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  • Trying to use Digest Authentication for Folder Protection

    - by Jon Hazlett
    StackOverflow users suggested I try my question here. I'm using Server 2008 EE and IIS 7. I've got a site that I've migrated over from XP Pro using IIS 5. On the old system, I was using IIS Password to use simple .htaccess files to control a couple of folders that I didn't want to be publicly viewable. Now that I'm running a full-blown DC with a more powerful version of IIS, I decided it'd be a good idea to start using something slightly more sophisticated. After doing my research and trying to keep things as cheap as possible with a touch of extra security, I decided that Digest Authentication would be the best way to go. My issue is this: With Anon access disabled and Digest enabled, I am never prompted for credentials. when on the server, viewing domain[dot]com/example will simply show my 401.htm page without prompting me for credentials. when on a different network/computer, viewing domain[dot]com/example again shows my 401.htm without prompting for credentials. At the site level I only have Anon enabled. Every subfolder, unless I want it protected, has just Anon enabled. Only the folders I want protected have Anon disabled and Digest enabled. I have tried editing the bindings to see if that would spark any kind of change... www.domain.com, domain.com, and localhost have all been tried. There was never a change in behavior at any permutation (aside from the page not being found when I un-bound localhost to the site). I might have screwed up when I deleted the default site from IIS. I didn't think I'd actually need it for anything, but some of what I have read online is telling me otherwise now. As for Digest settings, I have it pointed to local.domain.com, which is the name assigned to my AD Domain. I'm guessing that's right, but honestly have no clue about what a realm actually is. Would it matter that I have an A record for local.domain.com pointing to my IP address? I had problems initially with an absolute link for 401.htm pages, but have since resolved that. Instead of D:\HTTP\401.htm I've used /401.htm and all is well. I used to get error 500's because it couldn't find the custom 401.htm file, but now it loads just fine. As for some data, I was getting entries like this from access logs: 2009-07-10 17:34:12 10.0.0.10 GET /example/ - 80 - [workip] Mozilla/4.0+(compatible;+MSIE+7.0;+Windows+NT+5.1;+.NET+CLR+1.1.4322;+.NET+CLR+2.0.50727;+InfoPath.2) 401 2 5 132 But after correcting my 401.htm links now get logs like this: 2009-07-10 18:56:25 10.0.0.10 GET /example - 80 - [workip] Mozilla/5.0+(Windows;+U;+Windows+NT+5.1;+en-US;+rv:1.9.0.11)+Gecko/2009060215+Firefox/3.0.11 200 0 0 146 I don't know if that means anything or not. I still don't get any credential challenges, regardless of where I try to sign in from ( my workstation, my server, my cellphone even ). The only thing that's seemed to work is viewing localhost and I donno what could be preventing authentication from finding it's way out of the server. Thanks for any help! Jon

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  • Linux IPTables / routing issue

    - by Jon
    Hi all, EDIT 1/3/10 22:00 GMT - rewrote some of it after further investigation It has been a while since I looked at IPtables and I seem to be worse than before as I can not seem to get my webserver online. Below is my firewall rules on the gateway server that is running the dhcp server accessing the net. The webserver is inside my network on a static IP (192.168.0.98, default port). When I use Nmap or GRC.com I see that port 80 is open on the gateway server but when I browse to it, (via public URL. http://www.houseofhawkins.com) it always fails with a connection error, (nmap cannot connect and figure out what the web server is either). I can nmap the webserver and browse to it just fine via same IP inside my network. I believe it is my IPTable rules that are not letting it through. Internally I can route all my requests. Each machine can browse to the website and traffic works just fine. I can MSTSC / ssh to all the webservers internally and they inturn can connect to the web. IPTABLE: *EDIT - Added new firewall rules 2/3/10 * #!/bin/sh iptables="/sbin/iptables" modprobe="/sbin/modprobe" depmod="/sbin/depmod" EXTIF="eth2" INTIF="eth1" load () { $depmod -a $modprobe ip_tables $modprobe ip_conntrack $modprobe ip_conntrack_ftp $modprobe ip_conntrack_irc $modprobe iptable_nat $modprobe ip_nat_ftp echo "enable forwarding.." echo "1" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward echo "enable dynamic addr" echo "1" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_dynaddr # start firewall # default policies $iptables -P INPUT DROP $iptables -F INPUT $iptables -P OUTPUT DROP $iptables -F OUTPUT $iptables -P FORWARD DROP $iptables -F FORWARD $iptables -t nat -F #echo " Opening loopback interface for socket based services." $iptables -A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT $iptables -A OUTPUT -o lo -j ACCEPT #echo " Allow all connections OUT and only existing and related ones IN" $iptables -A INPUT -i $INTIF -j ACCEPT $iptables -A INPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT $iptables -A OUTPUT -o $EXTIF -j ACCEPT $iptables -A OUTPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT $iptables -A FORWARD -i $EXTIF -o $INTIF -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT $iptables -A FORWARD -i $INTIF -o $EXTIF -j ACCEPT $iptables -A FORWARD -j LOG --log-level 7 --log-prefix "Dropped by firewall: " $iptables -A INPUT -j LOG --log-level 7 --log-prefix "Dropped by firewall: " $iptables -A OUTPUT -j LOG --log-level 7 --log-prefix "Dropped by firewall: " #echo " Enabling SNAT (MASQUERADE) functionality on $EXTIF" $iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o $EXTIF -j MASQUERADE $iptables -A INPUT -i $INTIF -j ACCEPT $iptables -A OUTPUT -o $INTIF -j ACCEPT #echo " Allowing packets with ICMP data (i.e. ping)." $iptables -A INPUT -p icmp -j ACCEPT $iptables -A OUTPUT -p icmp -j ACCEPT $iptables -A INPUT -p udp -i $INTIF --dport 67 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT #echo " Port 137 is for NetBIOS." $iptables -A INPUT -i $INTIF -p udp --dport 137 -j ACCEPT $iptables -A OUTPUT -o $INTIF -p udp --dport 137 -j ACCEPT #echo " Opening port 53 for DNS queries." $iptables -A INPUT -p udp -i $EXTIF --sport 53 -j ACCEPT #echo " opening Apache webserver" $iptables -A PREROUTING -t nat -i $EXTIF -p tcp --dport 80 -j DNAT --to 192.168.0.96:80 $iptables -A FORWARD -p tcp -m state --state NEW -d 192.168.0.96 --dport 80 -j ACCEPT } flush () { echo "flushing rules..." $iptables -P FORWARD ACCEPT $iptables -F INPUT $iptables -P INPUT ACCEPT echo "rules flushed" } case "$1" in start|restart) flush load ;; stop) flush ;; *) echo "usage: start|stop|restart." ;; esac exit 0 route info: Kernel IP routing table Destination Gateway Genmask Flags Metric Ref Use Iface 5e0412a6.bb.sky * 255.255.255.255 UH 0 0 0 eth2 192.168.0.0 * 255.255.255.0 U 0 0 0 eth1 default 5e0412a6.bb.sky 0.0.0.0 UG 100 0 0 eth2 ifconfig: eth1 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:22:b0:cf:4a:1c inet addr:192.168.0.1 Bcast:192.168.0.255 Mask:255.255.255.0 inet6 addr: fe80::222:b0ff:fecf:4a1c/64 Scope:Link UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1 RX packets:79023 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0 TX packets:57786 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0 collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 RX bytes:11580918 (11.5 MB) TX bytes:22872030 (22.8 MB) Interrupt:17 Base address:0x2b00 eth2 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:0c:f1:7c:45:5b inet addr:94.4.18.166 Bcast:94.4.18.166 Mask:255.255.255.255 inet6 addr: fe80::20c:f1ff:fe7c:455b/64 Scope:Link UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1 RX packets:57038 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0 TX packets:34532 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0 collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 RX bytes:21631721 (21.6 MB) TX bytes:7685444 (7.6 MB) lo Link encap:Local Loopback inet addr:127.0.0.1 Mask:255.0.0.0 inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host UP LOOPBACK RUNNING MTU:16436 Metric:1 RX packets:16 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0 TX packets:16 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0 collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 RX bytes:1517 (1.5 KB) TX bytes:1517 (1.5 KB) EDIT OK so as requested I will try and expand on my infrastructure: I previously had it setup with a Sky broadband modem router that did the DHCP and I used its web interface to port forward the web across to the web server. The network looked something like this: I have now replaced the sky modem with a dlink modem which gives the IP to the gateway server that now does the DHCP. It looks like: The internet connection is a standard broadband connection with a dynamic IP, (use zoneedit.com to keep it updated). I have tried it on each of the webservers(one Ubuntu Apache server and one WS2008 IIS7). I think there must also be an issue with my IPTable rules as it can route to my win7 box which has the default IIS7 page and that would not display when I forwarded all port 80 to it. I would be really grateful for any and all help with this. Thanks Jon

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  • WPF Control validation

    - by Jon
    Hi all, I'm developing a WPF GUI framework and have had bad experiences with two way binding and lots of un-needed events being fire(mainly in Flex) so I have gone down the route of having bindings (string that represent object paths) in my controls. When a view is requested to be displayed the controller loads the view, and gets the needed entities (using the bindings) from the DB and populates the controls with the correct values. This has a number of advantages i.e. lazy loading, default undo behaviour etc. When the data in the view needs to be saved the view is passed back to the controller again which basically does the reserve i.e. re-populates the entities from the view if values have changed. However, I have run into problems when I try and validate the components. Each entity has attributes on its properties that define validation rules which the controller can access easily and validate the data from the view against it. The actual validation of data is fine. The problem comes when I want the GUI control to display error validation information. It I try changing the style I get errors saying styles cannot be changed once in use. Is the a way in c# to fire off the normal WPF validation mechanism and just proved it with the validaiton errors the controller has found? Thanks in advance Jon

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  • Using ASP.NET session state with Silverlight (PRISM)

    - by Jon Andersen
    Hi, The scenario: I have a PRISM application developed in Silverlight (4), and I'm using a ASP.NET server side application to host several web-services (which, in turn, accesses WCF-services, but that's not really important here). The Silverlight application must be able to call the web services cross-domain (meaning that the web services isn't necessarily on the same server hosting the silverlight application). The Silverlight application consists of several modules, each accessing the ASP.NET web-services. I do not have much experience with Silverlight and PRISM, but as far as I can see, this is not a very unusual scenario... The problem: My challange is, that when 2 different modules access the web-services, I get 2 new sessions on the web-server. I would have thought that since both modules live on the same HTML-page (and then also in the same browser session), they would get the same session on the web-server...? I have tried to make the web-service Proxy-client globally available in the container (using Unity), by registering an instance (using Container.RegisterInstance), and then getting this instance whenever a module needs to make a web-service call (using Container.Resolve), but this doesn't seem to help. However, any calls made within the same module always gets the same session on the server. Can anyone see what I'm missing here...? Thanks! Jon

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  • Linking Mapkit with Core Data, Search and user location. Converting annotations from a database in a tableview with search to display in a mapview?

    - by Jon
    Xcode is quite new to me so explanations are appreciated. I am looking to build an application that displays annotations in a mapview (zoomed in on current user location). I want the applications to come from some sort of database rather than manually inputting all the annotations (which is what I'm currently doing) What would be my application type? tab based? window based? i want a tab for a tableview with a list of my annotations and a mapview tab that will show my database of annotations but with the map zoomed in on current location. In a perfect world, it would be great if the user could add favourites from these annotations and keep them in a favourites tableview tab. I'm desperate to work this out and create a fully functional app for a final uni project. i have a working application already but it's nothing like what i am trying to achieve, any help would be much appreciated!!!! Jon (if looked through countless tutorials and as of yet found nothing i can understand to achieve a project like this. Some would call me too ambitious, I just want to make a decent app)

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  • Top things web developers should know about the Visual Studio 2013 release

    - by Jon Galloway
    ASP.NET and Web Tools for Visual Studio 2013 Release NotesASP.NET and Web Tools for Visual Studio 2013 Release NotesSummary for lazy readers: Visual Studio 2013 is now available for download on the Visual Studio site and on MSDN subscriber downloads) Visual Studio 2013 installs side by side with Visual Studio 2012 and supports round-tripping between Visual Studio versions, so you can try it out without committing to a switch Visual Studio 2013 ships with the new version of ASP.NET, which includes ASP.NET MVC 5, ASP.NET Web API 2, Razor 3, Entity Framework 6 and SignalR 2.0 The new releases ASP.NET focuses on One ASP.NET, so core features and web tools work the same across the platform (e.g. adding ASP.NET MVC controllers to a Web Forms application) New core features include new templates based on Bootstrap, a new scaffolding system, and a new identity system Visual Studio 2013 is an incredible editor for web files, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Markdown, LESS, Coffeescript, Handlebars, Angular, Ember, Knockdown, etc. Top links: Visual Studio 2013 content on the ASP.NET site are in the standard new releases area: http://www.asp.net/vnext ASP.NET and Web Tools for Visual Studio 2013 Release Notes Short intro videos on the new Visual Studio web editor features from Scott Hanselman and Mads Kristensen Announcing release of ASP.NET and Web Tools for Visual Studio 2013 post on the official .NET Web Development and Tools Blog Scott Guthrie's post: Announcing the Release of Visual Studio 2013 and Great Improvements to ASP.NET and Entity Framework Okay, for those of you who are still with me, let's dig in a bit. Quick web dev notes on downloading and installing Visual Studio 2013 I found Visual Studio 2013 to be a pretty fast install. According to Brian Harry's release post, installing over pre-release versions of Visual Studio is supported.  I've installed the release version over pre-release versions, and it worked fine. If you're only going to be doing web development, you can speed up the install if you just select Web Developer tools. Of course, as a good Microsoft employee, I'll mention that you might also want to install some of those other features, like the Store apps for Windows 8 and the Windows Phone 8.0 SDK, but they do download and install a lot of other stuff (e.g. the Windows Phone SDK sets up Hyper-V and downloads several GB's of VM's). So if you're planning just to do web development for now, you can pick just the Web Developer Tools and install the other stuff later. If you've got a fast internet connection, I recommend using the web installer instead of downloading the ISO. The ISO includes all the features, whereas the web installer just downloads what you're installing. Visual Studio 2013 development settings and color theme When you start up Visual Studio, it'll prompt you to pick some defaults. These are totally up to you -whatever suits your development style - and you can change them later. As I said, these are completely up to you. I recommend either the Web Development or Web Development (Code Only) settings. The only real difference is that Code Only hides the toolbars, and you can switch between them using Tools / Import and Export Settings / Reset. Web Development settings Web Development (code only) settings Usually I've just gone with Web Development (code only) in the past because I just want to focus on the code, although the Standard toolbar does make it easier to switch default web browsers. More on that later. Color theme Sigh. Okay, everyone's got their favorite colors. I alternate between Light and Dark depending on my mood, and I personally like how the low contrast on the window chrome in those themes puts the emphasis on my code rather than the tabs and toolbars. I know some people got pretty worked up over that, though, and wanted the blue theme back. I personally don't like it - it reminds me of ancient versions of Visual Studio that I don't want to think about anymore. So here's the thing: if you install Visual Studio Ultimate, it defaults to Blue. The other versions default to Light. If you use Blue, I won't criticize you - out loud, that is. You can change themes really easily - either Tools / Options / Environment / General, or the smart way: ctrl+q for quick launch, then type Theme and hit enter. Signing in During the first run, you'll be prompted to sign in. You don't have to - you can click the "Not now, maybe later" link at the bottom of that dialog. I recommend signing in, though. It's not hooked in with licensing or tracking the kind of code you write to sell you components. It is doing good things, like  syncing your Visual Studio settings between computers. More about that here. So, you don't have to, but I sure do. Overview of shiny new things in ASP.NET land There are a lot of good new things in ASP.NET. I'll list some of my favorite here, but you can read more on the ASP.NET site. One ASP.NET You've heard us talk about this for a while. The idea is that options are good, but choice can be a burden. When you start a new ASP.NET project, why should you have to make a tough decision - with long-term consequences - about how your application will work? If you want to use ASP.NET Web Forms, but have the option of adding in ASP.NET MVC later, why should that be hard? It's all ASP.NET, right? Ideally, you'd just decide that you want to use ASP.NET to build sites and services, and you could use the appropriate tools (the green blocks below) as you needed them. So, here it is. When you create a new ASP.NET application, you just create an ASP.NET application. Next, you can pick from some templates to get you started... but these are different. They're not "painful decision" templates, they're just some starting pieces. And, most importantly, you can mix and match. I can pick a "mostly" Web Forms template, but include MVC and Web API folders and core references. If you've tried to mix and match in the past, you're probably aware that it was possible, but not pleasant. ASP.NET MVC project files contained special project type GUIDs, so you'd only get controller scaffolding support in a Web Forms project if you manually edited the csproj file. Features in one stack didn't work in others. Project templates were painful choices. That's no longer the case. Hooray! I just did a demo in a presentation last week where I created a new Web Forms + MVC + Web API site, built a model, scaffolded MVC and Web API controllers with EF Code First, add data in the MVC view, viewed it in Web API, then added a GridView to the Web Forms Default.aspx page and bound it to the Model. In about 5 minutes. Sure, it's a simple example, but it's great to be able to share code and features across the whole ASP.NET family. Authentication In the past, authentication was built into the templates. So, for instance, there was an ASP.NET MVC 4 Intranet Project template which created a new ASP.NET MVC 4 application that was preconfigured for Windows Authentication. All of that authentication stuff was built into each template, so they varied between the stacks, and you couldn't reuse them. You didn't see a lot of changes to the authentication options, since they required big changes to a bunch of project templates. Now, the new project dialog includes a common authentication experience. When you hit the Change Authentication button, you get some common options that work the same way regardless of the template or reference settings you've made. These options work on all ASP.NET frameworks, and all hosting environments (IIS, IIS Express, or OWIN for self-host) The default is Individual User Accounts: This is the standard "create a local account, using username / password or OAuth" thing; however, it's all built on the new Identity system. More on that in a second. The one setting that has some configuration to it is Organizational Accounts, which lets you configure authentication using Active Directory, Windows Azure Active Directory, or Office 365. Identity There's a new identity system. We've taken the best parts of the previous ASP.NET Membership and Simple Identity systems, rolled in a lot of feedback and made big enhancements to support important developer concerns like unit testing and extensiblity. I've written long posts about ASP.NET identity, and I'll do it again. Soon. This is not that post. The short version is that I think we've finally got just the right Identity system. Some of my favorite features: There are simple, sensible defaults that work well - you can File / New / Run / Register / Login, and everything works. It supports standard username / password as well as external authentication (OAuth, etc.). It's easy to customize without having to re-implement an entire provider. It's built using pluggable pieces, rather than one large monolithic system. It's built using interfaces like IUser and IRole that allow for unit testing, dependency injection, etc. You can easily add user profile data (e.g. URL, twitter handle, birthday). You just add properties to your ApplicationUser model and they'll automatically be persisted. Complete control over how the identity data is persisted. By default, everything works with Entity Framework Code First, but it's built to support changes from small (modify the schema) to big (use another ORM, store your data in a document database or in the cloud or in XML or in the EXIF data of your desktop background or whatever). It's configured via OWIN. More on OWIN and Katana later, but the fact that it's built using OWIN means it's portable. You can find out more in the Authentication and Identity section of the ASP.NET site (and lots more content will be going up there soon). New Bootstrap based project templates The new project templates are built using Bootstrap 3. Bootstrap (formerly Twitter Bootstrap) is a front-end framework that brings a lot of nice benefits: It's responsive, so your projects will automatically scale to device width using CSS media queries. For example, menus are full size on a desktop browser, but on narrower screens you automatically get a mobile-friendly menu. The built-in Bootstrap styles make your standard page elements (headers, footers, buttons, form inputs, tables etc.) look nice and modern. Bootstrap is themeable, so you can reskin your whole site by dropping in a new Bootstrap theme. Since Bootstrap is pretty popular across the web development community, this gives you a large and rapidly growing variety of templates (free and paid) to choose from. Bootstrap also includes a lot of very useful things: components (like progress bars and badges), useful glyphicons, and some jQuery plugins for tooltips, dropdowns, carousels, etc.). Here's a look at how the responsive part works. When the page is full screen, the menu and header are optimized for a wide screen display: When I shrink the page down (this is all based on page width, not useragent sniffing) the menu turns into a nice mobile-friendly dropdown: For a quick example, I grabbed a new free theme off bootswatch.com. For simple themes, you just need to download the boostrap.css file and replace the /content/bootstrap.css file in your project. Now when I refresh the page, I've got a new theme: Scaffolding The big change in scaffolding is that it's one system that works across ASP.NET. You can create a new Empty Web project or Web Forms project and you'll get the Scaffold context menus. For release, we've got MVC 5 and Web API 2 controllers. We had a preview of Web Forms scaffolding in the preview releases, but they weren't fully baked for RTM. Look for them in a future update, expected pretty soon. This scaffolding system wasn't just changed to work across the ASP.NET frameworks, it's also built to enable future extensibility. That's not in this release, but should also hopefully be out soon. Project Readme page This is a small thing, but I really like it. When you create a new project, you get a Project_Readme.html page that's added to the root of your project and opens in the Visual Studio built-in browser. I love it. A long time ago, when you created a new project we just dumped it on you and left you scratching your head about what to do next. Not ideal. Then we started adding a bunch of Getting Started information to the new project templates. That told you what to do next, but you had to delete all of that stuff out of your website. It doesn't belong there. Not ideal. This is a simple HTML file that's not integrated into your project code at all. You can delete it if you want. But, it shows a lot of helpful links that are current for the project you just created. In the future, if we add new wacky project types, they can create readme docs with specific information on how to do appropriately wacky things. Side note: I really like that they used the internal browser in Visual Studio to show this content rather than popping open an HTML page in the default browser. I hate that. It's annoying. If you're doing that, I hope you'll stop. What if some unnamed person has 40 or 90 tabs saved in their browser session? When you pop open your "Thanks for installing my Visual Studio extension!" page, all eleventy billion tabs start up and I wish I'd never installed your thing. Be like these guys and pop stuff Visual Studio specific HTML docs in the Visual Studio browser. ASP.NET MVC 5 The biggest change with ASP.NET MVC 5 is that it's no longer a separate project type. It integrates well with the rest of ASP.NET. In addition to that and the other common features we've already looked at (Bootstrap templates, Identity, authentication), here's what's new for ASP.NET MVC. Attribute routing ASP.NET MVC now supports attribute routing, thanks to a contribution by Tim McCall, the author of http://attributerouting.net. With attribute routing you can specify your routes by annotating your actions and controllers. This supports some pretty complex, customized routing scenarios, and it allows you to keep your route information right with your controller actions if you'd like. Here's a controller that includes an action whose method name is Hiding, but I've used AttributeRouting to configure it to /spaghetti/with-nesting/where-is-waldo public class SampleController : Controller { [Route("spaghetti/with-nesting/where-is-waldo")] public string Hiding() { return "You found me!"; } } I enable that in my RouteConfig.cs, and I can use that in conjunction with my other MVC routes like this: public class RouteConfig { public static void RegisterRoutes(RouteCollection routes) { routes.IgnoreRoute("{resource}.axd/{*pathInfo}"); routes.MapMvcAttributeRoutes(); routes.MapRoute( name: "Default", url: "{controller}/{action}/{id}", defaults: new { controller = "Home", action = "Index", id = UrlParameter.Optional } ); } } You can read more about Attribute Routing in ASP.NET MVC 5 here. Filter enhancements There are two new additions to filters: Authentication Filters and Filter Overrides. Authentication filters are a new kind of filter in ASP.NET MVC that run prior to authorization filters in the ASP.NET MVC pipeline and allow you to specify authentication logic per-action, per-controller, or globally for all controllers. Authentication filters process credentials in the request and provide a corresponding principal. Authentication filters can also add authentication challenges in response to unauthorized requests. Override filters let you change which filters apply to a given action method or controller. Override filters specify a set of filter types that should not be run for a given scope (action or controller). This allows you to configure filters that apply globally but then exclude certain global filters from applying to specific actions or controllers. ASP.NET Web API 2 ASP.NET Web API 2 includes a lot of new features. Attribute Routing ASP.NET Web API supports the same attribute routing system that's in ASP.NET MVC 5. You can read more about the Attribute Routing features in Web API in this article. OAuth 2.0 ASP.NET Web API picks up OAuth 2.0 support, using security middleware running on OWIN (discussed below). This is great for features like authenticated Single Page Applications. OData Improvements ASP.NET Web API now has full OData support. That required adding in some of the most powerful operators: $select, $expand, $batch and $value. You can read more about OData operator support in this article by Mike Wasson. Lots more There's a huge list of other features, including CORS (cross-origin request sharing), IHttpActionResult, IHttpRequestContext, and more. I think the best overview is in the release notes. OWIN and Katana I've written about OWIN and Katana recently. I'm a big fan. OWIN is the Open Web Interfaces for .NET. It's a spec, like HTML or HTTP, so you can't install OWIN. The benefit of OWIN is that it's a community specification, so anyone who implements it can plug into the ASP.NET stack, either as middleware or as a host. Katana is the Microsoft implementation of OWIN. It leverages OWIN to wire up things like authentication, handlers, modules, IIS hosting, etc., so ASP.NET can host OWIN components and Katana components can run in someone else's OWIN implementation. Howard Dierking just wrote a cool article in MSDN magazine describing Katana in depth: Getting Started with the Katana Project. He had an interesting example showing an OWIN based pipeline which leveraged SignalR, ASP.NET Web API and NancyFx components in the same stack. If this kind of thing makes sense to you, that's great. If it doesn't, don't worry, but keep an eye on it. You're going to see some cool things happen as a result of ASP.NET becoming more and more pluggable. Visual Studio Web Tools Okay, this stuff's just crazy. Visual Studio has been adding some nice web dev features over the past few years, but they've really cranked it up for this release. Visual Studio is by far my favorite code editor for all web files: CSS, HTML, JavaScript, and lots of popular libraries. Stop thinking of Visual Studio as a big editor that you only use to write back-end code. Stop editing HTML and CSS in Notepad (or Sublime, Notepad++, etc.). Visual Studio starts up in under 2 seconds on a modern computer with an SSD. Misspelling HTML attributes or your CSS classes or jQuery or Angular syntax is stupid. It doesn't make you a better developer, it makes you a silly person who wastes time. Browser Link Browser Link is a real-time, two-way connection between Visual Studio and all connected browsers. It's only attached when you're running locally, in debug, but it applies to any and all connected browser, including emulators. You may have seen demos that showed the browsers refreshing based on changes in the editor, and I'll agree that's pretty cool. But it's really just the start. It's a two-way connection, and it's built for extensiblity. That means you can write extensions that push information from your running application (in IE, Chrome, a mobile emulator, etc.) back to Visual Studio. Mads and team have showed off some demonstrations where they enabled edit mode in the browser which updated the source HTML back on the browser. It's also possible to look at how the rendered HTML performs, check for compatibility issues, watch for unused CSS classes, the sky's the limit. New HTML editor The previous HTML editor had a lot of old code that didn't allow for improvements. The team rewrote the HTML editor to take advantage of the new(ish) extensibility features in Visual Studio, which then allowed them to add in all kinds of features - things like CSS Class and ID IntelliSense (so you type style="" and get a list of classes and ID's for your project), smart indent based on how your document is formatted, JavaScript reference auto-sync, etc. Here's a 3 minute tour from Mads Kristensen. The previous HTML editor had a lot of old code that didn't allow for improvements. The team rewrote the HTML editor to take advantage of the new(ish) extensibility features in Visual Studio, which then allowed them to add in all kinds of features - things like CSS Class and ID IntelliSense (so you type style="" and get a list of classes and ID's for your project), smart indent based on how your document is formatted, JavaScript reference auto-sync, etc. Lots more Visual Studio web dev features That's just a sampling - there's a ton of great features for JavaScript editing, CSS editing, publishing, and Page Inspector (which shows real-time rendering of your page inside Visual Studio). Here are some more short videos showing those features. Lots, lots more Okay, that's just a summary, and it's still quite a bit. Head on over to http://asp.net/vnext for more information, and download Visual Studio 2013 now to get started!

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  • Tips on installing Visual Studio 2010 SP1

    - by Jon Galloway
    Visual Studio SP1 went up on MSDN downloads (here) on March 8, and will be released publicly on March 10 here. Release announcements: Soma: Visual Studio 2010 enhancements Jason Zander: Announcing Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 I started on this post with tips on installing VS2010 SP1 when I realized I’ve been writing these up for Visual Studio and .NET framework SP releases for a while (e.g. VS2008 / .NET 3.5 SP1 post, VS2005 SP1 post). Looking back the years of Visual Studio SP installs (and remembering when we’d get up to SP6 for a Visual Studio release), I’m happy to see that it just keeps getting easier. Service Packs are a lot less finicky about requiring beta software to be uninstalled, install more quickly, and are just generally a lot less scary. If I can’t have a jetpack, at least my future provided me faster, easier service packs. Disclaimer: These tips are just general things I've picked up over the years. I don't have any inside knowledge here. If you see anything wrong, be sure to let me know in the comments. You may want to check the readme file before installing - it's short, and it's in that new-fangled HTML format. On with the tips! Before starting, uninstall Visual Studio features you don't use Visual Studio service packs (and other Microsoft service packs as well) install patches for the specific features you’ve got installed. This is a big reason to always do a custom install when you first install Visual Studio, but it’s not difficult to update your existing installation. Here’s the quick way to do that: Tap the windows key and type “add or remove programs” and press enter (or click on the “Add or remove programs” link if you must).   Type “Visual Studio 2010” in the search box in the upper right corner, click on the Visual Studio program (the one with the VS infinity looking logo) and click on Uninstall/Change. Click on Add or Remove Features The next part’s up to you – what features do you actually use? I’ve been doing primarily ASP.NET MVC development in C# lately, so I selected Visual C# and Visual Web Developer. Remember that you can install features later if needed, and can also install the express versions if you want. Selecting everything just because it’s there - or you paid for it – means that you install updates for everything, every time. When you’ve made your changes, click on the Update button to uninstall unused features. Shut down all instances of Visual Studio It probably goes without saying that you should close a program down before installing it, partly to avoid the file-in-use-reboot-after-install horror. Additional "hunch / works on my machine" quality tip: On one computer I saw a note in the setup log about Visual Studio a prompt for user input to close Visual Studio, although I never saw the prompt. Just to  be sure, I'd personally open up Task Manager and kill any devenv.exe processes I saw running, as it couldn't hurt. Use the web installer I use the Web Installers whenever possible. There’s no point in downloading the DVD unless you’re doing multiple installs or won’t have internet access. The DVD IS is 1.5GB, since it needs to be able to service every possible supported installation option on both x86 and x64. The web installer is 776 KB (smaller than calc.exe), so you can start the installation right away. Like other web installers, the real benefit is that it only installs the updates you need (hence the reason for step 1 – uninstalling unused components). Instead of 1.5GB, my download was roughly 530MB. If you’re installing from MSDN (this link takes you right to the Visual Studio installs), select the first one on the list: The first step in the installation process is to analyze the machine configuration and tell you what needs to be installed. Since I've trimmed down my features, that's a pretty short list. The time's not far off where I may not install SQL Server on my dev machines, just using SQL Server Compact - that would shorten the list further. When I hit next, you can see that the download size has shrunk considerably. When I start the install, note that the installation begins while other components are downloading - another benefit of the web install. On my mid-range desktop machine, the install took 25 minutes. What if it takes longer? According to Heath Stewart (Visual Studio installer guru), average SP1 installs take roughly 45 minutes. An installation which takes hours to complete may be a sign of a problem: see his post Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 installing for over 2 hours could be a sign of a problem. Why so long? Yes, even 25 minutes is a while. Heath's got another blog post explaining why the update can take longer than the initial install (see: A patch may take as long or longer to install than the target product) which explains all the additional steps and complexities a patch needs to deal with, as well as some mitigation steps that deployment authors can take to mitigate the impact. Other things to know about Visual Studio 2010 SP1 Installs over Visual Studio 2010 SP1 Beta That's nice. Previous Visual Studio versions did a number of annoying things when you installed SP's over beta's - fail with weird errors, get part way through and tell you needed to cancel and uninstall first, etc. I've installed this on two machines that had random beta stuff installed without tears. That Readme file you didn't read I mentioned the readme file earlier (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=210711 ). Some interesting things I picked up in there: 2.1.3. Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 installation may fail when a USB drive or other removeable drive is connected 2.1.4. Visual Studio must be restarted after Visual Studio 2010 SP1 tooling for SQL Server Compact (Compact) 4.0 is installed 2.2.1. If Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 is uninstalled, Visual Studio 2010 must be reinstalled to restore certain components 2.2.2. If Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 is uninstalled, Visual Studio 2010 must be reinstalled before SP1 can be installed again 2.4.3.1. Async CTP If you installed the pre-SP1 version of Async CTP but did not uninstall it before you installed Visual Studio 2010 SP1, then your computer will be in a state in which the version of the C# compiler in the .NET Framework does not match the C# compiler in Visual Studio. To resolve this issue: After you install Visual Studio 2010 SP1, reinstall the SP1 version of the Async CTP from here. Hardware acceleration for Visual Studio is disabled on Windows XP Visual Studio 2010 SP1 disables hardware acceleration when running on Windows XP (only on XP). You can turn it back on in the Visual Studio options, under Environment / General, as shown below. See Jason Zander's post titled Performance Troubleshooting Article and VS2010 SP1 Change.

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  • Visual Studio 2010 Zooming – Keyboard Commands, Global Zoom

    - by Jon Galloway
    One of my favorite features in Visual Studio 2010 is zoom. It first caught my attention as a useful tool for screencasts and presentations, but after getting used to it I’m finding that it’s really useful when I’m developing – letting me zoom out to see the big picture, then zoom in to concentrate on a few lines of code. Zooming without the scroll wheel The common way you’ll see this feature demonstrated is with the mouse wheel – you hold down the control key and scroll up or down to change font size. However, I’m often using this on my laptop, which doesn’t have a mouse wheel. It turns out that there are other ways to control zooming in Visual Studio 2010. Keyboard commands You can use Control+Shift+Comma to zoom out and Control+Shift+Period to zoom in. I find it’s easier to remember these by the greater-than / less-than signs, so it’s really Control+> to zoom in and Control+< to zoom out. Like most Visual Studio commands, you can change those the keyboard buttons. In the tools menu, select Options / Keyboard, then either scroll down the list to the three View.Zoom commands or filter by typing View.Zoom into the “Show commands containing” textbox. The Scroll Dropdown If you forget the keyboard commands and you don’t have a scroll wheel, there’s a zoom menu in the text editor. I’m mostly pointing it out because I’ve been using Visual Studio 2010 for months and never noticed it until this week. It’s down in the lower left corner. Keeping Zoom In Sync Across All Tabs Zoom setting is per-tab, which is a problem if you’re cranking up your font sizes for a presentation. Fortunately there’s a great new Visual Studio Extension called Presentation Zoom. It’s a nice, simple extension that just does one thing – updates all your editor windows to keep the zoom setting in sync. It’s written by Chris Granger, a Visual Studio Program Manager, in case you’re worried about installing random extensions. See it in action Of course, if you’ve got Visual Studio 2010 installed, you’ve hopefully already been zooming like mad as you read this. If not, you can watch a 2 minute video by the Visual Studio showing it off.

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  • Extending NerdDinner: Adding Geolocated Flair

    - by Jon Galloway
    NerdDinner is a website with the audacious goal of “Organizing the world’s nerds and helping them eat in packs.” Because nerds aren’t likely to socialize with others unless a website tells them to do it. Scott Hanselman showed off a lot of the cool features we’ve added to NerdDinner lately during his popular talk at MIX10, Beyond File | New Company: From Cheesy Sample to Social Platform. Did you miss it? Go ahead and watch it, I’ll wait. One of the features we wanted to add was flair. You know about flair, right? It’s a way to let folks who like your site show it off in their own site. For example, here’s my StackOverflow flair: Great! So how could we add some of this flair stuff to NerdDinner? What do we want to show? If we’re going to encourage our users to give up a bit of their beautiful website to show off a bit of ours, we need to think about what they’ll want to show. For instance, my StackOverflow flair is all about me, not StackOverflow. So how will this apply to NerdDinner? Since NerdDinner is all about organizing local dinners, in order for the flair to be useful it needs to make sense for the person viewing the web page. If someone visits from Egypt visits my blog, they should see information about NerdDinners in Egypt. That’s geolocation – localizing site content based on where the browser’s sitting, and it makes sense for flair as well as entire websites. So we’ll set up a simple little callout that prompts them to host a dinner in their area: Hopefully our flair works and there is a dinner near your viewers, so they’ll see another view which lists upcoming dinners near them: The Geolocation Part Generally website geolocation is done by mapping the requestor’s IP address to a geographic area. It’s not an exact science, but I’ve always found it to be pretty accurate. There are (at least) three ways to handle it: You pay somebody like MaxMind for a database (with regular updates) that sits on your server, and you use their API to do lookups. I used this on a pretty big project a few years ago and it worked well. You use HTML 5 Geolocation API or Google Gears or some other browser based solution. I think those are cool (I use Google Gears a lot), but they’re both in flux right now and I don’t think either has a wide enough of an install base yet to rely on them. You might want to, but I’ve heard you do all kinds of crazy stuff, and sometimes it gets you in trouble. I don’t mean talk out of line, but we all laugh behind your back a bit. But, hey, it’s up to you. It’s your flair or whatever. There are some free webservices out there that will take an IP address and give you location information. Easy, and works for everyone. That’s what we’re doing. I looked at a few different services and settled on IPInfoDB. It’s free, has a great API, and even returns JSON, which is handy for Javascript use. The IP query is pretty simple. We hit a URL like this: http://ipinfodb.com/ip_query.php?ip=74.125.45.100&timezone=false … and we get an XML response back like this… <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <Response> <Ip>74.125.45.100</Ip> <Status>OK</Status> <CountryCode>US</CountryCode> <CountryName>United States</CountryName> <RegionCode>06</RegionCode> <RegionName>California</RegionName> <City>Mountain View</City> <ZipPostalCode>94043</ZipPostalCode> <Latitude>37.4192</Latitude> <Longitude>-122.057</Longitude> </Response> So we’ll build some data transfer classes to hold the location information, like this: public class LocationInfo { public string Country { get; set; } public string RegionName { get; set; } public string City { get; set; } public string ZipPostalCode { get; set; } public LatLong Position { get; set; } } public class LatLong { public float Lat { get; set; } public float Long { get; set; } } And now hitting the service is pretty simple: public static LocationInfo HostIpToPlaceName(string ip) { string url = "http://ipinfodb.com/ip_query.php?ip={0}&timezone=false"; url = String.Format(url, ip); var result = XDocument.Load(url); var location = (from x in result.Descendants("Response") select new LocationInfo { City = (string)x.Element("City"), RegionName = (string)x.Element("RegionName"), Country = (string)x.Element("CountryName"), ZipPostalCode = (string)x.Element("CountryName"), Position = new LatLong { Lat = (float)x.Element("Latitude"), Long = (float)x.Element("Longitude") } }).First(); return location; } Getting The User’s IP Okay, but first we need the end user’s IP, and you’d think it would be as simple as reading the value from HttpContext: HttpContext.Current.Request.UserHostAddress But you’d be wrong. Sorry. UserHostAddress just wraps HttpContext.Current.Request.ServerVariables["REMOTE_ADDR"], but that doesn’t get you the IP for users behind a proxy. That’s in another header, “HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR". So you can either hit a wrapper and then check a header, or just check two headers. I went for uniformity: string SourceIP = string.IsNullOrEmpty(Request.ServerVariables["HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR"]) ? Request.ServerVariables["REMOTE_ADDR"] : Request.ServerVariables["HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR"]; We’re almost set to wrap this up, but first let’s talk about our views. Yes, views, because we’ll have two. Selecting the View We wanted to make it easy for people to include the flair in their sites, so we looked around at how other people were doing this. The StackOverflow folks have a pretty good flair system, which allows you to include the flair in your site as either an IFRAME reference or a Javascript include. We’ll do both. We have a ServicesController to handle use of the site information outside of NerdDinner.com, so this fits in pretty well there. We’ll be displaying the same information for both HTML and Javascript flair, so we can use one Flair controller action which will return a different view depending on the requested format. Here’s our general flow for our controller action: Get the user’s IP Translate it to a location Grab the top three upcoming dinners that are near that location Select the view based on the format (defaulted to “html”) Return a FlairViewModel which contains the list of dinners and the location information public ActionResult Flair(string format = "html") { string SourceIP = string.IsNullOrEmpty( Request.ServerVariables["HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR"]) ? Request.ServerVariables["REMOTE_ADDR"] : Request.ServerVariables["HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR"]; var location = GeolocationService.HostIpToPlaceName(SourceIP); var dinners = dinnerRepository. FindByLocation(location.Position.Lat, location.Position.Long). OrderByDescending(p => p.EventDate).Take(3); // Select the view we'll return. // Using a switch because we'll add in JSON and other formats later. string view; switch (format.ToLower()) { case "javascript": view = "JavascriptFlair"; break; default: view = "Flair"; break; } return View( view, new FlairViewModel { Dinners = dinners.ToList(), LocationName = string.IsNullOrEmpty(location.City) ? "you" : String.Format("{0}, {1}", location.City, location.RegionName) } ); } Note: I’m not in love with the logic here, but it seems like overkill to extract the switch statement away when we’ll probably just have two or three views. What do you think? The HTML View The HTML version of the view is pretty simple – the only thing of any real interest here is the use of an extension method to truncate strings that are would cause the titles to wrap. public static string Truncate(this string s, int maxLength) { if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(s) || maxLength <= 0) return string.Empty; else if (s.Length > maxLength) return s.Substring(0, maxLength) + "..."; else return s; }   So here’s how the HTML view ends up looking: <%@ Page Title="" Language="C#" Inherits="System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage<FlairViewModel>" %> <%@ Import Namespace="NerdDinner.Helpers" %> <%@ Import Namespace="NerdDinner.Models" %> <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Nerd Dinner</title> <link href="/Content/Flair.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" /> </head> <body> <div id="nd-wrapper"> <h2 id="nd-header">NerdDinner.com</h2> <div id="nd-outer"> <% if (Model.Dinners.Count == 0) { %> <div id="nd-bummer"> Looks like there's no Nerd Dinners near <%:Model.LocationName %> in the near future. Why not <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nerddinner.com/Dinners/Create">host one</a>?</div> <% } else { %> <h3> Dinners Near You</h3> <ul> <% foreach (var item in Model.Dinners) { %> <li> <%: Html.ActionLink(String.Format("{0} with {1} on {2}", item.Title.Truncate(20), item.HostedBy, item.EventDate.ToShortDateString()), "Details", "Dinners", new { id = item.DinnerID }, new { target = "_blank" })%></li> <% } %> </ul> <% } %> <div id="nd-footer"> More dinners and fun at <a target="_blank" href="http://nrddnr.com">http://nrddnr.com</a></div> </div> </div> </body> </html> You’d include this in a page using an IFRAME, like this: <IFRAME height=230 marginHeight=0 src="http://nerddinner.com/services/flair" frameBorder=0 width=160 marginWidth=0 scrolling=no></IFRAME> The Javascript view The Javascript flair is written so you can include it in a webpage with a simple script include, like this: <script type="text/javascript" src="http://nerddinner.com/services/flair?format=javascript"></script> The goal of this view is very similar to the HTML embed view, with a few exceptions: We’re creating a script element and adding it to the head of the document, which will then document.write out the content. Note that you have to consider if your users will actually have a <head> element in their documents, but for website flair use cases I think that’s a safe bet. Since the content is being added to the existing page rather than shown in an IFRAME, all links need to be absolute. That means we can’t use Html.ActionLink, since it generates relative routes. We need to escape everything since it’s being written out as strings. We need to set the content type to application/x-javascript. The easiest way to do that is to use the <%@ Page ContentType%> directive. <%@ Page Language="C#" Inherits="System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage<NerdDinner.Models.FlairViewModel>" ContentType="application/x-javascript" %> <%@ Import Namespace="NerdDinner.Helpers" %> <%@ Import Namespace="NerdDinner.Models" %> document.write('<script>var link = document.createElement(\"link\");link.href = \"http://nerddinner.com/content/Flair.css\";link.rel = \"stylesheet\";link.type = \"text/css\";var head = document.getElementsByTagName(\"head\")[0];head.appendChild(link);</script>'); document.write('<div id=\"nd-wrapper\"><h2 id=\"nd-header\">NerdDinner.com</h2><div id=\"nd-outer\">'); <% if (Model.Dinners.Count == 0) { %> document.write('<div id=\"nd-bummer\">Looks like there\'s no Nerd Dinners near <%:Model.LocationName %> in the near future. Why not <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.nerddinner.com/Dinners/Create\">host one</a>?</div>'); <% } else { %> document.write('<h3> Dinners Near You</h3><ul>'); <% foreach (var item in Model.Dinners) { %> document.write('<li><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://nrddnr.com/<%: item.DinnerID %>\"><%: item.Title.Truncate(20) %> with <%: item.HostedBy %> on <%: item.EventDate.ToShortDateString() %></a></li>'); <% } %> document.write('</ul>'); <% } %> document.write('<div id=\"nd-footer\"> More dinners and fun at <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://nrddnr.com\">http://nrddnr.com</a></div></div></div>'); Getting IP’s for Testing There are a variety of online services that will translate a location to an IP, which were handy for testing these out. I found http://www.itouchmap.com/latlong.html to be most useful, but I’m open to suggestions if you know of something better. Next steps I think the next step here is to minimize load – you know, in case people start actually using this flair. There are two places to think about – the NerdDinner.com servers, and the services we’re using for Geolocation. I usually think about caching as a first attack on server load, but that’s less helpful here since every user will have a different IP. Instead, I’d look at taking advantage of Asynchronous Controller Actions, a cool new feature in ASP.NET MVC 2. Async Actions let you call a potentially long-running webservice without tying up a thread on the server while waiting for the response. There’s some good info on that in the MSDN documentation, and Dino Esposito wrote a great article on Asynchronous ASP.NET Pages in the April 2010 issue of MSDN Magazine. But let’s think of the children, shall we? What about ipinfodb.com? Well, they don’t have specific daily limits, but they do throttle you if you put a lot of traffic on them. From their FAQ: We do not have a specific daily limit but queries that are at a rate faster than 2 per second will be put in "queue". If you stay below 2 queries/second everything will be normal. If you go over the limit, you will still get an answer for all queries but they will be slowed down to about 1 per second. This should not affect most users but for high volume websites, you can either use our IP database on your server or we can whitelist your IP for 5$/month (simply use the donate form and leave a comment with your server IP). Good programming practices such as not querying our API for all page views (you can store the data in a cookie or a database) will also help not reaching the limit. So the first step there is to save the geolocalization information in a time-limited cookie, which will allow us to look up the local dinners immediately without having to hit the geolocation service.

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  • When returning from a period of not programming, do you find you've improved?

    - by Jon Purdy
    It seems as though whenever I take an extended break from programming—whether to pursue other interests or simply because I fall out of the habit for a while—I invariably find that when I return to a project and set to coding, I come with an abundance of new ideas, novel approaches, and just plain better code. It may be because I have a lot of other creative interests besides programming, and my mind likes to find correlation and crossover between them, so while I'm doing one thing, in the back of my mind I'm usually also applying it to another. So what's your experience? Do you ever return from a break (whether intentional or not) feeling not only refreshed, but also somehow noticeably improved? Is it actually the norm?

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  • My ASP.NET news sources

    - by Jon Galloway
    I just posted about the ASP.NET Daily Community Spotlight. I was going to list a bunch of my news sources at the end, but figured this deserves a separate post. I've been following a lot of development blogs for a long time - for a while I subscribed to over 1500 feeds and read them all. That doesn't scale very well, though, and it's really time consuming. Since the community spotlight requires an interesting ASP.NET post every day of the year, I've come up with a few sources of ASP.NET news. Top Link Blogs Chris Alcock's The Morning Brew is a must-read blog which highlights each day's best blog posts across the .NET community. He covers the entire Microsoft development, but generally any of the top ASP.NET posts I see either have already been listed on The Morning Brew or will be there soon. Elijah Manor posts a lot of great content, which is available in his Twitter feed at @elijahmanor, on his Delicious feed, and on a dedicated website - Web Dev Tweets. While not 100% ASP.NET focused, I've been appreciating Joe Stagner's Weekly Links series, partly since he includes a lot of links that don't show up on my other lists. Twitter Over the past few years, I've been getting more and more of my information from my Twitter network (as opposed to RSS or other means). Twitter is as good as your network, so if getting good information off Twitter sounds crazy, you're probably not following the right people. I already mentioned Elijah Manor (@elijahmanor). I follow over a thousand people on Twitter, so I'm not going to try to pick and choose a list, but one good way to get started building out a Twitter network is to follow active Twitter users on the ASP.NET team at Microsoft: @scottgu (well, not on the ASP.NET team, but their great grand boss, and always a great source of ASP.NET info) @shanselman @haacked @bradwilson @davidfowl @InfinitiesLoop @davidebbo @marcind @DamianEdwards @stevensanderson @bleroy @humancompiler @osbornm @anurse I'm sure I'm missing a few, and I'll update the list. Building a Twitter network that follows topics you're interested in allows you to use other tools like Cadmus to automatically summarize top content by leveraging the collective input of many users. Twitter Search with Topsy You can search Twitter for hashtags (like #aspnet, #aspnetmvc, and #webmatrix) to get a raw view of what people are talking about on Twitter. Twitter's search is pretty poor; I prefer Topsy. Here's an example search for the #aspnetmvc hashtag: http://topsy.com/s?q=%23aspnetmvc You can also do combined queries for several tags: http://topsy.com/s?q=%23aspnetmvc+OR+%23aspnet+OR+%23webmatrix Paper.li Paper.li is a handy service that builds a custom daily newspaper based on your social network. They've turned a lot of people off by automatically tweeting "The SuperDevFoo Daily is out!!!" messages (which can be turned off), but if you're ignoring them because of those message, you're missing out on a handy, free service. My paper.li page includes content across a lot of interests, including ASP.NET: http://paper.li/jongalloway When I want to drill into a specific tag, though, I'll just look at the Paper.li post for that hashtag. For example, here's the #aspnetmvc paper.li page: http://paper.li/tag/aspnetmvc Delicious I mentioned previously that I use Delicious for managing site links. I also use their network and search features. The tag based search is pretty good: Even better, though, is that I can see who's bookmarked these links, and add them to my Delicious network. After having built out a network, I can optimize by doing less searching and more leaching leveraging of collective intelligence. Community Sites I scan DotNetKicks, the weblogs.asp.net combined feed, and the ASP.NET Community page, CodeBetter, Los Techies,  CodeProject,  and DotNetSlackers from time to time. They're hit and miss, but they do offer more of an opportunity for finding original content which others may have missed. Terms of Enrampagement When someone's on a tear, I just manually check their sites more often. I could use RSS for that, but it changes pretty often. I just keep a mental note of people who are cranking out a lot of good content and check their sites more often. What works for you?

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  • Entity Framework Code-First, OData & Windows Phone Client

    - by Jon Galloway
    Entity Framework Code-First is the coolest thing since sliced bread, Windows  Phone is the hottest thing since Tickle-Me-Elmo and OData is just too great to ignore. As part of the Full Stack project, we wanted to put them together, which turns out to be pretty easy… once you know how.   EF Code-First CTP5 is available now and there should be very few breaking changes in the release edition, which is due early in 2011.  Note: EF Code-First evolved rapidly and many of the existing documents and blog posts which were written with earlier versions, may now be obsolete or at least misleading.   Code-First? With traditional Entity Framework you start with a database and from that you generate “entities” – classes that bridge between the relational database and your object oriented program. With Code-First (Magic-Unicorn) (see Hanselman’s write up and this later write up by Scott Guthrie) the Entity Framework looks at classes you created and says “if I had created these classes, the database would have to have looked like this…” and creates the database for you! By deriving your entity collections from DbSet and exposing them via a class that derives from DbContext, you "turn on" database backing for your POCO with a minimum of code and no hidden designer or configuration files. POCO == Plain Old CLR Objects Your entity objects can be used throughout your applications - in web applications, console applications, Silverlight and Windows Phone applications, etc. In our case, we'll want to read and update data from a Windows Phone client application, so we'll expose the entities through a DataService and hook the Windows Phone client application to that data via proxies.  Piece of Pie.  Easy as cake. The Demo Architecture To see this at work, we’ll create an ASP.NET/MVC application which will act as the host for our Data Service.  We’ll create an incredibly simple data layer using EF Code-First on top of SQLCE4 and we’ll expose the data in a WCF Data Service using the oData protocol.  Our Windows Phone 7 client will instantiate  the data context via a URI and load the data asynchronously. Setting up the Server project with MVC 3, EF Code First, and SQL CE 4 Create a new application of type ASP.NET MVC 3 and name it DeadSimpleServer.  We need to add the latest SQLCE4 and Entity Framework Code First CTP's to our project. Fortunately, NuGet makes that really easy. Open the Package Manager Console (View / Other Windows / Package Manager Console) and type in "Install-Package EFCodeFirst.SqlServerCompact" at the PM> command prompt. Since NuGet handles dependencies for you, you'll see that it installs everything you need to use Entity Framework Code First in your project. PM> install-package EFCodeFirst.SqlServerCompact 'SQLCE (= 4.0.8435.1)' not installed. Attempting to retrieve dependency from source... Done 'EFCodeFirst (= 0.8)' not installed. Attempting to retrieve dependency from source... Done 'WebActivator (= 1.0.0.0)' not installed. Attempting to retrieve dependency from source... Done You are downloading SQLCE from Microsoft, the license agreement to which is available at http://173.203.67.148/licenses/SQLCE/EULA_ENU.rtf. Check the package for additional dependencies, which may come with their own license agreement(s). Your use of the package and dependencies constitutes your acceptance of their license agreements. If you do not accept the license agreement(s), then delete the relevant components from your device. Successfully installed 'SQLCE 4.0.8435.1' You are downloading EFCodeFirst from Microsoft, the license agreement to which is available at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=206497. Check the package for additional dependencies, which may come with their own license agreement(s). Your use of the package and dependencies constitutes your acceptance of their license agreements. If you do not accept the license agreement(s), then delete the relevant components from your device. Successfully installed 'EFCodeFirst 0.8' Successfully installed 'WebActivator 1.0.0.0' You are downloading EFCodeFirst.SqlServerCompact from Microsoft, the license agreement to which is available at http://173.203.67.148/licenses/SQLCE/EULA_ENU.rtf. Check the package for additional dependencies, which may come with their own license agreement(s). Your use of the package and dependencies constitutes your acceptance of their license agreements. If you do not accept the license agreement(s), then delete the relevant components from your device. Successfully installed 'EFCodeFirst.SqlServerCompact 0.8' Successfully added 'SQLCE 4.0.8435.1' to EfCodeFirst-CTP5 Successfully added 'EFCodeFirst 0.8' to EfCodeFirst-CTP5 Successfully added 'WebActivator 1.0.0.0' to EfCodeFirst-CTP5 Successfully added 'EFCodeFirst.SqlServerCompact 0.8' to EfCodeFirst-CTP5 Note: We're using SQLCE 4 with Entity Framework here because they work really well together from a development scenario, but you can of course use Entity Framework Code First with other databases supported by Entity framework. Creating The Model using EF Code First Now we can create our model class. Right-click the Models folder and select Add/Class. Name the Class Person.cs and add the following code: using System.Data.Entity; namespace DeadSimpleServer.Models { public class Person { public int ID { get; set; } public string Name { get; set; } } public class PersonContext : DbContext { public DbSet<Person> People { get; set; } } } Notice that the entity class Person has no special interfaces or base class. There's nothing special needed to make it work - it's just a POCO. The context we'll use to access the entities in the application is called PersonContext, but you could name it anything you wanted. The important thing is that it inherits DbContext and contains one or more DbSet which holds our entity collections. Adding Seed Data We need some testing data to expose from our service. The simplest way to get that into our database is to modify the CreateCeDatabaseIfNotExists class in AppStart_SQLCEEntityFramework.cs by adding some seed data to the Seed method: protected virtual void Seed( TContext context ) { var personContext = context as PersonContext; personContext.People.Add( new Person { ID = 1, Name = "George Washington" } ); personContext.People.Add( new Person { ID = 2, Name = "John Adams" } ); personContext.People.Add( new Person { ID = 3, Name = "Thomas Jefferson" } ); personContext.SaveChanges(); } The CreateCeDatabaseIfNotExists class name is pretty self-explanatory - when our DbContext is accessed and the database isn't found, a new one will be created and populated with the data in the Seed method. There's one more step to make that work - we need to uncomment a line in the Start method at the top of of the AppStart_SQLCEEntityFramework class and set the context name, as shown here, public static class AppStart_SQLCEEntityFramework { public static void Start() { DbDatabase.DefaultConnectionFactory = new SqlCeConnectionFactory("System.Data.SqlServerCe.4.0"); // Sets the default database initialization code for working with Sql Server Compact databases // Uncomment this line and replace CONTEXT_NAME with the name of your DbContext if you are // using your DbContext to create and manage your database DbDatabase.SetInitializer(new CreateCeDatabaseIfNotExists<PersonContext>()); } } Now our database and entity framework are set up, so we can expose data via WCF Data Services. Note: This is a bare-bones implementation with no administration screens. If you'd like to see how those are added, check out The Full Stack screencast series. Creating the oData Service using WCF Data Services Add a new WCF Data Service to the project (right-click the project / Add New Item / Web / WCF Data Service). We’ll be exposing all the data as read/write.  Remember to reconfigure to control and minimize access as appropriate for your own application. Open the code behind for your service. In our case, the service was called PersonTestDataService.svc so the code behind class file is PersonTestDataService.svc.cs. using System.Data.Services; using System.Data.Services.Common; using System.ServiceModel; using DeadSimpleServer.Models; namespace DeadSimpleServer { [ServiceBehavior( IncludeExceptionDetailInFaults = true )] public class PersonTestDataService : DataService<PersonContext> { // This method is called only once to initialize service-wide policies. public static void InitializeService( DataServiceConfiguration config ) { config.SetEntitySetAccessRule( "*", EntitySetRights.All ); config.DataServiceBehavior.MaxProtocolVersion = DataServiceProtocolVersion.V2; config.UseVerboseErrors = true; } } } We're enabling a few additional settings to make it easier to debug if you run into trouble. The ServiceBehavior attribute is set to include exception details in faults, and we're using verbose errors. You can remove both of these when your service is working, as your public production service shouldn't be revealing exception information. You can view the output of the service by running the application and browsing to http://localhost:[portnumber]/PersonTestDataService.svc/: <service xml:base="http://localhost:49786/PersonTestDataService.svc/" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" xmlns:app="http://www.w3.org/2007/app" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2007/app"> <workspace> <atom:title>Default</atom:title> <collection href="People"> <atom:title>People</atom:title> </collection> </workspace> </service> This indicates that the service exposes one collection, which is accessible by browsing to http://localhost:[portnumber]/PersonTestDataService.svc/People <?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1" standalone="yes"?> <feed xml:base=http://localhost:49786/PersonTestDataService.svc/ xmlns:d="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ado/2007/08/dataservices" xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ado/2007/08/dataservices/metadata" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom"> <title type="text">People</title> <id>http://localhost:49786/PersonTestDataService.svc/People</id> <updated>2010-12-29T01:01:50Z</updated> <link rel="self" title="People" href="People" /> <entry> <id>http://localhost:49786/PersonTestDataService.svc/People(1)</id> <title type="text"></title> <updated>2010-12-29T01:01:50Z</updated> <author> <name /> </author> <link rel="edit" title="Person" href="People(1)" /> <category term="DeadSimpleServer.Models.Person" scheme="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ado/2007/08/dataservices/scheme" /> <content type="application/xml"> <m:properties> <d:ID m:type="Edm.Int32">1</d:ID> <d:Name>George Washington</d:Name> </m:properties> </content> </entry> <entry> ... </entry> </feed> Let's recap what we've done so far. But enough with services and XML - let's get this into our Windows Phone client application. Creating the DataServiceContext for the Client Use the latest DataSvcUtil.exe from http://odata.codeplex.com. As of today, that's in this download: http://odata.codeplex.com/releases/view/54698 You need to run it with a few options: /uri - This will point to the service URI. In this case, it's http://localhost:59342/PersonTestDataService.svc  Pick up the port number from your running server (e.g., the server formerly known as Cassini). /out - This is the DataServiceContext class that will be generated. You can name it whatever you'd like. /Version - should be set to 2.0 /DataServiceCollection - Include this flag to generate collections derived from the DataServiceCollection base, which brings in all the ObservableCollection goodness that handles your INotifyPropertyChanged events for you. Here's the console session from when we ran it: <ListBox x:Name="MainListBox" Margin="0,0,-12,0" ItemsSource="{Binding}" SelectionChanged="MainListBox_SelectionChanged"> Next, to keep things simple, change the Binding on the two TextBlocks within the DataTemplate to Name and ID, <ListBox x:Name="MainListBox" Margin="0,0,-12,0" ItemsSource="{Binding}" SelectionChanged="MainListBox_SelectionChanged"> <ListBox.ItemTemplate> <DataTemplate> <StackPanel Margin="0,0,0,17" Width="432"> <TextBlock Text="{Binding Name}" TextWrapping="Wrap" Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextExtraLargeStyle}" /> <TextBlock Text="{Binding ID}" TextWrapping="Wrap" Margin="12,-6,12,0" Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextSubtleStyle}" /> </StackPanel> </DataTemplate> </ListBox.ItemTemplate> </ListBox> Getting The Context In the code-behind you’ll first declare a member variable to hold the context from the Entity Framework. This is named using convention over configuration. The db type is Person and the context is of type PersonContext, You initialize it by providing the URI, in this case using the URL obtained from the Cassini web server, PersonContext context = new PersonContext( new Uri( "http://localhost:49786/PersonTestDataService.svc/" ) ); Create a second member variable of type DataServiceCollection<Person> but do not initialize it, DataServiceCollection<Person> people; In the constructor you’ll initialize the DataServiceCollection using the PersonContext, public MainPage() { InitializeComponent(); people = new DataServiceCollection<Person>( context ); Finally, you’ll load the people collection using the LoadAsync method, passing in the fully specified URI for the People collection in the web service, people.LoadAsync( new Uri( "http://localhost:49786/PersonTestDataService.svc/People" ) ); Note that this method runs asynchronously and when it is finished the people  collection is already populated. Thus, since we didn’t need or want to override any of the behavior we don’t implement the LoadCompleted. You can use the LoadCompleted event if you need to do any other UI updates, but you don't need to. The final code is as shown below: using System; using System.Data.Services.Client; using System.Windows; using System.Windows.Controls; using DeadSimpleServer.Models; using Microsoft.Phone.Controls; namespace WindowsPhoneODataTest { public partial class MainPage : PhoneApplicationPage { PersonContext context = new PersonContext( new Uri( "http://localhost:49786/PersonTestDataService.svc/" ) ); DataServiceCollection<Person> people; // Constructor public MainPage() { InitializeComponent(); // Set the data context of the listbox control to the sample data // DataContext = App.ViewModel; people = new DataServiceCollection<Person>( context ); people.LoadAsync( new Uri( "http://localhost:49786/PersonTestDataService.svc/People" ) ); DataContext = people; this.Loaded += new RoutedEventHandler( MainPage_Loaded ); } // Handle selection changed on ListBox private void MainListBox_SelectionChanged( object sender, SelectionChangedEventArgs e ) { // If selected index is -1 (no selection) do nothing if ( MainListBox.SelectedIndex == -1 ) return; // Navigate to the new page NavigationService.Navigate( new Uri( "/DetailsPage.xaml?selectedItem=" + MainListBox.SelectedIndex, UriKind.Relative ) ); // Reset selected index to -1 (no selection) MainListBox.SelectedIndex = -1; } // Load data for the ViewModel Items private void MainPage_Loaded( object sender, RoutedEventArgs e ) { if ( !App.ViewModel.IsDataLoaded ) { App.ViewModel.LoadData(); } } } } With people populated we can set it as the DataContext and run the application; you’ll find that the Name and ID are displayed in the list on the Mainpage. Here's how the pieces in the client fit together: Complete source code available here

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  • ASP.NET Web API - Screencast series with downloadable sample code - Part 1

    - by Jon Galloway
    There's a lot of great ASP.NET Web API content on the ASP.NET website at http://asp.net/web-api. I mentioned my screencast series in original announcement post, but we've since added the sample code so I thought it was worth pointing the series out specifically. This is an introductory screencast series that walks through from File / New Project to some more advanced scenarios like Custom Validation and Authorization. The screencast videos are all short (3-5 minutes) and the sample code for the series is both available for download and browsable online. I did the screencasts, but the samples were written by the ASP.NET Web API team. So - let's watch them together! Grab some popcorn and pay attention, because these are short. After each video, I'll talk about what I thought was important. I'm embedding the videos using HTML5 (MP4) with Silverlight fallback, but if something goes wrong or your browser / device / whatever doesn't support them, I'll include the link to where the videos are more professionally hosted on the ASP.NET site. Note also if you're following along with the samples that, since Part 1 just looks at the File / New Project step, the screencast part numbers are one ahead of the sample part numbers - so screencast 4 matches with sample code demo 3. Note: I started this as one long post for all 6 parts, but as it grew over 2000 words I figured it'd be better to break it up. Part 1: Your First Web API [Video and code on the ASP.NET site] This screencast starts with an overview of why you'd want to use ASP.NET Web API: Reach more clients (thinking beyond the browser to mobile clients, other applications, etc.) Scale (who doesn't love the cloud?!) Embrace HTTP (a focus on HTTP both on client and server really simplifies and focuses service interactions) Next, I start a new ASP.NET Web API application and show some of the basics of the ApiController. We don't write any new code in this first step, just look at the example controller that's created by File / New Project. using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Linq; using System.Net.Http; using System.Web.Http; namespace NewProject_Mvc4BetaWebApi.Controllers { public class ValuesController : ApiController { // GET /api/values public IEnumerable<string> Get() { return new string[] { "value1", "value2" }; } // GET /api/values/5 public string Get(int id) { return "value"; } // POST /api/values public void Post(string value) { } // PUT /api/values/5 public void Put(int id, string value) { } // DELETE /api/values/5 public void Delete(int id) { } } } Finally, we walk through testing the output of this API controller using browser tools. There are several ways you can test API output, including Fiddler (as described by Scott Hanselman in this post) and built-in developer tools available in all modern browsers. For simplicity I used Internet Explorer 9 F12 developer tools, but you're of course welcome to use whatever you'd like. A few important things to note: This class derives from an ApiController base class, not the standard ASP.NET MVC Controller base class. They're similar in places where API's and HTML returning controller uses are similar, and different where API and HTML use differ. A good example of where those things are different is in the routing conventions. In an HTTP controller, there's no need for an "action" to be specified, since the HTTP verbs are the actions. We don't need to do anything to map verbs to actions; when a request comes in to /api/values/5 with the DELETE HTTP verb, it'll automatically be handled by the Delete method in an ApiController. The comments above the API methods show sample URL's and HTTP verbs, so we can test out the first two GET methods by browsing to the site in IE9, hitting F12 to bring up the tools, and entering /api/values in the URL: That sample action returns a list of values. To get just one value back, we'd browse to /values/5: That's it for Part 1. In Part 2 we'll look at getting data (beyond hardcoded strings) and start building out a sample application.

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  • Ten - oh, wait, eleven - Eleven things you should know about the ASP.NET Fall 2012 Update

    - by Jon Galloway
    Today, just a little over two months after the big ASP.NET 4.5 / ASP.NET MVC 4 / ASP.NET Web API / Visual Studio 2012 / Web Matrix 2 release, the first preview of the ASP.NET Fall 2012 Update is out. Here's what you need to know: There are no new framework bits in this release - there's no change or update to ASP.NET Core, ASP.NET MVC or Web Forms features. This means that you can start using it without any updates to your server, upgrade concerns, etc. This update is really an update to the project templates and Visual Studio tooling, conceptually similar to the ASP.NET MVC 3 Tools Update. It's a relatively lightweight install. It's a 41MB download. I've installed it many times and usually takes 5-7 minutes; it's never required a reboot. It adds some new project templates to ASP.NET MVC: Facebook Application and Single Page Application templates. It adds a lot of cool enhancements to ASP.NET Web API. It adds some tooling that makes it easy to take advantage of features like SignalR, Friendly URLs, and Windows Azure Authentication. Most of the new features are installed via NuGet packages. Since ASP.NET is open source, nightly NuGet packages are available, and the roadmap is published, most of this has really been publicly available for a while. The official name of this drop is the ASP.NET Fall 2012 Update BUILD Prerelease. Please do not attempt to say that ten times fast. While the EULA doesn't prohibit it, it WILL legally change your first name to Scott. As with all new releases, you can find out everything you need to know about the Fall Update at http://asp.net/vnext (especially the release notes!) I'm going to be showing all of this off, assisted by special guest code monkey Scott Hanselman, this Friday at BUILD: Bleeding edge ASP.NET: See what is next for MVC, Web API, SignalR and more… (and I've heard it will be livestreamed). Let's look at some of those things in more detail. No new bits ASP.NET 4.5, MVC 4 and Web API have a lot of great core features. I see the goal of this update release as making it easier to put those features to use to solve some useful scenarios by taking advantage of NuGet packages and template code. If you create a new ASP.NET MVC application using one of the new templates, you'll see that it's using the ASP.NET MVC 4 RTM NuGet package (4.0.20710.0): This means you can install and use the Fall Update without any impact on your existing projects and no worries about upgrading or compatibility. New Facebook Application Template ASP.NET MVC 4 (and ASP.NET 4.5 Web Forms) included the ability to authenticate your users via OAuth and OpenID, so you could let users log in to your site using a Facebook account. One of the new changes in the Fall Update is a new template that makes it really easy to create full Facebook applications. You could create Facebook application in ASP.NET already, you'd just need to go through a few steps: Search around to find a good Facebook NuGet package, like the Facebook C# SDK (written by my friend Nathan Totten and some other Facebook SDK brainiacs). Read the Facebook developer documentation to figure out how to authenticate and integrate with them. Write some code, debug it and repeat until you got something working. Get started with the application you'd originally wanted to write. What this template does for you: eliminate steps 1-3. Erik Porter, Nathan and some other experts built out the Facebook Application template so it automatically pulls in and configures the Facebook NuGet package and makes it really easy to take advantage of it in an ASP.NET MVC application. One great example is the the way you access a Facebook user's information. Take a look at the following code in a File / New / MVC / Facebook Application site. First, the Home Controller Index action: [FacebookAuthorize(Permissions = "email")] public ActionResult Index(MyAppUser user, FacebookObjectList<MyAppUserFriend> userFriends) { ViewBag.Message = "Modify this template to jump-start your Facebook application using ASP.NET MVC."; ViewBag.User = user; ViewBag.Friends = userFriends.Take(5); return View(); } First, notice that there's a FacebookAuthorize attribute which requires the user is authenticated via Facebook and requires permissions to access their e-mail address. It binds to two things: a custom MyAppUser object and a list of friends. Let's look at the MyAppUser code: using Microsoft.AspNet.Mvc.Facebook.Attributes; using Microsoft.AspNet.Mvc.Facebook.Models; // Add any fields you want to be saved for each user and specify the field name in the JSON coming back from Facebook // https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/api/user/ namespace MvcApplication3.Models { public class MyAppUser : FacebookUser { public string Name { get; set; } [FacebookField(FieldName = "picture", JsonField = "picture.data.url")] public string PictureUrl { get; set; } public string Email { get; set; } } } You can add in other custom fields if you want, but you can also just bind to a FacebookUser and it will automatically pull in the available fields. You can even just bind directly to a FacebookUser and check for what's available in debug mode, which makes it really easy to explore. For more information and some walkthroughs on creating Facebook applications, see: Deploying your first Facebook App on Azure using ASP.NET MVC Facebook Template (Yao Huang Lin) Facebook Application Template Tutorial (Erik Porter) Single Page Application template Early releases of ASP.NET MVC 4 included a Single Page Application template, but it was removed for the official release. There was a lot of interest in it, but it was kind of complex, as it handled features for things like data management. The new Single Page Application template that ships with the Fall Update is more lightweight. It uses Knockout.js on the client and ASP.NET Web API on the server, and it includes a sample application that shows how they all work together. I think the real benefit of this application is that it shows a good pattern for using ASP.NET Web API and Knockout.js. For instance, it's easy to end up with a mess of JavaScript when you're building out a client-side application. This template uses three separate JavaScript files (delivered via a Bundle, of course): todoList.js - this is where the main client-side logic lives todoList.dataAccess.js - this defines how the client-side application interacts with the back-end services todoList.bindings.js - this is where you set up events and overrides for the Knockout bindings - for instance, hooking up jQuery validation and defining some client-side events This is a fun one to play with, because you can just create a new Single Page Application and hit F5. Quick, easy install (with one gotcha) One of the cool engineering changes for this release is a big update to the installer to make it more lightweight and efficient. I've been running nightly builds of this for a few weeks to prep for my BUILD demos, and the install has been really quick and easy to use. The install takes about 5 minutes, has never required a reboot for me, and the uninstall is just as simple. There's one gotcha, though. In this preview release, you may hit an issue that will require you to uninstall and re-install the NuGet VSIX package. The problem comes up when you create a new MVC application and see this dialog: The solution, as explained in the release notes, is to uninstall and re-install the NuGet VSIX package: Start Visual Studio 2012 as an Administrator Go to Tools->Extensions and Updates and uninstall NuGet. Close Visual Studio Navigate to the ASP.NET Fall 2012 Update installation folder: For Visual Studio 2012: Program Files\Microsoft ASP.NET\ASP.NET Web Stack\Visual Studio 2012 For Visual Studio 2012 Express for Web: Program Files\Microsoft ASP.NET\ASP.NET Web Stack\Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web Double click on the NuGet.Tools.vsix to reinstall NuGet This took me under a minute to do, and I was up and running. ASP.NET Web API Update Extravaganza! Uh, the Web API team is out of hand. They added a ton of new stuff: OData support, Tracing, and API Help Page generation. OData support Some people like OData. Some people start twitching when you mention it. If you're in the first group, this is for you. You can add a [Queryable] attribute to an API that returns an IQueryable<Whatever> and you get OData query support from your clients. Then, without any extra changes to your client or server code, your clients can send filters like this: /Suppliers?$filter=Name eq ‘Microsoft’ For more information about OData support in ASP.NET Web API, see Alex James' mega-post about it: OData support in ASP.NET Web API ASP.NET Web API Tracing Tracing makes it really easy to leverage the .NET Tracing system from within your ASP.NET Web API's. If you look at the \App_Start\WebApiConfig.cs file in new ASP.NET Web API project, you'll see a call to TraceConfig.Register(config). That calls into some code in the new \App_Start\TraceConfig.cs file: public static void Register(HttpConfiguration configuration) { if (configuration == null) { throw new ArgumentNullException("configuration"); } SystemDiagnosticsTraceWriter traceWriter = new SystemDiagnosticsTraceWriter() { MinimumLevel = TraceLevel.Info, IsVerbose = false }; configuration.Services.Replace(typeof(ITraceWriter), traceWriter); } As you can see, this is using the standard trace system, so you can extend it to any other trace listeners you'd like. To see how it works with the built in diagnostics trace writer, just run the application call some API's, and look at the Visual Studio Output window: iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Request, Method=GET, Url=http://localhost:11147/api/Values, Message='http://localhost:11147/api/Values' iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Message='Values', Operation=DefaultHttpControllerSelector.SelectController iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Message='WebAPI.Controllers.ValuesController', Operation=DefaultHttpControllerActivator.Create iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Message='WebAPI.Controllers.ValuesController', Operation=HttpControllerDescriptor.CreateController iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Message='Selected action 'Get()'', Operation=ApiControllerActionSelector.SelectAction iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Operation=HttpActionBinding.ExecuteBindingAsync iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Operation=QueryableAttribute.ActionExecuting iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Message='Action returned 'System.String[]'', Operation=ReflectedHttpActionDescriptor.ExecuteAsync iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Message='Will use same 'JsonMediaTypeFormatter' formatter', Operation=JsonMediaTypeFormatter.GetPerRequestFormatterInstance iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Message='Selected formatter='JsonMediaTypeFormatter', content-type='application/json; charset=utf-8'', Operation=DefaultContentNegotiator.Negotiate iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Operation=ApiControllerActionInvoker.InvokeActionAsync, Status=200 (OK) iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Operation=QueryableAttribute.ActionExecuted, Status=200 (OK) iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Operation=ValuesController.ExecuteAsync, Status=200 (OK) iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Response, Status=200 (OK), Method=GET, Url=http://localhost:11147/api/Values, Message='Content-type='application/json; charset=utf-8', content-length=unknown' iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Operation=JsonMediaTypeFormatter.WriteToStreamAsync iisexpress.exe Information: 0 : Operation=ValuesController.Dispose API Help Page When you create a new ASP.NET Web API project, you'll see an API link in the header: Clicking the API link shows generated help documentation for your ASP.NET Web API controllers: And clicking on any of those APIs shows specific information: What's great is that this information is dynamically generated, so if you add your own new APIs it will automatically show useful and up to date help. This system is also completely extensible, so you can generate documentation in other formats or customize the HTML help as much as you'd like. The Help generation code is all included in an ASP.NET MVC Area: SignalR SignalR is a really slick open source project that was started by some ASP.NET team members in their spare time to add real-time communications capabilities to ASP.NET - and .NET applications in general. It allows you to handle long running communications channels between your server and multiple connected clients using the best communications channel they can both support - websockets if available, falling back all the way to old technologies like long polling if necessary for old browsers. SignalR remains an open source project, but now it's being included in ASP.NET (also open source, hooray!). That means there's real, official ASP.NET engineering work being put into SignalR, and it's even easier to use in an ASP.NET application. Now in any ASP.NET project type, you can right-click / Add / New Item... SignalR Hub or Persistent Connection. And much more... There's quite a bit more. You can find more info at http://asp.net/vnext, and we'll be adding more content as fast as we can. Watch my BUILD talk to see as I demonstrate these and other features in the ASP.NET Fall 2012 Update, as well as some other even futurey-er stuff!

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  • IE9 RC fixed the “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage” error when running an ASP.NET application in Visual Studio

    - by Jon Galloway
    One of the obstacles ASP.NET developers faced in using the Internet Explorer 9 Beta was the dreaded “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage” error when running an ASP.NET application in Visual Studio. In the bug information on Connect (issue 601047), Eric Lawrence said that the problem was due to “caused by failure to failover from IPv6 to IPv4 when the connection is local.” Robert MacLean gives some more information as what was going wrong: “The problem is Windows, especially since it assumes IPv6 is better than IPv4. Note […] that when you ping localhost you get an IPv6 address. So what appears to be happening is when IE9 tries to go to localhost it uses IPv6, and the ASP.NET Development Server is IPv4 only and so nothing loads and we get the error.” The Simple Fix - Install IE 9 RC Internet Explorer 9 RC fixes this bug, so if you had tried IE 9 Beta and stopped using it due to problems with ASP.NET development, install the RC. The Workaround in IE 9 Beta If you're stuck on IE 9 Beta for some reason, you can follow Robert's workaround, which involves a one character edit to your hosts file. I've been using it for months, and it works great. Open notepad (running as administrator) and edit the hosts file (found in %systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc) Remove the # comment character before the line starting with 127.0.0.1 Save the file - if you have problems saving, it's probably because you weren't running as administrator When you're done, your hosts file will end with the following lines (assuming you were using a default hosts file setup beforehand): # localhost name resolution is handled within DNS itself.     127.0.0.1       localhost #    ::1             localhost Note: more information on editing your hosts file here. This causes Windows to default to IPv4 when resolving localhost, which will point to 127.0.0.1, which is right where Cassini - I mean the ASP.NET Web Development Server - is waiting for it.

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  • Spending the summer at camp… Web Camp, that is

    - by Jon Galloway
    Microsoft is sponsoring a series of Web Camps this summer. They’re a series of free two day events being held worldwide, and I’m really excited about being taking part. The camp is targeted at a broad range of developer background and experience. Content builds from 101 level introductory material to 200-300 level coverage, but we hit some advanced bits (e.g. MVC 2 features, jQuery templating, IIS 7 features, etc.) that advanced developers may not yet have seen. We start with a lap around ASP.NET & Web Forms, then move on to building and application with ASP.NET MVC 2, jQuery, and Entity Framework 4, and finally deploy to IIS. I got to spend some time working with James before the first Web Camp refining the content, and I think he’s packed about as much goodness into the time available as is scientifically possible. The content is really code focused – we start with File/New Project and spend the day building a real, working application. The second day of the Web Camp provides attendees an opportunity to get hands on. There are two options: Join a team and build an application of your choice Work on a lab or tutorial James Senior and I kicked off the fun with the first Web Camp in Toronto a few weeks ago. It was sold out, lots of fun, and by all accounts a great way to spend two days. I’m really enthusiastic about the format. Rather than just listening to speakers and then forgetting everything in a few days, attendees actually build something of their choice. They get an opportunity to pitch projects they’re interested in, form teams, and build it – getting experience with “real world” problems, with all the help they need from experienced developers. James got help on the second day practical part from the good folks that run Startup Weekend. Startup Weekend is a fantastic program that gathers developers together to build cool apps in a weekend, so their input on how to organize successful teams for weekend projects was invaluable. Nick Seguin joined us in Toronto, and in addition to making sure that everything flowed smoothly, he just added a lot of fun and excitement to the event, reminding us all about how much fun it is to come up with a cool idea and just build it. In addition to the Toronto camp, I’ll be at the Mountain View, London, Munich, and New York camps over the next month. London is sold out, but the rest still have space available, so come join us! Here’s the full list, with the ones I’ll be at bolded because - you know - it’s my blog. The the whole speaker list is great, including Scott Guthrie, Scott Hanselman, James Senior, Rachel Appel, Dan Wahlin, and Christian Wenz. Toronto May 7-8 (James Senior and I were thrown out on our collective ears) Moscow May 19 Beijing May 21-22 Shanghai May 24-25 Mountain View May 27-28 (I’m speaking with Rachel Appel) Sydney May 28-29 Singapore June 04-05 London June 04-05 (I’m speaking with Christian Wenz – SOLD OUT) Munich June 07-08 (I’m speaking with Christian Wenz) Chicago June 11-12 Redmond, WA June 18-19 New York June 25-26 (I’m speaking with Dan Wahlin) Come say hi!

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  • How do Programmers in the east see programmers in the west?

    - by Jon Hopkins
    The other half of this question: How do programmers in the west see the programmers in the east? I think it's just as interesting and important to see how programmers in the east view programmers in the west. The eastern part of the world (India/China/Philippines ) is often seen as mainly providing outsourcing services to the western world (USA and Europe). Do you have the experience of working as part of an offshore team? If yes, how was it? Do you hold any generalized ideas or opinions about the programmers from the West (e.g. Are they cooperative, do they deliver on time or do they do quality work?)

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  • Bridged network between Ubuntu Desktop 10.10 host and Ubuntu Server 10.10 Guest

    - by Jon Cram
    I run Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop on my machine and have installed Ubuntu Server 10.10 in a Virtualbox VM. I'm running Virtualbox 4.0.2. It is not virtualbox-ose. I'd like the guest OS to have an IP address on my local network so that I can run server software and access this from the host OS. My intention is to run a Hudson CI server in the guest OS. I understand I need to set up a network bridge for this to work, however I don't understand what I need to do for this to happen. I have tried following the instructions at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/VirtualBox/Networking, however I run into two issues towards the end: "To take the modifications into account, restart the VirtualBox host networking script". I don't have Virtualbox-ose installed and guide suggests sudo /etc/init.d/vboxnet restart, however /etc/init.d/vboxnet does not exist for me. The end of the guide refers to the vboxusers group. I don't have such a group and am not sure why I need this or how it should be created. I'm simply looking to allow the guest OS to have an IP on my local network so that I can access servers on the guest OS from the host OS. What changes do I need to make to both the host and guest OSs for this to work?

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  • Generating EF Code First model classes from an existing database

    - by Jon Galloway
    Entity Framework Code First is a lightweight way to "turn on" data access for a simple CLR class. As the name implies, the intended use is that you're writing the code first and thinking about the database later. However, I really like the Entity Framework Code First works, and I want to use it in existing projects and projects with pre-existing databases. For example, MVC Music Store comes with a SQL Express database that's pre-loaded with a catalog of music (including genres, artists, and songs), and while it may eventually make sense to load that seed data from a different source, for the MVC 3 release we wanted to keep using the existing database. While I'm not getting the full benefit of Code First - writing code which drives the database schema - I can still benefit from the simplicity of the lightweight code approach. Scott Guthrie blogged about how to use entity framework with an existing database, looking at how you can override the Entity Framework Code First conventions so that it can work with a database which was created following other conventions. That gives you the information you need to create the model classes manually. However, it turns out that with Entity Framework 4 CTP 5, there's a way to generate the model classes from the database schema. Once the grunt work is done, of course, you can go in and modify the model classes as you'd like, but you can save the time and frustration of figuring out things like mapping SQL database types to .NET types. Note that this template requires Entity Framework 4 CTP 5 or later. You can install EF 4 CTP 5 here. Step One: Generate an EF Model from your existing database The code generation system in Entity Framework works from a model. You can add a model to your existing project and delete it when you're done, but I think it's simpler to just spin up a separate project to generate the model classes. When you're done, you can delete the project without affecting your application, or you may choose to keep it around in case you have other database schema updates which require model changes. I chose to add the Model classes to the Models folder of a new MVC 3 application. Right-click the folder and select "Add / New Item..."   Next, select ADO.NET Entity Data Model from the Data Templates list, and name it whatever you want (the name is unimportant).   Next, select "Generate from database." This is important - it's what kicks off the next few steps, which read your database's schema.   Now it's time to point the Entity Data Model Wizard at your existing database. I'll assume you know how to find your database - if not, I covered that a bit in the MVC Music Store tutorial section on Models and Data. Select your database, uncheck the "Save entity connection settings in Web.config" (since we won't be using them within the application), and click Next.   Now you can select the database objects you'd like modeled. I just selected all tables and clicked Finish.   And there's your model. If you want, you can make additional changes here before going on to generate the code.   Step Two: Add the DbContext Generator Like most code generation systems in Visual Studio lately, Entity Framework uses T4 templates which allow for some control over how the code is generated. K Scott Allen wrote a detailed article on T4 Templates and the Entity Framework on MSDN recently, if you'd like to know more. Fortunately for us, there's already a template that does just what we need without any customization. Right-click a blank space in the Entity Framework model surface and select "Add Code Generation Item..." Select the Code groupt in the Installed Templates section and pick the ADO.NET DbContext Generator. If you don't see this listed, make sure you've got EF 4 CTP 5 installed and that you're looking at the Code templates group. Note that the DbContext Generator template is similar to the EF POCO template which came out last year, but with "fix up" code (unnecessary in EF Code First) removed.   As soon as you do this, you'll two terrifying Security Warnings - unless you click the "Do not show this message again" checkbox the first time. It will also be displayed (twice) every time you rebuild the project, so I checked the box and no immediate harm befell my computer (fingers crossed!).   Here's the payoff: two templates (filenames ending with .tt) have been added to the project, and they've generated the code I needed.   The "MusicStoreEntities.Context.tt" template built a DbContext class which holds the entity collections, and the "MusicStoreEntities.tt" template build a separate class for each table I selected earlier. We'll customize them in the next step. I recommend copying all the generated .cs files into your application at this point, since accidentally rebuilding the generation project will overwrite your changes if you leave them there. Step Three: Modify and use your POCO entity classes Note: I made a bunch of tweaks to my POCO classes after they were generated. You don't have to do any of this, but I think it's important that you can - they're your classes, and EF Code First respects that. Modify them as you need for your application, or don't. The Context class derives from DbContext, which is what turns on the EF Code First features. It holds a DbSet for each entity. Think of DbSet as a simple List, but with Entity Framework features turned on.   //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ // <auto-generated> // This code was generated from a template. // // Changes to this file may cause incorrect behavior and will be lost if // the code is regenerated. // </auto-generated> //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ namespace EF_CodeFirst_From_Existing_Database.Models { using System; using System.Data.Entity; public partial class Entities : DbContext { public Entities() : base("name=Entities") { } public DbSet<Album> Albums { get; set; } public DbSet<Artist> Artists { get; set; } public DbSet<Cart> Carts { get; set; } public DbSet<Genre> Genres { get; set; } public DbSet<OrderDetail> OrderDetails { get; set; } public DbSet<Order> Orders { get; set; } } } It's a pretty lightweight class as generated, so I just took out the comments, set the namespace, removed the constructor, and formatted it a bit. Done. If I wanted, though, I could have added or removed DbSets, overridden conventions, etc. using System.Data.Entity; namespace MvcMusicStore.Models { public class MusicStoreEntities : DbContext { public DbSet Albums { get; set; } public DbSet Genres { get; set; } public DbSet Artists { get; set; } public DbSet Carts { get; set; } public DbSet Orders { get; set; } public DbSet OrderDetails { get; set; } } } Next, it's time to look at the individual classes. Some of mine were pretty simple - for the Cart class, I just need to remove the header and clean up the namespace. //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ // // This code was generated from a template. // // Changes to this file may cause incorrect behavior and will be lost if // the code is regenerated. // //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ namespace EF_CodeFirst_From_Existing_Database.Models { using System; using System.Collections.Generic; public partial class Cart { // Primitive properties public int RecordId { get; set; } public string CartId { get; set; } public int AlbumId { get; set; } public int Count { get; set; } public System.DateTime DateCreated { get; set; } // Navigation properties public virtual Album Album { get; set; } } } I did a bit more customization on the Album class. Here's what was generated: //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ // // This code was generated from a template. // // Changes to this file may cause incorrect behavior and will be lost if // the code is regenerated. // //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ namespace EF_CodeFirst_From_Existing_Database.Models { using System; using System.Collections.Generic; public partial class Album { public Album() { this.Carts = new HashSet(); this.OrderDetails = new HashSet(); } // Primitive properties public int AlbumId { get; set; } public int GenreId { get; set; } public int ArtistId { get; set; } public string Title { get; set; } public decimal Price { get; set; } public string AlbumArtUrl { get; set; } // Navigation properties public virtual Artist Artist { get; set; } public virtual Genre Genre { get; set; } public virtual ICollection Carts { get; set; } public virtual ICollection OrderDetails { get; set; } } } I removed the header, changed the namespace, and removed some of the navigation properties. One nice thing about EF Code First is that you don't have to have a property for each database column or foreign key. In the Music Store sample, for instance, we build the app up using code first and start with just a few columns, adding in fields and navigation properties as the application needs them. EF Code First handles the columsn we've told it about and doesn't complain about the others. Here's the basic class: using System.ComponentModel; using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations; using System.Web.Mvc; using System.Collections.Generic; namespace MvcMusicStore.Models { public class Album { public int AlbumId { get; set; } public int GenreId { get; set; } public int ArtistId { get; set; } public string Title { get; set; } public decimal Price { get; set; } public string AlbumArtUrl { get; set; } public virtual Genre Genre { get; set; } public virtual Artist Artist { get; set; } public virtual List OrderDetails { get; set; } } } It's my class, not Entity Framework's, so I'm free to do what I want with it. I added a bunch of MVC 3 annotations for scaffolding and validation support, as shown below: using System.ComponentModel; using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations; using System.Web.Mvc; using System.Collections.Generic; namespace MvcMusicStore.Models { [Bind(Exclude = "AlbumId")] public class Album { [ScaffoldColumn(false)] public int AlbumId { get; set; } [DisplayName("Genre")] public int GenreId { get; set; } [DisplayName("Artist")] public int ArtistId { get; set; } [Required(ErrorMessage = "An Album Title is required")] [StringLength(160)] public string Title { get; set; } [Required(ErrorMessage = "Price is required")] [Range(0.01, 100.00, ErrorMessage = "Price must be between 0.01 and 100.00")] public decimal Price { get; set; } [DisplayName("Album Art URL")] [StringLength(1024)] public string AlbumArtUrl { get; set; } public virtual Genre Genre { get; set; } public virtual Artist Artist { get; set; } public virtual List<OrderDetail> OrderDetails { get; set; } } } The end result was that I had working EF Code First model code for the finished application. You can follow along through the tutorial to see how I built up to the finished model classes, starting with simple 2-3 property classes and building up to the full working schema. Thanks to Diego Vega (on the Entity Framework team) for pointing me to the DbContext template.

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  • SEO: Nested List vs List, Split Over Divs vs Definition List

    - by Jon P
    From an SEO perspective which, if any, is better: Option 1: Nested lists with h2 tags <ul id="mainpoints"> <li><h2>Powerful Analysis</h2> <ul> <li>Charting and indicators</li> <li>Daily trading signals</li> <li>Company health checks</li> </ul> </li> <li><h2>World Market Data</h2> <ul> [List Items removed for brevity] </ul> </li> <li><h2>Daily Market Data</h2> <ul> [List Items removed for brevity] </ul> </li> </ul> Option 2: Divs with h2 and lists <div id="mainpoints"> <div> <h2>Powerful Analysis</h2> <ul> <li>Charting and indicators</li> <li>Daily trading signals</li> <li>Company health checks</li> </ul> </div> <div> <h2>World Market Data</h2> <ul> [List Items removed for brevity] </ul> </div> <div> <h2>Daily Market Data</h2> <ul> [List Items removed for brevity] </ul> </div> </div> Option 3: Definition List <dl id="mainpoints"> <dt>Powerful Analysis</dt> <dd>- Charting and indicators</dd> <dd>- Daily trading signals</dd> <dd>- Company health checks</dd> <dt>World Market Data</dt> [List Items removed for brevity] <dt>Daily Market Data</dt> [List Items removed for brevity] </dl> My instincts tell me that semanticaly the pure list options (1 & 3) are the best and that h2 may be more SEO friendly (1 & 2) which would point to option 1 as being the best option. I do love the lean makeup of the definition list but will I take an SEO hit by losing the h2 tags? Before anyone asks, h2 is not valid markup in a dt tag. Are my instincts right with a nested list being the way to go?

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  • ASP.NET Web API - Screencast series Part 3: Delete and Update

    - by Jon Galloway
    We're continuing a six part series on ASP.NET Web API that accompanies the getting started screencast series. This is an introductory screencast series that walks through from File / New Project to some more advanced scenarios like Custom Validation and Authorization. The screencast videos are all short (3-5 minutes) and the sample code for the series is both available for download and browsable online. I did the screencasts, but the samples were written by the ASP.NET Web API team. In Part 1 we looked at what ASP.NET Web API is, why you'd care, did the File / New Project thing, and did some basic HTTP testing using browser F12 developer tools. In Part 2 we started to build up a sample that returns data from a repository in JSON format via GET methods. In Part 3, we'll start to modify data on the server using DELETE and POST methods. So far we've been looking at GET requests, and the difference between standard browsing in a web browser and navigating an HTTP API isn't quite as clear. Delete is where the difference becomes more obvious. With a "traditional" web page, to delete something'd probably have a form that POSTs a request back to a controller that needs to know that it's really supposed to be deleting something even though POST was really designed to create things, so it does the work and then returns some HTML back to the client that says whether or not the delete succeeded. There's a good amount of plumbing involved in communicating between client and server. That gets a lot easier when we just work with the standard HTTP DELETE verb. Here's how the server side code works: public Comment DeleteComment(int id) { Comment comment; if (!repository.TryGet(id, out comment)) throw new HttpResponseException(HttpStatusCode.NotFound); repository.Delete(id); return comment; } If you look back at the GET /api/comments code in Part 2, you'll see that they start the exact same because the use cases are kind of similar - we're looking up an item by id and either displaying it or deleting it. So the only difference is that this method deletes the comment once it finds it. We don't need to do anything special to handle cases where the id isn't found, as the same HTTP 404 handling works fine here, too. Pretty much all "traditional" browsing uses just two HTTP verbs: GET and POST, so you might not be all that used to DELETE requests and think they're hard. Not so! Here's the jQuery method that calls the /api/comments with the DELETE verb: $(function() { $("a.delete").live('click', function () { var id = $(this).data('comment-id'); $.ajax({ url: "/api/comments/" + id, type: 'DELETE', cache: false, statusCode: { 200: function(data) { viewModel.comments.remove( function(comment) { return comment.ID == data.ID; } ); } } }); return false; }); }); So in order to use the DELETE verb instead of GET, we're just using $.ajax() and setting the type to DELETE. Not hard. But what's that statusCode business? Well, an HTTP status code of 200 is an OK response. Unless our Web API method sets another status (such as by throwing the Not Found exception we saw earlier), the default response status code is HTTP 200 - OK. That makes the jQuery code pretty simple - it calls the Delete action, and if it gets back an HTTP 200, the server-side delete was successful so the comment can be deleted. Adding a new comment uses the POST verb. It starts out looking like an MVC controller action, using model binding to get the new comment from JSON data into a c# model object to add to repository, but there are some interesting differences. public HttpResponseMessage<Comment> PostComment(Comment comment) { comment = repository.Add(comment); var response = new HttpResponseMessage<Comment>(comment, HttpStatusCode.Created); response.Headers.Location = new Uri(Request.RequestUri, "/api/comments/" + comment.ID.ToString()); return response; } First off, the POST method is returning an HttpResponseMessage<Comment>. In the GET methods earlier, we were just returning a JSON payload with an HTTP 200 OK, so we could just return the  model object and Web API would wrap it up in an HttpResponseMessage with that HTTP 200 for us (much as ASP.NET MVC controller actions can return strings, and they'll be automatically wrapped in a ContentResult). When we're creating a new comment, though, we want to follow standard REST practices and return the URL that points to the newly created comment in the Location header, and we can do that by explicitly creating that HttpResposeMessage and then setting the header information. And here's a key point - by using HTTP standard status codes and headers, our response payload doesn't need to explain any context - the client can see from the status code that the POST succeeded, the location header tells it where to get it, and all it needs in the JSON payload is the actual content. Note: This is a simplified sample. Among other things, you'll need to consider security and authorization in your Web API's, and especially in methods that allow creating or deleting data. We'll look at authorization in Part 6. As for security, you'll want to consider things like mass assignment if binding directly to model objects, etc. In Part 4, we'll extend on our simple querying methods form Part 2, adding in support for paging and querying.

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  • ASP.NET Web API - Screencast series Part 2: Getting Data

    - by Jon Galloway
    We're continuing a six part series on ASP.NET Web API that accompanies the getting started screencast series. This is an introductory screencast series that walks through from File / New Project to some more advanced scenarios like Custom Validation and Authorization. The screencast videos are all short (3-5 minutes) and the sample code for the series is both available for download and browsable online. I did the screencasts, but the samples were written by the ASP.NET Web API team. In Part 1 we looked at what ASP.NET Web API is, why you'd care, did the File / New Project thing, and did some basic HTTP testing using browser F12 developer tools. This second screencast starts to build out the Comments example - a JSON API that's accessed via jQuery. This sample uses a simple in-memory repository. At this early stage, the GET /api/values/ just returns an IEnumerable<Comment>. In part 4 we'll add on paging and filtering, and it gets more interesting.   The get by id (e.g. GET /api/values/5) case is a little more interesting. The method just returns a Comment if the Comment ID is valid, but if it's not found we throw an HttpResponseException with the correct HTTP status code (HTTP 404 Not Found). This is an important thing to get - HTTP defines common response status codes, so there's no need to implement any custom messaging here - we tell the requestor that the resource the requested wasn't there.  public Comment GetComment(int id) { Comment comment; if (!repository.TryGet(id, out comment)) throw new HttpResponseException(HttpStatusCode.NotFound); return comment; } This is great because it's standard, and any client should know how to handle it. There's no need to invent custom messaging here, and we can talk to any client that understands HTTP - not just jQuery, and not just browsers. But it's crazy easy to consume an HTTP API that returns JSON via jQuery. The example uses Knockout to bind the JSON values to HTML elements, but the thing to notice is that calling into this /api/coments is really simple, and the return from the $.get() method is just JSON data, which is really easy to work with in JavaScript (since JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation and is the native serialization format in Javascript). $(function() { $("#getComments").click(function () { // We're using a Knockout model. This clears out the existing comments. viewModel.comments([]); $.get('/api/comments', function (data) { // Update the Knockout model (and thus the UI) with the comments received back // from the Web API call. viewModel.comments(data); }); }); }); That's it! Easy, huh? In Part 3, we'll start modifying data on the server using POST and DELETE.

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  • How do Programmers in the East see programmers in the West?

    - by Jon Hopkins
    The other half of this question: How do programmers in the west see the programmers in the east? I think it's just as interesting and important to see how programmers in the east view programmers in the west. The eastern part of the world (India/China/Philippines ) is often seen as mainly providing outsourcing services to the western world (USA and Europe). Do you have the experience of working as part of an offshore team? If yes, how was it? Do you hold any generalized ideas or opinions about the programmers from the West (e.g. Are they cooperative, do they deliver on time or do they do quality work?)

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  • how to access inaccessible mac os x hard drive via ubuntu

    - by jon
    Background: My intention was to load a Virtual Machine (VM) on my Mac OS X Snow Leopard. My Mac had just enough room for a VM (my thought process was that VM was the same as partition) However, I burned the newest version of Ubuntu onto a CD, thinking that partitioning and running a virtual machine would be the same. I would restart my computer, booting up Ubuntu installer. The installation would not allow me to partition, forcing me to force shutdown my laptop. when I turn on my laptop, I see that my computer is "missing operating system". So, can someone help me fix my a) bootcamp, b) getting files and if a and b are fixed c) to install ubuntu as a VM?

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  • Best in-memory cache of DB objects for Silverlight [closed]

    - by Jon
    Hi, I'd like to set up a cache of database objects (i.e. rows in a table) in memory in silverlight, which I'll do using WCF and linq-to-sql. Once I have the objects in memory, I'm planning on using MSMQ to receive new objects whenever they have been modified. It's a somewhat complex approach but the goal is to reduce trips to the database and allow instant data communication between Silverlight applications that are connected to the MSMQ. My Silverlight applications are meant to be long-running and the amount of data to be cached will not be large. I'm planning on saving the in-memory cache using local storage. Anyway, in order to process the updated objects that come in, I'd like to know if the user has changed the existing object. Could I use some event relating to data-binding to set a flag indicating that the object has changes? Maybe there's a better way to do the cache entirely? Thanks!

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