RavenDB has a great way to monitor what’s happening between client and server. I found it very helpful when trying to figure out what’s happening, or just understand how things work (such as querying).

When doing unit testing, the pattern is to leverage in-memory store to speed things up. Unfortunately, when that’s the case, there’s exposed communication happening between unit tests (client) and in-memory store (server).

There are a few possible solutions folks have suggested, but one that really made my day was… custom logger. This is a fantastic way to tap into what’s happening and see it all (Thank you Matt Johnson for help).

Now there’s no more blindness and magic. Everything is revealed. Happiness.

If you are doing web development, then you have the headache of testing your web application on various browsers. What makes it even more “fun” is the fact that on a given OS you might run multiple browsers of various versions. What I have done in the past was targeting “standard” browsers. That was long time ago, and today reality is a little more challenging. Along with the desktop browsers, nowadays there are mobile browsers that are making things a bit more complex.

Typical solution would be to create VMs. But just a thought of managing all those VMs in a library of VMs, hardware/cloud investment to make it work… gives me chills. Luckily, there’s a service called browserstack that does it for you. And let me tell you that for the money they ask you get a LOT.

Windows XP/7/8, OSX Snow Leopard/Lion/Mountain Lion/iOS-*, Android-* – that’s just a short list of OSes supported by browserstack. But that’s not all. What makes it even better, are the Web Tunnel and Command Line options. So far I have tested only the first, which allows you to run an OS/browser you choose with the LOCAL web site under development. Yes, you are reading correctly, local version. I.e. you do NOT have to publish to a preview public site to make it work. Slick.

The second option, command like, is more for automated testing. I’m yet to try it, but it sounds promising and something tells me my team will love this option Smile

Year end is always an interesting time. Reminds a sort of retrospective, but that’s a geek in me that sees it that way. Yet what happened this year? A lot for me. Here’s a list of significant things for me:

  • Leading and managing people are two different things, combining both and having good results is not an easy task
  • Start-up experience, building from concept to a pilot
  • Windows Azure experience, lessons learned from Cloud Services with NServiceBus
  • Getting a little taste of Client Side “revolution” through knockout and backbone
  • Power of ASP.NET MVC WebAPI and SignalR
  • RavenDB (and document databases in general) awesomeness I wish I’d discover earlier
  • And last, but not least, learning more about humans and myself

This was a good year, packed with lots of learning and new things. The goal for 2013 is to keep it that way and exceed.

Happy new year to everyone!

One of our latest projects has failed to restore nuget packages on the build server. Error message was

Package restore is disabled by default. To give consent, open the Visual Studio Options dialog, click on Package Manager node and check 'Allow NuGet to download missing packages during build.' You can also give consent by setting the environment variable 'EnableNuGetPackageRestore' to 'true'.

I have looked into options, and was surprised that default way to handle it was

  • Go to your build server (rdp or physical)
  • Start Visual Studio

While this is acceptable for a local development, for a build server this is a big red light right there. Gladly, as pointed out in this blog post, there’s an option of setting a system variable to solve the issue.

Would be nice to see nuget default to system variable, and then fallback to an instance of VS on a server, but not the way around.

Quite amusing to read pros and cons of not having a start menu button in Windows 8. Debates from how great it is to how poor the decision was to remove it are all over the web.

I know people want to be able to navigate to their apps quickly through a single point. But for the love of simplicity, is THIS simple? Yes, I am talking about that monster hiding behind little cute as button button… Start Menu. Not only you had to click through multiple times, but also you had to master multiple cascading menus that where chaotically expanding all over the screen, unless you never installed applications and had it nice and tidy. Is this what people are complaining about? Hmmm, interesting.

For myself this was not even relevant. I have stopped using this “useful” button along with the spaghetti menu long time ago (from Windows XP) thanks to David (ex-co-worker) who has introduced me to Object Dock Plus. That got rid of the start button along with the unnecessary task bar (you may say I copied Mac – so it be, they also “borrowed” the idea from somewhere, good software development imagepractice). Next step – Executor. There are other alternatives, but I found this one the best. Wish only the creator would compile it in 64bit mode, but that’s a different post. So switching to Windows 8 is seamless – no need in button and menu at all.

Now why do I write this post? Probably because it’s my reaction to  those who wine and complaint about the fact that someone moved their cheese, ignoring the fact that the cheese was stinky old. Embrace the change, and if you don’t like it, then find alternative, but don’t complaint just because you think it’s not going to work.

And BTW, Windows 8 has brought my old hardware back to life. Something that only Linux could do before Winking smile

Update 2012-09-20: If you really miss the button, there’s a solution for you as well. It’s called VI Start for Windows 8

Update 20012-11-02: Another free alternative is Classic Start. Features list is quite impressing.

Update 2012-11-08: If you want Shutdown/Logoff/Restart tiles on your new start screen, there’s an easy PowerShell commands to get the job done.

Update 2012-11-26: So far the slickest implementation is Start8 by StarDock, which I like for Fences and ObjectDock.

Our group is moving to Git for code management and we were looking for in-house hosting option on Windows platform. I was surprised to find out that out of the box there are not many options. Rolling your own solution (aka setting it up manually) was not an option as we are a small group that is already tasked with enough work. So I started my search for free or paid options. You can guess that options were limited, yet one product I found has exceeded expectation and was just perfect – SCM-Manager. Easy, simple, smooth integration with Active Directory and Jenkins build server. What else a boy needs SmileNot to mention that it’s absolutely free. Amazing piece of work. Highly recommended.

image

Wow.

Among the features I love about Gmail is to be able to access multiple accounts w/o signing out and signing in. I’m late to learn this, but apparently you can do the same thing with Windows Live IDs. Same idea, straight forward.

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The bonus is that you can control access to your account like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Very neat.

I ran into a situation today when one of our microsites that was developed by a 3rd party is no longer… manageable. To be less politically correct, we don’t have access to the data anymore. Nothing significant, but annoying. The only way to see the data was through the web site. Yet data was paged, with about 40 pages. This is where curl was really helpful. Apparently, you can parameterize URLs (thanks to Sameer’s post) passed into the command, as well as the output. Here’s an example:

curl.exe -o page#1.html http://dummy.com/show?page=[1-40]

Where page#1.html will be populated by the current index and index is set from 1 to 40. Awesome trick!

This is it. Liam has built his first program (sort of) and I am glad that the reason he did it was to confirm what he learned and not as a desire to become a programmer. If you haven’t seen http://www.khanacademy.org/cs/ check it out. An outstanding resource for kids to learn basic programming and practice some math skills. Liam has started Algebra and this was his first “program” to solidify understanding of concepts such as variablealgebraic expression, formula, input, and output.

image

I loved the fact that it was in JavaScript, so natural (he knows how to use browser), intuitive (var for variable). Except semicolon – VB developers would agree with Liam on his words: “weird”. 

As a parent, I’m going to embrace this tool, hoping that Liam will benefit from “real-time” visualization, though I will never substitute a printed book with it.

PS: Liam is 8, in case you are wondering.

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