When I installed Windows Live Writer for the first time I was skeptical of having a different blog writer, so far I was very happy using Microsoft Word 2007 as my blog editor. However I decided to give it a try and see what I could get from it.
Now, I can only tell you that I love it, the biggest reason is because it comes with a simple API that allows you to extend it and add functionality to it. This approach of exposing the platform really makes me feel I can do everything, and if I can't, then I can just extend it to do what I need.
In my case every time I blog something that uses code, I always try to "colorize" it (personally find it easier to read when code is formatted using colors). That is the reason I wrote my original Code Colorizer application so that I could just paste the code in, and get the HTML that I would then tweak manually directly in the blog engine.
Now that I'm using Windows Live Writer, I decided to test-drive the extensibility model they expose and wrote my Code Colorizer for Windows Live Writer so that I don't need to hand edit anything.
The idea is that you just download the DLL into the Plugins (C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Writer\Plugins) directory, launch Live Writer and now, you will get a task "Insert Colorized Code..." that will show you a dialog where you can either type the code or just paste it and the right HTML will be inserted in your blog.
This for the first time makes it really easy for me to insert formatted code without the need to tweak anything by hand.
You can download it for free at: http://www.carlosag.net/Tools/WindowsLiveWriter/Default.aspx
The following image shows a snapshot of the tool in action:
A couple of months ago I wrote about using LINQ with Microsoft.Web.Administration to manage and query IIS 7.0 configuration. Somebody came back to me and said that LINQ was very cool but that it was very much Developer oriented and that in a production server without VS or .NET 3.5 it wouldn't be an option. Indeed that is a very valid comment and so I decided to show similar stuff with a tool that is available in Windows and its more IT oriented, Windows PowerShell.
So in this blog I will quickly mention some of the things you can easily do with Microsoft.Web.Administration inside Windows PowerShell.
To start working with Microsoft.Web.Administration the first thing you need to do is load the assembly so that you can start using it. It is quite easy using the methods from the Assembly type.
Once you have the assembly available then you will need to create an instance of our ServerManager class that gives you access to the entire configuration system.
The above line basically declares a variable called $iis that we will be able to use for all of our configuration tasks.
Now to more interesting stuff.
Getting the list of Sites
Getting the list of sites is as easy as just accessing the Sites collection, this will output all the information about sites
However, we can also specify the information we care and the format we want to use, for example:
You can also use the where-object command to filter objects to get only the sites that are Stopped, and then we want to Start them.
OK, now let's imagine I want to find all the applications that are configured to run in the Default ApplicationPool and move them to run in my NewAppPool. This is better to do it in three lines:
Now let's say I want to find the top 20 distinct URL's of all the requests running in all my worker processes that has taken more than 1 second.
OK, finally let's say I want to display a table of all the applications running under DefaultAppPool and display if Anonymous authentication is enabled or not. (Now this one is almost on the edge of "you should do it differently, but it is Ok if you are only reading a single value from the section):
Again, the interesting thing is that now you can access all the functionality from M.W.A. from Windows PowerShell very easily without the need of compiling code or anything else. It does take some time to get used to the syntax, but once you do it you can do very fancy stuff.
If you are like me and every now and then develop applications that you want to create an icon for, and you don't have the money to spend on a nice commercial tool (or rather spend it in Halo 3, RockBand or Guitar Hero III), then you probably face the problem that tools don't tend to support saving bitmaps as icons.
In the past I was using the old icon editor that came with mhh… was it Visual Basic 3? and life use to be good cause back then, icons were mostly used at 16 colors and you mostly cared for 16x16 or 32x32 sizes and the tool was decent for those scenarios. But now that icons can use thousands of colors and that you can use up to size of 256x256 it's certainly not a professional look icon when all you have is a 32x32 16 colors icon.
So then I decide that I was going to build my own icon editor and started coding it in managed code, at the middle of it I was looking over the internet for the icon format and sure enough I was reading all the details of the format, headers, API's, etc, when suddenly searching for a specific struct yield a result that basically stopped me from doing any more code.
Basically there is a sample in MSDN that has all the support that I need.
It supports creating an icon, adding multiple formats to it such as 16x16 - 16 color, or 48x48-24bit color, up to 128x128-32bit color. It then allows you to import a bitmap into them and mark the transparent colors (XOR Mask and AND Mask) and everything. Additionally supports extracting icons from files, although I'm sure it could do a better job with PNG compressed files and other stuff, it's still million times better than my old icon editor.
Nice thing it even comes with the source code in C++ in case you are interested on learning more about icon files.
The article is from September 1995, but its still great.
The code and executable can be downloaded from here:
Disclaimer: I do not know how good or bad is the source code nor I pretend to recommend it against any other commercial tool, I'm just saying that its good enough for my "hobbyist" projects and you might find it useful.
During the holidays my wife and I went back to visit our families in Mexico City where we are originally from. Again, during the flights I had enough spare time to build a couple of my favorite games, Backgammon and Connect4.
I've already built both games for Windows using Visual Basic 5 almost 11 years ago but as you would imagine I was far from feeling proud of the implementation. So this time I started from scratch and ended up with what I think are better versions of them (still not the best code, but pretty decent for just a few hours of coding). In fact the AI for the Backgammon version is a bit better and the Connect4 is faster and more suited for a Mobile device.
You can go with your PDA/Smartphone to http://www.carlosag.net/mobile/ to install both games or just click the images below to take you to the install page of each of them. Enjoy and feel free to add any feedback/features as comments to this blog post.
The one thing I learned during the development of these versions is that you do want to download the Windows Mobile 6 SDK if you are going to target that version (which is what my cell phone has), since it will add new Visual Studio 2005 Project Templates and new Emulator images which will help you a lot. For example I was trying to use buttons in my forms, and testing it in Pocket PC worked, but as soon as I tried them in my cell phone it crashed with a NotSupportedException. When I installed the SDK and switched to target that platform, Visual Studio immediately warned me that my platform didn't supported buttons which was great.
Bottom line I'm more and more amazed of how easy it is to build games in Windows Mobile and the things you can achieve with both Windows Mobile and the .NET Compact Framework.
During my last two business trips (to Barcelona for TechEd and Mexico for ReMix) I was way too bored on the plane and since I recently got my Motorola Q9 (which is a sweet Windows Mobile Phone) decided to write myself a Tetris game and to port my Sudoku game to Windows Mobile as a way to do my "first steps" in the .NET Compact Framework.
To my surprise it was really easy to write them and even more to port the desktop version of Sudoku to run in all the .NET Compact Framework platforms.
Since holidays are coming I thought of share them as a gift for this holiday's season.
Bottom line (with the risk of sounding like a marketing dude, which I'm not) .NET is a cool technology that makes it really easy to code for many devices, from high-end servers to hand held devices to mobile phones. In this case, I have tested these applications with a Pocket PC, Smartphone 2003, Windows Mobile 5 and Windows Mobile 6. And best of all, the code base is pretty much the same as the Desktop version.
You can install both games by browsing from your mobile device to http://www.carlosag.net/mobile/ where you will find instructions on how to install the .cab files, or just click the images below to go to the download page for each game.
Yesterday I did the Extending IIS 7.0 Talk Part 1 of 2. Full session name was: INF303 Extending the Internet Information Server 7 Pipeline (Part 1 of 2)
As promised here you can find the slides along with all the demos.
Today I'm flying to Barcelona to attend TechEd Developer 2007. I will be talking about IIS 7 Extensibility and showing some of the cool stuff we have been doing for the last couple of years, including Configuration Extensibility, building Managed Read More...
Hope to see you there!
With the upcoming release of .NET 3.5 and LINQ I thought it would be interesting to show some of the cool things you can do with IIS 7 and LINQ. Everything that I will do can be done with C# 2.0 code but it would take me several lines of code to write them but thanks to LINQ you can do them in about a line or two.
Let's start with a very basic example that does not use LINQ but just M.W.A (Microsoft.Web.Administration) and then start adding interesting things to it.
The following code just iterates the sites in IIS and displays their name.
More than a year ago I wrote about Microsoft.Web.Administration.dll and how it was a new API we were creating for managed code developers to be able to easily set any configuration settings of IIS, however I purposely ignored the configuration part of the API.
Later I talked about the way configuration was organized in IIS 7.0 and how configuration files inherited and worked.
Recently I was asked about some samples on how to modify IIS configuration and decided it was about time to talk about the configuration part of Microsoft.Web.Administration.
The first thing to really emphasize is that Microsoft.Web.Administration in a way has two different ways of reading configuration:
Whenever you work with the configuration system in IIS you need to:
The entire configuration in IIS is organized in sections inside configuration files. Sections are composed of elements, attributes, collections and potentially even methods. If you want to know what is the section you are looking you can search it in %windir%\System32\Inetsrv\Config\schema which is the folder where we place all the "schema" files that entirely describe the configuration in IIS.
The configuration systemin IIS 7.0 is distributed and as such each child object inherits the configuration of its parent, so for example an application inherits the configuration of the site and the site inherits configuration from the server. So now you need to decide which objects you want to manage, for example, do you want to enable Windows Authentication for the entire server or do you only want to enable it for a particular site or application.
As the previous bullet mentions the configuration system is distributed so now you can actually make the changes in different levels for the same object, for example you can modify applicationHost.config with a locationPath "Default Web Site" or you can obtain the same behavior by modifying a web.config file inside wwwroot directory. The concept that really impacts this decision is configuration locking since based on the settings that the server administrator has configured it might be invalid to set authentication in the web.config and might only be possible to set it in applicationHost.config.
OK, after all that talking lets go to the some actual examples and apply the 3 steps above.
All the code below assumes you have added a reference to Microsoft.Web.Administration.dll (located at %windir%\system32\inetsrv\) and that you are adding a "using Microsoft.Web.Administration;" at the top of your C# file.
The code uses ServerManager to get the web.config of the web site and then queries the directoryBrowse section and sets the attribute 'enabled' to true. If you open IIS_Schema.xml you will see that this section defines the 'enabled' attribute as a Boolean.
As you can see this API offers a loosely typed object model to ready and modify configuration, with the most important objects being Configuration, ConfigurationElement and ConfigurationAttribute.
In this case the handlers Section has a default collection which is where we want to add our handler. For that we use the CreateElement() method to get a new element that we can set the attributes and then add it.
Unfortunately currently there is no way to search collections so your only option is to iterate through elements and find the match you are looking for, in this case I'm matching by the name and then removing it from the collection.
Hopefully that should give a good initial steps on how to start working with configuration using Microsoft.Web.Administration, there are several other options I'll be mentioning in other post on how to lock configuration, how to set metadata, how to enumerate configurations and how to do much more advanced stuff for the few developers that will actually need advanced control of IIS configuration.
NOTE: RTM has been released see the following blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/carlosag/archive/2008/03/04/IISManagerForWindowsXPand2003andVista.aspx
With the release of Windows Server 2008 RC0, in IIS we are also releasing the ability to manage the Web Server, the new FTP Server and the new modules remotely using IIS Manager 7.0.
In the past with previous Beta we shipped similar functionality under a different name, however for the first time this is the real way we will be supporting this remote administration from different Windows versions when Windows Server 2008 final version comes along.
The reason this release in particular is exiting is because for the first time all the UI extensibility is enabled for these platforms making it possible to build your own UI modules, install them in the server and have the clients that connect to your server automatically download the new functionality and use it as it was part of the IIS Manager release.
Another reason this is important for us is because this is the first time we are releasing support for x64 which is something required for customers using Windows Vista 64 bit edition or any other 64 bit version of Windows.
You can download and install them from:
Note: This RC0 version will not be able to connect to any other older build of Windows 2008 Server including Beta 3, so if you need to still manage Beta 3 version you will need to install the Beta 3 build of the tool which can safely live side-by-side with the RC0 build.