Going through the process of being acquired twice in the last few months, I’m getting pretty used to how the information dissemination process works.  In a nutshell, there really isn’t any.

From one point of view, I get it - there’s a lot to coordinate, and legal requirements dictate that certain things can’t be shared until certain times and so on.  I get it.  I get it so much I’m really tired of people reminding me about it because they think I don’t get it.  I promise.  I get it.

The other side - the side I seem to always be on is “The Dark Side.”  Not like the Dark Side of the Force, more like “people who are in the dark about any details about what’s going on.”  This is actually the majority of the people most of the time, and regardless of how “transparent” communications are supposed to be, management (the people who “know stuff”) generally seems to believe that “more communication is better,” even if there isn’t actually anything to communicate.

If you haven’t been through this process, I thought I’d help you out by throwing together a little Q&A simulator so you know what this is like.

First, imagine you’ve been notified of a very important all-hands meeting.  It’s mandatory.  You must attend.  Your very life depends on it.

You get to the meeting, and the Person In Charge says, basically, “Hey, folks, we’ve been acquired.  We figured this was the best move for the company.  Any questions?”

Now’s the time you get to ask all the questions you might have.  Try them out in my handy simulator:

Ask your question about the acquisition of the company:

Answer:

…and there you have it.

Now go to three or four of these in close succession - one for the whole company, one for your division, one for your group within the division… you get the idea.  Congratulations!  You’ve been through the acquisition experience.

testing, aspnet, gists, csharp, net comments edit

Let’s say you’re writing a service like an HttpModule that performs an action against each page that gets served up.  Maybe it does something like move the viewstate to the bottom of the page, update a property on the page, or fudge the control hierarchy a bit.

The thing is, you want to unit test it, but how?  Mocking an HttpContext is hard enough, and many times you end up going down the UI automation road.  Ugly.

Enter TypeMock.

A few lines of code, setting up the minimum amount of stuff, and you can mock just enough context to actually get a full page request lifecycle to execute - events and all.  So say your service needs to be called during the page PreInit and you can check the results of whatever you did during Load… here’s what that looks like:

[Test(Description = "Tests an external influence on the page lifecycle.")]
public void MyPageServiceTest()
{
  Page page = new Page();

  MockObject<HttpBrowserCapabilities> mockBrowser = MockManager.MockObject<HttpBrowserCapabilities>(Constructor.NotMocked);
  mockBrowser.ExpectGetAlways("PreferredRenderingMime", "text/html");
  mockBrowser.ExpectGetAlways("PreferredResponseEncoding", "UTF-8");
  mockBrowser.ExpectGetAlways("PreferredRequestEncoding", "UTF-8");
  mockBrowser.ExpectGetAlways("SupportsMaintainScrollPositionOnPostback", false);

  MockObject<HttpRequest> mockRequest = MockManager.MockObject<HttpRequest>(Constructor.Mocked);
  mockRequest.ExpectGetAlways("FilePath", "/default.aspx");
  mockRequest.ExpectGetAlways("HttpMethod", "GET");
  mockRequest.ExpectGetAlways("Browser", mockBrowser.Object);

  MockObject<HttpResponse> mockResponse = MockManager.MockObject<HttpResponse>(Constructor.Mocked);

  HttpContext mockContext = new HttpContext(mockRequest.Object, mockResponse.Object);

  using (StringWriter stringWriter = new StringWriter())
  using (HtmlTextWriter htmlWriter = new HtmlTextWriter(stringWriter))
  {
    mockBrowser.AlwaysReturn("CreateHtmlTextWriter", htmlWriter);
    page.PreInit +=
      delegate(object sender, EventArgs e)
      {
        // Perform some action
      };
    page.Load +=
      delegate(object sender, EventArgs e)
      {
        // Check/Assert the results of your action
      };
    page.ProcessRequest(mockContext);
  }
}

Obviously the majority of this could be wrapped up into a library or something, but I show it here to illustrate that, at least in ASP.NET 2.0, this is all it takes.

(You’ll notice that I’m using the Reflective mocks instead of the Natural mocks that I prefer in TypeMock.  The reason is that I’m mocking a couple of internal things and mocking non-public items requires the Reflective mocks.  By mocking these internal convenience methods, I can greatly reduce the amount of setup for this to run.)

aspnet, net comments edit

I was doing some experimentation with custom web server controls in ASP.NET 2.0 so I created a quick Web Application Project and started throwing some controls in, using them on the page that gets put in the app by default.  Unfortunately, I started getting the following warning:

Generation of designer file failed: Unknown server tag ‘cc1:MyServerControlName’.

For a minute, I thought maybe I had forgotten the <%@ Register %> directive at the top of the page, but, no, there it was:

<%@ Register Assembly="MyTestAssembly" Namespace="MyTestNamespace" TagPrefix="cc1" %>

I struggled for this with some time, building and rebuilding, searching and not really finding much on the web at large, and then I tried something that worked:

If the page and the custom control are in the same assembly, remove the “Assembly” portion of the directive.  For some reason, the designer just doesn’t understand it if you specify the assembly you’re tasked to build.  I’m not sure why.  So the directive becomes:

<%@ Register Namespace="MyTestNamespace" TagPrefix="cc1" %>

Once I did that, everything worked great.  YMMV.

UPDATE: If you’re using master pages and the control in question is inside a Content control, you may still see weirdness about unrecognized server tags.  In that case, add the tag prefix registration to web.config, again omitting the assembly:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<configuration>
  <system.web>
    <pages>
      <controls>
        <add tagPrefix="cc1" namespace="MyTestNamespace"/>
      </controls>
    </pages>
  </system.web>
</configuration>

One thing I noticed was that this seems to be… maybe a little flakey.  Depending on the circumstances, you may get a page that says your control tag is unrecognized at runtime.  That will require you add the “assembly” bit to the tag prefix registration in web.config… but that will cause you to have trouble in design time because the designer file won’t be generated properly.  Erg.

We went to the Washington County Fair on Saturday and had a blast.  There’s something about going to the fair that’s just generally fun.  This time, they had this great show called “The Pirate’s Parrot Show” going on when we got there.

The Pirate’s Parrot show is this great show where this guy brings out something like 15 parrots of different varieties and, dressed as a pirate (of course), shows you different tricks with the parrots and educates you about them.  None of the parrots are caged - they all just wander around however they want to - and the highlight of the show is him letting them fly freely around the area, passing very close overhead.  It’s definitely not something you see every day.  The whole audience was sort of baffled about why the birds wouldn’t just make a break for it, but he explained that with an analogy: “Why do your kids come back when they wander off?”  At the end of the show, he lets you hold and pet the parrots and answers any questions you might have about them.  All in all, a fantastic show.

Of course, we also had to partake in the fair food - BBQ pork sandwiches, fresh lemonade, and funnel cake.  It really doesn’t get much better than that, though I’m glad we walked all over the place so at least I could say I worked off two or three bites of that funnel cake.  I’m sure my arteries are still irritated with me.

A heck of a lot of fun, and, as Tom Peterson says, “Free is a very good price!”