Creating Intelligent Bots Using the Microsoft Bot Framework

Azure, Microsoft's cloud, provides dozens of services to make cloud development fast without the need to worry about infrastructure such as hardware. In this article, Jakub Kaczmarek explains the benefits and challenges of creating a bot using the Microsoft Bot Framework found on Azure. He also walks you through creating a simple bot.… Read more

Hacking Visual Studio

Visual Studio, like any Integrated Development Environment, can host extensions for more specialist languages or development tasks. This sort of work is reasonably straightforward most of the time but occasionally you need functionality that isn't available in the APIs. Michal takes two examples, printing code in an editing window, and gaining access to the Visual Studio Notifications, and explains how to hack Visual Studio to get to the functionality.… Read more

Working with Angular and its Technology Stack in .NET

Angular is a great way of creating single-page applications that are easily testable, and have Dependency Injection and Separation of Concerns built-in with the framework. However, it faces you with having to make architectural choices and the best choice depends on the needs of the project, the team's expertise, and the deadlines. So how do you get started, and which is the right path for your particular application?… Read more

Abstracting System Time in ASP.NET Applications

When designing web applications, it is a good idea to be cautious about the way you handle the time of day and calendar. It can get complicated when you have servers in different time zones and the user of the time-sensitive application may, or may not, want his local time, including daylight-saving adjustments, to be assumed. Problems pop up unexpectedly, so maybe it is better to tackle the issue up-front. Dino Esposito explains.… Read more

Managing the Password of the Application’s User

How can you ensure that passwords conform to a policy, even if they are used for connecting applications to databases? Absolving them from the policy is a security risk and you don't want to trouble the users with password changes. Dennes Torres shows how to manage application users’ passwords in Entity Framework; so that no one, not even the database and IT administrators, knows the current password.… Read more

Creating a C++/CLI Wrapper

The C++/CLI is a dialect of C++ that is designed to work with the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI). It is a replacement for 'Managed C++' and makes every feature of the CLI easily accessible from C++. Mircea demonstrates the architecture that is involved in a C++/CLI wrapper that allows you to use both managed and unmanaged code, and to provide the choice of controlling memory directly.… Read more

Using SQL Server Query Hints with Entity Framework

Entity Framework (EF) is designed to work with a variety of data sources. Although this presents many advantages, there is a downside that many of the special features of a data source such as SQL Server are off-limits. Query Hints are an example: though often misused, they are occasionally important. Dennes Torres shows how you can use these in EF, using a command interceptor that will allow you to use any query hint with SQL Server.… Read more

Visual Studio 2017 and Swagger: Building and Documenting Web APIs

The OpenAPI ‘Swagger’ Specification defines a protocol that allows applications to discover, and generate documentation of methods, parameters and models of REST APIs, This provides a way for any software to identify the features of a REST API. It does for REST APIs what WSDL (Web Service Description Language) did for web services. Visual Studio now provides it to support proxy creation for REST APIs, as Dennes Torres explains.… Read more

Control the Controller in ASP.NET MVC

Because of its obvious importance in coordinating the MVC application, we tend to be wary of being too adventurous with it, but there are some interesting features that can sometimes be exploited to provide for less common requirements. The controller in ASP.NET MVC core, for example, can be a plain-old C# class (POCO), making it easier to create file-based content on the fly. The DefaultControllerFactory class can be changed, and you can override the GetControllerType method with a custom factory to give you localized routes and URLs. Dino explores some of the interesting internals of ASP.NET MVC controllers… Read more

A Visual Lexicon of LINQ

LINQ is best learned from examples, but few LINQ resources supply, along with the code, pictures that illustrate what each associated LINQ operator in the code is doing. This article is a visual index of all LINQ operators, that explain clearly with code and illustrations what even the most arcane LINQ operators actually do. To increase your enlightenment, it is accompanied with a reference chart to provide even more detail. Michael Sorens is, with these two articles, determined to persuade you of the power of LINQ.… Read more

A Visual Lexicon of LINQ: The Wallchart

Here is a handy wallchart that condenses the information contained in our article 'The Visual LINQ Lexicon' even further, but which adds some more technical specs that allow you, for example, to see at a glance which operators use deferred execution and which use immediate execution. You can use it to see what operators use lambda syntax and which ones are available in query syntax. You can see all the other key properties of all the LINQ operators, even including even how much of a sequence a given operator actually consumes. Click here to download the PDF version of the reference chart: … Read more

Ten Unsung Visual Studio Time-Savers

We all have our favourite third-party extensions to Visual Studio, and although we all like Resharper, there are many others that could well make your development work easier. To celebrate the fact that Visual Studio Enterprise now includes ReadyRoll Core, SQL Prompt Core, and SQL Search as part of the Data storage and processing workload, Michael Sorens describes nine of his current favourite extensions, and wonders if he's missing anything in his list.… Read more

Scala and Apache Spark in Tandem as a Next-Generation ETL Framework

Scala and Apache Spark might seem an unlikely medium for implementing an ETL process, but there are reasons for considering it as an alternative. After all, many Big Data solutions are ideally suited to the preparation of data for input into a relational database, and Scala is a well thought-out and expressive language. Krzysztof Stanaszek describes some of the advantages and disadvantages of a scala-based approach to implementing and testing an ETL solution. … Read more