Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New productivity features in Visual Studio 2017

Visual Studio 2017 is turning out to be a game-changer when it comes to new features and of course, as with all Visual Studio releases, productivity enhancements are key to developer adoption.

With Visual Studio 2017, the developer productivity features and enhancements are numerous: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudio/2016/11/28/productivity-in-visual-studio-2017-rc/

Live Unit Testing with Visual Studio 2017

One of the very new and exciting features in Visual Studio 2017 is the ability to perform "Live Unit Testing".

What this basically means is that as you write and refactor your code, Visual Studio will let you know if the code you are changing will break any of your existing Unit Tests!

How cool is that?

You can read more about Live Unit Testing with Visual Studio 2017 here: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudio/2016/11/18/live-unit-testing-visual-studio-2017-rc/

Visual Studio for Mac now available for download!

Most Macintosh users probably never thought they would see this day arrive, but here it is folks!!

You can now download a Visual Studio for Mac Preview from here that provides much of the same look, feel and functionality that is found in Visual Studio for Windows:  https://www.visualstudio.com/vs/visual-studio-mac/

You can read more about the details of this release here: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudio/2016/11/16/visual-studio-for-mac/

Microsoft is truly committing to bringing Visual Studio development as a cross-platform development tool and IDE much like the Java-based IDEs such as Netbeans or Eclipse.

Only time will tell how quickly developers begin adopting Visual Studio across platforms!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

SQL Server 2016 SP1 Released!

SQL Server 2016 SP1 was recently released!

You can read more about the changes in SP1 here:



The biggest set of changes in SQL Server 2016 SP1 revolve around many of the features that were previously only available in SQL Server Enterprise Edition (such as Change Data Capture), now also being offered in SQL Server Standard and SQL Server Web Editions as well!!

You can download SQL Server 2016 SP1 from here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=54276

Friday, December 16, 2016

Changes to ADFS in Windows Server 2016

With the release of Windows Server 2016, as with earlier releases of ADFS, Microsoft has made significant updates to the functionality and capabilities available with ADFS.

Previously, with the release of Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft released support for OAuth as well as several other features in ADFS 3.0.  Now, with the release of Windows Server 2016, the list of new features continues to grow.

One of the major updates to this release of ADFS has to deal with customizing the sign-in/authentication process.  ADFS 3.0 allowed some basic customization of the login/sign-in screen, but with ADFS in Windows Server 2016, the administrators are given nearly full-control of customizing this screen.

You can read about the changes and new features of ADFS in Windows Server 2016 here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-docs/identity/ad-fs/overview/whats-new-active-directory-federation-services-windows-server-2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate - First Look

Visual Studio 2017 takes a dramatic departure from previous releases of Visual Studio with a completely re-designed installation process which is unlike anything we have ever seen from Microsoft before in terms of the decomposition of the individual installation components.

Here you can see the completely revised installation process:

Abstract, sealed and various other C# related interview questions

Whenever I go into a technical interview, invariably I get asked one or more technical questions about the C# language itself so I thought I would share some of these with all of my readers in the event they also encounter these questions on their own interviews:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Microsoft Second Shot is now Microsoft Exam Replay!

In prior years, Microsoft has offered a program called "Microsoft Second Shot" which was always only available for a limited time of several months but allowed you to re-take a Microsoft certification exam for FREE!  Therefore, you would pay the standard cost of the Microsoft certification exam (previously $125) and then you would be able to take the exam a 2nd time in the event that you failed the 1st time.  The nice thing was that you were paying the same cost for the exam whether or not you failed the exam the 1st time!

However, those days are now gone!

Now, Microsoft has replaced "Microsoft Second Shot" with "Microsoft Exam Replay" which follows the same concept but is directly CHARGING you for the cost of the re-take.

Therefore, buying an Exam Replay costs $230 while the cost of a single exam is $165.  Therefore, purchasing an Exam Replay is the same as buying the exam TWICE!

For any intelligent person, there seems to be no visible benefit from purchasing the Exam Replay pack and instead it is better to either simply study diligently and pass the exam the 1st time or else purchase the exam twice.  In the event of the Exam Replay, if you were to pass the exam the 1st time, you have still ended up paying the cost of 2 exams.  Therefore, an Exam Replay only makes sense to those who are basically attempting to pass the exam via "trial and error".  

I am not really sure how Exam Replay really benefits ANYONE, but perhaps Microsoft believes there are enough unintelligent people in the world that cannot do the math and will purchase an Exam Replay anyway...

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Creating an AngularJS project in Visual Studio

If you want to create an AngularJS project in Visual Studio, you can use an IDE such as Visual Studio 2015 to do this.

  1. Create an empty ASP.NET Web Project
  2. Right click and then add New items
  3. You then have options to add the following:
    • AngularJS Controller
    • AngularJS Controller using $scope
    • AngularJS Directive
    • AngularJS Factory
    • AngularJS Module
  4. For a basic AngularJS application, you can add the following:
    • AngularJS Module
    • AngularJS Controller
  5. That is all there is to it!

Setting ACLs on Website directories using PowerShell

One of the extremely common tasks I have to perform whenever I set up a website or virtual directory/application in IIS is that I have to also set up folder/directory permissions on the newly created directory as well.

This can be time consuming and error prone, especially if you have to set up numerous directories either on a single web server or multiple web servers.

That is why I heavily rely on PowerShell to help me accomplish this task!

For a primer on just how to accomplish this using PowerShell, you can check out this article: http://www.tomsitpro.com/articles/powershell-manage-file-system-acl,2-837.html

Of course, my needs are targeted towards IIS website directories in particular, so I have modified the original script to suit my needs.

You can check out my version of the PowerShell script:

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Installing a Wildcard SSL Certificate to IIS

If you ever have the need to install a Wildcard SSL Certificate, you may encounter a problem whereby the SSL Certificate is generated with a particular CSR (Certificate Request), but other servers will inevitably generate different CSRs (Certificate Requests)!

Therefore, how do you install the same Wildcard SSL certificate to MULTIPLE SERVERS?

Well, in this case, you need to EXPORT the SSL Certificate as a .pfx file and then subsequently import the SSL certificate on subsequent servers in order to be able to utilize it without re-generating separate certificate requests.

You can find instructions for backing up/exporting to a .pfx file and then subsequently importing the .pfx file here: https://www.digicert.com/ssl-support/pfx-import-export-iis-8.htm

Easily sharing screenshots for FREE!

I was just working with a support representative and they introduced me to a very neat FREE website for sharing screenshots with others: https://snag.gy/

The instructions for Windows are pretty simple!

  1. Click on the window you want to capture
  2. Press Alt + Print Screen
  3. Click back on this webpage
  4. Press Ctrl + V to upload the image

After uploading the image, you will get a unique Url that you can share with friends or colleagues in order to provide information about your system.  It is especially useful for troubleshooting computer issues or communicating with technical support!