Scott Hanselman

Introducing ASP.NET vNext

May 12, '14 Comments [147] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC | ASP.NET Web API | Open Source
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There’s some really cool stuff going on on the ASP.NET and Web Tools team. The team has been pushing open stuff at Microsoft for a few years now and we've joined forces with the amazing innovators from the .NET core team and beyond! Some of these features are 10+ years in the making from a host of technical wizards across many teams and disciplines.

Today we’re announcing a preview (read: alpha) of the next generation of .NET on the Server.

You may have heard about some of these announcements at Build:

ASP.NET vNext will take things to the next level. Today, you run ASP.NET using the same CLR that desktop apps use. We’re adding a cloud-optimized (my cloud, your cloud, their cloud - server stuff) version optimized for server scenarios like low-memory and high-throughput.

ASP.NET vNext will let you deploy your own version of the .NET Framework on an app-by-app-basis. One app with new libraries can’t break an app next door with a different version. Different apps can even have their own cloud-optimized CLR of their own version. The CLR and cloud-optimized libraries are NuGet packages!

In this screenshot you can see build 418 and build 420 of the new framework (note how small they are) in my packages folder. These NuGet packages include the complete "Core CLR" and the cloud-optimized .NET Framework. You can deploy your own CLR and .NET Framework with your app as a NuGet.

Holy crap it's ASP.NET vNext

I can run ASP.NET vNext apps within Visual Studio, of course, and within IIS, but I can also easily "self-host" them from the command line or within my own application. This alpha includes command line tools for running and managing ASP.NET vNext apps.

The "kvm" command allows me to control my environment. I run "kvm list" to see what versions of the ASP.NET vNext are available. I can switch between them on a per-environment basis:

C:\>kvm list

Active Version Runtime Architecture Location
------ ------- ------- ------------ --------
0.1-alpha-build-0418 svr50 x86 C:\Users\scottha\.kre\packages
* 0.1-alpha-build-0418 svrc50 x86 C:\Users\scottha\.kre\packages
0.1-alpha-build-0420 svr50 x86 C:\Users\scottha\.kre\packages
0.1-alpha-build-0420 svrc50 x86 C:\Users\scottha\.kre\packages

I set the active version with "kvm use version" and opened two command prompts, setting different CLR and .NET versions in each.

I’m running the same app twice, once per command prompt. I put version 420 on port 5420 and version 418 on port 5418.

Two Command Prompts two .NET Frameworks

This little app below outputs the current running version of ASP.NET vNext. Here I’m running the same app at the same time under different builds of the next generation of ASP.NET

Two URLs two .NET Frameworks

The project system is also changing - we’re integrating packages.config, NuGet specifications (nuspec), and project files (csprojs) into a unified view of your project dependencies expressed in a project.json file.

NuGet packages and class libraries are treated the same. You get full intellisense in the project.json file and NuGet packages come down automatically and transparently. Even better, let’s say NuGet package Foo.Bar has a bug but you’ve only got the NuGet package. You can make a folder called Foo.Bar in our local project and put the source via "git clone" in that folder. This is great for open source projects. That local version overrides the NuGet, allowing you to easily patch bugs locally in libraries while you wait for a new release. When a new fixed NuGet-distributed version shows up, update the version and delete the local source.

New project system

One of the great aspects of environments like node or rails is that they are "no compile." Just change some code and hit refresh. With the next version of ASP.NET you get the power and throughput of the .NET runtime plus the "Roslyn" compiler-as-a-service for a "no-compile compile." That means means during development time you can just change your C# classes and hit Refresh in the browser. It's the power of .NET with the dynamism of a refresh-and-go development experience.

NOTE: This isn't ASP.NET Websites, or Razor View compilation - this is the whole thing, compiled in memory. You can use Visual Studio for development, or text editors like Sublime, or freakin' Notepad. (Of course, if you want assemblies on disk, you can do that too.)

See my web app’s bin folder in the screenshot below? There’s no assemblies in there because the assemblies never exist on the disk. It’s actually faster and easier to have the compiler do all the work in memory. This way you don’t have to read source, write out dlls, then read the dlls in again. (That DLL is part of the magic that makes it all happen.)

No binaries on disk!

If you like, when your web projects build for deployment, they can also build as NuGet packages. You publish your project and every needed dependency comes along.

You’ll be able to put ASP.NET vNext on your existing servers, any hoster, and Azure of course.

You can opt in or out of the cloud optimized framework for compatibility. The next version of ASP.NET is modular and all about choice. your choice of framework, your choice of runtime, your choice of operating system, your choice of text editor.

ASP.NET vNext is:

  • Cloud and server-optimized
  • ASP.NET MVC and Web API have been unified into a single programming model
  • No-compile developer experience
  • Dependency injection out of the box
  • Side by side - deploy the runtime and framework with your application
  • NuGet everything - even the runtime itself
  • All Open Source via the .NET Foundation and takes contributions

Oh, and by the way

  • ASP.NET vNext (and Rosyln) runs on Mono, on both Mac and Linux today. While Mono isn't a project from Microsoft, we'll collaborate with the Mono team, plus Mono will be added to our test matrix. It's our aspiration that it "just work."
ASP.NET on a Mac

There will be lots of new information and details coming out over the next several months!


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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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Fixing System.Core 2.0.5 FileLoadException, Portable Libraries and Windows XP support

May 8, '14 Comments [17] Posted in Bugs | Learning .NET | WPF
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Installing Windows XP to testMy buddy Greg and I are getting ready to launch our little side startup, and I was going through our product backlog. Our app consists of a global cloud service with Signalr, an iPhone app made with Xamarin tools, and a WPF app.

One of the items in our Trello backlog was "Support Windows XP. Gasp!"

I hadn't given this item much thought, but I figure it was worth a few hours look. If it was easy, why not, right?

Our WPF desktop application was written for .NET 4.5, which isn't supported on Windows XP.  I want to my app to support as basic and mainstream a .NET 4 installation as possible.

Could I change my app to target .NET 4 directly? I use the new async and await features extensively.

Well, of course, I remembered Microsoft released the Async Targeting Pack (Microsoft.Bcl.Async) through NuGet to do just this. In fact, if I was targeting .NET 3.5 I could use Omer Mor's AsyncBridge for .NET 3.5, so it's good that I have choices.

I changed my project to target .NET 4, rather than 4.5, installed these NuGets, and recompiled. No problem, right?

However, when I run my application on Windows XP it crashes immediately. Fortunately I have instrumented it with Raygun.io so all my crashes to to the cloud for analysis. It gives me this nice summary:

raygun.io is amazing 

Here's the important part:

FileLoadException: Could not load file or assembly 
'System.Core, Version=2.0.5.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=7cec85d7bea7798e, Retargetable=Yes'
or one of its dependencies. The given assembly name or codebase was invalid.
(Exception from HRESULT: 0x80131047)

That's weird, I'm using .NET 4 which includes System.Core version 4.0. I can confirm what's in the GAC (Global Assembly Cache) with this command at the command line. Remember, your computer isn't a black box.

C:\>gacutil /l | find /i "system.core"
System.Core, Version=3.5.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089, processorArchitecture=MSIL
System.Core, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089, processorArchitecture=MSIL

OK, so there isn't even a System.Core version 2.0.5 in the GAC. Turns out that System.Core 2.0.5 is the Portable Libraries version, meant to be used everywhere (that means, Silverlight, etc, everywhere) so they made the version number compatible.

Because we're building our iPhone app with Xamarin tools and we anticipate supporting other platforms, we use a Portable Library to share code. But, it seems that support for Portable Libraries were enabled on .NET 4 vanilla by the KB2468871 update.

I don't want to require any specific patch level or hotfixes. While this .NET 4 framework update was pushed to machines via Windows Update, for now I want to support the most basic install if I can. So if the issue is Portable Libraries (which I still want to use) then I'll want to bring those shared files in another way.

You can LINK source code in Visual Studio when you Add File by clicking the little dropdown and then Add as Link:

Adding source code as a Link within Visual Studio

Now my Messages.cs file is a link. See the little shortcut overlay in blue?

A linked file as a little overlay on the icon

I removed the project reference to the Portable Library for this WPF application and brought the code in this way. I'm still sharing core, but just not as a binary for this one application.

Recompile and redeploy and magically .NET 4 WPF application with async/await and MahApps.Metro styling starts up and runs wonderfully on this 12 year old OS with just .NET 4 installed.

For our application this means that my market just got opened up a little and now I can sell my product to the millions of pirated and forever unpatched Windows XP machines in the world. Which is a good thing.


Sponsor: Big thanks to Aspose for sponsoring the blog feed this week. Aspose.Total for .NET has all the APIs you need to create, manipulate and convert Microsoft Office documents and a host of other file formats in your applications. Curious? Start a free trial today.

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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FREE Pluralsight video: "Get Involved" in community!

May 7, '14 Comments [17] Posted in Musings | Open Source
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imageI'm absolutely thrilled to announce that my feature-length collaboration with Rob Conery called "Get Involved" is now available FREE from Pluralsight!

You can watch the whole movie RIGHT now for FREE. No sign up or subscription needed! Please tweet and tell your friends!

http://getinvolved.hanselman.com

We really poured our hearts into this production and we really hope you enjoy it.

In this feature-length production, Scott Hanselman and Rob Conery offer suggestions and advice on how you can get out there, and get involved. Blogging, Twitter, Github, StackOverflow, User Groups and Conferences: all of this can make you a happier, more productive developer and inspire you to take your career to the next level.

You certainly don't have to be social to be better at writing code - but sharpening your skills this way helps you when it comes time for a job interview, a yearly review where a promotion is on the line, or when you want to start running an Open Source project.

If you're a fan of This Developer's Life you know how tightly Rob and I like to produce things - this video is no exception.

Filmed on the streets of Portland and at a Portland user group, we talk about Blogging, Twitter, Github, StackOverflow, Open Source, Speaking, User Groups and Conferences - all of this hoping to make you a happier, more productive, more connected developer. We want to inspire you and perhaps to take your career to the next level.

Additionally, we stretched far beyond Portland to seek out the other people who active in the social technology space!

  • Jon Skeet joins us to talk about what a Good Question is on StackOverflow - and also how you can gain reputation by providing Good Answers - and edits to Good Questions!
  • We venture out to the Portland Area DotNet Users Group (PADNUG) and meet a few developers who have just started going - as well as people who have been there for years.
  • While we were there, I gave a 10-minute lightning talk on Azure - a great way to get started speaking if you're not a fan of public speaking. Rob filmed the whole thing.

By the way, if you do have a Pluralsight Subscription, you've got access to thousands of hours of technical video training, like my other video on technical presenting!

image

The Art of Speaking - Become a better technical public speaker

Have you thought about speaking on technology publically? Maybe you want start talking a local user groups and then work your way up to larger regional code camps? "The Art of Speaking" is an 80 min Pluralsight course that Rob and I created to help you do just that!

You'll learn all about:

  • The Speaker Mindset
    • Not Wasting Time
    • What to do, What Not to Do
    • Defining a Perfect Talk
  • Preparation
    • Choosing Your Demo
    • Choosing Your Delivery Style
    • Handling Pressure
    • Engaging the Audience
    • Code vs. Slides
    • Creating an Outline
    • Creating the Story
    • Building a DemoYou have not watched this Clip.
    • Building a More Complex DemoYou have not watched this Clip.
    • Creating Your Slides
  • ExecutionYou have not watched this Module.
    • The Unexpected
    • The Tech Check
    • The Delivery

Keep an eye out for my next video with Rob, coming very soon exclusively to Pluralsight Subscribers!

Rob has a lot of great videos as well like these and many more!

Rob and I also have a one hour video where we move the This Developer's Life podcast website to Microsoft Azure LIVE, so check that out.

Many, many, thanks to Pluralsight for giving this video to the community for free! If you're on Twitter, go thank them now @pluralsight.


Sponsor: Big thanks to Aspose for sponsoring the blog feed this week. Aspose.Total for .NET has all the APIs you need to create, manipulate and convert Microsoft Office documents and a host of other file formats in your applications. Curious? Start a free trial today.

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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Cloud Power: How to scale Azure Websites globally with Traffic Manager

May 5, '14 Comments [26] Posted in Azure
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The "cloud" is one of those things that I totally get and totally intellectualize, but it still consistently blows me away. And I work on a cloud, too, which is a little ironic that I should be impressed.

I guess part of it is historical context. Today's engineers get mad if a deployment takes 10 minutes or if a scale-out operation has them waiting five. I used to have multi-hour builds and a scale out operation involved a drive over to PC Micro Center. Worse yet, having a Cisco engineer fly in to configure a load balancer. Certainly engineers in the generation before mine could lose hours with a single punch card mistake.

It's the power that impresses me.

And I don't mean CPU power, I mean the power to build, to create, to achieve, in minutes, globally. My that's a lot of comma faults.

Someone told me once that the average middle class person is more powerful than a 15th century king. You eat on a regular basis, can fly across the country in a few hours, you have antibiotics and probably won't die from a scratch.

Cloud power is that. Here's what I did last weekend that blew me away.

Here's how I did it.

Scaling an Azure Website globally in minutes, plus adding SSL

I'm working on a little startup with my friend Greg, and I recently deploy our backend service to a small Azure website in "North Central US." I bought a domain name for $8 and setup a CNAME to point to this new Azure website. Setting up custom DNS takes just minutes of course.

CNAME Hub DNS

Adding SSL to Azure Websites

I want to run my service traffic over SSL, so I headed over to DNSimple where I host my DNS and bought a wildcard SSL for *.mydomain.com for only $100!

Active SSL Certs

Adding the SSL certificate to Azure is easy, you upload it from the Configure tab on Azure Websites, then binding it to your site.

SSL Bindings

Most SSL certificates are issued as a *.crt file, but Azure and IIS prefer *.pfx. I just downloaded OpenSSL for Windows and ran:

openssl pkcs12 -export -out mysslcert.pfx -inkey myprivate.key -in myoriginalcert.crt

Then I upload mysslcert.pfx to Azure. If you have intermediaries then you might need to include those as well.

This gets me a secure connection to my single webserver, but I need multiple ones as my beta testers in Asia and Europe have complained that my service is slow for them.

Adding multiple global Azure Website locations

It's easy to add more websites, so I made two more, spreading them out a bit.

Multiple locations

I use Git deployment for my websites, so I added two extra named remotes in Git. That way I can deploy like this:

>git push azure-NorthCentral master
>git push azure-SoutheastAsia master
>git push azure-WestEurope master

At this point, I've got three web sites in three locations but they aren't associated together in any way.

I also added a "Location" configuration name/value pair for each website so I could put the location at the bottom of the site to confirm when global load balancing is working just by pulling it out like this:

location = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Location"];

I could also potentially glean my location by exploring the Environment variables like WEBSITE_SITE_NAME for my application name, which I made match my site's location.

Now I bring these all together by setting up a Traffic Manager in Azure.

Traffic Manager

I change my DNS CNAME to point to the Traffic Manager, NOT the original website. Then I make sure the traffic manager knows about each of the Azure Website endpoints.

Then I make sure that my main CNAME is setup in my Azure Website, along with the Traffic Manager domain. Here's my DNSimple record:

image

And here's my Azure website configuration:

Azure Website Configuration

Important Note: You may be thinking, hang on, I though there was already load balancing built in to Azure Websites? It's important to remember that there's the load balancing that selects which data center, and there's the load balancing that selects an actual web server within a data center. 
Also, you can choose between straight round-robin, failover (sites between datacenters), or Performance, when you have sites in geographic locations and you want the "closest" one to the user. That's what I chose. It's all automatic, which is nice.

Azure Traffic Manager

Since the Traffic Manager is just going to resolve to a specific endpoint and all my endpoints already have a wildcard SSL, it all literally just works.

When I run NSLOOKUP myHub I get something like this:

>nslookup hub.mystartup.com
Server: ROUTER
Address: 10.71.1.1

Non-authoritative answer:
Name: ssl.mystartup-northcentralus.azurewebsites.net
Address: 23.96.211.345
Aliases: hub.mystartup.com
mystartup.trafficmanager.net
mystartup-northcentralus.azurewebsites.net

As I'm in Oregon, I get the closest data center. I asked friends via Skype in Australia, Germany, and Ireland to test and they each got one of the other data centers.

I can test for myself by using https://www.whatsmydns.net and seeing the different IPs from different locations.

Global DNS

This whole operation took about 45 minutes, and about 15 minutes of that was waiting for DNS to propagate.

In less than an hour went from a small prototype in a data center in Chicago and then scaled it out to datacenters globally and added SSL.

Magical power.

Related Links


Sponsor: Big thanks to Aspose for sponsoring the blog feed this week. Aspose.Total for .NET has all the APIs you need to create, manipulate and convert Microsoft Office documents and a host of other file formats in your applications. Curious? Start a free trial today.

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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"It's just a software issue"- Edge.js brings Node and .NET together on three platforms

April 30, '14 Comments [44] Posted in Learning .NET | nodejs | Open Source
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.NET and node together on three platforms

There was an engineer I used to work with who always said "That's just a software issue." No matter how complex the issue, no matter how daunting, they were confident it could be solved with software.

.NET and C# and NuGet and the community have been making some amazing stuff in the last few years like ScriptCS, Chocolately, Boxstarter. Azure Websites now supports ASP.NET, sure, but also PHP, Python, Java (Tomcat or Jetty or your own container), and node.js. Getting these things to work together has been an interesting software issue. Apps can run side-by-side, but they can't really talk to each other in-process. (Mostly one just moves data between universes over JSON and HTTP when need-be.)

However, Tomasz Janczuk has been working on Edge.js (on Github) for a while now. I showed his work at jQuery Portland last year, but this week he's taking it to the next level. He is creating a wormhole between software universes.

Edge.js now lets you run node.js and .NET code in-process on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The name is great. An edge connects two nodes, and Edge.js is that edge.

node and .NET connected by edge.js

Here's a node app hello world node app calling .NET. Don't sweat that the .NET code is tunneled inside a comment, this is the Hello World proof of concept.

var edge = require('edge');

var helloWorld = edge.func(function () {/*
async (input) => {
return ".NET Welcomes " + input.ToString();
}
*/});

helloWorld('JavaScript', function (error, result) {
if (error) throw error;
console.log(result);
});

Perhaps you have a bunch of CPU intensive work or algorithms in C#, but you've also got a node.js app that needs the result of that work. Edge can help with that.

You can bring in a CS or CSX file into node like this:

var myCSharpCode = edge.func(require('path').join(__dirname, 'myCSharpCode.csx'));

You can bring code from a .NET DLL into a node.js compiled as well.

var clrMethod = edge.func({
assemblyFile: 'My.Edge.Samples.dll',
typeName: 'Samples.FooBar.MyType',
methodName: 'MyMethod'
});

It's not a hack, it's a clear way to marshal between CLR threads and the V8 (the node Javascript engine) thread. It's also interesting from a comp-sci perspective as the CLR can have many threads and V8 has the one.

nodecsharp

Here's Tomasz's own words:

Edge.js provides an asynchronous, in-process mechanism for interoperability between Node.js and .NET.

You can use this mechanism to:

  • access MS SQL from Node.js using ADO.NET more...
  • use CLR multi-threading from Node.js for CPU intensive work more...
  • write native extensions to Node.js in C# instead of C/C++
  • intergate existing .NET components into Node.js applications

Read more about the background and motivations of the project here.

Now, you might ask yourself, what problem does Edge.js solve? The answer is in the Edge.js FAQ.

Go explore what you can do. Edge goes much further than just C# and Node. It works on Windows, OSX, and Ubuntu but you should just "npm install edge" as there's a node package available.

Have fun! You have a lot more power and flexibility than you think. It's just a software problem.

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.