I was recently setting up PHP 5.6 on IIS 8.5 and hit an error.

I had been following a guide and this one didn’t make much sense. After trying to endlessly debug this i found out that it wasn’t actually anything to do with PHP or IIS, it was a dependency issue. Thankfully, the fix for this is very simple. In order for PHP to function under IIS 8, it needs the Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2012 Update 4. In particular it needs the 32-bit version. I was running under a 64 bit OS, but it seems that PHP was running as a 32-bit application and required the 32-bit redistributable. So even if you have 64 bit, download the 32-bit version of the installer.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30679

When it comes to handling datetime on SQL server it can get quite error prone when you are dealing with different regions and end up getting an out or range date exception if you are trying to add a date that is in EU date format to a server that is expecting a US date format.

Rather than having to worry about generating the string for the timestamp you can make SQL Server generate the timestamp for the datetime field automatically when you insert the row. This can be done by setting the default value for the field to a method called “getdate()”.

If you are using SQL Server Management Studio you can set the default value of datetime to the current time using the following. Make sure you set “Allow Nulls” to no and then add the method to the default value field.

SQL server default date time

SQL server default date time

All Uniq based operating systems contain a massively powerful command line interface that can let you do a lot of really cool things that you may not have realized. If you are looking for a piece of text in a huge directory of files, there is no need to go through each file and check. You can run a very simple command that will perform the search for you.

The following code will allow you to find a string inside a directory of files using any Linux/Unix based operating system using the Grep command. To make this command work correctly, make sure you are inside the directory that you wish to search.

If you wish to perform this command on a different directory that you are not currently inside, use the following command.

This will search for all files that contain ‘mystring’ inside the /var/myfolder directory. The -r argument will make this recursive so that it will also search all subdirectories. If you just want to search the top level directory, remove this -r command.

If you are using the sortable feature of the jQuery library, you will likely want a way to get the order of the elements. You can do this very easily using one of the built in events. The following code will obtain the element order for a sortable div and output the data to the console.

The output will be a simple numeric array e.g. [1,2]. You can loop over this array and do what you need to do. You can also save these to a comma delimited string if you need to submit the order of a sortable list through a form.

Angular 2.0

This tutorial will guide you through the steps required to get Node.js and Angular 2.0 setup installed on your windows system in order to begin development with Angular 2.0 web applications. The setup is fairly simple, so there shouldn’t be too much room for things to go wrong. This is what you need to do to setup node.js and angular 2.0 for development on windows. For setup on Linux, the process is quite similar, but the commands will differ.

Install Node.js and NPM

You can download this from the official node.js website. It is a simple installer. Make sure you install the “npm package manager” as part of the node.js install. Click here to download Node.js from the official website. 

Once you have this installed, you should be able to use it right away without needing to restart your PC, but you should test it out first to make sure. Open command prompt and run the following 2 commands to make sure that node.js and npm are correctly installed with the path variables setup.

You now have the means to get started.

Install Typescript for Angular 2.0

Typescript is what is used for Angular 2.0 development. You can install this using npm. Run the following command inside the windows command prompt to install typescript.

And thats is, you now have your system setup to begin developing applications with node.js and Angular 2.0. To make sure everything works, here are some extra steps to setup a simple project.

Creating a Test Project

You should try keep all of your development under 1 main directory. Make sure that the command prompt is open as an administrator and run the following commands to setup a development area on the C drive.

You now have the directory setup and ready to store a test project. You will now need set this directory up in order to correctly host an Angular2.0 project.

In order to get a project going you need to setup a config file for typescript in the root of the project folder. This needs to be created for each project. You can create it manually each time once you get familiar with what needs to go inside. For now you can run the following command to build it.

Navigate to your testproject directory and you will see that there is now a file in this folder called tsconfig.json. Open this file up and add some additional lines to it. Modify the file so that it contains the following content.

From the command prompt, make sure you are in the same directory as the tsconfig.json file. Once here, run the following command.

You will get some prompts from the window asking you to enter information. The default information will suffice for most of it. Once complete, you will now have a file called package.json inside of the project directory. Open up this file and add some additional data, your file should be structured more like this when you are finished.

From the same project directory as before, run the following command to install all of the project dependencies.

This will take a few minutes to complete, once it finishes you will be ready to add some components to your app.

Create Angular 2.0 Hello World

This part is easy and not so easy. Particularly if you are doing everything manually. Rather than explain it all, there is actually a very good example on the official website that will explain how to get a simple hello world style application setup and running. Click here for the official quick start guide on the angular website. 

 

Visual C#

Quite often when dealing with an API or some other external service, you will find that you get Unix timestamps returned to you or alternatively have to provide a timestamp in Unix form when sending a request back. Since you are going to be running your .NET code on a windows machine, you don’t have a built in way to get the time in Unix format. It is pretty simple to obtain a Unix timestamp though. Here is what you need to do to convert C# DateTime object to a Unix timestamp.

The following helper method can be used to convert a standard datetime object into a Unix timestamp value. The value is quite large and will get bigger as time goes on, so make sure to use an appropriate variable type. Long will work fine for this scenario.

It’s a pretty simple method with little to explain. Its worth noting that you need to keep this as a long. Int is not going to be big enough to hold the time value.

If you want to do things in reverse. I.e. Convert a Unix timestamp back to a C# DateTime object, you can use the following helper method.

 

Apache Logo

Back in the early days of DDOS attacks this would have been a highly dangerous tool. Thankfully it is very easy to block a basic attack like this, so i don’t see the risk of explaining how to use this method. Apache has a tool built into it that will allow you to send a predefined number of requests to a website in order to see if it can handle the load. Here is what you need to do to benchmark a website using Apache.

Apache has a fantastic benchmark tool that you can use to check the performance of your website. If you are expecting a flood of traffic for some particular reason, it would be good to know if your server is capable of handling such a flood. This tool will give you a good idea on whether the server is going to be able to handle the load of traffic.

The format of the command is very simple. You can run it on any server that is using apache. Since most web servers that run apache, will be using some flavor of Linux, i will give you the linux command line method of performing this. The application is called ApacheBench. It may already be installed, but if it isn’t it should be easy to install it.

Once you have it installed you can run a quick test to see how your server handles it. The format of the request is very simple. The first number is the total number of requests you want to send and the second is the amount of requests you want to send at the same time (concurrently). The concurrent value is the most important as this is the one that is most likely to crash the server if it receives too many requests at once. You can play around with the values as you please.

The following command will send a total of 1000 requests to a single URL by grouping them in sets of 100 requests at a time. Make sure to include the “/” at the end of the website path.

If i run the above command against this website I get the following results.

 

PHP Logo

There are various reasons that you might want to force a website to use SSL. In general, if you have an SSL cert setup for your website, you should probably force all users to https even if the page doesn’t contain sensitive data. In an ideal world, you would do this on the server side of things. Write some rules with the conf file that will force all traffic over https. If you are in a position where you can’t use the server then it is also easy to force SSL with PHP. It is also very easy to do it with pretty much any programming language, but for this example I will use PHP.

And there you have it. It is that simple. If you are using something like Cloudflare it can get a little tricky sometimes depending on how you have cloudflare configured to handle the SSL. For a standard site, this will be a simple way to force the use of SSL.

It is also worth mentioning that you must have an SSL cert configured on your server in order to make this work. If you do not have a site that supports HTTPS then you cannot make this work.

asp.net logo

You are looking to create some sort of HTML element on your site that when clicked will trigger a file download. Seems like a pretty simple request, but there is a little more to it then first appears. By default web browsers will have a set way to handle certain file formats. For example, if you wanted a user to be able to download an image file, simply putting the path of the image in the href, would just open the image in a new tab/window rather than actually download the file. Here is what you need to download a file using ASP MVC.

In order to do this you will need to setup an “ActionResult” on one of your controllers. This means you will be setting the href or source of the link to the URL of the controller. For this example i created a controller called “Services” a method in the controller called “DownloadFile” and this method accepted a value that represented the file. For this you could use some kind of ID that lets you know where to find the file or simple URL encode the file path. This method is probably the easiest, but is not secure. If you are using a public site, you are going to have to setup a DB table to manage the files so that each row has a unique ID that you can use to identify the file. This is what i have done for this example.

I have created a custom document object that works with the DB table. Passing the ID of the row in the constructor (i know its bad practice..but its much quicker). This will pull all of the file information from the database including the path of the file on the disk.

The file path returns a value like “C:/myfiles/somefile.pdf”.

In order to gain access to this file using a download link you will setup a link like the following.

And there you have it, this will trigger the file download in your browser. This can be used to download any file from a windows machine. So long as your server has access to the drive, the file can be downloaded. This means you can download files that are outside of the root of your web servers home directory.

Microsoft-SQL-Server

Classic ASP might seem like a language that is dead and gone, but it is still alive…somehow. With a language that has become outdated, it can be difficult to fight against modern security risks. Knowing how to prevent SQL injection with classic ASP is a valuable bit of code to have at your disposal. With bots capable of hacking sites, you don’t to make things easy for them. Thankfully, there is a way to setup prepared statements using Classic ASP.

If you are familiar with prepared statements, this shouldn’t be too much trouble. I will admint, this is a pretty ugly implementation, but ASP isn’t exactly bleeding edge, so this is the best we have. The first and most awkward thing about prepared statements with classic ASP, is that you need to declare the data type. For example, if a field in a DB is of type int, you need to declare this when creating the statement. It seems odd, but this is how it goes. the following code will show you a quick and easy way to pull a row from a database by using an ID that is passed in the querystring.

The only thing that needs to change are the parameters that you pass into the CreateParameter function. As I mentioned previously, you need to declare the data type when adding a command parameter. A full list of all of the data type codes can be found here http://www.w3schools.com/asp/met_comm_createparameter.asp

This is a pretty solid way to prevent sql injection with classic ASP. Nothing is ever bulletproof, so always be on the lookout for ways to further improve the security by validating data even further to prevent any bad data making its way into a query string.