8/25/18

Upload a SharePoint Sandbox solution to Office 365

A Windows SharePoint (WSP) solution is a cab file that enables us to deploy data lists and web content like JavaScript, CSS, ASPX assets to a SharePoint site. It is a sandbox solution because it only enables us to deploy assets that can run on the browsers. When deploying to Office 365, we need to deploy the WSP file to a site that has the solutions feature available. In this article, we take a look at creating a developer site, uploading a solution and then enabling the feature that contains the assets that we need to deploy.

Creating a Developer Site

To create a developer site, we need to visit the SharePoint Admin center. This is available from the Admin->Admin Centers option on Office 365.  We want to be able to visit the Site Collection Management area and create a new site collection. We can access that area directly by vising this link:


https://ozkary.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/online/SiteCollections.aspx


Note: Replace ozkary with the corresponding site  tenant name.

On the site collection page, we can press the New button and create a Developer Site collection. In our example, we name or site collection dev which create URL similar to sites/dev. We can use any meaningful name.



https://ozkary.sharepoint.com/sites/dev




Upload the Solution

Now that we have a developer site collection, we can upload the WSP solution. This is done by visiting the developer site collection that we created on the previous section.  We can now select Site Settings-> Web Designer Galleries > Solutions or just visit this link:


https://ozkary.sharepoint.com/sites/dev/_catalogs/solutions


We are now ready to upload and activate our solution by pressing the Upload button and selecting our solution file. Once uploaded, the Activate button becomes enable. We just need to press it to activate the solution.

Enable the Feature

All SharePoint solutions have components or features that need to be enabled independently.  Once the solution is active, the features become available either at the Site or Site Collection level. This depends on how the scope of the feature is set.

When set teh scope to Web, the feature is installed at the site level. When set the scope to Site, the feature is available for the entire site collection.  For our example, we have a site scope feature, so we need to enable it from Site Settings -> Site Actions -> Manage Site features.  We could also just visit this direct link:


https://ozkary.sharepoint.com/sites/dev/_layouts/15/ManageFeatures.aspx


We should be able to find the feature name and press the Activate button.

Checking the Content

Now that we have activated the feature, all the content in our solution feature should be deployed. To validate, we need to visit Site Contents menu option. This should display the new data lists and other content that was deployed.

I hope this is able to provide an overview on how to upload a solution to Office 365.

Thanks for reading.

Originally published by ozkary.com

8/11/18

Parsing JSON with SQL Server

With SQL Server JSON support, we can now store JSON documents in a table. This is very similar to how we have been able to store XML documents in an Xml Column. In this article, we take a look at parsing a complex JSON document with nested structures to return a flat structure similar to a database query.

Define the JSON Document

We start by defining our JSON structure. The data may not make much sense, but the intend here is to be able to flatten this structure into a table format.  It may not be clear, but there are some challenges here.  


DECLARE @json nvarchar(1000) =
N'[
    {      
        "player":{"name":"ozkary"},
        "scores":[7,9],
              "teams": [
                     {"name":"team one"},{"name":"team two"} 
              ]        
    },
    {      
        "player":{"name":"dani"},
        "scores":[6,10] ,
              "teams": [
                     {"name":"team a"},{"name":"team b"}     
              ] 
    }
 ]


For example, how can we get the name properties for both player and team’s fields? Let’s look at those fields, and we can see that one is an object. The other is an array of objects.  In addition, the scores are stored in an array of values with no correlation to anything else.

We can try to parse this data to see how it looks once it is flatten.  We start by querying an object property. This can be done by providing the document path to that property. In this case, we can get the player name with this path:


'$.player.name'


The dollar sign ($) provides the root scope of the document. From there, we walk the properties down the different levels.

When it comes to arrays, we need to do a cross apply with the array and return the data as JSON. This enables us to join with that document section and parse it. We continue to repeat that process until we get to the object of each array element. This is shown in the example below, we return the teams property as JSON, and we then cross apply on that field to select the name.


teams nvarchar(max) '$.teams' AS JSON,
scores nvarchar(max) '$.scores' AS JSON

CROSS APPLY OPENJSON(teams) WITH (
    team nvarchar(50) '$.name'
)


Now that we understand the approach, we can implement a  solution that can help us get the information. The entire query should look as follows:


DECLARE @json nvarchar(2500) =
N'[
    {      
        "player":{"name":"ozkary"},
        "scores":[7,9],
              "teams": [
                     {"name":"team one"},{"name":"team two"} 
              ]         
    },
    {      
        "player":{"name":"dani"},
        "scores":[6,10] ,
              "teams": [
                     {"name":"team a"},{"name":"team b"}     
              ] 
    }
 ]'SELECT
    player.name, team, score
FROM OPENJSON (@json) WITH(  
    name nvarchar(50) '$.player.name',
    teams nvarchar(max) '$.teams' AS JSON,
       scores nvarchar(max) '$.scores' AS JSON
) as player
CROSS APPLY OPENJSON(teams) WITH (
    team nvarchar(50) '$.name'
)CROSS APPLY OPENJSON(scores) WITH (
    score nvarchar(50) '$'
)


We first open the entire JSON document with the OPENJSON function.  We select all the fields we need using the WITH directive. For every field that we return as JSON, we do a cross apply and open that JSON segment.  This enables us to select the object properties that we need. 

The resulting data should look as show below:


As we shown here, processing JSON documents with SQL Server is feasible, but we need to be mindful that JSON structures are defined to match an application model and attempting to query the data as a table structure may be a difficult task.

Thanks for reading.


Originally published by ozkary.com

7/28/18

ASP.NET MVC Apps on Virtual Directory with IIS Express

On previous articles, we learned how to deploy multiple ASP.NET MVC Apps on the same Azure Web App by using virtual applications.  We also learned that for some cases when more than one application defines the same routes, this may lead to an ambiguous routing request if not configured properly.

Previous Articles





In this article, we learn how to configure our development environment with a virtual directory and have a second app run on the same process which should simulate the environment on Azure.

IIS Express Configuration

Visual Studio Solutions contain a .vs folder with solution configuration information. In that folder, we can find a config folder with an applicationhost.config file.  This is the file that enables us to configure IIS Express when running apps from Visual Studio.

When we open the file, we should look for the sites node (xml node). This is where the sites/apps definitions can be found for a solution. In the case of a solution with two ASP.NET projects, we can find a setting similar to this:


<site name="ozkary.azure.vdir.main" id="2">

    <application path="/" applicationPool="ozkary.azure.vldir.main AppPool">

        <virtualDirectory path="/" physicalPath="d:\repos\ozkary.vdir\main" />

    </application>

    <bindings>

        <binding protocol="http" bindingInformation="*:61823:localhost" />

    </bindings>
</site>

<site name="ozkary.azure.vdir.admin" id="3">

    <application path="/" applicationPool="ozkary.azure.vdir.admin AppPool">

        <virtualDirectory path="/" physicalPath="d:\repos\ozkary.vdir\admin" />

    </application>

    <bindings>

        <binding protocol="http" bindingInformation="*:62029:localhost" />

    </bindings>
</site>



In the settings, there are two sites, main and admin.  Both of those sites run from a different local folder and a different port. If we translate this to an Azure deployment, we will need to deploy to two different web apps.

Our goal is to change to using only one app, and deploy the admin site as a virtual app under the main site.  To do this using IIS Express, we need to configure the main app setting to read the following:


<site name="ozkary.azure.vdir.main" id="2">

<application path="/" applicationPool="Clr4IntegratedAppPool">
           <virtualDirectory path="/"    physicalPath="d:\repos\ozkary.vdir\main" />

</application>

<application path="/admin" applicationPool="Clr4IntegratedAppPool">
          <virtualDirectory path="/" physicalPath="d:\repos\ozkary.vdir\admin" />

</application>

<bindings>
        <binding protocol="http" bindingInformation="*:61823:localhost" />

</bindings>

</site>


To review, we just add another application setting under the same site configuration. We are careful in setting the path information otherwise this can lead to errors. We set the new application node path attribute to the virtual directory name (admin). We then set the virtualDirectory node attribute path to the root of the second project which should have a different physical path.  This essentially is the same as if we would do this on an IIS Server.

Validate the configuration:

To validate that our configuration is working properly, we can take a look at the process that IIS Express is creating for us. We first take a snapshot of the process prior to making the virtual directory entry. If we run the projects, we would see that both projects are running with a different process ids,  PID. This is shown on this image below which is taken from the IIS Express admin app which is available from the system tray.


We can then stop the applications and add the additional application node under the main site.  We are now ready to lunch the applications again and take another snapshot.  We should now see that both applications are running under the same process id PID 25860.




After validating this locally, you can deploy to Azure and validate that this is working with no conflicts. To learn how to deploy to Azure using a virtual directory, review the article below:


  


Hope this is helpful and thanks for reading.

Originally published by ozkary.com

7/14/18

ASP.NET MVC Routing Error Multiple Controller Types on Azure Virtual Directory

In a previous article, I wrote about hosting an ASP.NET MVC app on a virtual directory on Azure.  You can find the article in the link below.  The main goal of that article was to show how to hosts other sites within the same Azure Web app.



There are cases when the multiple sites have similar routes and controllers, and the application find this ambiguous and does not know how to handle a request showing this error:



[InvalidOperationException: Multiple types were found that match the controller named 'Home'. This can happen if the route that services this request ('{controller}/{action}/{id}') does not specify namespaces to search for a controller that matches the request. If this is the case, register this route by calling an overload of the 'MapRoute' method that takes a 'namespaces' parameter.

The request for 'Home' has found the following matching controllers:
Admin.Controllers.HomeController
Main.Controllers.HomeController]
               
This error is somewhat odd because a deployment to a virtual directory should isolate the routes per application and there should not be this ambiguity.

Review Deployment and Configuration

When facing such error, we need to check the following possible problems:

1) When doing the deployment, we need to make sure the destination URL includes the virtual directory folder
For example:   www.mysite.com/admin    where admin is the virtual directory folder.

2) Make sure the virtual directory root folder is not the same as the main site
This is a common mistake. When doing the configuration for a virtual directory we must make sure to set the correct physical path as shown next:


The image shows how the main application and virtual path use different physical paths. If both are set to the same physical path, then the routes will be processed from both apps with the same route but different controller types which causes the ambiguity.

Before doing the deployment to Azure make sure to test this configuration on your development environment. For those using Visual Studio with IIS Express, you may find this article useful:
I hope this is helpful.

Originally published by ozkary.com

6/23/18

Xamarin Android WebView Authentication

The WebView browser component is commonly used to render web content within a native application layout. When the content is secured, it is required for the app to authenticate with the Web server first.  When using the WebView component, we can leverage the component events (HTTP pipeline) to detect a challenge-response authentication event from the server and automatically login our app.

Challenge Response Security



The challenge-response interaction is a security protocol (HTTP 401) event in which a server challenges the identity of a client, and the browser responds with the security credentials required to access the content. If the required credentials are not validated, the content is forbidden to the app. We can leverage this interaction to send the impersonating identity to the server by extending the WebViewClient class and overriding the authentication event. Let’s take a look.

Extending the WebViewClient Class

In order to write a handler for the challenge-response event, we need to extend the WebViewClient class. We start by implementing a constructor that can take the credential information. This enables the activity that instantiates our class to manage the credential information and just pass it to our class during the class instantiation.


internal class AuthWebViewClient : WebViewClient
{
    public string Username { get; }
    public string Password { get; }
    private int LoginCount = 0;
    
    /// <summary>
    /// gets the user credentials for the impersonation process
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="username"></param>
    /// <param name="password"></param>
    public AuthWebViewClient(string username, string password)
    {
        Username = username;
        Password = password;          
    }
    
    /// <summary>
    /// handles the authentication with the website.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="view"></param>
    /// <param name="handler"></param>
    /// <param name="host"></param>
    /// <param name="realm"></param>
    /// <remarks>
    /// </remarks>
    public override void OnReceivedHttpAuthRequest(WebView view, HttpAuthHandler handler, string host, string realm)
    {
        try
        {
            if (LoginCount < 3)
            {
                LoginCount++;
                handler.Proceed(Username, Password);
            }
            else
            {
                LoginCount = 0;
                handler.Cancel();
            }
        }
        catch (Exception ex)
        {
            Toast.MakeText(Application.Context, ex.Message, ToastLength.Long).Show();
        }
    }      
}


Handling the Authentication

When we extend the WebViewClient class, we can override some of the class events. For the authentication pipeline, we override the OnReceivedHttpAuthRequest event which provides a reference to the HttpAuthHandler object. This object provides the Proceed method which we use to send the login credentials to the server.

One important area to note here is that if there is a problem with the credentials that we send to the server, the HTTP 401 event will continue to be sent back from the server. This can create a loop between the browser and server. To prevent this, we track the number of attempts, and cancel the authentication when the limit is met. This is done by using the Cancel method on the HttpAuthHandler object.

Please note that this simple approach to pass the username and password information from the browser to the server. There are still other securities areas to be concerned with like encrypting the communication channel to protect the security credentials from unwanted traces.


Thanks for reading.

Originally published by ozkary.com