On Powershell’s Desired State Configuration

I watched at least six hours of training videos covering DSC last night during the election coverage. DSC fascinates me. Originally, I was trying to solve a problem we have at Stark, but at this point, I’m having difficulting not thinking about how/where I can use DSC.

At Stark, we have a few dozen machines performing various functions. More than a few of those machines serve multiple roles depending on the project they’re needed in. Sometimes they’re servers. Sometimes they’re simply connected to a TV to show information from our system. But the number of roles we have for those computers is well defined. The problem comes when we have to transition a machine from one project to another, and, thus, one role to another. Currently, it’s a tedious, time-consuming effort. DSC totally solves that problem. 

Separately, If I were to pursue the idea of running my own business for really reals, I love the idea of not having a domain controller wherein ever machine must be connected to that DC and conform to whatever specification that DC requires. Imagine hiring a contractor who works on multiple jobs and brings his machine… and saying, “Hey… add this DSC configuration to your LCM and you’ll be able to work in our environment just like everyone else.” DSC enables that to happen. No more evil IT guy with this oversized ban hammer. 

It works at home, too. I like to think I’ve gotten pretty good over the years about formatting my computer on a Saturday morning and manually going through “the procedure” to be able to use it again on Monday. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a good ole paving is exactly what the doctor ordered. Do I want to spend the weekend formatting my computer? No. Do I think DSC could largely eliminate that frustration? Certainly. 

I may or may not have even come up with a pet project I can do on the side to bring in the next million George Washingtons. 

Lest I mention that I’m also creating DSC and Docker cocktail… I totes want to write something about my experience with Docker soon, but this DSC post is already longer than anticipated. 

I really just couldn’t go another day without putting something fresh on this blasted website. 

And that’s good enough for me. 

Getting started with Aurelia on Windows 10

The video demonstrates what I had to go through to get Aurelia v0.10.1 working on Windows 10.  It’s a pretty bad video, but you might learn something if you suffer through it.

Nothing to sugar coat here… The video below wasn’t properly planned and isn’t awesome in my opinion. But I’m releasing it anyway. Surely, it will help someone. 

…Continue reading “Getting started with Aurelia on Windows 10” [Getting started with Aurelia on Windows 10]

Every day regular expressions

Was doing some work today that just happened to involve some very basic, but very power regular expressions, and decided to make a quick, unscripted video to demonstrate a few techniques I use all the time.  I hope benefits someone out there who doesn’t realize the immense power that comes with understanding a few simple regular expressions.


Vstest says, “Path too long”? I fix.

A weird thing started happening on my TFS build server recently. When it came time to run the unit tests, the build would fail with:

The specified path, file name, or both are too long. The    fully qualified file name must be less than 260 characters, and the directory name must be less than 248 characters.

For reference, here’s the standard testing step that was failing.. Note the “Test Assembly” parameter.. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

So I dug in.. …Continue reading “Vstest says, “Path too long”? I fix.” [Vstest says, “Path too long”? I fix.]

XSD.exe and imports – a solution

If you’re reading this right now, it’s likely because you just discovered that XSD.exe doesn’t honor import declarations within XSD files.

It sure caught me and several others by surprise.

The fix, it turns out, is to manually specify each XSD that the primary XSD requires. Something like  xsd.exe primary.xsd imported.xsd another.xsd

In my case, my primary XSD file imported several XSD files… those those imported XSD files imported their own XSD files.. And putting that nasty command line together manually is just too far below my pay grade.  …Continue reading “XSD.exe and imports – a solution” [XSD.exe and imports – a solution]

Fun code

(If you are a developer for a health insurance company looking for details on this project, you’ll find that towards the bottom)

Let’s face it, some code is more fun than others. Especially when you get to create a brand new project from scratch. For me, it’s even more fun when there’s no UI to make “pretty”.  And that’s exactly what I got to write over the past week.

It was a simple project with a terrific opportunity to write some amazing code: Take some CSV files and convert them to the format outlined here. Add bonus points for going well beyond the validation requirements in the spec.

In the end, there were 1764 lines of code, with 76 passing unit tests achieving over 98% code coverage. There’s also zero duplicate code and, for me, at least, some decent metrics upon analysis. …Continue reading “Fun code” [Fun code]

Chocolatey Hotkey – using and creating plugins, hosts, and libraries

I’ve made a lot of changes to CHK since my first post a couple of weeks ago. CHK now works much better and is much more powerful. Let’s just say this thing turned out to be a much bigger project than I originally anticipated, and I learned a lot in the process.

This time, I’ve created a video to illustrate how CHK works, and how to begin using CHK yourself. It’s not an awesome video, but hopefully it gets the point across. …Continue reading “Chocolatey Hotkey – using and creating plugins, hosts, and libraries” [Chocolatey Hotkey – using and creating plugins, hosts, and libraries]

Entity Framework Power Tools for Visual Studio 2015

I have patched the Visual Studio 2013 version of Entity Framework Power Tools (beta 4) to work with Visual Studio 2015.

You can download it here.

Source code for this extension is not available, and I did not have time to go to Microsoft to figure out when/if they’re going to release an update. Here are the steps I performed to update the extension:  …Continue reading “Entity Framework Power Tools for Visual Studio 2015” [Entity Framework Power Tools for Visual Studio 2015]