.NET Windows Services – Tips & Tricks

Windows Services
Windows Services

If you’ve ever worked with windows services, you’ll know that they’re a very powerful tool to have in your background processing arsenal. Unfortunately they can be also quite a pain to work with in developer land. Recently we’ve been spinning up a lot of new windows service projects in work as part of a Business Intelligence Data Processing Project. I thought this would be a good time to brain dump some of the tips & tricks I’ve come across over the past few years for dealing with .Net Windows Services.

I’ll look at the basics for getting a service up and going, using the built project installer & Install Util. Then I’ll take a look at easier ways of running the service inside the IDE, and how to run the service in user interactive mode.

Finally I’ll look at ways to make the service self-installing without having to rely upon the InstallUtil.exe as well as gaining access to configuration settings during the installation process.

[important]The completed solution can be found on GitHub at https://github.com/eoincampbell/demo-windows-service [/important]

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nuget.org

Combinatorics in .NET – Part II – Creating a Nuget Package

nuget.org
nuget.org
[important] This is part 2 of a 2 part post on Combinatorics in .Net

The solution is publicly available on github; https://github.com/eoincampbell/combinatorics

The library can be added to any .NET Soution via Nuget; https://nuget.org/packages/Combinatorics
[/important]

In the last post we looked at the Combinatorics Library, a .NET Assembly which provides Combinatoric generation capabilities to your .NET Applications. Now lets look at bundling up that solution & deploying the package to Nuget. Nuget is an online .NET Package Repository & associated Visual Studio extension that makes it easy to manage external assemblies in your projects. Developers who build 3rd party libraries or tools can create a NuGet package and store the package in a NuGet repository. Other developers can then browse the repository (online or with Visual Studio) and add references to those 3rd party tools & libraries.

You can read more about Nuget here.

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How many combinations ?

Combinatorics in .NET – Part I – Permutations, Combinations & Variations

How many combinations?
How many combinations?
[important] This is part 1 of a 2 part post on Combinatorics in .Net

The solution is publicly available on github; https://github.com/eoincampbell/combinatorics

The library can be added to any .NET Soution via Nuget; https://nuget.org/packages/Combinatorics
[/important]

 

Recently while working on a project, I had need to generate combintations and permutations of sets of Inputs. In my search for a decent combinatorics library for .NET, (something which is missing from the BCL), I came across a Codeproject Article from Adrian Akision. The implementation included a C# Generics Collection implementation for creating Combinations, Permutations & Variations from an Input Set. Adrian very graciously allowed that I bundle up the code as a Class Library Solution on Github & then release the library via Nuget.

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Cyclic Reference

Xml & Json Serialization of Object Graphs with Cyclic References in .NET

Cyclic Reference
Cyclic Reference

As a WCF Developer you’ve no doubt run into some issues with object serialization at some point or another during the course of developing your applications. Either during the course of pushing your entities through a WCF Service or by attempting to serialize those object for transit through other media. Recently I ran into some issues around serializing WCF Entities with Circular References (or cyclic relationships) between parent & child Objects.

Background

A large percentage of our company’s software work relies on moving a variety of object graphs around through WCF. These object graphs, often times contain self-references or circular references. The data we deal with is primarily related to the airline industry; specifically crew & flight schedules. It contains complicated tree structures of data with information on the flights crew-member’s fly, the duties (work-shifts) those flights belong to & the pairings, those duties are contained within. (A pairing is airline industry parlance for a collection of Duties organised into a longer 4 or 5 scheduled body of work for a crew member. Confusingly, it is not necessarily a Pair of anything).

In order to allow us to more easily navigate these object graphs, we populate a number of helper properties on the entities to allow us to traverse up and down the graph with ease. The following is an extremely simplified example of what gets populated in our Crew Schedule “Roster” Object Graph and shows the relations ships between the three previously mentioned domain entities.

Of course, this makes for some interesting cyclic situations when both the parent objects & contents of the child collections are cross-wired to one another and we want to serialize those objects for use through a WCF Service.

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