Unable to create C# unit tests - VS2015 and Win10

I just encountered something I thought was odd - Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise was complaining when trying to create a new C# unit test project. It might be because I'm on Windows 10, I don't know - I only run Windows 10 for development now.

The error was :

Error: Could not load file or assembly Microsoft.VisualStudio.JSLS Version=14.0.0.0

Solution:

  1. Mount the VS 2015 ISO
  2. Run E:\packages\JavaScript_LanguageService\JavaScript_LanguageService.msi
  3. Restart Visual Studio

Updating a vCenter 6.0 Appliance

Updating from vCenter 6.0.0a to 6.0.0b would have been a straight forward task I'd thought. Not so it seems.

First off, the appliance no longer auto-updates or has an admin UI - as it did in v5.
Now you have to download the patch ISO (not the normal install one), persuade it to mount and run a number of commands.

Simple isn't it. 

The steps to do an upgrade are:

  1. Find the patch ISO you need from https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/patch#search and download it.
  2. Fire up the vSphere client, and connect to the HOST that is running the Appliance.
  3. Open the Console for the Appliance VM
  4. Mount the ISO in the normal way
  5. SSH to the Appliance (if you haven't enabled this, you need to first, obviously)
  6. Run: software-packages stage --iso
  7. Accept the EULA (read it first, of course)
  8. Run: software-packages install
  9. Reboot appliance
  10. Repeat process for other patch ISOs as required

I'm wondering why it has to like this ... what was wrong with the semi-automated web interface method?

Log4Net and Splunk

Splunk is one of the most impressive "On Premises" log aggregation tools that I have ever come across. Being able to bring a large number of disperate data sources together into one combined index is truly useful in a modern Ops environment.

One of the things I find helpful from a development approach is consistent logging - and too often this is something that development teams overlook until things break.

However, getting data from a .NET / C# application into Splunk is not difficult and so these days I try and log absolutely everything (well, come on, the free tier gives you a decent chunk of an allowance too!).

The first thing I do is to create a new Index in Splunk - you do this by selecting Settings, Indexes and then clicking New.
The only box you need to fill in is the index name - let everything else default on your installation.

Once you have the index created, we need to setup the input. Settings then Data Inputs will take you to the right screen. Click Add New next to UDP. Pop in an unused port, say 8081, then click Next.  Make sure you select your index you created earlier, and specify the type as Generic Single Line - this basically tells Splunk it's unformatted data and not to pre-parsed it.

The next thing you need to do is actually get your code to submit data to Splunk -- the easiest way that I have found to do is to use Log4Net; in Visual Studio, install the log4net Nuget Package and this will take care of creating the relevant config entries. If, like me, you prefer to put your logging code into a common assembly then reference it elsewhere, remember to copy the assembly redirects and log4net specific entries into your other configs (or things just don't work!).

In your code, you will probably have a common class for sending log data - something like:

using log4net;
namespace YourApp.Common
{
    public static class Logging
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// Application or Class that should be identified with the log statement that is passed
        /// </summary>
        public static string Application { get; set; }
        /// <summary>
        /// Initialise logging - must be called at application start
        /// </summary>
        public static void Initialise()
        {
            log4net.Config.XmlConfigurator.Configure();
        }
        /// <summary>
        ///  Log an information message
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="message"></param>
        public static void Info(string message)
        {
            ILog logger = LogManager.GetLogger(Application);
            logger.Info(message);
        }
    }
}

That way you can specify the application name to be passed through with the logging data (handy for Splunk, as you can throw everything into one Index and then break out specifically what you need later) - and use the class from pretty much anywhere.

In your web.config you need it to look like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<configuration>
  <configSections>
    <section name="log4net" type="log4net.Config.Log4NetConfigurationSectionHandler, log4net"/>
  </configSections>
  <startup>
    <supportedRuntime version="v4.0" sku=".NETFramework,Version=v4.5" />
  </startup>
  <log4net>
    <appender name="UdpAppender" type="log4net.Appender.UdpAppender">
      <param name="RemoteAddress" value="splunk-server" />
      <param name="RemotePort" value="8081" />

      <layout type="log4net.Layout.PatternLayout" value="%level - %date{MM/dd HH:mm:ss} - %c - %stacktrace{2} - %message" />

    </appender>     <root>       <level value="ALL" />

      <appender-ref ref="UdpAppender" />
    </root>
  </log4net>
</configuration>

Finally, call away to get your data logged:



And that, folks, is it - you can now push .NET C# app log data into Splunk.

A couple of points that some people might question me on:

Why use UDP Appender and not TCP?

UDP is a lossy transmission protocol, and it is entirely possible that log messages do not make it into the Splunk indexer; however, it is significantly lighter weight than establishing TCP/IP connections.

Can I log to multiple locations - such as Splunk but also a text file?

Yes - add another Log Appender; the Log4Net docs are pretty good on this one. 

Is there much point about having the date time in the log message?

That depends - if you are worried that the messages might get cached somewhere and not always trust the date / time that Splunk adds to it's indexed entries, then you probably want to keep it. Otherwise feel free to drop it from the pattern.

EE / Apple Wifi Calling

I've moved house, and the EE signal sucks. "No problem", I thought, "EE had enabled Wifi Calling a few days earlier - I'll give it a shot".

It works generally ok - but only on my Wife's iPhone, and not mine. Seems that EE have only enabled it on Personal contracts and not the Corporate contracts. They have, however, pushed out the carrier profile update so you see the option - although it does absolutely nothing but tease!

The one gripe that I have, other than not being able to use it, is that whenever the phone sees a tiny bit of network signal it tries to switch from Wifi - which means you drop the call. This happens ware more than I'd put up with generally and the only way round it that I've found is to enable Airplane mode and then re-enable Wifi. Not the best user experience, but I guess this one is down to Apple's mistake!

Heres hoping that EE and Apple can resolve the glitches on it.