Looking for a way to quickly attach to the IISExpress process for your ASP.net development? In previous versions of Visual Studio, I used the ‘Macro’ feature to search for and attach to a process with the name iisexpress.exe. I could then bind this to a keyboard shortcut (like F1).
Everything worked great, however, in Visual Studio 2012 the ‘Macro’ feature has been removed. Instead, the approach now required is to create a Visual Studio Add-In. I started working on this and then found there was one that actually already existed, and it works well with Visual Studio 2012. No administrative privileges needed to install it either. You may need to restart Visual Studio to see it in the TOOLS menu.
Without going into too much detail why, I use this instead of the “IIS Express” features built into Visual Studio because I still haven’t quite figured out how to make IIS Express work with port 80 and not go ballistic on my applicationhost.config file or require some elaborate configuration changes. Ideally, I would be able to associate my website project to a <site> entry already in my applicationhost.config that not change any of my bindings, although I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet.
In the meantime, the AttachTo extension seems to work great, and Visual Studio 2012 gives you great control over what appears in your menus. If you go to TOOLS > Customize, then select the “Commands” tab you will see where you can personalize your menu. You can re-arrange the add-ins shortcuts and/or remove unused ones it creates. Also, TOOLS > Options > Keyboard and search for Tools.AttachtoIISExpress. You can then bind this to any keyboard shortcut you like.
I recently took and passed the Microsoft 70-515: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 exam. This exam covers:
- Master Pages
- State Management
- Server Controls/User Controls
- Input Validation
- Client-side Scripting (MS Ajax/jQuery)
- Data-bound controls (Gridview, Formview)
- User Authentication/Profiles
I had several strategies when approaching this exam. The first was working through each chapter and ensuring I did the practices at the end of each chapter, even if I felt I knew it well. I created a single solution and folder for each chapter. When I was done, I had a nice handy reference for everything I had learned bundled into a single solution.
The second thing I did was use my Pluralsight subscription to review the following courses:
ASP.net 3.5 Fundamentals (only deployment and health monitoring)
ASP.net Dynamic Data Fundamentals
ASP.net Ajax Fundamentals
ASP.net 3.5 Working with Data
ASP.net 3.5 Security
ASP.net MVC 2.0 Fundamentals
The final thing I did to help prepare me for the test was take alot of notes. I used Google Documents as I read through each chapter to make a copy of my notes, and I also then converted those notes at the end into flash cards. This helped my memory retention when I quickly reviewed them each time.
All in all, I think the exam was a great experience and exposed me to some features I would not have otherwise used in my day job. There were a few features, like Web Parts, I just skipped, but overall everything was a great learning experience. I’m currently using this same approach for the 70-516 exam, and will post about there here shortly. Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions about it.
Let’s put aside all the discussion of re-branding Microsoft to make them more hip and talk about the developer platform. I may be stating the obvious here on what many have already witnessed at Microsoft over the past few years, but there appears to be a paradigm shift in the way the company is operating from a development standpoint.
Recently, at ThatConference, I listened to Scott Hanselman give his talk on “One ASP.net” and his discussion reinforced much of what I had been experiencing lately from a developer perspective. The underlying principal seems to be “If it sells more Windows licenses, it’s good for Microsoft“. Gone are the days where Microsoft is trying to push a particular piece of technology or development approach, and third party platforms/libraries are being invited to join the party.
That may seem “evil” to focus only on licensing, but think about it for a moment. What will keep the enterprise, and consumers, focused on buying Microsoft products? That’s right, developers. It’s the same audience that Google, Apple, HP, and everyone is trying to attract right now. Windows is the bread & butter of the Microsoft ecosystem, and maintaining a positive relationship with developers by listening to the community and providing top notch tooling will help enable that.
What are some examples? Well, for those may not already be following the Microsoft development environment, consider that historically Microsoft has never been “open source” as a business. I prefer to use that term in quotes, because Google can hardly consider themselves “open source”. If they were, they would publish their page rank algorithm, which is the main money driver for their business, but I digress. Things have changed at Microsoft in recent years. MVC, Entity Framework, Azure SDK, and much more has been released as open source software. This isn’t the marketing version of “open source” either, you can actually branch and check-in.
Microsoft has even demonstrated this new strategy with CodePlex, a free open source project hosting site. Phil Haack and his team produced the NuGet package manager which allows other developers, and even Microsoft, to continuously deploy library packages into your projects painlessly. No more waiting for the latest .NET framework release, just check NuGet. Look a bit deeper, and you’ll find that Windows Azure now allows you to host PHP, Node.js, and even run Linux virtual machines (*gasp*).
If you’re like me, you’re frustrated that Microsoft Visual Studio isn’t free development software. This has changed for me recently after I came to a few realizations. If I am a student, I can get Visual Studio FREE from Microsoft Dreamspark. If I am a new startup (and supporting Microsoft technology), I can get Visual Studio FREE from Microsoft Bizspark. Even the “Express” (free) versions of Visual Studio now have unit testing support. Each release of the Express versions is offering more and more functionality. Finally, consider that Visual Studio 2012 Professional is now $499. To put that in perspective, a license for Photoshop (at the time of this post) will set you back $700. A final comment on this, is that I have used Eclipse, Sublime, Xcode, and other IDEs. Visual Studio is on another level as far as the quality, UI, feature-richness, and speed of the IDE that the others cannot match. It is perfectly reasonable to expect a mild cost to be associated with a superior product.
In conclusion, I feel that some some of the bashing that Microsoft gets is warranted, but any of it that is directed at the developer platform needs to stop or at least be tempered. The new Microsoft appears completely focused on listening to the community as well as providing top notch tooling and services to get us to the end result, which is making great applications.
Today was the first day of a new developer conference in the midwest, thatConference. It is taking place in the Wisconsin Dells @ Kalahari Resort (a very family friendly place). Clark Sell, and Scott Seely have been the primary driving forces behind the conference, but it certainly has been a collective effort of many people.
The presentations I attended today were:
You, by Leon Gersing
Leon has an extensive background as a ruby developer and is a very enlightened individual. His keynote speech was about knowing yourself as a developer (or more abstractly, as a person). An emphasis was placed on establishing healthy boundaries in your life, your work, and your relationships. He highlighted how it was important to be empathetic, and listen to other people. He talked about facing our fears and understanding why we make the decisions we do and how to to better ourselves and take steps toward being the developers we want to be. Every decision we make on a daily basis will bring us closer to, or put us further from our goals in life.
One ASP.net, Scott Hanselman
Scott is championing a new mentality surrounding ASP.net. His premise, and I admire the approach, is to preach a philosophy of the .NET framework where all components are interchangeable and if you don’t like a particular approach, it doesn’t make it wrong. Developers are free to choose and use any components they like, wether they are NuGet packages or built-in framework features.
Knockout.js, Ryan Niemeyer
Ryan gave a great talk on Knockout.js. His discussion was fast paced and had a deeply technical element to it. As a non-Knockout developer the talk did move quickly to me, but I was able to keep up by concentrating my focus on everything that Ryan was saying. He discussed how knockout uses the Model, View, View Model approach and how the objects in Knockout derive from the subscribable classs.
Other important elements in the talk were how to perform bindings (simple and complex), how to make objects observable, and how to use computed properties. I will likely follow-up this discussion with a Pluralsight video to better understand the framework in detail, but for the hour that I had to commit, it covered a lot of ground.
SignalR, Jeremiah Billman
One of the technologies I had heard of, but never fully understood coming into the conference was SignalR. After hearing Scott Hanselman discuss it earlier in the day, and then seeing Jeremiah cover it more extensively in this talk, I can say this may be one of the most impressive and most disruptive technologies I learned of. SignalR allows me to maintain a consistent connection between the client and server. Data is pushed back and forth between the client and server. The underlying communications are obfuscated as well depending on the browser capabilities. The first step SignalR will attempt to use is HTML5 web sockets and it will degrade step-by-step all the way down to long-polling.
Some great uses for this technology are a real-time chat, reporting dashboards that update with real-time data, notification services to your website users or even HTML5 based games. Jeremiah was a great presenter and gave a very entertaining demo showcasing a HTML5/SignalR ported version of the Rampage arcade game (originally by Midway games). The characters updated in real time in each of 3 different browsers he had open thanks to SignalR. Clearly this framework has a huge potential to change the way web development works.
ASP.net and Mobile, Scott Hanselman
In this second talk Scott gave today, he covered the various approaches ASP.net developers who wish to embrace “curly braces and angle brackets” have at their disposal to create mobile enabled websites. Scott, as always it seems, has a knack to create a fluid, entertaining, and informative talk. He highlighted ways that both MVC and Webforms users (emphasizing the ONE Asp.net mindset) could take advantage of the new technology.
Several options for mobile enabling design were highlighted. Blogs and other non-data heavy applications would benefit from response design using some simple CSS3 media queries. Data heavy, or interface heavy apps, would benefit from using the jQuery mobile framework. Many smart people are on the jQuery mobile team and Microsoft is taking advantage of this to allow MVC (and Webforms) users to easily create Views which use the same model and present different displays depending on the browser type (mobile or desktop).
The one prevailing theme I noticed today was how far the dollar stretches with thatConference. For a $350 ticket, attendees were given a fully catered breakfast, lunch, and cocktail hour dinner. The presentations are top notch, the resort the conference is hosted at is very family friendly, and things ran smoothly. Knowing thatConference already has a 2013 date, I will be sure to register in advance next year as soon as it is possible. I couldn’t be more impressed with everything the guys (and gals) have put together so far. It’s amazing, inspiring, and an excellent opportunity to network with like-minded individuals. I’m looking forward to days 2 and 3.
While attempting to setup the ASP.net membership provider with the newly updated Windows Azure, I logically assumed I could use the default aspnet_regsql.exe console utility to specify my connection details to setup my Azure SQL database. Once I ran this utility, I ran into an error message:
System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: USE statement is not supported to switch between databases. Use a new connection to connect to a different Database.
After some research, I landed on this support article which indicates there are new SQL scripts specific to Windows SQL Azure. Clicking this link, I was able to download aspnet_regsqlazure.zip and use it in exactly the same manner as I was able to use aspnet_regsql.exe. Hope this helps.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here and I hope to change that. My son is over a year old, and I have a truckload of pictures I could post here, but I’ll save that for later. Also, I plan to post many more entries on ASP.net programming. I hope this will add additional content to the site as well as attract a more developer focused community.
My wife and I have become a much more Mac focused family, and I can’t say enough good things about how easy it has made home movies, photos, and reduced my tech support time for family. Here is a fun example of the movie trailers feature in iMovie 11.
I’m not an experienced/expert parent by anyones measure. My son is a mere 5 months old, yet I feel like a different person. Anyone who has had a child will probably tell you that life changes dramatically after having a child, and your overall perspective on life changes along with it. The way it changes is not easy to put into words, but I am willing to give it my best effort.
1. You are no longer the center of the universe.
For the first 30 years of my life, everything was about me. What toy did I want for Christmas? Where did I want to ride my bike? Which college did I want to go to? Which girl did I want to date? Did I want to go to the bar with friends, or take it easy for the evening? Every decision in my life (barring some important post-marital decisions) had primarily involved my own desires. Once I had my child, all my decisions shifted to what would be best for him. It’s something I should have realized, but I never considered.
2. Your child will make you a better person.
I wouldn’t say I’ve been a bad seed in my life, but I certainly haven’t been perfect either. I don’t believe anyone really is. What I do know, now, is that I want to be a good role model for my son. I am focusing on making good decisions with my health, my career, my marriage, and so on. I realize it’s important for me to lead by example, and as a result, I end up feeling better about myself.
3. You will become closer with your family.
My son is the first grandchild for both my parents and also my wife’s parents. They cherish him just as much as we do. It’s been a great benefit to have them close to us. They aren’t next door, or even in the same town, but they are there for us to help care for him as we need a break from it all sometimes too. Parents and siblings (in most cases) I expect would help out with parenting and you will (also in most cases) be spending less time going to the bar and more time seeing your family for the football games on Sunday.
4. Time is a limited resource.
I have aspirations of writing the next great iPhone app, building a website that scales to 1 million unique visitors, reading a stack of books, renovating my home, checking out all the latest restaurants and movies. Prior to having a son, I certainly could have made it my goal to do all those things. I realized (quite abruptly) after having a child, that my decisions in life would have to be made based on priorities. I would have to pick a few things that were very important to me, focus on those items, and put the rest on the back burner for another day. It simply (in my opinion) wasn’t possible to do it all and still care for an infant child.
5. Your kid does give back to you
The first weeks of my son’s life were very one-directional. It felt as though all I did was feed, comfort, and change his diaper. I lost sleep, entertainment with friends, time for myself, and time with my wife. After a short amount of time, my son started smiling and cooing at me and it made me realize what it has all been for. My son makes life fuller, makes me a better person, and has been looking forward to the future with a positive attitude. Some people will joke that kids just take and take (toys you worked hard to pay for, food you took a long time to prepare, vacations you spent a lot of time planning) but really, they do give back. They just do it in a way that may not realize they are doing.
I recently added two new books to the reading list. If you have any good book recommendations for dads, please let me know on the contact page. I’d love to hear them.
Well written book on a complex subject. Unfortunately, I found myself focusing on a surprising number of typos, lack of actual references, and some information that is nearly identical to NurtureShock. To the author’s credit, he prefaces that references are in the index.
This won the Pulitzer for fiction in 2007. I must have bad luck with these award winning books because I wasn’t completely thrilled with Tinkers either, although The Road was a short read and mostly enjoyable despite that fact. I included this book because it deals with a father/son combo as they traverse a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Lots of pearls of wisdom for fatherhood are in this book.
If you haven’t already heard by now, you will likely hear about this product in the near future. Similar to how Netflix has become a household name, so to do I believe that Spotify will reach this level.
Spotify is a streaming music service that uses a subscription model. Similar companies have tried this in the past (Rhapsody, Napster, MOG, Rdio, Zune Music Pass), but none of them have executed as well as Spotify. The service uses a desktop interface and is nearly identical to iTunes in that you can create playlists, search, and view album art. I typically describe the service as iTunes but instead of clicking a “buy now” button, you just press play.
Fees for the service run from ad-supported free for 6 months (and 10 hrs./mo capped after that), unlimited for desktop only at $5/mo, and high quality streaming/mobile access/offline access for $10/mo.
Time is a limited resource for all of us, especially fathers. My general thought on Spotify is that it will be successful and that it is well worth the money if only for the reason I don’t spent time managing music, downloading from different locations, and trying to keep everything organized. I use the $5/mo. plan and it is a no-brainer since I had been spending more on music than that per month. I listen all day at work and at home, so having ease of access to any piece of music I wish to listen to is well worth the cost for me.
If I had to highlight a negative, it would be that there are a select few albums and artists (Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles) that you won’t find here, but the lion’s share of the music content is readily available.
Added features that make Spotify enjoyable are Facebook integration (I can share and view playlists my friend’s have made public), use sites like sharemyplaylists.com which feature playlists shared by other users and artists, and a nice ‘Radio’ feature where I can select the music types I like (alternative, electronic) and it will play random selections from those lists similar to Pandora.
Spotify is also making their way into the living room with integrations with Boxee and WD Live that make the interface seemless on your living room television. For any home that leverages music to keep the atmosphere enjoyable on a weekend, this is a big plus. You’ll find you will need the full premium $10/mo service to enjoy Spotify on these devices though.
You can try the service for free to see if you like it yourself, so you really don’t have anything to lose. I’m not a spokesperson for this product any more than another person who simply enjoys sharing details about their favorite products.
AboutModern Geek Dad is a blog that curates and creates original content about fatherhood, programming, electronics, food, music, fatherhood, and anything of interest to the modern geek.
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