Sep 15 2016

How to add an SQL Table to a Microsoft Access application

I was having a weird time getting a new Sql Table to work properly in an Access application.  The problem is that this app has not had a new table added for several years so I kept chasing red herrings.  Ultimately here are the steps that work for me…

 

WHAT TO DO TO ADD AN A TABLE TO Sql

1.  Be sure to NOT forget to set the permissions on the table like this…
    GRANT INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, SELECT, VIEW DEFINITION ON <NEW_TABLE_NAME> TO MYDB  Ultimately this was the step I forgot.
    
    DO NOT link the table to Access until the permissions have been set.

2.  When adding the table as a new linked table into  the app, use a FILE DSN.  Using a System DSN may have contributed to the issue as well.  Click the Save Password checkbox when linking it in.
   
3.  Remove the dbo_ from the front of the table name in Access.

4.  Your Access app needs a RefreshTableLinks process as described all over the place (just google refresh sql table links in msaccess).  Run that after adding the table.  Here is an example. 

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/564265/how-to-refresh-linked-tables-in-an-access-mdb-when-odbc-changes

Aug 12 2016

How can you create a c# class that creates instances of itself using a static method but still has access to the instance methods and properties?

I am trying to create a class that can create itself using a static method but where you can still access the instance member after it creates itself. Why am I finding this so hard to do?

public class Widget
{
  public static Widget Init()
  {
    return new Widget();
  }

  public string WidgetUPC {get; set;}
}

...when I create an instance like this...

var w = Widget.Init();

I cannot set the property like this...

w.WidgetUPC = 'someUPC';

The instance Why not?

What changes can I make to get this to work?

Jun 28 2016

Awesome SQL 2005 script for generating Insert statements of your data.

In the past when I needed a way to generate INSERT STATEMENTS for database rows I have looked to the excellent script of Narayana Vyas Kondreddi located at the following URL.  (The INSERT script is one of many fabulous scripts on this page.)

http://vyaskn.tripod.com/code.htm#inserts

This web page links to the following text page that has the actually script.

http://vyaskn.tripod.com/code/generate_inserts_2005.txt

However, today when I needed a fresh copy the website was returning a 403 error message.  I was able to find it in the google cache but it was rather a pain.   So, for posterity, I include the script

 

SET NOCOUNT ON
GO

PRINT 'Using Master database'
USE master
GO

PRINT 'Checking for the existence of this procedure'
IF (SELECT OBJECT_ID('sp_generate_inserts','P')) IS NOT NULL --means, the procedure already exists
	BEGIN
		PRINT 'Procedure already exists. So, dropping it'
		DROP PROC sp_generate_inserts
	END
GO

CREATE PROC sp_generate_inserts
(
	@table_name varchar(776),  		-- The table/view for which the INSERT statements will be generated using the existing data
	@target_table varchar(776) = NULL, 	-- Use this parameter to specify a different table name into which the data will be inserted
	@include_column_list bit = 1,		-- Use this parameter to include/ommit column list in the generated INSERT statement
	@from varchar(800) = NULL, 		-- Use this parameter to filter the rows based on a filter condition (using WHERE)
	@include_timestamp bit = 0, 		-- Specify 1 for this parameter, if you want to include the TIMESTAMP/ROWVERSION column's data in the INSERT statement
	@debug_mode bit = 0,			-- If @debug_mode is set to 1, the SQL statements constructed by this procedure will be printed for later examination
	@owner varchar(64) = NULL,		-- Use this parameter if you are not the owner of the table
	@ommit_images bit = 0,			-- Use this parameter to generate INSERT statements by omitting the 'image' columns
	@ommit_identity bit = 0,		-- Use this parameter to ommit the identity columns
	@top int = NULL,			-- Use this parameter to generate INSERT statements only for the TOP n rows
	@cols_to_include varchar(8000) = NULL,	-- List of columns to be included in the INSERT statement
	@cols_to_exclude varchar(8000) = NULL,	-- List of columns to be excluded from the INSERT statement
	@disable_constraints bit = 0,		-- When 1, disables foreign key constraints and enables them after the INSERT statements
	@ommit_computed_cols bit = 0		-- When 1, computed columns will not be included in the INSERT statement
	
)
AS
BEGIN

/***********************************************************************************************************
Procedure:	sp_generate_inserts  (Build 22) 
		(Copyright © 2002 Narayana Vyas Kondreddi. All rights reserved.)
                                          
Purpose:	To generate INSERT statements from existing data. 
		These INSERTS can be executed to regenerate the data at some other location.
		This procedure is also useful to create a database setup, where in you can 
		script your data along with your table definitions.

Written by:	Narayana Vyas Kondreddi
	        http://vyaskn.tripod.com

Acknowledgements:
		Divya Kalra	-- For beta testing
		Mark Charsley	-- For reporting a problem with scripting uniqueidentifier columns with NULL values
		Artur Zeygman	-- For helping me simplify a bit of code for handling non-dbo owned tables
		Joris Laperre   -- For reporting a regression bug in handling text/ntext columns

Tested on: 	SQL Server 7.0 and SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005

Date created:	January 17th 2001 21:52 GMT

Date modified:	May 1st 2002 19:50 GMT

Email: 		vyaskn@hotmail.com

NOTE:		This procedure may not work with tables with too many columns.
		Results can be unpredictable with huge text columns or SQL Server 2000's sql_variant data types
		Whenever possible, Use @include_column_list parameter to ommit column list in the INSERT statement, for better results
		IMPORTANT: This procedure is not tested with internation data (Extended characters or Unicode). If needed
		you might want to convert the datatypes of character variables in this procedure to their respective unicode counterparts
		like nchar and nvarchar

		ALSO NOTE THAT THIS PROCEDURE IS NOT UPDATED TO WORK WITH NEW DATA TYPES INTRODUCED IN SQL SERVER 2005 / YUKON
		

Example 1:	To generate INSERT statements for table 'titles':
		
		EXEC sp_generate_inserts 'titles'

Example 2: 	To ommit the column list in the INSERT statement: (Column list is included by default)
		IMPORTANT: If you have too many columns, you are advised to ommit column list, as shown below,
		to avoid erroneous results
		
		EXEC sp_generate_inserts 'titles', @include_column_list = 0

Example 3:	To generate INSERT statements for 'titlesCopy' table from 'titles' table:

		EXEC sp_generate_inserts 'titles', 'titlesCopy'

Example 4:	To generate INSERT statements for 'titles' table for only those titles 
		which contain the word 'Computer' in them:
		NOTE: Do not complicate the FROM or WHERE clause here. It's assumed that you are good with T-SQL if you are using this parameter

		EXEC sp_generate_inserts 'titles', @from = "from titles where title like '%Computer%'"

Example 5: 	To specify that you want to include TIMESTAMP column's data as well in the INSERT statement:
		(By default TIMESTAMP column's data is not scripted)

		EXEC sp_generate_inserts 'titles', @include_timestamp = 1

Example 6:	To print the debug information:
  
		EXEC sp_generate_inserts 'titles', @debug_mode = 1

Example 7: 	If you are not the owner of the table, use @owner parameter to specify the owner name
		To use this option, you must have SELECT permissions on that table

		EXEC sp_generate_inserts Nickstable, @owner = 'Nick'

Example 8: 	To generate INSERT statements for the rest of the columns excluding images
		When using this otion, DO NOT set @include_column_list parameter to 0.

		EXEC sp_generate_inserts imgtable, @ommit_images = 1

Example 9: 	To generate INSERT statements excluding (ommiting) IDENTITY columns:
		(By default IDENTITY columns are included in the INSERT statement)

		EXEC sp_generate_inserts mytable, @ommit_identity = 1

Example 10: 	To generate INSERT statements for the TOP 10 rows in the table:
		
		EXEC sp_generate_inserts mytable, @top = 10

Example 11: 	To generate INSERT statements with only those columns you want:
		
		EXEC sp_generate_inserts titles, @cols_to_include = "'title','title_id','au_id'"

Example 12: 	To generate INSERT statements by omitting certain columns:
		
		EXEC sp_generate_inserts titles, @cols_to_exclude = "'title','title_id','au_id'"

Example 13:	To avoid checking the foreign key constraints while loading data with INSERT statements:
		
		EXEC sp_generate_inserts titles, @disable_constraints = 1

Example 14: 	To exclude computed columns from the INSERT statement:
		EXEC sp_generate_inserts MyTable, @ommit_computed_cols = 1
***********************************************************************************************************/

SET NOCOUNT ON

--Making sure user only uses either @cols_to_include or @cols_to_exclude
IF ((@cols_to_include IS NOT NULL) AND (@cols_to_exclude IS NOT NULL))
	BEGIN
		RAISERROR('Use either @cols_to_include or @cols_to_exclude. Do not use both the parameters at once',16,1)
		RETURN -1 --Failure. Reason: Both @cols_to_include and @cols_to_exclude parameters are specified
	END

--Making sure the @cols_to_include and @cols_to_exclude parameters are receiving values in proper format
IF ((@cols_to_include IS NOT NULL) AND (PATINDEX('''%''',@cols_to_include) = 0))
	BEGIN
		RAISERROR('Invalid use of @cols_to_include property',16,1)
		PRINT 'Specify column names surrounded by single quotes and separated by commas'
		PRINT 'Eg: EXEC sp_generate_inserts titles, @cols_to_include = "''title_id'',''title''"'
		RETURN -1 --Failure. Reason: Invalid use of @cols_to_include property
	END

IF ((@cols_to_exclude IS NOT NULL) AND (PATINDEX('''%''',@cols_to_exclude) = 0))
	BEGIN
		RAISERROR('Invalid use of @cols_to_exclude property',16,1)
		PRINT 'Specify column names surrounded by single quotes and separated by commas'
		PRINT 'Eg: EXEC sp_generate_inserts titles, @cols_to_exclude = "''title_id'',''title''"'
		RETURN -1 --Failure. Reason: Invalid use of @cols_to_exclude property
	END


--Checking to see if the database name is specified along wih the table name
--Your database context should be local to the table for which you want to generate INSERT statements
--specifying the database name is not allowed
IF (PARSENAME(@table_name,3)) IS NOT NULL
	BEGIN
		RAISERROR('Do not specify the database name. Be in the required database and just specify the table name.',16,1)
		RETURN -1 --Failure. Reason: Database name is specified along with the table name, which is not allowed
	END

--Checking for the existence of 'user table' or 'view'
--This procedure is not written to work on system tables
--To script the data in system tables, just create a view on the system tables and script the view instead

IF @owner IS NULL
	BEGIN
		IF ((OBJECT_ID(@table_name,'U') IS NULL) AND (OBJECT_ID(@table_name,'V') IS NULL)) 
			BEGIN
				RAISERROR('User table or view not found.',16,1)
				PRINT 'You may see this error, if you are not the owner of this table or view. In that case use @owner parameter to specify the owner name.'
				PRINT 'Make sure you have SELECT permission on that table or view.'
				RETURN -1 --Failure. Reason: There is no user table or view with this name
			END
	END
ELSE
	BEGIN
		IF NOT EXISTS (SELECT 1 FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLES WHERE TABLE_NAME = @table_name AND (TABLE_TYPE = 'BASE TABLE' OR TABLE_TYPE = 'VIEW') AND TABLE_SCHEMA = @owner)
			BEGIN
				RAISERROR('User table or view not found.',16,1)
				PRINT 'You may see this error, if you are not the owner of this table. In that case use @owner parameter to specify the owner name.'
				PRINT 'Make sure you have SELECT permission on that table or view.'
				RETURN -1 --Failure. Reason: There is no user table or view with this name		
			END
	END

--Variable declarations
DECLARE		@Column_ID int, 		
		@Column_List varchar(8000), 
		@Column_Name varchar(128), 
		@Start_Insert varchar(786), 
		@Data_Type varchar(128), 
		@Actual_Values varchar(8000),	--This is the string that will be finally executed to generate INSERT statements
		@IDN varchar(128)		--Will contain the IDENTITY column's name in the table

--Variable Initialization
SET @IDN = ''
SET @Column_ID = 0
SET @Column_Name = ''
SET @Column_List = ''
SET @Actual_Values = ''

IF @owner IS NULL 
	BEGIN
		SET @Start_Insert = 'INSERT INTO ' + '[' + RTRIM(COALESCE(@target_table,@table_name)) + ']' 
	END
ELSE
	BEGIN
		SET @Start_Insert = 'INSERT ' + '[' + LTRIM(RTRIM(@owner)) + '].' + '[' + RTRIM(COALESCE(@target_table,@table_name)) + ']' 		
	END


--To get the first column's ID

SELECT	@Column_ID = MIN(ORDINAL_POSITION) 	
FROM	INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS (NOLOCK) 
WHERE 	TABLE_NAME = @table_name AND
(@owner IS NULL OR TABLE_SCHEMA = @owner)



--Loop through all the columns of the table, to get the column names and their data types
WHILE @Column_ID IS NOT NULL
	BEGIN
		SELECT 	@Column_Name = QUOTENAME(COLUMN_NAME), 
		@Data_Type = DATA_TYPE 
		FROM 	INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS (NOLOCK) 
		WHERE 	ORDINAL_POSITION = @Column_ID AND 
		TABLE_NAME = @table_name AND
		(@owner IS NULL OR TABLE_SCHEMA = @owner)



		IF @cols_to_include IS NOT NULL --Selecting only user specified columns
		BEGIN
			IF CHARINDEX( '''' + SUBSTRING(@Column_Name,2,LEN(@Column_Name)-2) + '''',@cols_to_include) = 0 
			BEGIN
				GOTO SKIP_LOOP
			END
		END

		IF @cols_to_exclude IS NOT NULL --Selecting only user specified columns
		BEGIN
			IF CHARINDEX( '''' + SUBSTRING(@Column_Name,2,LEN(@Column_Name)-2) + '''',@cols_to_exclude) <> 0 
			BEGIN
				GOTO SKIP_LOOP
			END
		END

		--Making sure to output SET IDENTITY_INSERT ON/OFF in case the table has an IDENTITY column
		IF (SELECT COLUMNPROPERTY( OBJECT_ID(QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@owner,USER_NAME())) + '.' + @table_name),SUBSTRING(@Column_Name,2,LEN(@Column_Name) - 2),'IsIdentity')) = 1 
		BEGIN
			IF @ommit_identity = 0 --Determing whether to include or exclude the IDENTITY column
				SET @IDN = @Column_Name
			ELSE
				GOTO SKIP_LOOP			
		END
		
		--Making sure whether to output computed columns or not
		IF @ommit_computed_cols = 1
		BEGIN
			IF (SELECT COLUMNPROPERTY( OBJECT_ID(QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@owner,USER_NAME())) + '.' + @table_name),SUBSTRING(@Column_Name,2,LEN(@Column_Name) - 2),'IsComputed')) = 1 
			BEGIN
				GOTO SKIP_LOOP					
			END
		END
		
		--Tables with columns of IMAGE data type are not supported for obvious reasons
		IF(@Data_Type in ('image'))
			BEGIN
				IF (@ommit_images = 0)
					BEGIN
						RAISERROR('Tables with image columns are not supported.',16,1)
						PRINT 'Use @ommit_images = 1 parameter to generate INSERTs for the rest of the columns.'
						PRINT 'DO NOT ommit Column List in the INSERT statements. If you ommit column list using @include_column_list=0, the generated INSERTs will fail.'
						RETURN -1 --Failure. Reason: There is a column with image data type
					END
				ELSE
					BEGIN
					GOTO SKIP_LOOP
					END
			END

		--Determining the data type of the column and depending on the data type, the VALUES part of
		--the INSERT statement is generated. Care is taken to handle columns with NULL values. Also
		--making sure, not to lose any data from flot, real, money, smallmomey, datetime columns
		SET @Actual_Values = @Actual_Values  +
		CASE 
			WHEN @Data_Type IN ('char','varchar','nchar','nvarchar') 
				THEN 
					'COALESCE('''''''' + REPLACE(RTRIM(' + @Column_Name + '),'''''''','''''''''''')+'''''''',''NULL'')'
			WHEN @Data_Type IN ('datetime','smalldatetime') 
				THEN 
					'COALESCE('''''''' + RTRIM(CONVERT(char,' + @Column_Name + ',109))+'''''''',''NULL'')'
			WHEN @Data_Type IN ('uniqueidentifier') 
				THEN  
					'COALESCE('''''''' + REPLACE(CONVERT(char(255),RTRIM(' + @Column_Name + ')),'''''''','''''''''''')+'''''''',''NULL'')'
			WHEN @Data_Type IN ('text','ntext') 
				THEN  
					'COALESCE('''''''' + REPLACE(CONVERT(char(8000),' + @Column_Name + '),'''''''','''''''''''')+'''''''',''NULL'')'					
			WHEN @Data_Type IN ('binary','varbinary') 
				THEN  
					'COALESCE(RTRIM(CONVERT(char,' + 'CONVERT(int,' + @Column_Name + '))),''NULL'')'  
			WHEN @Data_Type IN ('timestamp','rowversion') 
				THEN  
					CASE 
						WHEN @include_timestamp = 0 
							THEN 
								'''DEFAULT''' 
							ELSE 
								'COALESCE(RTRIM(CONVERT(char,' + 'CONVERT(int,' + @Column_Name + '))),''NULL'')'  
					END
			WHEN @Data_Type IN ('float','real','money','smallmoney')
				THEN
					'COALESCE(LTRIM(RTRIM(' + 'CONVERT(char, ' +  @Column_Name  + ',2)' + ')),''NULL'')' 
			ELSE 
				'COALESCE(LTRIM(RTRIM(' + 'CONVERT(char, ' +  @Column_Name  + ')' + ')),''NULL'')' 
		END   + '+' +  ''',''' + ' + '
		
		--Generating the column list for the INSERT statement
		SET @Column_List = @Column_List +  @Column_Name + ','	

		SKIP_LOOP: --The label used in GOTO

		SELECT 	@Column_ID = MIN(ORDINAL_POSITION) 
		FROM 	INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS (NOLOCK) 
		WHERE 	TABLE_NAME = @table_name AND 
		ORDINAL_POSITION > @Column_ID AND
		(@owner IS NULL OR TABLE_SCHEMA = @owner)


	--Loop ends here!
	END

--To get rid of the extra characters that got concatenated during the last run through the loop
SET @Column_List = LEFT(@Column_List,len(@Column_List) - 1)
SET @Actual_Values = LEFT(@Actual_Values,len(@Actual_Values) - 6)

IF LTRIM(@Column_List) = '' 
	BEGIN
		RAISERROR('No columns to select. There should at least be one column to generate the output',16,1)
		RETURN -1 --Failure. Reason: Looks like all the columns are ommitted using the @cols_to_exclude parameter
	END

--Forming the final string that will be executed, to output the INSERT statements
IF (@include_column_list <> 0)
	BEGIN
		SET @Actual_Values = 
			'SELECT ' +  
			CASE WHEN @top IS NULL OR @top < 0 THEN '' ELSE ' TOP ' + LTRIM(STR(@top)) + ' ' END + 
			'''' + RTRIM(@Start_Insert) + 
			' ''+' + '''(' + RTRIM(@Column_List) +  '''+' + ''')''' + 
			' +''VALUES(''+ ' +  @Actual_Values  + '+'')''' + ' ' + 
			COALESCE(@from,' FROM ' + CASE WHEN @owner IS NULL THEN '' ELSE '[' + LTRIM(RTRIM(@owner)) + '].' END + '[' + rtrim(@table_name) + ']' + '(NOLOCK)')
	END
ELSE IF (@include_column_list = 0)
	BEGIN
		SET @Actual_Values = 
			'SELECT ' + 
			CASE WHEN @top IS NULL OR @top < 0 THEN '' ELSE ' TOP ' + LTRIM(STR(@top)) + ' ' END + 
			'''' + RTRIM(@Start_Insert) + 
			' '' +''VALUES(''+ ' +  @Actual_Values + '+'')''' + ' ' + 
			COALESCE(@from,' FROM ' + CASE WHEN @owner IS NULL THEN '' ELSE '[' + LTRIM(RTRIM(@owner)) + '].' END + '[' + rtrim(@table_name) + ']' + '(NOLOCK)')
	END	

--Determining whether to ouput any debug information
IF @debug_mode =1
	BEGIN
		PRINT '/*****START OF DEBUG INFORMATION*****'
		PRINT 'Beginning of the INSERT statement:'
		PRINT @Start_Insert
		PRINT ''
		PRINT 'The column list:'
		PRINT @Column_List
		PRINT ''
		PRINT 'The SELECT statement executed to generate the INSERTs'
		PRINT @Actual_Values
		PRINT ''
		PRINT '*****END OF DEBUG INFORMATION*****/'
		PRINT ''
	END
		
PRINT '--INSERTs generated by ''sp_generate_inserts'' stored procedure written by Vyas'
PRINT '--Build number: 22'
PRINT '--Problems/Suggestions? Contact Vyas @ vyaskn@hotmail.com'
PRINT '--http://vyaskn.tripod.com'
PRINT ''
PRINT 'SET NOCOUNT ON'
PRINT ''


--Determining whether to print IDENTITY_INSERT or not
IF (@IDN <> '')
	BEGIN
		PRINT 'SET IDENTITY_INSERT ' + QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@owner,USER_NAME())) + '.' + QUOTENAME(@table_name) + ' ON'
		PRINT 'GO'
		PRINT ''
	END


IF @disable_constraints = 1 AND (OBJECT_ID(QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@owner,USER_NAME())) + '.' + @table_name, 'U') IS NOT NULL)
	BEGIN
		IF @owner IS NULL
			BEGIN
				SELECT 	'ALTER TABLE ' + QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@target_table, @table_name)) + ' NOCHECK CONSTRAINT ALL' AS '--Code to disable constraints temporarily'
			END
		ELSE
			BEGIN
				SELECT 	'ALTER TABLE ' + QUOTENAME(@owner) + '.' + QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@target_table, @table_name)) + ' NOCHECK CONSTRAINT ALL' AS '--Code to disable constraints temporarily'
			END

		PRINT 'GO'
	END

PRINT ''
PRINT 'PRINT ''Inserting values into ' + '[' + RTRIM(COALESCE(@target_table,@table_name)) + ']' + ''''


--All the hard work pays off here!!! You'll get your INSERT statements, when the next line executes!
EXEC (@Actual_Values)

PRINT 'PRINT ''Done'''
PRINT ''


IF @disable_constraints = 1 AND (OBJECT_ID(QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@owner,USER_NAME())) + '.' + @table_name, 'U') IS NOT NULL)
	BEGIN
		IF @owner IS NULL
			BEGIN
				SELECT 	'ALTER TABLE ' + QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@target_table, @table_name)) + ' CHECK CONSTRAINT ALL'  AS '--Code to enable the previously disabled constraints'
			END
		ELSE
			BEGIN
				SELECT 	'ALTER TABLE ' + QUOTENAME(@owner) + '.' + QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@target_table, @table_name)) + ' CHECK CONSTRAINT ALL' AS '--Code to enable the previously disabled constraints'
			END

		PRINT 'GO'
	END

PRINT ''
IF (@IDN <> '')
	BEGIN
		PRINT 'SET IDENTITY_INSERT ' + QUOTENAME(COALESCE(@owner,USER_NAME())) + '.' + QUOTENAME(@table_name) + ' OFF'
		PRINT 'GO'
	END

PRINT 'SET NOCOUNT OFF'


SET NOCOUNT OFF
RETURN 0 --Success. We are done!
END

GO

PRINT 'Created the procedure'
GO


--Mark procedure as system object
EXEC sys.sp_MS_marksystemobject sp_generate_inserts
GO

PRINT 'Granting EXECUTE permission on sp_generate_inserts to all users'
GRANT EXEC ON sp_generate_inserts TO public

SET NOCOUNT OFF
GO

PRINT 'Done'


Jun 26 2016

The Subversion Users guide to Git: Part 1

Introduction

For the record, I LOVE subversion.  Because I have been a solo developer and a developer on a very small team for a long time, part of me is unsure what all the hubbub is with Git.

But I have accepted the fact that Distributed Version Control (DVCS) and Git are the future.  Rather than resist I have decided to get on board (no pun intended.)

This guide is more about logging what I learn so you should know two things up front.  One, this will not have step-by-step instructions.  To be helpful, you should already be comfortable installing software and using the command line.  Secondly, as I have already confessed I am not an expert…I am learning, too, so I will try to get it right but I am not promising there won’t be errors and mis-calculations.

Finally, this guide will be specifically targeting people who are ALREADY strong Subversion users.   It will be strongly oriented toward mapping what you already know about Subversion to how Git works.  And pointing out the differences.  If you are altogether new to Version Control, this guide will be of limited use to you. This guide will also be mostly Windows specific.

Setting up Windows to use Git.

To setup your system to use Git you should use Chocolatey.  If you are familiar with Chocolatey then you can skip the next paragraph.

Chocolatey is the package manage for Windows.  (Like apt-get for Linux.  )  It allows you to install software from the command line, with amazing ease.  I recently received a new computer for work and I was able to install almost all the software I use from the command prompt…and fast.  So here is the link to install Chocolatey.

Once Chocolatey is installed, there are three packages I recommend you install from the Packages Gallery:

  • Git (choco install git)
  • Git Extensions (choco install gitextensions)
  • Tortoise Git (choco install tortoisegit)

Of course, in the end you only need one Git client.  But there are reason to install all three, at least while you are learning Git.   Here are my thoughts on each one of them.

Git

When you use chocolatey to install Git, you are installing Git for Windows.  It is kind of the “official” Git client for Windows.  It means that, after installing, you can open a command prompt (Win-R…cmd…enter) and type Git commands because Chocolatey automatically puts Git into your PATH environment variable.

image

That is all well and good, but the only thing you installed is the Git command-line client.  Sometime you just want a nice GUI.  And that is what the next two packages are for.

Git Extensions

Git Extension is a Git client that adds “shell integration” to your windows setup.  And, of course, TortoiseGit does the same thing.  (More on that in a moment).  Shell integration is a fancy way of saying that Git Extensions adds Git items to the windows explorer context menu, like this…

image

This is what you see when you Right-Click on a Windows folder that is also a Git local repository.  These menu options open up various windows that provide a Graphical User Interface (GUI) overlay to Git.

In my opinion, as far as GUIs go, Git Extensions is nothing to write home about.  Nevertheless, there are two reasons to be familiar with Git Extensions.

First, Git Extensions is the “official” GUI for Git and is cross-platform, meaning that Git Extensions is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.  If you learn Git Extensions on one platform, you are mostly learning it for all platforms.  So this might be particularly important for cross-platform (such as mobile) developers.

Second, Git Extensions give you access to the “old” official Git GUI Client and the Git Bash.  Git GUI is the “old” Git windowing client.  It is now deprecated and has been replaced by Git Extensions.  And Git Bash is the linux terminal client for using Git commands.  If you right-click on an empty area of the right pane in windows explorer of a folder with a Git Repository (not on a folder or file) you see the following…

image

…which opens the Git GUI.  The Git GUI is not a particularly good GUI (even by Git Extensions standards) but you might find tutorials or books that are using it, and it is nice to be able to follow along.  And the same can be said for for Git Bash.  (Although Git for Windows give you the same thing as Git Bash.)  But for those that like bash (linux-like) commands  instead of Windows Dos commands (pwd, cat, ls vs dir, type) then Git Bash might be useful.  Here is a picture of it.

image

TortoiseGit

TortoiseGit is an extremely well-done Windows Shell integrated Git client and GUI.  As far as Git GUIs go, it has several advantages.  First, it is brought to us by the same team that created the wonderful and amazing TortoiseSVN.  These guys REALLY know how to do Windows shell integration and Windows GUIs.  All of the expertise and knowledge that went into TortoiseSVN has been “ported” into TortoiseGit.

Even the icons and terms are the same.  Look at this side-by-side comparison of of TortoiseSVN and TortoiseGit.

TortoiseSVN

image

 

TortoiseGit

image

Notice that these two tools are sharing the same icons and terminology whenever possible.  For those who are already strong TortoiseSVN users, this is an enormous advantage, because it allows us to map our SVN knowledge to Git.  It potentially shortens our learning curve and get’s us productive more quickly.

But, it is also something to be cautious about because the terms may not always have parity-of-meaning and might have us doing something that was “safe” in SVN but much more dangerous when using Git.

In other words, using TortoiseGit does NOT mean that you don’t have to learn what Git does and how it works.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it.  Using Git for Windows, and TortoiseGit gives you a way to use Git effectively from the command line and an extremely well-implemented Windows Shell and GUI.

Using Git Extensions gives you knowledge of a Git Client that works everywhere and is referenced by many of the tutorials and books on Git.

I recommend that you become familiar with all three.

In the next installment, I will talk about how to get started with Git and some fundamental ways that Git differs from Subversion.

Feb 01 2016

Fixing H&R Block Update failures.

This has happened to me two years in a row so I am posting this here to help me remember the fix for next year.

The issue is that while H&R Block software installs totally without a hitch, for two years running the first Update does not work.  It runs a silent InstallShield updater which extracts and sets up setup files and begins the setup progress meter and then, when it is nearly done, the update is rolled back by the installer (the progress meter goes backward) and the update is not installed.

The first year this happened I found an obscure online document that had a successful fix in it.  But I failed to document the fix or the document.  So this year I had to find the fix from scratch and that is why I am documenting this here for posterity.

To short-circuit troubleshooting you can download and install the update directly.  It is a file named like this… HRBlock_PremiumSE_<YEAR>_Update_B.exe.  It has been named like that two years in a row.  I downloaded it from the software which used the following ftp URL: ftp://ftp1.taxcut.com/2015/fed/.  This is a public ftp that allows directory browsing.  Be sure to choose the update that matches your version of HRBlock.

Run that as an administrator (after downloading … right-click and choose run as administrator) and then check for logs in the %temp% folder.

MY FIX

The key thing to know is that InstallShield will dump a log file into your temp folder.  (START\RUN type %temp% and hit enter.).  So after a failed install attempt look there for clues.

For me I had errors like this one…

Error 1321.The Installer has insufficient privileges to modify the file C:\Program Files (x86)\HRBlock2015\Program\US\TaxFormDisplayLists\fw4.cxml.
=== Logging stopped: 02/01/16  21:40:05 ===

So the fix for me was to give Everyone modify NTFS permissions.  (Right-click the HRBlock<YEAR> folder like the one mentioned above…choose properties.  Click the Security tab.  Click Add.  Type Everyone and enter.  Click the modify checkbox.  Click Enter.  A dialog will show all permissions getting updated.)

Even after this it didn’t quite work.  I was then getting write permission errors for a file in C:\Config.msi (which is weird because it is a folder that is there but you cannot see in Windows Explorer.  I know it is there because if you try to create one with the same name using windows explorer it will tell you it already exists.  )  But after trying that…the update started automagically working.

Hope this helps someone…and maybe me in a years.

Jan 29 2016

Comment by Seth Spearman on What is the RTF syntax for a hyperlink?

For the record, on Windows machines you can open WordPad and create a document with any formatting you want in it. Then save it. Close it in wordpad and open it in your favorite text editor. Unlike word, wordpad produces clean RTF.
Jan 08 2016

Writing store local and sync remote applications with .NET

Found this…

Depending on how much “Control” you want to have within your sync, it might be best to use an existing framework that already handles this for you. Some great suggestions would be:

Microsoft Sync Framework – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/sync/bb736753.aspx

Azure Mobile Services (Offline Sync) – Great video of what is coming soon/in preview: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2014/3-623

iFacr – http://ifactr.com/platform/data-sync-engine

Bidirectional syncs can be quite tough to make and manage, and in my opinion it’s better to let some of these frameworks handle the heavy lifting for you. Azure Mobile Services have some great things on the horizon that are really fun to play with. You can get a small introduction from a blog post I wrote here: http://www.jon-douglas.com/2014/04/to-the-cloud/

I personally prefer having the control on my backend(Web API), and thus I create a ASP.NET Web API for my Azure Mobile Service, and let the data structures that Azure Mobile Services provide to obtain my bidirectional sync. In that video I linked above, he somewhat goes over how that is accomplished and how it works when a device is offline.

 

Found here…

http://forums.xamarin.com/discussion/15900/data-sync-from-sql-db-to-the-application-local-storage

Dec 30 2015

Creating a yeoman generator

  1. Create a directory.  Open a node command prompt to that directory.
  2. Create a node project…
    npm init
  3. Install the base yeoman packages…
    npm install yeoman-generator –save (save adds dependencies to our node project).
  4. Add a folder called "app".
  5. In that folder add a file called "index.js".
  6. put your generator code in the index.js file… like this…
    ‘use strict’

    var generators = require(‘yeoman-generator’);

    module.exports = generators.Base.extend({
    method1: function(){
    this.log(‘Hello, World!’);
    }
    });

  7. Create a symlink to your current directory for npm using this command…
    npm link (this enables the running of the generator)
Dec 30 2015

Using Yeoman to scaffold asp.net mvc applications

  1. Install nodejs
  2. From the node command prompt install yeoman … npm  install -g yo
  3. You may want to install any dependencies that will be used by yeoman like…
    npm install -g gulp
    npm install -g bower
    npm install -g grunt
    npm install -g grunt-cli
  4. Install a yeoman generator…for example
    npm install -g generator-aspnet
    or (for a plain vanilla website)
    npm install -g generator-webapp
  5. Create and navigate to the target directory where you want to create your aspnet web app.
  6. run a yeoman generator as follows…
    yo aspnet
    or
    yo (then select your generator from the list)
  7. When you run the aspnet generator you will be prompted to name your web app…name it.
  8. The navigator will create a folder matching your app name…navigate into that folder (cd <appname>)
  9. To create a dotnet runtime environment for your app type…
    dnu restore
    If you get a dnu command not found error … from another admin cmd type …
    dnvm upgrade…
    If that command doesn’t work see this page…
    https://github.com/aspnet/home/
  10. To launch the web server type dnx web
  11. To get help on a generator type yo <generatorname> –help…like this…
    yo aspnet  –help
  12. This will show you all of the  sub-generators for the generator
    1. To get help on a subgenerator type yo <generator>:<subgen> –help … like this…
      yo aspnet:TypeScript –help
      or
      yo aspnet:MvcController –help
  13. So..to generator a new controller do yo aspnet:MvcController <controllername>…like this…
    yo aspnet:MvcController HelpController
  14. To create a matching view for an action you can use aspnet:MvcView <viewname>…BUT…
    first you have to navigate to the views folder (cd views) create a target folder that matches the controller name … like "Help" and then navigate to that folder.

For more information on this, including how it all works beautifully with visual studio code see this…
https://code.visualstudio.com/Docs/runtimes/ASPnet5

Sep 25 2015

How can I use Linq and c# to compare a property against a List<string>

I have code that is filtering a List using code like this..

    List<Product> products = new List<Product>() { /*<INIT THE COLLECTION>*/ }
    //get the ones you need.
    var newListOfProducts = products.Where(p=>p.MyProperty == "prop1" || p.MyProperty == "prop2" || p.MyProperty == "prop3");

My preferences is to use syntax like this...

List<string> stringsToCompare = new List<string>() {"prop1","prop2","prop3"};
var newListOfProducts = products.Where(p=>p.MyProperty.IsInList(stringsToCompare));

This way I can dynamically build the stringToCompare instead of hard-coding them.

But I can't figure out how to do it despite googling for the last half-hour. I think Intersect or Union can work but I can't get the syntax right.