificate in the first Place? Fiddler and FiddlerCore are essentially HTTP proxies which means they inject themselves into the HTTP conversation by re-routing HTTP traffic to a special HTTP port (8888 by default for Fiddler) and then forward the HTTP data to the original client. Fiddler injects itself as the system proxy in using the WinInet Windows settings  which are the same settings that Internet Explorer uses and that are configured in the Windows and Internet Explorer Internet Settings dialog. Most HTTP clients running on Windows pick up and apply these system level Proxy settings before establishing new HTTP connections and that’s why most clients automatically work once Fiddler – or FiddlerCore/WebSurge are running. For plain HTTP requests this just works – Fiddler intercepts the HTTP requests on the proxy port and then forwards them to the original port (80 for HTTP and 443 for SSL typically but it could be any port). For SSL however, this is not quite as simple – Fiddler can easily act as an HTTPS/SSL client to capture inbound requests from the server, but when it forwards the request to the client it has to also act as an SSL server and provide a certificate that the client trusts. This won’t be the original certificate from the remote site, but rather a custom local certificate that effectively simulates an SSL connection between the proxy and the client. If there is no custom certificate configured for Fiddler the SSL request fails with a certificate validation error. The key for this to work is that a custom certificate has to be installed that the HTTPS client trusts on the local machine. For a much more detailed description of the process you can check out Eric Lawrence’s blog post on Certificates. If you’re using the desktop version of Fiddler you can install a local certificate into the Windows certificate store. Fiddler proper does this from the Options menu: This operation does several things: It installs the Fiddler Root Certificate It sets trust to this Root Certificate A new client certificate is generated for each HTTPS site monitored Certificate Installation with FiddlerCore You can also provide this same functionality using FiddlerCore which includes a CertMaker class. Using CertMaker is straight forward to use and it provides an easy way to create some simple helpers that can install and uninstall a Fiddler Root certificate:public static bool InstallCertificate() { if (!CertMaker.rootCertExists()) { if (!CertMaker.createRootCert()) return false; if (!CertMaker.trustRootCert()) return false; } return true; } public static bool UninstallCertificate() { if (CertMaker.rootCertExists()) { if (!CertMaker.removeFiddlerGeneratedCerts(true)) return false; } return true; } InstallCertificate() works by first checking whether the root certificate is already installed and if it isn’t goes ahead and creates a new one. The process of creating the certificate is a two step process – first the actual certificate is created and then it’s moved into the certificate store to become trusted. I’m not sure why you’d ever split these operations up since a cert created without trust isn’t going to be of much value, but there are two distinct steps. When you trigger the trustRootCert() method, a message box will pop up on the desktop that lets you know that you’re about to trust a local private certificate. This is a security feature to ensure that you really want to trust the Fiddler root since you are essentially installing a man in the middle certificate. It’s quite safe to use this generated root certificate, because it’s been specifically generated for your machine and thus is not usable from external sources, the only way to use this certificate in a trusted way is from the local machine. IOW, unless somebody has physical access to your machine, there’s no useful way to hijack this certificate and use it for nefarious purposes (see Eric’s post for more details). Once the Root certificate has been installed, FiddlerCore/Fiddler create new certificates for each site that is connected to with HTTPS. You can end up with quite a few temporary certificates in your certificate store. To uninstall you can either use Fiddler and simply uncheck the Decrypt HTTPS traffic option followed by the remove Fiddler certificates button, or you can use FiddlerCore’s CertMaker.removeFiddlerGeneratedCerts() which removes the root cert and any of the intermediary certificates Fiddler created. Keep in mind that when you uninstall you uninstall the certificate for both FiddlerCore and Fiddler, so use UninstallCertificate() with care and realize that you might affect the Fiddler application’s operation by doing so as well. When to check for an installed Certificate Note that the check to see if the root certificate exists is pretty fast, while the actual process of installing the certificate is a relatively slow operation that even on a fast machine takes a few seconds. Further the trust operation pops up a message box so you probably don’t want to install the certificate repeatedly. Since the check for the root certificate is fast, you can easily put a call to InstallCertificate() in any capture startup code – in which case the certificate installation only triggers when a certificate is in fact not installed. Personally I like to make certificate installation explicit – just like Fiddler does, so in WebSurge I use a small drop down option on the menu to install or uninstall the SSL certificate:   This code calls the InstallCertificate and UnInstallCertificate functions respectively – the experience with this is similar to what you get in Fiddler with the extra dialog box popping up to prompt confirmation for installation of the root certificate. Once the cert is installed you can then capture SSL requests. There’s a gotcha however… Gotcha: FiddlerCore Certificates don’t stick by Default When I originally tried to use the Fiddler certificate installation I ran into an odd problem. I was able to install the certificate and immediately after installation was able to capture HTTPS requests. Then I would exit the application and come back in and try the same HTTPS capture again and it would fail due to a missing certificate. CertMaker.rootCertExists() would return false after every restart and if re-installed the certificate a new certificate would get added to the certificate store resulting in a bunch of duplicated root certificates with different keys. What the heck? CertMaker and BcMakeCert create non-sticky CertificatesI turns out that FiddlerCore by default uses different components from what the full version of Fiddler uses. Fiddler uses a Windows utility called MakeCert.exe to create the Fiddler Root certificate. FiddlerCore however installs the CertMaker.dll and BCMakeCert.dll assemblies, which use a different crypto library (Bouncy Castle) for certificate creation than MakeCert.exe which uses the Windows Crypto API. The assemblies provide support for non-windows operation for Fiddler under Mono, as well as support for some non-Windows certificate platforms like iOS and Android for decryption. The bottom line is that the FiddlerCore provided bouncy castle assemblies are not sticky by default as the certificates created with them are not cached as they are in Fiddler proper. To get certificates to ‘stick’ you have to explicitly cache the certificates in Fiddler’s internal preferences. A cache aware version of InstallCertificate looks something like this:public static bool InstallCertificate() { if (!CertMaker.rootCertExists()) { if (!CertMaker.createRootCert()) return false; if (!CertMaker.trustRootCert()) return false; App.Configuration.UrlCapture.Cert = FiddlerApplication.Prefs.GetStringPref("fiddler.certmaker.bc.cert", null); App.Configuration.UrlCapture.Key = FiddlerApplication.Prefs.GetStringPref("fiddler.certmaker.bc.key", null); } return true; } public static bool UninstallCertificate() { if (CertMaker.rootCertExists()) { if (!CertMaker.removeFiddlerGeneratedCerts(true)) return false; } App.Configuration.UrlCapture.Cert = null; App.Configuration.UrlCapture.Key = null; return true; } In this code I store the Fiddler cert and private key in an application configuration settings that’s stored with the application settings (App.Configuration.UrlCapture object). These settings automatically persist when WebSurge is shut down. The values are read out of Fiddler’s internal preferences store which is set after a new certificate has been created. Likewise I clear out the configuration settings when the certificate is uninstalled. In order for these setting to be used you have to also load the configuration settings into the Fiddler preferences *before* a call to rootCertExists() is made. I do this in the capture form’s constructor:public FiddlerCapture(StressTestForm form) { InitializeComponent(); CaptureConfiguration = App.Configuration.UrlCapture; MainForm = form; if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(App.Configuration.UrlCapture.Cert)) { FiddlerApplication.Prefs.SetStringPref("fiddler.certmaker.bc.key", App.Configuration.UrlCapture.Key); FiddlerApplication.Prefs.SetStringPref("fiddler.certmaker.bc.cert", App.Configuration.UrlCapture.Cert); }} This is kind of a drag to do and not documented anywhere that I could find, so hopefully this will save you some grief if you want to work with the stock certificate logic that installs with FiddlerCore. MakeCert provides sticky Certificates and the same functionality as Fiddler But there’s actually an easier way. If you want to skip the above Fiddler preference configuration code in your application you can choose to distribute MakeCert.exe instead of certmaker.dll and bcmakecert.dll. When you use MakeCert.exe, the certificates settings are stored in Windows so they are available without any custom configuration inside of your application. It’s easier to integrate and as long as you run on Windows and you don’t need to support iOS or Android devices is simply easier to deal with. To integrate into your project, you can remove the reference to CertMaker.dll (and the BcMakeCert.dll assembly) from your project. Instead copy MakeCert.exe into your output folder. To make sure MakeCert.exe gets pushed out, include MakeCert.exe in your project and set the Build Action to None, and Copy to Output Directory to Copy if newer. Note that the CertMaker.dll reference in the project has been removed and on disk the files for Certmaker.dll, as well as the BCMakeCert.dll files on disk. Keep in mind that these DLLs are resources of the FiddlerCore NuGet package, so updating the package may end up pushing those files back into your project. Once MakeCert.exe is distributed FiddlerCore checks for it first before using the assemblies so as long as MakeCert.exe exists it’ll be used for certificate creation (at least on Windows). Summary FiddlerCore is a pretty sweet tool, and it’s absolutely awesome that we get to plug in most of the functionality of Fiddler right into our own applications. A few years back I tried to build this sort of functionality myself for an app and ended up giving up because it’s a big job to get HTTP right – especially if you need to support SSL. FiddlerCore now provides that functionality as a turnkey solution that can be plugged into your own apps easily. The only downside is FiddlerCore’s documentation for more advanced features like certificate installation which is pretty sketchy. While for the most part FiddlerCore’s feature set is easy to work with without any documentation, advanced features are often not intuitive to gleam by just using Intellisense or the FiddlerCore help file reference (which is not terribly useful). While Eric Lawrence is very responsive on his forum and on Twitter, there simply isn’t much useful documentation on Fiddler/FiddlerCore available online. If you run into trouble the forum is probably the first place to look and then ask a question if you can’t find the answer. The best documentation you can find is Eric’s Fiddler Book which covers a ton of functionality of Fiddler and FiddlerCore. The book is a great reference to Fiddler’s feature set as well as providing great insights into the HTTP protocol. The second half of the book that gets into the innards of HTTP is an excellent read for anybody who wants to know more about some of the more arcane aspects and special behaviors of HTTP – it’s well worth the read. While the book has tons of information in a very readable format, it’s unfortunately not a great reference as it’s hard to find things in the book and because it’s not available online you can’t electronically search for the great content in it. But it’s hard to complain about any of this given the obvious effort and love that’s gone into this awesome product for all of these years. A mighty big thanks to Eric Lawrence  for having created this useful tool that so many of us use all the time, and also to Telerik for picking up Fiddler/FiddlerCore and providing Eric the resources to support and improve this wonderful tool full time and keeping it free for all. Kudos! Resources FiddlerCore Download FiddlerCore NuGet Fiddler Capture Sample Form Fiddler Capture Form in West Wind WebSurge (GitHub) Eric Lawrence’s Fiddler Book© Rick Strahl, West Wind Technologies, 2005-2014Posted in .NET  HTTP   Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); (function() { var po = document.createElement('script'); po.type = 'text/javascript'; po.async = true; po.src = 'https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();

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  • West Wind WebSurge - an easy way to Load Test Web Applications

    - by Rick Strahl
    A few months ago on a project the subject of load testing came up. We were having some serious issues with a Web application that would start spewing SQL lock errors under somewhat heavy load. These sort of errors can be tough to catch, precisely because they only occur under load and not during typical development testing. To replicate this error more reliably we needed to put a load on the application and run it for a while before these SQL errors would flare up. It’s been a while since I’d looked at load testing tools, so I spent a bit of time looking at different tools and frankly didn’t really find anything that was a good fit. A lot of tools were either a pain to use, didn’t have the basic features I needed, or are extravagantly expensive. In  the end I got frustrated enough to build an initially small custom load test solution that then morphed into a more generic library, then gained a console front end and eventually turned into a full blown Web load testing tool that is now called West Wind WebSurge. I got seriously frustrated looking for tools every time I needed some quick and dirty load testing for an application. If my aim is to just put an application under heavy enough load to find a scalability problem in code, or to simply try and push an application to its limits on the hardware it’s running I shouldn’t have to have to struggle to set up tests. It should be easy enough to get going in a few minutes, so that the testing can be set up quickly so that it can be done on a regular basis without a lot of hassle. And that was the goal when I started to build out my initial custom load tester into a more widely usable tool. If you’re in a hurry and you want to check it out, you can find more information and download links here: West Wind WebSurge Product Page Walk through Video Download link (zip) Install from Chocolatey Source on GitHub For a more detailed discussion of the why’s and how’s and some background continue reading. How did I get here? When I started out on this path, I wasn’t planning on building a tool like this myself – but I got frustrated enough looking at what’s out there to think that I can do better than what’s available for the most common simple load testing scenarios. When we ran into the SQL lock problems I mentioned, I started looking around what’s available for Web load testing solutions that would work for our whole team which consisted of a few developers and a couple of IT guys both of which needed to be able to run the tests. It had been a while since I looked at tools and I figured that by now there should be some good solutions out there, but as it turns out I didn’t really find anything that fit our relatively simple needs without costing an arm and a leg… I spent the better part of a day installing and trying various load testing tools and to be frank most of them were either terrible at what they do, incredibly unfriendly to use, used some terminology I couldn’t even parse, or were extremely expensive (and I mean in the ‘sell your liver’ range of expensive). Pick your poison. There are also a number of online solutions for load testing and they actually looked more promising, but those wouldn’t work well for our scenario as the application is running inside of a private VPN with no outside access into the VPN. Most of those online solutions also ended up being very pricey as well – presumably because of the bandwidth required to test over the open Web can be enormous. When I asked around on Twitter what people were using– I got mostly… crickets. Several people mentioned Visual Studio Load Test, and most other suggestions pointed to online solutions. I did get a bunch of responses though with people asking to let them know what I found – apparently I’m not alone when it comes to finding load testing tools that are effective and easy to use. As to Visual Studio, the higher end skus of Visual Studio and the test edition include a Web load testing tool, which is quite powerful, but there are a number of issues with that: First it’s tied to Visual Studio so it’s not very portable – you need a VS install. I also find the test setup and terminology used by the VS test runner extremely confusing. Heck, it’s complicated enough that there’s even a Pluralsight course on using the Visual Studio Web test from Steve Smith. And of course you need to have one of the high end Visual Studio Skus, and those are mucho Dinero ($$$) – just for the load testing that’s rarely an option. Some of the tools are ultra extensive and let you run analysis tools on the target serves which is useful, but in most cases – just plain overkill and only distracts from what I tend to be ultimately interested in: Reproducing problems that occur at high load, and finding the upper limits and ‘what if’ scenarios as load is ramped up increasingly against a site. Yes it’s useful to have Web app instrumentation, but often that’s not what you’re interested in. I still fondly remember early days of Web testing when Microsoft had the WAST (Web Application Stress Tool) tool, which was rather simple – and also somewhat limited – but easily allowed you to create stress tests very quickly. It had some serious limitations (mainly that it didn’t work with SSL),  but the idea behind it was excellent: Create tests quickly and easily and provide a decent engine to run it locally with minimal setup. You could get set up and run tests within a few minutes. Unfortunately, that tool died a quiet death as so many of Microsoft’s tools that probably were built by an intern and then abandoned, even though there was a lot of potential and it was actually fairly widely used. Eventually the tools was no longer downloadable and now it simply doesn’t work anymore on higher end hardware. West Wind Web Surge – Making Load Testing Quick and Easy So I ended up creating West Wind WebSurge out of rebellious frustration… The goal of WebSurge is to make it drop dead simple to create load tests. It’s super easy to capture sessions either using the built in capture tool (big props to Eric Lawrence, Telerik and FiddlerCore which made that piece a snap), using the full version of Fiddler and exporting sessions, or by manually or programmatically creating text files based on plain HTTP headers to create requests. I’ve been using this tool for 4 months now on a regular basis on various projects as a reality check for performance and scalability and it’s worked extremely well for finding small performance issues. I also use it regularly as a simple URL tester, as it allows me to quickly enter a URL plus headers and content and test that URL and its results along with the ability to easily save one or more of those URLs. A few weeks back I made a walk through video that goes over most of the features of WebSurge in some detail: Note that the UI has slightly changed since then, so there are some UI improvements. Most notably the test results screen has been updated recently to a different layout and to provide more information about each URL in a session at a glance. The video and the main WebSurge site has a lot of info of basic operations. For the rest of this post I’ll talk about a few deeper aspects that may be of interest while also giving a glance at how WebSurge works. Session Capturing As you would expect, WebSurge works with Sessions of Urls that are played back under load. Here’s what the main Session View looks like: You can create session entries manually by individually adding URLs to test (on the Request tab on the right) and saving them, or you can capture output from Web Browsers, Windows Desktop applications that call services, your own applications using the built in Capture tool. With this tool you can capture anything HTTP -SSL requests and content from Web pages, AJAX calls, SOAP or REST services – again anything that uses Windows or .NET HTTP APIs. Behind the scenes the capture tool uses FiddlerCore so basically anything you can capture with Fiddler you can also capture with Web Surge Session capture tool. Alternately you can actually use Fiddler as well, and then export the captured Fiddler trace to a file, which can then be imported into WebSurge. This is a nice way to let somebody capture session without having to actually install WebSurge or for your customers to provide an exact playback scenario for a given set of URLs that cause a problem perhaps. Note that not all applications work with Fiddler’s proxy unless you configure a proxy. For example, .NET Web applications that make HTTP calls usually don’t show up in Fiddler by default. For those .NET applications you can explicitly override proxy settings to capture those requests to service calls. The capture tool also has handy optional filters that allow you to filter by domain, to help block out noise that you typically don’t want to include in your requests. For example, if your pages include links to CDNs, or Google Analytics or social links you typically don’t want to include those in your load test, so by capturing just from a specific domain you are guaranteed content from only that one domain. Additionally you can provide url filters in the configuration file – filters allow to provide filter strings that if contained in a url will cause requests to be ignored. Again this is useful if you don’t filter by domain but you want to filter out things like static image, css and script files etc. Often you’re not interested in the load characteristics of these static and usually cached resources as they just add noise to tests and often skew the overall url performance results. In my testing I tend to care only about my dynamic requests. SSL Captures require Fiddler Note, that in order to capture SSL requests you’ll have to install the Fiddler’s SSL certificate. The easiest way to do this is to install Fiddler and use its SSL configuration options to get the certificate into the local certificate store. There’s a document on the Telerik site that provides the exact steps to get SSL captures to work with Fiddler and therefore with WebSurge. Session Storage A group of URLs entered or captured make up a Session. Sessions can be saved and restored easily as they use a very simple text format that simply stored on disk. The format is slightly customized HTTP header traces separated by a separator line. The headers are standard HTTP headers except that the full URL instead of just the domain relative path is stored as part of the 1st HTTP header line for easier parsing. Because it’s just text and uses the same format that Fiddler uses for exports, it’s super easy to create Sessions by hand manually or under program control writing out to a simple text file. You can see what this format looks like in the Capture window figure above – the raw captured format is also what’s stored to disk and what WebSurge parses from. The only ‘custom’ part of these headers is that 1st line contains the full URL instead of the domain relative path and Host: header. The rest of each header are just plain standard HTTP headers with each individual URL isolated by a separator line. The format used here also uses what Fiddler produces for exports, so it’s easy to exchange or view data either in Fiddler or WebSurge. Urls can also be edited interactively so you can modify the headers easily as well: Again – it’s just plain HTTP headers so anything you can do with HTTP can be added here. Use it for single URL Testing Incidentally I’ve also found this form as an excellent way to test and replay individual URLs for simple non-load testing purposes. Because you can capture a single or many URLs and store them on disk, this also provides a nice HTTP playground where you can record URLs with their headers, and fire them one at a time or as a session and see results immediately. It’s actually an easy way for REST presentations and I find the simple UI flow actually easier than using Fiddler natively. Finally you can save one or more URLs as a session for later retrieval. I’m using this more and more for simple URL checks. Overriding Cookies and Domains Speaking of HTTP headers – you can also overwrite cookies used as part of the options. One thing that happens with modern Web applications is that you have session cookies in use for authorization. These cookies tend to expire at some point which would invalidate a test. Using the Options dialog you can actually override the cookie: which replaces the cookie for all requests with the cookie value specified here. You can capture a valid cookie from a manual HTTP request in your browser and then paste into the cookie field, to replace the existing Cookie with the new one that is now valid. Likewise you can easily replace the domain so if you captured urls on west-wind.com and now you want to test on localhost you can do that easily easily as well. You could even do something like capture on store.west-wind.com and then test on localhost/store which would also work. Running Load Tests Once you’ve created a Session you can specify the length of the test in seconds, and specify the number of simultaneous threads to run each session on. Sessions run through each of the URLs in the session sequentially by default. One option in the options list above is that you can also randomize the URLs so each thread runs requests in a different order. This avoids bunching up URLs initially when tests start as all threads run the same requests simultaneously which can sometimes skew the results of the first few minutes of a test. While sessions run some progress information is displayed: By default there’s a live view of requests displayed in a Console-like window. On the bottom of the window there’s a running total summary that displays where you’re at in the test, how many requests have been processed and what the requests per second count is currently for all requests. Note that for tests that run over a thousand requests a second it’s a good idea to turn off the console display. While the console display is nice to see that something is happening and also gives you slight idea what’s happening with actual requests, once a lot of requests are processed, this UI updating actually adds a lot of CPU overhead to the application which may cause the actual load generated to be reduced. If you are running a 1000 requests a second there’s not much to see anyway as requests roll by way too fast to see individual lines anyway. If you look on the options panel, there is a NoProgressEvents option that disables the console display. Note that the summary display is still updated approximately once a second so you can always tell that the test is still running. Test Results When the test is done you get a simple Results display: On the right you get an overall summary as well as breakdown by each URL in the session. Both success and failures are highlighted so it’s easy to see what’s breaking in your load test. The report can be printed or you can also open the HTML document in your default Web Browser for printing to PDF or saving the HTML document to disk. The list on the right shows you a partial list of the URLs that were fired so you can look in detail at the request and response data. The list can be filtered by success and failure requests. Each list is partial only (at the moment) and limited to a max of 1000 items in order to render reasonably quickly. Each item in the list can be clicked to see the full request and response data: This particularly useful for errors so you can quickly see and copy what request data was used and in the case of a GET request you can also just click the link to quickly jump to the page. For non-GET requests you can find the URL in the Session list, and use the context menu to Test the URL as configured including any HTTP content data to send. You get to see the full HTTP request and response as well as a link in the Request header to go visit the actual page. Not so useful for a POST as above, but definitely useful for GET requests. Finally you can also get a few charts. The most useful one is probably the Request per Second chart which can be accessed from the Charts menu or shortcut. Here’s what it looks like:   Results can also be exported to JSON, XML and HTML. Keep in mind that these files can get very large rather quickly though, so exports can end up taking a while to complete. Command Line Interface WebSurge runs with a small core load engine and this engine is plugged into the front end application I’ve shown so far. There’s also a command line interface available to run WebSurge from the Windows command prompt. Using the command line you can run tests for either an individual URL (similar to AB.exe for example) or a full Session file. By default when it runs WebSurgeCli shows progress every second showing total request count, failures and the requests per second for the entire test. A silent option can turn off this progress display and display only the results. The command line interface can be useful for build integration which allows checking for failures perhaps or hitting a specific requests per second count etc. It’s also nice to use this as quick and dirty URL test facility similar to the way you’d use Apache Bench (ab.exe). Unlike ab.exe though, WebSurgeCli supports SSL and makes it much easier to create multi-URL tests using either manual editing or the WebSurge UI. Current Status Currently West Wind WebSurge is still in Beta status. I’m still adding small new features and tweaking the UI in an attempt to make it as easy and self-explanatory as possible to run. Documentation for the UI and specialty features is also still a work in progress. I plan on open-sourcing this product, but it won’t be free. There’s a free version available that provides a limited number of threads and request URLs to run. A relatively low cost license  removes the thread and request limitations. Pricing info can be found on the Web site – there’s an introductory price which is $99 at the moment which I think is reasonable compared to most other for pay solutions out there that are exorbitant by comparison… The reason code is not available yet is – well, the UI portion of the app is a bit embarrassing in its current monolithic state. The UI started as a very simple interface originally that later got a lot more complex – yeah, that never happens, right? Unless there’s a lot of interest I don’t foresee re-writing the UI entirely (which would be ideal), but in the meantime at least some cleanup is required before I dare to publish it :-). The code will likely be released with version 1.0. I’m very interested in feedback. Do you think this could be useful to you and provide value over other tools you may or may not have used before? I hope so – it already has provided a ton of value for me and the work I do that made the development worthwhile at this point. You can leave a comment below, or for more extensive discussions you can post a message on the West Wind Message Board in the WebSurge section Microsoft MVPs and Insiders get a free License If you’re a Microsoft MVP or a Microsoft Insider you can get a full license for free. Send me a link to your current, official Microsoft profile and I’ll send you a not-for resale license. Send any messages to [email protected] Resources For more info on WebSurge and to download it to try it out, use the following links. West Wind WebSurge Home Download West Wind WebSurge Getting Started with West Wind WebSurge Video© Rick Strahl, West Wind Technologies, 2005-2014Posted in ASP.NET   Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); (function() { var po = document.createElement('script'); po.type = 'text/javascript'; po.async = true; po.src = 'https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();

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  • Project Navigation and File Nesting in ASP.NET MVC Projects

    - by Rick Strahl
    More and more I’m finding myself getting lost in the files in some of my larger Web projects. There’s so much freaking content to deal with – HTML Views, several derived CSS pages, page level CSS, script libraries, application wide scripts and page specific script files etc. etc. Thankfully I use Resharper and the Ctrl-T Go to Anything which autocompletes you to any file, type, member rapidly. Awesome except when I forget – or when I’m not quite sure of the name of what I’m looking for. Project navigation is still important. Sometimes while working on a project I seem to have 30 or more files open and trying to locate another new file to open in the solution often ends up being a mental exercise – “where did I put that thing?” It’s those little hesitations that tend to get in the way of workflow frequently. To make things worse most NuGet packages for client side frameworks and scripts, dump stuff into folders that I generally don’t use. I’ve never been a fan of the ‘Content’ folder in MVC which is just an empty layer that doesn’t serve much of a purpose. It’s usually the first thing I nuke in every MVC project. To me the project root is where the actual content for a site goes – is there really a need to add another folder to force another path into every resource you use? It’s ugly and also inefficient as it adds additional bytes to every resource link you embed into a page. Alternatives I’ve been playing around with different folder layouts recently and found that moving my cheese around has actually made project navigation much easier. In this post I show a couple of things I’ve found useful and maybe you find some of these useful as well or at least get some ideas what can be changed to provide better project flow. The first thing I’ve been doing is add a root Code folder and putting all server code into that. I’m a big fan of treating the Web project root folder as my Web root folder so all content comes from the root without unneeded nesting like the Content folder. By moving all server code out of the root tree (except for Code) the root tree becomes a lot cleaner immediately as you remove Controllers, App_Start, Models etc. and move them underneath Code. Yes this adds another folder level for server code, but it leaves only code related things in one place that’s easier to jump back and forth in. Additionally I find myself doing a lot less with server side code these days, more with client side code so I want the server code separated from that. The root folder itself then serves as the root content folder. Specifically I have the Views folder below it, as well as the Css and Scripts folders which serve to hold only common libraries and global CSS and Scripts code. These days of building SPA style application, I also tend to have an App folder there where I keep my application specific JavaScript files, as well as HTML View templates for client SPA apps like Angular. Here’s an example of what this looks like in a relatively small project: The goal is to keep things that are related together, so I don’t end up jumping around so much in the solution to get to specific project items. The Code folder may irk some of you and hark back to the days of the App_Code folder in non Web-Application projects, but these days I find myself messing with a lot less server side code and much more with client side files – HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Generally I work on a single controller at a time – once that’s open it’s open that’s typically the only server code I work with regularily. Business logic lives in another project altogether, so other than the controller and maybe ViewModels there’s not a lot of code being accessed in the Code folder. So throwing that off the root and isolating seems like an easy win. Nesting Page specific content In a lot of my existing applications that are pure server side MVC application perhaps with some JavaScript associated with them , I tend to have page level javascript and css files. For these types of pages I actually prefer the local files stored in the same folder as the parent view. So typically I have a .css and .js files with the same name as the view in the same folder. This looks something like this: In order for this to work you have to also make a configuration change inside of the /Views/web.config file, as the Views folder is blocked with the BlockViewHandler that prohibits access to content from that folder. It’s easy to fix by changing the path from * to *.cshtml or *.vbhtml so that view retrieval is blocked:<system.webServer> <handlers> <remove name="BlockViewHandler"/> <add name="BlockViewHandler" path="*.cshtml" verb="*" preCondition="integratedMode" type="System.Web.HttpNotFoundHandler" /> </handlers> </system.webServer> With this in place, from inside of your Views you can then reference those same resources like this:<link href="~/Views/Admin/QuizPrognosisItems.css" rel="stylesheet" /> and<script src="~/Views/Admin/QuizPrognosisItems.js"></script> which works fine. JavaScript and CSS files in the Views folder deploy just like the .cshtml files do and can be referenced from this folder as well. Making this happen is not really as straightforward as it should be with just Visual Studio unfortunately, as there’s no easy way to get the file nesting from the VS IDE directly (you have to modify the .csproj file). However, Mads Kristensen has a nice Visual Studio Add-in that provides file nesting via a short cut menu option. Using this you can select each of the ‘child’ files and then nest them under a parent file. In the case above I select the .js and .css files and nest them underneath the .cshtml view. I was even toying with the idea of throwing the controller.cs files into the Views folder, but that’s maybe going a little too far :-) It would work however as Visual Studio doesn’t publish .cs files and the compiler doesn’t care where the files live. There are lots of options and if you think that would make life easier it’s another option to help group related things together. Are there any downside to this? Possibly – if you’re using automated minification/packaging tools like ASP.NET Bundling or Grunt/Gulp with Uglify, it becomes a little harder to group script and css files for minification as you may end up looking in multiple folders instead of a single folder. But – again that’s a one time configuration step that’s easily handled and much less intrusive then constantly having to search for files in your project. Client Side Folders The particular project shown above in the screen shots above is a traditional server side ASP.NET MVC application with most content rendered into server side Razor pages. There’s a fair amount of client side stuff happening on these pages as well – specifically several of these pages are self contained single page Angular applications that deal with 1 or maybe 2 separate views and the layout I’ve shown above really focuses on the server side aspect where there are Razor views with related script and css resources. For applications that are more client centric and have a lot more script and HTML template based content I tend to use the same layout for the server components, but the client side code can often be broken out differently. In SPA type applications I tend to follow the App folder approach where all the application pieces that make the SPA applications end up below the App folder. Here’s what that looks like for me – here this is an AngularJs project: In this case the App folder holds both the application specific js files, and the partial HTML views that get loaded into this single SPA page application. In this particular Angular SPA application that has controllers linked to particular partial views, I prefer to keep the script files that are associated with the views – Angular Js Controllers in this case – with the actual partials. Again I like the proximity of the view with the main code associated with the view, because 90% of the UI application code that gets written is handled between these two files. This approach works well, but only if controllers are fairly closely aligned with the partials. If you have many smaller sub-controllers or lots of directives where the alignment between views and code is more segmented this approach starts falling apart and you’ll probably be better off with separate folders in js folder. Following Angular conventions you’d have controllers/directives/services etc. folders. Please note that I’m not saying any of these ways are right or wrong  – this is just what has worked for me and why! Skipping Project Navigation altogether with Resharper I’ve talked a bit about project navigation in the project tree, which is a common way to navigate and which we all use at least some of the time, but if you use a tool like Resharper – which has Ctrl-T to jump to anything, you can quickly navigate with a shortcut key and autocomplete search. Here’s what Resharper’s jump to anything looks like: Resharper’s Goto Anything box lets you type and quick search over files, classes and members of the entire solution which is a very fast and powerful way to find what you’re looking for in your project, by passing the solution explorer altogether. As long as you remember to use (which I sometimes don’t) and you know what you’re looking for it’s by far the quickest way to find things in a project. It’s a shame that this sort of a simple search interface isn’t part of the native Visual Studio IDE. Work how you like to work Ultimately it all comes down to workflow and how you like to work, and what makes *you* more productive. Following pre-defined patterns is great for consistency, as long as they don’t get in the way you work. A lot of the default folder structures in Visual Studio for ASP.NET MVC were defined when things were done differently. These days we’re dealing with a lot more diverse project content than when ASP.NET MVC was originally introduced and project organization definitely is something that can get in the way if it doesn’t fit your workflow. So take a look and see what works well and what might benefit from organizing files differently. As so many things with ASP.NET, as things evolve and tend to get more complex I’ve found that I end up fighting some of the conventions. The good news is that you don’t have to follow the conventions and you have the freedom to do just about anything that works for you. Even though what I’ve shown here diverges from conventions, I don’t think anybody would stumble over these relatively minor changes and not immediately figure out where things live, even in larger projects. But nevertheless think long and hard before breaking those conventions – if there isn’t a good reason to break them or the changes don’t provide improved workflow then it’s not worth it. Break the rules, but only if there’s a quantifiable benefit. You may not agree with how I’ve chosen to divert from the standard project structures in this article, but maybe it gives you some ideas of how you can mix things up to make your existing project flow a little nicer and make it easier to navigate for your environment. © Rick Strahl, West Wind Technologies, 2005-2014Posted in ASP.NET  MVC   Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); (function() { var po = document.createElement('script'); po.type = 'text/javascript'; po.async = true; po.src = 'https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();

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  • Nuget Dependencies and latest Versions

    - by Rick Strahl
    NuGet is a great component distribution mechanism and it's awesome for consuming components and getting them into projects. However, creating NuGet packages and getting the version dependencies worked out reliably has been a challenge. Specifically the way dependency versions are pulled in by NuGet are somewhat counterintuitive. In this post I look at some of the issues and bring up some thoughts of how this could work better.

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  • PowerShell – Sexy PoSH console

    - by Waclaw Chrabaszcz
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Wchrabaszcz/archive/2014/08/15/powershell--sexy-posh-console.aspxPowerShell don't has to be boring. Download this module: http://www.powertheshell.com/download/modules/PTSAeroConsole.zip Extract it into C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Modules(you may need to enable both module files by right clicking | Prosperities |Unlock) Now you can start PowerShell window:  Import-Module PTSAeroConsoleEnable-AeroGlassThemeDisable-AeroGlassTheme   Enjoy!

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  • APress Deal of the Day 16/August/2014 - Node.js Recipes

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/15/apress-deal-of-the-day-16august2014---node.js-recipes.aspxToday’s $10 Deal of the Day from APress at http://www.apress.com/9781430260585 is Node.js Recipes. “Node.js Recipes is your one-stop reference for solving Node.js problems. Filled with useful recipes that follow a problem/solution format, you can look up recipes for many situations that you may come across in your day-to-day server-side development. ”

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  • Welcome to www.badapi.net, a REST API with badly-behaved endpoints

    - by Elton Stoneman
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/EltonStoneman/archive/2014/08/14/welcome-to-www.badapi.net-a-rest-api-with-badly-behaved-endpoints.aspxI've had a need in a few projects for a REST API that doesn't behave well - takes a long time to respond, or never responds, returns unexpected status codes etc.That can be very useful for testing that clients cope gracefully with unexpected responses.Till now I've always coded a stub API in the project and run it locally, but I've put a few 'misbehaved' endpoints together and published them at www.badapi.net, and the source is on GitHub here: sixeyed/badapi.net.You can browse to the home page and see the available endpoints. I'll be adding more as I think of them, and I may give the styling of the help pages a bit more thought...As of today's release, the misbehaving endpoints available to you are:GET longrunning?between={between}&and={and} - Waits for a (short) random period before returningGET verylongrunning?between={between}&and={and} -Waits for a (long) random period before returningGET internalservererror    - Returns 500: Internal Server ErrorGET badrequest - Returns 400: BadRequestGET notfound - Returns 404: Not FoundGET unauthorized - Returns 401: UnauthorizedGET forbidden - Returns 403: ForbiddenGET conflict -Returns 409: ConflictGET status/{code}?reason={reason} - Returns the provided status code Go bad.

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  • O&rsquo;Reilly Deal of the Day 14/Aug/2014 - RESTful Web APIs

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/14/orsquoreilly-deal-of-the-day-14aug2014---restful-web-apis.aspxToday’s half-price Deal of the Day from O’Reilly at http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920028468.do?code=DEAL is RESTful Web APIs. “The popularity of REST in recent years has led to tremendous growth in almost-RESTful APIs that don’t include many of the architecture’s benefits. With this practical guide, you’ll learn what it takes to design usable REST APIs that evolve over time. By focusing on solutions that cross a variety of domains, this book shows you how to create powerful and secure applications, using the tools designed for the world’s most successful distributed computing system: the World Wide Web.”

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  • APress Deal of the Day 14/August/2014 - Software Exorcism

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/14/apress-deal-of-the-day-14august2014---software-exorcism.aspxToday’s $10 Deal of the Day from APress at http://www.apress.com/9781430251071 is Software Exorcism! “Software Exorcism discusses tools and techniques for effective and aggressive debugging, gives optimization strategies that appeal to all levels of programmers, and presents in-depth treatments of technical issues with honest assessments. ”

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  • Apartment management software. Apartment accounting software FREE.

    - by Jay Kinker
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/JayKinker/archive/2014/08/13/apartment-management-software.-apartment-accounting-software-free.aspx How are you managing your society today? How about bill generation & collection or socializing at your housing society?   Check out the all new online and offline services to manage your society. Online management and accounting software for housing society is free now. Get your housing society or neighbourhood online today for FREE.   Get a new amenity at your society today!   Societyhive services: www.societyhive.com Societyhive helpdesk: www.societyhive.com/helpdesk   Helpdesk is a free service to provide legal and management advice for societies. Do let me know if you have any feature request you’d want to see at Societyhive.

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  • APress Deal of the Day 13/August/2014 - Pro ASP.NET MVC 4

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/13/apress-deal-of-the-day-13august2014---pro-asp.net-mvc.aspxToday’s $10 Deal of the Day from APress at http://www.apress.com/9781430242369 is Pro ASP.NET MVC 4. Adam Freeman is an excellent author and I recommend this book to all my readers. “The ASP.NET MVC 4 Framework is the latest evolution of Microsoft’s ASP.NET web platform. It provides a high-productivity programming model that promotes cleaner code architecture, test-driven development, and powerful extensibility, combined with all the benefits of ASP.NET.”

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  • Web Essentials extension now available for Visual Studio Express

    - by ihaynes
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/ihaynes/archive/2014/08/12/web-essentials-extension-now-available-for-visual-studio-express.aspxVisual Studio Express has always had one big issue for me, the inability to install any (or very few) of the normal Visual Studio extensions. One of the best extensions for front-end development and design is the Web Essentials extension by Mads Kristensen on the VS team. It was a hugely welcome surprise to find that this extension is now available, in full, for VS Express, and had been since May, darn it! It has a huge number of useful features, not least being able to minify HTML, CSS and JavaScript files, which is almost a prerequisite for responsive sites. It can also bundle them together. There are lots of other features for HTML editing; intellisense and syntax highlighting for robots.txt files; 'surround with tag', intellisense for meta tags (including iOS, Twitter and Facebook); generate vendor-specific CSS etc etc. The full details can be found at the dedicated site. http://vswebessentials.com This extension alone makes VS Express far more useful and worth having.

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  • MVC OnActionExecuting to Redirect

    - by Aligned
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/Aligned/archive/2014/08/12/mvc-onactionexecuting-to-redirect.aspxI recently had the following requirements in an MVC application: Given a new user that still has the default password When they first login Then the user must change their password and optionally provide contact information I found that I can override the OnActionExecuting method in a BaseController class.public class BaseController : Controller { [Inject] public ISessionManager SessionManager { get; set; } protected override void OnActionExecuting(ActionExecutingContext filterContext) { // call the base method first base.OnActionExecuting(filterContext); // if the user hasn't changed their password yet, force them to the welcome page if (!filterContext.RouteData.Values.ContainsValue("WelcomeNewUser")) { var currentUser = this.SessionManager.GetCurrentUser(); if (currentUser.FusionUser.IsPasswordChangeRequired) { filterContext.Result = new RedirectResult("/welcome"); } } } } Better yet, you can use an ActionFilterAttribute (and here) and apply the attribute to the Base or individual controllers./// <summary> /// Redirect the user to the WelcomePage if the FusionUser.IsPasswordChangeRequired is true; /// </summary> public class WelcomePageRedirectActionFilterAttribute : ActionFilterAttribute { [Inject] public ISessionManager SessionManager { get; set; } public override void OnActionExecuting(ActionExecutingContext actionContext) { base.OnActionExecuting(actionContext); // if the user hasn't changed their password yet, force them to the welcome page if (actionContext.RouteData.Values.ContainsValue("WelcomeNewUser")) { return; } var currentUser = this.SessionManager.GetCurrentUser(); if (currentUser.FusionUser.IsPasswordChangeRequired) { actionContext.Result = new RedirectResult("/welcome"); } } }  [WelcomePageRedirectActionFilterAttribute] public class BaseController : Controller { ... } The requirement is now met.

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  • &lsquo;Responsive Web Design with Macaw&rsquo;&ndash; free book updated

    - by ihaynes
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/ihaynes/archive/2014/08/12/lsquoresponsive-web-design-with-macawrsquondash-free-book-updated.aspxThe free book on Macaw by Schonne Eldridge that I mentioned before has been updated. If you’re already subscribed you’ll get alerts for updates. If not the book is well worth getting to start you off with Macaw. If you haven’t tried Macaw yet, heck, you’re missing something big. The book is available from http://schonne.com/macaw Macaw itself is at http://macaw.co

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  • Unity DontDestroyOnLoad causing scenes to stay open

    - by jkrebsbach
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/jkrebsbach/archive/2014/08/11/unity-dontdestroyonload-causing-scenes-to-stay-open.aspxMy Unity project has a class (ClientSettings) where most of the game state & management properties are stored.  Among these are some utility functions that derive from MonoBehavior.  However, between every scene this object was getting recreated and I was losing all sorts of useful data.  I learned that with DontDestroyOnLoad, I can persist this entity between scenes.  Super.Persisting information between scenesThe problem with adding DontDestroyOnLoad to my "ClientSettings" was suddenly my previous scene would stay alive, and continue to execute its update routines.  An important part of the documentation helps shed light to my issues:"If the object is a component or game object then its entire transform hierarchy will not be destroyed either."My ClientSettings script was attached to the main camera on my first scene.  Because of this, the Main Camera was part of the hierarchy of the component, and therefore was also not able to destroy when switching scenes.  Now the first scene's main camera Update routine continues to execute after the second scene is running - causing me to have some very nasty bugs.Suddenly I wasn't sure how I should be creating a persistent entity - so I created a new sandbox project and tested different approaches until I found one that works:In the main scene: Create an empty Game Object:  "GameManager" - and attach the ClientSettings script to this game object.  Set any properties to the clientsettings script as appropriate.Create a prefab, using the GameManager.Remove the Game Object from the main scene.In the Main Camera, I created a script:  Main Script.  This is my primary script for the main scene.<code> public GameObject[] prefabs; private ClientSettings _clientSettings; // Use this for initialization void Start () { GameObject res = (GameObject)Instantiate(prefabs[0]); }</code>Now go back out to scene view, and add the new GameManager prefab to the prefabs collection of MainScript.When the main scene loads, the GameManager is set up, but is not part of the main scene's hierarchy, so the two are no longer tied up together.Now in our second scene, we have a script - SecondScript - and we can get a reference to the ClientSettings we created in the previous scene like so:<code>private ConnectionSettings _clientSettings; // Use this for initialization void Start () { _clientSettings = FindObjectOfType<ConnectionSettings> (); }</code>And the scenes can start and finish without creating strange long-running scene side effects.

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  • Link To Work Item &ndash; Visual Studio extension to link changeset(s) to work item directly from VS history window

    - by Utkarsh Shigihalli
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/onlyutkarsh/archive/2014/08/11/link-to-work-item-ndash-visual-studio-extension-to-link.aspxBy linking work items and other objects, you can track related work, dependencies, and changes made over time. As the following illustration shows, specific link types are used to track specific work items and actions. (– via MSDN) While making a check-in, Visual Studio 2013 provides you a quick way to search and assign a work item via pending changes section in Team Explorer. However, if you forget to assign the work item during your check-in, things really get cumbersome as Visual Studio does not provide an easy way of assigning. For example, you usually have to open the work item and then link the changeset which involves approx. 7-8 mouse clicks. Now, you will really feel the difficulty if you have to assign work item to multiple changesets, you have to repeat the same steps again. Hence, I decided to develop a small Visual Studio extension to perform this action of linking work item to changeset bit easier. How to use the extension? First, download and install the extension from VS Gallery (Supports VS 2013 Professional and above). Once you install, you will see a new "Link To Work Item" menu item when you right click on a changeset in history window. Clicking Link To Work Item menu, will open a new dialog with which you can search for a work item. As you can see in below screenshot, this dialog displays the search result and also the type of the work item. You can also open work item from this dialog by right clicking on the work item and clicking 'Open'. Finally, clicking Save button, will actually link the work item to changeset. One feature which I think helpful, is you can select multiple changesets from history window and assign the work item to all those changesets.  To summarize the features Directly assign work items to changesets from history window Assign work item to multiple changesets Know the type of the work item before assigning. Open the work item from search results It also supports all default Visual Studio themes. Below is a small demo showcasing the working of this extension. Finally, if you like the extension, do not forget to rate and review the extension in VS Gallery. Also, do not hesitate to provide your suggestions, improvements and any issues you may encounter via github.

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  • Windows Phone appointment task

    - by Dennis Vroegop
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/dvroegop/archive/2014/08/10/windows-phone-appointment-task.aspxI am currently working on a new version of my AgeInDays app for Windows Phone. This app calculates how old you are in days (or weeks, depending on your preferences). The inspiration for this app came from my father, who once told me he proposed to my mother when she was 1000 weeks old. That left me wondering: how old in weeks or days am I? And being the geek I am, I wrote an app for it. If you have a Windows Phone, you can find it at http://www.windowsphone.com/en-in/store/app/age-in-days/7ed03603-0e00-4214-ad04-ce56773e5dab A new version of the app was published quite quickly, adding the possibility to mark a date in your agenda when you would have reached a certain age. Of course the logic behind this if extremely simple. Just take a DateTime, populate it with the given date from the DatePicker, then call AddDays(numDays) and voila, you have the date. Now all I had to do was implement a way to store this in the users calendar so he would get a reminder when that date occurred. Luckily, the Windows Phone SDK makes that extremely simple: public void PublishTask(DateTime occuranceDate, string message) { var task = new SaveAppointmentTask() { StartTime = occuranceDate, EndTime = occuranceDate, Subject = message, Location = string.Empty, IsAllDayEvent = true, Reminder = Reminder.None, AppointmentStatus = AppointmentStatus.Free };   task.Show(); }  And that's it. Whenever I call the PublishTask Method an appointment will be made and put in the calendar. Well, not exactly: a template will be made for that appointment and the user will see that template, giving him the option to either discard or save the reminder. The user can also make changes before submitting this to the calendar: it would be useful to be able to change the text in the agenda and that's exactly what this allows you to do. Now, see at the bottom of the screen the option "Occurs". This tiny field is what this post is about. You cannot set it from the code. I want to be able to have repeating items in my agenda. Say for instance you're counting down to a certain date, I want to be able to give you that option as well. However, I cannot. The field "occurs" is not part of the Task you create in code. Of course, you could create a whole series of events yourself. Have the "Occurs" field in your own user interface and make all the appointments. But that's not the same. First, the system doesn't recognize them as part of a series. That means if you want to change the text later on on one of the occurrences it will not ask you if you want to open this one or the whole series. More important however, is that the user has to acknowledge each and every single occurrence and save that into the agenda. Now, I understand why they implemented the system in such a way that the user has to approve an entry. You don't want apps to automatically fill your agenda with messages such as "Remember to pay for my app!". But why not include the "Occurs" option? The user can still opt out if they see this happening. I hope an update will fix this soon. But for now: you just have to countdown to your birthday yourself. My app won't support this.

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  • APress Deal of the Day 10/August/2014 - Pro ASP.NET Web API Security

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/10/apress-deal-of-the-day-10august2014---pro-asp.net-web.aspxToday’s $10 Deal of the Day from APress at http://www.apress.com/9781430257820 is Pro ASP.NET Web API Security. “ASP.NET Web API is a key part of ASP.NET MVC 4. It has become the platform of choice for building RESTful services. Securing ASP.NET Web API applications requires a move away from traditional WCF-based techniques in favor of new SOAP-less methods. The evaluation, selection and analysis of these new techniques is the focus of this book.”

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  • Blend for Visual Studio 2013 Prototyping Applications with SketchFlow

    - by T
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/tburger/archive/2014/08/10/blend-for-visual-studio-2013-prototyping-applications-with-sketchflow.aspxSketchFlow enables rapid creating of dynamic interface mockups very quickly. The SketchFlow workspace is the same as the standard Blend workspace with the inclusion of three panels: the SketchFlow Feedback panel, the SketchFlow Animation panel and the SketchFlow Map panel. By using SketchFlow to prototype, you can get feedback early in the process. It helps to surface possible issues, lower development iterations, and increase stakeholder buy in. SketchFlow prototypes not only provide an initial look but also provide a way to add additional ideas and input and make sure the team is on track prior to investing in complete development. When you have completed the prototyping, you can discard the prototype and just use the lessons learned to design the application from or extract individual elements from your prototype and include them in the application. I don’t recommend trying to transition the entire project into a development project. Objects that you add with the SketchFlow style have a hand-sketched look. The sketch style is used to remind stakeholders that this is a prototype. This encourages them to focus on the flow and functionality without getting distracted by design details. The sketchflow assets are under sketchflow in the asset panel and are identifiable by the postfix “–Sketch”. For example “Button-Sketch”. You can mix sketch and standard controls in your interface, if required. Be creative, if there is a missing control or your interface has a different look and feel than the out of the box one, reuse other sketch controls to mimic the functionality or look and feel. Only use standard controls if it doesn’t distract from the idea that this is a prototype and not a standard application. The SketchFlow Map panel provides information about the structure of your application. To create a new screen in your prototype: Right-click the map surface and choose “Create a Connected Screen”. Name the screens with names that are meaningful to the stakeholders. The start screen is the one that has the green arrow. To change the start screen, right click on any other screen and set to start screen. Only one screen can be the start screen at a time. Rounded screen are component screens to mimic reusable custom controls that will be built into the final application. You can change the colors of all of the boxes and should use colors to create functional groupings. The groupings can be identified in the SketchFlow Project Settings. To add connections between screens in the SketchFlow Map panel. Move the mouse over a screen in the SketchFlow and a menu will appear at the bottom of the screen node. In the menu, click Connect to an existing screen. Drag the arrow to another screen on the Map. You add navigation to your prototype by adding connections on the SketchFlow map or by adding navigation directly to items on your interface. To add navigation from objects on the artboard, right click the item then from the menu, choose “Navigate to”. This will expose a sub-menu with available screens, backward, or forward. When the map has connected screens, the SketchFlow Player displays the connected screens on the Navigate sidebar. All screens show in the SketchFlow Player Map. To see the SketchFlow Player, run your SketchFlow prototype. The Navigation sidebar is meant to show the desired user work flow. The map can be used to view the different screens regardless of suggested navigation in the navigation bar. The map is able to be hidden and shown. As mentioned, a component screen is a shared screen that is used in more than one screen and generally represents what will be a custom object in the application. To create a component screen, you can create a screen, right click on it in the SketchFlow Map and choose “Make into component screen”. You can mouse over a screen and from the menu that appears underneath, choose create and insert component screen. To use an existing screen, select if from the Asset panel under SketchFlow, Components. You can use Storyboards and Visual State animations in your SketchFlow project. However, SketchFlow also offers its own animation technique that is simpler and better suited for prototyping. The SketchFlow Animation panel is above your artboard by default. In SketchFlow animation, you create frames and then position the elements on your interface for each frame. You then specify elapsed time and any effects you want to apply to the transition. The + at the top is what creates new frames. Once you have a new Frame, select it and change the property you want to animate. In the example above, I changed the Text of the result box. You can adjust the time between frames in the lower area between the frames. The easing and effects functions are changed in the center between each frame. You edit the hold time for frames by clicking the clock icon in the lower left and the hold time will appear on each frame and can be edited. The FluidLayout icon (also located in the lower left) will create smooth transitions. Next to the FluidLayout icon is the name of that Animation. You can rename the animation by clicking on it and editing the name. The down arrow chevrons next to the name allow you to view the list of all animations in this prototype and select them for editing. To add the animation to the interface object (such as a button to start the animation), select the PlaySketchFlowAnimationAction from the SketchFlow behaviors in the Assets menu and drag it to an object on your interface. With the PlaySketchFlowAnimationAction that you just added selected in the Objects and Timeline, edit the properties to change the EventName to the event you want and choose the SketchFlowAnimation you want from the drop down list. You may want to add additional information to your screens that isn’t really part of the prototype but is relevant information or a request for clarification or feedback from the reviewer. You do this with annotations or notes. Both appear on the user interface, however, annotations can be switched on or off at design and review time. Notes cannot be switched off. To add an Annotation, chose the Create Annotation from the Tools menu. The annotation appears on the UI where you will add the notes. To display or Hide annotations, click the annotation toggle at the bottom right on the artboard . After to toggle annotations on, the identifier of the person who created them appears on the artboard and you must click that to expand the notes. To add a note to the artboard, simply select the Note-Sketch from Assets ->SketchFlow ->Styles ->Sketch Styles. Drag and drop it to the artboard and place where you want it. When you are ready for users to review the prototype, you have a few options available. Click File -> Export and choose one of the options from the list: Publish to Sharepoint, Package SketchFlowProject, Export to Microsoft Word, or Export as Images. I suggest you play with as many of the options as you can to see what they do. Both the Sharepoint and Packaged SketchFlowProject allow you to collect feedback from one or more users that you can import into the project. The user can make notes on the UI and in the Feedback area in the bottom left corner of the player. When the user is done adding feedback, it is exported from the right most folder icon in the My Feedback panel. Feeback is imported on a panel named SketchFlow Feedback. To get that panel to show up, select Window -> SketchFlow Feedback. Once you have the panel showing, click the + in the upper right of the panel and find the notes you exported. When imported, they will show up in a list and on the artboard. To document your prototype, use the Export to Microsoft Word option from the File menu. That should get you started with prototyping.

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  • O&rsquo;Reilly Half-price Deal to 05:00 PT 14/August/2014 - Malware Forensics Field Guide for Windows Systems

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/09/orsquoreilly-half-price-deal-to-0500-pt-14august2014---malware-forensics.aspxUntil 05:00 PT 14/August/2014, at http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9781597494724.do?code=WKFRNS, O’Reilly are offering half-price on the E-book Malware Forensics Field Guide for Windows Systems. “Dissecting the dark side of the Internet with its infectious worms, botnets, rootkits, and Trojan horse programs (known as malware) is a treacherous condition for any forensic investigator or analyst. Written by information security experts with real-world investigative experience, Malware Forensics Field Guide for Windows Systems is a "tool" with checklists for specific tasks, case studies of difficult situations, and expert analyst tips.”

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  • APress Deal of the Day 9/August/2014 - Pro SharePoint 2013 Administration

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/09/apress-deal-of-the-day-9august2014---pro-sharepoint-2013.aspxToday’s $10 Deal of the Day from APress at http://www.apress.com/9781430249412 is Pro SharePoint 2013 Administration. “Pro SharePoint 2013 Administration is a practical guide to installing, deploying, and implementing SharePoint 2013 for intermediate to advanced administrators. ”

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  • Computer Visionaries 2014 Kinect Hackathon

    - by T
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/tburger/archive/2014/08/08/computer-visionaries-2014-kinect-hackathon.aspxA big thank you to Computer Vision Dallas and Microsoft for putting together the Computer Visionaries 2014 Kinect Hackathon that took place July 18th and 19th 2014.  Our team had a great time and learned a lot from the Kinect MVP's and Microsoft team.  The Dallas Entrepreneur Center was a fantastic venue. In total, 114 people showed up to form 15 teams. Burger ITS & Friends team members with Ben Lower:  Shawn Weisfeld, Teresa Burger, Robert Burger, Harold Pulcher, Taylor Woolley, Cori Drew (not pictured), and Katlyn Drew (not pictured) We arrived Friday after a long day of work/driving.  Originally, our idea was to make a learning game for kids.  It was intended to be multi-simultaneous players dragging and dropping tiles into a canvas area for kids around 5 years old. We quickly learned that we were limited to two simultaneous players. After working on the game for the rest of the evening and into the next morning we decided that a fast multi-player game with hand gestures was not going to happen without going beyond what was provided with the API. If we were going to have something to show, it was time to switch gears. The next idea on the table was the Photo Anywhere Kiosk. The user can use voice and hand gestures to pick a place they would like to be.  After the user says a place (or anything they want) and then the word "search", the app uses Bing to display a bunch of images for him/her to choose from. With the use of hand gesture (grab and slide to move back and forth and push/pull to select an image) the user can get the perfect image to pose with. I couldn't get a snippet with the hand but when a the app is in use, a hand shows up to cue the user to use their hand to control it's movement. Once they chose an image, we use the Kinect background removal feature to super impose the user on that image. When they are in the perfect position, they say "save" to save the image. Currently, the image is saved in the images folder on the users account but there are many possibilities such as emailing it, posting to social media, etc.. The competition was great and we were honored to be recognized for third place. Other related posts: http://jasongfox.com/computer-visionaries-2014-incredible-success/ A couple of us are continuing to work on the kid's game and are going to make it a Windows 8 multi-player game without Kinect functionality. Stay tuned for more updates.

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  • Microsoft to drop support for older versions of Internet Explorer

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/08/microsoft-to-drop-support-for-older-versions-of-internet-explorer.aspxEd Bott of ZDNet at http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-to-drop-support-for-older-versions-of-internet-explorer-7000032437/ has written an excellent article on Microsoft dropping support for IE8 and older as from January 12 2016. Also from that date for version 4.*, only Dot Net Framework 4.5.2 and above will be supported.

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  • Free E-book on NHibernate from Syncfusion

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/07/free-e-book-on-nhibernate-from-syncfusion.aspxSyncfusion are providing a free E-Book on NHibernate at http://www.syncfusion.com/resources/techportal/ebooks/nhibernate?utm_medium=edm “Master the intricacies of NHibernate, an established and powerful Object/Relational Mapper (ORM) in NHibernate Succinctly. Let author Ricardo Peres guide you toward a fuller understanding of one of the oldest and most flexible ORMs available”

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  • O&rsquo;Reilly Deal of the Day 7/August/2014 - Windows PowerShell for Developers

    - by TATWORTH
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/TATWORTH/archive/2014/08/07/orsquoreilly-deal-of-the-day-7august2014---windows-powershell-for.aspxToday’s half-price Deal of the Day from O’Reilly at http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920024491.do?code=MSDEAL is Windows PowerShell for Developers. “Want to perform programming tasks better, faster, simpler, and make them repeatable? Take a deep dive into Windows PowerShell and discover what this distributed automation platform can do. Whether you’re a .NET developer or IT pro, this concise guide will show you how PowerShell’s scripting language can help you be more productive on everyday tasks.”

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