Making Session Variables Work in .NET Core

The Problem

As noted, I work with Legacy and often have to bring in variables from the API that must be sustained across session.. (and I’m sure there might be a better way, comment and advise!).  Where I am at now, is I query the API and bring in the variables, but how do I keep from calling these over and over?  The old solution was session variables and so, that’s where I am at.

When I started to do this on Core, the most helpful article was this (and it’s in my comments):

He leads you through the basic setup of a HttpContext helper class (that I still use today) and how to configure the startup..  Today, though, I came across a problem: I was able to Set session variables, but the Get was pulling null.

The Reason

Order.  Yes, you’ll see 1000 stackflow responses about order in Configure (and I was careful to do this in that method), but now in ConfigureServices (contrary to the example, as I am now using Core 2.2?), order again comes into play:

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
    //this MUST be before add mvc or session returns null
    services.AddSingleton<IHttpContextAccessor, HttpContextAccessor>();

First Heroku App: Small API in PHP to Talk to .Net Core

I’ve recently been curious about switching to a time API for my time stamps and removing any dependency the app might have on the server for a timestamp.  Upon Googling I found some paid services, some free and of the free ones, I noticed one was hosted on Heroku.  I’ve heard of Heroku, but never had a reason to attempt to use it.  This was the perfect chance.

How I Created a Small “GetTime” API

First, I created a free account on Heroku, nothing special.  After verifying my email, I logged in to my Heroku Dashboard and up on the right hand corner, selected Create New App.  I named it my company-api and out popped an app.

I decided on just plain, legacy PHP and a simple DateTime string passed thru JSON encode, just to get started.  No authentication, no timezone,  just a simple spit out if a request to the site came, like this:


    $DateTime = new DateTime();
    $currentTime = $DateTime->format("Y-m-d H:i:s");
    echo json_encode($currentTime);

I created a Git repo for this brand new file and pushed it out.  Then, I went back to Heroku, Dashboard, My App and Deploy.  I selected Github as my deploy “resource” …

Share Azure Blobs with Search and Tree View

The idea behind this was to create a nice, easy UI that users can download media files they request often.  We moved it to Azure to prevent killing our on-prem bandwidth, but then I had to deal with the flat file structure, etc.  The end result was simply: a fast search of all the blobs (with link) and underneath that, a tree structure of the blobs that they can browse through.

The Set Up

First, I created a Storage container through Azure Portal, then I used Azure Storage Explorer to create a Blob Container under that storage account.  I also set read-only permissions to my blobs by right clicking the container in Azure Storage Explorer, then: Set Container Public Access Level > Public Read Access for Blobs Only.

To make this code work, I needed to setup an environment variable for my connection string.  I used the prefix CUSTOMCONNSTR_ on my variable name as it comes in handy when deploying to Azure Web Apps.  To get the connection string:  Azure Portal > Storage Account you created > Access Keys.

setx CUSTOMCONNSTR_storageConnectionString "<yourconnectionstring>"

Finally, I got a folder I wanted to share and dragged and dropped it into my …

Why Watch Coders Stream Live

I began hearing about  live code streams a year or so ago on LiveEdu.TV and saw a livestream with Jeff Fritz at DevIntersection, but I decided to become a regular on a stream DevChatter a few months ago to really see how it could improve my own code.

Build a Community

I specifically joined the DevChatter stream because they had a Discord chat.  I wasn’t familiar with Discord, but I’ve spent time on IRC.  I was expecting 3 months of ignoring, bad advice, trolling to make me go away, you know – the standard IRC vetting experience.  DevChatter’s Discord was actually VERY welcoming!

I like that they have a General chat but also VERY specific chats, like #azure, #dotnet, #php  and..  #rants.

Regular dev’s go onto Discord asking for random code help, spit ideas off each other or just to rant about the problem of the day:  the bug that wouldn’t go away, the pains of working with legacy, the random programming problem that won’t leave your mind…

Every portion of that Discord chat lends you a bit of insight into this person.  You figure out what timezone they are in, what languages and systems they work with.  You …

Print PDF’s on Azure Using an API and RazorLight (Update 1)

The API mentioned in my first tutorial got taken down and so I had to do some updates.  First, choose another 3rd party API.  I currently am trying out  HTML 2 PDF Rocket and modified my code a bit:

public async Task<FileStreamResult> PrintAsync(int id)
    InvoiceVM invoiceVM = new InvoiceVM();
    invoiceVM = invoiceRepository.Get(id);

    var engine = new RazorLightEngineBuilder()
      .UseFilesystemProject(_hostingEnvironment.WebRootPath + "\\pdf\\")

    var view = await engine.CompileRenderAsync("PDF.cshtml", invoiceVM);
    string apiKey = "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx";

    using (var client = new WebClient())
        // Build the conversion options
        NameValueCollection options = new NameValueCollection();
        options.Add("apikey", apiKey);
        options.Add("value", view);
        options.Add("MarginLeft", "10");
        options.Add("MarginRight", "10");
        options.Add("MarginTop", "10");
        options.Add("MarginBottom", "10");
        options.Add("PageSize", "Letter");

        MemoryStream ms = new MemoryStream(client.UploadValues("", options));

        return new FileStreamResult(ms, "application/pdf");

This is based directly off the HTML 2 Rocket documentation.  For the rest of the code see the first tutorial.


Using Libman Providers to Coral Front End Libraries

The first package management system I learned to use was Bower.  It was great for the short love affair we had together, but it stopped being supported and I was weary of learning to use one of its replacements.  Fortunately, I haven’t had to with Libman.  Libman’s (Library Manager) simple JSON approach to bringing front end dependencies has been the easiest for me quickly implement and it has been a great addition to Visual Studio.  I implemented it possibly too quickly, however, and overlooked one powerful configuration setting:  provider.