Posts in category .net - page 9

From the vaults of Twitter

I don’t normally republish my Tweets but are my highlights.

Methods returning “this” is a hack for fluency. Let’s get “..” added to the C# compiler to operate on previous object. a.This()..That()

@damienguard I can’t decide if that’s genius or insanity. Should we add the “~” operator to refer back to the top of the inherit. chain? ;)

@damienguard I’ve started using Envy Code R for most of my applications (not just VS) and I have to say I’m loving it.

@LostInTangent: Envy Code R PR8 soon – Greek chars, improved hinting and some glyph revisions subscript/fractions & *96 redone.

Statically typed languages are not flexible enough to develop dynamically linked libraries.

Renaming your WiFi router StupidRouter does not alas shame it into being more reliable.

@command_tab: Am I the only one who finds paying for pretty UI’s to leverage free software that took much more effort to develop offensive?

Just took delivery on my Alps-switched keyboard… feels good so far… but let’s see if co-workers complain about the noise.


@lancefisher The alps keyboard was from DSI USA… but don’t order one, terrible 2-key limits prevent fast typing.

Apple should add hobbyist to its OS X line-up. Make kernel easier to switch, remove the h/w lock-down and no support.

Standard windows font smoothing’s real problem is lack of scales. Convert a ClearType rendering to greyscale in Photoshop…


AnkhSVN 2.0 – free Subversion integration with Visual Studio

The guys over on the AnkhSVN team have acquired new members and burnt the midnight oil to deliver a great 2.0 release with:

  • Subversion 1.5 merge & tracking support
  • Wizards to help step through tasks like merging
  • Now a source code control package (SCC) for smoother, faster integration
  • Pending changes window providing change summary
  • Easier to get up and running with the source
  • Property editor
  • Automatic update check

Despite all these great features it’s absolutely free and still works with older versions of Subversion and both Visual Studio 2005 and 2008.

What are you waiting for, go download AnkhSVN 2.0 already!


Experimental LINQ to SQL template

A newer version of this LINQ to SQL template is available.

While SQLMetal does a good job of turning your SQL schema into a set of classes for you it doesn’t let you customize the code generation process.

Usefully there is now a templating system built into Visual Studio 2008 called Text Templates (T4 for short).

Here is a short (369 line) experimental proof-of-concept T4 template I wrote last night that will generate a data context and associated entity classes as a starting point similar to that produced by SQLMetal.

Download of this old version no longer available, see the newer article!

Once downloaded unzip and drop the into your project and edit line 17 to set the connection string. You can also edit lines 18 and 19 to set the namespace and class name. The lightweight wrappers around database, table and column can be found at the end of the file – they simply wrap the SQL Server Information_Schema views as briefly as possible.

Within seconds Visual Studio should have created a code-behind file for the DataContext named DataContext.cs.cs with your generated code ready to use :) If you don’t like the way the template generates your context you can change it :)

There are limitations with this experimental proof-of-concept including: </p>
  • Processes all and only tables in the database (no views or SP’s)
  • Foreign-key relationships are not implemented
  • Column attributes for IsDbGenerated, UpdateCheck and AutoSync not implemented
  • C# only (sorry Julie)
  • Plural and singular naming rules are incomplete
  • Can’t modify schema as you could with a designer stage
To learn more about T4: </p>


Localizing MVC for ASP.NET views and master pages

Microsoft’s MVC for ASP.NET is still under serious development but at the moment support for localization is a little weak. Here’s one approach that works with the 04/16 source-drop.

LocalizingWebFormViewLocator class

This class helps by trying to identify language-specific versions of views, user controls and master-pages where they exist, falling back to the generic one where necessary.

public class LocalizingWebFormViewLocator : ViewLocator {
  public LocalizingWebFormViewLocator() : base() {
    ViewLocationFormats = new[] { "~/Views/{1}/{0}.{2}aspx", "~/Views/{1}/{0}.{2}ascx", "~/Views/Shared/{0}.{2}aspx", "~/Views/Shared/{0}.{2}ascx" };
    MasterLocationFormats = new[] { "~/Views/{1}/{0}.{2}master", "~/Views/Shared/{0}.{2}master" };

  protected override string GetPath(RequestContext requestContext, string[] locationFormats, string name) {
    string foundView = FindViewLocation(locationFormats, requestContext, name, CultureInfo.CurrentUICulture.Name + ".");
    if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(foundView))
      foundView = FindViewLocation(locationFormats, requestContext, name, "");
    return foundView;

  protected string FindViewLocation(string[] locationFormats, RequestContext requestContext, string name, string cultureSuffix) {
    string controllerName = requestContext.RouteData.GetRequiredString("controller");
    foreach (string locationFormat in locationFormats) {
      string viewFile = string.Format(CultureInfo.InvariantCulture, locationFormat, name, controllerName, cultureSuffix);
      if (HostingEnvironment.VirtualPathProvider.FileExists(viewFile))
        return viewFile;
    return null;

Using the class

To use the class you must set the ViewLocator on the WebFormViewEngine to a new instance of LocalizingWebFormViewLocator (either in the constructor or in your common controller subclass) and ensure that any master pages are specified on the RenderView calls to ensure the localized version is detected.

public class HomeController : Controller {
  public HomeController() {
    ((WebFormViewEngine)ViewEngine).ViewLocator = new LocalizingWebFormViewLocator();

  public ActionResult Index() {
    return RenderView("Index", "Site");

  public ActionResult About() {
    return RenderView("About", "Site");

You must also ensure the thread’s current UI culture is set. The easiest way to do this is to specify the following in your web.config file’s system.web section which will pick it up automatically from the user’s browser settings via the HTTP language-accept header.

<globalization responseEncoding="UTF-8" requestEncoding="UTF-8" culture="auto" uiCulture ="auto" />

MVC for ASP.NET default page in pseudo-Japanese via the Babelfish

Then all you need to do is create views and master pages that have the culture name appended between the name and .aspx, e.g:

  • /Views/Home/Index.aspx (common fall-back for this view)
  • /Views/Home/Index.ja.aspx (Japanese view)
  • /Views/Home/Index.en-GB.aspx (British English view)
  • /Views/Shared/Site.Master (common fall-back for this masterpage)
  • /Views/Shared/Site.ja.Master (Japanese masterpage)


There are some limitations to this solution:

Only primary language is attempted

Only the user’s primary language specified in their browser is attempted despite browsers having a complete list in order of preference. Ideally we would scan down this entire list before giving up but that would need more code and there is the issue of whether scanning for several languages across several folders could be too much of a performance hit.

Specifying the masterpage on RenderView

It would be nice if you didn’t have to specify the masterpage on render view but if you do not then the ViewLocator never gets called to resolve the actual masterpage address. This may be for backward compatibility within MVC.

Creating files in Visual Studio

Visual Studio 2008 seems to get a little confused if you create a Index.ja.aspx or Site.ja.aspx – whilst the files are created okay the names are not and you will need to adjust the class names to ensure they don’t conflict and make sure the opening declaration on the .aspx file points to the right code-behind page and inherits from the correct name.

Of course the beauty of this approach is you can mix-and-match using dedicated views where required and localising labels in the fall-back view when it isn’t.