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:

<?php
    header('Content-type:application/json;charset=utf-8');

    $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 …

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:

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

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

    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("http://api.html2pdfrocket.com/pdf", 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.

.Net Core – Drop Down (Select) Won’t Populate

I had a recent bug that took me much too long to solve and the root of the cause was me. I got a bit too delete happy and deleted a crucial file that allows me to use Razor Tag Helpers to bring a List into a View as a Drop Down (Select).

The Error

Here’s how the error presented itself:

  • SelectList won’t populate
  • Select or DropDown is empty
  • value = Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Rendering.SelectList or
  • System.Linq.OrderedEnumerable2 [Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Rendering.SelectListItem, System.String]