Tag Archives: Code

A happy cookbook of code recipes.


Best Practices of Version Control

Always use version control. Always… There really is no excuse why you shouldn’t use some form of version control. Not even when you’re a one man army.

I prefer git myself, but all versioning systems have their own advantages, depending on your specific need and competences of your team members. The list below is a uniform cheatsheet for best practices on version control, and was originally setup by the people from Tower.

1. Commit Related Changes

A commit should be a wrapper for related changes. For example, fixing two different bugs should produce two separate commits. Small commits make it easier for other developers to understand the changes and roll them back if something went wrong. With tools like the staging area and the ability to stage only parts of a file, Git makes it easy to create very granular commits.  

2. Commit Often

Committing often keeps your commits small and, again, helps you commit only related changes. Moreover, it allows you to share your code more frequently with others. Sharing is a good thing. That way it’s easier for everyone to integrate changes regularly and avoid having merge conflicts. Having few large commits and sharing them rarely, in contrast, makes it hard to solve conflicts.  

3. Don’t Commit Half-Done Work

You don’t leave the toilet until the job is done. Neither should you commit code until it’s completed. This doesn’t mean you have to complete a whole, large feature before committing. Quite the contrary: split the feature’s implementation into logical chunks and remember to commit early and often. But don’t commit just to have something in the repository before leaving the office at the end of the day. If you’re tempted to commit just because you need a clean working copy (to check out a branch, pull in changes, etc.) consider using Git’s “Stash” feature instead.  

4. Test Before You Commit

Resist the temptation to commit something that you “think” is completed. Test it thoroughly to make sure it really is completed and has no side effects (as far as one can tell). I always ask myself: “Will it blend?” While committing half-baked things in your local repository only requires you to forgive yourself, having your code tested is even more important when it comes to pushing / sharing your code with others. Really, test it – then test it again!

5. Write Good Commit Messages

Begin your message with a short summary of your changes (up to 50 characters as a guideline). Separate it from the following body by including a blank line. The body of your message should provide detailed answers to the following questions: What was the motivation for the change? How does it differ from the previous implementation? Use the imperative, present tense (“change”, not “changed” or “changes”) to be consistent with generated messages from commands like git merge.

6. Version Control is not a Backup System

Having your files backed up on a remote server is a nice side effect of having a version control system. But you should not use your VCS like it was a backup system. When doing version control, you should pay attention to committing semantically (see “related changes”) – you shouldn’t just cram in files.  

7. Use Branches

Branching is one of Git’s most powerful features – and this is not by accident: quick and easy branching was a central requirement from day one. Branches are the perfect tool to help you avoid mixing up different lines of development. You should use branches extensively in your development workflows: for new features, bug fixes, ideas…  

8. Agree on a Workflow

Git lets you pick from a lot of different workflows: long-running branches, topic branches, merge or rebase, git-flow… Which one you choose depends on a couple of factors: your project, your overall development and deployment workflows and (maybe most importantly) on your and your teammates’ personal preferences. However you choose to work, just make sure to agree on a common workflow that everyone follows.

Credits and much more elaborate tips and trics for this article go to Git Tower.


Search entire SQL Server database and all tables for a specified string

Having a neatly organized datalayer, perhaps a great ORM will make any developers life easier. But there are times when the best architecture simply isn’t good enough to answer a simply question like: “Are there any occurences of ‘a-specific-peace-of-text’ in the database?”. Sometimes you just need to look through all the tables and views to answer this.

Trivial, but inevitable.

Luckily, using the stored procedure defined below, originally by Narayana Vyas Kondreddi, this becomes a breeze. Simply create it in the database and use it like so:

exec SearchAllTables ‘gummy bears’;

This executes a case insensitive search on all tables in the relevant database, and neatly spits out the fields where the string occurs in.

Here is the stored procedure:

CREATE PROC SearchAllTables ( @SearchStr nvarchar(100) ) AS BEGIN

-- Copyright © 2002 Narayana Vyas Kondreddi. All rights reserved.
-- Purpose: To search all columns of all tables for a given search string
-- Written by: Narayana Vyas Kondreddi
-- Site: http://vyaskn.tripod.com + http://stackoverflow.com/questions/436351/how-do-i-find-a-value-anywhere-in-a-sql-server-database
-- Tested on: SQL Server 7.0 and SQL Server 2000
-- Date modified: 28th July 2002 22:50 GMT

DECLARE @Results TABLE(ColumnName nvarchar(370), ColumnValue nvarchar(3630))


DECLARE @TableName nvarchar(256), @ColumnName nvarchar(128), @SearchStr2 nvarchar(110)
SET  @TableName = ''
SET @SearchStr2 = QUOTENAME('%' + @SearchStr + '%','''')

    SET @ColumnName = ''
    SET @TableName = 
                        QUOTENAME(TABLE_SCHEMA) + '.' + QUOTENAME(TABLE_NAME)
                         ), 'IsMSShipped'
                           ) = 0

    WHILE (@TableName IS NOT NULL) AND (@ColumnName IS NOT NULL)
        SET @ColumnName =
            WHERE       TABLE_SCHEMA    = PARSENAME(@TableName, 2)
                AND TABLE_NAME  = PARSENAME(@TableName, 1)
                AND DATA_TYPE IN ('char', 'varchar', 'nchar', 'nvarchar')
                AND QUOTENAME(COLUMN_NAME) > @ColumnName

        IF @ColumnName IS NOT NULL
            INSERT INTO @Results
                'SELECT ''' + @TableName + '.' + @ColumnName + ''', LEFT(' + @ColumnName + ', 3630) 
                FROM ' + @TableName + ' (NOLOCK) ' +
                ' WHERE ' + @ColumnName + ' LIKE ' + @SearchStr2

SELECT ColumnName, ColumnValue FROM @Results



ASP.NET MVC 5 Template for Xamarin Studio

Recently the latest version of Xamarin Studio has been released, along with Mono 3.4. And honestly, no one can deny that cross platform .NET development just keeps on getting better and better. I still see a great future for especially Mono if the open source community and the people at Xamarin manage to keep their current pace of improvements. #kudos++

Although with every update of both Xamarin and Mono the bar is set higher, some fields of interest seem to be lacking to get updated. Clearly the mobile platforms, like iOS, Android and Windows Phone seem to get all the attention. But the web platform seems to lose focus in the Xamarin/Mono tagteam, especially ASP.NET.

For example, the native template for ASP.NET is still set to version 3. Which was the non-MyGet version, if you remember. And that means b*tchy to update and cumbersome to update to recent versions. However, it is still possible to actually run and debug new ASP.NET MVC sites on Mono.

To this end, I’ve created a simple and clean setup for a Xamarin project that allows you to run an ASP.NET MVC 5.1 site on Mac OSX. In short:

Fork it on GitHub

Grab a fresh copy from the git repo and you’ll get:

  • A clean ASP.NET MVC 5 application with RAZOR support
  • Can be run entirely from Xamarin Studio on Mac OSX
  • Can be updated and extended through NuGet
  • It just works…

Known Issues

Do note that an Empty ASP.NET MVC 5 project created in Visual Studio won’t run by default in Xamarin. You have to plumb a bit here and there. If you’re curious on what you need to do to make things blend on Xamarin Studio on Mac, take a look at the changes I’ve made in the repo.

Tip: Want to reproduce it yourself? All required changes to run ASP.NET MVC 5 on Mac are neatly documented as seperate commits.

To summarize these changes, the current limitations for a clean setup seems to be:

  • App relative paths don’t work, e.g. using tildes like ~/assets/style.css
  • The view’s web.config has teh disabled
  • Mono currently supports .NET 4.5, not 4.5.1
  • routes.LowerCaseUrls isn’t supported (yet)
  • System.Web.Entity reference isn’t supported (yet)

Create large files with a specific size

In order to test the latency on a specific server configuration, we simply wanted to test the throughput rate of downloading large files. The only question is: how can you efficiently create several (large) files with an exact size?

As easy as two lines, I can tell you. The snippet below basically writes a file with spaces, using a stream, until the designated size is reached. This to accomplish an exact file size.

    /// <summary>
    /// Creates a file with a specific size.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="outputFilePath">The full output path for the file. Overwrites if exists.</param>
    /// <param name="length">Filesize in bytes</param>
    static void CreateFileWithSpecificSize(string outputFilePath, long length)
        using (var stream = new FileStream(outputFilePath, FileMode.Create, FileAccess.Write, FileShare.None))

Drop an entire collection in RavenDB

Deleting a single document in RavenDB is easy. Deleting several documents is too. Deleting an entire collection of N-documents isn’t supported by default.

Here is a great extension that deletes an entire collection from your RavenDB document store:

    /// <summary>
    /// Deletes, or 'drops', an entire collection from the datastore, by the specified type.
    /// </summary>
    public void Drop<T>()
        // Determine the concrete type of T
        Type g = typeof (T);

        // Delete the entire collection
            // ouch, be weary of the 's' suffix here (pluralization thingie)
            new IndexQuery { Query = "Tag:" + g.Name + "s" },
            allowStale: true

Iterate through a hierarchical list of infinite child elements

Example that flattens a nested and, possibly infinite, hierarchical list of child elements.

    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            // Create dummy categories - not especially pretty
            var categories = new List();
            categories.AddRange(new List()
                                        new Category(){ Id = 1, Name = "Cat1", Children = new List()
                                                                                                  new Category(){ Id = 101, Name = "Subcat1"},
                                                                                                  new Category(){ Id = 102, Name = "Subcat2"},
                                                                                                  new Category(){ Id = 103, Name = "Subcat3WithChildren", Children = new List()
                                                                                                                                                                             new Category() { Id = 10301, Name = "Subcat1-sub1" },
                                                                                                                                                                             new Category() { Id = 10302, Name = "Subcat1-sub2" }
                                        new Category() { Id = 2, Name = "Cat2"}

            // Flatten the nesteded list of *child* categories
            var flatCategories = new List();
            foreach (var rootCategory in categories)

            // Spit out the results
            foreach (var cat in flatCategories)



        /// Iterates through a list of child categories. 
        /// Note that this skips the parent categories, and focusses only on the children.
        private static IEnumerable IterateChildCategories(Category parent)
            if (parent.Children == null) yield break;

            foreach (var g in parent.Children)
                yield return g;

                foreach (var sub in IterateChildCategories(g))
                    yield return sub;

        public class Category
            public int Id { get; set; }
            public string Name { get; set; }
            public List Children { get; set; }

            public Category()
                this.Children = new List();