Migrating an ASP.NET MVC application to ADFS authentication

I recently built an ASP.NET application at work to help track internal use of our products. It's been really well received, but only a few days after launch one of our managers came over and asked if we could move the site to Azure so that people didn't need to be in the office or on the VPN. Getting sites published on Azure itself is fairly easy with the publishing tools in Visual Studio - but dealing with authentication itself is a bit more difficult. The site uses Windows authentication - not something suitable for use on Azure.

Migrating an ASP.NET MVC application to ADFS authentication

I recently built an ASP.NET application at work to help track internal use of our products. It's been really well received, but only a few days after launch one of our managers came over and asked if we could move the site to Azure so that people didn't need to be in the office or on the VPN. Getting sites published on Azure itself is fairly easy with the publishing tools in Visual Studio - but dealing with authentication itself is a bit more difficult. The site uses Windows authentication - not something suitable for use on Azure.

Not Allowed words for Windows Live Connect

Microsoft doesn't want writing Live Connect apps to be an award-ing experience apparently:

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/4a014673-89d7-40ca-91b4-77...

I get that they might not want people using obvious expletives in the names of applications, but the word "award"? Looking at the above thread it looks like a work experience/student jobs site in the Netherlands also can't use Live Connect because of their name.

How to (ab)use your monopoly position to screw customers

Warning - really rant filled blog post ahead...

So last Friday our phone and broadband fell over. I'd had an SMS during the day from my ISP warning it had fallen over, but given it popped up a few hours later I didn't think anything of it. Until it unceremoniously fell over again in the evening. I'd spotted a BT engineer up the pole behind the house in the morning so my immediate thought was they'd messed up the work they'd tried to do.

Connecting to SQL Azure with Python on Ubuntu (using FreeTDS and unixodbc)

After spending several fun hours trying to connect to a SQL Azure instance using Python I've finally been able to get it working on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. There's a few gotchas along the way:

  • FreeTDS supports lots of different versions of the TDS protocol used by SQL, but on most builds it seems to default to a version that doesn't work with Azure - make sure you're connecting using TDS version 7.1 (see below)
  • pymssql seems to use a build of FreeTDS without TLS configured, and in any case getting it installed is a pain compared to apt-get install python-pyodbc. I'd recommend pyodbc even though it's a bit more configuration - your apps will be able to use any unixodbc compliant DBMS in the future.
  • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS ships with an old version of pyodbc that can mangle Unicode. If you're using nvarchar columns (you probably are) then you'll need a newer build - I've built a backport of 3.0.6 that works nicely.
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Installing Apache Solr 3.6 (3.x) on Ubuntu/Debian

I've been playing around with Apache Solr recently on my Windows box as part of a project I'm working on, and yesterday got around to the fun of trying to deploy it out on Ubuntu. There's an apt package for Solr, but unfortunately its not been updated in some time and the maintainers appear unable to work on it - so if you're using apt you're stuck with Solr 1.4. You can however install it straight onto the box. Here I'll be installing Solr 3.6 on Ubuntu 12.04.

Getting Started with Microsoft Ecosystem Metadata Exchange

If you're a developer who has ever dealt with Windows Error Reporting you'll have used the AppMap tool and the WinQual site at some point to create product definitions that allow you to retrieve information about product crashes in the wild. What you might only just have found out is that these have recently been replaced - WinQual is now part of Dev Center, and AppMap has now become the Microsoft Ecosystem Metadata Exchange (I'm sure they didn't just name it so they could give it the acronym MEME :-)).

Creating Custom Project Types with Visual Studio 2010 - Part II

In the previous post we demonstrated how to create an extensions package for Visual Studio and managed to view details of our package in the about dialog. In this walkthrough we'll actually get to the meat and bones of custom project types - referencing MPF for Projects and actually creating a custom project type.

Creating Custom Project Types with Visual Studio 2010 - Part I

Do you maintain a lot of programmatical artefacts that relate closely to what you or your team does? Maybe you have a XML files that store input for systems you’ve built, or some kind of EDI data that needs to be maintained in good order. If you’ve got lots of data of such kind and it could benefit from a user friendly editor or source control a custom project type might be the answer.

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