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Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2


ASP.NET Core RTM is finally here.A big congratulation to the .NET Core and ASP.NET teams for getting this massive piece of software into our hands in release mode. It's been a long and challenging road, but looking where we've landed and where it appears where we're heading with .NET Core, I think it was well worth the wait and tribulations.

The first thing I did was upgraded my AlbumViewer sample application to the final build, just to see what's involved and as it turns out the upgrade process was pretty easy this time around - mainly replacing NuGet packages and working around one breaking change. I was able to get my app updated and running in about 15 minutes, and then pushed out to my live server all without any hiccups. Nice - that's the first time since this journey began that I can say the update process was relatively smooth (see below).

Getting Started

In order to get started head over to the new dot.net site and pick up the dependencies you need.

If you're installing on Windows and you're using Visual Studio the easiest way will be to download Visual Studio 2015 with Update 3. The new tooling requires Update 3. So the things you need for installing with Visual Studio is:

If you're not using Visual Studio install:

  • .NET Core 1.0 Runtime
  • .NET Core 1.0 Runtime SDKs

When installing on your server you need to install the .NET Server

Moving to RTM Build

I'm happy to report that the actual upgrade to RTM was relatively painless and involved mainly changing NuGet package names to the new version. You can take a look at my upgrade commit on Github - there are only NuGet package updates and one workaround for the breaking change to JSON serialization which broke my client side application.

You may run into other issues, that I'm not hitting. As always check out the Announcements Page on GitHub that shows all the known breaking changes.

RC2 Project Upgrade was easy

For me the easiest way to upgrade a project throughout the beta has been to create a new project of each type of project (Web or Class Library) and compare my project.json with the new projects.

I basically copy the .NET Standard definitions and other framework config settings and replace them in the original.

Then I do a search and replace to replace -rc2-final with an empty string to get the final 1.0.0 release bits. All of this update stuff took maybe 10 minutes. The introduction of .NET standard has made this a lot easier as I don't have to reference 50 other trivial NuGet packages explicitly that are now provided through the .NET Standard base version.

If you're upgrading to RTM from an older version I'd recommend you start with new projects from scratch and instead migrate your code into the new project. I've found that easier when I initially upgraded to both RC1 and RC2.

The biggest changes throughout earlier versions for me have been Entity Framework related changes, so you'll need to likely tweak your model definitions. Luckily in RC2 and RTM EF has finally provided many of the features as part of conventions or attributes so most of the custom model definitions for common cases can be removed.

It's not all Rainbows and Unicorns - it never is!

As easy as the actual upgrade was, I did run into a couple problems before I even got to fix my actual project:

  • The Visual Studio Preview 2 Tools didn't install smoothly
  • The RTM build changes JSON.NET defaults to export camelCased property names by default

Visual Studio Preview Tooling Failure

Installation of the RTM bits include the .NET Core 1.0 runtime, the SDK, Visual Studio Update 3 and finally the Preview 2 Tooling.

If you're planning on updating Visual Studio you should install:

  • Visual Studio Update 3
  • Visual Studio Tooling Preview 2

The tooling preview will install the runtimes and SDK required for running and building .NET Core and ASP.NET Core applications.

Unfortunately, I ran into problems with Visual Studio Tooling update. The install correctly installed the Dotnet Runtimes and SDK and I was able to dotnet from the command prompt.

However, Visual Studio was completely hosed:

  • Lots of Package warnings on startup
  • Failure to load any project
  • Failure to shut down Visual Studio

Several other people seem to have reported the same problems. Apparently this is an upgrade problem when updating from previous versions of tooling and SDKs. Hopefully a clean install won't have these issues.

Luckily it appears there's a relatively easy solution to this problem. The trick to getting Visual Studio into the right state is to uninstall all the .NET Core related tools/SDK and tooling and then reinstall it.

  • Remove the Preview Tooling Preview 2
  • Remove the .NET Core Runtime SDK (all versions)
  • Remove the .NET Core Runtime (all Versions)

Then reverse the steps:

  • **Install the .NET Core Runtime **
  • Install the .NET Core SDK
  • Install the Preview Tooling Preview 2

And that brought back a fully functional Visual Studio. Note also that uninstalling the Preview Tools (without reinstalling) also makes Visual Studio work again with non .NET Core projects including 'classic' ASP.NET projects.

As mentioned I've seen reports from several others with exactly the same symptoms and solution, so if you run into problems give this a try.

De-Camelizing JSON in ASP.NET Core

In the RTM bits of ASP.NET Core you'll find that JSON API results are automatically converted to CamelCase, which is a change from the way that ASP.NET has traditionally returned JSON. Traditionally object names were converted using the same casing as the underlying objects that are being serialized, which is - uhm - predictable.

In the RTM release Microsoft has changed the default serialization behavior so that all properties are automatically camel cased - or really changed to have a lower case first letter (ie. BirthDate becomes birthDate and Birthdate becomes birthdate)

Case? So what?

While this may be a reasonable change to make, it is fairly significant breaking change, that especially affects client code that depends on APIs. Just about all of my sample applications using APIs where broken due to this issue as APIs are now returning differently typed data, that my JavaScript application no longer knows how to bind.

Here's an example of the result:

Dude, where'd my rocking artists go?

The problem is that my API is looking to bind to values like {{artist.ArtistName}}, but it's now really getting {{artist.artistName}}, hence the sad empty list, because Angular's bindings are case sensitive and no longer finding the properties by the .NET names as before.

There are two ways to fix this obviously:

  • Fix the client side code use camelCase (aeh - no)
  • Fix the server side code to generate no camels

Turning off CamelCasing

Luckily this is relatively easy to fix once you know where to get at the JSON serialization settings in ASP.NET Core. As usual you use the Startup class and the ConfigureServices() method where ASP.NET MVC is added and initially configured.

The following removes the CamelCaseNamingStrategy that the DefaultContractResolver uses:

services.AddMvc()
        .AddJsonOptions(opt =>
    {
        var resolver  = opt.SerializerSettings.ContractResolver;
        if (resolver != null)
        {
            var res = resolver as DefaultContractResolver;
            res.NamingStrategy = null;  // <<!-- this removes the camelcasing
        }
    });

And voila - you're back to the old behavior where the serialized JSON matched your .NET object structure. And my AlbumViewer is working again.

To CamelCase or Not

Now I haven't made up my mind on whether I like this default casing change or not. But man, I can't help but think that this should have been thought of a long time ago, and not a couple of weeks before an RTM release.

Personally I prefer to see stuff like this as an easily accessible option, and not something that is rammed down your throat - serialization shouldn't arbitrarily change the naming of properties. While that is often desirable I'm betting there are plenty of scenarios (especially when dealing with .NET to .NET) where you'd much rather have the serialized content reflect the original naming.

It's especially frustrating in that this doesn't just affect server code where you could easily refactor, but client side code that may already be running. It also makes it harder to port existing code to ASP.NET core and it's not exactly something that's super easy to find if you're searching unless you already know that there serializer settings being sent to JSON.NET somewhere in the framework.

But I guess it's too late. It's done, and at least there is an easy workaround if you know where to look. And now you do...

Summary

As I said other than the VS install features the ugprade process was pretty painless and the nit about the casing is not a big deal since there is a relatively easy workaround.

I haven't had much time playing around with the new bits other than updating the sample and publishing and updating the application on my IIS Server, but I'm glad to see that the list of breaking changes is not massive as it has been for previous releases so it should be relatively easy upgrade projects to the new version from RC2 at least.

So maybe now we can get busy building stuff for the new platform, knowing that sands can't shift as much as they have been. Onwards...

Related Posts


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Posted in ASP.NET Core  Visual Studio  

The Voices of Reason


 

Peter
June 27, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

Regarding camel case... that was actually one of the first things I've changed back in RC1 (to camel case). This way there's less friction with the JavaScript conventions. Thanks for the blog post.

Dave Van den Eynde
June 27, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

I don't like the CamelCaseNamingStrategy because it also changes the case for anything I put in a Dictionary in my model. Sure, I want my property names to be adapted, but if I do this:

public class AssetInfo
{
    public string AssetType {get;set;}
    public Dictionary<string, JToken> Metadata {get;set;}
}


Then not only are the property names changed to "assetType" and "metaData", but also anything put in the dictionary itself, which is irrelevant to the API but simply state.

Therefore I use JsonProperty attributes *everywhere*.

Alan
June 28, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

So glad I found this. Took me a while to upgrade my project to release 1 then I found highcharts wasnt working anymore. Been looking all day at what went wrong, and yes you have guessed it lower camel case broke it.

Brian Federici
June 30, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

Thank you, Rick. In addition to uninstalling the items you mentioned, I also had to go through the Windows Registry and delete any items that contained ".NET Core" in them. That was the only way I could get the Web Tooling Preview 2 to behave with VS 2015 Update 3. Figured I'd mention it in case it helps anyone else.

Dan Harner
July 01, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

I had the same problems with Visual Studio after installing the Preview Tooling, but all I needed to do was to remove the contents of my C:\Users\<your users name>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\14.0\ComponentModelCache folder as per this SO answer: http://stackoverflow.com/a/31918711/147418

Rob
July 02, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

Another note: EntityFramework introduced some breaking changes to the Scaffolding that might cause issues for anyone without fully camel cased tables.

https://github.com/aspnet/EntityFramework/issues/5947

There is a gist sample on that thread with a work-around.

jeremy c.
July 08, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

All I had to do to upgrade my asp.net RC 2 project to asp.net RTM was in my project.json

1. replace "-rc2-final" to " "
2. replace "preivew1" to "preview2"
3. and finally change your Microsoft.NETCore.App to:

"Microsoft.NETCore.App": {
"version": "1.0.0"


That's all folks!

Omu
July 21, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

the camel case thing is a big facepalm, think it was a decision that was not made based on logic, but rather on "coolness"
if you look here https://github.com/aspnet/Mvc/issues/4283
the main argument for the change is the current Date
also given the amount likes, it shows why democracy doesn't work :D

BillyJoe
August 03, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

so where the heck can I download the following?
•.NET Core 1.0 Runtime
•.NET Core 1.0 Runtime SDKs

is there a straightforward link to the RTM release?
tried https://www.microsoft.com/net/core#windows
but only found https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=809122
from where downloaded file DotNetCore.1.0.0-SDK.Preview2-x64.exe

I really don't like the word Preview2 in the file name, it doesn't look like an RTM release at all.

Rick Strahl
August 04, 2016

# re: Upgrading to ASP.NET Core RTM from RC2

@BillyJoe - you can download those from the http://dot.net site... The SDK (ie. the tooling and CLI) are in Preview. The actual runtimes are RTM. But they are separate installs. Install the runtimes first, then the SDK.
 

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