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Preview: Brian Swiger

Brian Swiger

Life With .NET


Microsoft .NET Architecture Guidance - Draft...

Fri, 26 May 2017 21:58:54 GMT

Four application architecture guidance drafts are available from Microsoft's Developer Division and the Visual Studio product teams.  These drafts cover four areas: Microservices and Docker, ASP.NET Web Applications, Azure Cloud Deployment, and Xamarin Mobile Applications. Each guidance consists of a set of documents appropriate for the topic.  Microsoft does want your feedback on these draft documents. The Microsoft and Docker guidance consists of an Architecture eBook, a DevOps eBook, a sample application, and a video discussion of appropriate patterns.  The Architecture eBook is an introduction to developing microservices, and managing them with containers. The sample application is referenced within the book. The book covers topics such as choosing the appropriate Docker containers and how to deploy them, designing and developing multi-container and microservice-based .NET applications, and how to secure them. The guidance is infrastructure agnostic. The DevOps book explains how to implement the entire Docker application lifecycle with Microsoft technologies. It is useful both for people who need to learn about Docker, or people knowledgeable about Docker, but want to learn about the Microsoft implementation. The Web Applications guidance consists of an eBook and a sample application. The book provides guidance on building monolithic web applications with ASP.NET Core and Azure. It is a complementary guide to the Microsoft and Docker guidance book discussed in the previous paragraph. The guidance covers the characteristics of modern web applications and their architectural principles, as well as how to develop and test ASP.NET Core MVC applications. The Azure Cloud Deployment guidance consists of a set of reference architectures, an article on best practices, and an article on design patterns. The reference architectures are ordered by scenario and include recommended practices and most have a deployable solution. The reference architectures are: identity management, hybrid network, network DMZ, VM workloads for Linux and Windows, and managed web application. The article on best practices focuses on REST and HATEOAS.  The design patterns are indexed by category: availability, data management, design and implementation, messaging, management and monitoring, performance, and scalability, resiliency, and security. The twenty four patterns are also cataloged by pattern name so they can be found directly. Each pattern describes the problem to be solved, when it is appropriate to use the pattern, and a Microsoft Azure based example. Nonetheless, the patterns are generic to any distributed system. The Xamarin Mobile Application guidance consists of an eBook, a sample application, and an article on architecture patterns. The guidance in the eBook covers building cross-platform enterprise applications using the Xamarin UI toolkit. It focuses on the core patterns and architectural guidance, specifically the MVVM pattern, dependency injection, navigation, validation, configuration management, containerized microservices, security, remote data access, and unit testing. The guidance references the sample application. Since the guide complements the other architecture guidance, microservices, containers, and web applications are not covered in depth. It also is not a detailed introduction to Xamarin forms. The guidance can also be used by decision makers who want an overview on architecture and technology before deciding on a cross-platform strategy. The patterns focus on the key architecture concepts, application layers, and the basic mobile software patterns such as MVVM, MVC, Business Façade, Singleton, Provider, and Async.  The case study illustrates the use of the patterns.[...]

HockeyApp replacing App Insights...definitely not...

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 02:51:00 GMT

In Summary: App Insights originally shipped with a set of SDKs for mobile platforms that pushed telemetry data into the App Insights pipeline. It is these SDKs that are being deprecated in favor of the HockeyApp SDK, not all of App Insights.

Hearing from the community, with the introduction of HockeyApp, there is some confusion on the roadmap for gathering telemetry data from your various applications.

First, HockeyApp does NOT replace App Insights. It compliments App Insights for mobile applications. App Insights is the strategic direction for Microsoft as a whole. HockeyApp is a nice compliment to the solution and brings exciting DevOps features to the Mobile Apps platform such as beta distribution, crash reporting and user metrics. It's widely used for mobile apps across the industry and delivers everything in the mobile space for many folks.

App Insights gives a unified view of all of your telemetry data. A solution may consist of a mobile app, web services, databases, and other components that also emit telemetry data to be collected and analyzed. This is where App Insights brings together that unified view of your telemetry data.

App Insights originally shipped with a set of SDKs for mobile platforms that pushed telemetry data into the App Insights pipeline. It is these SDKs that are being deprecated in favor of the HockeyApp SDK, not all of App Insights.

Telemetry data collected from this HockeyApp SDK is sent to the same telemetry processing pipeline that App Insights uses, but at this time only shows up in the HockeyApp portal, not within the App Insights Portal and associated features like Continuous Export and Application Analytics. This means that you have two places to go for insight and don’t benefit from a unified view of telemetry across your architecture when you have a solution made up of Mobile Apps and supporting services.

The good news is that this will be fixed in the near future and is a relatively straight forward change due to the use of a shared pipeline.

There is a significant commitment to invest and deliver more with Application Insights, some great recent examples are: Application Analytics (based on Kusto), Proactive Detection, Application Map and Live Stream Metrics.

In summary, please use HockeyApp for your mobile application and WPF/Desktop telemetry needs and Application Insights for everything else. The overall proposition is now stronger with HockeyApp and Application Insights coming together.

Whew, hope that helps clear it up.  =)

Create sample data in your Team Services project

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 21:15:17 GMT

Ever needed to have sample data to try things out on? Want to explore what Visual Studio Team Services can do? This extension from Microsoft DevLabs lets you create and remove sample work item data in your project.

Speaking at Orlando Code Camp...

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 18:33:07 GMT

I'll be speaking at this year's upcoming Orlando Code Camp on Saturday, April 2nd. Make sure to stop out and catch all the great sessions and speakers as we geek out on technology topics. Lots of great people and learning opportunities. It will be a great time to catch up with everyone and learn about all the slick stuff folks are accomplishing. We'll be out at Seminole State College (Sanford) from 8am to 5pm.

My sessions are around my passion of Azure and Web development:

More Core! ASP.NET and Visual Studio updates for Web developers

Azure API Applications in Action

Visual Studio now speaks the R language!

Thu, 10 Mar 2016 18:35:30 GMT

Visual Studio now speaks another language: R!

R is decidedly the most popular statistical/data analysis language in use today. R Tools for Visual Studio brings together the power of R and Visual Studio in a convenient and easy to use plug-in that’s free and Open Source. When combined with Visual Studio Community Edition, you get a multi-lingual IDE that is perpetually free (for small teams).

Here are the exciting features of this preview release:

  • Editor – complete editing experience for R scripts and functions, including detachable/tabbed windows, syntax highlighting, and much more.
  • IntelliSense – (aka auto-completion) available in both the editor and the Interactive R window.
  • R Interactive Window – work with the R console directly from within Visual Studio.
  • History window – view, search, select previous commands and send to the Interactive window.
  • Variable Explorer – drill into your R data structures and examine their values.
  • Plotting – see all of your R plots in a Visual Studio tool window.
  • Debugging – breakpoints, stepping, watch windows, call stacks and more.
  • R Markdown – R Markdown/knitr support with export to Word and HTML.
  • Git – source code control via Git and GitHub.
  • Extensions – over 6,000 Extensions covering a wide spectrum from Data to Languages to Productivity.
  • Help – use ? and ?? to view R documentation within Visual Studio.
  • A polyglot IDE – VS supports R, Python, C++, C#, Node, SQL, etc. projects simultaneously.

Other features requested by the R developer community, including a Package Manager GUI, Visual Studio Code (cross-plat), etc. will be part of a future update.

Check out Shahrokh Mortazavi's post on the Machine Learning blog for more information...

Going to work for Microsoft...

Wed, 11 Nov 2015 20:20:00 GMT

I'm excited to announce that I'll be going to work for Microsoft, full-time, starting on the 30th of November. I will be a Senior Application Development Manager in the Microsoft Premier team. I will stay local to Tampa, Florida and am excited to be furthering my career with Microsoft. I've worked for Microsoft Learning in the past on many, many developer exams over the years and am thrilled to join, full-time, in this new role. For some details on what I do, read more:

Stay tuned...

SignalR at the Omaha .NET User Group...

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 01:37:36 GMT

I will be speaking this Thursday, November 13th at the Omaha .NET User Group on SignalR. Please come out and join I venture back to Omaha where it's recently snowed...from my warm and cozy home in Tampa, Florida.

Here's a quick synopsis:

Topic:  Real-Time Web Communications with SignalR
Developers, are you curious about ASP.NET SignalR and its appeal throughout the dev community? You have probably heard how it makes developing real-time web functionality easy and how it enables bi-directional communication between server and client. You can use it for games, inventory apps, e-commerce, and much more. There are many reasons it is the #1 most-watched .NET GitHub project.

Join Brian Swiger for a detailed, step-by-step walk-through on how to add real-time HTTP to your web apps. See how SignalR can be used across virtually any .NET application platform or device, from phones to cloud applications. Start with the basics and ramp up quickly, with dozens of interesting demos and practical applications.

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2014 materials available...

Wed, 12 Mar 2014 17:59:00 GMT

Hey Everyone, The Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2014 concluded last Thursday, and there were a ton of great sessions. In years past, Microsoft has made the sessions and materials available to attendees through their MySPC site – basically blocking non-attendees from accessing materials. In an unusual (but welcome!) move, everything is freely available this year. Just today, Microsoft put all of the recorded sessions up on Channel 9 for our viewing pleasure: If you have any interest in SharePoint, Yammer, Office 365, or where these technologies/platforms are heading, I encourage you to check out the videos. There were certainly technical sessions, but there were also plenty of strategy sessions, case studies, and more – something for everyone.

How to configure Visual Studio to use Beyond Compare

Wed, 19 Feb 2014 19:34:00 GMT

Hands down, my FAVORITE comparison tool is Beyond Compare, by Scooter Software.

Setting up this tool for Visual Studio to use for the Merge and Compare operation is straightforward, yet not completely intuitive.

Follow these simple steps to get up and running with Beyond Compare in Visual Studio (2012 and 2013 as of this post):

In Visual Studio, go to the Tools menu, select Options, expand Source Control, (In a TFS environment, click Visual Studio Team Foundation Server), and click on the Configure User Tools button.

Click the Add button.

Enter/select the following options for Compare:

  • Extension: .*
  • Operation: Compare
  • Command: C:\Program Files (x86)\Beyond Compare 3\BComp.exe
  • Arguments: %1 %2 /title1=%6 /title2=%7

Enter/select the following options for Merge:

  • Extension: .*
  • Operation: Merge
  • Command: C:\Program Files (x86)\Beyond Compare 3\BComp.exe
  • Arguments: %1 %2 %3 %4 /title1=%6 /title2=%7 /title3=%8 /title4=%9

SQL71501: User has an unresolved reference to Login in Visual Studio (2012/2013) Database Project

Tue, 18 Feb 2014 21:12:00 GMT

If you create application specific logins (which you should) then you are going to come across this error when trying to build your solution. To correct this error, select include 'Non-Application-scoped' object types in the options (gear icon at top) when you do a schema compare (right-click the database project to find Schema Compare). You can then just import the logins into your regular project, and the references are sorted. Note: If you click on the Object Types tab and it closes the dialog (which it did for me), instead use the tab key until Application-scoped is highlighted, then press the down arrow to highlight Non-Application-scoped and press the space bar. Now you should be able to click OK and see the logins.

Git for Visual Studio Developers

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 21:03:00 GMT

A new course is out from my friend and co-worker, Esteban Garcia! It teaches you how to work with Git from Visual Studio. Working with Git from Visual Studio is an excellent skill to have and know...and if you don't already have a PluralSight subscription, you can sign up for a free trial. It's well worth it and a great learning resource that I utilize all the time.

 Check out the course: 

 Great work, Esteban! I plan on going through it very soon. 

MOC 10961: Automating Administration with Windows PowerShell

Thu, 30 May 2013 20:56:00 GMT

I just learned about this awesome course, written by Don Jones, that is available to MCTs this month.

The course looks to be a good beginners look at PowerShell V3. As the Microsoft web site points out, this will be a 200-level course and is not intended to teach hardcore scripting or programming.

For IT pros who have never seen PowerShell, this looks to be a very good course, although it doesn't appear to be extremely technical.

Introduction to AngularJS by Dan Wahlin

Sat, 13 Apr 2013 16:54:00 GMT

Great, FREE training from Dan Wahlin, introducing you to AngularJS. Dan is one of my favorite PluralSight contributors and enjoy his courses.

I've used KnockoutJS and Backbone, yet am evaluating this framework now.



Using the Kendo UI Grid with OData on WCF Data Services

Mon, 07 Jan 2013 16:18:00 GMT

A co-worker and I were working with the Kendo UI Grid and having difficulties binding the data from a WCF Data Services 5.2.0 Data Service returning OData. I've used the JSONP extension/behavior in the past with success, yet understood the new WCF Data Services returned JSONP just fine, as previous 5.1.0-rc2, indicated as such (with regards to $format/$callback).

Jason did a great write-up at his blog site on the solution.

Hope this helps others out...using OData returns from WCF Data Services and the excellent Kendo UI Grid.

HDC 2010 is here!

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 17:32:00 GMT

 The Heartland Developer's Conference is back in full swing this year!  I'm in attendance and am happy to see Joe Olsen bringing different topics to the event, including Android development.  I see that Adobe is really bringing a lot of Flash discussions as well.  It's interesting to hear about development challenges from other technologies since I'm hip-deep in Microsoft development (even though I enjoy it).  Looking forward to hearing about HTML 5, the Microsoft Web stack, user experience design and service technologies.

Make sure to register for the event and journey to Omaha.  It's well worth your time and the price is super cheap for an event of this size.

See you there!

Back in the saddle....and local .NET usergroups

Wed, 30 Jun 2004 21:07:00 GMT

Having a child really pulls your life for a loop. I decided to head back to school for my Master's as well. Time just got sucked up quickly.

I'm excited for the new Indigo technologies Microsoft has to offer after learning of the changes through an excellent presentation by Dave Bettin. Our local .NET users group is a great place to meet others active in the community and to learn about exciting implementations and upcoming .NET developments. I think it's great that Microsoft is so willing to keep in touch with the community by providing individuals to come out and speak about upcoming features of products and other .NET topics.

Speaking of other .NET topics, I've convinced management to deploy SQL Server Reporting Services (which is awesome, btw). Moving from Crystal Reports (and Oracle reports) to SQL Server Reporting Services seems to be cake so far. It was easy convincing management since it was a) free b) easy to learn c) installed with no issues and d) didn't chew up tons of system resources (just look at the specs required). Oh, did I mention that since it's in a universal format (RDL), that the Oracle reports are easy to move to SQL Server Reporting Services? Thanks Microsoft!

Server controls...a templated approach...

Tue, 28 Oct 2003 15:48:00 GMT

Accomplishing a centralized page template is proving to be a challenge.  The overall agreed strategy is to utilize server controls for the main page elements and standards form elements (technically still server controls) for the main form area.  The goal is a page (from top to bottom) with a header, and information section, a form or other page elements, then a footer.  Dividing up the page into several server controls seems to be the approach.  A server control for each section including the form/other page elements section that is a container.  Is this going overboard with the use of server controls?  The .Text application seems to accomplish this with user controls rather than server controls from what little I've quickly examined of the code.  What's the community conclusion on page templates.

I've also briefly looked at these boilerplates that they speak of for templates in the Microsoft development environment.  Anyone using these?

Bryce Michael Swiger is born!

Thu, 09 Oct 2003 04:14:00 GMT

Our little one was born October 2nd, 2003 at 3:38pm.  He weighed in at 7 lbs. 12 oz. and is 20.5 inches long.  Mom and I are so excited.  I haven't been blogging...but have been gleaming with excitement staying home (on paternity leave) with my new son!  Birth is the most life-awakening experience! that mighty...

Tue, 30 Sep 2003 16:17:00 GMT

In wanting a website for the longest time, I finally broke down and bought a domain and am hosting at a co-workers home on his webserver (that I sold to him).  A fine Dell 600SC server that holds up well over a business-level cable connection.  My site has some shots of my home, my dog, and our newly decorated baby room (we're expecting real soon now).  If you get bored and want to surf, check out and the baby section.  Anyone know of a decent, free photo album for .NET that is simple to use (I can drag-n-drop photos to a directory and it will place them in the site with a description and all)?

Programming structure...

Tue, 30 Sep 2003 15:51:00 GMT

Programming structure...a hot topic at my workplace.  We've fought over this topic for the last 2 years.  Here's the deal.  Two different approaches are mentioned. 

The first, the “Control Structure”, is a central area where everything passes through it.  Think Fuse Box methodology if you are a Cold Fusion developer.  In the old days (yeah...ASP 3.0), we would use a central page (main.asp) and pass an action query string value through it (main.asp?action=ShowUsers), which would call a sub or function from another page (users.asp).  The other page would be a gathering of functions, subs, classes that were specific to a function in the program.  This works great (especially for troubleshooting), but is hard to follow through if you are not used to it.  In the .NET realm, we have come up with a similar method of using a default.aspx page but plugging user controls into it programmatically.  I like this method, but to me, it seems slower and more clumsy in testing.  Sure, it's clear and concise, but is it the best use of .NET?

The second method involves a page-for-page approach.  Microsoft demonstrates this through several of their .NET code examples.  Each section is its own page (users.aspx, admin.aspx, etc.).  I recently finished a project where the deadline quickly approached and I used this method.  The project went smooth and we've since added on some functionality and it was simple to do so.  I don't have issues with this approach, but other developers in my group do.

What structure do you use for a web project?  Have you come up with your own methodology (per se) for the layout (structure) of your applications?  Is any of our approaches bad or good in some way?  I'd like the community to speak out on this one.  Not very many folks speak of structure (but do speak of code and samples).