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  • New Wordpress posts generate 404 error.

    - by Steve
    I had a working installation of WordPress, and I recently encountered an issue where when I tried to login to the back-end, the browser would redirect to the login URL of the previous domain WordPress was installed on. I fixed this by reinstalling WordPress, and I can now login to the backend, but any new posts I make, or old posts I have generate 404 errors. Additionally, if I try to navigate to any category page, I again receive a 404 error. I have looked at the wp_posts table of my database, and the GUID field each contains the correct domain name and URL structure. What should I be checking here? Site in question.

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  • Easier ASP.NET MVC Routing

    - by Steve Wilkes
    I've recently refactored the way Routes are declared in an ASP.NET MVC application I'm working on, and I wanted to share part of the system I came up with; a really easy way to declare and keep track of ASP.NET MVC Routes, which then allows you to find the name of the Route which has been selected for the current request. Traditional MVC Route Declaration Traditionally, ASP.NET MVC Routes are added to the application's RouteCollection using overloads of the RouteCollection.MapRoute() method; for example, this is the standard way the default Route which matches /controller/action URLs is created: routes.MapRoute(     "Default",     "{controller}/{action}/{id}",     new { controller = "Home", action = "Index", id = UrlParameter.Optional }); The first argument declares that this Route is to be named 'Default', the second specifies the Route's URL pattern, and the third contains the URL pattern segments' default values. To then write a link to a URL which matches the default Route in a View, you can use the HtmlHelper.RouteLink() method, like this: @ this.Html.RouteLink("Default", new { controller = "Orders", action = "Index" }) ...that substitutes 'Orders' into the {controller} segment of the default Route's URL pattern, and 'Index' into the {action} segment. The {Id} segment was declared optional and isn't specified here. That's about the most basic thing you can do with MVC routing, and I already have reservations: I've duplicated the magic string "Default" between the Route declaration and the use of RouteLink(). This isn't likely to cause a problem for the default Route, but once you get to dozens of Routes the duplication is a pain. There's no easy way to get from the RouteLink() method call to the declaration of the Route itself, so getting the names of the Route's URL parameters correct requires some effort. The call to MapRoute() is quite verbose; with dozens of Routes this gets pretty ugly. If at some point during a request I want to find out the name of the Route has been matched.... and I can't. To get around these issues, I wanted to achieve the following: Make declaring a Route very easy, using as little code as possible. Introduce a direct link between where a Route is declared, where the Route is defined and where the Route's name is used, so I can use Visual Studio's Go To Definition to get from a call to RouteLink() to the declaration of the Route I'm using, making it easier to make sure I use the correct URL parameters. Create a way to access the currently-selected Route's name during the execution of a request. My first step was to come up with a quick and easy syntax for declaring Routes. 1 . An Easy Route Declaration Syntax I figured the easiest way of declaring a route was to put all the information in a single string with a special syntax. For example, the default MVC route would be declared like this: "{controller:Home}/{action:Index}/{Id}*" This contains the same information as the regular way of defining a Route, but is far more compact: The default values for each URL segment are specified in a colon-separated section after the segment name The {Id} segment is declared as optional simply by placing a * after it That's the default route - a pretty simple example - so how about this? routes.MapRoute(     "CustomerOrderList",     "Orders/{customerRef}/{pageNo}",     new { controller = "Orders", action = "List", pageNo = UrlParameter.Optional },     new { customerRef = "^[a-zA-Z0-9]+$", pageNo = "^[0-9]+$" }); This maps to the List action on the Orders controller URLs which: Start with the string Orders/ Then have a {customerRef} set of characters and numbers Then optionally a numeric {pageNo}. And again, it’s quite verbose. Here's my alternative: "Orders/{customerRef:^[a-zA-Z0-9]+$}/{pageNo:^[0-9]+$}*->Orders/List" Quite a bit more brief, and again, containing the same information as the regular way of declaring Routes: Regular expression constraints are declared after the colon separator, the same as default values The target controller and action are specified after the -> The {pageNo} is defined as optional by placing a * after it With an appropriate parser that gave me a nice, compact and clear way to declare routes. Next I wanted to have a single place where Routes were declared and accessed. 2. A Central Place to Declare and Access Routes I wanted all my Routes declared in one, dedicated place, which I would also use for Route names when calling RouteLink(). With this in mind I made a single class named Routes with a series of public, constant fields, each one relating to a particular Route. With this done, I figured a good place to actually declare each Route was in an attribute on the field defining the Route’s name; the attribute would parse the Route definition string and make the resulting Route object available as a property. I then made the Routes class examine its own fields during its static setup, and cache all the attribute-created Route objects in an internal Dictionary. Finally I made Routes use that cache to register the Routes when requested, and to access them later when required. So the Routes class declares its named Routes like this: public static class Routes{     [RouteDefinition("Orders/{customerName}->Orders/Index")]     public const string OrdersCustomerIndex = "OrdersCustomerIndex";     [RouteDefinition("Orders/{customerName}/{orderId:^([0-9]+)$}->Orders/Details")]     public const string OrdersDetails = "OrdersDetails";     [RouteDefinition("{controller:Home}*/{action:Index}*")]     public const string Default = "Default"; } ...which are then used like this: @ this.Html.RouteLink(Routes.Default, new { controller = "Orders", action = "Index" }) Now that using Go To Definition on the Routes.Default constant takes me to where the Route is actually defined, it's nice and easy to quickly check on the parameter names when using RouteLink(). Finally, I wanted to be able to access the name of the current Route during a request. 3. Recovering the Route Name The RouteDefinitionAttribute creates a NamedRoute class; a simple derivative of Route, but with a Name property. When the Routes class examines its fields and caches all the defined Routes, it has access to the name of the Route through the name of the field against which it is defined. It was therefore a pretty easy matter to have Routes give NamedRoute its name when it creates its cache of Routes. This means that the Route which is found in RequestContext.RouteData.Route is now a NamedRoute, and I can recover the Route's name during a request. For visibility, I made NamedRoute.ToString() return the Route name and URL pattern, like this: The screenshot is from an example project I’ve made on bitbucket; it contains all the named route classes and an MVC 3 application which demonstrates their use. I’ve found this way of defining and using Routes much tidier than the default MVC system, and you find it useful too

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  • Why is IaaS important in Azure&hellip;

    - by Steve Loethen
    Three weeks ago, Microsoft released the next phase of Azure.  I have had several clients waiting on this release.  The fact that they have been waiting and are now more receptive to looking at the cloud.  Customers expressed fear of the unknown.  And a fear of lack of control, even when that lack of control also means a huge degree of flexibility to innovate with concerns about the underlying infrastructure.  I think IaaS will be that “gateway drug” to get customers who have been hesitant to take another look at the cloud.  The dialog can change from the cloud being this big scary unknown to a resource for workloads.  The conversations should have always been, and can know be even stronger, geared toward the following points: 1) The cloud is not unicorns and glitter, the cloud is resources.  Compute, storage, db’s, services bus, cache…..  Like many of the resources we have on-premise.  Not magic, just another resource with advantages and obstacles like any other resource. 2) The cloud should be part of the conversation for any new project.  All of the same criteria should be applied, on-premise or off.  Cost, security, reliability, scalability, speed to deploy, cost of licenses, need to customize image, complex workloads.  We have been having these discussions for years when we talk about on-premise projects.  We make decisions on OS’s, Databases, ESB’s, configuration and products based on a myriad of factors.  We use the same factors but now we have a additional set of resources to consider in our process. 3) The cloud is a great solution looking for some interesting problems.  It is our job to recognize the right problems that fit into the cloud, weigh the factors and decide what to do. IaaS makes this discussion easier, offers more choices, and often choices that many enterprises will find more better than PaaS.  Looking forward to helping clients realize the power of the cloud.

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  • jQuery Datatable in MVC &hellip; extended.

    - by Steve Clements
    There are a million plugins for jQuery and when a web forms developer like myself works in MVC making use of them is par-for-the-course!  MVC is the way now, web forms are but a memory!! Grids / tables are my focus at the moment.  I don’t want to get in to righting reems of css and html, but it’s not acceptable to simply dump a table on the screen, functionality like sorting, paging, fixed header and perhaps filtering are expected behaviour.  What isn’t always required though is the massive functionality like editing etc you get with many grid plugins out there. You potentially spend a long time getting everything hooked together when you just don’t need it. That is where the jQuery DataTable plugin comes in.  It doesn’t have editing “out of the box” (you can add other plugins as you require to achieve such functionality). What it does though is very nicely format a table (and integrate with jQuery UI) without needing to hook up and Async actions etc.  Take a look here… http://www.datatables.net I did in the first instance start looking at the Telerik MVC grid control – I’m a fan of Telerik controls and if you are developing an in-house of open source app you get the MVC stuff for free…nice!  Their grid however is far more than I require.  Note: Using Telerik MVC controls with your own jQuery and jQuery UI does come with some hurdles, mainly to do with the order in which all your jQuery is executing – I won’t cover that here though – mainly because I don’t have a clear answer on the best way to solve it! One nice thing about the dataTable above is how easy it is to extend http://www.datatables.net/examples/plug-ins/plugin_api.html and there are some nifty examples on the site already… I however have a requirement that wasn’t on the site … I need a grid at the bottom of the page that will size automatically to the bottom of the page and be scrollable if required within its own space i.e. everything above the grid didn’t scroll as well.  Now a CSS master may have a great solution to this … I’m not that master and so didn’t! The content above the grid can vary so any kind of fixed positioning is out. So I wrote a little extension for the DataTable, hooked that up to the document.ready event and window.resize event. Initialising my dataTable ( s )… $(document).ready(function () {   var dTable = $(".tdata").dataTable({ "bPaginate": false, "bLengthChange": false, "bFilter": true, "bSort": true, "bInfo": false, "bAutoWidth": true, "sScrollY": "400px" });   My extension to the API to give me the resizing….   // ********************************************************************** // jQuery dataTable API extension to resize grid and adjust column sizes // $.fn.dataTableExt.oApi.fnSetHeightToBottom = function (oSettings) { var id = oSettings.nTable.id; var dt = $("#" + id); var top = dt.position().top; var winHeight = $(document).height(); var remain = (winHeight - top) - 83; dt.parent().attr("style", "overflow-x: auto; overflow-y: auto; height: " + remain + "px;"); this.fnAdjustColumnSizing(); } This is very much is debug mode, so pretty verbose at the moment – I’ll tidy that up later! You can see the last call is a call to an existing method, as the columns are fixed and that normally involves so CSS voodoo, a call to adjust those sizes is required. Just above is the style that the dataTable gives the grid wrapper div, I got that from some firebug action and stick in my new height. The –83 is to give me the space at the bottom i require for fixed footer!   Finally I hook that up to the load and window resize.  I’m actually using jQuery UI tabs as well, so I’ve got that in the open event of the tabs.   $(document).ready(function () { var oTable; $("#tabs").tabs({ "show": function (event, ui) { oTable = $('div.dataTables_scrollBody>table.tdata', ui.panel).dataTable(); if (oTable.length > 0) { oTable.fnSetHeightToBottom(); } } }); $(window).bind("resize", function () { oTable.fnSetHeightToBottom(); }); }); And that all there is too it.  Testament to the wonders of jQuery and the immense community surrounding it – to which I am extremely grateful. I’ve also hooked up some custom column filtering on the grid – pretty normal stuff though – you can get what you need for that from their website.  I do hide the out of the box filter input as I wanted column specific, you need filtering turned on when initialising to get it to work and that input come with it!  Tip: fnFilter is the method you want.  With column index as a param – I used data tags to simply that one.

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  • Create Orchard Module in a Separate Project

    - by Steve Michelotti
    The Orchard Project is a new OOS Microsoft project that is being developed up on CodePlex. From the Orchard home page on CodePlex, it states “Orchard project is focused on delivering a .NET-based CMS application that will allow users to rapidly create content-driven Websites, and an extensibility framework that will allow developers and customizers to provide additional functionality through modules and themes.” The Orchard Project site contains additional information including documentation and walkthroughs. The ability to create a composite solution based on a collection of modules is a compelling feature. In Orchard, these modules can just be created as simple MVC Areas or they can also be created inside of stand-alone web application projects.  The walkthrough for writing an Orchard module that is available on the Orchard site uses a simple Area that is created inside of the host application. It is based on the Orchard MIX presentation. This walkthrough does an effective job introducing various Orchard concepts such as hooking into the navigation system, theme/layout system, content types, and more.  However, creating an Orchard module in a separate project does not seem to be concisely documented anywhere. Orchard ships with several module OOTB that are in separate assemblies – but again, it’s not well documented how to get started building one from scratch. The following are the steps I took to successfully get an Orchard module in a separate project up and running. Step 1 – Download the OrchardIIS.zip file from the Orchard Release page. Unzip and open up the solution. Step 2 – Add your project to the solution. I named my project “Orchard.Widget” and used and “MVC 2 Empty Web Application” project type. Make sure you put the physical path inside the “Modules” sub-folder to the main project like this: At this point the solution should look like: Step 3 – Add assembly references to Orchard.dll and Orchard.Core.dll. Step 4 – Add a controller and view.  I’ll just create a Hello World controller and view. Notice I created the view as a partial view (*.ascx). Also add the [Themed] attribute to the top of the HomeController class just like the normal Orchard walk through shows it. Step 5 – Add Module.txt to the project root. The is a very important step. Orchard will not recognize your module without this text file present.  It can contain just the name of your module: name: Widget Step 6 – Add Routes.cs. Notice I’ve given an area name of “Orchard.Widget” on lines 26 and 33. 1: using System; 2: using System.Collections.Generic; 3: using System.Web.Mvc; 4: using System.Web.Routing; 5: using Orchard.Mvc.Routes; 6:   7: namespace Orchard.Widget 8: { 9: public class Routes : IRouteProvider 10: { 11: public void GetRoutes(ICollection<RouteDescriptor> routes) 12: { 13: foreach (var routeDescriptor in GetRoutes()) 14: { 15: routes.Add(routeDescriptor); 16: } 17: } 18:   19: public IEnumerable<RouteDescriptor> GetRoutes() 20: { 21: return new[] { 22: new RouteDescriptor { 23: Route = new Route( 24: "Widget/{controller}/{action}/{id}", 25: new RouteValueDictionary { 26: {"area", "Orchard.Widget"}, 27: {"controller", "Home"}, 28: {"action", "Index"}, 29: {"id", ""} 30: }, 31: new RouteValueDictionary(), 32: new RouteValueDictionary { 33: {"area", "Orchard.Widget"} 34: }, 35: new MvcRouteHandler()) 36: } 37: }; 38: } 39: } 40: } Step 7 – Add MainMenu.cs. This will make sure that an item appears in the main menu called “Widget” which points to the module. 1: using System; 2: using Orchard.UI.Navigation; 3:   4: namespace Orchard.Widget 5: { 6: public class MainMenu : INavigationProvider 7: { 8: public void GetNavigation(NavigationBuilder builder) 9: { 10: builder.Add(menu => menu.Add("Widget", item => item.Action("Index", "Home", new 11: { 12: area = "Orchard.Widget" 13: }))); 14: } 15:   16: public string MenuName 17: { 18: get { return "main"; } 19: } 20: } 21: } Step 8 – Clean up web.config. By default Visual Studio adds numerous sections to the web.config. The sections that can be removed are: appSettings, connectionStrings, authentication, membership, profile, and roleManager. Step 9 – Delete Global.asax. This project will ultimately be running from inside the Orchard host so this “sub-site” should not have its own Global.asax.   Now you’re ready the run the app.  When you first run it, the “Widget” menu item will appear in the main menu because of the MainMenu.cs file we added: We can then click the “Widget” link in the main menu to send us over to our view:   Packaging From start to finish, it’s a relatively painless experience but it could be better. For example, a Visual Studio project template that encapsulates aspects from this blog post would definitely make it a lot easier to get up and running with creating an Orchard module.  Another aspect I found interesting is that if you read the first paragraph of the walkthrough, it says, “You can also develop modules as separate projects, to be packaged and shared with other users of Orchard CMS (the packaging story is still to be defined, along with marketplaces for sharing modules).” In particular, I will be extremely curious to see how the “packaging story” evolves. The first thing that comes to mind for me is: what if we explored MvcContrib Portable Areas as a potential mechanism for this packaging? This would certainly make things easy since all artifacts (aspx, aspx, images, css, javascript) are all wrapped up into a single assembly. Granted, Orchard does have its own infrastructure for layouts and themes but it seems like integrating portable areas into this pipeline would not be a difficult undertaking. Maybe that’ll be the next research task. :)

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  • A Generic, IDisposable WCF Service Client

    - by Steve Wilkes
    WCF clients need to be cleaned up properly, but as they're usually auto-generated they don't implement IDisposable. I've been doing a fair bit of WCF work recently, so I wrote a generic WCF client wrapper which effectively gives me a disposable service client. The ServiceClientWrapper is constructed using a WebServiceConfig instance, which contains a Binding, an EndPointAddress, and whether the client should ignore SSL certificate errors - pretty useful during testing! The Binding can be created based on configuration data or entirely programmatically - that's not the client's concern. Here's the service client code: using System; using System.Net; using System.Net.Security; using System.ServiceModel; public class ServiceClientWrapper<TService, TChannel> : IDisposable     where TService : ClientBase<TChannel>     where TChannel : class {     private readonly WebServiceConfig _config;     private TService _serviceClient;     public ServiceClientWrapper(WebServiceConfig config)     {         this._config = config;     }     public TService CreateServiceClient()     {         this.DisposeExistingServiceClientIfRequired();         if (this._config.IgnoreSslErrors)         {             ServicePointManager.ServerCertificateValidationCallback =                 (obj, certificate, chain, errors) => true;         }         else         {             ServicePointManager.ServerCertificateValidationCallback =                 (obj, certificate, chain, errors) => errors == SslPolicyErrors.None;         }         this._serviceClient = (TService)Activator.CreateInstance(             typeof(TService),             this._config.Binding,             this._config.Endpoint);         if (this._config.ClientCertificate != null)         {             this._serviceClient.ClientCredentials.ClientCertificate.Certificate =                 this._config.ClientCertificate;         }         return this._serviceClient;     }     public void Dispose()     {         this.DisposeExistingServiceClientIfRequired();     }     private void DisposeExistingServiceClientIfRequired()     {         if (this._serviceClient != null)         {             try             {                 if (this._serviceClient.State == CommunicationState.Faulted)                 {                     this._serviceClient.Abort();                 }                 else                 {                     this._serviceClient.Close();                 }             }             catch             {                 this._serviceClient.Abort();             }             this._serviceClient = null;         }     } } A client for a particular service can then be created something like this: public class ManagementServiceClientWrapper :     ServiceClientWrapper<ManagementServiceClient, IManagementService> {     public ManagementServiceClientWrapper(WebServiceConfig config)         : base(config)     {     } } ...where ManagementServiceClient is the auto-generated client class, and the IManagementService is the auto-generated WCF channel class - and used like this: using(var serviceClientWrapper = new ManagementServiceClientWrapper(config)) {     serviceClientWrapper.CreateServiceClient().CallService(); } The underlying WCF client created by the CreateServiceClient() will be disposed after the using, and hey presto - a disposable WCF service client.

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  • Philly.NET Code Camp

    - by Steve Michelotti
    This Saturday I will be at the Philly.NET Code Camp presenting C# 4.0.  The code camp is currently registered to capacity (800 attendees) but you will be able to view certain presentations on a Live Meeting simulcast (and later on Channel 9).  You can tune it at 3:30PM Eastern time to view my presentation. The attendee URL is here.

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  • Failure Sucks, But Does It Have To?

    - by steve.diamond
    Hey Folks--It's "elephant in the room" time. Imagine a representative from a CRM VENDOR discussing CRM FAILURES. Well. I recently saw this blog post from Michael Krigsman on "six ways CRM projects go wrong." Now, I know this may come off defensive, but my comments apply to ALL CRM vendors, not just Oracle. As I perused the list, I couldn't find any failures related to technology. They all seemed related to people or process. Now, this isn't about finger pointing, or impugning customers. I love customers! And when they fail, WE fail. Although I sit in the cheap seats, i.e., I haven't funded any multi-million dollar CRM initiatives lately, I kept wondering how to convert the perception of failure as something that ends and is never to be mentioned again (see Michael's reason #4), to something that one learns from and builds upon. So to continue my tradition of speaking in platitudes, let me propose the following three tenets: 1) Try and get ahead of your failures while they're very very small. 2) Immediately assess what you can learn from those failures. 3) With more than 15 years of CRM deployments, seek out those vendors that have a track record both in learning from "misses" and in supporting MANY THOUSANDS of CRM successes at companies of all types and sizes. Now let me digress briefly with an unpleasant (for me, anyway) analogy. I really don't like flying. Call it 'fear of dying' or 'fear of no control.' Whatever! I've spoken with quite a few commercial pilots over the years, and they reassure me that there are multiple failures on most every flight. We as passengers just don't know about them. Most of them are too miniscule to make a difference, and most of them are "caught" before they become LARGER failures. It's typically the mid-sized to colossal failures we hear about, and a significant percentage of those are due to human error. What's the point? I'd propose that organizations consider the topic of FAILURE in five grades. On one end, FAILURE Grade 1 is a minor/miniscule failure. On the other end, FAILURE Grade 5 is a colossal failure A Grade 1 CRM FAILURE could be that a particular interim milestone was missed. Why? What can we learn from that? How can we prevent that from happening as we proceed through the project? Individual organizations will need to define their own Grade 2 and Grade 3 failures. The opportunity is to keep those Grade 3 failures from escalating any further. Because honestly, a GRADE 5 failure may not be recoverable. It could result in a project being pulled, countless amounts of hours and dollars lost, and jobs lost. We don't want to go there. In closing, I want to thank Michael for opening my eyes up to the world of "color," versus thinking of failure as both "black and white" and a dead end road that organizations can't learn from and avoid discussing like the plague.

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  • Do You Want "Normal?" Good luck!

    - by steve.diamond
    Much has been written about "The New Normal." One thing is for sure: whatever THAT is, economically speaking we won't be experiencing it anytime soon. Sure, we're well beyond the "no floor" perception of 18 months ago--which is certainly comforting, but ask any senior executive and they'll tell you of the constant rigor necessary to continually adapt to an ever-changing macro environment. This brings me to a suggestion that you tune in to a Deloitte Webinar titled, "The New Normal: Embrace Complexity or Seek to Simplify." It features the perspectives on this very topic of Jessica Blume, a principal at Deloitte; and Kirk Mosher, VP of CRM Marketing at Oracle.

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  • Attracting publishers to an in-house affiliate program

    - by Steve
    The cost to enter affiliate networks can be prohibitive for (cash-strapped) small business, particularly if they are simply testing the waters of an affiliate program. If such a company wanted to run an affiliate program in-house using off the shelf software, what methods would they use to attract publishers? Is it simply a case of SEO or SEM, attempting to attract publishers to the page on their website which outlines their affiliate program? Are there directories to submit one's affiliate program to?

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  • Culture Shmulture?

    - by steve.diamond
    I've been thinking about "Customer Experience Management" lately. Here at Oracle, we arguably have the most complete suite of applications for managing the customer experience across and in the context of multiple channels -- from marketing to loyalty to contact center to self-service to analytics offerings, and more. And stay tuned, because in coming months let's just say we'll have even more to talk about on this front. But that said............ Last weekend my wife and I stayed at one of the premiere hotel chains on the planet. I won't name them, but we all know the short list. It could have been the St. Regis or the Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons or Hyatt Park or....This stay, at this particular hotel, was simply outstanding. Within a chain known for providing "above and beyond" levels of service, this particular hotel, under this particular manager, exceeded expectations on so many fronts. For example, at the Spa we mentioned to the two attendants that my wife is seven months pregnant and that we had previously had a lot of trouble conceiving. We then went to our room. Ten minutes later we heard a knock at the door and received a plate of chocolate covered strawberries with a heartfelt note and an inspiring quote, signed by the two spa attendees. The following day we arranged to have a bellhop drive us to the beach. Although they had a pre-arranged beach shuttle service with time limits, etc., he greeted us by saying, "I'm yours for the day until 4 p.m. Whatever you want to do is fine by me, as long as it's legal!" The morning that we left we arranged to have a taxi drive us to the airport--a nearly 40 mile drive. What showed up was a private coach complete with navy blue suited driver dude. And we were charged the taxi fare price. And there were many other awesome exchanges I won't mention here, although I did email the GM of this hotel two nights ago and expressed our effusive praise and gratitude. I'd submit that this hotel chain would have a definitive advantage using even more Oracle software to manage and optimize its customer interactions (yes, they are a customer). But WITHOUT the culture--that management team--and that instillation of aligned values across all employees of exemplifying 'the golden rule,' I wonder how much technology really matters in providing a distinctively positive and memorable customer experience. Lest you think I'm alone in these pontifications, have you read Paul Greenberg's blog lately? Have you seen one of his most recent posts? Now this SPECIFIC post is NOT about customer service per se. But it is about people. So yes, please think long and hard about the technology you seek to deploy. But never forget who will be interacting with your systems, and your customers.

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  • Autoscaling in a modern world&hellip;. last chapter

    - by Steve Loethen
    As we all know as coders, things like logging are never important.  Our code will work right the first time.  So, you can understand my surprise when the first time I deployed the autoscaling worker role to the actual Azure fabric, it did not scale.  I mean, it worked on my machine.  How dare the datacenter argue with that.  So, how did I track down the problem?  (turns out, it was not so much code as lack of the right certificate)  When I ran it local in the developer fabric, I was able to see a wealth of information.  Lots of periodic status info every time the autoscalar came around to check on my rules and decide to act or not.  But that information was not making it to Azure storage.  The diagnostics were not being transferred to where I could easily see and use them to track down why things were not being cooperative.  After a bit of digging, I discover the problem.  You need to add a bit of extra configuration code to get the correct information stored for you.  I added the following to my app.config: Code Snippet <system.diagnostics>     <sources>         <source name="Autoscaling General"switchName="SourceSwitch"           switchType="System.Diagnostics.SourceSwitch" >         <listeners>           <add name="AzureDiag" />             <remove name="Default"/>         </listeners>       </source>         <source name="Autoscaling Updates"switchName="SourceSwitch"           switchType="System.Diagnostics.SourceSwitch" >         <listeners>           <add name="AzureDiag" />             <remove name="Default"/>         </listeners>       </source>     </sources>     <switches>       <add name="SourceSwitch"           value="Verbose, Information, Warning, Error, Critical" />     </switches>     <sharedListeners>       <add type="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Diagnostics.DiagnosticMonitorTraceListener,Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Diagnostics, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" name="AzureDiag"/>     </sharedListeners>     <trace>       <listeners>         <add             type="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Diagnostics.DiagnosticMonitorTraceListener,Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Diagnostics, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" name="AzureDiagnostics">           <filter type="" />         </add>       </listeners>     </trace>   </system.diagnostics> Suddenly all the rich tracing info I needed was filling up my storage account.  After a few cycles of trying to attempting to scale, I identified the cert problem, uploaded a correct certificate, and away it went.  I hope this was helpful.

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  • MVC Portable Areas &ndash; Static Files as Embedded Resources

    - by Steve Michelotti
    This is the third post in a series related to build and deployment considerations as I’ve been exploring MVC Portable Areas: #1 – Using Web Application Project to build portable areas #2 – Conventions for deploying portable area static files #3 – Portable area static files as embedded resources In the last post, I walked through a convention for managing static files.  In this post I’ll discuss another approach to manage static files (e.g., images, css, js, etc.).  With this approach, you *also* compile the static files as embedded resources into the assembly similar to the *.aspx pages. Once again, you can set this to happen automatically by simply modifying your *.csproj file to include the desired extensions so you don’t have to remember every time you add a file: 1: <Target Name="BeforeBuild"> 2: <ItemGroup> 3: <EmbeddedResource Include="**\*.aspx;**\*.ascx;**\*.gif;**\*.css;**\*.js" /> 4: </ItemGroup> 5: </Target> We now need a reliable way to serve up these static files that are embedded in the assembly. There are a couple of ways to do this but one way is to simply create a Resource controller whose job is dedicated to doing this. 1: public class ResourceController : Controller 2: { 3: public ActionResult Index(string resourceName) 4: { 5: var contentType = GetContentType(resourceName); 6: var resourceStream = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().GetManifestResourceStream(resourceName); 7:   8: return this.File(resourceStream, contentType); 9: return View(); 10: } 11:   12: private static string GetContentType(string resourceName) 13: { 14: var extention = resourceName.Substring(resourceName.LastIndexOf('.')).ToLower(); 15: switch (extention) 16: { 17: case ".gif": 18: return "image/gif"; 19: case ".js": 20: return "text/javascript"; 21: case ".css": 22: return "text/css"; 23: default: 24: return "text/html"; 25: } 26: } 27: } In order to use this controller, we need to make sure we’ve registered the route in our portable area registration (shown in lines 5-6): 1: public class WidgetAreaRegistration : PortableAreaRegistration 2: { 3: public override void RegisterArea(System.Web.Mvc.AreaRegistrationContext context, IApplicationBus bus) 4: { 5: context.MapRoute("ResourceRoute", "widget1/resource/{resourceName}", 6: new { controller = "Resource", action = "Index" }); 7:   8: context.MapRoute("Widget1", "widget1/{controller}/{action}", new 9: { 10: controller = "Home", 11: action = "Index" 12: }); 13:   14: RegisterTheViewsInTheEmbeddedViewEngine(GetType()); 15: } 16:   17: public override string AreaName 18: { 19: get { return "Widget1"; } 20: } 21: } In my previous post, we relied on a custom Url helper method to find the actual physical path to the static file like this: 1: <img src="<%: Url.AreaContent("/images/arrow.gif") %>" /> Hello World! However, since we are now embedding the files inside the assembly, we no longer have to worry about the physical path. We can change this line of code to this: 1: <img src="<%: Url.Resource("Widget1.images.arrow.gif") %>" /> Hello World! Note that I had to fully quality the resource name (with namespace and physical location) since that is how .NET assemblies store embedded resources. I also created my own Url helper method called Resource which looks like this: 1: public static string Resource(this UrlHelper urlHelper, string resourceName) 2: { 3: var areaName = (string)urlHelper.RequestContext.RouteData.DataTokens["area"]; 4: return urlHelper.Action("Index", "Resource", new { resourceName = resourceName, area = areaName }); 5: } This method gives us the convenience of not having to know how to construct the URL – but just allowing us to refer to the resource name. The resulting html for the image tag is: 1: <img src="/widget1/resource/Widget1.images.arrow.gif" /> so we can always request any image from the browser directly. This is almost analogous to the WebResource.axd file but for MVC. What is interesting though is that we can encapsulate each one of these so that each area can have it’s own set of resources and they are easily distinguished because the area name is the first segment of the route. This makes me wonder if something like this ResourceController should be baked into portable areas itself. I’m definitely interested in anyone has any opinions on it or have taken alternative approaches.

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  • Know Your Audience, And/Or Your Customer

    - by steve.diamond
    Yesterday I gave an internal presentation to about 20 Oracle employees on "messaging," not messaging technology, but embarking on the process of building messages. One of the elements I covered was the importance of really knowing and understanding your audience. As a humorous reference I included two side-by-side photos of Oakland A's fans and Oakland Raiders fans. The Oakland A's fans looked like happy-go-lucky drunk types. The Oakland Raiders fans looked like angry extras from a low budget horror flick. I then asked my presentation attendees what these two groups had in common. Here's what I heard. --They're human (at least I THINK they're human). --They're from Oakland. --They're sports fans. After that, it was anyone's guess. A few days earlier we were putting the finishing touches on a sales presentation for one of our product lines. We had included an upfront "lead in" addressing how the economy is improving, yet that doesn't mean sales executives will have any more resources to add to their teams, invest in technology, etc. This "lead in" included miscellaneous news article headlines and statistics validating the slowly improving economy. When we subjected this presentation to internal review two days ago, this upfront section in particular was scrutinized. "Is the economy really getting better? I (exclamation point) don't think it's really getting better. Haven't you seen the headlines coming out of Greece and Europe?" Then the question TO ME became, "Who will actually be in the audience that sees and hears this presentation? Will s/he be someone like me? Or will s/he be someone like the critic who didn't like our lead-in?" We took the safe route and removed that lead in. After all, why start a "pitch" with a component that is arguably subjective? What if many of our audience members are individuals at organizations still facing a strong headwind? For reasons I won't go into here, it was the right decision to make. The moral of the story: Make sure you really know your audience. Harness the wisdom of the information your organization's CRM systems collect to get that fully informed "customer view." Conduct formal research. Conduct INFORMAL research. Ask lots of questions. Study industries and scenarios that have nothing to do with yours to see "how they do it." Stop strangers in coffee shops and on the street...seriously. Last week I caught up with an old friend from high school who recently retired from a 25 year career with the USMC. He said, "I can learn something from every single person I come into contact with." What a great way of approaching the world. Then, think about and write down what YOU like and dislike as a customer. But also remember that when it comes to your company's products, you are most likely NOT the customer, so don't go overboard in superimposing your own world view. Approaching the study of customers this way adds rhyme, reason and CONTEXT to lengthy blog posts like this one. Know your audience.

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  • Andrejus Keeps Cranking Out the Tips

    - by steve.muench
    I've been working on designing and implementing a new set of features for an upcoming Oracle ADF release for the past several months (and several more to come) and this has put a real limit on the time I have available for helping external customers and internal teams, as well as the time I have for blogging. Thankfully, the ADF community at large has many other voices they can listen to for tips and techniques. One I wanted to highlight specifically today is Andrejus Baranovskis' blog, which is steadily building up a high-quality archive of downloadable ADF examples based on his real-world consulting experiences, each with a corresponding explanatory article. If you're not already subscribed to Andrejus' blog, I highly recommend it. Keep up the great work, Andrejus!

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  • MVC Portable Area Modules *Without* MasterPages

    - by Steve Michelotti
    Portable Areas from MvcContrib provide a great way to build modular and composite applications on top of MVC. In short, portable areas provide a way to distribute MVC binary components as simple .NET assemblies where the aspx/ascx files are actually compiled into the assembly as embedded resources. I’ve blogged about Portable Areas in the past including this post here which talks about embedding resources and you can read more of an intro to Portable Areas here. As great as Portable Areas are, the question that seems to come up the most is: what about MasterPages? MasterPages seems to be the one thing that doesn’t work elegantly with portable areas because you specify the MasterPage in the @Page directive and it won’t use the same mechanism of the view engine so you can’t just embed them as resources. This means that you end up referencing a MasterPage that exists in the host application but not in your portable area. If you name the ContentPlaceHolderId’s correctly, it will work – but it all seems a little fragile. Ultimately, what I want is to be able to build a portable area as a module which has no knowledge of the host application. I want to be able to invoke the module by a full route on the user’s browser and it gets invoked and “automatically appears” inside the application’s visual chrome just like a MasterPage. So how could we accomplish this with portable areas? With this question in mind, I looked around at what other people are doing to address similar problems. Specifically, I immediately looked at how the Orchard team is handling this and I found it very compelling. Basically Orchard has its own custom layout/theme framework (utilizing a custom view engine) that allows you to build your module without any regard to the host. You simply decorate your controller with the [Themed] attribute and it will render with the outer chrome around it: 1: [Themed] 2: public class HomeController : Controller Here is the slide from the Orchard talk at this year MIX conference which shows how it conceptually works:   It’s pretty cool stuff.  So I figure, it must not be too difficult to incorporate this into the portable areas view engine as an optional piece of functionality. In fact, I’ll even simplify it a little – rather than have 1) Document.aspx, 2) Layout.ascx, and 3) <view>.ascx (as shown in the picture above); I’ll just have the outer page be “Chrome.aspx” and then the specific view in question. The Chrome.aspx not only takes the place of the MasterPage, but now since we’re no longer constrained by the MasterPage infrastructure, we have the choice of the Chrome.aspx living in the host or inside the portable areas as another embedded resource! Disclaimer: credit where credit is due – much of the code from this post is me re-purposing the Orchard code to suit my needs. To avoid confusion with Orchard, I’m going to refer to my implementation (which will be based on theirs) as a Chrome rather than a Theme. The first step I’ll take is to create a ChromedAttribute which adds a flag to the current HttpContext to indicate that the controller designated Chromed like this: 1: [Chromed] 2: public class HomeController : Controller The attribute itself is an MVC ActionFilter attribute: 1: public class ChromedAttribute : ActionFilterAttribute 2: { 3: public override void OnActionExecuting(ActionExecutingContext filterContext) 4: { 5: var chromedAttribute = GetChromedAttribute(filterContext.ActionDescriptor); 6: if (chromedAttribute != null) 7: { 8: filterContext.HttpContext.Items[typeof(ChromedAttribute)] = null; 9: } 10: } 11:   12: public static bool IsApplied(RequestContext context) 13: { 14: return context.HttpContext.Items.Contains(typeof(ChromedAttribute)); 15: } 16:   17: private static ChromedAttribute GetChromedAttribute(ActionDescriptor descriptor) 18: { 19: return descriptor.GetCustomAttributes(typeof(ChromedAttribute), true) 20: .Concat(descriptor.ControllerDescriptor.GetCustomAttributes(typeof(ChromedAttribute), true)) 21: .OfType<ChromedAttribute>() 22: .FirstOrDefault(); 23: } 24: } With that in place, we only have to override the FindView() method of the custom view engine with these 6 lines of code: 1: public override ViewEngineResult FindView(ControllerContext controllerContext, string viewName, string masterName, bool useCache) 2: { 3: if (ChromedAttribute.IsApplied(controllerContext.RequestContext)) 4: { 5: var bodyView = ViewEngines.Engines.FindPartialView(controllerContext, viewName); 6: var documentView = ViewEngines.Engines.FindPartialView(controllerContext, "Chrome"); 7: var chromeView = new ChromeView(bodyView, documentView); 8: return new ViewEngineResult(chromeView, this); 9: } 10:   11: // Just execute normally without applying Chromed View Engine 12: return base.FindView(controllerContext, viewName, masterName, useCache); 13: } If the view engine finds the [Chromed] attribute, it will invoke it’s own process – otherwise, it’ll just defer to the normal web forms view engine (with masterpages). The ChromeView’s primary job is to independently set the BodyContent on the view context so that it can be rendered at the appropriate place: 1: public class ChromeView : IView 2: { 3: private ViewEngineResult bodyView; 4: private ViewEngineResult documentView; 5:   6: public ChromeView(ViewEngineResult bodyView, ViewEngineResult documentView) 7: { 8: this.bodyView = bodyView; 9: this.documentView = documentView; 10: } 11:   12: public void Render(ViewContext viewContext, System.IO.TextWriter writer) 13: { 14: ChromeViewContext chromeViewContext = ChromeViewContext.From(viewContext); 15:   16: // First render the Body view to the BodyContent 17: using (var bodyViewWriter = new StringWriter()) 18: { 19: var bodyViewContext = new ViewContext(viewContext, bodyView.View, viewContext.ViewData, viewContext.TempData, bodyViewWriter); 20: this.bodyView.View.Render(bodyViewContext, bodyViewWriter); 21: chromeViewContext.BodyContent = bodyViewWriter.ToString(); 22: } 23: // Now render the Document view 24: this.documentView.View.Render(viewContext, writer); 25: } 26: } The ChromeViewContext (code excluded here) mainly just has a string property for the “BodyContent” – but it also makes sure to put itself in the HttpContext so it’s available. Finally, we created a little extension method so the module’s view can be rendered in the appropriate place: 1: public static void RenderBody(this HtmlHelper htmlHelper) 2: { 3: ChromeViewContext chromeViewContext = ChromeViewContext.From(htmlHelper.ViewContext); 4: htmlHelper.ViewContext.Writer.Write(chromeViewContext.BodyContent); 5: } At this point, the other thing left is to decide how we want to implement the Chrome.aspx page. One approach is the copy/paste the HTML from the typical Site.Master and change the main content placeholder to use the HTML helper above – this way, there are no MasterPages anywhere. Alternatively, we could even have Chrome.aspx utilize the MasterPage if we wanted (e.g., in the case where some pages are Chromed and some pages want to use traditional MasterPage): 1: <%@ Page Title="" Language="C#" MasterPageFile="~/Views/Shared/Site.Master" Inherits="System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage" %> 2: <asp:Content ID="Content2" ContentPlaceHolderID="MainContent" runat="server"> 3: <% Html.RenderBody(); %> 4: </asp:Content> At this point, it’s all academic. I can create a controller like this: 1: [Chromed] 2: public class WidgetController : Controller 3: { 4: public ActionResult Index() 5: { 6: return View(); 7: } 8: } Then I’ll just create Index.ascx (a partial view) and put in the text “Inside my widget”. Now when I run the app, I can request the full route (notice the controller name of “widget” in the address bar below) and the HTML from my Index.ascx will just appear where it is supposed to.   This means no more warnings for missing MasterPages and no more need for your module to have knowledge of the host’s MasterPage placeholders. You have the option of using the Chrome.aspx in the host or providing your own while embedding it as an embedded resource itself. I’m curious to know what people think of this approach. The code above was done with my own local copy of MvcContrib so it’s not currently something you can download. At this point, these are just my initial thoughts – just incorporating some ideas for Orchard into non-Orchard apps to enable building modular/composite apps more easily. Additionally, on the flip side, I still believe that Portable Areas have potential as the module packaging story for Orchard itself.   What do you think?

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  • Part 1 - 12c Database and WLS - Overview

    - by Steve Felts
    The download of Oracle 12c database became available on June 25, 2013.  There are some big new features in 12c database and WebLogic Server will take advantage of them. Immediately, we will support using 12c database and drivers with WLS 10.3.6 and 12.1.1.  When the next version of WLS ships, additional functionality will be supported (those rows in the table below with all "No" values will get a "Yes).  The following table maps the Oracle 12c Database features supported with various combinations of currently available WLS releases, 11g and 12c Drivers, and 11g and 12c Databases. Feature WebLogic Server 10.3.6/12.1.1 with 11g drivers and 11gR2 DB WebLogic Server 10.3.6/12.1.1 with 11g drivers and 12c DB WebLogic Server 10.3.6/12.1.1 with 12c drivers and 11gR2 DB WebLogic Server 10.3.6/12.1.1 with 12c drivers and 12c DB JDBC replay No No No Yes (Active GridLink only in 10.3.6, add generic in 12.1.1) Multi Tenant Database No Yes (except set container) No Yes (except set container) Dynamic switching between Tenants No No No No Database Resident Connection pooling (DRCP) No No No No Oracle Notification Service (ONS) auto configuration No No No No Global Database Services (GDS) No Yes (Active GridLink only) No Yes (Active GridLink only) JDBC 4.1 (using ojdbc7.jar files & JDK 7) No No Yes Yes  The My Oracle Support (MOS) document covering this is "WebLogic Server 12.1.1 and 10.3.6 Support for Oracle 12c Database [ID 1564509.1]" at the link https://support.oracle.com/epmos/faces/DocumentDisplay?id=1564509.1. The following documents are also key references:12c Oracle Database Developer Guide http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E16655_01/appdev.121/e17620/toc.htm 12c Oracle Database Administrator's Guide http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E16655_01/server.121/e17636/toc.htm . I plan to write some related blog articles not to duplicate existing product documentation but to introduce the features, provide some examples, and tie together some information to make it easier to understand. How do you get started with 12c?  The easiest way is to point your data source at a 12c database.  The only change on the WLS side is to update the URL in your data source (assuming that you are not just upgrading your database).  You can continue to use the 11.2.0.3 driver jar files that shipped with WLS 10.3.6 or 12.1.1.  You shouldn't see any changes in your application.  You can take advantage of enhancements on the database side that don't affect the mid-tier.  On the WLS side, you can take advantage of using Global Data Service or connecting to a tenant in a multi-tenant database transparently. If you want to use the 12c client jar files, it's a bit of work because they aren't shipped with WLS and you can't just drop in ojdbc6.jar as in the old days.  You need to use a matched set of jar files and they need to come before existing jar files in the CLASSPATH.  The MOS article is written from the standpoint that you need to get the jar files directly - download almost 1G and install over 600M footprint to get 15 jar files.  Assuming that you have the database installed and you can get access to the installation (or ask the DBA), you need to copy the 15 jar files to each machine with a WLS installation and get them in your CLASSPATH.  You can play with setting the PRE_CLASSPATH but the more practical approach may be to just update WL_HOME/common/bin/commEnv.sh directly.  There's a change in the transaction completion behavior (read the MOS) so if you think you might run into that, you will want to set -Doracle.jdbc.autoCommitSpecCompliant=false.  Also if you are running with Active GridLink, you must set -Doracle.ucp.PreWLS1212Compatible=true (how's that for telling you that this is fixed in WLS 12.1.2).  Once you get the configuration out of the way, you can start using the new ojdbc7.jar in place of the ojdbc6.jar to get the new JDBC 4.1 API's.  You can also start using Application Continuity.  This feature is also known as JDBC Replay because when a connection fails you get a new one with all JDBC operations up to the failure point automatically replayed.  As you might expect, there are some limitations but it's an interesting feature.  Obviously I'm going to focus on the 12c database features that we can leverage in WLS data source.  You will need to read other sources or the product documentation to get all of the new features.

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  • Ubuntu USB boot failure

    - by Steve
    When trying to boot from a boot USB drive I got the message, "Vesamenu.c32:Not a com32r image." I was trying to boot a fairly new Toshiba laptop with a Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS created USB boot. I re-created the USB drive with 11.04 and it booted fine. These were both 32 bit versions even though the laptop is a 64 bit. I was trying to create a generic boot USB that would work on everything I might try it on. What is the consensus on this idea? Any solution to the above error? Thanks from a noobe.

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  • Total Cloud Control keeps getting better ! Oracle Launch Webcast : Total Cloud Control for Systems

    - by Anand Akela
    Total Cloud Control Keeps Getting Better Join Oracle Vice President of Systems Management Steve Wilson and a panel of Oracle executives to find out how your enterprise cloud can achieve 10x improved performance and 12x operational agility. Only Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c allows you to: Accelerate mission-critical cloud deployment Unleash the power of Solaris 11, the first cloud OS Simplify Oracle engineered systems management You’ll also get a chance to have your questions answered by Oracle product experts and dive deeper into the technology by viewing our demos that trace the steps companies like yours take as they transition to a private cloud environment. Featured Speaker With a special announcement by: Steve Wilson Vice President, Systems Management, Oracle John Fowler Executive Vice President, Systems, Oracle Agenda 9:00 a.m. PT Keynote: Total Cloud Control for Systems 9:45 a.m. PT Panel Discussion with Oracle Hardware, Software, and Support Executives 10:15 a.m. PT Demo Series: A Step-by-Step Journey to Enterprise Clouds Stay connected with  Oracle Enterprise Manager   :  Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Linkedin | Newsletter

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