C#

SQL CE and namespaces

We use SQL CE in our unit test project to test our EF6 queries. This works pretty well and Code first setup makes sure each test gets a fresh CE database to work with.

We ran into a problem where two EF types had the same table name but inside different schemas. CE does not support schemas and this resulted in naming conflicts when setting up database. My solution was to create a little convention.

public class BakeSchemaIntoTableNameConvention : IStoreModelConvention<EntityType>
{
    public void Apply(EntityType item, DbModel model)
    {
        var entitySet = model.StoreModel.Container.EntitySets.Single(es => es.ElementType == item);
        entitySet.Table = $"{entitySet.Schema}_{entitySet.Table}";
    }
}

It bakes the schema into the table name like dbo_MyTable. You add the convention like.

protected override void OnModelCreating(DbModelBuilder modelBuilder)
{
    modelBuilder.Conventions.Add<BakeSchemaIntoTableNameConvention>();

    modelBuilder.Configurations.AddFromAssembly(typeof (MyContext).Assembly);
}

You do not want to add this for production code so what I did was create a public event on the context. And call it from the OnModelCreating method.

protected override void OnModelCreating(DbModelBuilder modelBuilder)
{
    ModelCreating?.Invoke(this, modelBuilder);

    modelBuilder.Configurations.AddFromAssembly(typeof (MyContext).Assembly);
}

Call it from your Unittest project like.

ctx.ModelCreating += (s, e) => e.Conventions.Add<BakeSchemaIntoTableNameConvention>();
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Microsoft.Rest.ServiceClient opt out retry

If you use Swagger generated REST proxies then you have probably come across the pretty new Microsoft.Rest namespace and namely the abstract class ServiceClient. I noticed a strange behavior when using clients that subclass this base class. The default behavior for this class is to retry when a 500 status code is returned.
I can not understand the reason for this being Opt out, its obvious a feature like this should be Opt in. So keep in mind when using this class you must always call SetRetryPolicy to disable the retry strategy.

var service = new MyService(uri, credentials);
service.SetRetryPolicy(new RetryPolicy(new HttpStatusCodeErrorDetectionStrategy(), 0));

Task.WhenAny with take predicate

Not a very common scenario but still it happens, you want to execute a request to several Services, and only one has the correct data. The built in Task.WhenAny only supports to await the first Task complete. That wont do if you want to wait for the first Task to complete that satisfy a specific condition.

Nito.AsyncEx is a helper library for Task programming, it comes with an extension method called OrderByCompletion. It takes a collection of Task<T> and return a new collection that will be ordered on completion status. Using this method its a simple task to create a WhenAny based on a predicate.

public async static Task<TResult> First<TResult>(this IEnumerable<Task<TResult>> source, Predicate<TResult> predicate)
{
    var ordered = source
        .OrderByCompletion();

    foreach (var task in ordered)
    {
        var result = await task;
        if (predicate(result)) return result;
    }

    throw new Exception("Sequence contains no matching element");
}

Used like

var result = await services
   .Select(s => s.GetFooAsync())
   .First(f => f.IsSuccess);
}

Parallel executed Tasks with isolated scopes

My current customers infrastructure is heavily dependent on external suppliers of data. Because of the nature of the data the system often have to-do the requests in real time while the end-customer is waiting for the response. Parallel tasks comes in handy when you want to aggregate data from several end points, both because it puts less strain on the Thread Pool and that your response time will be faster because you do not need to wait for each to complete (Parallel vs Sequential).

The problem starts with frameworks that does not play nice with sharing their resources over multiple Tasks/Threads, an example of this is the Entity Framework DbContext. One way is to marshall the lifetime of the context yourself and spawn one for each parallel task. But this is not a solid design, if you use a IOC you want any object in the current graph to receive the same instance of the DbContext without bothering with lifetime code. I created a little class called TaskRunner for this purpose (more…)

Abstract DI container Scopes

I saw an increasing demand for mini workflows / domain sub-parts in one of my projects. Most containers have some kind of support for sub scopes or nested containers, but I do not want to expose the Container API. If you have few places were you need nested containers you can implement this directly for your container of choice. An example of this is a container specific implementation of Web API’s IDependencyResolver. But in our case we had several different needs for scoped contexts near the domain. My solution was to abstract the context in a interface IScopedContext. (more…)

Entity framework 6 and fluent mapping

If you google for EF and fluent mapping this is the first hit you get which is not strange since its the official MSDN page about fluent mapping in EF6.

They only discuss overriding the OnModelCreating method and configure the mapping inline in that method. And this is the most common way of dealing with fluent mapping out there in the community. But there is a much better and seperated way of doing it which MSDN fail to show.

System.Data.Entity.ModelConfiguration.EntityTypeConfiguration

This little class is your salvation when working with Fluent mapping in large enterprise systems. Implement it like. (more…)

MVC Custom errors, HTTP status codes and SecurityException

We use Windows Identity Foundation in my current project. WIF introduced the Claim based authorization in .NET 4.5 which is a welcomed addition since we were forced to use outdated tools like EnterpriseLibraries Rule authorization to achieve something similar before it.

Whenever a claim is not met WIF will throw a System.Security.SecurityException exception which will not play nicely with MVC Custom errors because it will render a status 500 instead of the correct status 403. This is not very user friendly since the user will think something is wrong instead of understanding that he or she needs to order additional privileges to access said part of the system.

The solution is really simple and I did not find it when googling, thus this blog post 😀 (more…)

Implicit dependencies and ‘copy local’ fails to copy

A common scenario with .NET Solutions is that you have a Project, lets call it Project X, that have dependencies to a library without explicitly using it from code. You have a host project typically a Web or Windows client Project that uses Project X, even with copy local set Visual Studio will fail to load that implicit dependency and you will receive a Runtime error when trying to run the project.

One solution is to add this reference to the host project even if it does not have any direct dependency to the library. I think this is bad practice and will get very hard to maintain in a large project with lots of dependencies and assemblies.

A better solution that I use is to create a little helper method

static RepositoryBase() {
   Util.EnsureStaticReference<System.Data.Entity.SqlServer.SqlProviderServices>();
}

It should be called as close to the dependency as possible for readability. In above example I have a Repository base class which uses Entity framework. I call it from the static constructor.

The implementation of EnsureStaticReference looks like this

    public static class Util
    {
        public static void EnsureStaticReference<T>()
        {
            var dummy = typeof(T);
            if(dummy == null)
                throw new Exception("This code is used to ensure that the compiler will include assembly");
        }
    }

Wrap client side code in a Web Forms Control

I’m currently between assignments and in the meantime I’m helping fellow colleagues with a Web Forms system. They needed a Combobox for a requirement and after some googling I found out that there is none for free which suits their needs. I have created a Knockout enabled combo called Knockout.Combobox. I decided to take this client side combobox and wrap it in a Web Forms Control.
(more…)

Client – server event aggregation with SignalR

Event aggregation is really a pattern i like, there is something elegant about firing events and subscribers can listen to them without knowing who fired them. This creates decoupled domains both in backends and frontends. At my latest customer we saw an increasing demand for pub / sub and immediate update. We fired events on the backend event bus and in the frontend we had SignalR Hubs that picked up the events and forwarded them to the clients. This caused duplicated and similar code both on the client and on the web server. I decided to create an abstraction layer between SignalR and the event aggregator. The result is a library called SignalR.EventAggregatorProxy

(more…)