Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fixing 404 Errors for ASP.NET MVC Apps that Bundle Assets when Deployed to IIS

UPDATE 07/19/2013: As pointed out in the comments by Ray Moro, a better way to fix this may be to remove the extension from your bundle name. So /bundle/myscrips.js becomes /bundle/myscripts this will cause it to run the module without having to change the config settings below.

That's a mouthful of a title.

If you're using ScriptBundle and StyleBundle's in an ASP.NET MVC4 app and you're suddenly getting 404 errors even though EnableOptimizations is set to true make sure you have the following in your Web.Config in the system.webServer section:

<modules runAllManagedModulesForAllRequests="true">
  <remove name="BundleModule" />
  <add name="BundleModule" type="System.Web.Optimization.BundleModule" />

I've wasted incalculable amounts of time on this issue, TWICE!!! I don't know why this isn't in the web.config by default or better yet not needed to use Bundling.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trip to San Francisco Guide

Here are my lessons learned after spending 9 days in San Francisco which is a follow up to my post Planning a trip to San Francisco where I solicited advice on what to do and where to eat.

  • Be prepared to do some walking, so bring comfortable shoes. Some days I walked up to 6 or 7 miles. There are also very steep hills/streets so keep that in mind before following the route your GPS gives you. The shortest distance may not be the easiest. For instance, it was brutal walking from the bay to Union Square via Mason St. Had I gone down a couple blocks I could have avoided the hill.
  • Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge over to Sausalito and taking a ferry back is a great idea. There are many places to rent bikes including Blazing Saddles.Walking to Sausalito is not such a great idea since there is a long stretch of walking on the side of road.
  • Sign up and try Uber. Much nicer service then a cab but typically more expensive.
  • Avoid walking through the Tenderloin, especially at night. Ask locals or your hotel concierge where that is if you can't figure it out.
  • Take advantage of the BART when you can. Great for getting from Union Square to the Mission or Pier 1. The best service I received while in San Francisco was from the vagrant lady who helped me buy my first BART ticket. She was a pro at working that thing. I should have given her a bigger tip considering the service I got elsewhere.
  • If you want to spend a whole day exploring the city do one of the open bus tours that allows you to hop-on and hop-off. The one I did had about 20 stops and another bus came about every 20 minutes, so for example you could hop-off and hang out at Haight Ashbury for a while and then continue on after you've spent some time there.
  • If you're going to visit Alcatraz and take the Cellhouse Audio Tour (recommended) allow for a good 3-4 hours minimum with travel time. Also, sign up in advance. I wanted to go on a Monday and it was sold out until Wednesday.
  • Be ware of the fog. If you're going to do something like take the open top bus tour or visit the Golden Gate, you want to do it on a clear day. The fog can come in and ruin the amazing scenery.
My Favorites
  • Zeitgeist - great beer selection reasonably priced. Great bloody marries too!
  • Mission Beach Cafe for weekend breakfast - Get a side of their bacon. I'm still thinking about it! There's usually a good hour wait to get in so be prepared for that. We put our name on the list and walked to Zeitgeist to get a bloody marry and timed it perfectly. 
  • Zero Zero - we had the Avocado Bruschetta, Geary pizza, Little Shells, and build your own desert sunday. It was all excellent. Some of the best food I had while I was there.
  • Fog Harbor Fish House - I ate lunch here and had an excellent view of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. I also had dinner and it was a bit dark to take in the view but the food was still excellent both times.
  • Blue Bottle Coffee - excellent coffee
  • You can't get into a Giants game using a StubHub ticket/barcode that's on your phone. This is the city that arguably has more startups and innovation then the rest of the world combined AND charges $.10 for each grocery bag you use. I'm dumbfounded that I had to go to will call and have a paper ticket printed off.
  • Versus Minnesota, service (like at restaurants) is on average slower and less attentive, but relax you're on vacation. ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Planning a Trip to San Francisco

UPDATE 10/14/2012: Here's a follow up on how the trip went.

I'll be taking my first trip to San Francisco, Sept 29 - Oct 8, 2012. I'm looking for recommendations for restaurants and attractions and some space to do some work/programming (coffee shop or coworking space).

Here is what I've crowd sourced from Twitter so far. Big thanks to johnsheehanjustinpeck, masteinhauser, mronge, Solome33, kaufenberg, matt_krieger, dberkholz, bassistance

Attractions / ToDo


Coffee Shops




Sunday, September 16, 2012

Best Mug, Cups, and Water Bottle for Techies

Here are the four liquid receptacles that support my freelance web developer career. They're listed in order of usage.

(I need to build a special rack for these guys)

For water, I take my Camelbak Podium Chill Water Bottle everywhere. Home, co-working space, working out, trips. Tip of the hat to Donn Felker for doing the leg work on finding this excellent bottle. My only complaint is that it "talks" sometimes. If pressure builds up it will start making noise when it leaks out until you give it a little squeeze.

For coffee this Nissan Leak-Proof Travel Mug has been my goto for about 8 years. I own 3 of them and have bought at least 3 more as gifts. When closed this thing seals like no other. As good for road trips as it is for working around your laptop.

If you don't like the bulky handle, this other Travel Mug from Thermos Nissan is a great alternative recommended by my wife.

For tea, I have my third Thermos Nissan pick, a Tumbler with Infuser. I'm just getting into tea so there are probably some other great options I haven't discovered yet, but I've been really happy with this unit so far.

This summer I got addicted to Starbucks' iced coffee with a shot of white moca. Instead of paying $4 each day I decided to try make my own. First I tracked down the white mocha Starbucks uses. Next, since I use a Keurig for speed and convenience, I went with these Iced Coffee K-Cups. To complete the experience, my wife found these 16oz re-usable Starbucks cups with re-usable straws. To make the drink, put a couple of pumps of white chocolate in first, then fill to pretty much the top with ice, set the Keurig to the 8 oz setting, and brew directly onto the ice. The Iced K-Cups are specially formulated to brew stronger then regular K-Cups, so when the ice melts it balances out. Stir it up to blend in the white chocolate. Then I usually add a few more ice cubes if there is space.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Force Content Types to Json in .NET WebApi

I ran into a situation where I couldn't set the Content-Type header in the http request client I was using. (Crossrider's appAPI.request.post)

The client was either not setting a Content-Type or defaulting to application/x-www-form-urlencoded

If you put the code below in Application_Start you should be able to force form-urlencoded data to the JsonFormatter and by removing the XmlFormatter, Json will also be the default.

HttpConfiguration config = GlobalConfiguration.Configuration;
foreach (var mediaType in config.Formatters.FormUrlEncodedFormatter.SupportedMediaTypes)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Using Less and Twitter Bootstrap in ASP.NET MVC4

UPDATE 05/02/2013:

Changed ScriptBundle and StyleBundle to just Bundle, per Andrey Taritsyn:
Bundle Transformer it is not recommended to use together with the StyleBundle and ScriptBundle classes, because these classes already contain transformations (instances of the built-in minifiers: CssMinify and JsMinify). Use a Bundle class.

UPDATE 11/08/2012:
  1. Create a new MVC4 Internet Application
  2. Add the following Nuget Packages
  3. Rename /Content/site.css to /Content/site.less 
    • Edit BundleConfig.cs in the App_Start folder and update the css file name to site.less like so:
      bundles.Add(new var cssTransformer = new CssTransformer();
      var jsTransformer = new JsTransformer();
      var nullOrderer = new NullOrderer();
      var defaultScriptsBundle = new Bundle("~/bundles/default.js").Include(
      defaultScriptsBundle.Orderer = nullOrderer;
      var defaultStylesBundle = new Bundle("~/Content/default.css").Include("~/Content/site.less");
      defaultStylesBundle.Orderer = nullOrderer;
    • Add the following to the top of /Content/site.less in order to have access to all of the Bootstrap mixins:
      @import "less/bootstrap.less"; 
      body {
            padding-top: 60px;
            padding-bottom: 40px;
      @import "less/responsive.less"; 

    =================== THE REST OF THIS POST IS OUT OF DATE ==========

    UPDATE 8/20/2012: I've created a Nuget package that performs the steps below. I'd suggest reviewing what the package does below and then running:
    Install-Package Twitter.Bootstrap.Less.MVC4

    ASP.NET MVC4 has a great new feature that can bundle and minify your CSS and Javascript files.

    But in order to get Twitter Bootstrap to work it takes a bit more work. Here are the steps that worked for me.

    1. Create a new MVC4 Internet Application
    2. Add the following Nuget Packages
    3. Create an Infrastructure folder and add the following two files: (hat tip to this Stackoverflow question)
    4. Rename /Content/site.css to /Content/site.less 
    5. Edit BundleConfig.cs in the App_Start folder and replace the default Content/css bundle with the following:
      var css = new Bundle("~/Content/css").Include("~/Content/site.less");
      css.Transforms.Add(new LessMinify());

    6. Add the following to the top of /Content/site.less in order to have access to all of the Bootstrap mixins:
      @import "less/bootstrap.less";

    If you have "shared" .less files from other projects I found importing them in site.less right after boostrap.less to work pretty well. They'll have access to all the mixins.
    @import "less/bootstrap.less";
    @import "less/shared.less";

    The completed solution is available on Github here

    If there is a better/easier way to do this please let me know in the comments!

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    Passing Cookies to a Node.js REST Client

    In Node.js if you want to pass the current user's Cookies to a REST call your making from the server here's a simple way to do it:

    var cookies = _.map(req.cookies, function(val, key) {
        return key + "=" + encodeURIComponent(val);
    }).join("; ");
    rest.get("http://makerocketgonow.com/", {
        headers: {
            Cookie: cookies,
            "Content-Type": "application/json"
      }).on("complete", function(data) {
        return console.log(data);

    This example uses the popular Restler library, but I assume you could do something similar with other libraries or without using a library.

    CAUTION: I'm using encodeURIComponent on the cookie value. Ruby on Rails seems to expect their cookies to be encoded like this. On the other hand, I've looked throw a few Node.js libraries that deal with cookies and they don't seem to manipulate the value at all. So you can play with adding or removing encodeURIComponent.

    If you start to get errors when making the REST request, be sure to check the cookie encoding/format versus what Firebug sends on a normal request to the site. Pay particular attention to any special characters.

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Using Mongoid 3 (MongoHQ or MongoLab) on Heroku

    Here's what you need to get Mongoid working on Heroku, if you're getting errors like:
    NoMethodError (undefined method `[]' for nil:NilClass)

    Make sure the following is in your gem file (reference).
    source 'http://rubygems.org' 
    ruby '1.9.3'
    gem  'rails', '3.2.3'

    If you get an error like undefined method `ruby' run the following:
    gem install bundler --pre

    A lot of places have outdate documentation for configuring your mongoid.yml file which may result in the following error:
    No database provided for session configuration: :default

    Your mongoid.yml file should look like the following.
          uri: <%= ENV['MONGOHQ_URL'] %>
            skip_version_check: true
            safe: true
    The ENV variable above is for MongoHQ. For MongoLab use ENV['MONGOLAB_URI'] 

    Big thanks to the guys in this StackOverflow thread for helping me put all this together!

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

    Add support for LESS to Node.js connect-assetmanager package

    The connect-assetmanager Node.js package allows you to combine multiple javascript and CSS files into one and also do other manipulations like minification.

    It's part of Mathias Pettersson's (mape) excellent node-express-boilerplate template.

    If you're also using LESS for CSS here is some code you can add to get connect-assetmanager to process you're LESS files:

    var assetsSettings;
    assetsSettings = {
      js: {
        route: /\/static\/js\/[a-z0-9]+\/.*\.js/,
        path: "./public/javascripts/",
        dataType: "javascript",
        files: ["libs/underscore-min.js" "libs/jquery.mobile-1.1.0.min.js", siteConf.uri + "/nowjs/now.js", "site.js"],
        debug: siteConf.debug,
        stale: !siteConf.debug
      css: {
        route: /\/static\/css\/[a-z0-9]+\/.*\.css/,
        path: "./public/stylesheets/",
        dataType: "css",
        files: ["libs/jquery.mobile-1.1.0.min.css", "style.less"],
        debug: siteConf.debug,
        stale: !siteConf.debug,
        preManipulate: {
          "^": [
            function(file, path, index, isLast, callback) {
              var match;
              match = path.match(/\.less$/);
              if ((match != null) && match.length > 0) {
                return less.render(file, function(e, css) {
                  return callback(css);
              } else {
                return callback(file);

    The import part is the preManipulate line under css but I include my entire assetsSettings from a project to make it easier to understand.

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    MonoTouch JsBridge - Communicate with the UIWebView

    Today I'm open sourcing JsBridge for MonoTouch which allows for bidirectional communication between the javascript in your UIWebViews and your native C# code in your MonoTouch app. Go directly to GitHub for the documentation on how to use it.

    This project was inspired by doing a project using Appcelerator's Titanium. In fact the javascript used in JsBridge was taken directly from that project, so if you're used to using Titanium you should be right at home using JsBridge.

    At this time it requires MonoTouch 5.3.3, which as of 5/1/2012 is in Alpha, because JsBridge needs to register a custom url protocol using NSUrlProtocol.

    I'm not 100% satisfied with the implementation of the event listeners on the native side, so I'm open to suggestions on how to make it better. Ideally some day the Xamarin team will implement something like this in a future version. ;)

    I've already submitted my first app to use it the iOS AppStore and it relies heavily on bidirectional communication between javascript and native. The app is a remote control for Rdio's new UI. A nicely executed feature by Rdio (even if it came way after the chrome extension remote I made for their first UI ;) ), but unfortunately it doesn't work on iOS partially due to the Rdio servers not supporting the Websockets protocol that the UIWebView has. Using JsBridge I was able to implement the WebSocket connection on the native side and override the Rdio javascript calls that use WebSockets and pass them to the native side and vice versa. I'm quite pleased with the results so far. ;)

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    Solved: Video.Js Playback Error in IE9


    Make sure your server (including Amazon CloudFront) is setting the correct mime type when returning the video file.

    For .mp4 files the mime type should be video/mp4


    I spent about an hour baffled why IE9 wouldn't play an H.264 video that Chrome and Firefox played fine.

    The only lead I had was this message output by Video.js using console.log:

    Video Error[object Object] 

    What's more annoying is that IE9 doesn't let you inspect objects that are output by console.log. To get around that you can install the Firebug Lite bookmarklet. Unfortunately in this case the object doesn't give you much more to go on.

    I tried swapping videos and found it worked with the sample Video.js video, which usually indicates a mime type issue (which seems to be a recurring issue with Microsoft products).

    I was using Amazon CloudFront to server the videos (download style as opposed to streaming) and figured I couldn't set the mime type but it turns out you can:
    1. Go into S3 and find your video file.
    2. Right click and select Properties
    3. Select the Metadata tab
    4. In this case, set KeyContent-Type and Value = video/mp4
    5. Press Save button

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    MonoTouch.Dialog UIPicker

    In iOS a UIPicker looks like this:

    I'm working on an iPhone application that's built using MonoTouch.Dialog and after a full day of trying to get the MonoTouch.Dialog compatible Picker in ClanceyLib to work, I've decided to package up my work and release it on GitHub.

    The main issues with ClanceyLib is that it requires a heavily modified and out of date version of MonoTouch.Dialog. If you try to compile it with the built-in version of MonoTouch.Dialog you'll get the following two errors:

    Error CS0115: `ClanceysLib.ButtonElement.GetCell(MonoTouch.Dialog.DialogViewController,
    MonoTouch.UIKit.UITableView)' is marked as an override but no suitable
    method found to override (CS0115) (ClanceysLib)

    Error CS0115: `ClanceysLib.ComboBoxElement.GetCell(MonoTouch.Dialog.DialogViewController,
    MonoTouch.UIKit.UITableView)' is marked as an override but no suitable
    method found to override (CS0115) (ClanceysLib)

    Ripping out the elements you need from ClanceyLib wasn't as easy as I hoped on the first try but I now have it working along with some other improvements:
    • Updated it to hide the keyboard or picker when selecting different cells to edit.
    • Changed so the Items in the Picker list are UIView's for greater customization.
    • Actually has a sample of how to use it. ;)
    UPDATE 3/1/2012: It works out of the box with the version of MonoTouch.Dialog that is now packaged with MonoTouch. But, it will not dismiss the picker when selecting a different cell. To enable that feature it requires a custom version of MonoTouch.Dialog and you'll need to comment in 3 lines of code in PickerElement.cs.

    I sent a pull request to get my minor change to MonoTouch.Dialog included in the core. If/when it's pulled I will update PickerElement.cs to take advantage of it and the dependency on the custom version of MonoTouch.Dialog will be no more. ;)

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    setTimeout Setting Mysterious Callback Parameters

    I got burned by this twice in the last month.

    Say you want to call the following function after 5 seconds.
    function doSomething(optionalParam) {
      // check if optional param passed in.
      if (optionalParam) {
        optionalParam.foo(); // this is where the error sometimes happens.
      // do more stuff.
    // delay 5 seconds.
    setTimeout(doSomething, 5000);

    Periodically I was getting undefined errors when trying to call foo(). After some googling, it turns out Gecko browsers have setTimeout pass back an extra parameter indicating the "actual lateness" of the timeout in milliseconds.

    I haven't run into this with other browsers but to avoid the issue it's best to do the following when your callback functions have optional params (Not having optional params would obviously be even safer).
    // delay 5 seconds.
    setTimeout(function() {
    }, 5000);