Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Remoting event callbacks

I recently had need to add an event call back from a remote object. I got it working with help from several useful articles, but mainly this
on Code Project.
Some tweaks I made were putting all the remoting setup bits and pieces in config files, but the most important was that I changed the server code so that rather than just raising the event it iterates through the event invocation list and invokes each delegate. This is because I noticed that if a client disappears without removing its event call back from the list the server would fail whenever the event was raised. By iterating the invocation list you can catch the offending delegate and handle it more gracefully (i.e. so that the clients don't all error and removing the orphaned delegate from the invocation list)

Delegate[] invocationList = MyEvent.GetInvocationList();

foreach(Delegate d in invocationList)
d.DynamicInvoke(new object[] {sessionId, trackNumber});
catch(System.Reflection.TargetInvocationException ex)
//the invocation failed.
//If the cause was that the service could not be found then
//remove the delegate from the invocation list
if (ex.InnerException.Message == "Requested Service not found")
MyEvent= (MyEventHandler)MyEventHandler.Remove(MyEvent, d);

//log the error
//otherwise rethrow the exception

Friday, February 24, 2006


Asp.Net project hell

Yet again I have lost several hours due to Asp.Nets definately flacky web projects in VS.Net 2003.
This has happened to me several times. Sometimes I can fix it but I am never quite sure what does it in the end. This time I had to resort to using a different web project name.

Basically, I was adding a new web project and every time added it, it would add it but then say "project unavailable". If I closed the solution and opened it would then say "can't find file" or some such message. I deleted every trace of the project from my computer, including in IIS and all related files. I then tried again, and still got the same error.
I then tried a project with a different name. this worked fine...go figure
I didn't really want a different name though so I tried (in vain) to get it to work with the original name. I checked everything from webinfo file, to project files, to source safe working folders. Nothing worked.

So in the end I now have a project with a name which isn't quite what I wanted...

I haven't used VS.NET 2005 yet, but I really hope this problem is resolved...

Monday, February 13, 2006


Validating Sql Server objects

I recently wrote a handy little tool that goes through every stored procedure, view and function in a database and tests to see if they compile. I find this really useful if I am going through a process of restructuring the database, as well as to give me some confidence before we deploy that everything compiles.
I have posted the source onto Code Project.

Just to clarify slightly, this tool will only pick up stored procs etc that fail to compile. Just because something compiles does not mean it will work. One example would be if a table in a stored proc did not exist. This would compile ok, as Sql Server will use late-binding in this case. However, when you run it, then it will error.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Web services and client certificates

I recently had a requirement to use a client certificate with an SSL web service call to enhance the security on an existing web service. My preferred option was to use WS-Security but that was not possible due to constraints at the server. So the only option was to use a client certificate.
Sounded fairly straightforward.
I read this article which seemed easy when I came to try it. It just would not work.
The client certificate would not appear at the server. If I made the server require a client cert I got a 403 Forbidden error on my web service call.
I googled it and found a blog entry by Kevin Hammond which made me hopeful. Unfortunately, it still did not work.
So after wasting a couple of hours tweaking a few things, search google etc I didn't get anywhere.
I then decided to see if I could access the web service via interet explorer with a client certificate. This didn't work either...I kept getting the error "HTTP 403.13 - Forbidden: Client certificate revoked".
I was stumped for a while until I noticed the following properties of the certificate itself (view through the certifcate store MMC addin)
CRL Distribution Points
[1]CRL Distribution Point
Distribution Point Name:
Full Name:

Authority Information Access
[1]Authority Info Access
Access Method=Certification Authority Issuer (
Alternative Name:
[2]Authority Info Access
Access Method=Certification Authority Issuer (
Alternative Name:

I was using my own certificate authority for this development work, and had installed certificate server on my dev server. I realised that this same server has sharepoint installed on it, and that when sharepoint was installed it took over port 80 and created a new website on port 81. The certificate server bits and pieces had all been set up on port 81. So I copied the settings for CertSrv, CertEnroll and CertControl to the sharepoint site on port 80 and told sharepoint to exclude these folders from itself.
I then re-issued my client certificate, and it worked. With IE I could now access my web service.
I then went back to the code which calls the web service, plugged in the new certificate and it also worked. Hurrah. I was very relieved.
This new certificate was installed in my Current User - Personal store. I really wanted it in the Local Machine store. So I installed it there, tweaked my code to look there instead and ... d' didn't work.
I tried several things like re-installing the CA in the Local Machine trusted root. I also tried the winhttpcertcfg tool. All to no avail.

So at that point I, erm, gave up. I could live with the client cert having to be in the Current User store (it would mean a bit of extra buggering about to deploy - but at least it works). There was no more time to solve the Local Machine store problem. If anyone has any ideas on that one I would be interested to here it.

Anyway, I think the lesson here is:
Certificate Server has to be installed on port 80 (either that or I missed some option to tell it what port it was installed on)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Sourcesafe maintenance

I've been a sourcesafe user for a number of years...never quite understood some the wacky things it does in combination with visual studio sometimes, but anyway...
I was reading this article on sourcesafe best practice and found out that I should have been running analyze.exe once a week (at least monthly) about never...
so now I'm thinking I really should analyze my vss db.
So I ran analyze in analyze-only mode (i.e. not fix) and I have quite a few "potentially serious errors or inconsistencies".
Now the question is...should I run analyze and let it fix those inconsistencies. Given that no-one has reported any problems am I going to introduce a whole bunch of problems by fixing the inconsistencies.
This article has some useful info on backing up the database as well as analyzing it. For instance, not analyzing over a UNC share.
Anyway, I think the key is to backup the database first and then run analyze on the backup to work out what the damage might be...I think this is a task for next week...its waited this another week won't hurt. Will it?....

Friday, December 02, 2005


Report performance

One success today...a managed to get report that was taking 15 mins to produce in Sql Reporting Services down to a few seconds. In the end I had to resort to a database job top to pre-calculate a bunch of the data I needed in the report rather than figuring it out on the fly. The downside is the report data is now only as fresh as the last time the database job ran - but given that the source data for this is only received daily its not a big deal...

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Source code?

One thing I would like to do with this blog, is to provide a means to access source code for some of the handy (simple but handy) utilities that end up getting developed over the years. You know the kind of thing that doesn’t take too long to code, but saves a lot of time.

I haven’t figured out the best way to do this yet. I guess hosting the source code somewhere and linking to it, but what about licensing and legal disclaimers etc. I want everything to be free but don’t want any responsibility for the code. I always wanted to write an article for but never seem to have the time. I guess is a good place to start for licensing info….



The beginning...

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