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Modifying the CreateUserWizard Control

Published 8 years ago

The CreateUserWizard control in ASP.NET makes it super easy for your users to sign up for an account. Simply add it to a page, configure it, and you're good to go. In addition, you can control the way it behaves using settings in the web.config file (such as whether or not duplicate e-mails are OK, password lengths and strength, whether or not you want to implement a "security question and answer" and so on). Also, when you don't like its appearance, you can customize the wizard's steps which expands its underlying HTML into your page, so you get full control over the rendering.

However, when you customize the steps, you'll find that the config setting that controls the display of the "security question and answer" no longer works as expected. In this article you see how to set up your control so it still takes the config settings into account.

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Recommendations for setting up a Visual Studio Solution for TFS

Published 9 years ago

Over the past weeks I received a number of requests to explain how I typically set up my Visual Studio projects so they are easy to manage across a team that uses Team Foundation Server (TFS). I received another request from a client just this week and instead of helping him over the phone or paying him a visit and do it for him, I decided to write a quick document with instructions which eventually resulted in this article.

In this article you'll see how to create a multi-project solution in Visual Studio. I'll show you how you can use this structure to set up an ASP.NET MVC 3 application with a separate class library project for business logic and one or more unit test projects. However, you can use the exact same principles for other types of Visual Studio projects such as Web Forms, Win Forms, WCF and more. Over the past years, I found that this set up brings me the following benefits:

  • It has a clear structure, making it easy to figure out where to find or store something
  • It can be retrieved from TFS without any hassle
  • It allows for easy branching
  • It resolves most reference issues to third party assemblies

This is just my take at setting it up. If you find anything wrong, or have better alternatives to accomplish the same thing: feel free to speak up using the Comments section at the end of this article.

Without further ado, let's get started.

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Using Entity Framework Code First and ASP.NET Membership Together

Published 9 years ago

Some time ago I was involved as a software designer and developer in an MVC 3 project that used Entity Framework Code First 4.1 in a repository layer. During development we postponed dealing with security as requirements were pretty simple (simple logons with a single Administrators role plus the requirement that users should only be able to see their own data). When we were close to deployment, we ran the aspnet_regsql tool against the database that EF had created for us to create the SQL schema and data that the Application Services such as Membership and Roles require. We also added an additional userName parameter to a Get method in the repository to filter records for the currently logged in user. Finally, we added Authorize attributes to a number of controllers to make sure they are only accessible for users that are logged in. We then deployed the application and database, created a number of users using the MvcMembership section we had added to the site, and announced the presence of the site. All of this worked great, but we ran into issues when started work on the next version of the application.

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Creating Checkboxes that Behave Like Radio Buttons with jQuery

Published 9 years ago

Some time ago I received a question on the Wrox P2P forum about checkboxes that should behave like radio buttons. The poster of the question was looking for a (client side) solution to have multiple checkboxes per row in a GridView with multiple rows. A user should only be able to check off at most one of the checkboxes in each row. My first thought was to use radio buttons instead, but then I realized that with radio buttons you lose the ability to uncheck all options. Once you've selected a radio button in a group of radio buttons, there's no way for an end user to uncheck it again.

Fortunately, with a bit of jQuery, this is really simple to accomplish with checkboxes as I'll show you in this short article.

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Using the Microsoft Access Providers for Membership, Roles and Profile under ASP.NET 4

Published 9 years ago

Back in August 2006 I wrote an article about replacing the built-in Application Services providers (such as the Membership and Roles providers) with a new provider targeting a Microsoft Access database, instead of a SQL Server database. This solution has worked well for many people who didn't have access to SQL Server on their production machine, or couldn't (or didn't want to) spend a lot of money for an extended hosting package that includes SQL Server.

I wrote the article using Visual Studio 2005 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 which was the bomb at that time. And while you can continue to use the concepts explained in the article in web sites that target ASP.NET 4 today without any modifications (you can easily consume .NET 2.0 DLLs in an ASP.NET 4 web site), you may run into some issues when you also want to compile the Access Providers assembly against .NET 4.

In this article I'll show you how to make the Access Providers work under an ASP.NET 4.0 web site.

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Building a Provider Based File Storage System Using .NET

Published 10 years ago

Many moons ago, in January 2007 to be exact, I wrote an article about storing files in the database using ASP.NET 2.0 and SQL Server. One of the features of the application I demonstrated in the article was the ability to switch between storing the actual file in the database, or saving it on disk. In both cases, meta data such as the content type and the original name were saved in the database, but by changing a configuration setting called DataStoreType you could determine if the actual file was saved on disk, or stored in an NText column in the database together with the meta data. In February of the same year, Steven Bey suggested to rewrite the application and base it on the provider model that has become a quite popular design pattern since it was introduced for the ASP.NET Application Services that appeared in ASP.NET 2.0. I added Steven's suggestion to my "Things to do when I have the time for them" list. And today is the day I finally found the time to do it. In this article I'll show you how I changed the application using the provider based model so you can switch between different providers, including various flavors of SQL Server and Microsoft Access. Adding support for other data stores then becomes really simple.

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Programmatically Managing Application Services in ASP.NET

Published 10 years ago

Since version 2.0, ASP.NET ships with a set of the so called Application Services, including Membership, the Role Manager, Personalization, Profile and the SqlWebEventProvider. To enable these features, you have a few options. The most common way is to just start using one of the features, such as Login control on an ASPX page. The default setup is configured to automatically create a SQL Server database in the App_Data folder of a site with the services already enabled. Another very common way, to get more control over the setup is to use the aspnet_regsql tool. This GUI or command line tool gives you more control over the SQL Server and database you're targeting and the exact features you want to install. The downside of this tool is that you need to run it locally and need the permissions to execute it.

I recently discovered that you can also manage the application services programmatically.

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Making Application Configuration Easier Using the Castle DictionaryAdapter

Published 10 years ago

If you've done any development in ASP.NET, you're probably aware of the presence of the <appSettings /> element in web.config that enables you to store centralized configuration settings. You can use that element to store settings such as e-mail addresses and sender names for outgoing e-mail, settings that determine whether or not to send e-mail in certain conditions, default page sizes and a lot more. While this feature greatly decreases the troubles typically associated with configuration settings in multiple deployment scenarios (development versus a production environment for example), you can use an external component called the Castle DictionaryAdapter to make using the appSettings element even easier.

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Welcome to the WebMatrix - Introducing Microsoft's new Web Stack

Published 10 years ago

Ever since Microsoft released ASP.NET in 2002, web developers have been able to use a powerful platform to build a wide range of web applications and services. But this power comes at a price. Getting started with ASP.NET takes quite some time and effort. Before you can run your first Hello World page, you need to download and install a lot of software, taking up quite a bit of time and bandwidth. You need Visual Web Developer (Express), you need SQL Server (Express or any other version) and you may need IIS if you want to test out more realistic scenarios, some of which require special privileges for the account you use on your machine. Once you have all the tools, the real work begins. My latest book, Beginning ASP.NET 4 in C# and VB needed 803 pages to take you from a developer newbie to a competent ASP.NET web developer.

In other words, you're facing quite some hurdles when you want to start developing web applications on the Microsoft platform, especially if you're a hobbyist web developer.

To make the Microsoft stack more appealing to beginning web developers, Microsoft is introducing WebMatrix.

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Using Grouping instead of Distinct in Entity Framework to Optimize Performance

Published 10 years ago

On a number of pages on this web site I display a list of articles. For example, the home page shows a list of all articles from all categories. The FAQs page shows articles from the FAQs category only. Internally, the content items in the database (sorted in the Content table) are linked through a junction table to the Roles table. This enables me to publish content targeting specific roles. Anonymous users see content for the Anonymous role only, while, for example, I as the site administrator can see content that is assigned to the Administrators role only. I use this in order to add content to my site which is not public yet.

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