Setting the deployed project in a multi-project core solution in Azure

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in, Azure, Cloud

If you deploy a single project core application to azure everything is about as smooth as it could be. A typical workflow would be to simply create a new web app, set the deployment source (e.g. your git repository) and everything is up and running in a few seconds. If, however, your solution contains multiple projects, how do you specify which project is deployed? Previously this would be done using Azure deployment scripts, but this is a needless effort for such a small task. Just look at the wiki for details on why you may want to avoid this. The preferred way is to specify an Application Setting in the Azure portal. The advantage of this is that you have no deployment code checked in to your source code repository and you can more easily toggle active projects both without deployment and between deployment slots. To do this we need to go to your web app in the portal, click App Settings and create a new App settings key called PROJECT with the path to your project file: However, while this works well with full .net framework applications that use .vbproj and .csproj solutions, at the time of writing core applications still use the soon-to-be-obsolete .xproj system. If you point your app setting to an xproj, you’ll get an error message in the console. A workaround to this is to update the setting to point to the directory of the solution you want to deploy, relative from the root of your source code repository. In .net core land, this is likely to be along the lines of [Solution name]\src\[project name]\ 1 [Solution name]\src\[project name]\ And you can verify this using the very, very handy console (found under development tools in your web app service list). Open the console and cd ..\repository 1 cd ..\repository and from there traverse your way to your folder containing your xproj. Copy that path (from repository onwards) and use this as the app setting: Redeploy your solution, and you should be up and running with your chosen project. Another benefit… Another nice benefit of this approach is that if you use deployment slots, you can toggle projects per deployment slots, making it exceedingly quick to switch projects just by doing a slot-swap in the...

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IIS: There was an error when performing this operation

Posted by on Aug 30, 2016 in

I recently started setting up a new dev box and a couple of solutions (bound to IIS) simply would not run. In the browser I was getting a 500.19 error while even attempting to open the configuration for the website in IIS greeted me with the completely unhelpful message of: “There was an error when performing this operation” While this message couldn’t be any less useful if it tried, it hinted that the problem was with IIS rather than the website. My initial thoughts were permissions, so after ensuring the IIS_IUSR account had access to the web.config file I next attempted to ensure all additional modules were installed. The missing IIS rewrite module has bitten me I the past so I double checked that was installed – without it this is exactly the error message you would see, which led me to believe another missing IIS addon was at fault. The steps I took to debug this though was to section by section go through my web config removing each section and attempting to load the site and/or let IIS parse the config. When I removed the section pertaining to initialization optimisation this fixed the issue and I immediately remembered that this dependency was added a fair while ago, so much so that I completely forgot about it. Voila, installing the missing module fixed the problem and the site worked fine, plus IIS could now parse the configuration...

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MetadataException: Unable to load the specified metadata resource

Posted by on Jun 29, 2016 in, MVC, PowerShell

I recently came across an error in a .net application where the message was as follows: MetadataException: Unable to load the specified metadata resource 1 MetadataException: Unable to load the specified metadata resource It took a fair bit of digging but eventually found the underlying cause. My suspicions were that it was DB related due to the point in my application that it was failing. However, where/why I wasn’t sure. After a while I discovered the source of the problem. Entity Framework, in its wisdom, breaks down an EDMX into three constituent parts, a CSDL, SSDL and MSL. These are all strongly typed to the same namespace as your EDMX and thus the Entity Framework connection string will start something along the lines of: metadata=res://*/|res://*/|res://*/; 1 metadata=res://*/|res://*/|res://*/; Where is obviously the namespace that corresponds to your EDMX. If these do not align, then Entity Framework will not know which embedded resource to load your EDMX from and thus you will. In my case, I was transforming the connection string using Powershell to add in some environment specific variables and mistakenly changed the resource names, hence this error. Therefore, if you run in to the problem of Unable to load the specified metadata resource, be sure to check this...

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Early thoughts on core

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in, MVC

The more I play with core (RC2 at time of publication) the more I’m liking what I see. I still don’t see a use case for me on OSX or Linux yet, so the portability isn’t a massive thing for me. In my mind the windows use case for is fantastic and licence costs aside the setup and configuration is so simple on Windows I can see little benefit from venturing elsewhere. Application settings There are still things I don’t particularly like about core, including recent changes. One of these is accessing settings file. In ‘current’ (must be careful not to call it ‘old’ or ‘legacy’) is the ConfigurationManager class made accessing your settings from web.config both simple and succinct. Now though, web.config is no more. Why, I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s the flexibility of having multiple configuration sources or not mixing application settings with its configuration. Regardless, you’ll now almost certainly be storing your configuration settings in a JSON file, with appsettings.json seemingly becoming the convention. In early releases of core this was similarly easy to access settings from a JSON file for example simply by using the IConfigurationRoot dictionary (provided you added the source in the startup configuration). However, in the latest builds (RC2 onwards) this has changed. You now need to strongly type your settings via POCO classes and access these settings through the IOptions class. Once its set up and configured the usage is quite straightforward but it’s a lot of setup and maintenance IMO. Every new setting requires adding to the JSON file AND to the corresponding POCO class. State of flux So at the time of writing core is at release candidate 2 stage. However, there are still some big, big changes going on. The underlying .net runtime has gone though a massive shift of late with the introduction of the much cleaner dotnet CLI. This is a big step forward IMO but not something you would normally expect in release candidates. This still feels much more beta than RC to me so be mindful that there are still lots of breaking changes going on. Another example of this is that having followed the recommended guidance on setting configuration settings access up the “new way” I was still hitting issues. Turns out that a namespace shuffle occurred in the core libraries and was largely undocumented until a couple of days ago ( Following the new namespace import and package restore and things are now working fine. As I say, core is still moving forward at a rapid pace with both minor and major changes causing breakage for the developer and at the same time invalidating lots of the already limited documentation. Sending email Another hurdle is the lack of System.Net.Mail in core. This means the tried and tested way of sending email is (at the time of writing)...

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Obtain scenario name and tags in Specflow test

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in, WebDev

I was recently tasked with obtaining the tag name(s) and title of a Specflow feature within its step definition file (C# code). It turns out this is quite simple to do and exposed naturally within the step definitions through the TechTalk.SpecFlow.ScenaroContext class. ScenarioContext.Current 1 ScenarioContext.Current exposes the current scenario context, from which a ScenarioInfo property is declared. Quite conveniently, this class definition contains a string array of tags and the title, all neatly wrapped up in a single, consice class: namespace TechTalk.SpecFlow { public class ScenarioInfo { public ScenarioInfo(string title, params string[] tags); public string[] Tags { get; } public string Title { get; } } } 12345678910 namespace TechTalk.SpecFlow{    public class ScenarioInfo    {        public ScenarioInfo(string title, params string[] tags);         public string[] Tags { get; }        public string Title { get; }    }} Therefore, anywhere in your current stepdefinition you should be able to get the title and the tags using: var title = ScenarioContext.Current.ScenarioInfo.Title; var tags = ScenarioContext.Current.ScenarioInfo.Tags; 123 var title = ScenarioContext.Current.ScenarioInfo.Title; var tags = ScenarioContext.Current.ScenarioInfo.Tags; Easy as...

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Unable to open formatted failed request trace log files on an Azure VM

Posted by on Jul 13, 2014 in, Azure, Cloud

I recently had a problem whereby I couldn’t view failed request trace logs on an Azure hosted VM. The XML would open, but the XSLT wouldn’t be applied which made the page unreadable. My first thought was that freb.xsl file was missing or corrupt somehow, but after deleting the containing IIS log folder, which causes IIS to regenerate the file it was clear this wasn’t the fault. After a bit of digging I came to the conclusion that it must be permissions based and stumbled upon this post. Even though I wasn’t getting the content blocked error message, the default internet security settings on azure VM’s are set to high. Therefore, to resolve this you (rather bizarrely) need to add the about:internet page to the trusted sites list: Internet Options Security Tab Click Sites Enter about:internet in the ‘Add this website to the zone” text box and click the add button Close IE and re-open the trce log XML I’m not really sure why about:internet specifically fixes this, but it worked for...

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