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!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Get Started with Visual Studio Code

If you want to get started with development very quickly without the hassle of installing the full Visual Studio IDE (an hour long or more installation), then you should definitely check out Visual Studio Code!

Visual Studio Code installs in a matter of minutes similar to Notepad++ and offers extensions for C#, MSBuild, XML etc.

You can download Visual Studio Code from here: https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/?dv=win

You can then read more about how to use Visual Studio Code here: https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/editor/whyvscode

To demonstrate how easy it is to get up and running with Visual Studio Code to begin writing C# class files with Intellisense, you can check out the screenshots below:

In less than 5 minutes, I was up and running writing C# class files!  Cool, huh??

Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate released!

Visual Studio 2017 has now entered the Release Candidate phase and is available for download!

If you want a full overview of the new features and functionality introduced in Visual Studio 2017, you can check out the Release Notes here: https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/news/releasenotes/vs2017-relnotes

Friday, November 25, 2016

PluralSight Black Friday deal!

PluralSight is offering a Black Friday deal on an annual subscription to their training!

For just $199, you can get an annual personal PluralSight subscription! That is a $100 discount off of their normal annual subscription price!  Woo hoo!

You should hurry before this deal runs out!  https://learn.pluralsight.com/offers/black-friday-2016?aid=701j0000002B6ujAAC&oid=701j0000002B6ueAAC&promo=&utm_campaign=black+friday&utm_content=&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=social&utm_term=

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Team Foundation Server 2017 Released!

In case you haven't already read the news, Team Foundation Server 2017 has been released!  https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/news/releasenotes/tfs2017-relnotes

One of the most exciting features of Team Foundation Server 2017 is the release of the much anticipated "Code Search" Feature: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudioalm/2016/11/16/announcing-code-search-on-team-foundation-server-2017/

Finally, you can search for code throughout your Team Foundation Server project repository!

In addition, most Team Foundation Server Power Tools functionality has been directly integrated into TFS 2017 so there should be little need to separately install the TFS Power Tools as has been common with all previous releases of TFS.

There are a large number of enhancements to TFS 2017 that seem to make it a worthwhile upgrade overall and a significant step up even from its predecessor TFS 2015!

Unfortunately, on the down side, Project Server integration has been removed with this release and will only be available via 3rd party integrations going forward.  https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/docs/work/office/sync-ps-tfs

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A specified logon session does not exist in Windows 10

I was recently helping a friend with his Windows 10 machine to connect to his network NAS device and I encountered this error message:

"The mapped network drive could not be created because the following error has occurred:
A specified logon session does not exist. It may already have been terminated."

This was incredibly odd since he stated that it had been working fine just a few weeks earlier!

Well, after a quick search on the Internet, I came across this posting: http://superuser.com/questions/968879/windows-10-map-network-drive-a-specified-logon-session-does-not-exist

According to the posting, it stated that a Windows update changed the behavior of Windows 10 causing standard connectivity to network devices such as NAS devices using a guest account would require special setup through Credential Manager!

Here are the steps I followed to get this up and running:

I opened Credential Manager from the Windows Control Panel:

I then clicked on "Windows Credentials":

I then clicked on the link for "Add a Windows credential"

I then proceeded to enter the credentials for my network device in the format \\MYNASDEVICE

When I next connected to my friend's NAS device simply using \\MYNASDEVICE in Windows Explorer, it opened without any issues!  Hurrah!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Get PowerShell scripts from PowerShell Gallery

For those of you scripting with PowerShell, in the past it has typically been very difficult to find PowerShell scripts that you can use for your own purposes.  You would usually have to scavenge and scour the Internet for numerous blog posts and discussion forums before perhaps finding the PowerShell script that you can actually use!

Well, Microsoft has decided to reduce the pain of searching for PowerShell scripts in the future by introducing PowerShell Gallery: https://www.powershellgallery.com/

From within PowerShell, just like .NET developers use NuGet today, PowerShell allows you to get PowerShell scripts from the PowerShell gallery.

You can browse the PowerShell scripts in the PowerShell gallery here: https://www.powershellgallery.com/items

Once you have found the appropriate PowerShell script, cmdlet etc. that you want to use, you simply either run Install-Module or Install-Script to install your respective PowerShell Module or PowerShell script!  For more information on using the PowerShell Gallery, you can check out this article here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/powershell/gallery/psgallery/psgallery_gettingstarted 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Set up Docker containers on Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016

If you want to get started using Docker for either Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016, you can follow these quick start guides on how to set up Docker containers for each of these respective platforms:

Windows Containers on Windows 10

Windows Containers on Windows Serverhttps://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualization/windowscontainers/quick_start/quick_start_windows_server

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Upgrading to Windows Server 2016

Now that Windows Server 2016 has gone RTM, I thought I would try to see if I can upgrade my existing Windows Server 2012 R2 systems to Windows Server 2016.

As part of the upgrade process, I had to uninstall "VMWare Tools" and "Mcafee VirusScan Enterprise 8.8i" before proceeding with the upgrade as you will see in the screenshots below:

After completing the upgrade, I had to re-install VMWare Tools (since I uninstalled them earlier), but other than that, all of my applications seemed to working fine and intact!  Piece of cake!!