Category Archives: Programming

.NET Core And Why I Think it’s Huge!

Written by William Roush on April 18, 2016 at 10:20 pm

.NET Core is not just a large change for how you write code, but for the entire .NET ecosystem. I’m excited about this change from every front and I’m going to tell you why!

What is .NET Core?

.NET Core (previously known as .NET 5.0) is the new streamlined .NET platform by Microsoft. .NET Core takes a lot of lessons learned from pain points on the older .NET 1.0-4.6 platform and fixes a massive amount of it, giving .NET a new breath of life and hoping to make this platform beneficial for all. It appears to not only take lessons from what didn’t work on .NET’s platform, but what did work on other platforms.

What does that mean for developers?

Well here is the painful part: .NET Core is different, very different, for cross-platform support you’ll have to keep an eye out on what is .NET Core and what is .NET 4.5, thankfully Intellisense does a great job of letting you know that:

Watch out for missing implementations between frameworks.

Watch out for missing implementations between frameworks.

.NET Core is designed to rely on Nuget heavily though and have you pick and plug 3rd party libraries, designed around smaller assemblies to keep down on application size bloat and allowing you to pick and choose. This is seen with the new Entity Framework Core libraries and how they give you a small slice of functionality (data abstraction) and the individual engines are kept as separate libraries (which is common for ORMs on say, Node.js).

The shift into heavily using dependency injection as part of normal application process is wonderful for decoupling your code and having it easily testable, everything is right there ready to go from the start.

Configuration files being JSON is a huge step up, ASP.NET integrating Gulp as part of it’s build process for javascript libraries for both build and client side (they rely on Bower for client side scripts). The new project.json file allows for easy extension of your application’s behavior. If you’re used to .NET’s old way of doing things you’ll start with “This doesn’t work anymore? Ugh… how do you do that…. oh… that’s much better!”

What does that mean for platform support?

.Net Core Builds

It means that we’re seeing .NET on more platforms that we’re used to as a first class citizen from Microsoft, this means huge things (I’ll touch on those later) for the popularity of .NET. Microsoft has even been quoted saying this:

When used third-party tools such as Xamarin, .NET Core should be portable to IOS and Android devices.

And with Microsoft’s recent acquirement of Xamarin and pushing it as free, we’re probably going to see .NET Core as a solid mobile platform in the near future.

What does this mean for the .NET Community?

A new .NET developer said this to me recently:

Not much of a supportive community around .NET, at least nothing like other languages I have learned.

And I can’t help but agree, while I appreciate our local .NET Users Group here in Chattanooga (which has been pretty quiet for awhile), I find the subjects of our local Developers Group more interesting. While .NET generally gets paid decently and seems to be in a decent amount of demand here, it seems to be more of the slower older corporate companies that are hiring and less smaller agile companies.

I think getting .NET on Linux platforms and putting out solid community editions of Visual Studio may breathe new life into the community. Bringing fresh young blood, new ideas and more open source software, maybe we’ll go back to solving hard problems too. It’s a huge weak spot in .NET and really hurts adoption, which I think really hurts the available libraries and third party tools (while Microsoft provides some good tools, it still lacks heavily on 3rd party tooling that isn’t just babysitting people who can’t write basic menus… where is my Code Climate for .NET?!).

I’ve been wanting to write an article on the abysmal state of the .NET community, it’s developers, the skill sets of a lot of them and what kind of code they churn out, this is an excellent opportunity to do so.

What does this mean for businesses?

Well if you’re a startup, maybe in a few years .NET on Linux will be a hot thing. C# 6.0 is a wonderful language and with every iteration it gets more powerful (usually stealing from F#). Getting MSSQL on Linux seems to be the first in many steps for Microsoft to not just push it’s operating system by locking it’s solutions onto it, but push solutions that you’d be happy to pay for due to their ease of use or specific desired features (which sometimes for some companies may be completely worth it).

If you’ve been knee-deep in .NET for years it can mean a few things: .NET Core’s performance is insane, which can mean a reduction in required resources for your applications. The build process is a lot easier to keep consistent and extend so less work to automate it. Applications being shipped with their runtimes means less effort determine what runtimes are installed and handling them. It is however a large shift and I would suggest that a lot of .NET developers aren’t ready for all this change (more on the community later…).

Of course you can completely ignore it and mostly not deal with it for awhile, .NET 4.5 isn’t going away anytime soon.


I’m excited to no end about this, first was the fixing of all the problems we’ve had, but secondly because this may really help the .NET community flourish. Fun new times in the land of .NET.

RhodeCode 3 Enterprise – Self-Hosted Source Code Repository Review

Written by William Roush on April 13, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Review from long-term end-user and administrator of multiple RhodeCode installs since version 1.x.

Disclaimer: I’ve been a long time fan of RhodeCode and have talked with Marcin Kuzminski (main developer) multiple times.

RhodeCode 3 Enterprise


First problem I ran into was not getting the validation e-mail, seemed to hard bounce off my anti-spam, ouch, a password reset link made it through though and I got my download. You’ll have to have Python installed first, additionally do NOT rename the file, the installer will get crabby (which wget gladly renames it due to redirects all over by the RhodeCode site):



After that you just follow the quick start docs.

Installer enforces that you run it as a non-privileged user (good) doesn’t check for dependencies (bad), so on a clean net install of Debian 8 will crash if it’s missing: sudo and lbzip2, only way you can tell this is if you read the error logs, you’ll also get a totally unhelpful “file not found” when the service user’s home directory is missing/or not writable (Marcin says they’re fixing this though).

After that you’ll install your RhodeCode VCSServer and Enterprise components, these went pretty painlessly with additional packages downloaded from RhodeCode’s servers.


RhodeCode has free licensing for up to 25 users (prior this was 20), after that you need to pay up. Currently the price for <100 users seems to fluctuate around $5/seat/person, which isn’t too bad (better than Github, worse than Bitbucket).

I’ve been keeping an eye on their pricing model for awhile, they’ve had anything from $13/user/platform (svg, hg, git) which was pretty rough, to the ability to not pay for support (only updates) which was like $2/user/mo, but they dropped that option sadly. I think the ~$5/user/mo is a good compromise even if it’s more expensive than some cloud providers.

For less than 25 users they also offer support for pretty low per seat pricing currently, a cool option, though I’m kind of always of the opinion if you need lots of support and can’t be self-sufficient outside of reporting bugs: go cloud.



RhodeCode pretty much covers all the bases and includes the following:

  • External authentication (LDAP, Crowd, etc.)
  • Repository groups
  • Gists (public, private, expiration, all the good parts)
  • Code review (via pull requests)
  • Forking
  • Server-managed merging (like GitHub’s auto-merge)
  • Repository statistics

User Experience

A clean look for 3.0

A clean look for 3.0

The whole user interface has been cleaned up with a much sharper look, though a lot of the options are still in the same place they’ve always been (good for old RhodeCode users/admins, though some workflows had pain points).

Everybody gets lots of white space

Everybody gets lots of white space

A lot of white space seems to have been added though, feels like a lot of screen real estate is wasted. This is really obvious between various sections of the site.

The old statistics we're used to

The old statistics we’re used to

Nothing really new from the statistics features from the older versions, they’re nice to have but nothing much that is useful.

A bunch of commits

A bunch of commits

Commits are easy to read.

A terribly formatted readme file

A terribly formatted readme file

White space issues plague the ReadMe file, taking most of the screen with text much smaller than how it looks on GitHub.

RhodeCode - Unified Diff

RhodeCode - Side by Side

RhodeCode has support for inline and side-by-side diffs when reviewing code, pretty slick layouts that I enjoy.

This... is a journal page.

This… is a journal page.

Journal layout leaves a lot to be desired — but at least they have RSS feeds.

RhodeCode - Review Comment

RhodeCode still kind of suffers (in my opinion) from code reviews being nothing more than pull requests, which without and workflow management leaves a lot for anyone that needs more than the absolute basics for code review.


Everything is much faster than it was, however I’m only able to test it at a somewhat smaller scale than the deployments I’m having trouble scaling on.

As I understand it one of the largest changes for 3.0 was to break everything out and improve the speed of everything, that seems to have done the trick.

However things like statistics still seemed to take an awfully long time to run, not sure if it’s low-effort or

Repository Management

The tools for managing repositories haven’t changed really outside of just somewhat cleaner layouts. You still struggle from the fact that forks will likely clutter up your system, though the addition of “personal groups” somewhat helps, with this you can attempt to mimic a GitHub-like structure.


The system runs better and is visually more appealing than it was before, and I’m glad licensing has seemed to mellow out at a much more reasonable rate than it was earlier in the RhodeCode 3.0 releases. As much as I loved Gogs, I really need Mercurial support and RhodeCode really hits that sweet spot well.

The only downside is that it’s really hard to compete with the likes of super-cheap cloud providers like BitBucket, though it beats the pants off of Github’s Enterprise pricing (and under some conditions, their cloud… if you can’t fit everything under a smaller organization setup).

Deploying via Octopus Deploy on ASP.NET Core RC1

Written by William Roush on March 18, 2016 at 5:34 pm

This guide shows you how I got ASP.NET Core RC1 deploying via Octopus, this may change in the future as ASP.NET Core continues to mature.

First, if you write and deploy .NET applications, get your hands on Octopus Deploy, seriously it’s worth every penny. They have a free edition for smaller deployments, I use it for my clients and at work and it’s a huge time saver and helps improve reliability of deploys greatly.

Preparing Your Project

Because Octopus Deploy doesn’t support .NET Core yet, we’re going to build our own package using a nuspec file, so you need to create one like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<package xmlns="">
 <authors>William Roush</authors>
 <file src="..\..\published-webapp\**\*.*"/>

This will allow us to package our application after we publish it into our published-webapp directory later.

Preparing Your Build Server

I use TeamCity to build my projects, I’m going to add a step for packaging our deployment, which is a simple command I’ll run on the command line thanks to .NET Core’s ease of use on the command line.

dnu publish --runtime active --no-source -o ..\..\published-webapp

This will cause our application to get published right where our nuspec file expects it. We’ll run nuget.exe pack against our nuspec file located at src/RoushTech.AspNetCoreProject/RoushTech.AspNetCoreProject.nuspec.

Preparing Your Web Server

You’ll need to install the HTTP Platform Handler detailed in the ASP.NET Core Documentation

Configuring Your Project

We’re going to configure a normal IIS project, the relative home directory is “wwwroot”, and we want a post-deployment script using the code below:

#Load Web Admin DLL
Add-PSSnapin WebAdministration -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
Import-Module WebAdministration -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
$iis = (New-Object Microsoft.Web.Administration.ServerManager)
$pool = $iis.ApplicationPools | Where {$_.Name -eq $OctopusParameters['Octopus.Action[Deploy].IISWebSite.ApplicationPoolName']} | Select-Object -First 1
$pool.ManagedRuntimeVersion = ""

This will set the runtime version to “No Managed Code”, it’s kind of a hack until Octopus adds support.

Updated: Dalmiro pointed out in the comments that the issue can be voted for here, I’ve already put in my vote!


And there you have it, running Octopus Deploy should deploy your new ASP.NET Core RC1 Website out to production, we’ll update this as RC2/Gold comes out because they’ll be changing some commands on us.

Fixing invalid or expired security content token

Written by William Roush on January 20, 2016 at 12:14 am

Ever get an error like this?

The message could not be processed. This is most likely because the action ‘[URI here]’ is incorrect or because the message contains an invalid or expired security context token or because there is a mismatch between bindings. The security context token would be invalid if the service aborted the channel due to inactivity. To prevent the service from aborting idle sessions prematurely increase the Receive timeout on the service endpoint’s binding.

And are completely stumped as to what you’ve done wrong?

I spent a few hours to learn that the default wsHttpBinding security configuration is message not none. A commit I made a few weeks ago added this:

<security mode="none" />

To match up with a web transform file for release. When really it should have been:

<security mode="message" />

Additionally I could have just changed the transform to insert instead of replace a called it a day.


Sometimes you spend the most time on the silliest of things…