code, tdd comments suggest edit

One of the holy grails for unit testing is to get 100% code coverage from your tests. However, you can’t sit back and smoke a cigar when you reach that point and assume your code is invulnerable. Code coverage just is not enough.

One obvious reason is that Code Coverage cannot help you find errors of omission. That is, even if you had 100% code coverage from your tests, if you forget to implement a feature (and a test for that feature), then you’re shit out of luck.

However, apart from errors of omission, there’s the case presented here. Imagine you have the following simple class (I’m sure your real world class is much more complicated and interesting, but bear with me).

using System;
using System.Collections;

public class MyClass
    Dictionary<string, int> _values = new Dictionary<string, int>();

    public MyClass()
        _values.Add("keyOne", "1");
        _values.Add("keyTwo", "7");
        _values.Add("keyThree", "10");

        // ...

    public int SumIt(string[] keys)
        int total = 0;
		foreach(string key in keys)
            total += _values[key];
            _values[key] = total;

            //Maybe we do some other
            //interesting things here.

        return total;

Now imagine you test this class with the following NUnit fixture.

using System;
using XUnit;

public class MyClassTest
    public void TestSumIt()
        var mine = new MyClass();
        string[] keys = {"keyOne", "keyTwo"};
        Assert.Equal(8, mine.SumIt(keys));

Voila! 100% code coverage. But does this satisfy the little QA tester inside? I would hope not and suggest that it shouldn’t. Code coverage is worthy goal, but often unnattainable in large systems (hence the need for prioritization) and doesn’t provide all the benefits it would seem.

To handle situations like this, unit tests need to go beyond concentrating on code coverage and also consider data coverage. Of course, that’s not always practical. In the above example, if I only have 10 keys, testing the possible permutations of SumIt becomes a huge burden. Often the best you can do is to test a small sample and the boundary cases.

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Colin shows how to configure CopySourceAsHtml for any source file that VS.NET provides syntax highlighting. In my case, I’ve mapped the shortcut CTRL+C CTRL+S to the Copy command and CTRL+C CTRL+N to CopyNow command.

<?xml version=”1.0” encoding=”utf-8” ?>


    <wow id=”1”>This is neat</wow>


<%@ Page language=”c#” Codebehind=”WebForm1.aspx.cs” AutoEventWireup=”false” Inherits=”EmailIntegrationWeb.WebForm1” %>

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” >





    <meta name=”GENERATOR” Content=”Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 7.1”>

    <meta name=”CODE_LANGUAGE” Content=”C#”>

    <meta name=vs_defaultClientScript content=”JavaScript”>

    <meta name=vs_targetSchema content=””>


  <body MS_POSITIONING=”GridLayout”>


    <form id=”Form1” method=”post” runat=”server”>






comments suggest edit

My main man Colin is on fire with his latest version of CopySourceAsHtml add-in.

As this utility catches on, I think you’ll see a huge proportion of .NET bloggers using it to post source code snippets on their blogs. It now uses VS.NET’s own syntax highlighting to highlight the code. Thus whatever settings you have in VS.NET are used by the add-in. It’s also much more configurable with word-wrapping, ability to add extra styling options, etc… Here’s a couple of snippets as a demonstration.

According to the example’s on Colin’s site, it even works with aspx and css files. Unfortunately, that’s not working for me right now as I don’t see the context menu on those pages.

Nice job Colin!

    9 ///

   10 /// This just rocks my world!

   11 ///

   12 public class HtmlSourceTest

   13 {

   14     public void ThisMethodKicksButt()

   15     {

   16         //Yep. It does.

   17         Console.Write(“Hello World”);

   18     }

   19 }


/// This just rocks my world!


public class HtmlSourceTest


    public void ThisMethodKicksButt()


        //Yep. It does.

        Console.Write(“Hello World”);



comments suggest edit

There is now a plug-in to use BlogJet to blog items from RSS Bandit. I haven’t tested it yet, but if the plug-in doesn’t do anything specific to RSS Bandit, it should be usable by any aggregator that supports the IBlogExtension interface. Want to write your own plug-in? Read my guide here.

Finally, I did it – a plugin to integrate RSS Bandit and BlogJet. If you’re using RSS Bandit to read feeds and BlogJet to post to your blog, this plugin is a must-have. It adds a new item to Bandit’s right-click menu – “BlogJet This!”. Click it and it will lanch BlogJet with the content of selected item.

Installation instructions and download.

[Via BlogJet weblog]

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When building an installer for a Windows Service in VS.NET 2003, conspicuously missing is the ability to specify a description for the service that is displayed in the Services applet.

I’ve written a base installer class that inherits from System.Configuration.Install.Installer for this purpose, but I’ll just present to you the source listings for the methods to add and remove a service description.

Check it out here. I hope you find it useful.

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So after much deliberation, I’ve decided on the M205 with a 60GB hard-drive, 512MB Ram, and a DVD-CD ROM drive etc… etc..

This is my first laptop ever so I’m pretty excited. Anyone have recommendations on synchronization software etc?

Thanks to people like Scott and Iggy for their input.

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Soccer Ball Today the soccer team I started playing with had their last game of the season. This was only my second game with them and we were playing the first place team in the league. This team was much slower than our last opponent and not as skillful, but were known for playing very dirty.

Fortunately on this day, the ref ran a tight ship and a nice game of soccer ensued. At least nice for the other team who proceeded to pound us for five goals to our two. We started off strong, but with no subs to speak of, the second half found us weary and unable to keep up.

The highlight for me was putting the ball in the back of the net in my second game with this team. The play involved flicking the ball over the defender and taking a shot off the bounce. They invited me to join them when the season starts in January. Hopefully by then I’ll have some fitness to contribute.

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Ali Gif you’ve watched da show yous probably ave wondered, ow can i attract da wicked bitches dig dat awesome omeboy? da secret is to learn to bang dig im? well in da house’s your chance to learns da ons and out of ali g-speak. respek!

In English, that translates to…

If you’ve watched the show you probably have wondered, how can I attract the lovely ladies like that awesome homeboy? The secret is to learn to speak like him? Well here’s your chance to learns the ins and out of Ali G-speak. Respek!

Check it out, the Ali G translator.

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I answered a question about ASP.NET deployment in a newsgroup recently where the person asked which files should he deploy when moving his site to a production server.

As a followup to my answer, Jon Galloway pointed the person to a neat deployment utility called UnleashIt.

UNLEASHit \ Ready to deploy, Sir!

UnleashIt provides integration with VS.NET 2003 as an add-in. You can create deployment profiles and share them with other team members. I plan to use this for any customization of my .TEXT blog I plan to do.

So why not just use Visual Studio’s copy project option? I’ve never used it but Jon had this to say:

Visual Studio has a copy project option for web projects, but it depends on your setup and you may miss files (javascript, css, images).

As usual, I have a few minor complaints as I’m just a nitpicky person. The first is that the application is not resizeable. The fonts on the main screen seem smaller than in other applications.

More problematic is that the application doesn’t seem to support adding file masks. Currently the application is missing *.asmx and *.ashx, but more importantly it would be nice to create a deployment profile using this tool that could handle Word docs (for example) if they were a part of the site.

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If you haven’t heard, RSS Bandit can synchronize its state (feedlist, read/unread, etc…) across multiple machines. I wrote about it in the RSS Bandit docs.

So far, there are four means for synchronizing feeds: Ftp, dasBlog, local or network file, and webDav. For the average user, these options might not be always be available.

However, using GMail Drive Shell Extension, you can create a local drive letter that maps to your GMail account. Then in RSS Bandit, open up the properties dialog, click on the Remote Storage Tab, choose the File Share protocol and enter the GMail drive in the UNC directory path (it doesn’t have to be UNC). In the screenshot below, I have the e: drive mapped to my GMail account.

Remote Storage Tab

Now you can use your GMail account for synchronizing your RSS Bandit state between multiple machines. Note that this usage of GMail is not supported by Google nor the developers of RSS Bandit. So if Google suddenly decides to disrupt this usage of GMail, you’ve been warned.

As you can see in the RSS Bandit Roadmap, there will be support for more synchronization sources in the next major release.

code comments suggest edit

There’s a lot of focus these days on SOAP vs REST and the proliferation of WS-* specifications. Sometimes you wonder if WS-* solves problems that aren’t all that common or have already been solved.

For example, some in the REST camp will say, HTTP has security built in. It#8217;s called SSL. Why not use it instead of building WS-Security.

Another example is WS-Addressing. This places addressing information within the SOAP envelope so that the message can be delivered via transports other than HTTP. At first glance, I wonder how often this will be useful for web services when HTTP is the predominant mode of transport.

However, Pat Caldwell illustrates a real world scenario in which WS-Addressing solved a real need that REST couldn#8217;t and doesn#8217;t address.

REST has its place, but for some of those nitty gritty situations, SOAP keeps everything clean.

comments suggest edit

Spam Adam tells me he doesn’t support comments nor the CommentAPI because he doesn’t want to deal with comment spam. So the day after admonishing him for being anti-social, I get hit by a slew of comment spam pointing to porn sites and selling Ginzu knifes. Did you know those things can cut right through a can?

I removed the offensive comments. Don’t worry, as a duty to my readers I checked out the porn sites and you’re not missing anything.

This torrent of comment spam means only one thing. I have arrived!

comments suggest edit

Pat Gannon (no blog) makes a great point in the comments on my post about using regular expressions to parse HTML. He says:

Just to play devil’s advocate for a minute, it seems like HTML is just too darned close to XML to have to parse this way. Isn’t there a library out there for converting HTML into XHTML? If you can do that, you can just read the file in using XmlDocument::LoadXml(). Once you’ve done that, you can find your tags using an XPath query. Sorry, I just couldn’t let a parsing post go by without tossing in my two cents ;)

In fact, there are two approaches to this. The first recognizes that HTML is really just a subset of SGML. Thus if you have a SGML parser, you’re done. So one option is to try Chris Lovett’s SgmlReader.

In fact, this is what the current version of RSS Bandit uses for auto-discovery of RSS feeds within HTML content. However, I recently replaced it with regular expressions because of some memory use and performance problems we were having with it. In our case, finding these tags is a lot faster and uses less memory by just using a regular expression. (Now you see the motivation for the post).

Another option is to use Simon Mourier’s HTML Agility Pack. He takes an interesting approach in that he provides an HtmlDocument class that implements System.Xml.XPath.IXPathNavigable. Thus his approach provides the same interface as an XmlDocument for querying nodes, but doesn’t change the underlying HTML content as many other approaches would by converting them to XML.

And just to toot Pat’s horn a bit, I used to be his manager at Solien when he was just starting out in his career. Now he works at Univision and has inherited reams of code that parse through Fortran code as well as proprietary database files. He’s also written his own grammar engine and xml syntax for describing computer languages such as C#. So he knows a thing or two about parsing text. He’s become quite a top notch developer. I’m just waiting for him to get off his arse and start a blog.

code, regex comments suggest edit

I just love regular expressions. I mean look at the sample below.


What’s not to like?

Ok I admit, I was a bit intimidated by regular expressions when I first started off as a developer. All I needed was a Substring method and an IndexOf method and I was set. But after a few projects that required some intense text processing, I realized the power and utility of regular expressions. They should be on the tool belt of every developer. To that end, I recommend Mastering Regular Expressions by Jeffrey Friedl. This is really THE book on Regular Expressions. Reading it will make your Regex-Fu powerful.

So let’s look at a common task of matching HTML tags within the body of some text. When you initially think to parse an HTML tag, it seems quite easy. You might consider the following expression:


Roughly Translated, this expression looks for the beginning tag and tag name, followed by some white-space and then anything that doesn’t end the tag.

Now this will probably work 99 times out of 100, but there’s a flaw in this expression. Do you see it? What if I asked you to match the following tag?

<img title="displays >" src="big.gif">

Hopefully you see the issue here. The expression will match

<img title="displays >

Unfortunately, this implementation is too naive. We have to consider the fact that the greater-than symbol does not end a tag if it’s within a quoted attribute value. Thus we must correctly match attributes.

Now there are four possible formats for an Html attribute

name="double quoted value" name='single quoted value' name=notquotedvaluewithnowhitespace name

Each of these cases are quite simple. In the first case, you could do the following:


The portion "[\^"]*" matches a double quote, followed by any non double quote characters, followed by a double quote. Another way to express this is to use lazy evaluation as such:


The portion ".*?" uses lazy evaluation (the “lazy star”) to match as few characters as possible. For example, if we had a string like so

<a name=test value="test2">

evaluating ".*" (aka greedy) would match

"test" value="test2"

However using the lazy evaluation consumes the fewest characters that match the expression, thus the first match using ".*?" would be "test" and the second match is "test2".

The full expression for matching an HTML tag is that lovely mash of characters presented at the very beginning of this post. It’s a modified version of the one presented in Friedl’s book

However I wouldn’t recommend you just plunk that down in your code. Rather, you should consider adding it to a regular expression library assembly.

Don’t know how? Well I’ll show you a code listing for an exe that when run, builds a fully compiled version of this regular expression into an assembly that you can then reference in any project. In a later installment, I’ll explain in more detail just what the code is doing and how to use the compiled assembly. How irresponsible of me not to do that now. ;)

Source Listing

comments suggest edit

Weird. I did a google search for an entry in my blog and one of the results was a bloglines account that had my blog subscribed. I was basically seeing all the blogs that some bloglines user was subscribed to. Is that a feature of bloglines to expose your subscriptions like that? Or is that a privacy flaw?

UPDATE: Nevermind. I’m just being paranoid. Bloglines supports public profiles.

comments suggest edit

Dare Obasanjo, the project lead on the RSS Bandit project (of which I contribute) is leaving his post as a Program Manager on the XML team at Microsoft to work as a Program Manager on the MSN Communication Services Platform team.

When Microsoft revealed a blogging service similar to Blogger, I had a feeling it was only a matter of time before Dare would somehow be involved with that seeing his interest in Social Software.

It will be interesting to see the direction Microsoft takes with social software. Although Microsoft perhaps doesn’t see entering the aggregator market as a profit center, I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes in the next year or so.

As aggregation continues to take off, it seems natural to incorporate it into Office. Remember that “Information At Your Fingertips” mantra Mr. Gates touted a while ago? Well I get most of my online information through two sources, Google and RSS Bandit.

In any case, I wish Dare well. Hopefully this is the platform for him to have some of his ideas implemented. I have to admit, I’d love to work on social software such as RSS Bandit and .TEXT full time. But I have a mortgage to pay.

comments suggest edit

Since I like to stoke the fire of partisanship… This joke was sent to me by my friend Walter.

George Bush meets with the Queen of England. He asks her, “Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give to me?”

“Well,” says the Queen, “the most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people.”

“Bush frowns. “But how do I know the people around me are really intelligent?”

The Queen takes a sip of tea. “Oh, that’s easy. You just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle. “ The Queen pushes a button on her intercom. “Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?”

Tony Blair walks into the room. “Yes, my Queen?”

The Queen smiles. “Answer me this, please, Tony. Your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?”

Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answers, “That would be me.”

“Yes! Very good,” says the Queen.

Bush goes back home to ask Dick Cheney, his vice president, the same question.

“Dick, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It’s not your brother and it’s not your sister. Who is it?”

“I’m not sure,” says Cheney, “ let me get back to you on that one.”

Cheney goes to his advisors and asks every one, but none can give him an answer. Finally, he ends up in the men’s room and recognizes Colin Powell’s shoes in the next stall. Cheney shouts, “Colin! Can you answer this for me? Your mother and father have a child and it’s not your brother or your sister. Who is it?”

Colin Powell yells back, “That’s easy. It’s me!”

Cheney smiles, and says, “Thanks!” Then, Cheney goes back to speak with Bush. “Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle. It’s Colin Powell.”

Bush gets up, stomps over to Cheney and angrily yells into his face, “No, you idiot! It’s Tony Blair!”

comments suggest edit

Scott Guthrie has returned to blogging with a tremendous piece on his team’s effort towards reaching “ZBB” or Zero Bug Bounce.

I’ve personally never worked on software project as large as the ASP.NET 2.0 project, so it’s fascinating for me to read Scott’s description of the testing and check-in process. Typically, my check-in process is to get latest on any files I didn’t change, build, and run my unit tests. Assuming everything passes, I check in my files, get latest again build, and run the the unit tests again. If everything still passes, I’m done with the check-in. If all went smoothly, it’s all done under half an hour.

For the ASP.NET team, every check-in undergoes peer review and is run through a few hours of checkin test suites. They then run more exhaustive nightly tests over the product to catch issues in the latest builds. That’s pretty impressive.