Shawn Wildermuth

My Rants and Raves about technology, programming, everything else...

Building an API Course now with Web API 2

If you’re interesting learning how the new Web API 2 works, you’ll be happy to hear that my popular Pluralsight course “Implementing an API using ASP.NET Web API” now has a new module that shows you how to use the new features in Web API 2!

Xbox One - First Impressions

downloadMy pre-order of the Xbox One arrived on Monday and I’ve had a little time to play with it. I mostly got the device for Forza which I love. So after a couple of days with it, here are my first impressions.

Let’s start with the Operating System. It’s gorgeous and fluid. The switching between apps is really impressive. While it’s missing some features from it’s 360 counterpart, I find it really satisfying.

A Different Kind of Podcast

c64I am happy to announce that I am starting a podcast. I’ve been thinking about this for a while but I didn’t want to just do another podcast that talked about what is new in software development.

I’ve been listening to the Nerdist Podcast a lot and it gave me an idea. The Nerdist is fun because they talk to a lot of the people I like and often talk about the business more than just plug the latest project. I am interested in these same stories about software luminaries.

Web API 2's Attribute Routing: Looking Deeper

underwaterI recently recorded a new module for ASP.NET  Web API course (on Pluralsight) to cover the new features of Web API 2 (it’s not out yet, soon…I promise).

It was fun plumbing the depths of how it works. I generally like the feature but the implementation may change some of your code if you’re dealing with routes under the covers (i.e. for auth or versioning).

I'm Coming to Louisville, KY this Thursday

Are you in the Louisville, KY area this Thursday? I will be! I’ll be at the Louisville .NET Meetup Group talking about Web API..including Web API 2 that was recently released. The details of the event are:

We will meet on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at Adecco's offices at 101 Bullitt Lane. Doors will open at 6:30pm and the presentations will begin sharply at 7:00 pm. Along with a great presentation, we'll have food and raffle prizes. Be sure to RSVP so we know how much food is needed.

My Impressions of Ender's Game


Ender’s Game is a book I meant to read. Everyone I know has read it and just loved it. When I heard the movie was coming out, I decided it was time to read it in time to see the movie.

AngleBrackets Fall 2013

BX27kRzCAAACnrdI finished up my post-con for AngleBrackets today and am ready to head home. I had a great time and just spectacular attendees who had great questions! If you have a chance to go to AngleBrackets (or it’s sister conference, DevIntersection) make the trip. They’re coming to Orlando this fall!

I had a chance to do two talks and an all-day course. If you attended these, check out the source code and slides (where applicable) below:

My eBook Free During AngleBrackets

My book about my life as a software developer (The Opinionated Software Developer: What Twenty-Five Years of Slinging Code Has Taught Me) is available for free until October 31st. Consequently this is same the time I am at AngleBrackets  (part of DevIntersection) in Las Vegas talking about Mobile Web, PhoneGap and Designing for Developers.

If you haven’t gotten the book yet, here is your chance for free! This has been the book I wanted to write for years now. Don't look for code in this book (ok, there are exactly two lines of code) - but instead I am writing about what being a software developer has meant to me. Hopefully some of the advice and observations will help you in your own career too!

Upcoming Appearances

Fall-orange-maple-tree_-_West_Virginia_-_ForestWanderAs the leaves change, I realize that I am going to be on the road a bit this month. I am doing a conference, a meetup and the MVP summit. I just want to get my Skymiles Platinum card ; )

If you’re at any of the following events, please come up and say hello. Don’t be shy. I don’t bite…at least not hard.

Using ASP.NET Authentication in Web API

Web API is a pretty sexy REST stack (though others are cool too). As I’ve been talking about it a lot lately, the biggest question by far is authentication and authorization. There are many options including OAuth, Token-based authentication, basic authentication, and even custom solutions. One option that should be included is to use your existing ASP.NET Forms-Based Authentication.

As a preview to my recently released course on ASP.NET Web API, we’ve released a clip that shows you how to piggy-back on ASP.NET Authentication to protect your Web API interfaces:

JavaScript Function Scopes

As some of you know, I authored a Pluralsight course on JavaScript for C# Developers. We’ve released an excerpt from that course covering how JavaScript function scopes work.

If you’re just getting started learning JavaScript, it can be easy to bring your C# biases to the language since they both have curly braces. Hopefully this excerpt will help:

My Opinions in eBook Form

I recently released my new writing project: “The Opinionated Software Developer”. This short book (about 35 pages according to Kindle) is a quick look at my experience in software development. It includes a history of my experience in the field as well as a look at the software developer psyche. The hope was to share my opinions about being a developer in the industry including how to deal with co-workers, how to avoid being a brat developer and how to motivate developers in larger organizations.

Editing Styles with Firebug

firebugMost developers I know simply hate web design. As far as many developers are concerned CSS is evil. What CSS does for the web is magical but can be painful for developers that are used to functional or structural languages.

Luckily the browsers come to the rescue with great tooling. Here is a preview from my “Debugging the Web” Pluralsight course” which shows some of the basics:

Getting Ready for AngularJS 1.2

AngularJS is going through their release cycle now and that means that AngularJS 1.2 is going to be released soon with some specific changes that you'll need to address. I'll be updating my Pluralsight Course with the 1.2 changes as soon as the new version ships.

The biggest change for most people is the routing support is now packaged separately. To use routing you'll need to do two things:

Refactoring Nested CSS Rules using LESS

One of my favorite features of LESS is the ability to simplify my CSS rules that are deeply nested by using LESS to compose them more simply. I like this feature because it gives me the ability to clean up messy CSS files and make them more maintainable. Take a look to see what I am talking about.

LESS is an open-source dynamic stylesheet language for adding features to the CSS language that help you build better CSS. LESS parsing is supported in the free Web Essentials extension for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 (though not supported for the Express editions) as well as in the free WebMatrix tool from Microsoft. It is also supported in most IDEs, as a JavaScript library and even a command-line LESS builder.

Debugging Like a Knucklehead

So I've been writing a new Web API course Pluralsight. I am digging in how to handle versioning for an API and I think I've gotten it figured out but it just doesn't work. Throwing a crazy exception and just isn't working. I waste four hours trying to figure it out and I am cursing and grunting. The other people in the coffee shop are staring.

I spend a bunch of time on Google trying to find someone with a similar problem but no luck. Looking at the data and walking through the bug with the debugger didn't yield anything. Desperate, I reach out to Glenn Block himself for an answer. He's very gracious and agrees to help me out with a quick Skype session.

DevLink 2013

Thanks to everyone for attending my sessions at this year's DevLink 2013 conference in Chattanooga, TN. I had a great time at the aquarium and enjoyed meeting so many of the attendees. If you get a chance, you should add this to your conference attendance next year.

I gave two talks at this year's event. I promised the attendees to get them the code from my talks. Here they are:

Zen Coding (Emmit) with Visual Studio

As many of you know, I have a new course with Pluralsight called "Building a Site with Bootstrap, AngularJS, ASP.NET, EF and Azure". I had the opportunity to use Zen Coding (renamed Emmet for some reason) in the course. We've released a snippet of the course on YouTube that shows off this cool productivity enhancement that Web Essentials powers. Caveat: Web Essentials doesn't work with free versions of Visual Studio.

NOTE: The title of the video is incorrect and we're trying to change is about Zen coding.

Atlanta Code Camp 2013: Done!

I want to thank all the attendees, speakers and my compatriots in planning the Atlanta Code Camp. I had a great time helping make this event the best one we've had so far. Some of the numbers:

428 attendees (including speakers and sponsors)

Need LINQ but Writing JavaScript?

sketchArchOne of the tasks that I found cumbersome when writing JavaScript is simple collection manipulation. I have gotten spoiled in C# with LINQ. Sorting, filtering, shaping and more is easy with LINQ but what about in JavaScript? Underscore.js to the rescue.

Underscore.js is a small utility library that can help in collection manipulation (as well as other great features). I first started using Underscore.js to replace jQuery's (and AngularJS's) for-each implementations. I find underscore's simple and quick. Like much of JavaScript, the magic is happening in a callback function (think Lambda):

Is It Too Late for Windows RT Tablets?

imageAndroid tablets were a joke. I remember being at a MIX when the Xamarin guys (before Xamarin was Xamarin) were showing off Moonlight on Motorola Xoom tablets. I overheard them complain how bad the devices were compared to their iPad test machines. That was PN7 or Pre-Nexus 7. Sure the Kindle came first, but the real switch for Android tablets was the exceptional Nexus 7. They proved that the OS was usable and that a device was desirable. And they did it for $199. The Nexus 7 was a hit…very late into game. They knew that if they sold it at cost or better that people would learn to believe that Android was more than a haven for Linux-heads.

The problem with the Surface is that Microsoft wanted to make money on it. I know that's their business, but the Surface should have been the loss-leader that got the hardware community to build great tablets around Windows 8. But that didn't happen. Surface RT was $499 at launch (actually $399 but $499 was the right size one). $519 with a touch keyboard. This lined it up against a very successful product but it wasn't going to change any minds of people that already bought it.

My New Web Development Course is Live

Are you getting ready to build a new website? Are you interested in shortening your development by using Bootstrap, AngularJS, Azure and ASP.NET? If so, my new course might be just for you.

In this new course I build a new web site from scratch. I start out with a Bootstrap template (since my design skills suck) and move through creating content, building a database, exposing a REST-ful API and building a Single Page Application. I wrap it up by publishing the site to Azure Web Sites showing you how to not only get your application up an running in the cloud, but also how to monitor it and handle standard tasks like using your own domain in Azure.

My AngularJS Talk at Atlanta .NET UG

Thanks to all who showed up to see me talk about AngularJS at the recent Atlanta .NET User's Group. At the talk, I wrote the client-side code for an AngularJS app by hand. The slides are pretty thin, but the code includes all the functionality I showed. I promised the slides and code so here they are!

If you have questions about any of this, feel free to comment and I'll help as much as I can!

My First Week With Nokia Lumia 1020

imageA week ago I splurged and upgraded my Lumia 920 to the Lumia 1020. So to those of you who were expecting me to switch over the Android or an iDevice; I'm still entrenched in the Windows Phone world. And this phone cements my opinion to stay.  Let's talk about the good and the bad.

I like the weight. I was worried that with the camera bulge that this would feel like a much bigger device but if anything it feels smaller than the 920. I haven't looked up the weight but it feels really nice. I actually find the camera bulge useful as a pivot point to hold the phone.

JavaScript Promises

pinky-promiseNo I am not talking the promise that JavaScript will fix everything if you use it. I don't even believe that ;) I am talking about the concept of a promise object that several JavaScript libraries use (including AngularJS, jQuery, Dojo and WinJS).

A promise is a pattern for handling asynchronous operations. The problem is that essentially when you start an asynchronous operation, you need to execute some code as the operation is completed. Asynchronous code is so common that most libraries have found a solution for passing in callbacks. But there is little commonality to how each libraries does this. Let's take jQuery as an example:

Application Name WilderBlog Environment Name Production
Application Ver Runtime Framework .NETCoreApp,Version=v1.1
App Path D:\home\site\wwwroot Runtime Version .NET Core 4.6.24628.01
Operating System Microsoft Windows 6.2.9200 Runtime Arch X86