Microsoft Bob

Just a short, simple blog for Bob to share some tips and tricks.

Be sure to check out my non-technical blog at www.bobsbasement.net.

Month List

Windows Cache 1.3 for PHP 5.4

The IIS team has officially signed off on the Windows Cache Extension (WinCache) version 1.3 for PHP 5.4, and the files have been uploaded to SourceForge. This version addresses all of the problems that were identified with WinCache 1.1 that customers were seeing after they upgraded their systems from PHP 5.3 to PHP 5.4.

With that in mind, you can download WinCache 1.3 for for PHP 5.4 from the following URL:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/wincache/files/wincache-1.3.4/

You can discuss WinCache 1.1 and WinCache 1.3 in the Windows Cache Extension for PHP forum on Microsoft's IIS.net website.

Source Code Availability

Since WinCache is an open source project, the IIS team has uploaded the pre-release source code for WinCache at the following URL:

http://pecl.php.net/package/WinCache

For the instructions on how to build the extension yourself, please refer to the Building WinCache Extension documentation.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Jul 26 2012, 05:37 by Bob | Comments (0)
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WebDAV Website Importer for WebMatrix

The other day I was talking with one of my coworkers, Yishai Galatzer, about Microsoft's WebMatrix. By way of introduction, Yishai is one of our senior developers on the WebMatrix project; I'm not sure if you've used WebMatrix, but it's a pretty handy website editor. Here's a few generic screen shots:

WebMatrix 2 Splash Screen
WebMatrix 2 Quick Start Screen
Editing QDIG in WebMatrix 2

In any event, I was explaining how easy it is to work with WebDAV, and I mentioned that I had written some some blogs about working with WebDAV websites programmatically. (See my Sending WebDAV Requests in .NET Revisited blog for an example.) Since WebMatrix 2 has some pretty cool extensibility, Yishai challenged me to write a WebDAV extension for WebMatrix. His idea was just too good for me to pass up, so I stayed up late that night and I wrote a simple WebDAV Website Import extension for WebMatrix 2.

With that in mind, there are a few things that I need to explain in this blog:

  • What this extension actually does.
  • How to install this extension.
  • How to use this extension.

What the WebDAV Website Importer Extension Actually Does

The WebDAV Website Importer extension does just what its name implies - it allows you to import a website into WebMatrix over WebDAV. This allows you to download your website to your local computer, where you can make changes to your source files and test them on your local system with IIS Express.

It should be noted that this extension is only designed to create a new local website by downloading a copy of your website's files in order to create a local copy of your website - it is not designed to be a website publishing feature like WebMatrix's built-in FTP and Web Deploy features. (I would like to write a full-featured website import/export/sync extension, but that's another project for another day.)

How to Install the WebDAV Website Importer Extension

To install this extension, you first need to install WebMatrix. You can find details about installing WebMatrix at the following URL:

Once you have WebMatrix installed, click the Extensions menu on the ribbon, and then click Gallery.

WebMatrix 2's Extensions Menu

When the Extensions Gallery appears, you will see the WebDAV Website Importer in the list of extensions.

WebDAV Website Importer in the Extensions List

When you click Install, the WebDAV Website Importer details page will be displayed.

WebDAV Website Importer Details

When you click Install, the End User License Agreement for the WebDAV Website Importer will be displayed.

WebDAV Website Importer EULA

When you click I Accept, WebMatrix will download and install the extension.

How to Use the WebDAV Website Importer Extension

Once you have downloaded and installed the WebDAV Website Importer extension, it will show up whenever you are creating a new website in WebMatrix.

Import Site from WebDAV menu

When you click Import Site from WebDAV, WebMatrix will prompt you for the credentials to your WebDAV website.

WebDAV Website Credentials Dialog

Once you enter your credentials and click OK, the extension will import the content from your WebDAV website and save it in a new local website folder.

Summary

So - there you have it; this is a pretty simple extension, but it opens up some WebDAV possibilities for WebMatrix. As I mentioned earlier, this extension is import-only - perhaps I'll write a full-featured import/export/sync extension in the future, but for now - this was a cool test for combining WebMatrix extensibility and WebDAV.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Jul 20 2012, 18:12 by Bob | Comments (0)
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Creating "Pretty" XML using XSL and VBScript

I was working with an application recently that stored all of its settings in a large XML file, however, when I opened the XML in Windows Notepad, all I saw was a large blob of tags and text - there was no structured formatting to the XML, and that made it very difficult to change some of settings by hand. (Okay - I realize that some of you are probably thinking to yourselves, maybe I wasn't supposed to be editing those settings by hand - but that's just the way I do things around here... if I can't customize every setting to my heart's content, then it's just not worth using.)

In any event, I'll give you an example of what I mean by using the example XML database that's provided on MSDN at the following URL:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms762271.aspx

Note - the entire XML file would be too long to repost here, so I'll just include an unstructured except from that file that resembles what my other XML looked like when I opened the file in Windows Notepad:

<?xml version="1.0"?><catalog><book id="bk101"><author>Gambardella, Matthew</author><title>XML Developer's Guide</title><genre>Computer</genre><price>44.95</price><publish_date>2000-10-01</publish_date><description>An in-depth look at creating applications with XML.</description></book><book id="bk102"><author>Ralls, Kim</author><title>Midnight Rain</title><genre>Fantasy</genre><price>5.95</price><publish_date>2000-12-16</publish_date><description>A former architect battles corporate zombies, an evil sorceress, and her own childhood to become queen of the world.</description></book><book id="bk103"><author>Corets, Eva</author><title>Maeve Ascendant</title><genre>Fantasy</genre><price>5.95</price><publish_date>2000-11-17</publish_date><description>After the collapse of a nanotechnology society in England, the young survivors lay the foundation for a new society.</description></book></catalog>

This is obviously difficult to read, and even more so when you are dealing with hundreds or thousands of lines of XML code. What would be considerably easier to read and edit would be something more like the following example:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<catalog>
  <book id="bk101">
    <author>Gambardella, Matthew</author>
    <title>XML Developer's Guide</title>
    <genre>Computer</genre>
    <price>44.95</price>
    <publish_date>2000-10-01</publish_date>
    <description>An in-depth look at creating applications with XML.</description>
  </book>
  <book id="bk102">
    <author>Ralls, Kim</author>
    <title>Midnight Rain</title>
    <genre>Fantasy</genre>
    <price>5.95</price>
    <publish_date>2000-12-16</publish_date>
    <description>A former architect battles corporate zombies, an evil sorceress, and her own childhood to become queen of the world.</description>
  </book>
  <book id="bk103">
    <author>Corets, Eva</author>
    <title>Maeve Ascendant</title>
    <genre>Fantasy</genre>
    <price>5.95</price>
    <publish_date>2000-11-17</publish_date>
    <description>After the collapse of a nanotechnology society in England, the young survivors lay the foundation for a new society.</description>
  </book>
</catalog>

I had written a "Pretty XML" script sometime around ten years ago that read an XML file, collapsed all of the whitespace between tags, and then inserted CRLF sequences and TAB characters in order to reformat the file. This script worked great for many years, but I decided that it would be more advantageous to use XSL to transform the XML. (e.g. "Why continue to do things the hard way when you really don't need to?");-]

With that in mind, I rewrote my old script as the following example:

' ****************************************
' MAKE PRETTY XML
' ****************************************

Option Explicit

Const strInputFile = "InputFile.xml"
Const strOutputFile = "OutputFile.xml"

' ****************************************

Dim objInputFile, objOutputFile, strXML
Dim objFSO : Set objFSO = WScript.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Dim objXML : Set objXML = WScript.CreateObject("Msxml2.DOMDocument")
Dim objXSL : Set objXSL = WScript.CreateObject("Msxml2.DOMDocument")

' ****************************************
' Put whitespace between tags. (Required for XSL transformation.)
' ****************************************

Set objInputFile = objFSO.OpenTextFile(strInputFile,1,False,-2)
Set objOutputFile = objFSO.CreateTextFile(strOutputFile,True,False)
strXML = objInputFile.ReadAll
strXML = Replace(strXML,"><",">" & vbCrLf & "<")
objOutputFile.Write strXML
objInputFile.Close
objOutputFile.Close

' ****************************************
' Create an XSL stylesheet for transformation.
' ****************************************

Dim strStylesheet : strStylesheet = _
"<xsl:stylesheet version=""1.0"" xmlns:xsl=""http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"">" & _
"<xsl:output method=""xml"" indent=""yes""/>" & _
"<xsl:template match=""/"">" & _
"<xsl:copy-of select="".""/>" & _
"</xsl:template>" & _
"</xsl:stylesheet>"

' ****************************************
' Transform the XML.
' ****************************************

objXSL.loadXML strStylesheet
objXML.load strOutputFile
objXML.transformNode objXSL
objXML.save strOutputFile

WScript.Quit

This script is really straightforward in what it does:

  1. Creates two MSXML DOM Document objects:
    • One for XML
    • One for XSL
  2. Creates two file objects:
    • One for the input/source XML file
    • One for the output/destination XML
  3. Reads all of the source XML from the input file.
  4. Inserts whitespace between all of the XML tags in the source XML; this is required or the XSL transformation will not work properly.
  5. Saves the resulting XML into the output XML file.
  6. Dynamically creates a simple XSL file that will be used for transformation in one of the MSXML DOM Document objects.
  7. Loads the output XML file from earlier into the other MSXML DOM Document object.
  8. Transforms the source XML into well-formatted ("pretty") XML.
  9. Replaces the XML in the output file with the transformed XML.

That's all that there is to it.

Note: For more information about the XSL stylesheet that I used, see http://www.w3.org/TR/xslt.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/

Posted: Jul 06 2012, 06:07 by Bob | Comments (0)
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Working with the Different IIS Express Modes and HTTPS

I had another great question from a customer the other day, and I thought that his question was the perfect impetus for me to write blog that explained the different modes of IIS Express.

The customer's issue was that he was trying to run IIS Express from a command-line by specifying the path to a folder and he wanted to use that with SSL. He couldn't find a way to accomplish that, so he asked Scott Hanselman if there was a switch that he was missing, and Scott sent him my way. In the meantime, he was copying one of the IIS Express template ApplicationHost.config files and configuring SSL by modifying the XML programmatically.

First of all, the short answer is that there isn't some form of "/https" switch for IIS Express that the customer was asking about.

But that being said, this seemed like a great occasion for me to explain a little bit of design architecture for IIS Express, which might help everyone understand a little bit about what's going on behind the scenes when you run IIS Express.

In case you weren't aware, there are actually two modes that you can use with IIS Express:

  • Personal Web Server Mode
  • Application Server Mode

Having said that, I'll explain what both of those fancy titles actually mean, and how you can use IIS Express with SSL.

Personal Web Server Mode

When you are using Personal Web Server Mode, one ApplicationHost.config file is created per user by default, (unless an alternate file is specified on the command-line), and by default that ApplicationHost.config file is kept in your "%UserProfile%\Documents\IISExpress\config" folder.

In this mode, websites are persistent like they are with the full version of IIS, and the template that is used to create the per-user ApplicationHost.config file is located at:

"%ProgramFiles%\IIS Express\config\templates\PersonalWebServer\ApplicationHost.config"

Note: When you are using Personal Web Server Mode, your default website is named "WebSite1".

The general syntax for Personal Web Server Mode is:

iisexpress.exe [/config:config-file] [/site:site-name] [/systray:true|false] [/siteid:site-id] [/userhome:user-home]

If you are using IIS Express from a command-line with no parameters, or you are using IIS Express with WebMatrix or Visual Studio, then you are using Personal Web Server Mode. You can use SSL by enabling HTTPS in either WebMatrix or Visual Studio, or you can modify your ApplicationHost.config file directly and add an HTTPS binding to a website.

Application Server Mode

When you are using "Application Server Mode," a temporary ApplicationHost.config file generated when IIS Express starts in the user's "%TEMP%\iisexpress" folder.

In this mode, sites are transient like they are with Cassini, and the template that is used to create the temporary ApplicationHost.config file is located at:

"%ProgramFiles%\IIS Express\AppServer\ApplicationHost.config"

Note: When you are using Application Server Mode, your default website is named "Development Web Site".

The general syntax for Application Server Mode is:

iisexpress.exe /path:app-path [/port:port-number] [/clr:clr-version] [/systray:true|false]

If you are using IIS Express from a command-line by specifying the path to a folder, then you are using Application Server Mode, and unfortunately you can't use SSL with this mode.

Using SSL with IIS Express

As I have already mentioned, if you are using Personal Web Server Mode, you can use SSL by enabling HTTPS in WebMatrix or Visual Studio if you are using either of those tools, or you can modify your ApplicationHost.config file directly and add an HTTPS binding to a website.

However, there is no way to specify HTTPS for Application Server Mode; but that being said, there are definitely workarounds that you can use.

Copying the template file like the customer was doing is a good place to start. But I need to state an important warning: you should never modify the actual template files that are installed with IIS Express! However, if you copy the template files somewhere else on your system, you can modify the copied files as much as you want.

If you are using IIS 8 Express, we've made it possible to use AppCmd.exe with any ApplicationHost.config file by using the "/apphostconfig" switch. So instead of modifying the XML directly, you can use AppCmd.exe to make your changes for you.

For example, the following batch file creates a temporary website and sets it up for use with HTTPS:

@echo off

pushd "%~dp0"

REM Create the website's folders.

md %SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp
md %SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp\wwwroot
md %SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp\config

REM Copy the template configuration file.

copy "%ProgramFiles%\IIS Express\AppServer\ApplicationHost.config" %SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp\config

REM Configure the website's home directory.

"%ProgramFiles%\IIS Express\appcmd.exe" set config -section:system.ApplicationHost/sites /"[name='Development Web Site'].[path='/'].[path='/'].physicalPath:%SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp\wwwroot" /commit:apphost /apphostconfig:%SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp\config\ApplicationHost.config

REM Configure the website for SSL.

"%ProgramFiles%\IIS Express\appcmd.exe" set config -section:system.ApplicationHost/sites /+"[name='Development Web Site'].bindings.[protocol='https',bindingInformation='127.0.0.1:8443:']" /commit:apphost /apphostconfig:%SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp\config\ApplicationHost.config

REM Enable directory browsing so this example works without a home page.

"%ProgramFiles%\IIS Express\appcmd.exe" set config "Development Web Site" -section:system.webServer/directoryBrowse /enabled:"True" /commit:apphost /apphostconfig:%SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp\config\ApplicationHost.config

REM Run the website with IIS Express.

"%ProgramFiles%\IIS Express\iisexpress.exe" /config:%SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp\config\ApplicationHost.config /siteid:1 /systray:false

REM Clean up the website folders.

rd /q /s %SystemDrive%\myhttpstemp

popd

As you can see in the above example, this is a little more involved than simply invoking Application Server Mode with a switch to enable HTTPS, but it's still very easy to do. The changes that we've made in IIS 8 Express make it easy to script Personal Web Server Mode in order to enable SSL for a temporary website.

In Closing...

I hope this information makes using the various IIS Express modes and SSL a little clearer, and you can get IIS 8 Express by following the link in the following blog post:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/robert_mcmurray/archive/2012/05/31/microsoft-iis-8-0-express-release-candidate-is-released.aspx

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/

Posted: Jul 03 2012, 07:06 by Bob | Comments (0)
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