Scott Hanselman

A Functional Web with ASP.NET Core and F#'s Giraffe

September 18, '17 Comments [16] Posted in DotNetCore
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728331198_7c1854e363_bI was watching Ody Mbegbu's YouTube Channel - it's filled with .NET Core and ASP.NET Tutorial Videos - and was checking out one in particular, "Getting Started with ASP.NET Core Giraffe." Dane Vinson pointed me to it.

There is such a great open source renaissance happening right now with new framework's and libraries popping up in the .NET Core space. I hope you check them out AND support the creators by getting involved, writing docs, filing (kind) issues, and even doing pull requests and fixing bugs or writing tests.

Ody's video was about Dustin Morris' "Giraffe" web framework. Dustin's description is "A native functional ASP.NET Core web framework for F# developers." You can check it out over at https://github.com/dustinmoris/Giraffe.

Even better, it uses the "dotnet new" templating system so you can check it out and get started in seconds.

c:> md \mygiraffeeapp & cd \mygiraffeeapp
c:\mygiraffeeapp> dotnet new -i "giraffe-template::*"
c:\mygiraffeeapp> dotnet new giraffe
The template "Giraffe Web App" was created successfully.
c:\mygiraffeeapp> dotnet run
Hosting environment: Production
Content root path: C:\mygiraffeapp
Now listening on: http://localhost:5000
Application started. Press Ctrl+C to shut down.

Boom. Now I'm checking out Giraffe's "Hello World."

Because ASP.NET Core is very modular and built on "middleware" pipelines, that means that other frameworks like Giraffe can use the bits they want and remove the bits they down. Remembering that this is F#, not C#, here you can see Giraffe adding itself to the pipeline while still using the StaticFileMiddleware.

let configureApp (app : IApplicationBuilder) =
app.UseGiraffeErrorHandler errorHandler
app.UseStaticFiles() |> ignore
app.UseGiraffe webApp

The initial readme.md for Giraffe is the docs for now, and frankly, they are excellent and easy to read. The author says:

It is not designed to be a competing web product which can be run standalone like NancyFx or Suave, but rather a lean micro framework which aims to complement ASP.NET Core where it comes short for functional developers. The fundamental idea is to build on top of the strong foundation of ASP.NET Core and re-use existing ASP.NET Core building blocks so F# developers can benefit from both worlds.

Here is a smaller Hello World. Note the use of choose and the clear and terse nature of F#:

open Giraffe.HttpHandlers
open Giraffe.Middleware

let webApp =
choose [
route "/ping" >=> text "pong"
route "/" >=> htmlFile "/pages/index.html" ]

type Startup() =
member __.Configure (app : IApplicationBuilder)
(env : IHostingEnvironment)
(loggerFactory : ILoggerFactory) =

app.UseGiraffe webApp

Is terse an insult? Absolutely not, it's a feature! Check out this single line exampe...and the fish >=> operator! Some people don't like it but I think it's clever.

let app = route "/" >=> setStatusCode 200 >=> text "Hello World"

Making more complex:

let app =
choose [
GET >=> route "/foo" >=> text "GET Foo"
POST >=> route "/foo" >=> text "POST Foo"
route "/bar" >=> text "Always Bar"
]

Or requiring certain headers:

let app =
mustAccept [ "text/plain"; "application/json" ] >=>
choose [
route "/foo" >=> text "Foo"
route "/bar" >=> json "Bar"
]

And you can continue to use Razor views as you like, passing in models written in F#

open Giraffe.Razor.HttpHandlers

let model = { WelcomeText = "Hello World" }

let app =
choose [
// Assuming there is a view called "Index.cshtml"
route "/" >=> razorHtmlView "Index" model
]

There are samples at https://github.com/dustinmoris/Giraffe/tree/master/samples you can check out as well

* Giraffe photo by Kurt Thomas Hunt, used under CC


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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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The ASP.NET Interns ship their project - A basic blog template for .NET Core

September 14, '17 Comments [10] Posted in DotNetCore | Open Source
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The internsThe Visual Studio Tools team had some great interns this summer. Juliet Daniel, Lucas Isaza, and Uma Lakshminarayan have been working all summer and one of their projects was to make something significant with ASP.NET Core and .NET Core. They decided to write a blog template. This is interesting as none of them had written C# or .NET before. Python, C, JavaScript, but not C#. This was a good exercise for them to not only learn C#/.NET but also give the team real feedback on the entire process. The ASP.NET Community Standup had the interns on the show to give us a walkthrough of their process and what they thought of VS.

They did their work over at https://github.com/VenusInterns/BlogTemplate so I'd encourage you to star their repository...and maybe get involved! This is a great starter application to explore ASP.NET and possibly do a pull request (make sure to give them a heads up in an issue before refactoring/changing everything ;) ) and contribute.

The interns used ASP.NET Core's new Razor Pages as well. Razor Pages sits on (is just) MVC so while it might initially look unfamiliar, remember that it's all still using the ASP.NET Core "MVC" pattern under the hood.

When you install the  .NET Core SDK you'll get a bunch of standard templates so you can:

  • dotnet new console
  • dotnet new mvc
  • dotnet new console --language F#
  • etc

There are lots of 3rd party and community templates and the beginnings of a website to search them. I expect this to be more formal and move into docs.microsoft.com in time.

The interns made "dotnet new blog" where blog is the short name of their template. They haven't yet released their template into NuGet for folks to easily install "dotnet new -I blogtemplate.whatever," For now you'll need to clone their repo as if you were developing a template yourself. It's actually a decent way for you to learn how to make templates.

Try this, using the .NET Core 2.0 SDK.

C:\> git clone https://github.com/VenusInterns/BlogTemplate.git
C:\> dotnet new -i C:\BlogTemplate -o C:\myblog
C:\> cd \myblog\BlogTemplate
C:\myblog\BlogTemplate> dotnet run
C:\myblog\BlogTemplate (master) > dotnet run
Using launch settings from C:\myblog\BlogTemplate\Properties\launchSettings.json...
Hosting environment: Development
Content root path: C:\myblog\BlogTemplate
Now listening on: http://localhost:59938
Application started. Press Ctrl+C to shut down.

And here's my nice local new blog. It's got admin, login, comments, the basics.

image

At this point you're running a blog. You'll see there is a Solution in there and a project, and because it's a template rather than a packaged project, you can open it up in Visual Studio Code and start making changes. This is an important point. This is an "instance" that you've created. At this point you're on your own. You can expand it, update it, because it's yours. Perhaps that's a good idea, perhaps not. Depends on your goals, but the intern's goal was to better understand the "dotnet new" functionality while making something real.

Here's some of the features the interns used, in their words.

  • Entity Framework provides an environment that makes it easy to work with relational data. In our scenario, that data comes in the form of blog posts and comments for each post.
  • The usage of LINQ (Language Integrated Query) enables the developer to store (query) items from the blog into a variety of targets like databases, xml documents (currently in use), and in-memory objects without having to redesign how things are queried, but rather where they are stored.
  • The blog is built on Razor Pages from ASP.NET Core. Because of this, developers with some knowledge of ASP.NET Core can learn about the pros and cons of building with Razor Pages as opposed to the previously established MVC schema.
  • The template includes a user authentication feature, done by implementing the new ASP.NET Identity Library for Razor Pages. This was a simple tool to add that consisted of installing the NuGet package and creating a new project with the package and then transferring the previous project files into this new project with Identity. Although a hassle, moving the files from one project to the other was quite simple because both projects were built with Razor Pages.
  • Customizing the theme is fast and flexible with the use of Bootstrap. Simply download a Bootstrap theme.min.css file and add it to the CSS folder in your project (wwwroot > css). You can find free or paid Bootstrap themes at websites such as bootswatch.com. You can delete our default theme file, journal-bootstrap.min.css, to remove the default theming. Run your project, and you'll see that the style of your blog has changed instantly.

I wouldn't say it's perfect or even production ready, but it's a great 0.1 start for the interns and an interesting codebase to read and improve!

Here's some ideas if you want a learning exercise!

  • Make the serializers swappable. Can you change XML to JSON or Markdown?
  • Make an RSS endpoint!
  • Add Captcha/reCaptcha
  • Add social buttons and sharing
  • Add Google AMP support (or don't because AMP sucks)
  • Add Twitter card support

You can also just play with their running instance here. Be nice. https://venusblog.azurewebsites.net/ (Username: webinterns@microsoft.com, Password: Password.1)


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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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Experiments in Open Source: Exploring vcr-sharp for Http record and playback

September 10, '17 Comments [19] Posted in DotNetCore | Open Source
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I've always said that reading source code is as important as write it - especially as part of the learning process. You learn a ton about how other coders think and solve problems, plus you learn about lots of new libraries and methods you may not be familiar with.

Last week I noticed this tweet from Brendan Forster about an experiment he's working on. He is interesting in your feedback on his experiment and if you would use it.

He's created a new library for .NET called vcr-sharp that is inspired by the vcr Ruby gem and the scotch .NET library.

Again, he's made it clear he's just experimenting but I think this has some interesting potential.

Vcr-sharp lets you record and playback HTTP requests! In this example, WithCassette is an extension method on HttpClientFactory. That extension method sets up a DelgatingHandler to a ReplayingHandler. That ReplayingHandler "loads the cassette" and returns it as a cached response.

using (var httpClient = HttpClientFactory.WithCassette("my-test-scenario"))
{
var request = new HttpRequestMessage(HttpMethod.Get, "http://www.iana.org/domains/reserved");
var response = await httpClient.SendAsync(request);
var body = await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync();
body.ShouldContain("Example domains");
}

Also worth noting is that within the VCR-Sharp library Brendan uses an assertion library for .NET called "Shouldly." Shouldly has some interesting extension methods that let you express how you Assert within your Tests.

They say - this is the old Assert way:

Assert.That(contestant.Points, Is.EqualTo(1337));

For your troubles, you get this message, when it fails:

Expected 1337 but was 0

They say - this is how it Should be:

contestant.Points.ShouldBe(1337);

Which is just syntax, so far, but check out the message when it fails:

contestant.Points should be 1337 but was 0

Another example:

Assert.That(map.IndexOfValue("boo"), Is.EqualTo(2));    // -> Expected 2 but was 1
map.IndexOfValue("boo").ShouldBe(2);                    // -> map.IndexOfValue("boo") should be 2 but was 1

It makes tests very easy to read. A nice bit of syntactic sugar:

[Fact]
public async Task AppendsNewRequestToCache()
{
Environment.SetEnvironmentVariable("VCR_MODE", "Cache");
var session = "append-second-request";

using (var httpClient = HttpClientFactory.WithCassette(session))
{
var request = new HttpRequestMessage(HttpMethod.Get, "https://www.iana.org/performance/ietf-statistics");
var response = await httpClient.SendAsync(request);
}

var cassette = await ReadCassetteFile(session);
cassette.http_interactions.Length.ShouldBe(2);
}

It also uses BenchmarkDotNet, which you may be familiar with. It allows you to mark methods as [Benchmark] methods and you'll get smart warming up, running, teardowns and statistics like this;

[Benchmark]
public async Task ReadFromCache()
{

using (var httpClient = HttpClientFactory.WithCassette("example-test"))
{
var request = new HttpRequestMessage(HttpMethod.Get, "http://www.iana.org/domains/reserved");
var response = await httpClient.SendAsync(request);
}
} Output:
        Method |     Mean |    Error |   StdDev |
-------------- |---------:|---------:|---------:|
ReadFromCache | 684.1 us | 3.154 us | 2.796 us |

I'd encourage you to check vcr-sharp out over at https://github.com/shiftkey/vcr-sharp, read the source code, and think about how you'd use it. I am sure Brendan would appreciate your thoughts and feedback in the GitHub Issues! Also check out how he uses Tests, Shouldly, and BenchmarkDotNet in his project and consider how you'd use them in yours!


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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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Experimental: Reducing the size of .NET Core applications with Mono's Linker

August 29, '17 Comments [22] Posted in DotNetCore
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The .NET team has built a linker to reduce the size of .NET Core applications. It is built on top of the excellent and battle-tested mono linker. The Xamarin tools also use this linker so it makes sense to try it out and perhaps use it everywhere!

"In trivial cases, the linker can reduce the size of applications by 50%. The size wins may be more favorable or more moderate for larger applications. The linker removes code in your application and dependent libraries that are not reached by any code paths. It is effectively an application-specific dead code analysis." - Using the .NET IL Linker

I recently updated a 15 year old .NET 1.1 application to cross-platform .NET Core 2.0 so I thought I'd try this experimental linker on it and see the results.

The linker is a tool one can use to only ship the minimal possible IL code and metadata that a set of programs might require to run as opposed to the full libraries. It is used by the various Xamarin products to extract only the bits of code that are needed to run an application on Android, iOS and other platforms.

I'll add this line to a nuget.config in my project's folder. Note that NuGet will inherit global settings and ADD this line.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<configuration>
<packageSources>
<add key="dotnet-core" value="https://dotnet.myget.org/F/dotnet-core/api/v3/index.json" />
</packageSources>
</configuration>

Then I'll add the IL Linker's NuGet package to my project with this command line command (or from Visual Studio):

dotnet add package ILLink.Tasks -v 0.1.4-preview-906439

The assemblies will automatically be "trimmed" when they are published (not built) so I'll build it twice, disabling it with a switch:

D:\github\TinyOS\OS Project>dotnet publish -c release -r win-x64 -o notlinked /p:LinkDuringPublish=false
Microsoft (R) Build Engine version 15.3 for .NET Core

TinyOSCore -> D:\github\TinyOS\OS Project\bin\Release\netcoreapp2.0\win-x64\TinyOSCore.dll
TinyOSCore -> D:\github\TinyOS\OS Project\notlinked\

D:\github\TinyOS\OS Project>dotnet publish -c release -r win-x64 -o linked
Microsoft (R) Build Engine version 15.3 for .NET Core

TinyOSCore -> D:\github\TinyOS\OS Project\bin\Release\netcoreapp2.0\win-x64\TinyOSCore.dll
TinyOSCore -> D:\github\TinyOS\OS Project\linked\

And here's the results:

image

You can also run it with  /p:ShowLinkerSizeComparison=true and get a nice table. I've trimmed the table as it's super long.

  TinyOSCore -> D:\github\TinyOS\OS Project\bin\Release\netcoreapp2.0\win-x64\TinyOSCore.dll
Before linking (B) After linking (B) Size decrease
----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
Total size of assemblies 48,025,824 16,740,056 65.14%
----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
TinyOSCore.dll 36,352 36,352 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration.dll 24,584 24,584 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration.Abstractions.dll 20,480 20,480 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration.Binder.dll 24,064 24,064 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration.FileExtensions.dll 22,528 22,528 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration.Json.dll 24,072 24,072 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.DependencyInjection.dll 46,600 46,600 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.DependencyInjection.Abstractions.dll 35,336 35,336 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.FileProviders.Abstractions.dll 17,920 17,920 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.FileProviders.Physical.dll 31,240 31,240 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.FileSystemGlobbing.dll 39,432 39,432 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.Options.dll 26,120 26,120 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.Options.ConfigurationExtensions.dll 16,904 16,904 0.00%
Microsoft.Extensions.Primitives.dll 33,800 33,800 0.00%
Newtonsoft.Json.dll 639,488 639,488 0.00%
Microsoft.CSharp.dll 1,092,096 392,192 64.09%
Microsoft.VisualBasic.dll 465,416 0 100.00%
Microsoft.Win32.Primitives.dll 18,968 4,608 75.71%
Microsoft.Win32.Registry.dll 85,008 0 100.00%
SOS.NETCore.dll 54,264 0 100.00%
System.AppContext.dll 14,336 2,560 82.14%
System.Buffers.dll 14,336 2,560 82.14%
System.Collections.Concurrent.dll 206,360 31,744 84.62%
System.Collections.Immutable.dll 2,378,264 0 100.00%
System.Collections.NonGeneric.dll 96,792 24,576 74.61%
System.Collections.Specialized.dll 88,608 15,360 82.67%
System.Collections.dll 326,664 52,224 84.01%

TinyOSCore -> D:\github\TinyOS\OS Project\bin\Release\netcoreapp2.0\win-x64\publish\

You can see in some places where there's no size decrease. That's because I'm using those assemblies completely. Some see a 100% decrease - they've been removed entirely - because I'm not using the Registry, for example. And some see a fractional decrease because I'm using some methods but not others.

You can check out the full instructions and try this yourself at https://github.com/dotnet/core/blob/master/samples/linker-instructions.md. Again, it's a work in progress.


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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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Referencing .NET Standard Assemblies from both .NET Core and .NET Framework

August 21, '17 Comments [39] Posted in DotNetCore | NuGet | Open Source
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Lots of .NET Projects sharing a .NET Standard LibraryI like getting great questions in email but I LOVE getting great questions in email with a complete and clear code repro (reproduction) that's in a git somewhere. Then I can just clone, build (many many bonus points for a clean build) and check out the bug.

I got a great .NET Core question and repro here https://github.com/ScarlettCode/Example. I forked it, fixed it, and submitted a PR. Here's the question and issue and today's fix.

The project has a C# library project (an assembly) that is written to the .NET Standard 2.0. You'll recall that the .NET Standard isn't a runtime or a library in itself, but rather an interface. They are saying that this library will work anywhere that the .NET Standard is supported, like Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Here's that main .NET Standard Library called "Example.Data" written in C#.

Then he had:

  • Windows Forms (WinForms) application in VB.NET using .NET "full" Framework 4.6
  • Console Application also using .NET Framework 4.6
  • Console Application using .NET Core 2.0

Each of these apps is referring to the Example.Data library. The Example.Data library then pulls in a database access library in the form of Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.InMemory via NuGet.

WinForms app -> Data Access library -> Some other library. A->B->C where B and C are packages from NuGet.

The .NET Core console builds and runs great. However, when the other projects are run you get this error:

Can't load
Could not load file or assembly
'Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore, Version=2.0.0.0,
Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=adb9793829ddae60'
or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find
the file specified.

Pretty low level error, right? First thing is to check the bin folder (the results of the compile) for a project that doesn't run. Looks like there's no Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore there. Why not? It's assembly "C" downstream of "A" and "B". EntityFramework's assembly is referred to by the Example.Data assembly...but why didn't it get copied in?

The "full" Framework projects are using the older .csproj format and by default, they use package.config to manage dependencies. The newer projects can reference Packages as first-class references. So we need to tell ALL projects in this solution to manage and restore their packages as "PackageReferences."

I can open up the .csproj file for the Framework projects and add this line within the first <PropertyGroup> like this to change the restore style:

 <RestoreProjectStyle>PackageReference</RestoreProjectStyle>

As Oren wisely says:

"Using .NET Standard requires you to use PackageReference to eliminate the pain of “lots of packages” as well as properly handle transitive dependencies. While you may be able to use .NET Standard without PackageReference, I wouldn’t recommend it."

I can also change the default within VS's Package Management options here in this dialog.

 <RestoreProjectStyle>PackageReference</RestoreProjectStyle> Default Package management format

Hope this helps.

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.