Scott Hanselman

Here Comes Trouble

October 13, '08 Comments [24] Posted in Musings
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Looks like the 10 month old is walking. As The Wife says, "now we're screwed, they're both mobile!" We've spent the weekend chasing this little man all over the house. He's already insane and now his speed has doubled. ;)

It's interesting how the 10 month old has done things (sign, talk, walk, solid food) considerably faster than the now 2 (almost 3) year old. He's desperately trying to keep up with his older brother. They chase each other all over the house, they take turns locking each other in the pantry. Just today we found the young one half-way up the stairs! In a day he's gone from sitting on the first stair to going half-way up the flight!

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What a joy it is to watch these little men develop into bigger men.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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ASP.NET MVC and the new IIS7 Rewrite Module

October 10, '08 Comments [9] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC | IIS
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Last year I noticed that there were 11 ways to get to my blog. Literally 11 different URLs and it wasn't helping me my ranking in the search engines. I wrote about this in detail and how I used ISAPI_Rewrite to fix it up.

Fast forward to this year and the IIS7 team has been taking advantage of IIS7's modular design to release a bunch of new modules out-of-band.

Both the newest ISAPI_Rewrite and Apache's standard mod_rewrite module uses distributed configuration files or .htaccess files.

Here's just part of my .htaccess file that makes sure that all the incoming URLs end up at the final canonical http://www.hanselman.com/blog/

RewriteRule /blog/default\.aspx http\://www.hanselman.com/blog/ [I,RP] 
RewriteCond Host: ^hanselman\.com
RewriteRule (.*) http\://www.hanselman.com$1 [I,RP]

RewriteCond Host: ^computerzen\.com
RewriteRule (.*) http\://www.hanselman.com$1 [I,RP]

RewriteCond Host: ^www.computerzen\.com
RewriteRule (.*) http\://www.hanselman.com/blog/ [I,RP]

After you've installed the IIS7 Rewrite module, you can bring rules in a couple ways. The nicest is by importing them directly. Notice the tree view in the screenshot below. It gets updated in as you type.

Note that the importer only really understands rules in the mod_rewrite syntax. It doesn't fully support ISAPI_Rewrite so some things like Host: and [I] aren't supported in this release, but I'm hoping (and I've formally asked) that they'll support them for the final RTW (Release to Web). If you have ISAPI_Rewrite rules, you can either convert them then manually edit them to tidy up (what I did), or you can convert them to mod_rewrite syntax first.

For example, in the rule importer UI I could have replaced the ISAPI_Rewrite directive "Host:" with "%{HTTP_HOST}" and "[I]" with "[NC]" (meaning case insensitive). Or, I can just edit the incorrectly imported rules.

image

This is useful for importing existing rules like mine, but it's still hard since we're talking obscure formats left and right. There's also an Add Rule wizard:

Add rule(s)

It's REALLY easy with the User Friendly URL dialog to interactively create mappings between the URLs your app uses and the URLs you want. See in the screenshot below how the combo-box is dynamically populated based on the example I put in the top text box?

Add rules to enable user friendly URLs (2)

The User Interface for this module is surprisingly deep in functionality. There's a Regular Expression tester built into it, which makes Regular Expressions suck by about -2.

Test Pattern

ASP.NET MVC and SEO

I noticed a post by Jason Young recently on ASP.NET and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). He's concerned about trailing slashes

Ultimately I don't think it's that big of a deal since the URLs that your application generates are always consistent. Your app is what teaches search engines what to ask for. As long as your application is generating URLs that look the way you want them, you're cool.

The only real problem happens when other humans link to you and they make a mistake. Perhaps they include a trailing slash when you don't want one. Still, not a huge deal, but if you feel strongly about it, that's where a rewrite module comes in useful. I think that the Rewrite module would fit Jason's requirements.

Matt Hawley at eXcentrics World wrote a Legacy Route using ASP.NET Routing which is a clever idea as well. He could have certainly used this Rewrite Module, but ultimately as long as you're returning HTTP 301's (redirect permanent) or HTTP 302 (temporary redirect) as you fine appropriate, then use what makes you happy.

What's really important is that both these guys respect the permalink. A 404 is never a good thing.

Every site is different, but if I add a basic rule like this to my ASP.NET MVC site…

image

…and request http://localhost/rewritetest/Home/Index, the resulting HTTP Headers look like this, as the module forces the trailing backslash (of course you could also force NO backslash if it makes you happy):

GET /rewritetest/Home/Index HTTP/1.1
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Host: localhost
Connection: Keep-Alive

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Location: http://localhost/rewritetest/Home/Index/
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET

I'm not a regular expression expert, but searching the web for "mod_rewrite" rules will keep you busy for next 50 years. Here my favorite reference for .htaccess and mod_rewrite rules.

Learning the basics of the IIS7 Rewrite Module:

Functionality reference

Video walkthrough

Enjoy.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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PDC: Microsoft .NET Framework: Overview and Applications for Babies

October 9, '08 Comments [10] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET Dynamic Data | ASP.NET MVC | PDC | Windows Client
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image The PDC 2008 schedule is locked down. Looks like my main talk is on the first day, 10/27 at 5:15pm-6:30pm. Come to the talk and we'll all go out for tacos afterwards, maybe a party. :)

The scheduling tool is a little wonky, but if you want to add my talk to your sessions, you can go to https://sessions.microsoftpdc.com/public/sessions.aspx, sign in, search for "hanselman" then click "Add to My Sessions" in the lower right corner.

Here's the title and abstract:

Microsoft .NET Framework: Overview and Applications for Babies

Join Scott Hanselman for this lots-of-code-minimal slides talk that walks through the sheer joy of building out a .NET Framework application with Visual Studio using many of the new advances in the .NET Framework 3.5SP1 and 4.0. We have a data layer with Entity Framework, use REST web services with WCF and ADO.NET Data Services, write an ASP.NET site for reporting using Dynamic Data and MVC. All the data will come from a WPF client application and a Silverlight application that the audience will run live! All this, plus it's an application that babies and toddlers will love!

The back story here is in July, Dan Fernandez and Brian Keller, who are both Pure Evil© had the idea to send folks who watch "This Week on C9" to my BabySmash Feedback page and vote up a phony feature, asking for "Massively Multiplayer Online BabySmash so Babies can Smash together."

That first episode is here and they had the idea at 16:50-18:25. On the following week's show they noticed (4:32-5:15) that the new MMO BabySmash feature became the #1 feature with a 588% increase.

Of course, I'm an idiot, and I didn't know ANY of this. I thought that people (insane people) really wanted this feature. Later, on another show, I came on This Week on Channel9 and learned of their evil (27:25-30:05). They TOTALLY got me.

Then I started thinking about PDC and figured, why not? Why not add some networked ideas to BabySmash to showcase the .NET Framework.

My talk at PDC will show a bunch of 3.5 SP1 features in BabySmash! like WPF, plus I've added ADO.NET Data Services, Entity Framework, ASP.NET MVC, Charts and Graphs, Silverlight, Virtual Earth, AJAX, and jQuery. I'll also show a Silverlight version of BabySmash that talks to the same server-side endpoints, and we'll all (the audience) run BabySmash Silverlight on our laptops during the talk (better than just checking your email, which is what you usually do in talks) and see if we can't crush my server live. Then I'll talk about new .NET 4.0 features that I could use to take the whole solution to the next level.

I'm hoping it'll be a fun way for us to see what is in 3.5SP1 and how to use it as well as what's coming in .NET 4.0 and how it could improve out application. It's definitely not a Northwind Demo.

I hope I see you there.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Meme Time: Growing Up Geek

October 4, '08 Comments [22] Posted in Musings
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Hanseldork? Ok, it's meme time. Now, you may be surprised to hear that under my cool exterior, I was a nerd in school. No, no, you say! It's not so! Surely you were the most popular kid, Scott? You weren't beaten brutally each day for having glasses that weighed more than your huge head? Nonsense!

Alas, it's true. It's probably true for you as well, Dear Reader. Or, that's what I like to tell myself. ;)

I've written before about how I got into computers, some of the OS's I've run, that I love gadgets, and how my fifth grade teacher took me from an "at risk youth" to a huge dork. I've even done a podcast with my Dad about what it's like to raise a nerd. Of course, the Nerds will Inherit the Earth, right?

Did you grow up a geek?

Let's see what you looked like as a young burgeoning nerd or nerdette.

I'm tagging Phil Haack, Rob Conery, Leon Bambrick, Greg Hughes, and Brad Wilson.

Of course, if you're not tagged, I want to see pics of you as a kid-nerd regardless. Go dig in that shoebox you know you still have. Call your Mom, look at the photo album, and link to this post or leave a link in the comments.

Let's see some nerdy childhood pictures folks!

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Web Platform Installer: Trying to make it easier to setup for web development

October 3, '08 Comments [15] Posted in ASP.NET | IIS | Tools
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There's a renewed focus, in my opinion, to make things easier to find around The Big Blue Monster. I'm working with a bunch of folks on a more official version of http://www.smallestdotnet.com and some changes around making the .NET Framework easier to find, as a small example.

Getting a machine up to speed for Web Development is another thing that's kind of a hassle because you need to go get (and know to go get) IIS7, Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition, SQL Server 2008 Express Edition and the .NET Framework, yada yada yada.

There's a new site at http://www.microsoft.com/web and a new (beta) of the Microsoft Web Platform Installer (blog announcement). It's basically a super bootstrapper that keeps track of where to get stuff and organizes them as profiles.

Microsoft Web Platform Installer

If I select "Your Choice" I get a complete list from a catalog of things that can be downloaded. I can auto-select options from a dropdown like "PHP Developer" or "Classic ASP Developer." Cool that those options are there as well as ASP.NET Developer. There's a manifest that it downloads to get the latest versions of each of these.

Web Platform Installer Choose Components

On the Web Server tab, it'll pick the right IIS modules you'd need to get a site up, but it also shows as options some of the more interesting (and not well publicized) modules like ARR and BitRate Throttling that have been released since IIS7 came out.

If you're running a Web Development shop, it's certainly a quick way to get everything you'd need installed, including the free version of Visual Studio Web Express.

Check it out, and if you have any trouble or find anything interesting, you can report it directly to the team at the Web Platform Installer Forum. If you like it or hate it, let them now. It'd be interesting to see how extensible it can be and if they choose to extend it other developer products.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.