Friday, October 7, 2011

ADFS v. 2.0 and Windows Server 2008 R2

If you need to configure ADFS v. 2.0 for use in Claims-based authentication scenarios, interestingly enough, ADFS v. 2.0 DOES NOT come pre-installed with Windows Server 2008 R2--even after the release of SP1.

Therefore, you will not be able to install ADFS as part of the Server Roles that come with Server Manager.  Instead, you will have to separately download the release of ADFS v. 2.0 and install and configure it separately.

You can download the release of ADFS v. 2.0 from here:

There is also an update rollup for ADFS v. 2.0 available which can be downloaded from here:

In addition, this is an excellent article on configuring ADFS v. 2.0:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SQL Server 2008 R2 Express with SP1

If you are like me, you probably avoid installing service packs like you try to avoid the plague.  Therefore, whenever possible, I try to install "slipstreamed" or integrated products that already include the service pack or any necessary updates/patches etc. that are required for an installation.

Unfortunately, certain platforms such as SQL Server 2008 R2 Express with SP1 are not so easy to find through a Google search or even a Microsoft MSDN search.  If you look on the main Microsoft SQL Server Express page, there is no easy way to tell if you are downloading the RTM release of SQL Server 2008 R2 Express or the release that includes SP1:

Therefore, for your convenience, I have included a link to the download for the SQL Server 2008 R2 Express with SP1 installation here:

Installing and configuring ADFS v. 1.0

If you need to install and configure ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) to use in scenarios such as Claims Based Authentication, you will need to know several things before installing and configuring ADFS.

  1. You will need to install and configure a Domain Controller/Active Directory prior to installing ADFS.  If you are simply setting up a test environment, you can install the domain controller with Active Directory on the same server as your ADFS installation.
  2. Active Directory requires SSL certificates to be installed in IIS in order to function properly.  When stepping through the ADFS installation wizard, you will have the option to create self-signed certificates. 
  3. After re-booting from an installation of ADFS, you will get an error message/error icon next to the ADFS role in Server Manager.  This is caused by the usage of the self-signed SSL certificates.  In order to resolve this issue, you will have to do the following:
    • Open up the IIS Manager console
    • Open up Server Certificates
    • For the individual Server Certificates that were created through the ADFS installation wizard, right click on the certificates and select View.
    • Once you are able to view the certificate, click on the Details tab.
    • On the Details tab, you should see a button on the bottom of the screen which states "Copy to File"
    • Click on the Copy to File button to export the server certificate.
    • Follow the wizard dialogs to export and save the server certificate.
    • Once both certificates have been successfully exported, you can right click on the certificates and select "Install Certificate"
    • When proceeding through the certificate installation dialogs, select the radio button for "Place all certificates in the following store"
    • You will then want to browse to the location of the "Trusted Root Certification Authorities"
    • Complete the Install Certificate wizard to store the server certificate in this location. 
    • Repeat this step for the other server certificate as well.
    • Once again re-boot the server.
    • When you open up Server Manager after the re-boot, the error message/error icon next to the ADFS role should have disappeared.
  4. Verify that you can now successfully access the following Url in a browser without getting a server certificate error message: https://<fully qualified server Url>/adfs/fs/federationserverservice.asmx
  5. If you are able to navigate to this Url and view the available methods on the Web Service, you have successfully configured ADFS for use!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Determining the underlying technology of a website

If you have ever looked at a website and wondered how it was built and which technology or set of technologies were used to build the website, a great site which decomposes the site and allows you to review many of these details is Built With.

You can visit the site here:

The nice thing about this tool is that you can enter any Url and it will not only decompose server side technologies such as ASP.Net, but it will even decompose such things as use of Content Management Systems (CMS) and even JavaScript libraries such as jQuery!!  Very cool stuff!