Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Visual Studio Tricks

I am going to keep this as an ongoing post with whatever tips and tricks I come across when using Visual Studio.

Show Active File In Solution Explorer

When working with big solutions and projects this is so useful. By default visual studio doesn't highlight the file that is active (i.e the one you are viewing) in Solution Explorer.

To activate this do the following:

Tools – Options – Projects and Solutions – Track Active Item in Solution Explorer

Credit for this tip goes to Ronald Widha's blog .

Use the Command Window to Search for Files

In Visual Studio I really miss the equivalent of Eclipse's CTRL - T shortcut to search for classes.

The next best thing I have found is to open the command window ( View > Other Windows > Command Window ) and type:

>open file you're searching for

and a little drop down will pop up of files that start with whatever you have typed in.

More Tricks

Also check out any of my blog entries tagged with visual studio

Monday, 10 August 2009

Installing flash for firefox in xubuntu

This weekend I was trying to get the flash player installed on XUbuntu and working on firefox. Following the instructions on Adobe's site didn't work , but after a bit of googling this is what I did and it worked.

1. Download Adobe Flash Player from http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/. Choose the tar.gz option.

2. Extract the contents of the extracted file to your desktop . The file libflashplayer.so should now be on your desktop

3. Open up a terminal window

4. Enter the following , and replace username with your username.

sudu su
cd /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/
cp /home/username/desktop/libflashplayer.so .
cd /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/
cp /home/username/desktop/libflashplayer.so .

5. Restart firefox (maybe a couple of times)

6. Test out youtube.com

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Show delicious saves and tags on blog

This is a useful feature from delicious where you can show how many people have saved your page as a bookmark on delicious and the tags people have used.

You can probably see this at the bottom of this page.

Just go to http://delicious.com/help/tagometer and it has a snippet of javascript to copy and paste into your page.

To add a snippet of html/javascript to blogger have a look at the help site.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Adding ClearCase commands to Visual Studio context menu

If you are using Visual Studio and clearcase this is really useful. This puts clearcase functions like opening the version tree into the menu when you right click on a file in solution explorer.

1. The following link shows you how to add new menu items to the context menu when you select file in the solution explorer:


2 . Just add the following bit of code to the module ContextCommads or download the full file from here:

3. Now Repeat steps 7 to 9 from the afore mentioned link Extending the Visual-Studio Context-Menu for the following three subs :

VersionTree - this opens up the clearcase version tree for the selected file
HijackFileCommand - hjacks the selected file (makes it writeable)
ClearCaseAnnotateCommand - calls the clearcase annotate command to show who and when each change was made on the selected file

Thats it. Now right click on a file and you will have these options available

Thursday, 26 February 2009

My top tools that every software developer should have

Here's my list of tools that make my day to day work a lot easier as a developer and some tools which are just useful to have on your desktop

Notepadd ++

Now this is the dog's dangly bits on text editors. It has built in syntax highlighters for nearly all formats, you can add your own syntax highlighters. You can open files in multiple tabs , firefox style and a whole host of other useful features. I use it for sql file edits, viewing log files , xml editing , batch file editing , etc , etc.

Free: YES


The fastest file searcher I have found that's free! It can search through sub directories and use regexp if you need to. Very useful for search through tons of log files.

Free : YES , but $25 USD version has a few more options


Acts like a unix tail command but for windows. I.E. it monitors a text file and keeps updating whenever a new line is added. Perfect for log files. A nice feature is that it can highlight particular strings in whatever format you wish

Free : YES , and $25 USD version also has a few more options

Beyond Compare

Definately the best file (and folder) comparison tool I have used. A perfect replacement to the crappy compare tool in clearcase (See my post Use Beyond Compare in Clearcase).

Free : 30 day evaluation


If you don't want to shell out for Beyond Compare , winmerge is a pretty good substitute as it is open source, so yes it is free. One feature it does have that Beyond Compare doesn't is that it does code syntax highlighting in the comparison viewer.

Free : YES


A thing to place your shortcuts, and makes your windows pc look a bit like a mac. Wow , other geeky developers . See the youtube vid.

Free : YES


A great application to start up any application installed. Very quick and intuitive to use.


Free: YES


Organise icons on your desktop into little areas called fences. Very useful

Free: YES


It does what is says on the tin! It undeletes file you thought you lost! Can be a lifesaver, actually it bailed me out today!.

Free : YES

Process Explorer

It is a super replacement for windows task manager. Get detailed info on each process and easily see parent child processes.

Free: YES

Everything Search Engine

This is a really great tool to search for files . It is really lightweight and superfast. It indexes in the background , so when you search for something it is almost instant.

Search Everything

Free : YES

If you are always running out of disk space, this is the tool for you. It shows you your big folders and files and has a nice little map of your drive.

If you want something to work cross platform see some other suggestions from lifehacker:

Free : YES

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Facebook Connect on Blogger

This post is to test out using facebook connect on blogger using disqus.

So leave a comment and see what happens.

I followed the instructions from:


Monday, 26 January 2009

Export SQL Server tables to Excel in c#

This piece of code executes a sql query on a sql server database and returns the result into a excel workbook (with column headings included).

Remember to add the following references (Project > Add Reference > COM)

Microsoft Excel 12.0 Object Library (or an older version)

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Data.SqlClient;

using Excel = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel;
using System.Reflection;

namespace ExportDBTablesToExcel
class ExportToExcel

private Excel.Application app ;

private Excel.Workbook workbook;
private Excel.Worksheet previousWorksheet;

private Excel.Range workSheet_range;

private string folder;

private static string CONNECTION_STR = "Data Source=(local);Database=DATABASE_NAME;"
+ "Integrated Security=SSPI;";

public ExportToExcel(string folder)

this.folder = folder;

this.app = null;
this.workbook = null;

this.previousWorksheet = null;
this.workSheet_range = null;


private void createDoc()

app = new Excel.Application();

app.Visible = false;
workbook = app.Workbooks.Add(1);

catch (Exception e)


public void shutDown()

workbook = null;

catch (Exception e)



public void ExportTable(string query,string sheetName)

SqlConnection myConnection = new SqlConnection(CONNECTION_STR);

SqlDataReader myReader = null;


Excel.Worksheet worksheet = (Excel.Worksheet)workbook.Sheets.Add(Missing.Value, Missing.Value, 1, Excel.XlSheetType.xlWorksheet);

worksheet.Name = sheetName;

previousWorksheet = worksheet;


SqlCommand myCommand = new SqlCommand(query,

myReader = myCommand.ExecuteReader();

int columnCount = myReader.FieldCount;

for (int n = 0; n < columnCount; n++)

Console.Write(myReader.GetName(n) + "\t");

createHeaders(worksheet, 1, n + 1, myReader.GetName(n));


int rowCounter = 2;
while (myReader.Read())

for (int n = 0; n < columnCount; n++)

Console.Write(myReader[myReader.GetName(n)].ToString() + "\t");

addData(worksheet, rowCounter, n + 1, myReader[myReader.GetName(n)].ToString());



catch (Exception e)

if (myReader!=null && !myReader.IsClosed)


if (myConnection != null)


myReader = null;
myConnection = null;


public void createHeaders(Excel.Worksheet worksheet,int row, int col, string htext)

worksheet.Cells[row, col] = htext;


public void addData(Excel.Worksheet worksheet,int row, int col, string data)

worksheet.Cells[row, col] = data;


public void SaveWorkbook(){

String folderPath = "C:\\My Files\\" + this.folder ;

if (!System.IO.Directory.Exists(folderPath)) {



string fileNameBase = "db" ;
String fileName = fileNameBase;
string ext = ".xlsx" ;
int counter = 1 ;

while (System.IO.File.Exists(folderPath+fileName+ext)){

fileName = fileNameBase + counter;
counter++ ;

fileName = fileName +ext ;

string filePath = folderPath + fileName ;

workbook.SaveAs(filePath, Excel.XlFileFormat.xlWorkbookDefault, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Excel.XlSaveAsAccessMode.xlNoChange, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value, Missing.Value);

catch (Exception e)


static void Main(string[] args)


ExportToExcel export = new ExportToExcel(args[0]);

export.ExportTable("SELECT * FROM t_table1","t_table1");
export.ExportTable("SELECT * FROM t_table2","t_table2");
export.ExportTable("SELECT * FROM t_table3","t_table3");
export.SaveWorkbook() ;




This code is based on the following links:



Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Read an Excel document and Send an email from outlook in c# .net

This is a handy example if you need to read an excel document and/or send an email from outlook in some c# code.

Remember to add the following references (Project > Add Reference > COM)

Microsoft Excel 12.0 Object Library
Microsoft Office 12.0 Object Library
Microsoft Outlook 12.0 Object Library

if you have older versions of office , they should work too.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using Excel = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel;

using Outlook = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook;
using Microsoft.Office.Core;

namespace StatusNotifier
class StatusNotifier
static void Main(string[] args)

string Path = @"D:\MyExcelFile.xls";
// initialize the Excel Application class

Excel.ApplicationClass app = new Excel.ApplicationClass();

// create the workbook object by opening the excel file.
Excel.Workbook workBook = app.Workbooks.Open(Path,

// get the active worksheet using sheet name or active sheet
Excel.Worksheet workSheet = (Excel.Worksheet)workBook.Worksheets[1];

int index = 0;
// This row,column index should be changed as per your need.
// i.e. which cell in the excel you are interesting to read.
object rowIndex = 2;

object colA = 1;
object colB = 2 ;

StringBuilder message = new StringBuilder();

message.AppendLine("My Message");




while (((Excel.Range)workSheet.Cells[rowIndex, colDateRaised]).Value2 != null)

rowIndex = 2 + index;
DateTime dateRaised = DateTime.FromOADate(double.Parse(((Excel.Range)workSheet.Cells[rowIndex, colA]).Value2.ToString()));

string description = ((Excel.Range)workSheet.Cells[rowIndex, colB]).Value2.ToString();

message.AppendLine(rowIndex + " DateRaised :" + dateRaised.ToShortDateString() + "Description: " + description) ;

catch (Exception ex)



message.AppendLine("For more inforamtion please see:");

Console.WriteLine("Message:\n " + message);


// Create the Outlook application by using inline initialization.

Outlook.Application oApp = new Outlook.Application();

//Create the new message by using the simplest approach.
Outlook.MailItem oMsg = (Outlook.MailItem)oApp.CreateItem(Outlook.OlItemType.olMailItem);

//Add a recipient.
// TODO: Change the following recipient where appropriate.
Outlook.Recipient oRecip = (Outlook.Recipient)oMsg.Recipients.Add("someone@somewhere.com");


//Set the basic properties.
oMsg.Subject = "Status Update";

oMsg.Body = message.ToString();

//Add an attachment.

// TODO: change file path where appropriate
String sSource = "C:\\setupxlg.txt";
String sDisplayName = "MyFirstAttachment";

int iPosition = (int)oMsg.Body.Length + 1;

int iAttachType = (int)Outlook.OlAttachmentType.olByValue;

Outlook.Attachment oAttach = oMsg.Attachments.Add(sSource, iAttachType, iPosition, sDisplayName);

// If you want to, display the message.
// oMsg.Display(true); //modal

//Send the message.


//Explicitly release objects.
oRecip = null;

oAttach = null;
oMsg = null;
oApp = null;


// Simple error handler.
catch (Exception e)

Console.WriteLine("{0} Exception caught: ", e);


This code is based upon examples from the following links:

Excel: http://www.codeproject.com/KB/cs/Excel_Application_in_C_.aspx
Outlook: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310263

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Clearcase update from command line showing dialog and windows

If you like doing things from the command line but you want the update progress bar , etc to pop up, then this is quite useful.

cd "C:\Program Files\Rational\ClearCase\bin"
"clearviewupdate" -quick -window 1f00f4 -windowmsg c14e -ws "Path Here"

If you don't want the update dialog to pop up you can use:

cleartool update "Path Here"

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Use Beyond Compare in ClearCase

If you use any kind of source control system, one of the things you need to do is compare differences or "do diffs" or different versions of a file. However the the compare tool in clearcase is crap.

Beyond Compare is probably the the best file (and folder) comparison I have come across. It can even compare zip files.

If you are tired of using the shitty compare tool that is a default in clearcase there is indeed a way to switch this to use beyond compare instead

1. Go into the "C:\Program Files\Rational\ClearCase\lib\mgrs" directory.

2. Create a backup of the file named "map".

3. Edit "map" and change the line:
text_file_delta  xcompare   ..\..\bin\cleardiffmrg.exe

text_file_delta  xcompare   C:\Progra~1\Beyond~1\bc2.exe

Thats it, next time you compare two versions of a file in the version tree or you compare with previous version, beyond compare will be used instead.

Alternately if you want to use winmerge (which is opensource and free) , then it gives you an option to replace the default viewer when you install it.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

25 most dangerous programming errors

A group of software people from various firms brought together by the NSA have sat around and come up with a list of the most dangerous 25 programming errors . If you been a developer for more than 5 minutes you have probably come across half of these, but this can be used as a handy checklist.

In the words of Paul Kurtz, executive director of a group called the Software Assurance Forum for Excellence in Code "Now, with the Top 25, we can spend less time working with police after the house has been robbed and instead focus on getting locks on the doors before it happens"

Here's my cheap and cheerful run down of through the list.

Each heading links to the site where there is more detail on each , which includes discussion, prevention and mitagations, attack patterns against the error.

15-Jan-08: I haven't had time to comment on each error in the list, but I will do at some point

1. Improper Input Validation
e.g. Alpha characters aren't allowed to be entered in numeric fields, stuff like that
2. Improper Encoding or Escaping of Output
Using stored procs and using correct character encoders
3. Failure to Preserve SQL Query Structure (aka 'SQL Injection')
Make sure a user can't enter sql into a text field that will
4. Failure to Preserve Web Page Structure (aka 'Cross-site Scripting')
5. Failure to Preserve OS Command Structure (aka 'OS Command Injection')
6. Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information
7. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
8. Race Condition
9. Error Message Information Leak
10. Failure to Constrain Operations within the Bounds of a Memory Buffer
11. External Control of Critical State Data
12. External Control of File Name or Path
13. Untrusted Search Path
14. Failure to Control Generation of Code (aka 'Code Injection')
15. Download of Code Without Integrity Check
16. Improper Resource Shutdown or Release
17. Improper Initialization
18. Incorrect Calculation
19. Improper Access Control (Authorization)
20. Use of a Broken or Risky Cryptographic Algorithm
21. Hard-Coded Password
22. Insecure Permission Assignment for Critical Resource
23. Use of Insufficiently Random Values
24. Execution with Unnecessary Privileges
25. Client-Side Enforcement of Server-Side Security

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Remote Debugging a .NET app with Visual Studio 2008 (9)

This is where you need to debug an application in visual studio, but the process is running on some other machine (i.e. not on your local box). A good example is when a tester is running something and you want to connect to their box to debug it.

This in fact turned out to be a pretty painless process.

First on the machine where the app is running that you need to debug you need to run msvsmon.exe . I found this in

Program Files
\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\Remote Debugger\x86 .

This will bring up the "Visual Studio Remote Debugging Monitor".

More than likely you will be debugging a machine on your network. So goto Tools>Permissions, and add the user of the machine where visual studio is running.

Now run the application you intened to debug

Now in Visual Studio goto Debug>Attach to Process . In the box "Qualifier" , enter the machine name of where your application is running and hit enter.

A list of processes will appear in the "Available Processes" box below. On the other machine in the remote debugging monitor you will see a log that you have connected.

Select the process which corresponds to the app you want to debug from Available processes and click on attach. And that's it you are now in debug mode and you can set your breakpoints and whatever and debug your app in the usual way!

For more info look at this article from microsoft :