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  • Enhanced Dynamic Filtering

    - by Ricardo Peres
    Remember my last post on dynamic filtering? Well, this time I'm extending the code in order to allow two levels of querying: Match type, represented by the following options: public enum MatchType { StartsWith = 0, Contains = 1 } And word match: public enum WordMatch { AnyWord = 0, AllWords = 1, ExactPhrase = 2 } You can combine the two levels in order to achieve the following combinations: MatchType.StartsWith + WordMatch.AnyWord Matches any record that starts with any of the words specified MatchType.StartsWith + WordMatch.AllWords Not available: does not make sense, throws an exception MatchType.StartsWith + WordMatch.ExactPhrase Matches any record that starts with the exact specified phrase MatchType.Contains + WordMatch.AnyWord Matches any record that contains any of the specified words MatchType.Contains + WordMatch.AllWords Matches any record that contains all of the specified words MatchType.Contains + WordMatch.ExactPhrase Matches any record that contains the exact specified phrase Here is the code: public static IList Search(IQueryable query, Type entityType, String dataTextField, String phrase, MatchType matchType, WordMatch wordMatch, Int32 maxCount) { String [] terms = phrase.Split(' ').Distinct().ToArray(); StringBuilder result = new StringBuilder(); PropertyInfo displayProperty = entityType.GetProperty(dataTextField); IList searchList = null; MethodInfo orderByMethod = typeof(Queryable).GetMethods(BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Static).Where(m = m.Name == "OrderBy").ToArray() [ 0 ].MakeGenericMethod(entityType, displayProperty.PropertyType); MethodInfo takeMethod = typeof(Queryable).GetMethod("Take", BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Static).MakeGenericMethod(entityType); MethodInfo whereMethod = typeof(Queryable).GetMethods(BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Static).Where(m = m.Name == "Where").ToArray() [ 0 ].MakeGenericMethod(entityType); MethodInfo distinctMethod = typeof(Queryable).GetMethods(BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Static).Where(m = m.Name == "Distinct" && m.GetParameters().Length == 1).Single().MakeGenericMethod(entityType); MethodInfo toListMethod = typeof(Enumerable).GetMethod("ToList", BindingFlags.Static | BindingFlags.Public).MakeGenericMethod(entityType); MethodInfo matchMethod = typeof(String).GetMethod ( (matchType == MatchType.StartsWith) ? "StartsWith" : "Contains", new Type [] { typeof(String) } ); MemberExpression member = Expression.MakeMemberAccess ( Expression.Parameter(entityType, "n"), displayProperty ); MethodCallExpression call = null; LambdaExpression where = null; LambdaExpression orderBy = Expression.Lambda ( member, member.Expression as ParameterExpression ); switch (matchType) { case MatchType.StartsWith: switch (wordMatch) { case WordMatch.AnyWord: call = Expression.Call ( member, matchMethod, Expression.Constant(terms [ 0 ]) ); where = Expression.Lambda ( call, member.Expression as ParameterExpression ); for (Int32 i = 1; i ()); where = Expression.Lambda ( Expression.Or ( where.Body, exp ), where.Parameters.ToArray() ); } break; case WordMatch.ExactPhrase: call = Expression.Call ( member, matchMethod, Expression.Constant(phrase) ); where = Expression.Lambda ( call, member.Expression as ParameterExpression ); break; case WordMatch.AllWords: throw (new Exception("The match type StartsWith is not supported with word match AllWords")); } break; case MatchType.Contains: switch (wordMatch) { case WordMatch.AnyWord: call = Expression.Call ( member, matchMethod, Expression.Constant(terms [ 0 ]) ); where = Expression.Lambda ( call, member.Expression as ParameterExpression ); for (Int32 i = 1; i ()); where = Expression.Lambda ( Expression.Or ( where.Body, exp ), where.Parameters.ToArray() ); } break; case WordMatch.ExactPhrase: call = Expression.Call ( member, matchMethod, Expression.Constant(phrase) ); where = Expression.Lambda ( call, member.Expression as ParameterExpression ); break; case WordMatch.AllWords: call = Expression.Call ( member, matchMethod, Expression.Constant(terms [ 0 ]) ); where = Expression.Lambda ( call, member.Expression as ParameterExpression ); for (Int32 i = 1; i ()); where = Expression.Lambda ( Expression.AndAlso ( where.Body, exp ), where.Parameters.ToArray() ); } break; } break; } query = orderByMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { query, orderBy }) as IQueryable; query = whereMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { query, where }) as IQueryable; if (maxCount != 0) { query = takeMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { query, maxCount }) as IQueryable; } searchList = toListMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { query }) as IList; return (searchList); } And this is how you'd use it: IQueryable query = ctx.MyEntities; IList list = Search(query, typeof(MyEntity), "Name", "Ricardo Peres", MatchType.Contains, WordMatch.ExactPhrase, 10 /*0 for all*/); SyntaxHighlighter.config.clipboardSwf = 'http://alexgorbatchev.com/pub/sh/2.0.320/scripts/clipboard.swf'; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.CSharp.aliases = ['c#', 'c-sharp', 'csharp']; SyntaxHighlighter.all();

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  • CMOTECH D-50 modem installation in Ubuntu 12.04

    - by Ricardo
    I have recently upgraded from 10.04 to 12.04. I had installed a 3G D-50 modem from CMOTECH. The program for Debian is provided by a Swedish company (ice.net). Usually after some mambo jambo of installung the libg++ libraries requested you can install it and runned in Ubuntu 8.04, 9.04, 10.04 and as far as I know in 11.04. When I upgraded and I click on the icon of ice.net it worked. However, I noticed that the usb D-50 modem was never mounted as usb and it didn't show up in the Lauchnpad or workspace (as when you plug a usb memory stick or another HD). I moved the icon from place in the launchpad and since when I click on the ice.net icon the same message appears: "please plug in your modem". The modem works (I've tested in Windows after this) and it blinks blue (sign that it works and picks up signal). If I type lsusb then I see that Ubuntu sees it on BUS address 006: Bus 006 Device 003: ID 16d8:6803 CMOTECH Co., Ltd. CNU-680 CDMA EV-DO modem I've tried wvdial without success. How can I get the D-50 usb modem mounted as in the previous versions of Ubuntu ?. Any help will be much appreciated. bests. Ricardo

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  • Calculating the Size (in Bytes and MB) of a Oracle Coherence Cache

    - by Ricardo Ferreira
    The concept and usage of data grids are becoming very popular in this days since this type of technology are evolving very fast with some cool lead products like Oracle Coherence. Once for a while, developers need an programmatic way to calculate the total size of a specific cache that are residing in the data grid. In this post, I will show how to accomplish this using Oracle Coherence API. This example has been tested with 3.6, 3.7 and 3.7.1 versions of Oracle Coherence. To start the development of this example, you need to create a POJO ("Plain Old Java Object") that represents a data structure that will hold user data. This data structure will also create an internal fat so I call that should increase considerably the size of each instance in the heap memory. Create a Java class named "Person" as shown in the listing below. package com.oracle.coherence.domain; import java.io.Serializable; import java.util.ArrayList; import java.util.HashMap; import java.util.List; import java.util.Random; @SuppressWarnings("serial") public class Person implements Serializable { private String firstName; private String lastName; private List<Object> fat; private String email; public Person() { generateFat(); } public Person(String firstName, String lastName, String email) { setFirstName(firstName); setLastName(lastName); setEmail(email); generateFat(); } private void generateFat() { fat = new ArrayList<Object>(); Random random = new Random(); for (int i = 0; i < random.nextInt(18000); i++) { HashMap<Long, Double> internalFat = new HashMap<Long, Double>(); for (int j = 0; j < random.nextInt(10000); j++) { internalFat.put(random.nextLong(), random.nextDouble()); } fat.add(internalFat); } } public String getFirstName() { return firstName; } public void setFirstName(String firstName) { this.firstName = firstName; } public String getLastName() { return lastName; } public void setLastName(String lastName) { this.lastName = lastName; } public String getEmail() { return email; } public void setEmail(String email) { this.email = email; } } Now let's create a Java program that will start a data grid into Coherence and will create a cache named "People", that will hold people instances with sequential integer keys. Each person created in this program will trigger the execution of a custom constructor created in the People class that instantiates an internal fat (the random amount of data generated to increase the size of the object) for each person. Create a Java class named "CreatePeopleCacheAndPopulateWithData" as shown in the listing below. package com.oracle.coherence.demo; import com.oracle.coherence.domain.Person; import com.tangosol.net.CacheFactory; import com.tangosol.net.NamedCache; public class CreatePeopleCacheAndPopulateWithData { public static void main(String[] args) { // Asks Coherence for a new cache named "People"... NamedCache people = CacheFactory.getCache("People"); // Creates three people that will be putted into the data grid. Each person // generates an internal fat that should increase its size in terms of bytes... Person pessoa1 = new Person("Ricardo", "Ferreira", "ricardo[email protected]"); Person pessoa2 = new Person("Vitor", "Ferreira", "[email protected]"); Person pessoa3 = new Person("Vivian", "Ferreira", "[email protected]"); // Insert three people at the data grid... people.put(1, pessoa1); people.put(2, pessoa2); people.put(3, pessoa3); // Waits for 5 minutes until the user runs the Java program // that calculates the total size of the people cache... try { System.out.println("---> Waiting for 5 minutes for the cache size calculation..."); Thread.sleep(300000); } catch (InterruptedException ie) { ie.printStackTrace(); } } } Finally, let's create a Java program that, using the Coherence API and JMX, will calculate the total size of each cache that the data grid is currently managing. The approach used in this example was retrieve every cache that the data grid are currently managing, but if you are interested on an specific cache, the same approach can be used, you should only filter witch cache will be looked for. Create a Java class named "CalculateTheSizeOfPeopleCache" as shown in the listing below. package com.oracle.coherence.demo; import java.text.DecimalFormat; import java.util.Map; import java.util.Set; import java.util.TreeMap; import javax.management.MBeanServer; import javax.management.MBeanServerFactory; import javax.management.ObjectName; import com.tangosol.net.CacheFactory; public class CalculateTheSizeOfPeopleCache { @SuppressWarnings({ "unchecked", "rawtypes" }) private void run() throws Exception { // Enable JMX support in this Coherence data grid session... System.setProperty("tangosol.coherence.management", "all"); // Create a sample cache just to access the data grid... CacheFactory.getCache(MBeanServerFactory.class.getName()); // Gets the JMX server from Coherence data grid... MBeanServer jmxServer = getJMXServer(); // Creates a internal data structure that would maintain // the statistics from each cache in the data grid... Map cacheList = new TreeMap(); Set jmxObjectList = jmxServer.queryNames(new ObjectName("Coherence:type=Cache,*"), null); for (Object jmxObject : jmxObjectList) { ObjectName jmxObjectName = (ObjectName) jmxObject; String cacheName = jmxObjectName.getKeyProperty("name"); if (cacheName.equals(MBeanServerFactory.class.getName())) { continue; } else { cacheList.put(cacheName, new Statistics(cacheName)); } } // Updates the internal data structure with statistic data // retrieved from caches inside the in-memory data grid... Set<String> cacheNames = cacheList.keySet(); for (String cacheName : cacheNames) { Set resultSet = jmxServer.queryNames( new ObjectName("Coherence:type=Cache,name=" + cacheName + ",*"), null); for (Object resultSetRef : resultSet) { ObjectName objectName = (ObjectName) resultSetRef; if (objectName.getKeyProperty("tier").equals("back")) { int unit = (Integer) jmxServer.getAttribute(objectName, "Units"); int size = (Integer) jmxServer.getAttribute(objectName, "Size"); Statistics statistics = (Statistics) cacheList.get(cacheName); statistics.incrementUnit(unit); statistics.incrementSize(size); cacheList.put(cacheName, statistics); } } } // Finally... print the objects from the internal data // structure that represents the statistics from caches... cacheNames = cacheList.keySet(); for (String cacheName : cacheNames) { Statistics estatisticas = (Statistics) cacheList.get(cacheName); System.out.println(estatisticas); } } public MBeanServer getJMXServer() { MBeanServer jmxServer = null; for (Object jmxServerRef : MBeanServerFactory.findMBeanServer(null)) { jmxServer = (MBeanServer) jmxServerRef; if (jmxServer.getDefaultDomain().equals(DEFAULT_DOMAIN) || DEFAULT_DOMAIN.length() == 0) { break; } jmxServer = null; } if (jmxServer == null) { jmxServer = MBeanServerFactory.createMBeanServer(DEFAULT_DOMAIN); } return jmxServer; } private class Statistics { private long unit; private long size; private String cacheName; public Statistics(String cacheName) { this.cacheName = cacheName; } public void incrementUnit(long unit) { this.unit += unit; } public void incrementSize(long size) { this.size += size; } public long getUnit() { return unit; } public long getSize() { return size; } public double getUnitInMB() { return unit / (1024.0 * 1024.0); } public double getAverageSize() { return size == 0 ? 0 : unit / size; } public String toString() { StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer(); sb.append("\nCache Statistics of '").append(cacheName).append("':\n"); sb.append(" - Total Entries of Cache -----> " + getSize()).append("\n"); sb.append(" - Used Memory (Bytes) --------> " + getUnit()).append("\n"); sb.append(" - Used Memory (MB) -----------> " + FORMAT.format(getUnitInMB())).append("\n"); sb.append(" - Object Average Size --------> " + FORMAT.format(getAverageSize())).append("\n"); return sb.toString(); } } public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception { new CalculateTheSizeOfPeopleCache().run(); } public static final DecimalFormat FORMAT = new DecimalFormat("###.###"); public static final String DEFAULT_DOMAIN = ""; public static final String DOMAIN_NAME = "Coherence"; } I've commented the overall example so, I don't think that you should get into trouble to understand it. Basically we are dealing with JMX. The first thing to do is enable JMX support for the Coherence client (ie, an JVM that will only retrieve values from the data grid and will not integrate the cluster) application. This can be done very easily using the runtime "tangosol.coherence.management" system property. Consult the Coherence documentation for JMX to understand the possible values that could be applied. The program creates an in memory data structure that holds a custom class created called "Statistics". This class represents the information that we are interested to see, which in this case are the size in bytes and in MB of the caches. An instance of this class is created for each cache that are currently managed by the data grid. Using JMX specific methods, we retrieve the information that are relevant for calculate the total size of the caches. To test this example, you should execute first the CreatePeopleCacheAndPopulateWithData.java program and after the CreatePeopleCacheAndPopulateWithData.java program. The results in the console should be something like this: 2012-06-23 13:29:31.188/4.970 Oracle Coherence 3.6.0.4 <Info> (thread=Main Thread, member=n/a): Loaded operational configuration from "jar:file:/E:/Oracle/Middleware/oepe_11gR1PS4/workspace/calcular-tamanho-cache-coherence/lib/coherence.jar!/tangosol-coherence.xml" 2012-06-23 13:29:31.219/5.001 Oracle Coherence 3.6.0.4 <Info> (thread=Main Thread, member=n/a): Loaded operational overrides from "jar:file:/E:/Oracle/Middleware/oepe_11gR1PS4/workspace/calcular-tamanho-cache-coherence/lib/coherence.jar!/tangosol-coherence-override-dev.xml" 2012-06-23 13:29:31.219/5.001 Oracle Coherence 3.6.0.4 <D5> (thread=Main Thread, member=n/a): Optional configuration override "/tangosol-coherence-override.xml" is not specified 2012-06-23 13:29:31.266/5.048 Oracle Coherence 3.6.0.4 <D5> (thread=Main Thread, member=n/a): Optional configuration override "/custom-mbeans.xml" is not specified Oracle Coherence Version 3.6.0.4 Build 19111 Grid Edition: Development mode Copyright (c) 2000, 2010, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. 2012-06-23 13:29:33.156/6.938 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <Info> (thread=Main Thread, member=n/a): Loaded Reporter configuration from "jar:file:/E:/Oracle/Middleware/oepe_11gR1PS4/workspace/calcular-tamanho-cache-coherence/lib/coherence.jar!/reports/report-group.xml" 2012-06-23 13:29:33.500/7.282 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <Info> (thread=Main Thread, member=n/a): Loaded cache configuration from "jar:file:/E:/Oracle/Middleware/oepe_11gR1PS4/workspace/calcular-tamanho-cache-coherence/lib/coherence.jar!/coherence-cache-config.xml" 2012-06-23 13:29:35.391/9.173 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <D4> (thread=Main Thread, member=n/a): TCMP bound to /192.168.177.133:8090 using SystemSocketProvider 2012-06-23 13:29:37.062/10.844 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <Info> (thread=Cluster, member=n/a): This Member(Id=2, Timestamp=2012-06-23 13:29:36.899, Address=192.168.177.133:8090, MachineId=55685, Location=process:244, Role=Oracle, Edition=Grid Edition, Mode=Development, CpuCount=2, SocketCount=2) joined cluster "cluster:0xC4DB" with senior Member(Id=1, Timestamp=2012-06-23 13:29:14.031, Address=192.168.177.133:8088, MachineId=55685, Location=process:1128, Role=CreatePeopleCacheAndPopulateWith, Edition=Grid Edition, Mode=Development, CpuCount=2, SocketCount=2) 2012-06-23 13:29:37.172/10.954 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <D5> (thread=Cluster, member=n/a): Member 1 joined Service Cluster with senior member 1 2012-06-23 13:29:37.188/10.970 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <D5> (thread=Cluster, member=n/a): Member 1 joined Service Management with senior member 1 2012-06-23 13:29:37.188/10.970 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <D5> (thread=Cluster, member=n/a): Member 1 joined Service DistributedCache with senior member 1 2012-06-23 13:29:37.188/10.970 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <Info> (thread=Main Thread, member=n/a): Started cluster Name=cluster:0xC4DB Group{Address=224.3.6.0, Port=36000, TTL=4} MasterMemberSet ( ThisMember=Member(Id=2, Timestamp=2012-06-23 13:29:36.899, Address=192.168.177.133:8090, MachineId=55685, Location=process:244, Role=Oracle) OldestMember=Member(Id=1, Timestamp=2012-06-23 13:29:14.031, Address=192.168.177.133:8088, MachineId=55685, Location=process:1128, Role=CreatePeopleCacheAndPopulateWith) ActualMemberSet=MemberSet(Size=2, BitSetCount=2 Member(Id=1, Timestamp=2012-06-23 13:29:14.031, Address=192.168.177.133:8088, MachineId=55685, Location=process:1128, Role=CreatePeopleCacheAndPopulateWith) Member(Id=2, Timestamp=2012-06-23 13:29:36.899, Address=192.168.177.133:8090, MachineId=55685, Location=process:244, Role=Oracle) ) RecycleMillis=1200000 RecycleSet=MemberSet(Size=0, BitSetCount=0 ) ) TcpRing{Connections=[1]} IpMonitor{AddressListSize=0} 2012-06-23 13:29:37.891/11.673 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <D5> (thread=Invocation:Management, member=2): Service Management joined the cluster with senior service member 1 2012-06-23 13:29:39.203/12.985 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <D5> (thread=DistributedCache, member=2): Service DistributedCache joined the cluster with senior service member 1 2012-06-23 13:29:39.297/13.079 Oracle Coherence GE 3.6.0.4 <D4> (thread=DistributedCache, member=2): Asking member 1 for 128 primary partitions Cache Statistics of 'People': - Total Entries of Cache -----> 3 - Used Memory (Bytes) --------> 883920 - Used Memory (MB) -----------> 0.843 - Object Average Size --------> 294640 I hope that this post could save you some time when calculate the total size of Coherence cache became a requirement for your high scalable system using data grids. See you!

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  • Can't ping some IP addresses in the same subnet (LAN) Windows 2011 Server

    - by Ricardo
    Hi I’m running in Windows Small Server 2011 server standard (192.168.1.108), it’s my dhcp and dns server too, but suddenly all other users can’t get internet. My gateway is 192.168.1.1. After a lots of tested I can saw that my server can’t get into the router (192.168.1.1), and also into some others computers, but some other computers answer the ping command. In fact the same computer with the IP 192.168.1.9 didn't answer, but with the IP 192.168.1.63, it response! I have no routers, firewall, vlans or anything that disallow the traffic between computers, in fact when I changed the server IP address (192.168.1.109), I be able to ping the other computers and gateway, but if a back to the 192.168.1.108 the trouble comeback. I hope you can help me with this issue Ricardo

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  • Read a variable in bash with a default value

    - by rmarimon
    I need to read a value from the terminal in a bash script. I would like to be able to provide a default value that the user can change. # Please enter your name: Ricardo^ In this script the prompt is "Please enter your name: " the default value is "Ricardo" and the cursor would be after the default value. Is there a way to do this in a bash script?

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  • Differences Between NHibernate and Entity Framework

    - by Ricardo Peres
    Introduction NHibernate and Entity Framework are two of the most popular O/RM frameworks on the .NET world. Although they share some functionality, there are some aspects on which they are quite different. This post will describe this differences and will hopefully help you get started with the one you know less. Mind you, this is a personal selection of features to compare, it is by no way an exhaustive list. History First, a bit of history. NHibernate is an open-source project that was first ported from Java’s venerable Hibernate framework, one of the first O/RM frameworks, but nowadays it is not tied to it, for example, it has .NET specific features, and has evolved in different ways from those of its Java counterpart. Current version is 3.3, with 3.4 on the horizon. It currently targets .NET 3.5, but can be used as well in .NET 4, it only makes no use of any of its specific functionality. You can find its home page at NHForge. Entity Framework 1 came out with .NET 3.5 and is now on its second major version, despite being version 4. Code First sits on top of it and but came separately and will also continue to be released out of line with major .NET distributions. It is currently on version 4.3.1 and version 5 will be released together with .NET Framework 4.5. All versions will target the current version of .NET, at the time of their release. Its home location is located at MSDN. Architecture In NHibernate, there is a separation between the Unit of Work and the configuration and model instances. You start off by creating a Configuration object, where you specify all global NHibernate settings such as the database and dialect to use, the batch sizes, the mappings, etc, then you build an ISessionFactory from it. The ISessionFactory holds model and metadata that is tied to a particular database and to the settings that came from the Configuration object, and, there will typically be only one instance of each in a process. Finally, you create instances of ISession from the ISessionFactory, which is the NHibernate representation of the Unit of Work and Identity Map. This is a lightweight object, it basically opens and closes a database connection as required and keeps track of the entities associated with it. ISession objects are cheap to create and dispose, because all of the model complexity is stored in the ISessionFactory and Configuration objects. As for Entity Framework, the ObjectContext/DbContext holds the configuration, model and acts as the Unit of Work, holding references to all of the known entity instances. This class is therefore not lightweight as its NHibernate counterpart and it is not uncommon to see examples where an instance is cached on a field. Mappings Both NHibernate and Entity Framework (Code First) support the use of POCOs to represent entities, no base classes are required (or even possible, in the case of NHibernate). As for mapping to and from the database, NHibernate supports three types of mappings: XML-based, which have the advantage of not tying the entity classes to a particular O/RM; the XML files can be deployed as files on the file system or as embedded resources in an assembly; Attribute-based, for keeping both the entities and database details on the same place at the expense of polluting the entity classes with NHibernate-specific attributes; Strongly-typed code-based, which allows dynamic creation of the model and strongly typing it, so that if, for example, a property name changes, the mapping will also be updated. Entity Framework can use: Attribute-based (although attributes cannot express all of the available possibilities – for example, cascading); Strongly-typed code mappings. Database Support With NHibernate you can use mostly any database you want, including: SQL Server; SQL Server Compact; SQL Server Azure; Oracle; DB2; PostgreSQL; MySQL; Sybase Adaptive Server/SQL Anywhere; Firebird; SQLLite; Informix; Any through OLE DB; Any through ODBC. Out of the box, Entity Framework only supports SQL Server, but a number of providers exist, both free and commercial, for some of the most used databases, such as Oracle and MySQL. See a list here. Inheritance Strategies Both NHibernate and Entity Framework support the three canonical inheritance strategies: Table Per Type Hierarchy (Single Table Inheritance), Table Per Type (Class Table Inheritance) and Table Per Concrete Type (Concrete Table Inheritance). Associations Regarding associations, both support one to one, one to many and many to many. However, NHibernate offers far more collection types: Bags of entities or values: unordered, possibly with duplicates; Lists of entities or values: ordered, indexed by a number column; Maps of entities or values: indexed by either an entity or any value; Sets of entities or values: unordered, no duplicates; Arrays of entities or values: indexed, immutable. Querying NHibernate exposes several querying APIs: LINQ is probably the most used nowadays, and really does not need to be introduced; Hibernate Query Language (HQL) is a database-agnostic, object-oriented SQL-alike language that exists since NHibernate’s creation and still offers the most advanced querying possibilities; well suited for dynamic queries, even if using string concatenation; Criteria API is an implementation of the Query Object pattern where you create a semi-abstract conceptual representation of the query you wish to execute by means of a class model; also a good choice for dynamic querying; Query Over offers a similar API to Criteria, but using strongly-typed LINQ expressions instead of strings; for this, although more refactor-friendlier that Criteria, it is also less suited for dynamic queries; SQL, including stored procedures, can also be used; Integration with Lucene.NET indexer is available. As for Entity Framework: LINQ to Entities is fully supported, and its implementation is considered very complete; it is the API of choice for most developers; Entity-SQL, HQL’s counterpart, is also an object-oriented, database-independent querying language that can be used for dynamic queries; SQL, of course, is also supported. Caching Both NHibernate and Entity Framework, of course, feature first-level cache. NHibernate also supports a second-level cache, that can be used among multiple ISessionFactorys, even in different processes/machines: Hashtable (in-memory); SysCache (uses ASP.NET as the cache provider); SysCache2 (same as above but with support for SQL Server SQL Dependencies); Prevalence; SharedCache; Memcached; Redis; NCache; Appfabric Caching. Out of the box, Entity Framework does not have any second-level cache mechanism, however, there are some public samples that show how we can add this. ID Generators NHibernate supports different ID generation strategies, coming from the database and otherwise: Identity (for SQL Server, MySQL, and databases who support identity columns); Sequence (for Oracle, PostgreSQL, and others who support sequences); Trigger-based; HiLo; Sequence HiLo (for databases that support sequences); Several GUID flavors, both in GUID as well as in string format; Increment (for single-user uses); Assigned (must know what you’re doing); Sequence-style (either uses an actual sequence or a single-column table); Table of ids; Pooled (similar to HiLo but stores high values in a table); Native (uses whatever mechanism the current database supports, identity or sequence). Entity Framework only supports: Identity generation; GUIDs; Assigned values. Properties NHibernate supports properties of entity types (one to one or many to one), collections (one to many or many to many) as well as scalars and enumerations. It offers a mechanism for having complex property types generated from the database, which even include support for querying. It also supports properties originated from SQL formulas. Entity Framework only supports scalars, entity types and collections. Enumerations support will come in the next version. Events and Interception NHibernate has a very rich event model, that exposes more than 20 events, either for synchronous pre-execution or asynchronous post-execution, including: Pre/Post-Load; Pre/Post-Delete; Pre/Post-Insert; Pre/Post-Update; Pre/Post-Flush. It also features interception of class instancing and SQL generation. As for Entity Framework, only two events exist: ObjectMaterialized (after loading an entity from the database); SavingChanges (before saving changes, which include deleting, inserting and updating). Tracking Changes For NHibernate as well as Entity Framework, all changes are tracked by their respective Unit of Work implementation. Entities can be attached and detached to it, Entity Framework does, however, also support self-tracking entities. Optimistic Concurrency Control NHibernate supports all of the imaginable scenarios: SQL Server’s ROWVERSION; Oracle’s ORA_ROWSCN; A column containing date and time; A column containing a version number; All/dirty columns comparison. Entity Framework is more focused on Entity Framework, so it only supports: SQL Server’s ROWVERSION; Comparing all/some columns. Batching NHibernate has full support for insertion batching, but only if the ID generator in use is not database-based (for example, it cannot be used with Identity), whereas Entity Framework has no batching at all. Cascading Both support cascading for collections and associations: when an entity is deleted, their conceptual children are also deleted. NHibernate also offers the possibility to set the foreign key column on children to NULL instead of removing them. Flushing Changes NHibernate’s ISession has a FlushMode property that can have the following values: Auto: changes are sent to the database when necessary, for example, if there are dirty instances of an entity type, and a query is performed against this entity type, or if the ISession is being disposed; Commit: changes are sent when committing the current transaction; Never: changes are only sent when explicitly calling Flush(). As for Entity Framework, changes have to be explicitly sent through a call to AcceptAllChanges()/SaveChanges(). Lazy Loading NHibernate supports lazy loading for Associated entities (one to one, many to one); Collections (one to many, many to many); Scalar properties (thing of BLOBs or CLOBs). Entity Framework only supports lazy loading for: Associated entities; Collections. Generating and Updating the Database Both NHibernate and Entity Framework Code First (with the Migrations API) allow creating the database model from the mapping and updating it if the mapping changes. Extensibility As you can guess, NHibernate is far more extensible than Entity Framework. Basically, everything can be extended, from ID generation, to LINQ to SQL transformation, HQL native SQL support, custom column types, custom association collections, SQL generation, supported databases, etc. With Entity Framework your options are more limited, at least, because practically no information exists as to what can be extended/changed. It features a provider model that can be extended to support any database. Integration With Other Microsoft APIs and Tools When it comes to integration with Microsoft technologies, it will come as no surprise that Entity Framework offers the best support. For example, the following technologies are fully supported: ASP.NET (through the EntityDataSource); ASP.NET Dynamic Data; WCF Data Services; WCF RIA Services; Visual Studio (through the integrated designer). Documentation This is another point where Entity Framework is superior: NHibernate lacks, for starters, an up to date API reference synchronized with its current version. It does have a community mailing list, blogs and wikis, although not much used. Entity Framework has a number of resources on MSDN and, of course, several forums and discussion groups exist. Conclusion Like I said, this is a personal list. I may come as a surprise to some that Entity Framework is so behind NHibernate in so many aspects, but it is true that NHibernate is much older and, due to its open-source nature, is not tied to product-specific timeframes and can thus evolve much more rapidly. I do like both, and I chose whichever is best for the job I have at hands. I am looking forward to the changes in EF5 which will add significant value to an already interesting product. So, what do you think? Did I forget anything important or is there anything else worth talking about? Looking forward for your comments!

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  • Exam 71-515: TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

    - by Ricardo Peres
    I took the 71-515 exam today. 85 questions, 240 minutes. Here are some notes: Great number of jQuery questions, mostly having to do with AJAX Lots of MVC 2 questions also A number of classic ASP.NET web forms, of which only a few were related with the new 4 features Some Entity Framework Some plain old JavaScript, like, changing an image dynamically I think I did OK. As with my previous exam, I still don't know if I passed or not, will have to wait for the end of the beta period.

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  • Generating PDF Files With iTextSharp

    - by Ricardo Peres
    I recently had the need to generate a PDF file containing a table where some of the cells included images. Of course, I used iTextSharp to do it. Because it has some obscure parts, I decided to publish a simplified version of the code I used. using iTextSharp; using iTextSharp.text; using iTextSharp.text.pdf; using iTextSharp.text.html; //... protected void OnGeneratePdfClick() { String text = "Multi\nline\ntext"; String name = "Some Name"; String number = "12345"; Int32 rows = 7; Int32 cols = 3; Single headerHeight = 47f; Single footerHeight = 45f; Single rowHeight = 107.4f; String pdfName = String.Format("Labels - {0}", name); PdfPTable table = new PdfPTable(3) { WidthPercentage = 100, HeaderRows = 1 }; PdfPCell headerCell = new PdfPCell(new Phrase("Header")) { Colspan = cols, FixedHeight = headerHeight, HorizontalAlignment = Element.ALIGN_CENTER, BorderWidth = 0f }; table.AddCell(headerCell); FontFactory.RegisterDirectory(@"C:\WINDOWS\Fonts"); //required for the Verdana font Font cellFont = FontFactory.GetFont("Verdana", 6f, Font.NORMAL); for (Int32 r = 0; r SyntaxHighlighter.config.clipboardSwf = 'http://alexgorbatchev.com/pub/sh/2.0.320/scripts/clipboard.swf'; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.CSharp.aliases = ['c#', 'c-sharp', 'csharp']; SyntaxHighlighter.all();

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  • NHibernate 2 Beginner's Guide Review

    - by Ricardo Peres
    OK, here's the review I promised a while ago. This is a beginner's introduction to NHibernate, so if you have already some experience with NHibernate, you will notice it lacks a lot of concepts and information. It starts with a good description of NHibernate and why would we use it. It goes on describing basic mapping scenarios having primary keys generated with the HiLo or Identity algorithms, without actually explaining why would we choose one over the other. As for mapping, the book talks about XML mappings and provides a simple example of Fluent NHibernate, comparing it to its XML counterpart. When it comes to relations, it covers one-to-many/many-to-one and many-to-many, not one-to-one relations, but only talks briefly about lazy loading, which is, IMO, an important concept. Only Bags are described, not any of the other collection types. The log4net configuration description gets it's own chapter, which I find excessive. The chapter on configuration merely lists the most common properties for configuring NHibernate, both in XML and in code. Querying only talks about loading by ID (using Get, not Load) and using Criteria API, on which a paging example is presented as well as some common filtering options (property equals/like/between to, no examples on conjunction/disjunction, however). There's a chapter fully dedicated to ASP.NET, which explains how we can use NHibernate in web applications. It basically talks about ASP.NET concepts, though. Following it, another chapter explains how we can build our own ASP.NET providers using NHibernate (Membership, Role). The available entity generators for NHibernate are referred and evaluated on a chapter of their own, the list is fine (CodeSmith, nhib-gen, AjGenesis, Visual NHibernate, MyGeneration, NGen, NHModeler, Microsoft T4 (?) and hbm2net), examples are provided whenever possible, however, I have some problems with some of the evaluations: for example, Visual NHibernate scores 5 out of 5 on Visual Studio integration, which simply does not exist! I suspect the author means to say that it can be launched from inside Visual Studio, but then, what can't? Finally, there's a chapter I really don't understand. It seems like a bag where a lot of things are thrown in, like NHibernate Burrow (which actually isn't explained at all), Blog.Net components, CSS template conversion and web.config settings related to the maximum request length for file uploads and ending with XML configuration, with the help of GhostDoc. Like I said, the book is only good for absolute beginners, it does a fair job in explaining the very basics, but lack a lot of not-so-basic concepts. Among other things, it lacks: Inheritance mapping strategies (table per class hierarchy, table per class, table per concrete class) Load versus Get usage Other usefull ISession methods First level cache (Identity Map pattern) Other collection types other that Bag (Set, List, Map, IdBag, etc Fetch options User Types Filters Named queries LINQ examples HQL examples And that's it! I hope you find this review useful. The link to the book site is https://www.packtpub.com/nhibernate-2-x-beginners-guide/book

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  • Dynamic Paging and Sorting

    - by Ricardo Peres
    Since .NET 3.5 brought us LINQ and expressions, I became a great fan of these technologies. There are times, however, when strong typing cannot be used - for example, when you are developing an ObjectDataSource and you need to do paging having just a column name, a page index and a page size, so I set out to fix this. Yes, I know about Dynamic LINQ, and even talked on it previously, but there's no need to add this extra assembly. So, without further delay, here's the code, in both generic and non-generic versions: public static IList ApplyPagingAndSorting(IEnumerable enumerable, Type elementType, Int32 pageSize, Int32 pageIndex, params String [] orderByColumns) { MethodInfo asQueryableMethod = typeof(Queryable).GetMethods(BindingFlags.Static | BindingFlags.Public).Where(m = (m.Name == "AsQueryable") && (m.ContainsGenericParameters == false)).Single(); IQueryable query = (enumerable is IQueryable) ? (enumerable as IQueryable) : asQueryableMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { enumerable }) as IQueryable; if ((orderByColumns != null) && (orderByColumns.Length 0)) { PropertyInfo orderByProperty = elementType.GetProperty(orderByColumns [ 0 ]); MemberExpression member = Expression.MakeMemberAccess(Expression.Parameter(elementType, "n"), orderByProperty); LambdaExpression orderBy = Expression.Lambda(member, member.Expression as ParameterExpression); MethodInfo orderByMethod = typeof(Queryable).GetMethods(BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Static).Where(m = m.Name == "OrderBy").ToArray() [ 0 ].MakeGenericMethod(elementType, orderByProperty.PropertyType); query = orderByMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { query, orderBy }) as IQueryable; if (orderByColumns.Length 1) { MethodInfo thenByMethod = typeof(Queryable).GetMethods(BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Static).Where(m = m.Name == "ThenBy").ToArray() [ 0 ].MakeGenericMethod(elementType, orderByProperty.PropertyType); PropertyInfo thenByProperty = null; MemberExpression thenByMember = null; LambdaExpression thenBy = null; for (Int32 i = 1; i 0) { MethodInfo takeMethod = typeof(Queryable).GetMethod("Take", BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Static).MakeGenericMethod(elementType); MethodInfo skipMethod = typeof(Queryable).GetMethod("Skip", BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Static).MakeGenericMethod(elementType); query = skipMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { query, pageSize * pageIndex }) as IQueryable; query = takeMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { query, pageSize }) as IQueryable; } MethodInfo toListMethod = typeof(Enumerable).GetMethod("ToList", BindingFlags.Static | BindingFlags.Public).MakeGenericMethod(elementType); IList list = toListMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { query }) as IList; return (list); } public static List ApplyPagingAndSorting(IEnumerable enumerable, Int32 pageSize, Int32 pageIndex, params String [] orderByColumns) { return (ApplyPagingAndSorting(enumerable, typeof(T), pageSize, pageIndex, orderByColumns) as List); } List list = new List { new DateTime(2010, 1, 1), new DateTime(1999, 1, 12), new DateTime(1900, 10, 10), new DateTime(1900, 2, 20), new DateTime(2012, 5, 5), new DateTime(2012, 1, 20) }; List sortedList = ApplyPagingAndSorting(list, 3, 0, "Year", "Month", "Day"); SyntaxHighlighter.config.clipboardSwf = 'http://alexgorbatchev.com/pub/sh/2.0.320/scripts/clipboard.swf'; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.CSharp.aliases = ['c#', 'c-sharp', 'csharp']; SyntaxHighlighter.all();

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  • Sending Messages to SignalR Hubs from the Outside

    - by Ricardo Peres
    Introduction You are by now probably familiarized with SignalR, Microsoft’s API for real-time web functionality. This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest products Microsoft has released in recent time. Usually, people login to a site and enter some page which is connected to a SignalR hub. Then they can send and receive messages – not just text messages, mind you – to other users in the same hub. Also, the server can also take the initiative to send messages to all or a specified subset of users on its own, this is known as server push. The normal flow is pretty straightforward, Microsoft has done a great job with the API, it’s clean and quite simple to use. And for the latter – the server taking the initiative – it’s also quite simple, just involves a little more work. The Problem The API for sending messages can be achieved from inside a hub – an instance of the Hub class – which is something that we don’t have if we are the server and we want to send a message to some user or group of users: the Hub instance is only instantiated in response to a client message. The Solution It is possible to acquire a hub’s context from outside of an actual Hub instance, by calling GlobalHost.ConnectionManager.GetHubContext<T>(). This API allows us to: Broadcast messages to all connected clients (possibly excluding some); Send messages to a specific client; Send messages to a group of clients. So, we have groups and clients, each is identified by a string. Client strings are called connection ids and group names are free-form, given by us. The problem with client strings is, we do not know how these map to actual users. One way to achieve this mapping is by overriding the Hub’s OnConnected and OnDisconnected methods and managing the association there. Here’s an example: 1: public class MyHub : Hub 2: { 3: private static readonly IDictionary<String, ISet<String>> users = new ConcurrentDictionary<String, ISet<String>>(); 4:  5: public static IEnumerable<String> GetUserConnections(String username) 6: { 7: ISet<String> connections; 8:  9: users.TryGetValue(username, out connections); 10:  11: return (connections ?? Enumerable.Empty<String>()); 12: } 13:  14: private static void AddUser(String username, String connectionId) 15: { 16: ISet<String> connections; 17:  18: if (users.TryGetValue(username, out connections) == false) 19: { 20: connections = users[username] = new HashSet<String>(); 21: } 22:  23: connections.Add(connectionId); 24: } 25:  26: private static void RemoveUser(String username, String connectionId) 27: { 28: users[username].Remove(connectionId); 29: } 30:  31: public override Task OnConnected() 32: { 33: AddUser(this.Context.Request.User.Identity.Name, this.Context.ConnectionId); 34: return (base.OnConnected()); 35: } 36:  37: public override Task OnDisconnected() 38: { 39: RemoveUser(this.Context.Request.User.Identity.Name, this.Context.ConnectionId); 40: return (base.OnDisconnected()); 41: } 42: } As you can see, I am using a static field to store the mapping between a user and its possibly many connections – for example, multiple open browser tabs or even multiple browsers accessing the same page with the same login credentials. The user identity, as is normal in .NET, is obtained from the IPrincipal which in SignalR hubs case is stored in Context.Request.User. Of course, this property will only have a meaningful value if we enforce authentication. Another way to go is by creating a group for each user that connects: 1: public class MyHub : Hub 2: { 3: public override Task OnConnected() 4: { 5: this.Groups.Add(this.Context.ConnectionId, this.Context.Request.User.Identity.Name); 6: return (base.OnConnected()); 7: } 8:  9: public override Task OnDisconnected() 10: { 11: this.Groups.Remove(this.Context.ConnectionId, this.Context.Request.User.Identity.Name); 12: return (base.OnDisconnected()); 13: } 14: } In this case, we will have a one-to-one equivalence between users and groups. All connections belonging to the same user will fall in the same group. So, if we want to send messages to a user from outside an instance of the Hub class, we can do something like this, for the first option – user mappings stored in a static field: 1: public void SendUserMessage(String username, String message) 2: { 3: var context = GlobalHost.ConnectionManager.GetHubContext<MyHub>(); 4: 5: foreach (String connectionId in HelloHub.GetUserConnections(username)) 6: { 7: context.Clients.Client(connectionId).sendUserMessage(message); 8: } 9: } And for using groups, its even simpler: 1: public void SendUserMessage(String username, String message) 2: { 3: var context = GlobalHost.ConnectionManager.GetHubContext<MyHub>(); 4:  5: context.Clients.Group(username).sendUserMessage(message); 6: } Using groups has the advantage that the IHubContext interface returned from GetHubContext has direct support for groups, no need to send messages to individual connections. Of course, you can wrap both mapping options in a common API, perhaps exposed through IoC. One example of its interface might be: 1: public interface IUserToConnectionMappingService 2: { 3: //associate and dissociate connections to users 4:  5: void AddUserConnection(String username, String connectionId); 6:  7: void RemoveUserConnection(String username, String connectionId); 8: } SignalR has built-in dependency resolution, by means of the static GlobalHost.DependencyResolver property: 1: //for using groups (in the Global class) 2: GlobalHost.DependencyResolver.Register(typeof(IUserToConnectionMappingService), () => new GroupsMappingService()); 3:  4: //for using a static field (in the Global class) 5: GlobalHost.DependencyResolver.Register(typeof(IUserToConnectionMappingService), () => new StaticMappingService()); 6:  7: //retrieving the current service (in the Hub class) 8: var mapping = GlobalHost.DependencyResolver.Resolve<IUserToConnectionMappingService>(); Now all you have to do is implement GroupsMappingService and StaticMappingService with the code I shown here and change SendUserMessage method to rely in the dependency resolver for the actual implementation. Stay tuned for more SignalR posts!

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  • Loading a Template From a User Control

    - by Ricardo Peres
    What if you wanted to load a template (ITemplate property) from an external user control (.ascx) file? Yes, it is possible; there are a number of ways to do this, the one I'll talk about here is through a type converter. You need to apply a TypeConverterAttribute to your ITemplate property where you specify a custom type converter that does the job. This type converter relies on InstanceDescriptor. Here is the code for it: public class TemplateTypeConverter: TypeConverter { public override Boolean CanConvertFrom(ITypeDescriptorContext context, Type sourceType) { return ((sourceType == typeof(String)) || (base.CanConvertFrom(context, sourceType) == true)); } public override Boolean CanConvertTo(ITypeDescriptorContext context, Type destinationType) { return ((destinationType == typeof(InstanceDescriptor)) || (base.CanConvertTo(context, destinationType) == true)); } public override Object ConvertTo(ITypeDescriptorContext context, CultureInfo culture, Object value, Type destinationType) { if (destinationType == typeof(InstanceDescriptor)) { Object objectFactory = value.GetType().GetField("_objectFactory", BindingFlags.NonPublic | BindingFlags.Instance).GetValue(value); Object builtType = objectFactory.GetType().BaseType.GetField("_builtType", BindingFlags.NonPublic | BindingFlags.Instance).GetValue(objectFactory); MethodInfo loadTemplate = typeof(TemplateTypeConverter).GetMethod("LoadTemplate"); return (new InstanceDescriptor(loadTemplate, new Object [] { "~/" + (builtType as Type).Name.Replace('_', '/').Replace("/ascx", ".ascx") })); } return base.ConvertTo(context, culture, value, destinationType); } public static ITemplate LoadTemplate(String virtualPath) { using (Page page = new Page()) { return (page.LoadTemplate(virtualPath)); } } } And, on your control: public class MyControl: Control { [Browsable(false)] [TypeConverter(typeof(TemplateTypeConverter))] public ITemplate Template { get; set; } } This allows the following declaration: Hope this helps! SyntaxHighlighter.config.clipboardSwf = 'http://alexgorbatchev.com/pub/sh/2.0.320/scripts/clipboard.swf'; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.CSharp.aliases = ['c#', 'c-sharp', 'csharp']; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.Xml.aliases = ['xml']; SyntaxHighlighter.all();

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  • Initially Unselected DropDownList

    - by Ricardo Peres
    One of the most (IMHO) things with DropDownList is its inability to show an unselected value at load time, which is something that HTML does permit. I decided to change the DropDownList to add this behavior. All was needed was some JavaScript and reflection. See the result for yourself: public class CustomDropDownList : DropDownList { public CustomDropDownList() { this.InitiallyUnselected = true; } [DefaultValue(true)] public Boolean InitiallyUnselected { get; set; } protected override void OnInit(EventArgs e) { this.Page.RegisterRequiresControlState(this); this.Page.PreRenderComplete += this.OnPreRenderComplete; base.OnInit(e); } protected virtual void OnPreRenderComplete(Object sender, EventArgs args) { FieldInfo cachedSelectedValue = typeof(ListControl).GetField("cachedSelectedValue", BindingFlags.NonPublic | BindingFlags.Instance); if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(cachedSelectedValue.GetValue(this) as String) == true) { if (this.InitiallyUnselected == true) { if ((ScriptManager.GetCurrent(this.Page) != null) && (ScriptManager.GetCurrent(this.Page).IsInAsyncPostBack == true)) { ScriptManager.RegisterStartupScript(this, this.GetType(), "unselect" + this.ClientID, "$get('" + this.ClientID + "').selectedIndex = -1;", true); } else { this.Page.ClientScript.RegisterStartupScript(this.GetType(), "unselect" + this.ClientID, "$get('" + this.ClientID + "').selectedIndex = -1;", true); } } } } } SyntaxHighlighter.config.clipboardSwf = 'http://alexgorbatchev.com/pub/sh/2.0.320/scripts/clipboard.swf'; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.CSharp.aliases = ['c#', 'c-sharp', 'csharp']; SyntaxHighlighter.all();

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  • NHibernate 2 Beginner's Guide Book

    - by Ricardo Peres
    Packt Publishing has recently released a new book on NHibernate: NHibernate 2 Beginner's Guide, by Aaron Cure. I am now reading the final version, which Packt Publishing was kind enough to provide me, and I will soon write about it. I can tell you for now that Fabio Maulo was one of the reviewers, which certainly raises the expectations. In the meanwhile, there's a free chapter you can download, which hopefully will get you interested in it; you can get it from here.

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  • NHibernate Tools

    - by Ricardo Peres
    Felice Pollano is the author of a two great new tools for working with NHibernate: NH Workbench: an IDE for writing HQL queries against a model db2hbm: generation of .hbm.xml files from a database (currently only SQL Server, more to come) I suggest you give them a try and give Felix your feedback!

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  • ASP.NET List Control

    - by Ricardo Peres
    Today I developed a simple control for generating lists in ASP.NET, something that the base class library does not contain; it allows for nested lists where the list item types and images can be configured on a list by list basis. Since it was a great fun to develop, I'd like to share it here. Here is the code: [ParseChildren(true)] [PersistChildren(false)] public class List: WebControl { public List(): base("ul") { this.Items = new List(); this.ListStyleType = ListStyleType.Auto; this.ListStyleImageUrl = String.Empty; this.CommonCssClass = String.Empty; this.ContainerCssClass = String.Empty; } [DefaultValue(ListStyleType.Auto)] public ListStyleType ListStyleType { get; set; } [DefaultValue("")] [UrlProperty("*.png;*.gif;*.jpg")] public String ListStyleImageUrl { get; set; } [DefaultValue("")] [CssClassProperty] public String CommonCssClass { get; set; } [DefaultValue("")] [CssClassProperty] public String ContainerCssClass { get; set; } [Browsable(false)] [PersistenceModeAttribute(PersistenceMode.InnerProperty)] public List Items { private set; get; } protected override void Render(HtmlTextWriter writer) { String cssClass = String.Join(" ", new String [] { this.CssClass, this.ContainerCssClass }); if (cssClass.Trim().Length != 0) { this.CssClass = cssClass; } if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(this.ListStyleImageUrl) == false) { this.Style[ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleImage ] = String.Format("url('{0}')", this.ResolveClientUrl(this.ListStyleImageUrl)); } if (this.ListStyleType != ListStyleType.Auto) { switch (this.ListStyleType) { case ListStyleType.Circle: case ListStyleType.Decimal: case ListStyleType.Disc: case ListStyleType.None: case ListStyleType.Square: this.Style [ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = this.ListStyleType.ToString().ToLower(); break; case ListStyleType.LowerAlpha: this.Style [ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = "lower-alpha"; break; case ListStyleType.LowerRoman: this.Style [ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = "lower-roman"; break; case ListStyleType.UpperAlpha: this.Style [ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = "upper-alpha"; break; case ListStyleType.UpperRoman: this.Style [ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = "upper-roman"; break; } } base.Render(writer); } protected override void RenderChildren(HtmlTextWriter writer) { foreach (ListItem item in this.Items) { this.writeItem(item, this, 0); } base.RenderChildren(writer); } private void writeItem(ListItem item, Control control, Int32 depth) { HtmlGenericControl li = new HtmlGenericControl("li"); control.Controls.Add(li); if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(this.CommonCssClass) == false) { String cssClass = String.Join(" ", new String [] { this.CommonCssClass, this.CommonCssClass + depth }); li.Attributes [ "class" ] = cssClass; } foreach (String key in item.Attributes.Keys) { li.Attributes[key] = item.Attributes [ key ]; } li.InnerText = item.Text; if (item.ChildItems.Count != 0) { HtmlGenericControl ul = new HtmlGenericControl("ul"); li.Controls.Add(ul); if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(this.ContainerCssClass) == false) { ul.Attributes["class"] = this.ContainerCssClass; } if ((item.ListStyleType != ListStyleType.Auto) || (String.IsNullOrEmpty(item.ListStyleImageUrl) == false)) { if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(item.ListStyleImageUrl) == false) { ul.Style[HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleImage] = String.Format("url('{0}');", this.ResolveClientUrl(item.ListStyleImageUrl)); } if (item.ListStyleType != ListStyleType.Auto) { switch (this.ListStyleType) { case ListStyleType.Circle: case ListStyleType.Decimal: case ListStyleType.Disc: case ListStyleType.None: case ListStyleType.Square: ul.Style[ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = item.ListStyleType.ToString().ToLower(); break; case ListStyleType.LowerAlpha: ul.Style [ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = "lower-alpha"; break; case ListStyleType.LowerRoman: ul.Style [ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = "lower-roman"; break; case ListStyleType.UpperAlpha: ul.Style [ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = "upper-alpha"; break; case ListStyleType.UpperRoman: ul.Style [ HtmlTextWriterStyle.ListStyleType ] = "upper-roman"; break; } } } foreach (ListItem childItem in item.ChildItems) { this.writeItem(childItem, ul, depth + 1); } } } } [Serializable] [ParseChildren(true, "ChildItems")] public class ListItem: IAttributeAccessor { public ListItem() { this.ChildItems = new List(); this.Attributes = new Dictionary(); this.Text = String.Empty; this.Value = String.Empty; this.ListStyleType = ListStyleType.Auto; this.ListStyleImageUrl = String.Empty; } [DefaultValue(ListStyleType.Auto)] public ListStyleType ListStyleType { get; set; } [DefaultValue("")] [UrlProperty("*.png;*.gif;*.jpg")] public String ListStyleImageUrl { get; set; } [DefaultValue("")] public String Text { get; set; } [DefaultValue("")] public String Value { get; set; } [Browsable(false)] public List ChildItems { get; private set; } [Browsable(false)] public Dictionary Attributes { get; private set; } String IAttributeAccessor.GetAttribute(String key) { return (this.Attributes [ key ]); } void IAttributeAccessor.SetAttribute(String key, String value) { this.Attributes [ key ] = value; } } [Serializable] public enum ListStyleType { Auto = 0, Disc, Circle, Square, Decimal, LowerRoman, UpperRoman, LowerAlpha, UpperAlpha, None } SyntaxHighlighter.config.clipboardSwf = 'http://alexgorbatchev.com/pub/sh/2.0.320/scripts/clipboard.swf'; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.CSharp.aliases = ['c#', 'c-sharp', 'csharp']; SyntaxHighlighter.all();

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  • Microsoft Developer Training Kits

    - by Ricardo Peres
    Here's a personal list of some of Microsoft's available and updated developer training kits: PHP on Windows Training Kit: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&familyid=c8498c9b-a85a-4afa-90c0-593d0e4850cb Identity Developer Training Kit: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=C3E315FA-94E2-4028-99CB-904369F177C0&displaylang=en Office 2010 Developer Training Kit: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=f1599288-a99f-410f-a219-f4375dbe310c SharePoint 2010 Developer Training Kit: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=bfd1603b-7550-4b8e-be85-4215a5069b90 Silverlight 4 Training: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=24cea29e-042e-41c9-aa16-684a0ca5f5db SQL Server 2008 R2 Training Kit (includes SQL Server 2008): http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=fffaad6a-0153-4d41-b289-a3ed1d637c0d Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=752cb725-969b-4732-a383-ed5740f02e93 Windows Server 2008 R2 Developer Training Kit: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=c48b3eb4-ad4b-461c-9d5a-25f45d949b92&displaylang=en Windows 7 Training Kit For Developers: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=1C333F06-FADB-4D93-9C80-402621C600E7&displaylang=en Windows Phone 7 Training Kit for Developers: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=CA23285F-BAB8-47FA-B364-11553E076A9A&displaylang=en Windows Mobile 6.5 Developer Tool Kit: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=20686A1D-97A8-4F80-BC6A-AE010E085A6E&displaylang=en

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  • Yet Another ASP.NET MVC CRUD Tutorial

    - by Ricardo Peres
    I know that I have not posted much on MVC, mostly because I don’t use it on my daily life, but since I find it so interesting, and since it is gaining such popularity, I will be talking about it much more. This time, it’s about the most basic of scenarios: CRUD. Although there are several ASP.NET MVC tutorials out there that cover ordinary CRUD operations, I couldn’t find any that would explain how we can have also AJAX, optimistic concurrency control and validation, using Entity Framework Code First, so I set out to write one! I won’t go into explaining what is MVC, Code First or optimistic concurrency control, or AJAX, I assume you are all familiar with these concepts by now. Let’s consider an hypothetical use case, products. For simplicity, we only want to be able to either view a single product or edit this product. First, we need our model: 1: public class Product 2: { 3: public Product() 4: { 5: this.Details = new HashSet<OrderDetail>(); 6: } 7:  8: [Required] 9: [StringLength(50)] 10: public String Name 11: { 12: get; 13: set; 14: } 15:  16: [Key] 17: [ScaffoldColumn(false)] 18: [DatabaseGenerated(DatabaseGeneratedOption.Identity)] 19: public Int32 ProductId 20: { 21: get; 22: set; 23: } 24:  25: [Required] 26: [Range(1, 100)] 27: public Decimal Price 28: { 29: get; 30: set; 31: } 32:  33: public virtual ISet<OrderDetail> Details 34: { 35: get; 36: protected set; 37: } 38:  39: [Timestamp] 40: [ScaffoldColumn(false)] 41: public Byte[] RowVersion 42: { 43: get; 44: set; 45: } 46: } Keep in mind that this is a simple scenario. Let’s see what we have: A class Product, that maps to a product record on the database; A product has a required (RequiredAttribute) Name property which can contain up to 50 characters (StringLengthAttribute); The product’s Price must be a decimal value between 1 and 100 (RangeAttribute); It contains a set of order details, for each time that it has been ordered, which we will not talk about (Details); The record’s primary key (mapped to property ProductId) comes from a SQL Server IDENTITY column generated by the database (KeyAttribute, DatabaseGeneratedAttribute); The table uses a SQL Server ROWVERSION (previously known as TIMESTAMP) column for optimistic concurrency control mapped to property RowVersion (TimestampAttribute). Then we will need a controller for viewing product details, which will located on folder ~/Controllers under the name ProductController: 1: public class ProductController : Controller 2: { 3: [HttpGet] 4: public ViewResult Get(Int32 id = 0) 5: { 6: if (id != 0) 7: { 8: using (ProductContext ctx = new ProductContext()) 9: { 10: return (this.View("Single", ctx.Products.Find(id) ?? new Product())); 11: } 12: } 13: else 14: { 15: return (this.View("Single", new Product())); 16: } 17: } 18: } If the requested product does not exist, or one was not requested at all, one with default values will be returned. I am using a view named Single to display the product’s details, more on that later. As you can see, it delegates the loading of products to an Entity Framework context, which is defined as: 1: public class ProductContext: DbContext 2: { 3: public DbSet<Product> Products 4: { 5: get; 6: set; 7: } 8: } Like I said before, I’ll keep it simple for now, only aggregate root Product is available. The controller will use the standard routes defined by the Visual Studio ASP.NET MVC 3 template: 1: routes.MapRoute( 2: "Default", // Route name 3: "{controller}/{action}/{id}", // URL with parameters 4: new { controller = "Home", action = "Index", id = UrlParameter.Optional } // Parameter defaults 5: ); Next, we need a view for displaying the product details, let’s call it Single, and have it located under ~/Views/Product: 1: <%@ Page Language="C#" Inherits="System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage<Product>" %> 2: <!DOCTYPE html> 3:  4: <html> 5: <head runat="server"> 6: <title>Product</title> 7: <script src="/Scripts/jquery-1.7.2.js" type="text/javascript"></script> 1:  2: <script src="/Scripts/jquery-ui-1.8.19.js" type="text/javascript"> 1: </script> 2: <script src="/Scripts/jquery.unobtrusive-ajax.js" type="text/javascript"> 1: </script> 2: <script src="/Scripts/jquery.validate.js" type="text/javascript"> 1: </script> 2: <script src="/Scripts/jquery.validate.unobtrusive.js" type="text/javascript"> 1: </script> 2: <script type="text/javascript"> 3: function onFailure(error) 4: { 5: } 6:  7: function onComplete(ctx) 8: { 9: } 10:  11: </script> 8: </head> 9: <body> 10: <div> 11: <% 1: : this.Html.ValidationSummary(false) %> 12: <% 1: using (this.Ajax.BeginForm("Edit", "Product", new AjaxOptions{ HttpMethod = FormMethod.Post.ToString(), OnSuccess = "onSuccess", OnFailure = "onFailure" })) { %> 13: <% 1: : this.Html.EditorForModel() %> 14: <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit" /> 15: <% 1: } %> 16: </div> 17: </body> 18: </html> Yes… I am using ASPX syntax… sorry about that!   I implemented an editor template for the Product class, which must be located on the ~/Views/Shared/EditorTemplates folder as file Product.ascx: 1: <%@ Control Language="C#" Inherits="System.Web.Mvc.ViewUserControl<Product>" %> 2: <div> 3: <%: this.Html.HiddenFor(model => model.ProductId) %> 4: <%: this.Html.HiddenFor(model => model.RowVersion) %> 5: <fieldset> 6: <legend>Product</legend> 7: <div class="editor-label"> 8: <%: this.Html.LabelFor(model => model.Name) %> 9: </div> 10: <div class="editor-field"> 11: <%: this.Html.TextBoxFor(model => model.Name) %> 12: <%: this.Html.ValidationMessageFor(model => model.Name) %> 13: </div> 14: <div class="editor-label"> 15: <%= this.Html.LabelFor(model => model.Price) %> 16: </div> 17: <div class="editor-field"> 18: <%= this.Html.TextBoxFor(model => model.Price) %> 19: <%: this.Html.ValidationMessageFor(model => model.Price) %> 20: </div> 21: </fieldset> 22: </div> One thing you’ll notice is, I am including both the ProductId and the RowVersion properties as hidden fields; they will come handy later or, so that we know what product and version we are editing. The other thing is the included JavaScript files: jQuery, jQuery UI and unobtrusive validations. Also, I am not using the Content extension method for translating relative URLs, because that way I would lose JavaScript intellisense for jQuery functions. OK, so, at this moment, I want to add support for AJAX and optimistic concurrency control. So I write a controller method like this: 1: [HttpPost] 2: [AjaxOnly] 3: [Authorize] 4: public JsonResult Edit(Product product) 5: { 6: if (this.TryValidateModel(product) == true) 7: { 8: using (BlogContext ctx = new BlogContext()) 9: { 10: Boolean success = false; 11:  12: ctx.Entry(product).State = (product.ProductId == 0) ? EntityState.Added : EntityState.Modified; 13:  14: try 15: { 16: success = (ctx.SaveChanges() == 1); 17: } 18: catch (DbUpdateConcurrencyException) 19: { 20: ctx.Entry(product).Reload(); 21: } 22:  23: return (this.Json(new { Success = success, ProductId = product.ProductId, RowVersion = Convert.ToBase64String(product.RowVersion) })); 24: } 25: } 26: else 27: { 28: return (this.Json(new { Success = false, ProductId = 0, RowVersion = String.Empty })); 29: } 30: } So, this method is only valid for HTTP POST requests (HttpPost), coming from AJAX (AjaxOnly, from MVC Futures), and from authenticated users (Authorize). It returns a JSON object, which is what you would normally use for AJAX requests, containing three properties: Success: a boolean flag; RowVersion: the current version of the ROWVERSION column as a Base-64 string; ProductId: the inserted product id, as coming from the database. If the product is new, it will be inserted into the database, and its primary key will be returned into the ProductId property. Success will be set to true; If a DbUpdateConcurrencyException occurs, it means that the value in the RowVersion property does not match the current ROWVERSION column value on the database, so the record must have been modified between the time that the page was loaded and the time we attempted to save the product. In this case, the controller just gets the new value from the database and returns it in the JSON object; Success will be false. Otherwise, it will be updated, and Success, ProductId and RowVersion will all have their values set accordingly. So let’s see how we can react to these situations on the client side. Specifically, we want to deal with these situations: The user is not logged in when the update/create request is made, perhaps the cookie expired; The optimistic concurrency check failed; All went well. So, let’s change our view: 1: <%@ Page Language="C#" Inherits="System.Web.Mvc.ViewPage<Product>" %> 2: <%@ Import Namespace="System.Web.Security" %> 3:  4: <!DOCTYPE html> 5:  6: <html> 7: <head runat="server"> 8: <title>Product</title> 9: <script src="/Scripts/jquery-1.7.2.js" type="text/javascript"></script> 1:  2: <script src="/Scripts/jquery-ui-1.8.19.js" type="text/javascript"> 1: </script> 2: <script src="/Scripts/jquery.unobtrusive-ajax.js" type="text/javascript"> 1: </script> 2: <script src="/Scripts/jquery.validate.js" type="text/javascript"> 1: </script> 2: <script src="/Scripts/jquery.validate.unobtrusive.js" type="text/javascript"> 1: </script> 2: <script type="text/javascript"> 3: function onFailure(error) 4: { 5: window.alert('An error occurred: ' + error); 6: } 7:  8: function onSuccess(ctx) 9: { 10: if (typeof (ctx.Success) != 'undefined') 11: { 12: $('input#ProductId').val(ctx.ProductId); 13: $('input#RowVersion').val(ctx.RowVersion); 14:  15: if (ctx.Success == false) 16: { 17: window.alert('An error occurred while updating the entity: it may have been modified by third parties. Please try again.'); 18: } 19: else 20: { 21: window.alert('Saved successfully'); 22: } 23: } 24: else 25: { 26: if (window.confirm('Not logged in. Login now?') == true) 27: { 28: document.location.href = '<%: FormsAuthentication.LoginUrl %>?ReturnURL=' + document.location.pathname; 29: } 30: } 31: } 32:  33: </script> 10: </head> 11: <body> 12: <div> 13: <% 1: : this.Html.ValidationSummary(false) %> 14: <% 1: using (this.Ajax.BeginForm("Edit", "Product", new AjaxOptions{ HttpMethod = FormMethod.Post.ToString(), OnSuccess = "onSuccess", OnFailure = "onFailure" })) { %> 15: <% 1: : this.Html.EditorForModel() %> 16: <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit" /> 17: <% 1: } %> 18: </div> 19: </body> 20: </html> The implementation of the onSuccess function first checks if the response contains a Success property, if not, the most likely cause is the request was redirected to the login page (using Forms Authentication), because it wasn’t authenticated, so we navigate there as well, keeping the reference to the current page. It then saves the current values of the ProductId and RowVersion properties to their respective hidden fields. They will be sent on each successive post and will be used in determining if the request is for adding a new product or to updating an existing one. The only thing missing is the ability to insert a new product, after inserting/editing an existing one, which can be easily achieved using this snippet: 1: <input type="button" value="New" onclick="$('input#ProductId').val('');$('input#RowVersion').val('');"/> And that’s it.

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  • Change Tracking

    - by Ricardo Peres
    You may recall my last post on Change Data Control. This time I am going to talk about other option for tracking changes to tables on SQL Server: Change Tracking. The main differences between the two are: Change Tracking works with SQL Server 2008 Express Change Tracking does not require SQL Server Agent to be running Change Tracking does not keep the old values in case of an UPDATE or DELETE Change Data Capture uses an asynchronous process, so there is no overhead on each operation Change Data Capture requires more storage and processing Here's some code that illustrates it's usage: -- for demonstrative purposes, table Post of database Blog only contains two columns, PostId and Title -- enable change tracking for database Blog, for 2 days ALTER DATABASE Blog SET CHANGE_TRACKING = ON (CHANGE_RETENTION = 2 DAYS, AUTO_CLEANUP = ON); -- enable change tracking for table Post ALTER TABLE Post ENABLE CHANGE_TRACKING WITH (TRACK_COLUMNS_UPDATED = ON); -- see current records on table Post SELECT * FROM Post SELECT * FROM sys.sysobjects WHERE name = 'Post' SELECT * FROM sys.sysdatabases WHERE name = 'Blog' -- confirm that table Post and database Blog are being change tracked SELECT * FROM sys.change_tracking_tables SELECT * FROM sys.change_tracking_databases -- see current version for table Post SELECT p.PostId, p.Title, c.SYS_CHANGE_VERSION, c.SYS_CHANGE_CONTEXT FROM Post AS p CROSS APPLY CHANGETABLE(VERSION Post, (PostId), (p.PostId)) AS c; -- update post UPDATE Post SET Title = 'First Post Title Changed' WHERE Title = 'First Post Title'; -- see current version for table Post SELECT p.PostId, p.Title, c.SYS_CHANGE_VERSION, c.SYS_CHANGE_CONTEXT FROM Post AS p CROSS APPLY CHANGETABLE(VERSION Post, (PostId), (p.PostId)) AS c; -- see changes since version 0 (initial) SELECT p.Title, c.PostId, SYS_CHANGE_VERSION, SYS_CHANGE_OPERATION, SYS_CHANGE_COLUMNS, SYS_CHANGE_CONTEXT FROM CHANGETABLE(CHANGES Post, 0) AS c LEFT OUTER JOIN Post AS p ON p.PostId = c.PostId; -- is column Title of table Post changed since version 0? SELECT CHANGE_TRACKING_IS_COLUMN_IN_MASK(COLUMNPROPERTY(OBJECT_ID('Post'), 'Title', 'ColumnId'), (SELECT SYS_CHANGE_COLUMNS FROM CHANGETABLE(CHANGES Post, 0) AS c)) -- get current version SELECT CHANGE_TRACKING_CURRENT_VERSION() -- disable change tracking for table Post ALTER TABLE Post DISABLE CHANGE_TRACKING; -- disable change tracking for database Blog ALTER DATABASE Blog SET CHANGE_TRACKING = OFF; You can read about the differences between the two options here. Choose the one that best suits your needs! SyntaxHighlighter.config.clipboardSwf = 'http://alexgorbatchev.com/pub/sh/2.0.320/scripts/clipboard.swf'; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.CSharp.aliases = ['c#', 'c-sharp', 'csharp']; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.Xml.aliases = ['xml']; SyntaxHighlighter.all();

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  • Dynamic LINQ in an Assembly Near By

    - by Ricardo Peres
    You may recall my post on Dynamic LINQ. I said then that you had to download Microsoft's samples and compile the DynamicQuery project (or just grab my copy), but there's another way. It turns out Microsoft included the Dynamic LINQ classes in the System.Web.Extensions assembly, not the one from ASP.NET 2.0, but the one that was included with ASP.NET 3.5! The only problem is that all types are private: Here's how to use it: Assembly asm = typeof(UpdatePanel).Assembly; Type dynamicExpressionType = asm.GetType("System.Web.Query.Dynamic.DynamicExpression"); MethodInfo parseLambdaMethod = dynamicExpressionType.GetMethods(BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Static).Where(m = (m.Name == "ParseLambda") && (m.GetParameters().Length == 2)).Single().MakeGenericMethod(typeof(DateTime), typeof(Boolean)); Func filterExpression = (parseLambdaMethod.Invoke(null, new Object [] { "Year == 2010", new Object [ 0 ] }) as Expression).Compile(); List list = new List { new DateTime(2010, 1, 1), new DateTime(1999, 1, 12), new DateTime(1900, 10, 10), new DateTime(1900, 2, 20), new DateTime(2012, 5, 5), new DateTime(2012, 1, 20) }; IEnumerable filteredDates = list.Where(filterExpression); SyntaxHighlighter.config.clipboardSwf = 'http://alexgorbatchev.com/pub/sh/2.0.320/scripts/clipboard.swf'; SyntaxHighlighter.brushes.CSharp.aliases = ['c#', 'c-sharp', 'csharp']; SyntaxHighlighter.all();

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  • TechDays 2010 Portugal - The Day After

    - by Ricardo Peres
    Well, TechDays 2010 Portugal is over, time for a balance. I really enjoyed being a speaker, although my presentation took a lot more time than it should, it was gratifying to see so many people staying until the end. Lots of subjects were left behind, though. My presentation is available at my SkyDrive, here. Soon I will place there the source code, too. I would like to know if you've been there, and, if so, what do you think of my presentation! Feel free to send your thoughts, whatever they are. On the other hand, I saw some really interesting presentations, to name a few, from Nuno Antunes, Nuno Godinho, Filipe Prezado, Nuno Silva and my friend André Lage. I also had the chance to finally meet Caio Proiete and Pedro Perfeito. Perhaps we'll meet again at TechDays Remix, who knows.

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  • Exam 71-516: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

    - by Ricardo Peres
    I had the chance to take the beta version of exam 71-516 today. Here are my thoughts on it: first, I was rather annoyed to discover that I will only know if I passed or not about 8 weeks after the beta period expires (July, 02), which probably means September. It was a difficult exam, especially since I don't have any practice on some of the new Entity Framework options. The items covered, from the most covered to the least covered, were: Entity Framework (50-50 for POCO/Non-POCO) LINQ to SQL WCF Data Services Classic ADO.NET (DataSets, DataTables, DataAdapters, TableAdapters, Connections and Commands LINQ to XML Sync Framework (surprise!) All added up, I think it was a difficult exam. My advise is that you practice a lot! I will post the result as soon as I know it.

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  • Windows Presentation Foundation 4.5 Cookbook Review

    - by Ricardo Peres
    As promised, here’s my review of Windows Presentation Foundation 4.5 Cookbook, that Packt Publishing kindly made available to me. It is an introductory book, targeted at WPF newcomers or users with few experience, following the typical recipes or cookbook style. Like all Packt Publishing books on development, each recipe comes with sample code that is self-sufficient for understanding the concepts it tries to illustrate. It starts on chapter 1 by introducing the most important concepts, the XAML language itself, what can be declared in XAML and how to do it, what are dependency and attached properties as well as markup extensions and events, which should give readers a most required introduction to how WPF works and how to do basic stuff. It moves on to resources on chapter 2, which also makes since, since it’s such an important concept in WPF. Next, chapter 3, come the panels used for laying controls on the screen, all of the out of the box panels are described with typical use cases. Controls come next in chapter 4; the difference between elements and controls is introduced, as well as content controls, headered controls and items controls, and all standard controls are introduced. The book shows how to change the way they look by using templates. The next chapter, 5, talks about top level windows and the WPF application object: how to access startup arguments, how to set the main window, using standard dialogs and there’s even a sample on how to have a irregularly-shaped window. This is one of the most important concepts in WPF: data binding, which is the theme for the following chapter, 6. All common scenarios are introduced, the binding modes, directions, triggers, etc. It talks about the INotifyPropertyChanged interface and how to use it for notifying data binding subscribers of changes in data sources. Data templates and selectors are also covered, as are value converters and data triggers. Examples include master-detail and sorting, grouping and filtering collections and binding trees and grids. Last it covers validation rules and error templates. Chapter 7 talks about the current trend in WPF development, the Model View View-Model (MVVM) framework. This is a well known pattern for connecting things interface to actions, and it is explained competently. A typical implementation is presented which also presents the command pattern used throughout WPF. A complete application using MVVM is presented from start to finish, including typical features such as undo. Style and layout is covered on chapter 8. Why/how to use styles, applying them automatically,  using the many types of triggers to change styles automatically, using Expression Blend behaviors and templates are all covered. Next chapter, 9, is about graphics and animations programming. It explains how to create shapes, transform common UI elements, apply special effects and perform simple animations. The following chapter, 10, is about creating custom controls, either by deriving from UserControl or from an existing control or framework element class, applying custom templates for changing the way the control looks. One useful example is a custom layout panel that arranges its children along a circumference. The final chapter, 11, is about multi-threading programming and how one can integrate it with WPF. Includes how to invoke methods and properties on WPF classes from threads other than the main UI, using background tasks and timers and even using the new C# 5.0 asynchronous operations. It’s an interesting book, like I said, mostly for newcomers. It provides a competent introduction to WPF, with examples that cover the most common scenarios and also give directions to more complex ones. I recommend it to everyone wishing to learn WPF.

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