Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Following Open Source via RSS

I have recently been working on an ASP.NET MVC project, where I have included many Open Source projects. Most of them were included using NuGet (a great tool by the way, you should get it if you don't already have it!). So, for a lot of these open source projects that I an now using, I like to keep track of what changes are happening in the projects. A great way that I have found to do this, is to track the commits to the projects via RSS. I have subscribed to the RSS feed of the commits for the projects in Google Reader and then grouped them into an OpenSource folder that I can monitor. For me, this is a really easy way to see what is happening on a project and to watch out for interesting updates.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Git Ignore File

I am using Git more and more these days and I really love how easy it is create branches and switch between them. If you have not tried out Git before, I really would encourage you to do so. Here is my current .gitignore file. This file basically tells Git what files to exclude when looking at a repository for changes, etc.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Entity Framework Serialization - Circular Reference

I have been working with KnockoutJS recently and needed to serialize an Entity Framework model to the client as JavaScript so that I could convert it to my Knockout ViewModel. Here is the entity that I needed to serialize.

However, when I attempted to serialize this object, I was getting an error "A circular reference was detected while serializing and object of type Person". I did a little research on this issue and found a good blog post by Rick Strahl on LINQ to SQL and Serialization, that discusses this issue.

The problem is the public Tags property. The first suggestion is to change the access modifier from public to internal. I did this and it worked great. I have not fully explored the ramifications of making this change to the rest of my application, but will post an update if I find anything.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Synergy 1.4.2 with Mac as Server and Windows 7 Client

I was setting up Synergy today so that I could control my Windows 7 laptop from my Mac. So I went out and installed the latest version of Synergy - 1.4.2 and I followed the great installation guide to get everything setup. Note that I also am using QSynergy to get the GUI on the Mac. I have my Synergy setup with my Mac as the server and Windows 7 as a client. Once I had everything set, I was able to move my mouse over to the Windows 7 machine, but the keyboard was not working. So I did some googling and came across issue #57 on the Synergy Support forums that describes this issue. According to this, it looks like the official fix for this will not be ready until version 1.4.4 of Synergy is released. However, Matthew Toso posted the 1.4.2 version of synergys with a patch applied for this issue. See note #82 in this thread. Once I installed the patched synergys on my Mac, the keyboard was working properly when I was over on my Windows 7 machine.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Entity Framework 4.1 Entry Extensions

I have been working with the Microsoft Entity Framework version 4.1 aka "Code First" for about the last 3 weeks and have been really enjoying the ease and flexibility of setting things up and getting my CRUD operation working so smoothly. However, I had the need to create modify some entities in my database and was starting down the path of passing in the new entity, then querying the context for the old entity and finally setting the values of the old entity to those of the new entity. This worked for a little while, when I only had simple entities. However, my entities started getting more complex and I found myself adding more properties and always forgetting to update the modify operation.

So I started doing some research and found that I could use the Attach method on the DbSet to add the modified entity. However, this left the entity in the UnChanged state and that did not really do me any good. So with a little more research I found this Blog Post by Julie Lerman about Round Tripping a Timestamp Field in EF 4.1 with MVC 3 that discusses the DbContext.Entry method and how I can set the State as I attach the entity.

I had also in my secondary research found this post about creating extensions for the ObjectContext in the regular Entity Framework and this led to the creation of my own Extensions for the DbContext object as seen below...

I now use these extension methods as shown below.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Good Drupal Books

Had the following Drupal books recommended today...

I have read Pro Drupal Development and it was an excellent book that helped me get up to speed quickly on developing modules for Drupal. I would highly recommend this book. I have not read the others, but plan on checking them out soon.

Drupal, MAMP & Drush

I am attending a Drupal API &Module Development course at work this week. Learning a lot of great thoings so far. I worked on a Drupal project last year and created a custom module, but what I have learned so far in one day, could have probably saved me a close to a week as I was trying to figure it out on my own.

At the end of class today, the instructors were going over some tips for Drupal developers and showed off the awesome Drush, Drupal Shell. It is amazing what this tool can do, and being able to have the power of the command line to very nice. However, since I am running Drupal on MAMP, I was getting an error about not having the correct amount of RAM configured. However, I found this "getting drush to work on MAMP setup" article that had the key that worked for me. Create a .bash_profile file and adding an alias:

alias drush='/Applications/MAMP/bin/php5/bin/php /usr/bin/drush/drush.php'
export COLUMNS

Friday, March 18, 2011

ASP.NET MVC & MvcBuildViews set to true causes Build Error

I recently set the property in my ASP.NET MVC web application for the Release mode as recommended by K. Scott Allen in Notes on Building Razor Views. This was working fine for a few days. Then yesterday, I started getting this error every time I would try a Release build.

It is an error to use a section registered as allowDefinition='MachineToApplication' beyond application level. This error can be caused by a virtual directory not being configured as an application in IIS.

I went back to the comments from the blog post and found this one, where someone else was having the same issue and they solved the issue by deleting the obj\ folder, as recommended by the StackOverflow MVC BuildViews not working correctly question. I tried this and unfortunately it did not resolve my issue. Another answer further down suggested changing the PhysicalPath value for the AspNetCompiler value in the BuildViews task. I tried the recommended path:

That also did not work for me, so I followed a link to the use of Web Deployment Projects with ASP.NET MVC and noticed that they were using the following PhysicalPath setting.

I changed my setting to this value, $(ProjectDir)\..\Web created this directory and now things are working properly again.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Flush DNS on a Mac

So there were some network changes over the weekend at work and I needed to flush my DNS entries, so I did a quick Google search and found this great reference for flushing DNS on almost any system.

Specifically for  Mac OSX Leopard you issue the following command:

dscacheutil -flushcache

Monday, January 31, 2011

Verify Url Exists

I recently was working on a web site that displayed a lot of images. The image details are stored separately from the images, so it is possible that when searching images to be displayed, that the actual image no longer exists. So I needed some code to validate that the image was actually present. The web site is an ASP.NET application and searched on StackOverflow and found some really good suggestions on how to do this with C#

So I took the best of both of these posts and created the following helper method.

Please feel free to modify this if you find any issues or problems with. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stack Overflow Questions in eBook Format

Yesterday, I saw a tweet by Joel Spolsky that contained a link to StackOverflow questions in  eBook format. After checking out the list of topics that had been compiled and selecting the ASP.NET topic. It only took a little fiddling with how to get these into my Kindle Reader App for Mac and Android and I now have a very nice reference for some great questions that have been asked on StackOverflow over the past few years.  Please go check them out, as they are a great reference for 50 different topics. According to Greg Hegwill's Live Journal Entry about the process he uses, it takes a while to generate all of these ebooks. If you find them useful, please be sure to let Greg know and show him some appreciation.