Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Quick Guide to Use Ionic Framework Side Menu

This post will guide you to quickly set side menu in Ionic Framework.

Firstly, we need to set up the routes in app.js file. In this case we have our menu template in menu.html file. We need to name the menu state (e.g. app) and then all other pages will have states with this syntax menuStateName.pageStateName. We will also need to set abstract: true for the menu state.

Below is an example:
ionicApp.config(['$stateProvider', '$urlRouterProvider',
    function ($stateProvider, $urlRouterProvider) {
            .state('app', {
                url: '/app',
                abstract: true,
                templateUrl: 'menu.html'
          .state('app.add', { // add item page
              url: "/add",
              views: {
                  'menuContent': {
                      templateUrl: 'add-item.html'
          .state('app.list', { // list items page
              url: "/list",
              views: {
                  'menuContent': {
                      templateUrl: 'list.html'
         .state('app.edit', { // edit item page
             url: "/edit/:itemId",
             views: {
                 'menuContent': {
                     templateUrl: 'edit-item.html'
        // if none of the above states are matched, use this as the fallback

On index.html, we just need to put <ion-nav-view></ion-nav-view>.
<body ng-app="ionicApp">

Then on each page file, we have ion-view and ion-content:
<ion-view view-title="PageTitle">
    ... your markup content ...

Then on the menu markup file (menu.html), we have something like this:
<ion-side-menus enable-menu-with-back-views="true">
        <ion-nav-bar class="bar">
            <ion-nav-buttons side="left">
                <button class="button button-icon ion-navicon" menu-toggle="left"></button>
        <ion-nav-view name="menuContent"></ion-nav-view>
    <ion-side-menu side="left">
        <ion-header-bar class="custom-brown">
            <div class="title">Menu Title</div>
                <ion-item menu-close href="#/app/add">
                    <b>Add Item</b>
                <ion-item menu-close href="#/app/list">
                    <b>List Items</b>
                <ion-item menu-close href=". . .">
                    <b>. . .</b>
                <ion-item menu-close href=". . .">
                    <b>. . .</b>
On the example above, I use enable-menu-with-back-views="true" so that the menu icon will always be displayed. I also commented out <ion-nav-back-button></ion-nav-back-button> to hide the back button so only the menu icon will be displayed.

We can also have the menu items populated dynamically. We could use something like below:
                <ion-item menu-close ng-repeat="item in vm.items" ui-sref="app.edit({itemId: {{item.itemId}}})">
                    <b>Edit :</b> {{item.name}}

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Setting HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) in ASP.NET Application

Setting HSTS on a website application is one way to avoid Man in the Middle attack which modifies server response to use insecure connection to gain user information.
One online tool that can be used to check whether our website has HSTS or not is https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest . If on the report, it shows that:
'Strict Transport Security (HSTS) : No'
then it means that it is not set.

To set HSTS in web.config file, add these configurations below inside <system.webServer> node:
  <rule name="HTTP to HTTPS redirect" stopProcessing="true">
   <match url="(.*)" />
    <add input="{HTTPS}" pattern="off" ignoreCase="true" />
   <action type="Redirect" url="https://{HTTP_HOST}/{R:1}"
    redirectType="Permanent" />
  <rule name="Add Strict-Transport-Security when HTTPS" enabled="true">
   <match serverVariable="RESPONSE_Strict_Transport_Security"
    pattern=".*" />
    <add input="{HTTPS}" pattern="on" ignoreCase="true" />
   <action type="Rewrite" value="max-age=31536000" />

However if we do not have URL Rewrite module installed in IIS, we will have a 500 internal server error. This is because IIS does not understand <rewrite> node in the codes.

We can download URL Rewrite module from https://www.iis.net/downloads/microsoft/url-rewrite


Monday, 19 September 2016

Directive to Parse and Format Number from and to Currency

This post will show an example of an AngularJS directive that will automatically format a plain number inserted into an input field into a currency format. As the number is typed into the input field, the value will be formatted into its local currency representation. The directive also converts a number value from model to its currency format in the view.
$formatters, $parsers and $filter are used as part of the codes.
myApp.directive('formatCurrency', ['$filter', '$locale', function ($filter, $locale) {
    return {
        require: '?ngModel',
        link: function (scope, elem, attrs, ctrl) {
            if (!ctrl) return;

            // $formatters is used to process value from code to view
            ctrl.$formatters.unshift(function (modelValue) {
                var formattedValue;
                if (modelValue) {
                    formattedValue = $filter('currency', null, 2)(modelValue);  // use $filter to do some formatting
                } else {
                    formattedValue = '';
                return formattedValue;

            // $parsers is used to process value from view to code
            ctrl.$parsers.unshift(function (viewValue) {
                var plainNumber;
                var formattedValue;
                var decimalSeparatorIndex = viewValue.lastIndexOf($locale.NUMBER_FORMATS.DECIMAL_SEP);  // $locale.NUMBER_FORMATS.DECIMAL_SEP variable is the decimal separator for the current culture
                if (decimalSeparatorIndex > 0) {
                    // if input has decimal part
                    var wholeNumberPart = viewValue.substring(0, decimalSeparatorIndex);
                    var decimalPart = viewValue.substr(decimalSeparatorIndex + 1, 2);
                    plainNumber = parseFloat(wholeNumberPart.replace(/[^\d]/g, '') + '.' + decimalPart).toFixed(2); // remove any non number characters and round to two decimal places

                    formattedValue = $filter('currency', null, 2)(plainNumber);
                    formattedValue = formattedValue.substring(0, formattedValue.lastIndexOf($locale.NUMBER_FORMATS.DECIMAL_SEP) + 1);
                    formattedValue = formattedValue + decimalPart;
                } else {
                    // input does not have decimal part
                    plainNumber = parseFloat(viewValue.replace(/[^\d]/g, ''));
                    formattedValue = $filter('currency', null, 0)(plainNumber);     // the 0 argument for no decimal does not work (issue with Angular)

                    if (formattedValue) {
                        // remove the decimal part
                        formattedValue = formattedValue.substring(0, formattedValue.lastIndexOf($locale.NUMBER_FORMATS.DECIMAL_SEP));
                    } else {
                        formattedValue = viewValue;

                return plainNumber;

To use it on an input field:
<input type="text" ng-model="vm.myVariable" format-currency/>

For a working example, please see this on Plunker.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Passing Controller Function to Directive

Below is an example of how to call a controller function from inside an AngularJS directive:
myApp.directive('myDirective', function () {
    return {
        scope: { controllerFunction: '&callbackFunction' },
        link: function (scope, element, attrs) {
            scope.controllerFunction({ arg: '123' });
And the markup:
<div ng-controller="MyCtrl as vm">
      <span my-directive callback-function="vm.theControllerFunction(arg)" ></span>

We can also call the controller function whenever a value in the directive changes. An example of such directive:
myApp.directive('observeValueChange', function () {
    return {
        scope: { controllerFunction: '&callbackFunction' },
        link: function (scope, element, attrs, ngModel) {
            attrs.$observe('theValue', function (newValue) {
                scope.controllerFunction({ arg: newValue });
The markup:
<input type="text" ng-model="vm.myVariable" />
      <span observe-value-change the-value="{{vm.myVariable}}" callback-function="vm.theControllerFunction(arg)" ></span>

See the working example in Plunker.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Some Notes about SQL Index Fragmentation

This post is about a recent reading/research that I have made regarding of how to identify ‘bad’ indexes that have been defragmented much and how to fix those to be optimal again. There are many references put on this post such as useful scripts and articles for further reading.

Identifying Defragmented Indexes
Firstly, we would need to find the indexes that have much fragmentation. Below is a useful script from Microsoft Script Center site. This script shows average fragmentation for each index in all tables and indexed views.
ind.name AS IndexName, indexstats.index_type_desc AS IndexType,
FROM sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats(DB_ID(), NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL) indexstats
INNER JOIN sys.indexes ind 
ON ind.object_id = indexstats.object_id
AND ind.index_id = indexstats.index_id
WHERE indexstats.avg_fragmentation_in_percent > 0--You can specify the percent as you want
ORDER BY indexstats.avg_fragmentation_in_percent DESC

What to Do with the Result?
From the result we can either choose to ignore, reorganise or rebuild each index.

Reorganising an index is to reorder and clean up the index with pre-existing settings. While rebuilding an index is to recreate the index from scratch. When rebuilding an index, new settings can be set as the old index will be deleted. Rebuilding an index is usually more effective than reorganising an index. However rebuilding an index will cost more.

Reorganising an index is always done online while rebuilding is offline (except if using SQL Server Enterprise edition). Stopping a rebuilding operation will make the operation to be rolled back while stopping reorganising operation will just stop the process and leave the done parts.

According to Microsoft guideline, if an index has
- less than 5 % fragmentation -> ignore
- between 5% to 30% fragmentation -> reorganise
- greater than 30 % fragmentation -> rebuild

How to Reorganise / Rebuild Index?
An index can be reorganised or rebuilt with Alter Index command. For example:
To see all options for the command, see this MSDN documentation.

Reorganise / Rebuild all Indexes in the Database
To do this, we can use Maintenance Plan Wizard provided by SQL Server or script.

To create a maintenance plan:
1. expand the Management folder in the target database server
2. right click Maintenance Plans folder and select Maintenance Plan Wizard

For more details about using Maintenance Plan Wizard to rebuild indexes, please see this article 'Rebuilding Indexes using the SSMS Database Maintenance Wizard'.

Otherwise we can use script to reorganise/rebuild indexes. An example of simple script to rebuild all indexes of tables and indexed views in a database (source is http://www.sqlservercentral.com/blogs/juggling_with_sql/2011/06/20/rebuild-all-the-indexes-of-a-sql-database-in-one-go/):
DECLARE @fillfactor INT

SET @fillfactor = 90

SELECT @tsql =
';' + 'ALTER INDEX ALL ON ' + o.name + ' REBUILD WITH (FILLFACTOR = ' + CONVERT(VARCHAR(3),@fillfactor) + ')'
sysobjects o
INNER JOIN sysindexes i
ON o.id = i.id
o.xtype IN ('U','V')
FOR XML PATH('')), 1,1,'')

--PRINT @tsql         
EXEC sp_executesql @tsql

Or we can use more sophisticated script that has been used and proven by many people like Index Defrag Script.

I have Done Rebuilt but the Index Fragmentation is Still High
Fragmentation in an index of a small table may not be reduced even after reorganising or rebuilding because they may be stored on mixed extents that are shared with different objects. We might want to check as well whether by having the index is actually helping to improve query performance or not. If not then this index can be considered to be removed.

References and further reading:
Reorganize and Rebuild Indexes
Rebuild or Reorganize: SQL Server Index Maintenance

Friday, 8 July 2016

Some Notes about ASP.NET Request Validation and Cross Site Scripting

ASP.NET framework has a built-in feature enabled by default to protect application against Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attack. It uses Request Validation feature that checks query string, cookie and posted form values to make sure that those inputs do not contain malicious script. It will throw an error if it encounters malicious script.

Request Validation version
For the recent version of ASP.NET framework, we should use the latest validation mode. In our web.config file, it should have something like:
<httpRuntime requestValidationMode="4.5" targetFramework="4.5" />
ASP.NET version 4.0 should use   requestValidationMode="4.0"

Turning off Request Validation feature in the application
We could also turn off Request Validation feature and only have this feature on some pages. To do this, in web.config set
<pages validateRequest="false" /> 
then set the validation feature on the pages that we would like to have it
<@ Page ValidateRequest="true" %> 

Disable Request Validation in a Controller
We also can disable Request Validation feature for a particular controller by setting [ValidateInput(false)] attribute:
public ActionResult Index(MyModel m) 
    . . . 

Disable Request Validation on a class property
To disable the feature at a more granular level, we can use [AllowHtml] attribute on a class property:
public class MyModel 
    public string MyProperty1 { get;  set; } 

    public string MyProperty2 { get; set; } 

    . . . 


Encoding input data
If we would like to allow input data that contains HTML or JavaScript codes, we can encode the input with HtmlEncode() function that are provided by ASP.NET framework. In ASP.NET version 4.5 or above, they have included AntiXss Library in the System.Web.Security.AntiXss namespace. This library prevents XSS better as it uses whitelisting approach compared to the default one which uses blacklisting approach. To set AntiXss Library as the default library for encoding, specify the encoderType in httpRuntime node in web.config:
<httpRuntime  . . .  encoderType="System.Web.Security.AntiXss.AntiXssEncoder" />

Sanitising data
When we need to accept HTML format data, then we should sanitise the data first from any malicious codes. The AntiXss Library 4.3.0 contains sanitiser functionalities however this has reached an end of life. The newer version that is included with ASP.NET 4.5 does not contain sanitiser.

We have some options to add sanitation functionality, a couple of those are:
- Write our own custom method using HTML Agility Pack. See this article for an example
- Use a third party library such as the open source HtmlSanitizer

Using the open source HtmlSanitizer library is easy. We can download the package from NuGet. Below is an example of a simple usage of it:
var sanitiser = new HtmlSanitizer(); 

If we would like to disallow some HTML tags, just use .AllowedTags.Remove() method. For example:

Below is an example of a method that uses reflection to sanitise string properties of an object passed to it:
public object CleanStringsFromXSS(object data) 
            var sanitiser = new HtmlSanitizer(); 

            PropertyInfo[] properties = data.GetType().GetProperties(); 
            foreach (PropertyInfo property in properties) 
                Type propertyType = property.PropertyType; 
                if ((propertyType == typeof(string)) && (propertyType != null)) 
                    object value = property.GetValue(data); 
                    if (value != null && property.CanRead && property.CanWrite) 
                        string sanitisedValue = sanitiser.Sanitize(value.ToString()); 
                        property.SetValue(data, sanitisedValue); 

            return data; 

Request Validation vulnerabilities
There is a known vulnerability in Request Validation. Some types of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) postback can bypass this feature. Therefore it is important to scan JSON input manually. The sanitation library above can be used to check or sanitise malicious codes.

OWASP: ASP.NET Request Validation
Preventing XSS in ASP.NET Made Easy

Friday, 6 May 2016

Projecting Rows into Columns

Say we have some data in different rows of a column that we would like to project in different columns. For example we have this:

and would like to transform into this:

To do the projection we can use Pivot feature:
SELECT StudentId, DisciplineId, [1] AS Course1, [2] AS Course2, [3] AS Course3, [4] AS Course4, [5] AS Course5
 SELECT  StudentId, DisciplineId, CompletionDate, CourseId
 FROM TrainingDetails
) AS T1
 MAX (CompletionDate) FOR CourseId IN ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5])
) AS T2
Pivot will project the rows into columns. It will also automatically apply grouping to the rest of the columns. So it is important to only feed the query with same columns that will be used in the Select result. In this example, we narrow down the source to only have columns that will be used in query (StudentId, DisciplineId, CompletionDate and CourseId) from other unrelated columns in the source (TrainingDetails table). If there is any extra column, the grouping will not be done correctly.

However, we can also achieve the same result with a more standard query:
SELECT StudentId, DisciplineId
, MAX(CASE WHEN CourseId = 1 THEN CompletionDate END) AS CompletionDateCourse1
, MAX(CASE WHEN CourseId = 2 THEN CompletionDate END) AS CompletionDateCourse2
, MAX(CASE WHEN CourseId = 3 THEN CompletionDate END) AS CompletionDateCourse3
, MAX(CASE WHEN CourseId = 4 THEN CompletionDate END) AS CompletionDateCourse4
, MAX(CASE WHEN CourseId = 5 THEN CompletionDate END) AS CompletionDateCourse5
FROM TrainingDetails
GROUP BY StudentId, DisciplineId

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Migrating Existing TFS Database to Another TFS Server Instance

This post explains how to have a new TFS 2013 server with existing database copied from an existing TFS 2013 server.

These are the steps:
1. Backup each existing TFS database
2. Restore the databases in the new server environment. Make sure the databases names are similar like the old ones.
3. Install TFS in the new server by running TFS installer or executable file.
Choose 'Application Tier Only' or 'Upgrade' option on the wizard. Use 'Application Tier Only' if the new server has exactly the same version as the existing server. Use 'Upgrade' option if they have different versions, i.e; different version of service packs installed.
4. Once the installation is successful, go to the TFS Admin Console and change the configurations that still refer to the old server. Also change other configurations such as in Build Configuration and Backups.

Below are the screenshots of step by step running the installation wizard:
1. run the installer

2. choose 'Application Tier Only' option on left hand side menu if the TFS servers versions are similar

otherwise 'Upgrade' option if the versions are different

3. continue with the installation wizard

4. the wizard will detect local SQL instance and TFS databases

5. confirm the url and service account

6. keep progressing until the wizard finishes installation

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Config File Changes for AppFabric Upgrade

When upgrading from AppFabric 1.0 to 1.1, there are some configurations that need to be changed.

In configuration configSections node:
<!-- Old --> 
<section name="dataCacheClient" 
type="Microsoft.ApplicationServer.Caching.DataCacheClientSection, Microsoft.ApplicationServer.Caching.Core, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" 
allowLocation="true" allowDefinition="Everywhere"/>

<!-- New -->
<section name="dataCacheClients"
type="Microsoft.ApplicationServer.Caching.DataCacheClientsSection, Microsoft.ApplicationServer.Caching.Core"
allowLocation="true" allowDefinition="Everywhere"/>

Also the dataCacheClient node can be more than one now:
<!-- Old --> 
      <host name="oldcacheserver" cachePort="22233"/>

<!-- New -->
<dataCacheClients> <!-- new parent node -->
    <dataCacheClient name="default">
      <host name="newcacheserver" cachePort="22233"/>

If using AppFabric as session state provider, this needs to be changed as well:
<!-- Old --> 
<sessionState mode="Custom" customProvider="AppFabricCacheSessionStoreProvider">
 <add name="AppFabricCacheSessionStoreProvider" 
 type="Microsoft.ApplicationServer.Caching.DataCacheSessionStoreProvider, Microsoft.ApplicationServer.Caching.Client, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35"                         
  cacheName="CacheName" sharedId="SomeID" />

<!-- New -->
<sessionState mode="Custom" customProvider="AppFabricCacheSessionStoreProvider">
 <add name="AppFabricCacheSessionStoreProvider"
 type="Microsoft.Web.DistributedCache.DistributedCacheSessionStateStoreProvider, Microsoft.Web.DistributedCache"
 cacheName="CacheName" sharedId="SomeID"/>

How to: Configure the AppFabric Session State Provider for ASP.NET (AppFabric 1.1 Caching)
Configuration Settings for the ASP.NET 4 Caching Session State Provider (AppFabric 1.1 Caching)
Application Configuration Settings (AppFabric 1.1 Caching)
Preparing the Cache Client Development Environment (AppFabric 1.1 Caching)
Managing Security (Windows Server AppFabric Caching)