First look into Visual Studio Community 2013

Yesterday Connect(); Event, Scott Guthrie and Soma Somasegar made a number of important announcements for the cloud-first, mobile-first developer. Visual Studio Community 2013 is a new free, fully-featured edition of Visual Studio that lets developers target any platform, from desktop and mobile to web and cloud.

Visual Studio Community 2013

Visual Studio Community 2013

Visual Studio Community 2013 also supports full Visual Studio extensibility, offering access to the ecosystem of over 5000 extensions. You can download it from here. You can also try Visual Studio Community 2013 in Azure VM image.

What is new in Visual Studio Community 2013

  • Professional-grade editing, code analysis, and debugging support – Your favourite Refactor and Debugging features are included.
  • Support for open-source workflows (Git).
  • Compilers for managed languages, C++ and more
  • Cross-platform mobile development including the web, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone with the free Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova extension.
  • Take advantage of cloud services with simplified Azure SDK integration, and incorporate modern app analytics and telemetry with Application Insights. Application Insights collects, processes and presents a wide variety of telemetry including performance, usage, availability, exception, crash, environment, log and developer-supplied data from all components of a modern application – including clients (devices and browser), servers, databases and services.
    Application Insights

    Application Insights

  • Access to all the Visual Studio 2013 extensions on the Visual Studio Gallery

Visual Studio Community 2013 includes Update 4, which is a cumulative update of all previous Visual Studio 2013 updates.

Happy Programming :)

POCO controllers in ASP.NET vNext

As part of ASP.NET MVC 6, Microsoft introduced POCO(Plain Old CLR Object) Controllers. Unlike MVC 5 or previous versions of MVC, POCO contollers, has no base class, no need to implement any interface, it is 100% convention.

POCO controller implementation.

using Microsoft.AspNet.Mvc;

public class HomeController
{
	public ActionResult Index()
	{
		return new ViewResult() { ViewName = "Index" };
	}
}

As long as your class is public, non-abstract, has a Controller suffix and is defined in an assembly that references any of the MVC assemblies (Microsoft.AspNet.Mvc.Core, Microsoft.AspNet.Mvc etc), it will be discovered as a valid controller.

Injecting services

using Microsoft.AspNet.Mvc;
public class HomeController
{
    [Activate]
    public ViewDataDictionary ViewData { get; set; }

    public ActionResult Index()
    {
        return new ViewResult() { ViewData = ViewData };
    }
}

The Activate attribute will help ASP.Net runtime to inject various services to the controller. You can use ViewDataDictionary.Model property for passing Model to view in POCO controllers.

Happy Programming :)

What is new in ASP.Net vNext

ASP.Net vNext is the next version of ASP.Net Framework. As part of ASP.NET vNext, the MVC, Web API, and Web Pages frameworks are being merged into one framework, called MVC 6. The new framework removes a lot of overlap between the existing MVC and Web API frameworks.

ASP.Net vNext Features.

  • Side by side support – ASP.NET vNext will support true side by side support, developers can deploy ASP.Net vNext along with web applications, each app can run different versions of .NET vNext side-by-side and upgrade separately, all on the same machine.
  • Lean and Faster – ASP.NET MVC 6 has no dependency on System.Web.dll. ASP.NET vNext is a subset of .Net Framework, which is around 11 MB in size, and it is composed of a collection of NuGet packages.
  • Single Programming model – MVC, Web API, and Web Pages are merged into one framework, called ASP.NET MVC 6. The new framework uses a common set of abstractions for routing, action selection, filters, model binding etc. Dependency injection is built into the framework.
  • Enhanced Developer Experience – vNext uses the Roslyn compiler to compile code dynamically, so developer can edit a code file, refresh the browser, and see the changes without rebuilding the project.
  • Open Source – Microsoft has released entire source code open source via the .NET Foundation. You can see the source at https://github.com/aspnet and follow progress on vNext in real time.

ASP.NET vNext is not backwards compatible with existing ASP.NET applications. However, the current frameworks (Web Forms 5, MVC 5, Web API 2, Web Pages 3, SignalR 2, and Entity Framework 6) will continue to ship in Visual Studio, and will be fully supported in ASP.NET vNext.

Creating Hello World application in ASP.Net vNext

  • Start VS 2014 CTP
  • On the Start Page, click New Project, and then in the New Project dialog, select the C# / Web templates
  • Select the ASP.NET vNext Empty Web Application template, name the project HelloWorld, and click OK.
    New vNext Empty Web Application

    New vNext Empty Web Application

  • One of the vNext feature was it is lean, Microsoft has re-written the Framework and project / solution structure. You will not find the web.config, *.csproj files.
    Solution Explorer with vNext Files

    Solution Explorer with vNext Files

    • Global.json – file helps to support project-to-project references. It also makes it easy to separate test code under a different folder, but still be able to reference application projects from your test projects. This is the Global.json file for empty vNext web application. The “sources” element, indicating the “src” folder is the parent folder for finding project references.
      {
          "sources": [ "src" ]
      }
      
    • Project.json – The project.json file contains a list of dependencies for the project and a list of build output configurations. It can also include a list of commands.
      {
          "dependencies": {
              "Microsoft.AspNet.Server.IIS" : "1.0.0-alpha4"
          },
          "frameworks" : {
              "aspnet50" : { },
              "aspnetcore50" : { }
          }
      }
      

      Dependencies section lists all the dependencies of your application. These are defined by name and version, the runtime loaders will determine what should be loaded. Frameworks section lists target frameworks that will be built, and dependencies that are specific to the configuration. This snippet will build for Desktop (aspnet50) or Core CLR (aspnetcore50). You can find more details about the Project.json schema from github link. Frameworks you can configure using Project property pages, by default application will be using ASP.Net 5.0 Framework. Once you change the Active Target Framework, Visual Studio will update the references appropriately.

      Active Target Framework is ASP.Net

      Active Target Framework is ASP.Net

      Active Target Framework is ASP.Net

      Active Target Framework is ASP.Net Core

      Active Target Framework is ASP.Net Core

      Active Target Framework is ASP.Net Core

    • Startup.cs – By default, the vNext hosting environment expects to find a startup class named Startup. This class must contain a Configure method that takes an IBuilder parameter, and you configure the HTTP pipeline inside this Configure method. The empty project creates the class with nothing in the Configure method. If you were worked in Owin / Katana project, Startup.cs is similar to Owin Startup file. This is the default Startup.cs file for empty vNext application.
      using System;
      using Microsoft.AspNet.Builder;
      
      namespace HelloWorld
      {
          public class Startup
          {
              public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app)
              {
                  // For more information on how to configure your application, 
                  //visit http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=398940
              }
          }
      }
      

      To enable MVC in the HTTP pipeline you’ll add a NuGet package and configure the Startup class.

  • In the project.json, you need to add reference of Microsoft.AspNet.Mvc package. The project.json file supports intellisense.
    Intellisense in Project.json for packages

    Intellisense in Project.json for packages

    Intellisense in Project.json for package version as well

    Intellisense in Project.json for package version as well

    "dependencies": {
        "Microsoft.AspNet.Server.IIS": "1.0.0-alpha4",
        "Microsoft.AspNet.Mvc": "6.0.0-alpha4"
    }
    

    Once you save the changes, Visual Studio will detect the changes and download the required nuget packages (You can find the details from output window).

  • Now you need to configure the application to use MVC. You can do it by modifying the Startup.cs file, configure() method.
    using Microsoft.AspNet.Builder;
    using Microsoft.Framework.DependencyInjection;
    namespace HelloWorld
    {
        public class Startup
        {
            public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app)
            {
                app.UseServices(services =>
                {
                    services.AddMvc();
                });
    
                app.UseMvc();
            }
        }
    }
    

    If you didn’t add the using Microsoft.Framework.DependencyInjection, you won’t get services.AddMvc() method. The AddMvc method adds the MVC framework services to the dependency injection system. The UseMvc method configures MVC default settings such as routes.

  • Next create a folder called Controller and add a controller class, HomeController.cs. Also create Home folder inside Views folder, and add a razor view – Index.cshtml. (You won’t get option like Add View by right clicking on Controller method.)
    Solution Explorer - With Controllers and Views

    Solution Explorer – With Controllers and Views

  • Press F5 to start the application. voilà, you have created your first HelloWorld ASP.Net vNext application.

In the next post I will discuss about deployment. Happy Programming :)

Force .NET application to run in 32bit process

Due to lack of 64 bit version of few COM libararies, we faced a situation to run our AnyCPU application into 32 bit. You can do this either by setting the Platform target or by using the corflags command.

  1. Using Platform target feature. – This is the simple solution, you can change the Platform target settings from Project Properties > Build tab.

    Platform Target settings from Project Properties

    Platform Target settings from Project Properties

    This will cause the compiler to set the 32Bit flag in the CLR header of the corresponding assembly. Every time we run this application no matter on what type of OS it will execute as a 32bit process. But this solution although simple and straight forward was not a viable solution for us since – as mentioned above – we want to have one and only one version of our product. Thus all components of our package have to be compiled with Platform Target set to Any CPU.

    From VS 2011 onwards there is new compiler flag available “Prefer 32-bit”, which will help a .NET application compiled to x86 will fail to run on an ARM Windows system, but an “Any CPU 32-bit preferred” application will run successfully. Also, the “Prefer 32-bit” checkbox is only enabled for .NET 4.5+ executable projects.

  2. Using corflags command – Similar to the above solution, here as well we are setting the CLR header to 32 bit using a tool called corflags – You can find more details about this tool here. To set the 32Bit flag, open the Developer Command prompt, navigate to the directory where your assembly is and use this command.
    CorFlags.exe Sample.exe /32Bit+
    

    You can use this solution as part of the build, so that you can switch to x64 in future, developer don’t need to worry about any platforms.

Happy Programming :)