A classical musician turned programmer... or something

So here's a short follow up to a comment from anonymous2 in the Visual Studio automate testing post. Anon2 was right! I totally needed coverage and fxcop to be built into the build process... so here we go with another attempt at using Visual Studio's post-build events to automate testing [and make it even hotter!].

With the suggestion from this comment. All of these items are now fully contained in the project. All tools live in the project's /lib folder and all results live in /reports.


set NCOVER=C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\lib\ncover\NCover.Console.exe
set NUNIT=C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\lib\nunit\nunit-console.exe
set NUNITXML=C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\reports\nunit.xml
set FXCOP=C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\lib\fxcop\fxcopcmd.exe

copy /Y "$(ProjectDir)Web.config" "C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\TNCMSTest\App.config"

%NCOVER% %NUNIT% /xml %NUNITXML% "C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\TNCMSTest\bin\Debug\TNCMSTest.dll" //x "C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\reports\Coverage.xml" //l "C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\reports\Coverage.log"

%FXCOP% /project:C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\tncms.fxcop /out:C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\reports\FxCopReport.xml

"C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\lib\nunit\nunitresults\nunitresults.exe" %NUNITXML% C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\reports\

Now some explanation:
We set some vars because programmers are lazy like efficiency.
set NCOVER=C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\lib\ncover\NCover.Console.exe
set NUNIT=C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\lib\nunit\nunit-console.exe
set NUNITXML=C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\reports\nunit.xml
set FXCOP=C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\lib\fxcop\fxcopcmd.exe

We copy a Web.config to an App.config of our test project to do 'expectation' assurance / testing.
copy /Y "$(ProjectDir)Web.config" "C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\TNCMSTest\App.config"

Here's where the sauce begins to flow. I call NCover (shorthand as %NCOVER%) which calls NUnit console (%NUNIT%).


I designate a custom-named xml output file for the nunit process with the /xml switch.

Next is the path to the dll to test

The //x switch is for a custom-named coverage xml file (in this case, I want to control the location)
//x "C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\reports\Coverage.xml"

The //l switch is for a custom-named coverage log (again, I want to control the final location) [we're almost done!]
//l "C:\SVN\TNCMSDemo\trunk\reports\Coverage.log"

Now I call FxCop's command line utility app.

Here is the reference to the .fxcop project file I made with the actual FxCop desktop app

And here is where I want its output to go.

Finally, I use NUnitResults to generate a nice html report.

%NUNITXML% is the path to the nunit xml file (see above)

And here is the directory that I want it to live.

Now that you have that sorted out, you can spend your time crafting hot c0de.

Stuff you will need to accomplish the above:
NUnit console
NCover console

If you thought that was the opposite of teh suX0r, or something to add/fix/nuke... leave a comment [or kick it]! (or leave one anyway)

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This isn't really new, I know, I know I've heard it all before about ReSharper. "ReSharper is ok but...," or "It's expensive..." or "Blah blah ReSharper...," or some other comment from some jerky developer deeming it useless. Even if you think the rewards aren't that great in terms of orgiastic programming results;
think about your hands (and fingers), and all the wasted keystrokes. Damnit.

Scott Hanselman discusses the programmer's hands and how important they are to your career (BC: and of course, your life). Although ReSharper may not indeed save you from some terrible hand condition... Everything helps.

I spent hours a day for years in my past life as a classical musician honing finger movements for ultimate efficiency. Why? Because you want to be able to pick your nose when your 80.

Yes I have a crazy ergo keyboard and trackball rat.

In any case. My comment to the unbelievers is:

Have fun wasting your time. [loser]

I am in no way affiliated with ReSharper, JetBrains, or any other Visual Studio plugin like CodeRush. I'm just a coder d00d. But, like me, if you're in a situation where the company you work for supports time-saving tools for their developers, then you need some sort of Visual Studio add-on (or whatever IDE) like this.

I've tried "convincing" other developers and showing them how awesome it is--turning a huge list of private items to public getter/setters should have been enough--but no one seems to care! For me: incorporating, LINQ and extension methods in 3.0 is the best part. For months I dealt with all the broken [looking] LINQ queries with ReSharper 3.1--but no more!

So to anyone that hasn't tried it for Visual Studio 2008... here are the ReSharper 4.0 nightly builds for your pleasure...

And for anyone else I say: remember your digits... and I give thee this.

broken developer finger

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Whether you're into test driven development (TDD) or test after development (TAD), or you're into having your code get br0xored by not testing (doh!)... unit testing is all over the development world. You're a silly-goose if you haven't heard about it. In any case, using Visual Studio's post-build event process is a nice way of making sure your tests are always executed after a build. Though this isn't news to most developer 'dudes,' it surely made me all hot and steamy when I did it!

To do it you'll need the following:

  • Visual Studio (no duh)
  • Some sort of command line unit test app... like nunit console
  • A new pair of pants after you see how rad this is.

So, you go here:
Visual Studio -> Project Properties -> Build Events

And add this line, pointing nunit-console to the DLL of your project:

"C:\Program Files\nunit\nunit-console.exe" "C:\SVN\Proj\trunk\ProjTestProj\bin\Release\ProjTestProj.dll"

And that's it! Get ready for the hotness!

But wait! There's more!

As an added bonus... I add this line before the line above...

copy /Y "$(ProjectDir)Web.config" "C:\SVN\Proj\trunk\ProjTestProj\App.config"

This enables "Unit testing" (or more like expectation testing) of the Web.config file by copying it over to the Unit Test project as App.config. When this happens, you would be able to talk to it in your Test project via the ConfigurationManager. For example:

Assert.AreEqual("666", ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["SomeImportantNumber"]);

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Heavy Metal Rock and Roll.

Tired of seeing 10,343 error emails when your application blows up? So you finally took a hint and got around to logging your web application. Good work, you're another step closer to being a rock and roll geek dude.

Log4Net is a great choice for all of your logging needs. I'll assume that you have log4net correctly installed and it's giving you some sort of output. If not, the mighty Phil Haack has written about configuring log4net numerous times. Rock your Loggin'

I have two Log4Net xml config files that I switch between using debug and release preprocessor directives (Too lazy to change one for releases [They're virtually the same except for priority value]). Having the log4net config outside of web.config won't make the app restart if you need to make a change to it while it's in the wild (hot) (though won't show updates until app restart).

There are a bunch of log4net example configs available for download on the Log4Net website. I have included here the log4net config file that I am using on my latest project.

The Reasons:

Here is why I like the following log4net setup:

  • The current log keeps its static name of "log-file.txt." Paired with something like Log4Net Viewer or baretail (my preference) and the scrolling appender option, it is WICKED easy to watch the logging action as it happens in real time.
  • It will create a new log for each day or if the max size is reached (I have it set to 15mb here and 14 logs).
  • Logs are named in such a way that viewing past logs is easy... log-file.txtYYYYMMDD is what I have here where YYYYMMDD will be replaced by the actual year, month, day. (In the case where you have might have multiple logs per day, a number will be appended to the file name log-file.txtYYYYMMDD.1, log-file.txtYYYYMMDD.2, etc.).
  • What is sexier than logging?

On to the goodies...

The Config:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<section name="log4net" type="log4net.Config.Log4NetConfigurationSectionHandler,log4net"/>
<priority value="Info"/>
<appender-ref ref="RollingFileAppender"/>

<appender name="RollingFileAppender" type="log4net.Appender.RollingFileAppender">
<file value="C:\\Path\\To\\Your\\log-file.txt" />
<appendToFile value="true" />
<rollingStyle value="Composite" />
<maxSizeRollBackups value="14" />
<maximumFileSize value="15000KB" />
<datePattern value="yyyyMMdd" />
<staticLogFileName value="true" />
<layout type="log4net.Layout.PatternLayout">
<conversionPattern value="{%level}%date{MM/dd HH:mm:ss} - %message%newline"/>

The End:

In closing, I hope you have some sort of logging strategy for your application, using my log4net config or not, it will lead you even closer to being rocktaclar, and that is veddie nice.

Thumbs Up!
I like the log! Niiiiice.

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So, you've got a remote desktop connection that has gone haywire. Looks like explorer has hung up, and crashed.

For some reason you're on your Vista boot camped-MacBook so the Control+Alt+End key combination is nonexistent. You were smart enough to install Launchy 'cuz it rokks and 'cuz Mike Duncan said so. What do you do?! Never fear... Launchy to the rescue!

(Sexy new Launchy 2.0 interface.)

There are all sorts of hot features with Launchy besides opening applications. Searching google, calculations, weather, indexing... If you're like me, then you like to use your keyboard more than your rat mouse. (I wish I could get a MacBook type trackpad built into my MS ergonomic keyboard). Then I'd give that rodent to the ratatatCATs.

Now at version 2.0 all you need to do is a little Alt+Space action to bring up that beast. Type "explorer" to bring your desktop back from the dead and you're back in business. Baby.


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So I came across this post about the uncommon features of C# when I thought I'd add one of my own that I recently learned from the master of HttpContext.Current.Items, none other than Mike Duncan.

It's the good 'ol coalesce operator (??). Yeah, yeah, you've heard of it in SQL and the like, but it's pretty hot in C#. It will return the first non-null item from a group of two or more objects. Here's an example noting the hottest card game ever made!

So you love your multi-keyed keyboard shortcuts in Visual Studio, well I do too. The best part about them is the message that pops up after you eff it up! "(Ctrl+K) was pressed. Waiting for second key of chord." Key of chord? Am I getting ready to modulate?

So I was just thinking, how will anyone know which C# I'm talking about?! I guess I should have named this 'Db to C#,' because it would have been clear that the "C#" referred to the programming language, and the Db to music. For those of you coders that don't know, Db and C# are enharmonic equivalents (Db==C#), duh!

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