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Work around localhost unsecured HTTPS access for Development Sites in Edge



In recent versions of Edge (and Chromium browsers in general) it's getting harder and harder to run development Web sites on localhost, unless you run in https. Certificate setup continues to be a pain in the ass, and it doesn't help that Edge recently decided to no longer allow bypassing of certificate errors. In this post I describe some of the localhost issues and how you can still bypass certificate validation on localhost or go the legit route and install a certificate.

Testing HttpRequest.Form Variables in Unit Tests for ASP.NET Core Components



Here's a quick post that shows how to create a testable HttpRequest.Form collection so you can test form variables in a unit test.

Referencing a Local Private NuGet Package in your Solution



I recently needed to add a local reference to my project and I couldn't quite figure out the best way to do it in a transparent way to consumers of the repository, so that they wouldn't have to explicitly configure additional build settings in order to find dependencies. In this post I discuss how to add local references or use a local Nuget source to add non-public packages to your projects without explicit package feed configuration.

Keeping Content Out of the Publish Folder for WebDeploy



Sometimes when you publish a project to the server, you need to keep certain content that's part of your local development from publishing to the server. You can control how MSBuild publishing handles file output in a myriad of ways and it can be confusing if you don't know the exact settings you need to set for each scenario. In this post I discuss various options available include using the project item settings and the options in the pubxml file along with some commentary on when you might need this functionality.

Mapping Multiple Static File Folders in ASP.NET Core



Recently I needed to map an external folder as a 'virtual' directory in an ASP.NET Core application to include externally added content into the main Web application. ASP.NET Core's Static File Middleware provides easy mapping of a folder for static file serving, but it's not so obvious to add additional folders for static file serving. In this post I'll show you how to do this and a few other thoughts around this topic most common when physically hosting on a server.

ASP.NET Core MVC Views not Resolving Partial Views outside of the default ControllerContext



I recently ran into a problem with ASP.NET Core MVC views where rendering a Parent View in a Controller Context other than the originally designed context won't find Child Views that are referenced with no or local or relative paths. It turns out that ASP.NET Core MVC does not resolve local View paths as expected when rendering a View from a different ControllerContext instead using the current controller's context paths, rather than the view relative paths. In this post I describe why this can be a problem and several ways to work around this problem.

Fighting WebView2 Visibility on Initialization



The WebView2 control has a clever 'feature' that doesn't fully initialize the WebView control if it's not UI visible. While this can save resources in some scenarios it can also make for some very annoying behavior that causes startup timing and flickering issues. In this post I describe a few scenarios where this initial visibility delay loading can cause issues and show a trick you can use to get around it if this 'feature' causes a problem.

Back to Basics: Custom HTTP Response Header Manipulation in ASP.NET Core



HTTP Headers are a core part of the HTTP protocol and while applications rarely need to deal with them, when you need to set them - especially globally - ASP.NET Core doesn't have an obvious, built-in way to add headers to every request. In this back to basics post I describe what HTTP header, why you might set them and show how to set them as part of individual requests as well as globally for every request in your site.

Back to Basics: Rendering Razor Views to String in ASP.NET Core



Rendering a Razor View to string can be very useful to create string output from Views that you can capture and then use for things like Email confirmations or saved receipts that can be accessed 'offline' from the application. In this post I show you how to capture views to string and a few caveats you have to watch out for if you're generating self-contained HTML output to string.

Runtime C# Code Compilation Revisited for Roslyn



Recently I needed to update my scripting tools that are integrated into Markdown Monster, in order to support .NET Core. The old CodeDom compiler APIs I'd been using as part of my `Westwind.Scripting` library aren't supported in Core and so I ended up updating to the newer Roslyn CodeAnalysis APIs. In this post I discuss how the Roslyn compilation APIs work, and how I built and updated the Westwind.Scripting library to provide an easy to use wrapper around these tools.

Async and Async Void Event Handling in WPF



When running WPF and WinForms applications with async operations, I've run into a number of issues with event handling 'hanging' the UI thread in unexpected ways, where the UI hangs until the mouse is moved or a key is pressed. A lot of times these issues are associated with events that fire async code, and in this post I take closer look at one scenario that can cause these hang ups along with a workaround that has proven useful in a number of occasions for me.

Use CSS.escape() to escape QuerySelectorAll()



Ran into an issue recently where a querySelector operation was failing in document link navigation when navigating hashes. There are a few issues at work when using Hash navigation but one issue i didn't expect to run into was a naming conflict of a hash tag that interfered with CSS operators. Turns out there's an easy solution around with with CSS.escape - if you can make the connection. In this post I talk about the problem how it might show up and how to fix it.

Combining Bearer Token and Cookie Authentication in ASP.NET



In some situations you might need to use both Bearer Token and Cookie Authentication in a single application. In this post I look at a few scenarios where this is required and show how to configure your Authentication to let you access your site with either authentication scheme.

Creating a Static Web Content Project for Publishing with WebDeploy



Static content projects are more and more common and if you need to publish directly to an IIS Web Server using WebDeploy is one of the options you have. If you're building .NET projects there are many ways to publish projects from Visual Studio and the `dotnet` CLI. Unfortunately there currently is no .NET/Visual Studio project type that works out of the box for Static Site content - if you need to use WebDeploy. In this post I discuss how to hack a .NET Web project to work with static content only.

Escaping Markdown Code Snippets and Inline Code as Markdown



If you write Markdown for code related documentation it's not uncommon that you need to create code snippets or inline-code blocks that contain the Markdown code block delimiters namely the back tick. If you need to embed a Markdown code block as documentation in another code block or if an inline code block simply contains a ` you run into rendering problems. In this code I tackle escaping Markdown code for nested code blocks and escaping the pesky back tip character.

West Wind WebSurge 2.0 is here



I've just released West Wind WebSurge 2.0. WebSurge is a REST Client and Load Testing tool for Windows and in this post I provide a short overview, a link to a new YouTube Getting Started video, and some background on this release

Fixing Windows Control Focus on Toolbar and Menu Controls



You ever run into a problem in a Windows application where saving data off a Menu or Toolbar doesn't save the last changed value? Well, it's a pretty common problem in Windows Applications that's due to the fact that these controls don't change the active control focus which in turn can fail to update data binding from updating the underlying data source. In this post I go into detail on why this happens and describe a few workarounds.

Integrating Long Path Names in Windows Applications



Long Path Names in Windows are a pain in the butt, but Windows 10 recently starting adding better support for Long Paths in Version 1607+ which for now has to be enabled explicitly. It also requires an application configuration switch in the manifest file. As nice as that support is, it doesn't solve all problems especially when integrating with other components or external applications that don't support long paths. In this post I describe what works, what doesn't and a few hacks to make most things work.

Connection Failures with Microsoft.Data.SqlClient 4 and later



After a recent update to `Microsoft.Data.SqlClient` version `4.0.0.0` I ended up not being able to connect to any of my SQL Server databases. Turns out Microsoft has made some default settings changes in the updated provider and these settings are likely going to break connections.

Windows Authentication with HttpClient



In this short post I review how to use HttpClient with Windows Authentication security using Negotiate or NTLM authentication schemes, which oddly is not documented in the official documentation for the `CredentialCache` class used to handle authentication header generation in HttpClient.

Back to Basics: Add an ASP.NET Runtime Information Startup Banner



In almost every .NET Core Console application I end up adding a startup banner with some basic runtime information so I can see at a glance what environment I'm running in. I also add the URLs and any other application specific information that might be useful. In this short post I show a few things I display and how I reuse this functionality since it practically goes into every application I run.

Discovering new C# String Pattern Matching Features



I admit it: I haven't been using the new C# pattern matching features a lot, but every once in a while ReSharper smacks me in the head and points out a good pattern that not only makes the code more compact, but also makes it more readable. In this post I talk about a few patterns that help with null and string casting and with comparing values in a more natural way.

WebView2 Flashing when changing TabControl Tabs



I've been running into major issues with the WebView control and TabControls in WPF where switching between tabs that contain WebView controls causes a very annoying white flash. In this post I demonstrate the problem and provide an arcane fix that works around this frustrating issue.

Launching Visual Studio Code cleanly from a .NET Application



Visual Studio Code has become the mainstay editor for many developers. If you have developer focused applications and you need to externally display text or code content, it would be very useful to pop open VS Code to display external text/code content. This sounds simple enough, but Code both on Windows and Mac has some peculiar launch behaviors that make this a little more tricky than you might think, especially if you need to make sure that you can do it across platforms.

Using the WebView control to capture HTTP Request Content



Need to capture requests when navigating the new Edge WebView2 control? The control supports this but the way that you do this is a little less obvious than you might be used to from other browser controls. Here's how to do it.

WebView and Modal Dialogs in WPF Async Code



Another day another problem with the WebView control - this time dealing with certain Windows dialogs crashing the WebView control and making it unresponsive so that the control has to be reloaded or - more commonly the application has to be restarted.

Markdown Monster 2.0 is here



It's been a long slow road but Markdown Monster 2.0 is finally here. This update features a number of internal updates to facilitate future development improvements. In this post I go over some of the changes in the new release and some of the challenges that had to be worked through to get here.

Thoughts on Async/Await Conversion in a Desktop App



I spent the last month or so working through Markdown Monster's code to switch from mostly sync code to async code. This change was forced on me by an Async Cascade triggered by a third party dependency of a component (the WebView2 control) and ended up requiring massive changes throughout the app. In this post I go over some of the issues I ran into converting from sync to async along with some thoughts on the pitfalls.

Locked Files When Publishing .NET Core Apps to IIS with WebDeploy



When using Visual Studio's Publish Web Site feature with ASP.NET Core you may get frustrating errors when publishing to already running sites as files on the server are locked and can't be updated until the site is shutdown. Turns out the default settings don't unload the application before publising, but there's a simple solution to unload before publishing and the restart the application.

Running .NET Core Apps on a Framework other than Compiled Version?



I get asked frequently about whether a lower version of .NET Core will run on a machine that only has a more recent version of the .NET Core runtime installed. The short answer is 'No it won't run' but there are a few nuances to this simple answer.

WebView2 Home and End Key Problems inside of WPF TabControl Containers



Another day another WebView2 quirk to work around: This time running into issues with the WebView2 not processing Home and End keys properly as they are being hijacked by a parent TabControl and its TabNavigation keystroke handling.

Async/Await Calls Gotcha with the CSharp ? Null Propagator



Null propagation in C# allows for short circuiting of void method calls, but when using result-less `await` async calls, this behavior works decidedly different, resulting in null exception runtime errors. While this behavior makes sense when you break down the command, it's certainly not obvious. In this post I break down the how and why of the failure and how to work around it.

Taking down the Markdown Monster Source Code



With a heavy heart and a lot of hand wringing, I decided last week to take down the Markdown Monster source code from the public GitHub repository due to rampant abuse of the code to get around licensing restrictions. In this post I give some insight on why I made this decision and provide some general thoughts around the state of software development for software tools.

WebView2: Forwarding Alt Keys to a Host WPF Window



I've been puzzling over how to reliably integrate keyboard forwarding from the WebView2 control into WPF host forms. Unlike the IE WebBrowser control the WebView2 doesn't automatically forward Alt keys to the host form so special handling is required. In this post I describe why this is a problem and show the workaround to make this work.

LiveReloadServer - A Generic Local Static Web Server with Live Reload based on .NET



I've released v1.0 of my LiveReload Web Server which is a local static file Web server that includes support for LiveReload, plus some optional dynamic features for rendering self-contained RazorPages and Markdown content. This Dotnet Tool is fast, easy to use and includes a host of convenience features that try to make the process of working with local Web content quicker and easier.

Role based JWT Tokens in ASP.NET Core APIs



ASP.NET Core Authentication and Authorization continues to be the most filddly part of the ASP.NET Core eco system and today I ran into a problem to properly configure JWT Tokens with Roles. As I had a hard time finding the information I needed in one place and instead ended up with some outdated information, I'm writing up a post to hopefully put all the basic bits into this single post.

Opening an Admin Windows Terminal from Visual Studio



Opening Windows Terminal from another application is a bit of a pain. In particular I wanted to open Windows Terminal as an External Tool from Visual Studio and found it wasn't as easy as referencing the `wt.exe` executable. Opening as an Administrator adds additional complexity. In this post I'll talk about the use case of an External Tools and the settings to launch both a regular and admin Windows Terminal instance from External Tools.

Chromium WebView2 Control and .NET to JavaScript Interop - Part 2



In part 2 of this post series I take a look at how to use the new Chromium WebView2 to interact with the DOM document and interoperate between .NET and JavaScript, both calling into JavaScript from .NET, and calling into .NET from Javascript

Taking the new Chromium WebView2 Control for a Spin in .NET - Part 1



This is Part 1 of a two part article that gives an overview of the new WebView2 Web browser control that is based on Edge Chromium. In Part 1 I look at the basics of what's needed to run the control using the WebView runtime, and how to get the control embedded and configured to use for basic HTML tasks. In Part 2 I look at interaction between the .NET application and WebBrowser and Javascript.

Blank Zero Values in .NET Number Format Strings



Recently needed a way to display a set of numbers in a WPF List display that required that values with a value of `0` display blank - using no explicit code or model changes. I learnt something new today: There's actually a way to use C# format strings to format numbers separately for positive, negative and zero values. Here's how that works.

Watch out for .NET Core Runtime Bitness for IIS Installs



I recently ran into a snag with one of the my Windows Server installs of an upgraded .NET Core 5.0 application. It turns out I didn't install .NET Core 5.0 correctly because I made some bad assumptions of what I needed to install to run my application, even though it previously ran on .NET Core 3.1. Here's more detail on what the failure looks like and how to properly install .NET Core 5.0.

Upgrading several of my Applications and Libraries to .NET 5.0



Over the last week I spent some time upgrading several .NET Core Web applications and libraries from .NET Core 3.1 to .NET 5.0. I'm happy to say that this was always a non-event as the process went very smooth for once. In this post I'll talk about what I found and also offer some commentary why we should celebrate this update and push Microsoft to continue along this path.

PC and Mac with single Mouse and Keyboard Setup on Dual 4k Screens



A little while back I posted a couple of pictures of my new desk setup using both a Windows Laptop (a 2019 Dell XPS) and a Macbook Pro (2016) along with two 4k displays. I'm also using a single Logitech Mouse and Keyboard combination to control both machines and quite a few people were asking about how this works. So I decided to write a quick review of my setup here to give a few more details that are hard to give in a Twitter conversation.

Window Activation Headaches in WPF



Ran into a problem with properly activating a WPF when launching from Explorer and indirectly trying to activate an already running instance 'from within itself'. It seems simple, but windows focus-stealing restrictions can cause problems with actually getting focus into an application window. Here's how.

Creating Custom .NET Project Types with .NET CLI Project Templates



Custom project templates can be extremely useful in quickly creating new projects especially for extensible applications. They're also great for creating specialized setups to make it quicker to hit the ground running. With the .NET SDK tooling new project templates are now easy to create and this post takes you through the process.

Wrestling with Clipboard Images in WPF



Retrieving images from the clipboard with WPF seems so simple, but once you get into it you'll find that there are lots of problems with reliable image retrieval that works for all images. In this post I talk about the different issues you're likely to run into and one hacky but flexible solution to better image support by selectively sniffing image formats and using different clipboard retrievals based on the image format.

Don't get burned by missing await Calls for Async Code in ASP.NET Core Middleware



I recently got burned in an upgraded ASP.NET Core server application where a missing `await` statement caused wildly inconsistent and puzzling output failures. While a simple thing to avoid, once introduced it's possible to live with this error for some time before it manifests. In this post I show a scenario where a missing `await` was causing infrequent HTTP response errors, even though the client apparently receives a valid response.

Using .NET Core Tools to Create Reusable and Shareable Tools & Apps



Dotnet Tools offer a simple way to create, publish and consume what are essentially .NET Core applications that can be published and shared using the existing NuGet infrastructure for packaging and distribution. It's y quick and easy to build tools that you can share either publicly or privately. In this article I make a case for why you might use or build a Dotnet Tool and show how create, build, publish and consume Dotnet tools as well as showing some examples of useful tools I've build and published.

Using the brightness() CSS Filter to generically highlight Content



Filters are not new in CSS, but their often overlooked for providing some useful generic behaviors for things like hover styling or nice background effects. In this post I discuss how to use the brightness() filter to create a generic button hover behavior and also briefly discuss the newish `backdrop-filter` property.

Excluding Files and Folders in Visual Studio Web Site Project



I still use Web Site projects frequently for purely static Web sites that don't require a proper build process where 'DevOps' of any kind is overkill. Invariably when using Web site projects though, I end up requiring that 1 or 2 files are excluded on publishing and every time I do I spent a while trying to find the information how to do that in the `.pubxml` file. Well no more - I'm writing it down this time.

Handling SPA Fallback Paths in a Generic ASP.NET Core Server



When building ASP.NET Core backends for SPA applications one thing that you have to worry about is how to handle client side routes that end up being fired against the server through external or reloaded links. While ASp.NET Core has built-in support for this if you build a generic Web server, you might need a little more control on how to handle the Fallback routing functionality. Here's how.

A .NET Color Console Helper



In this short post I'll discuss a small Console helper class I've been using to make it easier and more consistent to use colors with the .NET Console command. The .NET Console support colors easily enough, but switching colors and resetting them can be a bit tedious, so these helpers make working with color a bit easier.

Mirror your iOS Device Screen on Windows with the free 5KPlayer



Apple doesn't exactly make it easy to use iOS devices on Windows and one complication is how you can cast your iOS device to a Windows screen. This is useful for presentations or screen captures that I often do and in the past i've gone through a number of shady tools that have come and gone. Recently ran into 5KPlayer which is a nice video player that as a bonus acts as an AirPlay server and makes short work of casting iOS content to Windows

Using Angular's Live Reload Web Server to Refresh Pages on a Phone



Live Reload is now common for client side application development and it has become ubiquitous for Web development. But setting up Live Reload to work on a phone is not quite so obvious. In this post I'll walk you through what you need to do to get Live Reload to work on a mobile device for more productive on-device execution.

Adding Additional Mime Mappings to the Static File Provider



If you're using the Static File Provider in ASP.NET Core you might need to add some additional extensions that are not handled by default. For example, if you host a Blazor site in your own application an additional mime mapping for `.dll` is required. Here how you can map extra extensions to the Static File middleware.

ASP.NET Core WebSockets and Application Lifetime Shutdown Events



WebSockets in ASP.NET Core are easy to use but due to the simple model it's easy to forget that socket requests are long lived and can linger for a long time in the background and that can cause problems when an application needs to shut down cleanly. Luckily there's an `IHostApplicationLifetime` interface available that allows hooking shutdown operations and that provides the necessary cancellation tokens to allow an WebSocket connection to be terminated in response to a shutdown event. This post shows how this works.

Fixing Adsense Injecting 'height: auto !important' into scrolled Containers



Ran into a weird issue today with AdSense in one of my older Web sites. I noticed that the site was not using the custom scrolling in containers that I've been using for years. Turns out Google's AdSense on this page is injecting some extra styling that changes the scroll behavior - and the way the entire page works. Here's what the problem is and how you can work around it.

Using WSL to Launch Several Bash Commands from an Application



Struggled today with launching WSL from a Windows application to automate an external build process. Turns out this was a lot harder than it should have been due to some quirks on how the `wsl.exe` and `bash.exe` are registered by the Windows Sub System for Linux.

Static Constructor Failures and Declaration Order



I ran into an ugly problem today with an application where nested static constructors where not doing the expected thing - failing to provide a value when one should be available. It turns out the issue has to do with constructor calls nesting and the order in which auto-initialized values are assigned.

Missing Sharing Tab in Windows Explorer and Sharing with PowerShell



On several of my machines I've found that the 'Sharing Tab' in Explore had gone missing and I've been unable to create a share through the Windows UI. Apparently some update or software installed mucked with my settings that created an explicit exclusion to disable this Shell Addin. In this post I describe how to fix this problem and then offer several solutions: Fixing the UI problem and maybe more usefully show how you can use Powershell to share a folder or drive instead of the Windows UI.

Displaying Nested Child Objects in the Windows Forms Designer Property Grid



The Windows Forms designer sometimes feels very dumb - one of those times is when dealing with nested properties on a control which by default is not displayed as an expandable property that you can just dig into. Instead you have to do a bit of busy work using a TypeConverter to make it possible to create an expandable property in the designer. Here's how.

Content Injection with Response Rewriting in ASP.NET Core 3.x



If you're creating middleware components you might need at some point to inject content in the existing HTTP output stream in ASP.NET Core. In this post I discuss how to intercept Response output by using a customized stream, modify the data and update the final output generated, effectively providing response filtering.

Back to Basics: Rewriting a URL in ASP.NET Core



Sometimes in an application you need to take over the routing process with some custom processing that acts on an incoming URL and actually has to go to another URL. This can be a simple relinking task from old content to new, or it can be more complex where you access a specific URL on the public site that actually needs to be processed by another URL altogether.

Troubleshooting Windows Sleep Insomnia



Windows long has had problems making machines stay in Sleep mode. In this post I describe some of the problems and likely solution by using `powercfg.exe` to hunt down and disable devices that can wake the computer from sleep.

Working with IWebHostEnvironment and IHostingEnvironment in dual targeted ASP.NET Core Projects



In ASP.NET Core 3.x Microsoft introduced a new `IWebHostEnvironment` to replace the obsoleted `IHostingEnvironment`. While that works for top level applications this can cause some complications for multi-targeted libraries that need to support both .NET Core 2.x and 3.x. This post describes the problems and offers a few workarounds.

Null API Responses and HTTP 204 Results in ASP.NET Core



ASP.NET Core's default API handlers return an HTTP 204 response for null value results. This is meant to be a convenience feature, but if your calling API depends on a proper JSON response or an HTTP 200 result code, it can cause applications to break. In this post I'll describe why this can be a problem and how you can return proper JSON results for null values.

Deleting Problem Folders and Files on Windows: Could not find this Item Error



Ever have a problem not being able to delete a file or folder because the filename is invalid? You see it in Explorer, but you can't delete or move the file? Well I just ran into this issue and after some digging figured out that you use extended path syntax `\\?\` to get around some interesting naming and sizing issue with Windows path operations.

ASP.NET Core IIS InProcess Hosting Issue in .NET Core 3.1



Ran into a nasty little issue with a hosted ASP.NET Core 3.1 application where InProcess hosting was not working. It turns out I hit a regression bug in 3.1 that causes InProcess hosting to fail if there are certain dependencies.

A HighlightJs Copy Code Badge Component



In this post I describe a small, very specialized addon component for the HighlightJs Syntax highlighter that displays a badge that lets you copy the code snippet and displays the syntax language. The post covers how to use this simple component, and a look behind the scenes on how it works.

VSIX Installer Extension Manifest and Visual Studio Version Numbers



Ran into a problem with updating a Visual Studio extension today where the VSIX installer first failed to install for the latest version of Visual Studio and then failed to enable the option to install for that same version. Turns out it was related to incorrectly specifying the right version number for VS 2019 and in this post I show how to use the correct (and somewhat unexpected) version syntax.

Creating Angular Synchronous and Asynchronous Validators for Template Validation



Validations are a key feature of any business application and in Angular there's an infrastructure for building validators built in. A number of existing validators provide the basics but if you have custom business logic to process for validation you'll need to create custom Validators. In this post I describe how to create both sync and asycn Angular Validators for use in declarative forms.

FireFox, Windows Security and Kestrel on ASP.NET Core



Ran into issues today with Windows Authentication and FireFox in a ASP.NET Core application where auth was working with all browsers **except** for FireFox. Firefox would just throw up endless sequences of login dialogs or in some cases just show the default ASP.NET Core 'UnAuthenticated' dialog. Here's what this looks like and how to work around it.

Dynamically Loading Assemblies at Runtime in RazorPages



I've been working on some tools that create generic, standalone Web servers using ASP.NET Core, in various configurations. One of the versions I'm building also supports Razor Pages and while genericallly hosting Razor Pages out of a locally run folder, there are some complications that arise out of dynamic runtime compilation. In this post I look at how to dynamically load assemblies at runtime.

Windows Authentication and Account Caching on Web Browser Auto-Logins



If you're working with Windows authentication to access Windows or Active Directory groups be aware that there's a gotcha with newly added groups when users are automatically logged into the Web browser.

Serving ASP.NET Core Web Content from External Folders



ASP.NET Core makes it easy to create a new Web site, but by default the location of where the application runs and serves files from is pretty static and pinned to the startup folder of the application. In this post I discuss another usage scneario of building a generic local Web Server that can start serving files out of **any** folder.
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