Category Archives: CodeProject

What I Learned – Developing a Visual Studio Extension

Over the past week, I’ve been working on an extension for Visual Studio called EpicBuildMusic. If you’ve watched my live stream on Twitch or Mixer, or caught the video afterwards on my YouTube channel, you’ve seen some of the challenges that I have run into.  In this post, I’m going to summarize some of those learnings. Continue reading

Modern Configuration for ASP.NET 4.7.1 with ConfigurationBuilders

I’ve been thinking and working with application configuration in ASP.NET applications for years, and its become a tool that I’m very comfortable using. I can add AppSettings, create configuration sections, and manage connectionstrings without thinking twice. However, there is a problem with the current ConfigurationManager and the XML-based config file offering in the .NET Framework: how do I get configuration entries from other sources into my application so that I don’t need to build my own configuration client and tools?  Continue reading

Muggles Don’t Understand Your Release Notes

Hey software friends, we need to talk.  In 2016, 61% of Americans are carrying smart phones and that means they’ve also got an app store on a device in their pocket.  My iPhone reports to me when I have updates to applications that need to be installed.  Many times, I see a screen that looks like this on my phone:

Release Notes Gone Bad

Release Notes Gone Bad

I’ve hidden the application names and icons in an effort to protect the innocent.  The problem with this approach is easy to identify when your non-technical friends and family members ask about the update notifications like this on their phones or tablets.  The conversation sounds something like:

“What are these updates my phone wants me to install?”

“There are some bug fixes for the applications you have installed that the author of those apps wants you to install”

“Will it fix that issue that I’m having and I’ve been calling you about?”

“I don’t know, the update just indicates, ‘various improvements and bug fixes'”

“Then I’m not installing it, it will probably just make my problem worse”

This is not a drill… Everyone is reading your release notes!

Seriously tech friends – when you publish software updates, people want to know what you are changing.  Other tech workers may stomach a “fixes and updates” release note every now and again, but in a world where the non-technical are seeing your notes, this is an opportunity for customer service engagement and you’re doing a TERRIBLE JOB at it.

When I used to publish release notes for NuGet, an open source project, I would give a one or two sentence description of the issue addressed and a link to the original issue on GitHub that discusses the reported issue and links to the software that fixed it.

Some of my NuGet Release Notes

Some of my NuGet Release Notes

Do you need to be this in-depth?  No… but give us a reason to install your update.  If you don’t have space in the minimal field size allocated on your app store or package management service, provide a link for more details.  You can list more in a blog post, a release notes part of your docs, and even include images to show off your cool updates.

Please software authors – start telling us a little more about what work you’ve accomplished in each release.  Its the right thing for your customers to show them that you are fixing things that they care about and gives credit to your development team for their accomplishments.

Where Did My ASP.NET Bundles Go in ASP.NET 5?

Stuffed BagEdit: There is now a screencast version of this post available.

Since ASP.NET 4.5 in 2012, developers have had access to a pair of tools in their ASP.NET toolbox called “bundling and minification”.  This feature would direct the webserver to combine together CSS or JavaScript files into one extra-large file and then apply a minification algorithm to shrink the size of the file for delivery.  In ASP.NET 5 however, this feature is no longer available.  In this article, I’ll review where bundles were configured and how you can migrate them to the recommended deployment model for ASP.NET 5

Continue reading

Get Started with ASP.NET MVC TagHelpers

Tag HelperWe are almost to the BETA cycle of ASP.NET vNext, and I’ve been following the ASP.NET team’s development on GitHub.  If you didn’t know already, the all-star developers at Microsoft are cranking away on the next version of ASP.NET in a completely open-source model.One of the cool new features set to be released with the next version is a significant addition to the HTML Helper model that we currently have in MVC 5, and its called TagHelpers. Continue reading