net, aspnet, vs comments edit

I’ve got Visual Studio 2010, MVC3, and the latest tools update. I’m all patched up. But I’m seeing something weird.

I start out and I have a solution with a single C# class library in it.

Solution with one class

I decide to add an MVC3 site to it, so I do File -> Add New Project. I select an MVC3 project.

Add new ASP.NET MVC3 Web

I click OK, and I select an Empty web application.

Selecting an empty MVC3

When I click OK on this screen, I get an error “Cannot add the item because the item to add it to is not a solution folder or the solution.”

Error: Cannot add the item because the item to add it to is not a
solution folder or the

I click OK to dismiss the error and I see there’s a folder in the filesystem named the same as the project name I selected (like it started to put the project in there) but the folder is empty.

To work around this, you have to:

  1. Add a second project to your solution so that the solution itself shows up in Solution Explorer.
  2. Select the Solution node in Solution Explorer by clicking it once. It can’t be one of the projects. It has to be the solution.
  3. Now do File -> Add New Project and go through the steps to add the Empty ASP.NET MVC3 web application and it will work.

I’m not sure what’s going on where the project template is somehow keyed to the solution, but there you go.

net, vs comments edit

There’s been a lot of hoopla around NuGet and the whole .NET package management “thing.” There’s a lot of praise going around, and I think they’ve done a good job for what they’re doing.

That said, I have what I’m sure is going to be an unpopular opinion:

NuGet doesn’t help me.

It seems to me the primary benefits of NuGet are:

  • Get third-party dependencies into new projects faster.
  • Help you more easily update packages in your project.

That’s all well and good, butI think I’m not the target audience for this, and I think I may not be alone.

I don’t create a bunch of new projects. I work primarily in an established environment. We add new functionality to existing stuff. We refactor and fix and add features and clean up old code. We don’t create a bunch of new projects. When we do, there’s more ceremony than one person on the team deciding “File -> New Project.” How does that new project affect our installers? How does it change our deployment model? Was there any analysis done to see if there’s already a project in the system that overlaps what the intent of this new project is?

Since there aren’t a lot of projects created, there’s not a lot of need to hurry up and get new third-party dependencies in them.

Even if there were a ton of new projects, we have a central repository of third-party dependencies. That’s necessary because we have a lot of teams working on a lot of different projects and solutions that integrate and if we don’t keep ourselves unified on an agreed-upon dependency version, we have DLL Hell and Massive Assembly Redirect Configurations to maintain. Plus, there are legal issues with redistribution of libraries and licensing. Before you can update a dependency, did you check to see if the license changed? Did anyone do the cost/benefit analysis of taking that new dependency? Did someone try it in an isolated environment to see if it broke anything?

The point is, you can’t just right-click and update a dependency. Maybe a more accurate statement, then, is:

NuGet solves problems I don’t have.

I have other problems, sure, but NuGet isn’t helping me with those.

So when I see that really great projects likeAutoMapper have stopped offering a straight-up zip-file download and are making me jump through the hoops of creating a temporary location, futzing with the NuGet command line to “install a package” that I’ll never use, then manually peel the assemblies out of that and delete all the package junk…I’m disappointed. I know it’s free software, but that’s not terribly customer-friendly.

CORRECTION: There are zip files for AutoMapper, you just have to dig for them. I have come across other projects that don’t do zip downloads, though, and that’s sad.

There is still something to be said for distribution in a standard downloadable zip format. I mean, whatever happened to xcopy deployment? Does it always need to be more complex than that?

It also doesn’t help that the latest MVC templates all have NuGet built in. Now it’s not File -> New Project and go. It’s File -> New Project, delete packages.config, delete the packages folder, and go. And that’s in an “empty project.” Yay for additional steps!

web, downloads comments edit

Bing released a Firefox With Bing addon, which prompted Scott Hanselman to tweet a bit:

Ok, can we get a Mozilla Firefox with Hanselman branded browser

Looking at the addon code, it was released under MPL 1.1/GPL 2.0/LGPL 2.1 so…

In response to the peoples’ demand, I present to you

Firefox With Hanselman

(Click to get the addon.)

This addon does pretty much exactly what the Bing addon does:

Free. No warranty expressed or implied. Works on my machine, etc.

General Ramblings comments edit

Back on the week of October 11, Jenn and I dropped Phoenix over at Grandma and Grandpa Illig’s for a week and we went to Las Vegas. We’ve been to Vegas plenty of times and used to go almost yearly, but it’d been a couple of years and we were totally ready for a vacation.

We stayed atAria, which is one of the new hotels in the City Center development put up in the last couple of years. I totally recommend it. It’s located right in the middle of the strip between Bellagio and Monte Carlo. It’s very clean and has some nice restaurants and cafes as well. But the really sweet part is the room - total automation. You open/close the blinds, turn on/off lights, adjust the temperature and everything all through the TV or a little touch screen by the bed. When you walk in the room the first time, the room “greets” you by turning on the TV (which displays your names) and opening the blinds. There’s even a sweet A/V panel hooked up to the TV with every connector - DVI, HDMI, composite, component, USB - so you can hook your electronics into the system. The on-site wireless is good and is included with the room.

Oh, and we got a rockin’ city view room on the 33rd floor to boot. Love it.

City view from our room at Aria Las

Since we’d been to Vegas a ton of times before, we were mostly interested in seeing what had changed and checking out a couple of our favorite places.

For example, we had dinner at Margaritaville, where we always get the nacho (Best. Nacho. Ever.), and we found they’d expanded it to be a restaurant as well as a significant portion of the casino in the Flamingo.

We also went to see the Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand. My dad and I had our picture with some lion cubs there years ago and the next time we went they were all grown up. It’s just fun to see the lions.

The lions in the MGM

As for changes, The Sahara closed down, about which I have mixed feelings. It wasn’t like I hung out there or anything, but it’s a little piece of Vegas history dying. Plus, they had a fantastic roller coaster called “Speed: The Ride” which was well worth the money. Now it’s all boarded up.

The Sahara, all boarded up so you can't go

Another change is the set of stores. There seems to be a huge split between “stores affordable to normal humans” and “stores targeted to the 1%.” Pretty much all of the shops in Caesar’s Palace are high-end now, where some used to be places we could buy things (like FAO Schwarz). All the new shops in the Crystals at City Center mall are also ridiculously high-end, like those places you see have four pieces of clothing on hangars and that’s it. On the other hand, Ross Dress for Less has made an appearance on the strip. (I’m all for affordable, but I think this is a sign of the apocalypse.)

Ross Dress for Less - right next to the Hard Rock Cafe on the Vegas

As for trying new things, we went to see The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil at The Mirage. WOW. You absolutely must go see this show. We’ve seen several Cirque shows, and they are all unique in their own way, but this thing was crazy awesome. I can’t even explain it well. Things were constantly happening. It was overwhelming and beautiful and fantastic. It didn’t hurt that we were right in the front row, either, so we felt like part of the show. (Especially when some set pieces landed on the floor at our feet!)

Our seats at LOVE. Front row,

Finally, Vegas has a chain of places called Fat Tuesday that sells all nature of daiquiri and margarita flavor. We always stop in, but I’ve never gotten one of those big “yard long” drinks. I always say I will but I don’t. This time I did.

My 32oz "mini yard" of 190

I didn’t go in for the 100oz “super yard” that comes with a neck strap, but I did get the 32oz “mini yard” which is actually closer to 18” tall… but it’s still a lot of drink when you consider it’s their strongest drink made with 190-proof grain alcohol.

Of course, I did take down two of these (over the course of two days) so maybe I should have tried the 100oz. Might have hit “Man vs. Booze” territory at that point, though.

We took a pedometer with us this time to see how far we walked. Here’s a table based on an average 2000-steps-per-mile:



















Keep in mind the first and last day were travel days. The rest of the time, we walked our asses off.

So, a week in Vegas, we came back, and it’s back to normal life. Next time, maybe we’ll head over to the Palms/Rio area since we never quite make it there.