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Making alexa skills in .net

Ok so I've been in the alexa skills market recently, and obviously amazon wants you to use AWS Lambda for your skills. If you are like me, you have a ton of stuff in azure app service (the PaaS of azure). Azure app service supports nodejs, java, python, and of course .net. The two sdk's amazon ships (node, java) do not tie in with a web stack, and are obviously thought of as being used with Lambda.

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Exploring the dotnet cli

Now that dotnet core tools have been released I thought it would be good to look into the dotnet cli. This is a new command line interface to build, manage, compile and run dotnet core based applications

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VS 2017, and dotnet core tools. Today will be a historic day

Today marks the release of Visual Studio 2017, and with it the final release of the tools for dotnet core. This means as of today you can build, test, and deploy an application completely supported by microsoft. Not just the runtimes, but the tooling as well. The CLI for dotnet core has been finalized, and its awesome. The csproj system has been revitalized. New csproj's can be created, and are fully compatible with the old. Visual studio 2017 has finally released. This is probably the greatest version of visual studio ever created. Finally VS has gone from a slow, archaic editor, to a fast moving IDE. An IDE with a DevOps-First Cloud-First mentality. An IDE ready to tackle today's modern challenges.

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Parsing cli arguments in dotnet core Console App

tl;dr view this gist

So its 2016, and we are still making console apps/cli's. In fact I would say there has been a surge in popularity of these types of tools. I think we have come to the realization that buttons on forms are not automatable, and that the command line doesn't have to be scary.

I recently started writing an app in dotnet core, which is the new runtime for dotnet. In the past I have often used command line parser, but as of this writing it does not support core.

I was really lost trying to find an arguments parsing library when I realized the dotnet cli was open sourced.

After much struggle, failing to bingle. I started ripping through the Entity Framework, and dotnet cli's code hoping to find a gem. Thats when I stumbled across a diamond. You see many dotnet projects use Microsft.Extension.CommandLineUtils to do cli parsing.

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Dockerize that old webforms app

So now that Windows server 2016 is generally avalible for the first time ever windows users can now use containers. Ok, so what exactly are containers? Well more or less they are virtual operating systems that share the same kernel as the host OS. In regular VM's the hardware is shared between machines, but containers go a step further and share the kernel of the OS. Why does this matter? Well because you are sharing an existing kernel that is already running, your startup times are instantanious. To put this in perspective, this is virtualization at the OS level.

On Linux, containers have been a thing for a long time. This technology is called LXC. Docker itself is a layer ontop of various container platforms embedded in operating systems.

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Use dotnet rc2 with appveyor

dotnet CLI is currently in RC2, and while the train is fast approaching RTM, most tools are still catching up. dotnet seems to have a documented cli based install for every platform except the good ol windows. That being said getting a windows based install/build is possible.

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Announcing gulp-nuget-restore

So recently I have thought about build tools. We have many tools including cake, sake, albacore, and even MSBUILD. Most of these tools work well, infact they work flawlessly. I am a web developer, and I work on a team of web developers. Most of our work is in JavaScript land, with tools like React, backbone, etc. We love ES6, and we want to use things like babel. This ultimately causes us to have 2 build engines. The first being a proprietary version of albacore, and the second being gulp.

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Commiting a new file to git, through the github api

Recently I have been working on an application that basically has a github bot (aka user) fork a repo, commit some files, and submit a PR against someone's repo. When it came down to actually making a new git commit through the github API, I had quite a hard time. I figured it out with some help from a ruby tutorial, and now I'm going to show you how to do it.

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How the ASP.NET team made the web framework I have always wanted

So I know I do a lot of blogging about C#, or JavaScript, but I actually do a lot of nodejs apps as well as other languages. For a very long time I have not found the stack of my dreams. .NET has always been very close but there were multiple things about the app model that I was not a fan of. I think NancyFX has been the closest framework to my dreams in .NET land.

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Wiring up client side logs into c#/node.js logging frameworks

Around a year ago I joined a new team where I work, and this team was starting to undertake a full rewrite of their code. We were going from a full c#/mvc app to a tiny c# api, and a very big SPA.

Early one one of the huge things to do was to make sure that our JavaScript error logs could land in our Log4Net infrastructure. I started to write something to do just that, and as I was coding I quickly realized this was less trivial that it sounded. We had something internal we could use, but it was tied to a lot of other code that we didn't want to pull in.

I started Bingling around and I stumbled across jsnlog. JSN log lets you quickly wire up your client side logs to your server. I have been able to get PR's into the code base and the guy behind it has been very friendly to me when I have had questions.

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Razor Websites, lightweight C# web coding

I was exploring around github, and I stumbled upon an interesting project called Miniblog which was a lightweight blog engine written in c#. The thing that immediately stood out to me was the lack of a .csproj file.

As I dug around the code I realized this was not a Web App, which most of us were familiar with, but a websites project. I then suddenly realized that the whole thing only used razor!

I am a huge fan of Nancyfx because its much more lightweight than the MVC framework created at Microsoft. To say the least I am a massive fan of small tools, and micro frameworks. So when I realized this whole thing was powered by razor only I was immediately impressed.

I decided to dig around on the internet to see if anyone else was talking about this. I found out quickly that it has been possible for some time, but I didn't find many references about it.

The one thing that bummed me out about the Miniblog example was that it was not a web app. You can use nuget packages will websites, but you cannot make references to other projects in the solution. This was a problem for me, and unlike websites, web app's are precompiled which reduces application startup time.

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Hosting NancyFx with OWIN on IIS

So I was quite confused about hosting Nancyfx on OWIN under IIS. Parts of the Nancy wiki led me slightly astray.

Here is the simple guide.

Make sure you Install the following nuget packages (if you havn't already).

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