Wednesday, 25 June 2008

How to change your LiveID email address to a new email address

I've had this one asked many times before. You can change your Windows Live ID/Windows Live Messenger/MSN Messenger email address e.g. from your company email address to a gmail address by:
  1. Going to
  2. Choosing your account (if you have several)
  3. Clicking on the "Change Email" tab

All your contacts will be automatically transferred to the new account - and you don't even need to notify your contacts of the change.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Performance Profiling in Firefox 3 and the YSlow Addin for FireBug

YSlow (sometimes mistakenly written as "WhySlow") is a very handy utility from the Yahoo Developer team ( which allows you to profile the performance of your pages in FireFox. It requires FireBug to be installed first, and runs inside your FireBug panel.

One of the simple and very handy features that the Internet Explorer Fiddler Tool 2 ( doesn't currently have is the page size and page timing toolbar in the bottom right hand corner. I recall that Netscape used to have this about 15 years ago, and Safari and Opera current have this feature. The only reason I can see why IE and Firefox don't have this by default is that the masses would get unhappy when they realize just how slow their pages are currently loading!

From now on, this will be my first port of call when making speed and size comparisons between sites.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Using the power of PowerShell to Configure your Web.Config for Different Environments,Customize the Output of SQLMetal and Bulk Update Word Documents

Microsoft PowerShell ( is an incredibly powerful tool because it has a particularly elegant syntax for manipulating XML files - with no XML DOM code required. It has many other features such as support for using .NET code inline (e.g. c#) - however I will just concentrate on the XML handling capabilities today.

With this in mind, it is extremely handy as a tool for ANYTHING XML or done previously in batch files:

  1. Modifying your web.config as part of your build process during deploy. In a previous post, Scott Guthrie has recommended using multiple config files, one for each environment (See The problem with this is you have complete duplication of settings files. This means it is more likely you will forget to update a setting for all different environments. Using one master config file that is configured for each environment by powershell is much better. Powershell can also do all your zipping, and FTPing to staging servers.
  2. Deployment and customization of Reporting Services Reports. RDL is a standard XML language can be customized if you don't like the output of the Visual Studio RDL editor/designer.
  3. Updating Word and Excel 2007 Documents automatically. The docx format is now all XML - so powershell can perform bulk updates to Word documents for you without the need to use Word automation or a separate executable.
  4. Updating LINQ DBML files to your liking. I will detail an example of this below.
An example of the power of PowerShell: If you are not happy with the output of SQLMetal (e.g. it generates LINQ entities for tables you don't want to see), you can use the following batch file to perform a "cleanup" of the tables you don't want in the dbml (Thanks to Andrew Weaver for this, for more powershell goodness, you can see his blog on

This batch file and powershell script does the following to fix up what the SQLMetal dbml generator doesn't do:
  • removes tables that are not needed in the DBML
  • renames associations so they are more meaningful (e.g. if you have multiple relationships between 2 tables, they will get names such as Lookup1, Lookup2, so your LINQ code using these relationships won't make much sense.)

The Batch File:

sqlmetal /conn:"data source=myServerName\dev;initial catalog=MyDataBaseName;trusted_connection=false;Persist Security Info=True;User ID=UserName;Password=Password;" /dbml:PropertyPipelineDb.dbml /context:InvestmentManagementDataContext /namespace:LendLease.InvestmentManagement.Domain.Entity /pluralize /entitybase:"LendLease.Framework.Domain.Entity.MutableEntity" /views

powershell -command "$temp = .\CleanDbml.ps1 -dbml '.\PropertyPipelineDb.dbml'; $temp Out-File '.\PropertyPipelineDb.dbml' -Encoding Unicode"

sqlmetal /code:PropertyPipelineDb.designer.cs PropertyPipelineDb.dbml


The PowerShell Script (CleanDBML.ps1)



    $DBML # File Path to DBML file



$removeTables = ("dbo.vRolePermission", `

                 "dbo.vOpportunityFlattenedFundInterests", `

                 "dbo.vOpportunityDetailsWithFlatFundInterests", `

                 "dbo.vAssetAddress", `

                 "dbo.vContactOpportunities", `

                 "dbo.vContactOpportunitiesWithFlatFundInterests", `

                 "dbo.vLookupHierarchy",  `

                 "dbo.CachedUser", `

                 "dbo.CachedUserExtension", `

                 "dbo.OpportunityImport" `



$renameTables = @{ "dbo.vOpportunitySearch" = @{ Type = "vOpportunitySearch" ; Member = "vOpportunitySearches"}; `

                   "Code.NotificationType" = @{ Type = "NotificationType" ; Member = "NotificationTypes"};  `

                   "dbo.vPropertyPipelineFund" = @{ Type = "Fund" ; Member = "Funds"}  `



$renameAssosciations = @{ "FK_OpportunityRelationship_Opportunity1" = @{ FKMember = "Opportunity1"; PluralMember = "OpportunityRelationship1s"}; `

                          "FK_OpportunityRelationship_Opportunity2" = @{ FKMember = "Opportunity2"; PluralMember = "OpportunityRelationship2s"}; `

                          "FK_CompanyCompanyType_Company" = @{ FKMember = "Company"; PluralMember = "CompanyTypes"}; `

                          "FK_NotificationType_NotificationType" = @{ FKMember = "ParentNotificationType"; PluralMember = "ChildNotificationTypes"} `



$exists = Test-Path ($DBML);

if (! $exists)


    $DBML = Join-Path -path $pwd -childpath $DBML;



$exists = Test-Path ($DBML);

if( $exists )


    $dbmlFileInfo = Get-Item -path $DBML;


    [System.Xml.XmlReader]$local:reader = [System.Xml.XmlReader]::Create($dbmlFileInfo);

    [System.Xml.XmlDocument]$local:doc = new-object System.Xml.XmlDocument;






    [System.Xml.XmlElement]$local:root = $doc.get_DocumentElement();


    # Remove nodes that don't belong

    $removedTypeMap = @{};

    $tableNodesRemoved = $doc.Database.Table `

                             ForEach-Object { $_; } `

                             Where-Object { $removeTables -contains $_.Name } `

                             ForEach-Object { $removedTypeMap.Add($_.Type.Name, $_.Name); $_ = $doc.Database.RemoveChild($_); $_; };


    # Remove any assosciations on other tables which reference a removed type

    $assosciationNodesWithTypesRemoved = $doc.Database.Table `

                             Where-Object { $_.Type.Association -ne $null } `

                             ForEach-Object { $_.Type.Association; } `

                             Where-Object { $removedTypeMap[$_.Type] -ne $null } `

                             ForEach-Object { $_ = $_.get_ParentNode().RemoveChild($_); $_; };


    # Rename nodes for tables with their new aliases

    $tableNodesToRename = $doc.Database.Table `

                             ForEach-Object { $_; } `

                             Where-Object { $renameTables[$_.Name] -ne $null };


    $renamedTypeMap = @{};

    $tableNodesToRename  ForEach-Object { $newName = $renameTables[$_.Name].Type; $renamedTypeMap.Add($_.Type.Name, $newName); $_.Type.Name = $newName; };


    $renamedMemberMap = @{};

    $tableNodesToRename  ForEach-Object { $newName = $renameTables[$_.Name].Member; $renamedMemberMap.Add($_.Member, $newName); $_.Member = $newName; };


    # Fix up any assosciations on other tables which reference a renamed type

    $assosciationNodesWithTypesRenamed = $doc.Database.Table `

                             Where-Object { $_.Type.Association -ne $null } `

                             ForEach-Object { $_.Type.Association; } `

                             Where-Object { $renamedTypeMap[$_.Type] -ne $null} `

                             ForEach-Object { $_.Type = $renamedTypeMap[$_.Type]; $_; };


    # Fix up member names for any assosciations on other tables which are Foreign Key assosciations and reference a renamed type

    $assosciationNodesWithFKMembersRenamed = $assosciationNodesWithTypesRenamed `

                             Where-Object { $renamedTypeMap[$_.Member] -ne $null -and $_.IsForeignKey -eq "true"} `

                             ForEach-Object { $_.Member = $renamedTypeMap[$_.Member]; $_; };


    # Fix up member names for any assosciations on other tables which are Subset assosciations and reference a renamed member

    $assosciationNodesWithSubsetMembersRenamed = $assosciationNodesWithTypesRenamed `

                             Where-Object { $renamedMemberMap[$_.Member] -ne $null -and $_.IsForeignKey -eq $null } `

                             ForEach-Object { $_.Member = $renamedMemberMap[$_.Member]; $_; };


    $assosciationFKNodesRenamed = $doc.Database.Table `

                             Where-Object { $_.Type.Association -ne $null } `

                             ForEach-Object { $_.Type.Association; } `

                             Where-Object { $renameAssosciations[$_.Name] -ne $null -and $_.IsForeignKey -eq "true"} `

                             ForEach-Object { $_.Member = $renameAssosciations[$_.Name].FKMember; $_; };


    $assosciationSubsetNodesRenamed = $doc.Database.Table `

                             Where-Object { $_.Type.Association -ne $null } `

                             ForEach-Object { $_.Type.Association; } `

                             Where-Object { $renameAssosciations[$_.Name] -ne $null -and $_.IsForeignKey -eq $null} `

                             ForEach-Object { $_.Member = $renameAssosciations[$_.Name].PluralMember; $_; };


    [System.Xml.XmlWriterSettings]$writerSettings = new-object System.Xml.XmlWriterSettings;





    $local:outputStream = new-object System.IO.StringWriter;

    [System.Xml.XmlWriter]$local:writer = [System.Xml.XmlWriter]::Create($outputStream, $writerSettings);









To assist your development of powershell scripts, you can use PowerShell Plus ( to parse and debug your scripts. Another amazing utility is the powershell add-in for reflector: This actually attempts to disassemble existing .NET DLLs to powershell scripts.

There are a whole host of plugins for Lutz Roeders application mentioned in the Hanselman article above (the Reflector compare of different dlls looks very useful) -but I'll have to save my comments for a later blog post...


Using Impersonation Batch Files and RunAs to Assist Web Application Testing

The current ASP.NET 3.5 Web application I am working on uses Integrated Windows Authentication to determine group membership and their associated user permissions. While this is great as the users don't have to ever enter login details, the issue is that it is difficult for UAT testers to test functionality under different roles. Never fear... to facilitate ease of testing, you can use the "runas" functionality in Windows 2000/2003/2008/XP/Vista to allow users to impersonate different test users in Active Directory.

For example, you can use the following "PP_Test_ImpersonateSuperUser.bat" file to impersonate a Super User without logging off and logging in as that user. It will also open up IE for the http://pp-test web site (an intranet site).

@ECHO ******Running as SUPER USER (IMTEST11); password is SuperUsersPassWord



runas /user:APAC\imtest11 /savecred "%ProgramFiles%/Internet Explorer/iexplore.exe \"pp-test\""


You can now test to your hearts content without having to log off your normal Windows account or logging on into Terminal Services on another machine as a different user.