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  • Understanding Request Validation in ASP.NET MVC 3

    - by imran_ku07
         Introduction:             A fact that you must always remember "never ever trust user inputs". An application that trusts user inputs may be easily vulnerable to XSS, XSRF, SQL Injection, etc attacks. XSS and XSRF are very dangerous attacks. So to mitigate these attacks ASP.NET introduced request validation in ASP.NET 1.1. During request validation, ASP.NET will throw HttpRequestValidationException: 'A potentially dangerous XXX value was detected from the client', if he found, < followed by an exclamation(like <!) or < followed by the letters a through z(like <s) or & followed by a pound sign(like &#123) as a part of query string, posted form and cookie collection. In ASP.NET 4.0, request validation becomes extensible. This means that you can extend request validation. Also in ASP.NET 4.0, by default request validation is enabled before the BeginRequest phase of an HTTP request. ASP.NET MVC 3 moves one step further by making request validation granular. This allows you to disable request validation for some properties of a model while maintaining request validation for all other cases. In this article I will show you the use of request validation in ASP.NET MVC 3. Then I will briefly explain the internal working of granular request validation.       Description:             First of all create a new ASP.NET MVC 3 application. Then create a simple model class called MyModel,     public class MyModel { public string Prop1 { get; set; } public string Prop2 { get; set; } }             Then just update the index action method as follows,   public ActionResult Index(MyModel p) { return View(); }             Now just run this application. You will find that everything works just fine. Now just append this query string ?Prop1=<s to the url of this application, you will get the HttpRequestValidationException exception.           Now just decorate the Index action method with [ValidateInputAttribute(false)],   [ValidateInput(false)] public ActionResult Index(MyModel p) { return View(); }             Run this application again with same query string. You will find that your application run without any unhandled exception.           Up to now, there is nothing new in ASP.NET MVC 3 because ValidateInputAttribute was present in the previous versions of ASP.NET MVC. Any problem with this approach? Yes there is a problem with this approach. The problem is that now users can send html for both Prop1 and Prop2 properties and a lot of developers are not aware of it. This means that now everyone can send html with both parameters(e.g, ?Prop1=<s&Prop2=<s). So ValidateInput attribute does not gives you the guarantee that your application is safe to XSS or XSRF. This is the reason why ASP.NET MVC team introduced granular request validation in ASP.NET MVC 3. Let's see this feature.           Remove [ValidateInputAttribute(false)] on Index action and update MyModel class as follows,   public class MyModel { [AllowHtml] public string Prop1 { get; set; } public string Prop2 { get; set; } }             Note that AllowHtml attribute is only decorated on Prop1 property. Run this application again with ?Prop1=<s query string. You will find that your application run just fine. Run this application again with ?Prop1=<s&Prop2=<s query string, you will get HttpRequestValidationException exception. This shows that the granular request validation in ASP.NET MVC 3 only allows users to send html for properties decorated with AllowHtml attribute.            Sometimes you may need to access Request.QueryString or Request.Form directly. You may change your code as follows,   [ValidateInput(false)] public ActionResult Index() { var prop1 = Request.QueryString["Prop1"]; return View(); }             Run this application again, you will get the HttpRequestValidationException exception again even you have [ValidateInput(false)] on your Index action. The reason is that Request flags are still not set to unvalidate. I will explain this later. For making this work you need to use Unvalidated extension method,     public ActionResult Index() { var q = Request.Unvalidated().QueryString; var prop1 = q["Prop1"]; return View(); }             Unvalidated extension method is defined in System.Web.Helpers namespace . So you need to add using System.Web.Helpers; in this class file. Run this application again, your application run just fine.             There you have it. If you are not curious to know the internal working of granular request validation then you can skip next paragraphs completely. If you are interested then carry on reading.             Create a new ASP.NET MVC 2 application, then open global.asax.cs file and the following lines,     protected void Application_BeginRequest() { var q = Request.QueryString; }             Then make the Index action method as,    [ValidateInput(false)] public ActionResult Index(string id) { return View(); }             Please note that the Index action method contains a parameter and this action method is decorated with [ValidateInput(false)]. Run this application again, but now with ?id=<s query string, you will get HttpRequestValidationException exception at Application_BeginRequest method. Now just add the following entry in web.config,   <httpRuntime requestValidationMode="2.0"/>             Now run this application again. This time your application will run just fine. Now just see the following quote from ASP.NET 4 Breaking Changes,   In ASP.NET 4, by default, request validation is enabled for all requests, because it is enabled before the BeginRequest phase of an HTTP request. As a result, request validation applies to requests for all ASP.NET resources, not just .aspx page requests. This includes requests such as Web service calls and custom HTTP handlers. Request validation is also active when custom HTTP modules are reading the contents of an HTTP request.             This clearly state that request validation is enabled before the BeginRequest phase of an HTTP request. For understanding what does enabled means here, we need to see HttpRequest.ValidateInput, HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form methods/properties in System.Web assembly. Here is the implementation of HttpRequest.ValidateInput, HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form methods/properties in System.Web assembly,     public NameValueCollection Form { get { if (this._form == null) { this._form = new HttpValueCollection(); if (this._wr != null) { this.FillInFormCollection(); } this._form.MakeReadOnly(); } if (this._flags[2]) { this._flags.Clear(2); this.ValidateNameValueCollection(this._form, RequestValidationSource.Form); } return this._form; } } public NameValueCollection QueryString { get { if (this._queryString == null) { this._queryString = new HttpValueCollection(); if (this._wr != null) { this.FillInQueryStringCollection(); } this._queryString.MakeReadOnly(); } if (this._flags[1]) { this._flags.Clear(1); this.ValidateNameValueCollection(this._queryString, RequestValidationSource.QueryString); } return this._queryString; } } public void ValidateInput() { if (!this._flags[0x8000]) { this._flags.Set(0x8000); this._flags.Set(1); this._flags.Set(2); this._flags.Set(4); this._flags.Set(0x40); this._flags.Set(0x80); this._flags.Set(0x100); this._flags.Set(0x200); this._flags.Set(8); } }             The above code indicates that HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form will only validate the querystring and form collection if certain flags are set. These flags are automatically set if you call HttpRequest.ValidateInput method. Now run the above application again(don't forget to append ?id=<s query string in the url) with the same settings(i.e, requestValidationMode="2.0" setting in web.config and Application_BeginRequest method in global.asax.cs), your application will run just fine. Now just update the Application_BeginRequest method as,   protected void Application_BeginRequest() { Request.ValidateInput(); var q = Request.QueryString; }             Note that I am calling Request.ValidateInput method prior to use Request.QueryString property. ValidateInput method will internally set certain flags(discussed above). These flags will then tells the Request.QueryString (and Request.Form) property that validate the query string(or form) when user call Request.QueryString(or Request.Form) property. So running this application again with ?id=<s query string will throw HttpRequestValidationException exception. Now I hope it is clear to you that what does requestValidationMode do. It just tells the ASP.NET that not invoke the Request.ValidateInput method internally before the BeginRequest phase of an HTTP request if requestValidationMode is set to a value less than 4.0 in web.config. Here is the implementation of HttpRequest.ValidateInputIfRequiredByConfig method which will prove this statement(Don't be confused with HttpRequest and Request. Request is the property of HttpRequest class),    internal void ValidateInputIfRequiredByConfig() { ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... ............................................................... if (httpRuntime.RequestValidationMode >= VersionUtil.Framework40) { this.ValidateInput(); } }              Hopefully the above discussion will clear you how requestValidationMode works in ASP.NET 4. It is also interesting to note that both HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form only throws the exception when you access them first time. Any subsequent access to HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form will not throw any exception. Continuing with the above example, just update Application_BeginRequest method in global.asax.cs file as,   protected void Application_BeginRequest() { try { var q = Request.QueryString; var f = Request.Form; } catch//swallow this exception { } var q1 = Request.QueryString; var f1 = Request.Form; }             Without setting requestValidationMode to 2.0 and without decorating ValidateInput attribute on Index action, your application will work just fine because both HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form will clear their flags after reading HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form for the first time(see the implementation of HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form above).           Now let's see ASP.NET MVC 3 granular request validation internal working. First of all we need to see type of HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form properties. Both HttpRequest.QueryString and HttpRequest.Form properties are of type NameValueCollection which is inherited from the NameObjectCollectionBase class. NameObjectCollectionBase class contains _entriesArray, _entriesTable, NameObjectEntry.Key and NameObjectEntry.Value fields which granular request validation uses internally. In addition granular request validation also uses _queryString, _form and _flags fields, ValidateString method and the Indexer of HttpRequest class. Let's see when and how granular request validation uses these fields.           Create a new ASP.NET MVC 3 application. Then put a breakpoint at Application_BeginRequest method and another breakpoint at HomeController.Index method. Now just run this application. When the break point inside Application_BeginRequest method hits then add the following expression in quick watch window, System.Web.HttpContext.Current.Request.QueryString. You will see the following screen,                                              Now Press F5 so that the second breakpoint inside HomeController.Index method hits. When the second breakpoint hits then add the following expression in quick watch window again, System.Web.HttpContext.Current.Request.QueryString. You will see the following screen,                            First screen shows that _entriesTable field is of type System.Collections.Hashtable and _entriesArray field is of type System.Collections.ArrayList during the BeginRequest phase of the HTTP request. While the second screen shows that _entriesTable type is changed to Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure.DynamicValidationHelper.LazilyValidatingHashtable and _entriesArray type is changed to Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure.DynamicValidationHelper.LazilyValidatingArrayList during executing the Index action method. In addition to these members, ASP.NET MVC 3 also perform some operation on _flags, _form, _queryString and other members of HttpRuntime class internally. This shows that ASP.NET MVC 3 performing some operation on the members of HttpRequest class for making granular request validation possible.           Both LazilyValidatingArrayList and LazilyValidatingHashtable classes are defined in the Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure assembly. You may wonder why their name starts with Lazily. The fact is that now with ASP.NET MVC 3, request validation will be performed lazily. In simple words, Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure assembly is now taking the responsibility for request validation from System.Web assembly. See the below screens. The first screen depicting HttpRequestValidationException exception in ASP.NET MVC 2 application while the second screen showing HttpRequestValidationException exception in ASP.NET MVC 3 application.   In MVC 2:                 In MVC 3:                          The stack trace of the second screenshot shows that Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure assembly (instead of System.Web assembly) is now performing request validation in ASP.NET MVC 3. Now you may ask: where Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure assembly is performing some operation on the members of HttpRequest class. There are at least two places where the Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure assembly performing some operation , Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure.DynamicValidationHelper.GranularValidationReflectionUtil.GetInstance method and Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure.DynamicValidationHelper.ValidationUtility.CollectionReplacer.ReplaceCollection method, Here is the implementation of these methods,   private static GranularValidationReflectionUtil GetInstance() { try { if (DynamicValidationShimReflectionUtil.Instance != null) { return null; } GranularValidationReflectionUtil util = new GranularValidationReflectionUtil(); Type containingType = typeof(NameObjectCollectionBase); string fieldName = "_entriesArray"; bool isStatic = false; Type fieldType = typeof(ArrayList); FieldInfo fieldInfo = CommonReflectionUtil.FindField(containingType, fieldName, isStatic, fieldType); util._del_get_NameObjectCollectionBase_entriesArray = MakeFieldGetterFunc<NameObjectCollectionBase, ArrayList>(fieldInfo); util._del_set_NameObjectCollectionBase_entriesArray = MakeFieldSetterFunc<NameObjectCollectionBase, ArrayList>(fieldInfo); Type type6 = typeof(NameObjectCollectionBase); string str2 = "_entriesTable"; bool flag2 = false; Type type7 = typeof(Hashtable); FieldInfo info2 = CommonReflectionUtil.FindField(type6, str2, flag2, type7); util._del_get_NameObjectCollectionBase_entriesTable = MakeFieldGetterFunc<NameObjectCollectionBase, Hashtable>(info2); util._del_set_NameObjectCollectionBase_entriesTable = MakeFieldSetterFunc<NameObjectCollectionBase, Hashtable>(info2); Type targetType = CommonAssemblies.System.GetType("System.Collections.Specialized.NameObjectCollectionBase+NameObjectEntry"); Type type8 = targetType; string str3 = "Key"; bool flag3 = false; Type type9 = typeof(string); FieldInfo info3 = CommonReflectionUtil.FindField(type8, str3, flag3, type9); util._del_get_NameObjectEntry_Key = MakeFieldGetterFunc<string>(targetType, info3); Type type10 = targetType; string str4 = "Value"; bool flag4 = false; Type type11 = typeof(object); FieldInfo info4 = CommonReflectionUtil.FindField(type10, str4, flag4, type11); util._del_get_NameObjectEntry_Value = MakeFieldGetterFunc<object>(targetType, info4); util._del_set_NameObjectEntry_Value = MakeFieldSetterFunc(targetType, info4); Type type12 = typeof(HttpRequest); string methodName = "ValidateString"; bool flag5 = false; Type[] argumentTypes = new Type[] { typeof(string), typeof(string), typeof(RequestValidationSource) }; Type returnType = typeof(void); MethodInfo methodInfo = CommonReflectionUtil.FindMethod(type12, methodName, flag5, argumentTypes, returnType); util._del_validateStringCallback = CommonReflectionUtil.MakeFastCreateDelegate<HttpRequest, ValidateStringCallback>(methodInfo); Type type = CommonAssemblies.SystemWeb.GetType("System.Web.HttpValueCollection"); util._del_HttpValueCollection_ctor = CommonReflectionUtil.MakeFastNewObject<Func<NameValueCollection>>(type); Type type14 = typeof(HttpRequest); string str6 = "_form"; bool flag6 = false; Type type15 = type; FieldInfo info6 = CommonReflectionUtil.FindField(type14, str6, flag6, type15); util._del_get_HttpRequest_form = MakeFieldGetterFunc<HttpRequest, NameValueCollection>(info6); util._del_set_HttpRequest_form = MakeFieldSetterFunc(typeof(HttpRequest), info6); Type type16 = typeof(HttpRequest); string str7 = "_queryString"; bool flag7 = false; Type type17 = type; FieldInfo info7 = CommonReflectionUtil.FindField(type16, str7, flag7, type17); util._del_get_HttpRequest_queryString = MakeFieldGetterFunc<HttpRequest, NameValueCollection>(info7); util._del_set_HttpRequest_queryString = MakeFieldSetterFunc(typeof(HttpRequest), info7); Type type3 = CommonAssemblies.SystemWeb.GetType("System.Web.Util.SimpleBitVector32"); Type type18 = typeof(HttpRequest); string str8 = "_flags"; bool flag8 = false; Type type19 = type3; FieldInfo flagsFieldInfo = CommonReflectionUtil.FindField(type18, str8, flag8, type19); Type type20 = type3; string str9 = "get_Item"; bool flag9 = false; Type[] typeArray4 = new Type[] { typeof(int) }; Type type21 = typeof(bool); MethodInfo itemGetter = CommonReflectionUtil.FindMethod(type20, str9, flag9, typeArray4, type21); Type type22 = type3; string str10 = "set_Item"; bool flag10 = false; Type[] typeArray6 = new Type[] { typeof(int), typeof(bool) }; Type type23 = typeof(void); MethodInfo itemSetter = CommonReflectionUtil.FindMethod(type22, str10, flag10, typeArray6, type23); MakeRequestValidationFlagsAccessors(flagsFieldInfo, itemGetter, itemSetter, out util._del_BitVector32_get_Item, out util._del_BitVector32_set_Item); return util; } catch { return null; } } private static void ReplaceCollection(HttpContext context, FieldAccessor<NameValueCollection> fieldAccessor, Func<NameValueCollection> propertyAccessor, Action<NameValueCollection> storeInUnvalidatedCollection, RequestValidationSource validationSource, ValidationSourceFlag validationSourceFlag) { NameValueCollection originalBackingCollection; ValidateStringCallback validateString; SimpleValidateStringCallback simpleValidateString; Func<NameValueCollection> getActualCollection; Action<NameValueCollection> makeCollectionLazy; HttpRequest request = context.Request; Func<bool> getValidationFlag = delegate { return _reflectionUtil.GetRequestValidationFlag(request, validationSourceFlag); }; Func<bool> func = delegate { return !getValidationFlag(); }; Action<bool> setValidationFlag = delegate (bool value) { _reflectionUtil.SetRequestValidationFlag(request, validationSourceFlag, value); }; if ((fieldAccessor.Value != null) && func()) { storeInUnvalidatedCollection(fieldAccessor.Value); } else { originalBackingCollection = fieldAccessor.Value; validateString = _reflectionUtil.MakeValidateStringCallback(context.Request); simpleValidateString = delegate (string value, string key) { if (((key == null) || !key.StartsWith("__", StringComparison.Ordinal)) && !string.IsNullOrEmpty(value)) { validateString(value, key, validationSource); } }; getActualCollection = delegate { fieldAccessor.Value = originalBackingCollection; bool flag = getValidationFlag(); setValidationFlag(false); NameValueCollection col = propertyAccessor(); setValidationFlag(flag); storeInUnvalidatedCollection(new NameValueCollection(col)); return col; }; makeCollectionLazy = delegate (NameValueCollection col) { simpleValidateString(col[null], null); LazilyValidatingArrayList array = new LazilyValidatingArrayList(_reflectionUtil.GetNameObjectCollectionEntriesArray(col), simpleValidateString); _reflectionUtil.SetNameObjectCollectionEntriesArray(col, array); LazilyValidatingHashtable table = new LazilyValidatingHashtable(_reflectionUtil.GetNameObjectCollectionEntriesTable(col), simpleValidateString); _reflectionUtil.SetNameObjectCollectionEntriesTable(col, table); }; Func<bool> hasValidationFired = func; Action disableValidation = delegate { setValidationFlag(false); }; Func<int> fillInActualFormContents = delegate { NameValueCollection values = getActualCollection(); makeCollectionLazy(values); return values.Count; }; DeferredCountArrayList list = new DeferredCountArrayList(hasValidationFired, disableValidation, fillInActualFormContents); NameValueCollection target = _reflectionUtil.NewHttpValueCollection(); _reflectionUtil.SetNameObjectCollectionEntriesArray(target, list); fieldAccessor.Value = target; } }             Hopefully the above code will help you to understand the internal working of granular request validation. It is also important to note that Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure assembly invokes HttpRequest.ValidateInput method internally. For further understanding please see Microsoft.Web.Infrastructure assembly code. Finally you may ask: at which stage ASP NET MVC 3 will invoke these methods. You will find this answer by looking at the following method source,   Unvalidated extension method for HttpRequest class defined in System.Web.Helpers.Validation class. System.Web.Mvc.MvcHandler.ProcessRequestInit method. System.Web.Mvc.ControllerActionInvoker.ValidateRequest method. System.Web.WebPages.WebPageHttpHandler.ProcessRequestInternal method.       Summary:             ASP.NET helps in preventing XSS attack using a feature called request validation. In this article, I showed you how you can use granular request validation in ASP.NET MVC 3. I explain you the internal working of  granular request validation. Hope you will enjoy this article too.   SyntaxHighlighter.all()

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  • Introduction to the ASP.NET Web API

    - by Stephen.Walther
    I am a huge fan of Ajax. If you want to create a great experience for the users of your website – regardless of whether you are building an ASP.NET MVC or an ASP.NET Web Forms site — then you need to use Ajax. Otherwise, you are just being cruel to your customers. We use Ajax extensively in several of the ASP.NET applications that my company, Superexpert.com, builds. We expose data from the server as JSON and use jQuery to retrieve and update that data from the browser. One challenge, when building an ASP.NET website, is deciding on which technology to use to expose JSON data from the server. For example, how do you expose a list of products from the server as JSON so you can retrieve the list of products with jQuery? You have a number of options (too many options) including ASMX Web services, WCF Web Services, ASHX Generic Handlers, WCF Data Services, and MVC controller actions. Fortunately, the world has just been simplified. With the release of ASP.NET 4 Beta, Microsoft has introduced a new technology for exposing JSON from the server named the ASP.NET Web API. You can use the ASP.NET Web API with both ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web Forms applications. The goal of this blog post is to provide you with a brief overview of the features of the new ASP.NET Web API. You learn how to use the ASP.NET Web API to retrieve, insert, update, and delete database records with jQuery. We also discuss how you can perform form validation when using the Web API and use OData when using the Web API. Creating an ASP.NET Web API Controller The ASP.NET Web API exposes JSON data through a new type of controller called an API controller. You can add an API controller to an existing ASP.NET MVC 4 project through the standard Add Controller dialog box. Right-click your Controllers folder and select Add, Controller. In the dialog box, name your controller MovieController and select the Empty API controller template: A brand new API controller looks like this: using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Linq; using System.Net.Http; using System.Web.Http; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Controllers { public class MovieController : ApiController { } } An API controller, unlike a standard MVC controller, derives from the base ApiController class instead of the base Controller class. Using jQuery to Retrieve, Insert, Update, and Delete Data Let’s create an Ajaxified Movie Database application. We’ll retrieve, insert, update, and delete movies using jQuery with the MovieController which we just created. Our Movie model class looks like this: namespace MyWebAPIApp.Models { public class Movie { public int Id { get; set; } public string Title { get; set; } public string Director { get; set; } } } Our application will consist of a single HTML page named Movies.html. We’ll place all of our jQuery code in the Movies.html page. Getting a Single Record with the ASP.NET Web API To support retrieving a single movie from the server, we need to add a Get method to our API controller: using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Linq; using System.Net; using System.Net.Http; using System.Web.Http; using MyWebAPIApp.Models; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Controllers { public class MovieController : ApiController { public Movie GetMovie(int id) { // Return movie by id if (id == 1) { return new Movie { Id = 1, Title = "Star Wars", Director = "Lucas" }; } // Otherwise, movie was not found throw new HttpResponseException(HttpStatusCode.NotFound); } } } In the code above, the GetMovie() method accepts the Id of a movie. If the Id has the value 1 then the method returns the movie Star Wars. Otherwise, the method throws an exception and returns 404 Not Found HTTP status code. After building your project, you can invoke the MovieController.GetMovie() method by entering the following URL in your web browser address bar: http://localhost:[port]/api/movie/1 (You’ll need to enter the correct randomly generated port). In the URL api/movie/1, the first “api” segment indicates that this is a Web API route. The “movie” segment indicates that the MovieController should be invoked. You do not specify the name of the action. Instead, the HTTP method used to make the request – GET, POST, PUT, DELETE — is used to identify the action to invoke. The ASP.NET Web API uses different routing conventions than normal ASP.NET MVC controllers. When you make an HTTP GET request then any API controller method with a name that starts with “GET” is invoked. So, we could have called our API controller action GetPopcorn() instead of GetMovie() and it would still be invoked by the URL api/movie/1. The default route for the Web API is defined in the Global.asax file and it looks like this: routes.MapHttpRoute( name: "DefaultApi", routeTemplate: "api/{controller}/{id}", defaults: new { id = RouteParameter.Optional } ); We can invoke our GetMovie() controller action with the jQuery code in the following HTML page: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Get Movie</title> </head> <body> <div> Title: <span id="title"></span> </div> <div> Director: <span id="director"></span> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> getMovie(1, function (movie) { $("#title").html(movie.Title); $("#director").html(movie.Director); }); function getMovie(id, callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: { id: id }, type: "GET", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 200: function (movie) { callback(movie); }, 404: function () { alert("Not Found!"); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> In the code above, the jQuery $.ajax() method is used to invoke the GetMovie() method. Notice that the Ajax call handles two HTTP response codes. When the GetMove() method successfully returns a movie, the method returns a 200 status code. In that case, the details of the movie are displayed in the HTML page. Otherwise, if the movie is not found, the GetMovie() method returns a 404 status code. In that case, the page simply displays an alert box indicating that the movie was not found (hopefully, you would implement something more graceful in an actual application). You can use your browser’s Developer Tools to see what is going on in the background when you open the HTML page (hit F12 in the most recent version of most browsers). For example, you can use the Network tab in Google Chrome to see the Ajax request which invokes the GetMovie() method: Getting a Set of Records with the ASP.NET Web API Let’s modify our Movie API controller so that it returns a collection of movies. The following Movie controller has a new ListMovies() method which returns a (hard-coded) collection of movies: using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Linq; using System.Net; using System.Net.Http; using System.Web.Http; using MyWebAPIApp.Models; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Controllers { public class MovieController : ApiController { public IEnumerable<Movie> ListMovies() { return new List<Movie> { new Movie {Id=1, Title="Star Wars", Director="Lucas"}, new Movie {Id=1, Title="King Kong", Director="Jackson"}, new Movie {Id=1, Title="Memento", Director="Nolan"} }; } } } Because we named our action ListMovies(), the default Web API route will never match it. Therefore, we need to add the following custom route to our Global.asax file (at the top of the RegisterRoutes() method): routes.MapHttpRoute( name: "ActionApi", routeTemplate: "api/{controller}/{action}/{id}", defaults: new { id = RouteParameter.Optional } ); This route enables us to invoke the ListMovies() method with the URL /api/movie/listmovies. Now that we have exposed our collection of movies from the server, we can retrieve and display the list of movies using jQuery in our HTML page: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>List Movies</title> </head> <body> <div id="movies"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> listMovies(function (movies) { var strMovies=""; $.each(movies, function (index, movie) { strMovies += "<div>" + movie.Title + "</div>"; }); $("#movies").html(strMovies); }); function listMovies(callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie/ListMovies", data: {}, type: "GET", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", }).then(function(movies){ callback(movies); }); } </script> </body> </html>     Inserting a Record with the ASP.NET Web API Now let’s modify our Movie API controller so it supports creating new records: public HttpResponseMessage<Movie> PostMovie(Movie movieToCreate) { // Add movieToCreate to the database and update primary key movieToCreate.Id = 23; // Build a response that contains the location of the new movie var response = new HttpResponseMessage<Movie>(movieToCreate, HttpStatusCode.Created); var relativePath = "/api/movie/" + movieToCreate.Id; response.Headers.Location = new Uri(Request.RequestUri, relativePath); return response; } The PostMovie() method in the code above accepts a movieToCreate parameter. We don’t actually store the new movie anywhere. In real life, you will want to call a service method to store the new movie in a database. When you create a new resource, such as a new movie, you should return the location of the new resource. In the code above, the URL where the new movie can be retrieved is assigned to the Location header returned in the PostMovie() response. Because the name of our method starts with “Post”, we don’t need to create a custom route. The PostMovie() method can be invoked with the URL /Movie/PostMovie – just as long as the method is invoked within the context of a HTTP POST request. The following HTML page invokes the PostMovie() method. <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Create Movie</title> </head> <body> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> var movieToCreate = { title: "The Hobbit", director: "Jackson" }; createMovie(movieToCreate, function (newMovie) { alert("New movie created with an Id of " + newMovie.Id); }); function createMovie(movieToCreate, callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify( movieToCreate ), type: "POST", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 201: function (newMovie) { callback(newMovie); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> This page creates a new movie (the Hobbit) by calling the createMovie() method. The page simply displays the Id of the new movie: The HTTP Post operation is performed with the following call to the jQuery $.ajax() method: $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify( movieToCreate ), type: "POST", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 201: function (newMovie) { callback(newMovie); } } }); Notice that the type of Ajax request is a POST request. This is required to match the PostMovie() method. Notice, furthermore, that the new movie is converted into JSON using JSON.stringify(). The JSON.stringify() method takes a JavaScript object and converts it into a JSON string. Finally, notice that success is represented with a 201 status code. The HttpStatusCode.Created value returned from the PostMovie() method returns a 201 status code. Updating a Record with the ASP.NET Web API Here’s how we can modify the Movie API controller to support updating an existing record. In this case, we need to create a PUT method to handle an HTTP PUT request: public void PutMovie(Movie movieToUpdate) { if (movieToUpdate.Id == 1) { // Update the movie in the database return; } // If you can't find the movie to update throw new HttpResponseException(HttpStatusCode.NotFound); } Unlike our PostMovie() method, the PutMovie() method does not return a result. The action either updates the database or, if the movie cannot be found, returns an HTTP Status code of 404. The following HTML page illustrates how you can invoke the PutMovie() method: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Put Movie</title> </head> <body> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> var movieToUpdate = { id: 1, title: "The Hobbit", director: "Jackson" }; updateMovie(movieToUpdate, function () { alert("Movie updated!"); }); function updateMovie(movieToUpdate, callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify(movieToUpdate), type: "PUT", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 200: function () { callback(); }, 404: function () { alert("Movie not found!"); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> Deleting a Record with the ASP.NET Web API Here’s the code for deleting a movie: public HttpResponseMessage DeleteMovie(int id) { // Delete the movie from the database // Return status code return new HttpResponseMessage(HttpStatusCode.NoContent); } This method simply deletes the movie (well, not really, but pretend that it does) and returns a No Content status code (204). The following page illustrates how you can invoke the DeleteMovie() action: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Delete Movie</title> </head> <body> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> deleteMovie(1, function () { alert("Movie deleted!"); }); function deleteMovie(id, callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify({id:id}), type: "DELETE", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 204: function () { callback(); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> Performing Validation How do you perform form validation when using the ASP.NET Web API? Because validation in ASP.NET MVC is driven by the Default Model Binder, and because the Web API uses the Default Model Binder, you get validation for free. Let’s modify our Movie class so it includes some of the standard validation attributes: using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Models { public class Movie { public int Id { get; set; } [Required(ErrorMessage="Title is required!")] [StringLength(5, ErrorMessage="Title cannot be more than 5 characters!")] public string Title { get; set; } [Required(ErrorMessage="Director is required!")] public string Director { get; set; } } } In the code above, the Required validation attribute is used to make both the Title and Director properties required. The StringLength attribute is used to require the length of the movie title to be no more than 5 characters. Now let’s modify our PostMovie() action to validate a movie before adding the movie to the database: public HttpResponseMessage PostMovie(Movie movieToCreate) { // Validate movie if (!ModelState.IsValid) { var errors = new JsonArray(); foreach (var prop in ModelState.Values) { if (prop.Errors.Any()) { errors.Add(prop.Errors.First().ErrorMessage); } } return new HttpResponseMessage<JsonValue>(errors, HttpStatusCode.BadRequest); } // Add movieToCreate to the database and update primary key movieToCreate.Id = 23; // Build a response that contains the location of the new movie var response = new HttpResponseMessage<Movie>(movieToCreate, HttpStatusCode.Created); var relativePath = "/api/movie/" + movieToCreate.Id; response.Headers.Location = new Uri(Request.RequestUri, relativePath); return response; } If ModelState.IsValid has the value false then the errors in model state are copied to a new JSON array. Each property – such as the Title and Director property — can have multiple errors. In the code above, only the first error message is copied over. The JSON array is returned with a Bad Request status code (400 status code). The following HTML page illustrates how you can invoke our modified PostMovie() action and display any error messages: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Create Movie</title> </head> <body> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> var movieToCreate = { title: "The Hobbit", director: "" }; createMovie(movieToCreate, function (newMovie) { alert("New movie created with an Id of " + newMovie.Id); }, function (errors) { var strErrors = ""; $.each(errors, function(index, err) { strErrors += "*" + err + "\n"; }); alert(strErrors); } ); function createMovie(movieToCreate, success, fail) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify(movieToCreate), type: "POST", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 201: function (newMovie) { success(newMovie); }, 400: function (xhr) { var errors = JSON.parse(xhr.responseText); fail(errors); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> The createMovie() function performs an Ajax request and handles either a 201 or a 400 status code from the response. If a 201 status code is returned then there were no validation errors and the new movie was created. If, on the other hand, a 400 status code is returned then there was a validation error. The validation errors are retrieved from the XmlHttpRequest responseText property. The error messages are displayed in an alert: (Please don’t use JavaScript alert dialogs to display validation errors, I just did it this way out of pure laziness) This validation code in our PostMovie() method is pretty generic. There is nothing specific about this code to the PostMovie() method. In the following video, Jon Galloway demonstrates how to create a global Validation filter which can be used with any API controller action: http://www.asp.net/web-api/overview/web-api-routing-and-actions/video-custom-validation His validation filter looks like this: using System.Json; using System.Linq; using System.Net; using System.Net.Http; using System.Web.Http.Controllers; using System.Web.Http.Filters; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Filters { public class ValidationActionFilter:ActionFilterAttribute { public override void OnActionExecuting(HttpActionContext actionContext) { var modelState = actionContext.ModelState; if (!modelState.IsValid) { dynamic errors = new JsonObject(); foreach (var key in modelState.Keys) { var state = modelState[key]; if (state.Errors.Any()) { errors[key] = state.Errors.First().ErrorMessage; } } actionContext.Response = new HttpResponseMessage<JsonValue>(errors, HttpStatusCode.BadRequest); } } } } And you can register the validation filter in the Application_Start() method in the Global.asax file like this: GlobalConfiguration.Configuration.Filters.Add(new ValidationActionFilter()); After you register the Validation filter, validation error messages are returned from any API controller action method automatically when validation fails. You don’t need to add any special logic to any of your API controller actions to take advantage of the filter. Querying using OData The OData protocol is an open protocol created by Microsoft which enables you to perform queries over the web. The official website for OData is located here: http://odata.org For example, here are some of the query options which you can use with OData: · $orderby – Enables you to retrieve results in a certain order. · $top – Enables you to retrieve a certain number of results. · $skip – Enables you to skip over a certain number of results (use with $top for paging). · $filter – Enables you to filter the results returned. The ASP.NET Web API supports a subset of the OData protocol. You can use all of the query options listed above when interacting with an API controller. The only requirement is that the API controller action returns its data as IQueryable. For example, the following Movie controller has an action named GetMovies() which returns an IQueryable of movies: public IQueryable<Movie> GetMovies() { return new List<Movie> { new Movie {Id=1, Title="Star Wars", Director="Lucas"}, new Movie {Id=2, Title="King Kong", Director="Jackson"}, new Movie {Id=3, Title="Willow", Director="Lucas"}, new Movie {Id=4, Title="Shrek", Director="Smith"}, new Movie {Id=5, Title="Memento", Director="Nolan"} }.AsQueryable(); } If you enter the following URL in your browser: /api/movie?$top=2&$orderby=Title Then you will limit the movies returned to the top 2 in order of the movie Title. You will get the following results: By using the $top option in combination with the $skip option, you can enable client-side paging. For example, you can use $top and $skip to page through thousands of products, 10 products at a time. The $filter query option is very powerful. You can use this option to filter the results from a query. Here are some examples: Return every movie directed by Lucas: /api/movie?$filter=Director eq ‘Lucas’ Return every movie which has a title which starts with ‘S’: /api/movie?$filter=startswith(Title,’S') Return every movie which has an Id greater than 2: /api/movie?$filter=Id gt 2 The complete documentation for the $filter option is located here: http://www.odata.org/developers/protocols/uri-conventions#FilterSystemQueryOption Summary The goal of this blog entry was to provide you with an overview of the new ASP.NET Web API introduced with the Beta release of ASP.NET 4. In this post, I discussed how you can retrieve, insert, update, and delete data by using jQuery with the Web API. I also discussed how you can use the standard validation attributes with the Web API. You learned how to return validation error messages to the client and display the error messages using jQuery. Finally, we briefly discussed how the ASP.NET Web API supports the OData protocol. For example, you learned how to filter records returned from an API controller action by using the $filter query option. I’m excited about the new Web API. This is a feature which I expect to use with almost every ASP.NET application which I build in the future.

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  • Introduction to the ASP.NET Web API

    - by Stephen.Walther
    I am a huge fan of Ajax. If you want to create a great experience for the users of your website – regardless of whether you are building an ASP.NET MVC or an ASP.NET Web Forms site — then you need to use Ajax. Otherwise, you are just being cruel to your customers. We use Ajax extensively in several of the ASP.NET applications that my company, Superexpert.com, builds. We expose data from the server as JSON and use jQuery to retrieve and update that data from the browser. One challenge, when building an ASP.NET website, is deciding on which technology to use to expose JSON data from the server. For example, how do you expose a list of products from the server as JSON so you can retrieve the list of products with jQuery? You have a number of options (too many options) including ASMX Web services, WCF Web Services, ASHX Generic Handlers, WCF Data Services, and MVC controller actions. Fortunately, the world has just been simplified. With the release of ASP.NET 4 Beta, Microsoft has introduced a new technology for exposing JSON from the server named the ASP.NET Web API. You can use the ASP.NET Web API with both ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web Forms applications. The goal of this blog post is to provide you with a brief overview of the features of the new ASP.NET Web API. You learn how to use the ASP.NET Web API to retrieve, insert, update, and delete database records with jQuery. We also discuss how you can perform form validation when using the Web API and use OData when using the Web API. Creating an ASP.NET Web API Controller The ASP.NET Web API exposes JSON data through a new type of controller called an API controller. You can add an API controller to an existing ASP.NET MVC 4 project through the standard Add Controller dialog box. Right-click your Controllers folder and select Add, Controller. In the dialog box, name your controller MovieController and select the Empty API controller template: A brand new API controller looks like this: using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Linq; using System.Net.Http; using System.Web.Http; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Controllers { public class MovieController : ApiController { } } An API controller, unlike a standard MVC controller, derives from the base ApiController class instead of the base Controller class. Using jQuery to Retrieve, Insert, Update, and Delete Data Let’s create an Ajaxified Movie Database application. We’ll retrieve, insert, update, and delete movies using jQuery with the MovieController which we just created. Our Movie model class looks like this: namespace MyWebAPIApp.Models { public class Movie { public int Id { get; set; } public string Title { get; set; } public string Director { get; set; } } } Our application will consist of a single HTML page named Movies.html. We’ll place all of our jQuery code in the Movies.html page. Getting a Single Record with the ASP.NET Web API To support retrieving a single movie from the server, we need to add a Get method to our API controller: using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Linq; using System.Net; using System.Net.Http; using System.Web.Http; using MyWebAPIApp.Models; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Controllers { public class MovieController : ApiController { public Movie GetMovie(int id) { // Return movie by id if (id == 1) { return new Movie { Id = 1, Title = "Star Wars", Director = "Lucas" }; } // Otherwise, movie was not found throw new HttpResponseException(HttpStatusCode.NotFound); } } } In the code above, the GetMovie() method accepts the Id of a movie. If the Id has the value 1 then the method returns the movie Star Wars. Otherwise, the method throws an exception and returns 404 Not Found HTTP status code. After building your project, you can invoke the MovieController.GetMovie() method by entering the following URL in your web browser address bar: http://localhost:[port]/api/movie/1 (You’ll need to enter the correct randomly generated port). In the URL api/movie/1, the first “api” segment indicates that this is a Web API route. The “movie” segment indicates that the MovieController should be invoked. You do not specify the name of the action. Instead, the HTTP method used to make the request – GET, POST, PUT, DELETE — is used to identify the action to invoke. The ASP.NET Web API uses different routing conventions than normal ASP.NET MVC controllers. When you make an HTTP GET request then any API controller method with a name that starts with “GET” is invoked. So, we could have called our API controller action GetPopcorn() instead of GetMovie() and it would still be invoked by the URL api/movie/1. The default route for the Web API is defined in the Global.asax file and it looks like this: routes.MapHttpRoute( name: "DefaultApi", routeTemplate: "api/{controller}/{id}", defaults: new { id = RouteParameter.Optional } ); We can invoke our GetMovie() controller action with the jQuery code in the following HTML page: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Get Movie</title> </head> <body> <div> Title: <span id="title"></span> </div> <div> Director: <span id="director"></span> </div> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> getMovie(1, function (movie) { $("#title").html(movie.Title); $("#director").html(movie.Director); }); function getMovie(id, callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: { id: id }, type: "GET", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 200: function (movie) { callback(movie); }, 404: function () { alert("Not Found!"); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> In the code above, the jQuery $.ajax() method is used to invoke the GetMovie() method. Notice that the Ajax call handles two HTTP response codes. When the GetMove() method successfully returns a movie, the method returns a 200 status code. In that case, the details of the movie are displayed in the HTML page. Otherwise, if the movie is not found, the GetMovie() method returns a 404 status code. In that case, the page simply displays an alert box indicating that the movie was not found (hopefully, you would implement something more graceful in an actual application). You can use your browser’s Developer Tools to see what is going on in the background when you open the HTML page (hit F12 in the most recent version of most browsers). For example, you can use the Network tab in Google Chrome to see the Ajax request which invokes the GetMovie() method: Getting a Set of Records with the ASP.NET Web API Let’s modify our Movie API controller so that it returns a collection of movies. The following Movie controller has a new ListMovies() method which returns a (hard-coded) collection of movies: using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using System.Linq; using System.Net; using System.Net.Http; using System.Web.Http; using MyWebAPIApp.Models; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Controllers { public class MovieController : ApiController { public IEnumerable<Movie> ListMovies() { return new List<Movie> { new Movie {Id=1, Title="Star Wars", Director="Lucas"}, new Movie {Id=1, Title="King Kong", Director="Jackson"}, new Movie {Id=1, Title="Memento", Director="Nolan"} }; } } } Because we named our action ListMovies(), the default Web API route will never match it. Therefore, we need to add the following custom route to our Global.asax file (at the top of the RegisterRoutes() method): routes.MapHttpRoute( name: "ActionApi", routeTemplate: "api/{controller}/{action}/{id}", defaults: new { id = RouteParameter.Optional } ); This route enables us to invoke the ListMovies() method with the URL /api/movie/listmovies. Now that we have exposed our collection of movies from the server, we can retrieve and display the list of movies using jQuery in our HTML page: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>List Movies</title> </head> <body> <div id="movies"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> listMovies(function (movies) { var strMovies=""; $.each(movies, function (index, movie) { strMovies += "<div>" + movie.Title + "</div>"; }); $("#movies").html(strMovies); }); function listMovies(callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie/ListMovies", data: {}, type: "GET", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", }).then(function(movies){ callback(movies); }); } </script> </body> </html>     Inserting a Record with the ASP.NET Web API Now let’s modify our Movie API controller so it supports creating new records: public HttpResponseMessage<Movie> PostMovie(Movie movieToCreate) { // Add movieToCreate to the database and update primary key movieToCreate.Id = 23; // Build a response that contains the location of the new movie var response = new HttpResponseMessage<Movie>(movieToCreate, HttpStatusCode.Created); var relativePath = "/api/movie/" + movieToCreate.Id; response.Headers.Location = new Uri(Request.RequestUri, relativePath); return response; } The PostMovie() method in the code above accepts a movieToCreate parameter. We don’t actually store the new movie anywhere. In real life, you will want to call a service method to store the new movie in a database. When you create a new resource, such as a new movie, you should return the location of the new resource. In the code above, the URL where the new movie can be retrieved is assigned to the Location header returned in the PostMovie() response. Because the name of our method starts with “Post”, we don’t need to create a custom route. The PostMovie() method can be invoked with the URL /Movie/PostMovie – just as long as the method is invoked within the context of a HTTP POST request. The following HTML page invokes the PostMovie() method. <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Create Movie</title> </head> <body> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> var movieToCreate = { title: "The Hobbit", director: "Jackson" }; createMovie(movieToCreate, function (newMovie) { alert("New movie created with an Id of " + newMovie.Id); }); function createMovie(movieToCreate, callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify( movieToCreate ), type: "POST", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 201: function (newMovie) { callback(newMovie); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> This page creates a new movie (the Hobbit) by calling the createMovie() method. The page simply displays the Id of the new movie: The HTTP Post operation is performed with the following call to the jQuery $.ajax() method: $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify( movieToCreate ), type: "POST", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 201: function (newMovie) { callback(newMovie); } } }); Notice that the type of Ajax request is a POST request. This is required to match the PostMovie() method. Notice, furthermore, that the new movie is converted into JSON using JSON.stringify(). The JSON.stringify() method takes a JavaScript object and converts it into a JSON string. Finally, notice that success is represented with a 201 status code. The HttpStatusCode.Created value returned from the PostMovie() method returns a 201 status code. Updating a Record with the ASP.NET Web API Here’s how we can modify the Movie API controller to support updating an existing record. In this case, we need to create a PUT method to handle an HTTP PUT request: public void PutMovie(Movie movieToUpdate) { if (movieToUpdate.Id == 1) { // Update the movie in the database return; } // If you can't find the movie to update throw new HttpResponseException(HttpStatusCode.NotFound); } Unlike our PostMovie() method, the PutMovie() method does not return a result. The action either updates the database or, if the movie cannot be found, returns an HTTP Status code of 404. The following HTML page illustrates how you can invoke the PutMovie() method: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Put Movie</title> </head> <body> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> var movieToUpdate = { id: 1, title: "The Hobbit", director: "Jackson" }; updateMovie(movieToUpdate, function () { alert("Movie updated!"); }); function updateMovie(movieToUpdate, callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify(movieToUpdate), type: "PUT", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 200: function () { callback(); }, 404: function () { alert("Movie not found!"); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> Deleting a Record with the ASP.NET Web API Here’s the code for deleting a movie: public HttpResponseMessage DeleteMovie(int id) { // Delete the movie from the database // Return status code return new HttpResponseMessage(HttpStatusCode.NoContent); } This method simply deletes the movie (well, not really, but pretend that it does) and returns a No Content status code (204). The following page illustrates how you can invoke the DeleteMovie() action: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Delete Movie</title> </head> <body> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> deleteMovie(1, function () { alert("Movie deleted!"); }); function deleteMovie(id, callback) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify({id:id}), type: "DELETE", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 204: function () { callback(); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> Performing Validation How do you perform form validation when using the ASP.NET Web API? Because validation in ASP.NET MVC is driven by the Default Model Binder, and because the Web API uses the Default Model Binder, you get validation for free. Let’s modify our Movie class so it includes some of the standard validation attributes: using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Models { public class Movie { public int Id { get; set; } [Required(ErrorMessage="Title is required!")] [StringLength(5, ErrorMessage="Title cannot be more than 5 characters!")] public string Title { get; set; } [Required(ErrorMessage="Director is required!")] public string Director { get; set; } } } In the code above, the Required validation attribute is used to make both the Title and Director properties required. The StringLength attribute is used to require the length of the movie title to be no more than 5 characters. Now let’s modify our PostMovie() action to validate a movie before adding the movie to the database: public HttpResponseMessage PostMovie(Movie movieToCreate) { // Validate movie if (!ModelState.IsValid) { var errors = new JsonArray(); foreach (var prop in ModelState.Values) { if (prop.Errors.Any()) { errors.Add(prop.Errors.First().ErrorMessage); } } return new HttpResponseMessage<JsonValue>(errors, HttpStatusCode.BadRequest); } // Add movieToCreate to the database and update primary key movieToCreate.Id = 23; // Build a response that contains the location of the new movie var response = new HttpResponseMessage<Movie>(movieToCreate, HttpStatusCode.Created); var relativePath = "/api/movie/" + movieToCreate.Id; response.Headers.Location = new Uri(Request.RequestUri, relativePath); return response; } If ModelState.IsValid has the value false then the errors in model state are copied to a new JSON array. Each property – such as the Title and Director property — can have multiple errors. In the code above, only the first error message is copied over. The JSON array is returned with a Bad Request status code (400 status code). The following HTML page illustrates how you can invoke our modified PostMovie() action and display any error messages: <!DOCTYPE html> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <title>Create Movie</title> </head> <body> <script type="text/javascript" src="Scripts/jquery-1.6.2.min.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> var movieToCreate = { title: "The Hobbit", director: "" }; createMovie(movieToCreate, function (newMovie) { alert("New movie created with an Id of " + newMovie.Id); }, function (errors) { var strErrors = ""; $.each(errors, function(index, err) { strErrors += "*" + err + "n"; }); alert(strErrors); } ); function createMovie(movieToCreate, success, fail) { $.ajax({ url: "/api/Movie", data: JSON.stringify(movieToCreate), type: "POST", contentType: "application/json;charset=utf-8", statusCode: { 201: function (newMovie) { success(newMovie); }, 400: function (xhr) { var errors = JSON.parse(xhr.responseText); fail(errors); } } }); } </script> </body> </html> The createMovie() function performs an Ajax request and handles either a 201 or a 400 status code from the response. If a 201 status code is returned then there were no validation errors and the new movie was created. If, on the other hand, a 400 status code is returned then there was a validation error. The validation errors are retrieved from the XmlHttpRequest responseText property. The error messages are displayed in an alert: (Please don’t use JavaScript alert dialogs to display validation errors, I just did it this way out of pure laziness) This validation code in our PostMovie() method is pretty generic. There is nothing specific about this code to the PostMovie() method. In the following video, Jon Galloway demonstrates how to create a global Validation filter which can be used with any API controller action: http://www.asp.net/web-api/overview/web-api-routing-and-actions/video-custom-validation His validation filter looks like this: using System.Json; using System.Linq; using System.Net; using System.Net.Http; using System.Web.Http.Controllers; using System.Web.Http.Filters; namespace MyWebAPIApp.Filters { public class ValidationActionFilter:ActionFilterAttribute { public override void OnActionExecuting(HttpActionContext actionContext) { var modelState = actionContext.ModelState; if (!modelState.IsValid) { dynamic errors = new JsonObject(); foreach (var key in modelState.Keys) { var state = modelState[key]; if (state.Errors.Any()) { errors[key] = state.Errors.First().ErrorMessage; } } actionContext.Response = new HttpResponseMessage<JsonValue>(errors, HttpStatusCode.BadRequest); } } } } And you can register the validation filter in the Application_Start() method in the Global.asax file like this: GlobalConfiguration.Configuration.Filters.Add(new ValidationActionFilter()); After you register the Validation filter, validation error messages are returned from any API controller action method automatically when validation fails. You don’t need to add any special logic to any of your API controller actions to take advantage of the filter. Querying using OData The OData protocol is an open protocol created by Microsoft which enables you to perform queries over the web. The official website for OData is located here: http://odata.org For example, here are some of the query options which you can use with OData: · $orderby – Enables you to retrieve results in a certain order. · $top – Enables you to retrieve a certain number of results. · $skip – Enables you to skip over a certain number of results (use with $top for paging). · $filter – Enables you to filter the results returned. The ASP.NET Web API supports a subset of the OData protocol. You can use all of the query options listed above when interacting with an API controller. The only requirement is that the API controller action returns its data as IQueryable. For example, the following Movie controller has an action named GetMovies() which returns an IQueryable of movies: public IQueryable<Movie> GetMovies() { return new List<Movie> { new Movie {Id=1, Title="Star Wars", Director="Lucas"}, new Movie {Id=2, Title="King Kong", Director="Jackson"}, new Movie {Id=3, Title="Willow", Director="Lucas"}, new Movie {Id=4, Title="Shrek", Director="Smith"}, new Movie {Id=5, Title="Memento", Director="Nolan"} }.AsQueryable(); } If you enter the following URL in your browser: /api/movie?$top=2&$orderby=Title Then you will limit the movies returned to the top 2 in order of the movie Title. You will get the following results: By using the $top option in combination with the $skip option, you can enable client-side paging. For example, you can use $top and $skip to page through thousands of products, 10 products at a time. The $filter query option is very powerful. You can use this option to filter the results from a query. Here are some examples: Return every movie directed by Lucas: /api/movie?$filter=Director eq ‘Lucas’ Return every movie which has a title which starts with ‘S’: /api/movie?$filter=startswith(Title,’S') Return every movie which has an Id greater than 2: /api/movie?$filter=Id gt 2 The complete documentation for the $filter option is located here: http://www.odata.org/developers/protocols/uri-conventions#FilterSystemQueryOption Summary The goal of this blog entry was to provide you with an overview of the new ASP.NET Web API introduced with the Beta release of ASP.NET 4. In this post, I discussed how you can retrieve, insert, update, and delete data by using jQuery with the Web API. I also discussed how you can use the standard validation attributes with the Web API. You learned how to return validation error messages to the client and display the error messages using jQuery. Finally, we briefly discussed how the ASP.NET Web API supports the OData protocol. For example, you learned how to filter records returned from an API controller action by using the $filter query option. I’m excited about the new Web API. This is a feature which I expect to use with almost every ASP.NET application which I build in the future.

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  • Can I run asp.net mvc 1 on .net 4?

    - by Jenea
    I have a asp.net mvc site that references a couple of libraries. Recently I discovered that it is necessary to migrate those dlls to .net 4 (I mean compile them for .net 4). Can I run asp.net mvc 1 on .net 4. Migration to asp.net mvc 2 is postponed because of the removal of response.WriteSubstitution(...) method.

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  • ASP.NET MVC3 checkbox dropdownlist create [migrated]

    - by user95381
    i'm new in asp.net MVC and I/m use view model to poppulate the dropdown list and group of checkboxes. I use SQL Server 2012, where have many to many relationships between Students - Books; Student - Cities. I need collect StudentName, one city and many books for one student. I have next questions: 1. How can I get the values from database to my StudentBookCityViewModel? 2. How can I save the values to my database in [HttpPost] Create method? Here is the code: MODEL public class Student { public int StudentId { get; set; } public string StudentName { get; set; } public ICollection<Book> Books { get; set; } public ICollection<City> Cities { get; set; } } public class Book { public int BookId { get; set; } public string BookName { get; set; } public bool IsSelected { get; set; } public ICollection<Student> Students { get; set; } } public class City { public int CityId { get; set; } public string CityName { get; set; } public bool IsSelected { get; set; } public ICollection<Student> Students { get; set; } } VIEW MODEL public class StudentBookCityViewModel { public string StudentName { get; set; } public IList<Book> Books { get; set; } public StudentBookCityViewModel() { Books = new[] { new Book {BookName = "Title1", IsSelected = false}, new Book {BookName = "Title2", IsSelected = false}, new Book {BookName = "Title3", IsSelected = false} }.ToList(); } public string City { get; set; } public IEnumerable<SelectListItem> CityValues { get { return new[] { new SelectListItem {Value = "Value1", Text = "Text1"}, new SelectListItem {Value = "Value2", Text = "Text2"}, new SelectListItem {Value = "Value3", Text = "Text3"} }; } } } Context public class EFDbContext : DbContext{ public EFDbContext(string connectionString) { Database.Connection.ConnectionString = connectionString; } public DbSet<Book> Books { get; set; } public DbSet<Student> Students { get; set; } public DbSet<City> Cities { get; set; } protected override void OnModelCreating(DbModelBuilder modelBuilder) { modelBuilder.Entity<Book>() .HasMany(x => x.Students).WithMany(x => x.Books) .Map(x => x.MapLeftKey("BookId").MapRightKey("StudentId").ToTable("StudentBooks")); modelBuilder.Entity<City>() .HasMany(x => x.Students).WithMany(x => x.Cities) .Map(x => x.MapLeftKey("CityId").MapRightKey("StudentId").ToTable("StudentCities")); } } Controller public ActionResult Create() { return View(); } [HttpPost] public ActionResult Create() { //I don't understand how I can save values to db context.SaveChanges(); return RedirectToAction("Index"); } View @model UsingEFNew.ViewModels.StudentBookCityViewModel @using (Html.BeginForm()) { Your Name: @Html.TextBoxFor(model = model.StudentName) <div>Genre:</div> <div> @Html.DropDownListFor(model => model.City, Model.CityValues) </div> <div>Books:</div> <div> @for (int i = 0; i < Model.Books.Count; i++) { <div> @Html.HiddenFor(x => x.Books[i].BookId) @Html.CheckBoxFor(x => x.Books[i].IsSelected) @Html.LabelFor(x => x.Books[i].IsSelected, Model.Books[i].BookName) </div> } </div> <div> <input id="btnSubmit" type="submit" value="Submit" /> </div> </div> }

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  • Azure, don't give me multiple VMs, give me one elastic VM

    - by FransBouma
    Yesterday, Microsoft revealed new major features for Windows Azure (see ScottGu's post). It all looks shiny and great, but after reading most of the material describing the new features, I still find the overall idea behind all of it flawed: why should I care on how much VMs my web app runs? Isn't that a problem to solve for the Windows Azure engineers / software? And what if I need the file system, why can't I simply get a virtual filesystem ? To illustrate my point, let's use a real example: a product website with a customer system/database and next to it a support site with accompanying database. Both are written in .NET, using ASP.NET and use a SQL Server database each. The product website offers files to download by customers, very simple. You have a couple of options to host these websites: Buy a server, place it in a rack at an ISP and run the sites on that server Use 'shared hosting' with an ISP, which means your sites' appdomains are running on the same machine, as well as the files stored, and the databases are hosted in the same server as the other shared databases. Hire a VM, install your OS of choice at an ISP, and host the sites on that VM, basically the same as the first option, except you don't have a physical server At some cloud-vendor, either host the sites 'shared' or in a VM. See above. With all of those options, scalability is a problem, even the cloud-based ones, though not due to the same reasons: The physical server solution has the obvious problem that if you need more power, you need to buy a bigger server or more servers which requires you to add replication and other overhead Shared hosting solutions are almost always capped on memory usage / traffic and database size: if your sites get too big, you have to move out of the shared hosting environment and start over with one of the other solutions The VM solution, be it a VM at an ISP or 'in the cloud' at e.g. Windows Azure or Amazon, in theory allows scaling out by simply instantiating more VMs, however that too introduces the same overhead problems as with the physical servers: suddenly more than 1 instance runs your sites. If a cloud vendor offers its services in the form of VMs, you won't gain much over having a VM at some ISP: the main problems you have to work around are still there: when you spin up more than one VM, your application must be completely stateless at any moment, including the DB sub system, because what's in memory in instance 1 might not be in memory in instance 2. This might sounds trivial but it's not. A lot of the websites out there started rather small: they were perfectly runnable on a single machine with normal memory and CPU power. After all, you don't need a big machine to run a website with even thousands of users a day. Moving these sites to a multi-VM environment will cause a problem: all the in-memory state they use, all the multi-page transitions they use while keeping state across the transition, they can't do that anymore like they did that on a single machine: state is something of the past, you have to store every byte of state in either a DB or in a viewstate or in a cookie somewhere so with the next request, all state information is available through the request, as nothing is kept in-memory. Our example uses a bunch of files in a file system. Using multiple VMs will require that these files move to a cloud storage system which is mounted in each VM so we don't have to store the files on each VM. This might require different file paths, but this change should be minor. What's perhaps less minor is the maintenance procedure in place on the new type of cloud storage used: instead of ftp-ing into a VM, you might have to update the files using different ways / tools. All in all this makes moving an existing website which was written for an environment that's based around a VM (namely .NET with its CLR) overly cumbersome and problematic: it forces you to refactor your website system to be able to be used 'in the cloud', which is caused by the limited way how e.g. Windows Azure offers its cloud services: in blocks of VMs. Offer a scalable, flexible VM which extends with my needs Instead, cloud vendors should offer simply one VM to me. On that VM I run the websites, store my DB and my files. As it's a virtual machine, how this machine is actually ran on physical hardware (e.g. partitioned), I don't care, as that's the problem for the cloud vendor to solve. If I need more resources, e.g. I have more traffic to my server, way more visitors per day, the VM stretches, like I bought a bigger box. This frees me from the problem which comes with multiple VMs: I don't have any refactoring to do at all: I can simply build my website as if it runs on my local hardware server, upload it to the VM offered by the cloud vendor, install it on the VM and I'm done. "But that might require changes to windows!" Yes, but Microsoft is Windows. Windows Azure is their service, they can make whatever change to what they offer to make it look like it's windows. Yet, they're stuck, like Amazon, in thinking in VMs, which forces developers to 'think ahead' and gamble whether they would need to migrate to a cloud with multiple VMs in the future or not. Which comes down to: gamble whether they should invest time in code / architecture which they might never need. (YAGNI anyone?) So the VM we're talking about, is that a low-level VM which runs a guest OS, or is that VM a different kind of VM? The flexible VM: .NET's CLR ? My example websites are ASP.NET based, which means they run inside a .NET appdomain, on the .NET CLR, which is a VM. The only physical OS resource the sites need is the file system, however this too is accessed through .NET. In short: all the websites see is what .NET allows the websites to see, the world as the websites know it is what .NET shows them and lets them access. How the .NET appdomain is run physically, that's the concern of .NET, not mine. This begs the question why Windows Azure doesn't offer virtual appdomains? Or better: .NET environments which look like one machine but could be physically multiple machines. In such an environment, no change has to be made to the websites to migrate them from a local machine or own server to the cloud to get proper scaling: the .NET VM will simply scale with the need: more memory needed, more CPU power needed, it stretches. What it offers to the application running inside the appdomain is simply increasing, but not fragmented: all resources are available to the application: this means that the problem of how to scale is back to where it should be: with the cloud vendor. "Yeah, great, but what about the databases?" The .NET application communicates with the database server through a .NET ADO.NET provider. Where the database is located is not a problem of the appdomain: the ADO.NET provider has to solve that. I.o.w.: we can host the databases in an environment which offers itself as a single resource and is accessible through one connection string without replication overhead on the outside, and use that environment inside the .NET VM as if it was a single DB. But what about memory replication and other problems? This environment isn't simple, at least not for the cloud vendor. But it is simple for the customer who wants to run his sites in that cloud: no work needed. No refactoring needed of existing code. Upload it, run it. Perhaps I'm dreaming and what I described above isn't possible. Yet, I think if cloud vendors don't move into that direction, what they're offering isn't interesting: it doesn't solve a problem at all, it simply offers a way to instantiate more VMs with the guest OS of choice at the cost of me needing to refactor my website code so it can run in the straight jacket form factor dictated by the cloud vendor. Let's not kid ourselves here: most of us developers will never build a website which needs a truck load of VMs to run it: almost all websites created by developers can run on just a few VMs at most. Yet, the most expensive change is right at the start: moving from one to two VMs. As soon as you have refactored your website code to run across multiple VMs, adding another one is just as easy as clicking a mouse button. But that first step, that's the problem here and as it's right there at the beginning of scaling the website, it's particularly strange that cloud vendors refuse to solve that problem and leave it to the developers to solve that. Which makes migrating 'to the cloud' particularly expensive.

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  • New Bundling and Minification Support (ASP.NET 4.5 Series)

    - by ScottGu
    This is the sixth in a series of blog posts I'm doing on ASP.NET 4.5. The next release of .NET and Visual Studio include a ton of great new features and capabilities.  With ASP.NET 4.5 you'll see a bunch of really nice improvements with both Web Forms and MVC - as well as in the core ASP.NET base foundation that both are built upon. Today’s post covers some of the work we are doing to add built-in support for bundling and minification into ASP.NET - which makes it easy to improve the performance of applications.  This feature can be used by all ASP.NET applications, including both ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web Forms solutions. Basics of Bundling and Minification As more and more people use mobile devices to surf the web, it is becoming increasingly important that the websites and apps we build perform well with them. We’ve all tried loading sites on our smartphones – only to eventually give up in frustration as it loads slowly over a slow cellular network.  If your site/app loads slowly like that, you are likely losing potential customers because of bad performance.  Even with powerful desktop machines, the load time of your site and perceived performance can make an enormous customer perception. Most websites today are made up of multiple JavaScript and CSS files to separate the concerns and keep the code base tight. While this is a good practice from a coding point of view, it often has some unfortunate consequences for the overall performance of the website.  Multiple JavaScript and CSS files require multiple HTTP requests from a browser – which in turn can slow down the performance load time.  Simple Example Below I’ve opened a local website in IE9 and recorded the network traffic using IE’s built-in F12 developer tools. As shown below, the website consists of 5 CSS and 4 JavaScript files which the browser has to download. Each file is currently requested separately by the browser and returned by the server, and the process can take a significant amount of time proportional to the number of files in question. Bundling ASP.NET is adding a feature that makes it easy to “bundle” or “combine” multiple CSS and JavaScript files into fewer HTTP requests. This causes the browser to request a lot fewer files and in turn reduces the time it takes to fetch them.   Below is an updated version of the above sample that takes advantage of this new bundling functionality (making only one request for the JavaScript and one request for the CSS): The browser now has to send fewer requests to the server. The content of the individual files have been bundled/combined into the same response, but the content of the files remains the same - so the overall file size is exactly the same as before the bundling.   But notice how even on a local dev machine (where the network latency between the browser and server is minimal), the act of bundling the CSS and JavaScript files together still manages to reduce the overall page load time by almost 20%.  Over a slow network the performance improvement would be even better. Minification The next release of ASP.NET is also adding a new feature that makes it easy to reduce or “minify” the download size of the content as well.  This is a process that removes whitespace, comments and other unneeded characters from both CSS and JavaScript. The result is smaller files, which will download and load in a browser faster.  The graph below shows the performance gain we are seeing when both bundling and minification are used together: Even on my local dev box (where the network latency is minimal), we now have a 40% performance improvement from where we originally started.  On slow networks (and especially with international customers), the gains would be even more significant. Using Bundling and Minification inside ASP.NET The upcoming release of ASP.NET makes it really easy to take advantage of bundling and minification within projects and see performance gains like in the scenario above. The way it does this allows you to avoid having to run custom tools as part of your build process –  instead ASP.NET has added runtime support to perform the bundling/minification for you dynamically (caching the results to make sure perf is great).  This enables a really clean development experience and makes it super easy to start to take advantage of these new features. Let’s assume that we have a simple project that has 4 JavaScript files and 6 CSS files: Bundling and Minifying the .css files Let’s say you wanted to reference all of the stylesheets in the “Styles” folder above on a page.  Today you’d have to add multiple CSS references to get all of them – which would translate into 6 separate HTTP requests: The new bundling/minification feature now allows you to instead bundle and minify all of the .css files in the Styles folder – simply by sending a URL request to the folder (in this case “styles”) with an appended “/css” path after it.  For example:    This will cause ASP.NET to scan the directory, bundle and minify the .css files within it, and send back a single HTTP response with all of the CSS content to the browser.  You don’t need to run any tools or pre-processor to get this behavior.  This enables you to cleanly separate your CSS into separate logical .css files and maintain a very clean development experience – while not taking a performance hit at runtime for doing so.  The Visual Studio designer will also honor the new bundling/minification logic as well – so you’ll still get a WYSWIYG designer experience inside VS as well. Bundling and Minifying the JavaScript files Like the CSS approach above, if we wanted to bundle and minify all of our JavaScript into a single response we could send a URL request to the folder (in this case “scripts”) with an appended “/js” path after it:   This will cause ASP.NET to scan the directory, bundle and minify the .js files within it, and send back a single HTTP response with all of the JavaScript content to the browser.  Again – no custom tools or builds steps were required in order to get this behavior.  And it works with all browsers. Ordering of Files within a Bundle By default, when files are bundled by ASP.NET they are sorted alphabetically first, just like they are shown in Solution Explorer. Then they are automatically shifted around so that known libraries and their custom extensions such as jQuery, MooTools and Dojo are loaded before anything else. So the default order for the merged bundling of the Scripts folder as shown above will be: Jquery-1.6.2.js Jquery-ui.js Jquery.tools.js a.js By default, CSS files are also sorted alphabetically and then shifted around so that reset.css and normalize.css (if they are there) will go before any other file. So the default sorting of the bundling of the Styles folder as shown above will be: reset.css content.css forms.css globals.css menu.css styles.css The sorting is fully customizable, though, and can easily be changed to accommodate most use cases and any common naming pattern you prefer.  The goal with the out of the box experience, though, is to have smart defaults that you can just use and be successful with. Any number of directories/sub-directories supported In the example above we just had a single “Scripts” and “Styles” folder for our application.  This works for some application types (e.g. single page applications).  Often, though, you’ll want to have multiple CSS/JS bundles within your application – for example: a “common” bundle that has core JS and CSS files that all pages use, and then page specific or section specific files that are not used globally. You can use the bundling/minification support across any number of directories or sub-directories in your project – this makes it easy to structure your code so as to maximize the bunding/minification benefits.  Each directory by default can be accessed as a separate URL addressable bundle.  Bundling/Minification Extensibility ASP.NET’s bundling and minification support is built with extensibility in mind and every part of the process can be extended or replaced. Custom Rules In addition to enabling the out of the box - directory-based - bundling approach, ASP.NET also supports the ability to register custom bundles using a new programmatic API we are exposing.  The below code demonstrates how you can register a “customscript” bundle using code within an application’s Global.asax class.  The API allows you to add/remove/filter files that go into the bundle on a very granular level:     The above custom bundle can then be referenced anywhere within the application using the below <script> reference:     Custom Processing You can also override the default CSS and JavaScript bundles to support your own custom processing of the bundled files (for example: custom minification rules, support for Saas, LESS or Coffeescript syntax, etc). In the example below we are indicating that we want to replace the built-in minification transforms with a custom MyJsTransform and MyCssTransform class. They both subclass the CSS and JavaScript minifier respectively and can add extra functionality:     The end result of this extensibility is that you can plug-into the bundling/minification logic at a deep level and do some pretty cool things with it. 2 Minute Video of Bundling and Minification in Action Mads Kristensen has a great 90 second video that shows off using the new Bundling and Minification feature.  You can watch the 90 second video here. Summary The new bundling and minification support within the next release of ASP.NET will make it easier to build fast web applications.  It is really easy to use, and doesn’t require major changes to your existing dev workflow.  It is also supports a rich extensibility API that enables you to customize it however you want. You can easily take advantage of this new support within ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web Forms and ASP.NET Web Pages based applications. Hope this helps, Scott P.S. In addition to blogging, I use Twitter to-do quick posts and share links. My Twitter handle is: @scottgu

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  • Creating STA COM compatible ASP.NET Applications

    - by Rick Strahl
    When building ASP.NET applications that interface with old school COM objects like those created with VB6 or Visual FoxPro (MTDLL), it's extremely important that the threads that are serving requests use Single Threaded Apartment Threading. STA is a COM built-in technology that allows essentially single threaded components to operate reliably in a multi-threaded environment. STA's guarantee that COM objects instantiated on a specific thread stay on that specific thread and any access to a COM object from another thread automatically marshals that thread to the STA thread. The end effect is that you can have multiple threads, but a COM object instance lives on a fixed never changing thread. ASP.NET by default uses MTA (multi-threaded apartment) threads which are truly free spinning threads that pay no heed to COM object marshaling. This is vastly more efficient than STA threading which has a bit of overhead in determining whether it's OK to run code on a given thread or whether some sort of thread/COM marshaling needs to occur. MTA COM components can be very efficient, but STA COM components in a multi-threaded environment always tend to have a fair amount of overhead. It's amazing how much COM Interop I still see today so while it seems really old school to be talking about this topic, it's actually quite apropos for me as I have many customers using legacy COM systems that need to interface with other .NET applications. In this post I'm consolidating some of the hacks I've used to integrate with various ASP.NET technologies when using STA COM Components. STA in ASP.NET Support for STA threading in the ASP.NET framework is fairly limited. Specifically only the original ASP.NET WebForms technology supports STA threading directly via its STA Page Handler implementation or what you might know as ASPCOMPAT mode. For WebForms running STA components is as easy as specifying the ASPCOMPAT attribute in the @Page tag:<%@ Page Language="C#" AspCompat="true" %> which runs the page in STA mode. Removing it runs in MTA mode. Simple. Unfortunately all other ASP.NET technologies built on top of the core ASP.NET engine do not support STA natively. So if you want to use STA COM components in MVC or with class ASMX Web Services, there's no automatic way like the ASPCOMPAT keyword available. So what happens when you run an STA COM component in an MTA application? In low volume environments - nothing much will happen. The COM objects will appear to work just fine as there are no simultaneous thread interactions and the COM component will happily run on a single thread or multiple single threads one at a time. So for testing running components in MTA environments may appear to work just fine. However as load increases and threads get re-used by ASP.NET COM objects will end up getting created on multiple different threads. This can result in crashes or hangs, or data corruption in the STA components which store their state in thread local storage on the STA thread. If threads overlap this global store can easily get corrupted which in turn causes problems. STA ensures that any COM object instance loaded always stays on the same thread it was instantiated on. What about COM+? COM+ is supposed to address the problem of STA in MTA applications by providing an abstraction with it's own thread pool manager for COM objects. It steps in to the COM instantiation pipeline and hands out COM instances from its own internally maintained STA Thread pool. This guarantees that the COM instantiation threads are STA threads if using STA components. COM+ works, but in my experience the technology is very, very slow for STA components. It adds a ton of overhead and reduces COM performance noticably in load tests in IIS. COM+ can make sense in some situations but for Web apps with STA components it falls short. In addition there's also the need to ensure that COM+ is set up and configured on the target machine and the fact that components have to be registered in COM+. COM+ also keeps components up at all times, so if a component needs to be replaced the COM+ package needs to be unloaded (same is true for IIS hosted components but it's more common to manage that). COM+ is an option for well established components, but native STA support tends to provide better performance and more consistent usability, IMHO. STA for non supporting ASP.NET Technologies As mentioned above only WebForms supports STA natively. However, by utilizing the WebForms ASP.NET Page handler internally it's actually possible to trick various other ASP.NET technologies and let them work with STA components. This is ugly but I've used each of these in various applications and I've had minimal problems making them work with FoxPro STA COM components which is about as dififcult as it gets for COM Interop in .NET. In this post I summarize several STA workarounds that enable you to use STA threading with these ASP.NET Technologies: ASMX Web Services ASP.NET MVC WCF Web Services ASP.NET Web API ASMX Web Services I start with classic ASP.NET ASMX Web Services because it's the easiest mechanism that allows for STA modification. It also clearly demonstrates how the WebForms STA Page Handler is the key technology to enable the various other solutions to create STA components. Essentially the way this works is to override the WebForms Page class and hijack it's init functionality for processing requests. Here's what this looks like for Web Services:namespace FoxProAspNet { public class WebServiceStaHandler : System.Web.UI.Page, IHttpAsyncHandler { protected override void OnInit(EventArgs e) { IHttpHandler handler = new WebServiceHandlerFactory().GetHandler( this.Context, this.Context.Request.HttpMethod, this.Context.Request.FilePath, this.Context.Request.PhysicalPath); handler.ProcessRequest(this.Context); this.Context.ApplicationInstance.CompleteRequest(); } public IAsyncResult BeginProcessRequest( HttpContext context, AsyncCallback cb, object extraData) { return this.AspCompatBeginProcessRequest(context, cb, extraData); } public void EndProcessRequest(IAsyncResult result) { this.AspCompatEndProcessRequest(result); } } public class AspCompatWebServiceStaHandlerWithSessionState : WebServiceStaHandler, IRequiresSessionState { } } This class overrides the ASP.NET WebForms Page class which has a little known AspCompatBeginProcessRequest() and AspCompatEndProcessRequest() method that is responsible for providing the WebForms ASPCOMPAT functionality. These methods handle routing requests to STA threads. Note there are two classes - one that includes session state and one that does not. If you plan on using ASP.NET Session state use the latter class, otherwise stick to the former. This maps to the EnableSessionState page setting in WebForms. This class simply hooks into this functionality by overriding the BeginProcessRequest and EndProcessRequest methods and always forcing it into the AspCompat methods. The way this works is that BeginProcessRequest() fires first to set up the threads and starts intializing the handler. As part of that process the OnInit() method is fired which is now already running on an STA thread. The code then creates an instance of the actual WebService handler factory and calls its ProcessRequest method to start executing which generates the Web Service result. Immediately after ProcessRequest the request is stopped with Application.CompletRequest() which ensures that the rest of the Page handler logic doesn't fire. This means that even though the fairly heavy Page class is overridden here, it doesn't end up executing any of its internal processing which makes this code fairly efficient. In a nutshell, we're highjacking the Page HttpHandler and forcing it to process the WebService process handler in the context of the AspCompat handler behavior. Hooking up the Handler Because the above is an HttpHandler implementation you need to hook up the custom handler and replace the standard ASMX handler. To do this you need to modify the web.config file (here for IIS 7 and IIS Express): <configuration> <system.webServer> <handlers> <remove name="WebServiceHandlerFactory-Integrated-4.0" /> <add name="Asmx STA Web Service Handler" path="*.asmx" verb="*" type="FoxProAspNet.WebServiceStaHandler" precondition="integrated"/> </handlers> </system.webServer> </configuration> (Note: The name for the WebServiceHandlerFactory-Integrated-4.0 might be slightly different depending on your server version. Check the IIS Handler configuration in the IIS Management Console for the exact name or simply remove the handler from the list there which will propagate to your web.config). For IIS 5 & 6 (Windows XP/2003) or the Visual Studio Web Server use:<configuration> <system.web> <httpHandlers> <remove path="*.asmx" verb="*" /> <add path="*.asmx" verb="*" type="FoxProAspNet.WebServiceStaHandler" /> </httpHandlers> </system.web></configuration> To test, create a new ASMX Web Service and create a method like this: [WebService(Namespace = "http://foxaspnet.org/")] [WebServiceBinding(ConformsTo = WsiProfiles.BasicProfile1_1)] public class FoxWebService : System.Web.Services.WebService { [WebMethod] public string HelloWorld() { return "Hello World. Threading mode is: " + System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.GetApartmentState(); } } Run this before you put in the web.config configuration changes and you should get: Hello World. Threading mode is: MTA Then put the handler mapping into Web.config and you should see: Hello World. Threading mode is: STA And you're on your way to using STA COM components. It's a hack but it works well! I've used this with several high volume Web Service installations with various customers and it's been fast and reliable. ASP.NET MVC ASP.NET MVC has quickly become the most popular ASP.NET technology, replacing WebForms for creating HTML output. MVC is more complex to get started with, but once you understand the basic structure of how requests flow through the MVC pipeline it's easy to use and amazingly flexible in manipulating HTML requests. In addition, MVC has great support for non-HTML output sources like JSON and XML, making it an excellent choice for AJAX requests without any additional tools. Unlike WebForms ASP.NET MVC doesn't support STA threads natively and so some trickery is needed to make it work with STA threads as well. MVC gets its handler implementation through custom route handlers using ASP.NET's built in routing semantics. To work in an STA handler requires working in the Page Handler as part of the Route Handler implementation. As with the Web Service handler the first step is to create a custom HttpHandler that can instantiate an MVC request pipeline properly:public class MvcStaThreadHttpAsyncHandler : Page, IHttpAsyncHandler, IRequiresSessionState { private RequestContext _requestContext; public MvcStaThreadHttpAsyncHandler(RequestContext requestContext) { if (requestContext == null) throw new ArgumentNullException("requestContext"); _requestContext = requestContext; } public IAsyncResult BeginProcessRequest(HttpContext context, AsyncCallback cb, object extraData) { return this.AspCompatBeginProcessRequest(context, cb, extraData); } protected override void OnInit(EventArgs e) { var controllerName = _requestContext.RouteData.GetRequiredString("controller"); var controllerFactory = ControllerBuilder.Current.GetControllerFactory(); var controller = controllerFactory.CreateController(_requestContext, controllerName); if (controller == null) throw new InvalidOperationException("Could not find controller: " + controllerName); try { controller.Execute(_requestContext); } finally { controllerFactory.ReleaseController(controller); } this.Context.ApplicationInstance.CompleteRequest(); } public void EndProcessRequest(IAsyncResult result) { this.AspCompatEndProcessRequest(result); } public override void ProcessRequest(HttpContext httpContext) { throw new NotSupportedException("STAThreadRouteHandler does not support ProcessRequest called (only BeginProcessRequest)"); } } This handler code figures out which controller to load and then executes the controller. MVC internally provides the information needed to route to the appropriate method and pass the right parameters. Like the Web Service handler the logic occurs in the OnInit() and performs all the processing in that part of the request. Next, we need a RouteHandler that can actually pick up this handler. Unlike the Web Service handler where we simply registered the handler, MVC requires a RouteHandler to pick up the handler. RouteHandlers look at the URL's path and based on that decide on what handler to invoke. The route handler is pretty simple - all it does is load our custom handler: public class MvcStaThreadRouteHandler : IRouteHandler { public IHttpHandler GetHttpHandler(RequestContext requestContext) { if (requestContext == null) throw new ArgumentNullException("requestContext"); return new MvcStaThreadHttpAsyncHandler(requestContext); } } At this point you can instantiate this route handler and force STA requests to MVC by specifying a route. The following sets up the ASP.NET Default Route:Route mvcRoute = new Route("{controller}/{action}/{id}", new RouteValueDictionary( new { controller = "Home", action = "Index", id = UrlParameter.Optional }), new MvcStaThreadRouteHandler()); RouteTable.Routes.Add(mvcRoute);   To make this code a little easier to work with and mimic the behavior of the routes.MapRoute() functionality extension method that MVC provides, here is an extension method for MapMvcStaRoute(): public static class RouteCollectionExtensions { public static void MapMvcStaRoute(this RouteCollection routeTable, string name, string url, object defaults = null) { Route mvcRoute = new Route(url, new RouteValueDictionary(defaults), new MvcStaThreadRouteHandler()); RouteTable.Routes.Add(mvcRoute); } } With this the syntax to add  route becomes a little easier and matches the MapRoute() method:RouteTable.Routes.MapMvcStaRoute( name: "Default", url: "{controller}/{action}/{id}", defaults: new { controller = "Home", action = "Index", id = UrlParameter.Optional } ); The nice thing about this route handler, STA Handler and extension method is that it's fully self contained. You can put all three into a single class file and stick it into your Web app, and then simply call MapMvcStaRoute() and it just works. Easy! To see whether this works create an MVC controller like this: public class ThreadTestController : Controller { public string ThreadingMode() { return Thread.CurrentThread.GetApartmentState().ToString(); } } Try this test both with only the MapRoute() hookup in the RouteConfiguration in which case you should get MTA as the value. Then change the MapRoute() call to MapMvcStaRoute() leaving all the parameters the same and re-run the request. You now should see STA as the result. You're on your way using STA COM components reliably in ASP.NET MVC. WCF Web Services running through IIS WCF Web Services provide a more robust and wider range of services for Web Services. You can use WCF over HTTP, TCP, and Pipes, and WCF services support WS* secure services. There are many features in WCF that go way beyond what ASMX can do. But it's also a bit more complex than ASMX. As a basic rule if you need to serve straight SOAP Services over HTTP I 'd recommend sticking with the simpler ASMX services especially if COM is involved. If you need WS* support or want to serve data over non-HTTP protocols then WCF makes more sense. WCF is not my forte but I found a solution from Scott Seely on his blog that describes the progress and that seems to work well. I'm copying his code below so this STA information is all in one place and quickly explain. Scott's code basically works by creating a custom OperationBehavior which can be specified via an [STAOperation] attribute on every method. Using his attribute you end up with a class (or Interface if you separate the contract and class) that looks like this: [ServiceContract] public class WcfService { [OperationContract] public string HelloWorldMta() { return Thread.CurrentThread.GetApartmentState().ToString(); } // Make sure you use this custom STAOperationBehavior // attribute to force STA operation of service methods [STAOperationBehavior] [OperationContract] public string HelloWorldSta() { return Thread.CurrentThread.GetApartmentState().ToString(); } } Pretty straight forward. The latter method returns STA while the former returns MTA. To make STA work every method needs to be marked up. The implementation consists of the attribute and OperationInvoker implementation. Here are the two classes required to make this work from Scott's post:public class STAOperationBehaviorAttribute : Attribute, IOperationBehavior { public void AddBindingParameters(OperationDescription operationDescription, System.ServiceModel.Channels.BindingParameterCollection bindingParameters) { } public void ApplyClientBehavior(OperationDescription operationDescription, System.ServiceModel.Dispatcher.ClientOperation clientOperation) { // If this is applied on the client, well, it just doesn’t make sense. // Don’t throw in case this attribute was applied on the contract // instead of the implementation. } public void ApplyDispatchBehavior(OperationDescription operationDescription, System.ServiceModel.Dispatcher.DispatchOperation dispatchOperation) { // Change the IOperationInvoker for this operation. dispatchOperation.Invoker = new STAOperationInvoker(dispatchOperation.Invoker); } public void Validate(OperationDescription operationDescription) { if (operationDescription.SyncMethod == null) { throw new InvalidOperationException("The STAOperationBehaviorAttribute " + "only works for synchronous method invocations."); } } } public class STAOperationInvoker : IOperationInvoker { IOperationInvoker _innerInvoker; public STAOperationInvoker(IOperationInvoker invoker) { _innerInvoker = invoker; } public object[] AllocateInputs() { return _innerInvoker.AllocateInputs(); } public object Invoke(object instance, object[] inputs, out object[] outputs) { // Create a new, STA thread object[] staOutputs = null; object retval = null; Thread thread = new Thread( delegate() { retval = _innerInvoker.Invoke(instance, inputs, out staOutputs); }); thread.SetApartmentState(ApartmentState.STA); thread.Start(); thread.Join(); outputs = staOutputs; return retval; } public IAsyncResult InvokeBegin(object instance, object[] inputs, AsyncCallback callback, object state) { // We don’t handle async… throw new NotImplementedException(); } public object InvokeEnd(object instance, out object[] outputs, IAsyncResult result) { // We don’t handle async… throw new NotImplementedException(); } public bool IsSynchronous { get { return true; } } } The key in this setup is the Invoker and the Invoke method which creates a new thread and then fires the request on this new thread. Because this approach creates a new thread for every request it's not super efficient. There's a bunch of overhead involved in creating the thread and throwing it away after each thread, but it'll work for low volume requests and insure each thread runs in STA mode. If better performance is required it would be useful to create a custom thread manager that can pool a number of STA threads and hand off threads as needed rather than creating new threads on every request. If your Web Service needs are simple and you need only to serve standard SOAP 1.x requests, I would recommend sticking with ASMX services. It's easier to set up and work with and for STA component use it'll be significantly better performing since ASP.NET manages the STA thread pool for you rather than firing new threads for each request. One nice thing about Scotts code is though that it works in any WCF environment including self hosting. It has no dependency on ASP.NET or WebForms for that matter. STA - If you must STA components are a  pain in the ass and thankfully there isn't too much stuff out there anymore that requires it. But when you need it and you need to access STA functionality from .NET at least there are a few options available to make it happen. Each of these solutions is a bit hacky, but they work - I've used all of them in production with good results with FoxPro components. I hope compiling all of these in one place here makes it STA consumption a little bit easier. I feel your pain :-) Resources Download STA Handler Code Examples Scott Seely's original STA WCF OperationBehavior Article© Rick Strahl, West Wind Technologies, 2005-2012Posted in FoxPro   ASP.NET  .NET  COM   Tweet !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); (function() { var po = document.createElement('script'); po.type = 'text/javascript'; po.async = true; po.src = 'https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();

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  • The ASP.NET Daily Community Spotlight - How posts get there, and how to make it your Visual Studio Start Page

    - by Jon Galloway
    One really cool part of my job is selecting the articles for the Daily Community Spotlight, on the home page of the ASP.NET website. The spotlight highlights a new post about ASP.NET development every day from a member of the ASP.NET community. You can find it on the home page of the ASP.NET site, at http://asp.net These posts aren't automatically drawn from a pool of RSS feeds or anything - I pick a new post for each day of the year. How I pick the posts I have a few important selection criteria: Interesting to well rounded ASP.NET developers The ASP.NET website has a lot of material for all skill and experience levels, from download / get started to advanced. I try to select community spotlight posts to round that out with fresh and timely information that working ASP.NET developers can really use. Posts highlight solutions to common problems, clever projects and code that helps you leverage ASP.NET, and important announcements about things you can use today. As part of that, I try to mix between ASP.NET MVC, Web Forms, and Web Pages (a.k.a. WebMatrix). As a professional developer, I want to keep on top of all of my options for ASP.NET development, and the common platform base they all share generally means that good ASP.NET code is good ASP.NET code. Exposing new and non-Microsoft community members as much as possible The exercise of selecting good ASP.NET community posts every day of the year has made me think about what the community is. Given the choice, I'll always favor non-Microsoft employees, but since Microsoft often hires ASP.NET community members and MVP's (myself included), I really think that the ASP.NET community includes developers who are using and writing about ASP.NET, both inside and outside of Microsoft. I'm especially excited about the opportunity to highlight new and lesser known bloggers. Usually being featured on the ASP.NET Community Spotlight gives a pretty good traffic bump, and I love being able to both provide great content to the community and encourage lesser known community members by giving them some (much deserved) attention. Announcements only when they're useful to working developers - not marketing Some of the posts are announcements about new releases, such as Scott Hanselman's post on ASP.NET Universal Providers for Session, Memebership, and Roles. I include those when I think they're interesting and of immediate use to you on projects. I occasionally get asked to link to new content from a team at Microsoft; if it's useful and timely content I'll ask them to point me to a blog post by an actual person rather than a faceless team. How the posts are managed This feed used to be managed by an internal spreadsheet on a Sharepoint site, which was painful for a lot of reasons. I took a cue from Jon Udell, who uses of a public Delicious feed feed for his Elm City project, and we moved the management of these posts over to a Delicious feed as well. You can hear more about Jon's use of Delicious in Elm City in our Herding Code interview - still one of my favorite interviews. We ended up with a simpler scenario, but Note: I watched the Yahoo/Delicious news over the past year and was happy to see that Delicious was recently acquired by the founders of YouTube. I investigated several other Delicious competitors, but am happy with Delicious for now. My Delicious feed here: http://www.delicious.com/jon_galloway You can also browse through this past year's ASP.NET Community Spotlight posts using the (pretty cool) Delicious Browse Bar Submitting articles I'm always on the lookout for new articles to feature. The best way to get them to me is to share them via Delicious. It's pretty easy - sign up for an account, then you can add a post and share it to me. Alternatively, you can send them to me via Twitter (@jongalloway) or e-mail (). If you do e-mail me, it helps to include a short description and your full name so I can credit you. Way too many developer blogs don't include names and pictures; if I can't find them I can't feature the post. Subscribing to the Community Spotlight feed The Community Spotlight is available as an RSS feed, so you might want to subscribe to it: http://www.asp.net/rss/spotlight Setting the ASP.NET Community Spotlight feed as your Visual Studio start page If you're an ASP.NET developer, you might consider setting the ASP.NET Community Spotlight as the content for your Visual Studio Start Page. It's really easy - here's how to do it in Visual Studio 2010: Display the Visual Studio Start Page if it's not already showing (View / Start Page) Click on the Latest News tab and enter the following RSS URL: http://www.asp.net/rss/spotlight If you didn't previously have RSS feeds enabled for your start page, click the Enable RSS Feed button Now, every time you start up Visual Studio you'll see great content from members of the ASP.NET community: You can also configure - and disable, if you'd like - the Visual Studio start page in the Tools / Options / Environment / Startup dialog. Credits I'll do a follow-up highlighting some places I commonly find great content for the feed, but I'd like to specifically point out two of them: 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 Chris Alcock's The Morning Brew is a must-read blog which highlights each day's best blog posts across the .NET community. He's an absolute machine, and no matter how obscure the post I find, I can guarantee he'll find it as well if he hasn't already. Did I say must read?

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  • Remove accents from String .NET

    - by developerit
    Private Const ACCENT As String = “ÀÁÂÃÄÅàáâãäåÒÓÔÕÖØòóôõöøÈÉÊËèéêëÌÍÎÏìíîïÙÚÛÜùúûüÿÑñÇç” Private Const SANSACCENT As String = “AAAAAAaaaaaaOOOOOOooooooEEEEeeeeIIIIiiiiUUUUuuuuyNnCc” Public Shared Function FormatForUrl(ByVal uriBase As String) As String If String.IsNullOrEmpty(uriBase) Then Return uriBase End If ‘// Declaration de variables Dim chaine As String = uriBase.Trim.Replace(” “, “-”) chaine = chaine.Replace(” “c, “-”c) chaine = chaine.Replace(“–”, “-”) chaine = chaine.Replace(“‘”c, String.Empty) chaine = chaine.Replace(“?”c, String.Empty) chaine = chaine.Replace(“#”c, String.Empty) chaine = chaine.Replace(“:”c, String.Empty) chaine = chaine.Replace(“;”c, String.Empty) ‘// Conversion des chaines en tableaux de caractŠres Dim tableauSansAccent As Char() = SANSACCENT.ToCharArray Dim tableauAccent As Char() = ACCENT.ToCharArray ‘// Pour chaque accent For i As Integer = 0 To ACCENT.Length – 1 ‘ // Remplacement de l’accent par son ‚quivalent sans accent dans la chaŒne de caractŠres chaine = chaine.Replace(tableauAccent(i).ToString(), tableauSansAccent(i).ToString()) Next ‘// Retour du resultat Return chaine End Function

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  • Great library of ASP.NET videos – Pluralsight!

    - by hajan
    I have been subscribed to the Pluralsight website and of course since ASP.NET is my favorite development technology, I passed throughout few series of videos related to ASP.NET. You have list of ASP.NET galleries from Fundamentals to Advanced topics including the latest features of ASP.NET 4.0, ASP.NET Ajax, ASP.NET MVC etc. Most of the speakers are either Microsoft MVPs or known technology experts! I was really curious to see the way they have organized the entire course materials, and trust me, I was quite amazed. I saw the ASP.NET 4.0 video series to confirm my knowledge and some other video series regarding general software development concepts, design patterns etc. I would like to point out if anyone of you is interested to get FREE 1-week .NET training pass in the Pluralsight library, please CONTACT ME, write your name and email and include the purpose of the message in the content. I hope you will find this useful. Regards, Hajan

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  • Routing Issue in ASP.NET MVC 3 RC 2

    - by imran_ku07
         Introduction:             Two weeks ago, ASP.NET MVC team shipped the ASP.NET MVC 3 RC 2 release. This release includes some new features and some performance optimization. This release also fixes most of the bugs but still some minor issues are present in this release. Some of these issues are already discussed by Scott Guthrie at Update on ASP.NET MVC 3 RC2 (and a workaround for a bug in it). In addition to these issues, I have found another issue in this release regarding routing. In this article, I will show you the issue regarding routing and a simple workaround for this issue.       Description:             The easiest way to understand an issue is to reproduce it in the application. So create a MVC 2 application and a MVC 3 RC 2 application. Then in both applications, just open global.asax file and update the default route as below,     routes.IgnoreRoute("{resource}.axd/{*pathInfo}"); routes.MapRoute( "Default", // Route name "{controller}/{action}/{id1}/{id2}", // URL with parameters new { controller = "Home", action = "Index", id1 = UrlParameter.Optional, id2 = UrlParameter.Optional } // Parameter defaults );              Then just open Index View and add the following lines,    <%@ Page Language="C#" MasterPageFile="~/Views/Shared/Site.Master" Inherits="System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage" %> <asp:Content ID="Content1" ContentPlaceHolderID="TitleContent" runat="server"> Home Page </asp:Content> <asp:Content ID="Content2" ContentPlaceHolderID="MainContent" runat="server"> <% Html.RenderAction("About"); %> </asp:Content>             The above view will issue a child request to About action method. Now run both applications. ASP.NET MVC 2 application will run just fine. But ASP.NET MVC 3 RC 2 application will throw an exception as shown below,                  You may think that this is a routing issue but this is not the case here as both ASP.NET MVC 2 and ASP.NET MVC  3 RC 2 applications(created above) are built with .NET Framework 4.0 and both will use the same routing defined in System.Web. Something is wrong in ASP.NET MVC 3 RC 2. So after digging into ASP.NET MVC source code, I have found that the UrlParameter class in ASP.NET MVC 3 RC 2 overrides the ToString method which simply return an empty string.     public sealed class UrlParameter { public static readonly UrlParameter Optional = new UrlParameter(); private UrlParameter() { } public override string ToString() { return string.Empty; } }             In MVC 2 the ToString method was not overridden. So to quickly fix the above problem just replace UrlParameter.Optional default value with a different value other than null or empty(for example, a single white space) or replace UrlParameter.Optional default value with a new class object containing the same code as UrlParameter class have except the ToString method is not overridden (or with a overridden ToString method that return a string value other than null or empty). But by doing this you will loose the benefit of ASP.NET MVC 2 Optional URL Parameters. There may be many different ways to fix the above problem and not loose the benefit of optional parameters. Here I will create a new class MyUrlParameter with the same code as UrlParameter class have except the ToString method is not overridden. Then I will create a base controller class which contains a constructor to remove all MyUrlParameter route data parameters, same like ASP.NET MVC doing with UrlParameter route data parameters early in the request.     public class BaseController : Controller { public BaseController() { if (System.Web.HttpContext.Current.CurrentHandler is MvcHandler) { RouteValueDictionary rvd = ((MvcHandler)System.Web.HttpContext.Current.CurrentHandler).RequestContext.RouteData.Values; string[] matchingKeys = (from entry in rvd where entry.Value == MyUrlParameter.Optional select entry.Key).ToArray(); foreach (string key in matchingKeys) { rvd.Remove(key); } } } } public class HomeController : BaseController { public ActionResult Index(string id1) { ViewBag.Message = "Welcome to ASP.NET MVC!"; return View(); } public ActionResult About() { return Content("Child Request Contents"); } }     public sealed class MyUrlParameter { public static readonly MyUrlParameter Optional = new MyUrlParameter(); private MyUrlParameter() { } }     routes.IgnoreRoute("{resource}.axd/{*pathInfo}"); routes.MapRoute( "Default", // Route name "{controller}/{action}/{id1}/{id2}", // URL with parameters new { controller = "Home", action = "Index", id1 = MyUrlParameter.Optional, id2 = MyUrlParameter.Optional } // Parameter defaults );             MyUrlParameter class is a copy of UrlParameter class except that MyUrlParameter class not overrides the ToString method. Note that the default route is modified to use MyUrlParameter.Optional instead of UrlParameter.Optional. Also note that BaseController class constructor is removing MyUrlParameter parameters from the current request route data so that the model binder will not bind these parameters with action method parameters. Now just run the ASP.NET MVC 3 RC 2 application again, you will find that it runs just fine.             In case if you are curious to know that why ASP.NET MVC 3 RC 2 application throws an exception if UrlParameter class contains a ToString method which returns an empty string, then you need to know something about a feature of routing for url generation. During url generation, routing will call the ParsedRoute.Bind method internally. This method includes a logic to match the route and build the url. During building the url, ParsedRoute.Bind method will call the ToString method of the route values(in our case this will call the UrlParameter.ToString method) and then append the returned value into url. This method includes a logic after appending the returned value into url that if two continuous returned values are empty then don't match the current route otherwise an incorrect url will be generated. Here is the snippet from ParsedRoute.Bind method which will prove this statement.       if ((builder2.Length > 0) && (builder2[builder2.Length - 1] == '/')) { return null; } builder2.Append("/"); ........................................................... ........................................................... ........................................................... ........................................................... if (RoutePartsEqual(obj3, obj4)) { builder2.Append(UrlEncode(Convert.ToString(obj3, CultureInfo.InvariantCulture))); continue; }             In the above example, both id1 and id2 parameters default values are set to UrlParameter object and UrlParameter class include a ToString method that returns an empty string. That's why this route will not matched.            Summary:             In this article I showed you the issue regarding routing and also showed you how to workaround this problem. I explained this issue with an example by creating a ASP.NET MVC 2 and a ASP.NET MVC 3 RC 2 application. Finally I also explained the reason for this issue. Hopefully you will enjoy this article too.   SyntaxHighlighter.all()

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  • AxCMS.net 10 with Microsoft Silverlight 4 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010

    - by Axinom
    Axinom, European WCM vendor, today announced the next version of its WCM solution AxCMS.net 10, which streamlines the processes involved in creating, managing and distributing corporate content on the internet. The new solution helps reducing ongoing costs for managing and distributing to large audiences, while at the same time drastically reducing time-to-market and one-time setup costs. http://www.AxCMS.net Axinom’s WCM portfolio, based on the Microsoft .NET Framework 4, Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and Microsoft Silverlight 4, allows enterprises to increase process efficiency, reduce operating costs and more effectively manage delivery of rich media assets on the Web and mobile devices. Axinom solutions are widely used by major European online brands in IT, telco, retail, media and entertainment industries such as Siemens, American Express, Microsoft Corp., ZDF, Pro7Sat1 Media, and Deutsche Post. Brand New User Interface built with Silverlight 4By using Silverlight 4, Axinom’s team created a new user interface for AxCMS.net 10 that is optimized for improved usability and speed. WYSIWYG mode, integrated image editor, extended list views, and detail views of objects allow a substantial acceleration of typical editor tasks. Axinom’s team worked with Silverlight Rough Cut Editor for video management and Silverlight Analytics Framework for extended reporting to complete the wide range of capabilities included in the new release. “Axinom’s release of AxCMS.net 10 enables developers to take advantage of the latest features in Silverlight 4,” said Brian Goldfarb, director of the developer platform group at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft is excited about the opportunity this creates for Web developers to streamline the creating, managing and distributing of online corporate content using AxCMS.net 10 and Silverlight.” Rapid Web Development with Visual Studio 2010AxCMS.net 10 is extended by additional products that enable developers to get productive quickly and help solve typical customer scenarios. AxCMS.net template projects come with documented source code that help kick-start projects and learn best practices in all aspects of Web application development. AxCMS.net overcomes many hard-to-solve technical obstacles in an out-of-the-box manner by providing a set of ready-to-use vertical solutions such as corporate Web site, Web shop, Web campaign management, email marketing, multi-channel distribution, management of rich Internet applications, and Web business intelligence. Extended Multi-Site ManagementAxCMS.net has been supporting the management of an unlimited number of Web sites for a long time. The new version 10 of AxCMS.net will further improve multi-site management and provide features to editors and developers that will simplify and accelerate multi-site and multi-language management. Extended publication workflow will take into account additional dependencies of dynamic objects, pages, and documents. “The customer requests evolved from static html pages to dynamic Web applications content with the emergence of rich media assets seamlessly combined across many channels including Web, mobile and IPTV. With the.NET Framework 4 and Silverlight 4, we’re on the fast track to making the three screen strategy a reality for our customers,” said Damir Tomicic, CEO of Axinom Group. “Our customers enjoy substantial competitive advantages of using latest Microsoft technologies. We have a long-standing, relationship with Microsoft and are committed to continued development using Microsoft tools and technologies to deliver innovative Web solutions in the future.”  

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  • Free Video Training: ASP.NET MVC 3 Features

    - by ScottGu
    A few weeks ago I blogged about a great ASP.NET MVC 3 video training course from Pluralsight that was made available for free for 48 hours for people to watch.  The feedback from the people that had a chance to watch it was really fantastic.  We also received feedback from people who really wanted to watch it – but unfortunately weren’t able to within the 48 hour window. The good news is that we’ve worked with Pluralsight to make the course available for free again until March 18th.  You can watch any of the course modules for free, through March 18th, on the www.asp.net/mvc website here: The 6 videos in this course are a total of 3 hours and 17 minutes long, and provide a nice overview of the new features introduced with ASP.NET MVC 3 including: Razor, Unobtrusive JavaScript, Richer Validation, ViewBag, Output Caching, Global Action Filters, NuGet, Dependency Injection, and much more.  Scott Allen is the presenter, and the format, video player, and cadence of the course is really excellent. It provides a great way to quickly come up to speed with all of the new features introduced with the new ASP.NET MVC 3 release. Introductory ASP.NET MVC 3 course also coming soon The above course provides a good way for people already familiar with ASP.NET MVC to quickly learn the new features in the V3 release. Pluralsight is also working on a new introductory ASP.NET MVC 3 course series designed for developers who are brand new to ASP.NET MVC, and who want an end to end training curriculum on how to come up to speed with it.  It will cover all of the basics of ASP.NET MVC (including the new Razor view engine), how to use EF code first for data access, using JavaScript/AJAX with MVC, security scenarios with MVC, unit testing applications, deploying applications, and more. I’m excited to pre-announce that we’ll also make this new introductory series free on the www.asp.net/mvc web-site for anyone to watch. I’ll do another blog post linking to it once it is live and available. Hope this helps, Scott

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  • Daily tech links for .net and related technologies - May 26-29, 2010

    - by SanjeevAgarwal
    Daily tech links for .net and related technologies - May 26-29, 2010 Web Development Porting MVC Music Store to Raven: StoreController - Ayende Building a Store Locator ASP.NET Application Using Google Maps API - Scott Mitchell Anti-Forgery Request Recipes For ASP.NET MVC And AJAX - Dixin How to Localize an ASP.NET MVC Application - Michael Ceranski Tekpub ASP.NET MVC 2 Starter Site 0.5 Released - Rob Conery How to use Google Data API in ASP.NET MVC. Part 2 - Mahdi jQuery.validate and Html.ValidationSummary...(read more)

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  • ASP.NET mvcConf Videos Available

    - by ScottGu
    Earlier this month the ASP.NET MVC developer community held the 2nd annual mvcConf event.  This was a free, online conference focused on ASP.NET MVC – with more than 27 talks that covered a wide variety of ASP.NET MVC topics.  Almost all of the talks were presented by developers within the community, and the quality and topic diversity of the talks was fantastic. Below are links to free recordings of the talks that you can watch (and optionally download): Scott Guthrie Keynote The NuGet-y Goodness of Delivering Packages (Phil Haack) Industrial Strenght NuGet (Andy Wahrenberger) Intro to MVC 3 (John Petersen) Advanced MVC 3 (Brad Wilson) Evolving Practices in Using jQuery and Ajax in ASP.NET MVC Applications (Eric Sowell) Web Matrix (Rob Conery) Improving ASP.NET MVC Application Performance (Steven Smith) Intro to Building Twilio Apps with ASP.NET MVC (John Sheehan) The Big Comparison of ASP.NET MVC View Engines (Shay Friedman) Writing BDD-style Tests for ASP.NET MVC using MSTestContrib (Mitch Denny) BDD in ASP.NET MVC using SpecFlow, WatiN and WatiN Test Helpers (Brandon Satrom) Going Postal - Generating email with View Engines (Andrew Davey) Take some REST with WCF (Glenn Block) MVC Q&A (Jeffrey Palermo) Deploy ASP.NET MVC with No Effort (Troels Thomsen) IIS Express (Vaidy Gopalakrishnan) Putting the V in MVC (Chris Bannon) CQRS and Event Sourcing with MVC 3 (Ashic Mahtab) MVC 3 Extensibility (Roberto Hernandez) MvcScaffolding (Steve Sanderson) Real World Application Development with Mvc3 NHibernate, FluentNHibernate and Castle Windsor (Chris Canal) Building composite web applications with Open frameworks (Sebastien Lambla) Quality Driven Web Acceptance Testing (Amir Barylko) ModelBinding derived types using the DerivedTypeModelBinder in MvcContrib (Steve Hebert) Entity Framework "Code First": Domain Driven CRUD (Chris Zavaleta) Wrap Up with Jon Galloway & Javier Lozano I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the speakers who presented, and to Javier Lozano, Eric Hexter and Jon Galloway for all their hard work in organizing the event and making it happen. Hope this helps, Scott P.S. I am also now using Twitter for quick updates and to share links. Follow me at: twitter.com/scottgu

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  • What version of the .NET framework ahould I target?

    - by MiffTheFox
    I'm a desktop C# developer (that is not ASP) and am wondering about version targeting for small personal projects. These are, of course, trying to reach as wide an audience as possible, and so I've been targeting .NET 3.0 (which is the latest version on a Windows Vista system without any service packs) and 2.0 (which is simply the most compatible version compatible with VS2008). Unfortunately, this precludes me from learning any technologies such as LINQ introduced post 3.0, and, with an upcoming switch to VS2010, I'm wondering if I should target the new 4.0 platform at the expense of uses without the latest and greatest, or should I just stick to trying to reach as wide a userbase as possible?

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  • ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET membership template provider

    - by rem
    In a standard ASP.NET MVC template application that is created by default in Visual Studio when starting a new ASP.NET MVC application there is already a built-in membership / authentication / authorization system. Using web search one can find lots of info about how to work with a built-in ASP.NET membership system, but very often this material is a bit of an old and refer to ASP.NET only, not mentioning ASP.NET MVC framework. Just for example: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms998347.aspx#paght000022%5Fmembershipapis or http://www.4guysfromrolla.com/articles/091207-1.aspx To what extent all that applies to ASP.NET built-in membership system applies also to ASP.NET MVC ready template membership system?

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  • Cannot get net 4.5rc to work

    - by ThomasD
    I have installed .net 4.5rc from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/netframework/hh854779.aspx because I would like to use the new spatial features when developing with visual visual web developer 2010 express. But when I want to change the target framework to .net 4.5 in the project properties it is not there. I have checked the directory in C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64 and can see that there is no v4.5 folder but the v4.0 directory has been updated with a timestamp corresponding to when I installed v4.5. The version of the v4.0 directory is v4.0.30319. I am running windows 7 on my computer. Any ideas why I cannot find v4.5 ? thanks Thomas *UPDATE Based on the comment below I have found out that I am running 4.5. For others reading this post, .net 4.5 replaces the files in the .net 4.0 directory but without renaming the directory to .net 4.5 (a bit confusing). To check whether your assemblies have been updated check the product version of eg. system.dll (right click - details). According to this post http://www.west-wind.com/weblog/posts/2012/Mar/13/NET-45-is-an-inplace-replacement-for-NET-40 if the product version is above 17000 it is running 4.5.

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  • Adding AjaxOnly Filter in ASP.NET Web API

    - by imran_ku07
            Introduction:                     Currently, ASP.NET MVC 4, ASP.NET Web API and ASP.NET Single Page Application are the hottest topics in ASP.NET community. Specifically, lot of developers loving the inclusion of ASP.NET Web API in ASP.NET MVC. ASP.NET Web API makes it very simple to build HTTP RESTful services, which can be easily consumed from desktop/mobile browsers, silverlight/flash applications and many different types of clients. Client side Ajax may be a very important consumer for various service providers. Sometimes, some HTTP service providers may need some(or all) of thier services can only be accessed from Ajax. In this article, I will show you how to implement AjaxOnly filter in ASP.NET Web API application.         Description:                     First of all you need to create a new ASP.NET MVC 4(Web API) application. Then, create a new AjaxOnly.cs file and add the following lines in this file, public class AjaxOnlyAttribute : System.Web.Http.Filters.ActionFilterAttribute { public override void OnActionExecuting(System.Web.Http.Controllers.HttpActionContext actionContext) { var request = actionContext.Request; var headers = request.Headers; if (!headers.Contains("X-Requested-With") || headers.GetValues("X-Requested-With").FirstOrDefault() != "XMLHttpRequest") actionContext.Response = request.CreateResponse(HttpStatusCode.NotFound); } }                     This is an action filter which simply checks X-Requested-With header in request with value XMLHttpRequest. If X-Requested-With header is not presant in request or this header value is not XMLHttpRequest then the filter will return 404(NotFound) response to the client.                      Now just register this filter, [AjaxOnly] public string GET(string input)                     You can also register this filter globally, if your Web API application is only targeted for Ajax consumer.         Summary:                       ASP.NET WEB API provide a framework for building RESTful services. Sometimes, you may need your certain API services can only be accessed from Ajax. In this article, I showed you how to add AjaxOnly action filter in ASP.NET Web API. Hopefully you will enjoy this article too.

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  • ASP.Net Authentication with MVC2--how to integrate with DB?

    - by alchemical
    I'm trying to understand the authentication section sample project that opens in a new MVC2 project in VS2010. It essentially lets you register, login, etc. I looked through the code that implements this briefly, it looked fairly complicated. (10 tables, 40 sprocs, 10 views, 4 models, 1 model, 1 controller, etc.) Is it best to utilize this provided framework for authentication? If so, how would I integrate this with my own database models (which has user and role tables, etc.). Also, if I use their framework, are there any performance issues at higher traffic volumes (like SO for example), do I need to become responsible for maintaining the authentication DB as well in this case?

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  • Microsoft Declares the Future of ASP.NET is Web API

    - by sbwalker
    Sitting on a plane on my way home from Tech Ed 2012 in Orlando, I thought it would be a good time to jot down some key takeaways from this year’s conference. Some of these items I have known since the Microsoft MVP Summit which occurred in Redmond in late February ( but due to NDA restrictions I could not share them with the developer community at large ) and some of them are a result of insightful conversations with a wide variety of industry insiders and Microsoft employees at the conference. First, let’s travel back in time 4 years to the Microsoft MVP Summit in 2008. Microsoft was facing some heat from market newcomer Ruby on Rails and responded with a new web development framework of its own, ASP.NET MVC. At the Summit they estimated that MVC would only be applicable for ~10% of all new web development projects. Based on that prediction I questioned why they were investing such considerable resources for such a relative edge case, but my guess is that they felt it was an important edge case at the time as some of the more vocal .NET evangelists as well as some very high profile start-ups ( ie. Twitter ) had publicly announced their intent to use Rails. Microsoft made a lot of noise about MVC. In fact, they focused so much of their messaging and marketing hype around MVC that it appeared that WebForms was essentially dead. Yes, it may have been true that Microsoft continued to invest in WebForms, but from an outside perspective it really appeared that MVC was the only framework getting any real attention. As a result, MVC started to gain market share. An inside source at Microsoft told me that MVC usage has grown at a rate of about 5% per year and now sits at ~30%. Essentially by focusing so much marketing effort on MVC, Microsoft actually created a larger market demand for it.  This is because in the Microsoft ecosystem there is somewhat of a bandwagon mentality amongst developers. If Microsoft spends a lot of time talking about a specific technology, developers get the perception that it must be really important. So rather than choosing the right tool for the job, they often choose the tool with the most marketing hype and then try to sell it to the customer. In 2010, I blogged about the fact that MVC did not make any business sense for the DotNetNuke platform. This was because our ecosystem relied on third party extensions which were dependent on the WebForms model. If we migrated the core to MVC it would mean that all of the third party extensions would no longer be compatible, which would be an irresponsible business decision for us to make at the expense of our users and customers. However, this did not stop the debate from continuing to occur in our ecosystem. Clearly some developers had drunk Microsoft’s Kool-Aid about MVC and were of the mindset, to paraphrase an old Scottish saying, “If its not MVC, it’s crap”. Now, this is a rather ignorant position to take as most of the benefits of MVC can be achieved in WebForms with solid architecture and responsible coding practices. Clean separation of concerns, unit testing, and direct control over page output are all possible in the WebForms model – it just requires diligence and discipline. So over the past few years some horror stories have begun to bubble to the surface of software development projects focused on ground-up rewrites of web applications for the sole purpose of migrating from WebForms to MVC. These large scale rewrites were typically initiated by engineering teams with only a single argument driving the business decision, that Microsoft was promoting MVC as “the future”. These ill-fated rewrites offered no benefit to end users or customers and in fact resulted in a less stable, less scalable and more complicated systems – basically taking one step forward and two full steps back. A case in point is the announcement earlier this week that a popular open source .NET CMS provider has decided to pull the plug on their new MVC product which has been under active development for more than 18 months and revert back to WebForms. The availability of multiple server-side development models has deeply fragmented the Microsoft developer community. Some folks like to compare it to the age-old VB vs. C# language debate. However, the VB vs. C# language debate was ultimately more of a religious war because at least the two dominant programming languages were compatible with one another and could be used interchangeably. The issue with WebForms vs. MVC is much more challenging. This is because the messaging from Microsoft has positioned the two solutions as being incompatible with one another and as a result web developers feel like they are forced to choose one path or another. Yes, it is true that it has always been technically possible to use WebForms and MVC in the same project, but the tooling support has always made this feel “dirty”. The fragmentation has also made it difficult to attract newcomers as the perceived barrier to entry for learning ASP.NET has become higher. As a result many new software developers entering the market are gravitating to environments where the development model seems more simple and intuitive ( ie. PHP or Ruby ). At the same time that the Web Platform team was busy promoting ASP.NET MVC, the Microsoft Office team has been promoting Sharepoint as a platform for building internal enterprise web applications. Sharepoint has great penetration in the enterprise and over time has been enhanced with improved extensibility capabilities for software developers. But, like many other mature enterprise ASP.NET web applications, it is built on the WebForms development model. Similar to DotNetNuke, Sharepoint leverages a rich third party ecosystem for both generic web controls and more specialized WebParts – both of which rely on WebForms. So basically this resulted in a situation where the Web Platform group had headed off in one direction and the Office team had gone in another direction, and the end customer was stuck in the middle trying to figure out what to do with their existing investments in Microsoft technology. It really emphasized the perception that the left hand was not speaking to the right hand, as strategically speaking there did not seem to be any high level plan from Microsoft to ensure consistency and continuity across the different product lines. With the introduction of ASP.NET MVC, it also made some of the third party control vendors scratch their heads, and wonder what the heck Microsoft was thinking. The original value proposition of ASP.NET over Classic ASP was the ability for web developers to emulate the highly productive desktop development model by using abstract components for creating rich, interactive web interfaces. Web control vendors like Telerik, Infragistics, DevExpress, and ComponentArt had all built sizable businesses offering powerful user interface components to WebForms developers. And even after MVC was introduced these vendors continued to improve their products, offering greater productivity and a superior user experience via AJAX to what was possible in MVC. And since many developers were comfortable and satisfied with these third party solutions, the demand remained strong and the third party web control market continued to prosper despite the availability of MVC. While all of this was going on in the Microsoft ecosystem, there has also been a fundamental shift in the general software development industry. Driven by the explosion of Internet-enabled devices, the focus has now centered on service-oriented architecture (SOA). Service-oriented architecture is all about defining a public API for your product that any client can consume; whether it’s a native application running on a smart phone or tablet, a web browser taking advantage of HTML5 and Javascript, or a rich desktop application running on a PC. REST-based services which utilize the less verbose characteristics of JSON as a transport mechanism, have become the preferred approach over older, more bloated SOAP-based techniques. SOA also has the benefit of producing a cross-platform API, as every major technology stack is able to interact with standard REST-based web services. And for web applications, more and more developers are turning to robust Javascript libraries like JQuery and Knockout for browser-based client-side development techniques for calling web services and rendering content to end users. In fact, traditional server-side page rendering has largely fallen out of favor, resulting in decreased demand for server-side frameworks like Ruby on Rails, WebForms, and (gasp) MVC. In response to these new industry trends, Microsoft did what it always does – it immediately poured some resources into developing a solution which will ensure they remain relevant and competitive in the web space. This work culminated in a new framework which was branded as Web API. It is convention-based and designed to embrace native HTTP standards without copious layers of abstraction. This framework is designed to be the ultimate replacement for both the REST aspects of WCF and ASP.NET MVC Web Services. And since it was developed out of band with a dependency only on ASP.NET 4.0, it means that it can be used immediately in a variety of production scenarios. So at Tech Ed 2012 it was made abundantly clear in numerous sessions that Microsoft views Web API as the “Future of ASP.NET”. In fact, one Microsoft PM even went as far as to say that if we look 3-4 years into the future, that all ASP.NET web applications will be developed using the Web API approach. This is a fairly bold prediction and clearly telegraphs where Microsoft plans to allocate its resources going forward. Currently Web API is being delivered as part of the MVC4 package, but this is only temporary for the sake of convenience. It also sounds like there are still internal discussions going on in terms of how to brand the various aspects of ASP.NET going forward – perhaps the moniker of “ASP.NET Web Stack” coined a couple years ago by Scott Hanselman and utilized as part of the open source release of ASP.NET bits on Codeplex a few months back will eventually stick. Web API is being positioned as the unification of ASP.NET – the glue that is able to pull this fragmented mess back together again. The  “One ASP.NET” strategy will promote the use of all frameworks - WebForms, MVC, and Web API, even within the same web project. Basically the message is utilize the appropriate aspects of each framework to solve your business problems. Instead of navigating developers to a fork in the road, the plan is to educate them that “hybrid” applications are a great strategy for delivering solutions to customers. In addition, the service-oriented approach coupled with client-side development promoted by Web API can effectively be used in both WebForms and MVC applications. So this means it is also relevant to application platforms like DotNetNuke and Sharepoint, which means that it starts to create a unified development strategy across all ASP.NET product lines once again. And so what about MVC? There have actually been rumors floated that MVC has reached a stage of maturity where, similar to WebForms, it will be treated more as a maintenance product line going forward ( MVC4 may in fact be the last significant iteration of this framework ). This may sound alarming to some folks who have recently adopted MVC but it really shouldn’t, as both WebForms and MVC will continue to play a vital role in delivering solutions to customers. They will just not be the primary area where Microsoft is spending the majority of its R&D resources. That distinction will obviously go to Web API. And when the question comes up of why not enhance MVC to make it work with Web API, you must take a step back and look at this from the higher level to see that it really makes no sense. MVC is a server-side page compositing framework; whereas, Web API promotes client-side page compositing with a heavy focus on web services. In order to make MVC work well with Web API, would require a complete rewrite of MVC and at the end of the day, there would be no upgrade path for existing MVC applications. So it really does not make much business sense. So what does this have to do with DotNetNuke? Well, around 8-12 months ago we recognized the software industry trends towards web services and client-side development. We decided to utilize a “hybrid” model which would provide compatibility for existing modules while at the same time provide a bridge for developers who wanted to utilize more modern web techniques. Customers who like the productivity and familiarity of WebForms can continue to build custom modules using the traditional approach. However, in DotNetNuke 6.2 we also introduced a new Service Framework which is actually built on top of MVC2 ( we chose to leverage MVC because it had the most intuitive, light-weight REST implementation in the .NET stack ). The Services Framework allowed us to build some rich interactive features in DotNetNuke 6.2, including the Messaging and Notification Center and Activity Feed. But based on where we know Microsoft is heading, it makes sense for the next major version of DotNetNuke ( which is expected to be released in Q4 2012 ) to migrate from MVC2 to Web API. This will likely result in some breaking changes in the Services Framework but we feel it is the best approach for ensuring the platform remains highly modern and relevant. The fact that our development strategy is perfectly aligned with the “One ASP.NET” strategy from Microsoft means that our customers and developer community can be confident in their current and future investments in the DotNetNuke platform.

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  • List of blogs - year 2010

    - by hajan
    This is the last day of year 2010 and I would like to add links to all blogs I have posted in this year. First, I would like to mention that I started blogging in ASP.NET Community in May / June 2010 and have really enjoyed writing for my favorite technologies, such as: ASP.NET, jQuery/JavaScript, C#, LINQ, Web Services etc. I also had great feedback either through comments on my blogs or in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn where I met many new experts just as a result of my blog posts. Thanks to the interesting topics I have in my blog, I became DZone MVB. Here is the list of blogs I made in 2010 in my ASP.NET Community Weblog: (newest to oldest) Great library of ASP.NET videos – Pluralsight! NDepend – Code Query Language (CQL) NDepend tool – Why every developer working with Visual Studio.NET must try it! jQuery Templates in ASP.NET - Blogs Series jQuery Templates - XHTML Validation jQuery Templates with ASP.NET MVC jQuery Templates - {Supported Tags} jQuery Templates – tmpl(), template() and tmplItem() Introduction to jQuery Templates ViewBag dynamic in ASP.NET MVC 3 - RC 2 Today I had a presentation on "Deep Dive into jQuery Templates in ASP.NET" jQuery Data Linking in ASP.NET How do you prefer getting bundles of technologies?? Case-insensitive XPath query search on XML Document in ASP.NET jQuery UI Accordion in ASP.NET MVC - feed with data from database (Part 3) jQuery UI Accordion in ASP.NET WebForms - feed with data from database (Part 2) jQuery UI Accordion in ASP.NET – Client side implementation (Part 1) Using Images embedded in Project’s Assembly Macedonian Code Camp 2010 event has finished successfully Tips and Tricks: Deferred execution using LINQ Using System.Diagnostics.Stopwatch class to measure the elapsed time Speaking at Macedonian Code Camp 2010 URL Routing in ASP.NET 4.0 Web Forms Conflicts between ASP.NET AJAX UpdatePanels & jQuery functions Integration of jQuery DatePicker in ASP.NET Website – Localization (part 3) Why not to use HttpResponse.Close and HttpResponse.End Calculate Business Days using LINQ Get Distinct values of an Array using LINQ Using CodeRun browser-based IDE to create ASP.NET Web Applications Using params keyword – Methods with variable number of parameters Working with Code Snippets in VS.NET  Working with System.IO.Path static class Calculating GridView total using JavaScript/JQuery The new SortedSet<T> Collection in .NET 4.0 JavaScriptSerializer – Dictionary to JSON Serialization and Deserialization Integration of jQuery DatePicker in ASP.NET Website – JS Validation Script (part 2) Integration of jQuery DatePicker in ASP.NET Website (part 1) Transferring large data when using Web Services Forums dedicated to WebMatrix Microsoft WebMatrix – Short overview & installation Working with embedded resources in Project's assembly Debugging ASP.NET Web Services Save and Display YouTube Videos on ASP.NET Website Hello ASP.NET World... In addition, I would like to mention that I have big list of blog posts in CodeASP.NET Community (total 60 blogs) and the local MKDOT.NET Community (total 61 blogs). You may find most of my weblogs.asp.net/hajan blogs posted there too, but there you can find many others. In my blog on MKDOT.NET Community you can find most of my ASP.NET Weblog posts translated in Macedonian language, some of them posted in English and some other blogs that were posted only there. By reading my blogs, I hope you have learnt something new or at least have confirmed your knowledge. And also, if you haven't, I encourage you to start blogging and share your Microsoft Tech. thoughts with all of us... Sharing and spreading knowledge is definitely one of the noblest things which we can do in our life. "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime" HAPPY NEW 2011 YEAR!!! Best Regards, Hajan

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