Thursday, June 26, 2014

Getting code signing to work with ClickOnce on a TFS Build Agent

Code signing is a giant pain in the butt. You have to :
  • Obtain the certificate for signing the code by:
    1. buying the certificate from an issuer.
    2. generating your own self-signed certificate
  • Configure ClickOnce within your project file with the following property elements:
    • <signmanifests>true</signmanifes>
    • <manifestcertificatethumbprint>A387B95104A9AC19230A123773C7347401CBDC69</manifestcertificatethprint>
  • Log into your machine **as the user running the build controller / agents ** and import the key to their user Personal certificate store!
    • Run 'certmgr.msc' from the Run command in the start menu (WinKey + R is the hotkey)
    • In the Certificate Manager that comes up, go to Personal in the tree, right-click, and select All Tasks -> Import ...
    • In the Certificate Import Wizard window that comes up, select Next to move to the 'File To Import' screen.
    • Select your certificate file, which has the same thumbprint as specified in your project file, then click Next to move to the 'Certificate Store' screen.
    • In the 'Certificate Store' screen, select the 'Place all certificates in the following store' option, then click Browse to select the store. Choose 'Personal' in the selection window. Click Next to move to the "Completing the Certificate Import Wizard" window.
    • On the "Completing the Certificate Import Wizard" window that comes up, click Finish to import the certificate.
You should now be able to build and sign your code on a TFS Build controller / agent.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Converting an existing Windows Store app to using the Prism Framework

I began converting an existing Windows Store App to using the Prism Framework provided by Microsoft. However, I'm running into the following error:

The primary reference "Microsoft.Practices.Prism.StoreApps" could not be resolved because it was built against the ".NETCore,Version=v4.5.1" framework. This is a higher version than the currently targeted framework ".NETCore,Version=v4.5".

This post on recommends installing the Microsoft Build Tools 2013 package, which is available here:

That didn't work.

I later realized that I had installed Prism with NuGet, so I went and checked the publishing dates on the versions. The latest (and default, which I had installed) was 1.1.0. The date on 1.0.1 was much older, and after reverting to that version, I was able to get my program to compile and run with a few modifications to the steps in this tutorial. The modifications are as follows:

  • Change the return type of the App.OnLaunchApplication method to 'void' to match the 1.0.1 version of the Prism.StoreApps library.
  • In the App.OnLaunchApplication method, ensure that there's a call to :
    • NavigationService.Navigate("Main", null); where "Main" is the initial page name, and there's a MainPage class in your Views folder.
  • Move the existing MainPage class into the Views folder in the root of the project.

Creating my first Windows 8 store app

As you may or may not be aware, there are multiple types of applications that can be created for Windows 8:

  • Windows store apps, which use the new Metro interface
  • Desktop-based apps which are like those created for previous versions of Windows that can still run in the Desktop app.
I'm quite familiar with creating WPF apps for Windows, but Metro apps are new, and those are what I'll be working on. With that in mind, Microsoft provides the Prism framework which helps provide additional classes, interfaces, events etc to help people develop Windows Store apps that keep consistent with Windows 8 design principles and help the apps perform properly. I'll be starting with the MSDN link here.

Beginning to work with Windows Store apps

I really hate Windows 8. I think the majority of the applications that have been written for it are complete pieces of shit, for the following reasons:

  • The developers who wrote them didn't pay any attention to Microsoft's best practices and they :
    • perform poorly
    • don't follow UI conventions and are hard to understand as a result
    • crash 
    • don't always save data properly
  • Many are piss-poorly written and adapted by third party developers for first-party systems because those first-parties don't want to write software in a competing ecosystem, and instead want to force users to use their ecosystem, which has their own set of flaws and deficiencies. Case in point: Google. At the time of this writing, there are no native Windows 8 applications put out by Google. There's no native YouTube app for Windows 8 (which there damn well should be), presumably because those fuckers couldn't find a good way to generate advertising revenue in a Windows 8 app. (can't really blame them for that because if I see ads in an app, I immediately delete it from my device without hesitation. I can't stand that shit.)
  • Windows 8 is a shit operating system. It was built on the new Modern interface (aka Metro), and initially had piss-poor integration with the desktop paradigm on which all previous incarnations of Windows were based. Add to this the fact that Microsoft didn't give people an easy choice of which paradigm they wanted to use right off the bat, and the fact that in successive iterations like Windows 8.1 they've tacked on hacky additions to make the Metro interface more like the previous desktop interface, you end up with a shitty operating system that's a pain to use; this pain stems from the fact that it's a horrible amalgamation of multiple user interface paradigms. 
As long as Microsoft continues to force their shitty iterations of Windows on the world, I, as a software developer, will be forced to deal with it because of the immense investment most employers have in Microsoft technology. With that in mind, I'm going to start learning Windows 8 applications so that I can make myself more marketable to employers everywhere. I'm going to document my learning here for my usual reasons:
  1. So that I have a reference for myself for the future
  2. So that others may learn more easily what I have learned.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Resolving ssh: connect to host port 22: Connection refused

There are a number of reasons why an SSH server may fail to allow a client to connect. Many aren't readily apparent, even from tailing system log files or using ssh -v on the client. Here are some of the ones I've encountered:

1. Incorrect permissions / ownership on the key files in /etc/ssh/
2. Incorrect permissions / ownership on the ~/.ssh/id_rsa private key file of the user as which we're trying to connect. I'll add more to this list as I encounter them.
3. systemd just plain being a piece of shit. Running 'systemctl restart sshd.socket' has fixed the problem in the past.