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How to configure mono 2.10, .NET 4.0 and ASP.NET MVC to run on an Ubuntu Apache web server.

The challenge... As per my previous post [post title here], I wanted to configure mono on my recently installed Ubuntu machine.  Specifically, I wanted to be able to use the latest .NET functionality as well as ASP.NET MVC integration with Apache.  In this post, I plan to provide the steps and resources in which I took to accomplish my goals. Let's start with the Ubuntu machine.... The Ubuntu desktop specifications The machine in which I've installed Ubuntu is an OLD machine that I had laying around the house.  My Android has more horsepower than this old Dell, however, Ubuntu 10.4 seems to operate at a perfectly acceptable capacity.  I plan to "refresh" my Linux skills and look for spare RAM to add to this machine before I upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04.  The recommended minimum requirements for Ubuntu 12.04 are as follows; [For installing] The minimum memory requirement for Ubuntu 12.04 is 384 MB of memory for Ubuntu Desktop. Note that some of your system's memory may be unavailable due to being used by the graphics card. If your computer has only the minimum amount of memory, the installation process will take longer than normal; however, it will complete successfully, and the system will perform adequately once installed. [For upgrading] While the minimum memory requirement for 32bit is 384 MB, a minimum of 512 MB is needed for the 64bit installation. On systems with only the bare minimum amount of memory, it is also strongly recommended to use the "Install Ubuntu" option as it uses less memory than the full live session. Ubuntu Desktop System Requirements for 12.04 LTS What's with all the aPtitude? As much as I love aptitude, I'm quite annoyed by the time it takes for source repositories to list packages as "stable".  I understand that this has nothing to do with the package manager itself and that the Ubuntu version carries more of the blame, even so, I wanted to simply apt-get install mono-complete, I would be stuck with mono 2.4.  Since I wanted to use   some newer functionality, I had some planning to do.  The overall process went a little something like this; Find a bash script that compiles all of the mono packages that I needed to get the job done. Execute the script and watch some T.V while I waited for the massive compile to complete. Move the Apache mono module configuration into the "available modules" folder to enable mod-mono under Apache. I needed to create an Apache virtual host configuration file with the mod-mono specific settings that are required. I had to prepare my file system to serve my ASP.NET applications (c:\inetpub\wwwroot\ for all you Windows natives). I needed to provide a simple solution to publish ASP.NET applications from Visual Studio on my Windows 7 machine to my Ubuntu web server. Finally I needed to restart apache2, publish a web application and test the fruits of my labor. BASHing mono into shape As I stated before, I wasn't going to apt-get install my way into the wonderful world of mono with all of the specific details that my target installation required.  Luckily, I found this post  in which someone created a BASH script that would download all of the specific packages and compile the sources to produce the exact environment that I was after.  I'm sure  if I had used a modern PC it wouldn't have taken so long, never the less, the compilation was quite a time consuming task indeed!  The script was authored very well in that if there was an error detected, the script would break execution to make it easier for you to find what went wrong.  Fortunately, my compilation completed without a hitch!   Enabling mod_mono in Apache The BASH script had installed created the mod_mono.conf configuration file but I had to find it and copy it to the enabled modules directory so that Apache would recognize it. Here is the command that I executed from a terminal to copy the file to the proper location sudo cp mod_mono.conf /etc/apache2/mods-enabled Of course I had to find the configuration file before I could copy it sudo find -name mod_mono.conf With the configuration file in place, I restarted Apache to make sure all was well sudo service apache2 restart The service restarted successfully so I felt OK with what had been done so far. Creating the mono virtual host configuration file There is a webiste that will require you to fill in some input fields and click a button to generate this file the virtual host configuration with mono specific settings.  I merely had to modify one line of the file. The website is I simply used localhost as my server name and it generated the physical path of /srv/www/localhost. I used nano to edit the file and I modified the MonoDirectory line to point to the correct path of my mono_server4 binary's path which I was able to search and find to be /opt/mono-2.10/bin . Creating wwwroot, or /svr/www ... It was now time to prepare my file system to setup a home for my site hosting.  This basically involved creating some folders, setting permissions and creating an alias link or two. Create the directories sudo mkdir /srv/www sudo mkdir /srv/www/localhost Assign a root group to the folder sudo chown root:www-data /srv/www/localhost -R Change the directory attributes sudo chmod 775 /srv/www/localhost -R I then moved the virtual host site generated file to the appropriate path mv ~/Desktop/localhost.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available I then created a symbol link so I could refer to the vhost configuration file with leading zeros (Apache loads the configurations alphabetically). sudo ln -s ../sites-available/localhost.conf "000-localhost.conf" I restarted Apache, fired up firefox, browsed http://localhost and that's all it took...  I hope you enjoyed reading this article and I hope this helps someone configure ASP.NET MVC under Apache on Ubuntu using mono.  Until next time.. ~/Buddy James   kick it on  

The mono project. The state of .NET on non Microsoft platforms.

Ubuntu too I've recently decided that I wanted to install linux on an older PC in my home.  Many moons ago, before most linux distributions could auto detect and configure your hardware, I had cut my teeth on Debian.  I've had a soft spot ever since for the aptitude package manager.  Naturally I wanted to use a distro that was based on Debian so I went with Ubuntu.  The Ubuntu CD that I have is dated (version 8.04) so I did some research and decided to upgrade to version 10.04.  I fired up a terminal and executed 'sudo do-release-upgrade -d' to apply an upgrade to my system. Watching LED dry The upgrade was a pretty long process, and I found myself watching the terminal window as all of the packages were added, upgraded, and removed.  As I watched, I noticed that quite to my surprise, there were many packages that relied on mono assemblies.  As a .NET consultant, of course this had sparked my curiosity.  I've followed the mono project, from a distance, for a while now but I knew that there was a following, however, I had no idea that mono had made it's way into the heart of the packages that make up an Ubuntu installation.   The current state of things I've decided to take a 1,000 feet view of the current state of the mono project.  As stated by the official website; The easiest way to describe what Mono currently supports is:Everything in .NET 4.0 except WPF, EntityFramework and WF, limited WCF.   That's quite a lot of functionality!  I had no idea that there had been so much work done on the project.  I can write a .NET 4.0 application, an ASP.NET MVC 2 web application and host it on a linux based Apache server.  Well at least that's what the website has told me. Perhaps I'll try to accomplish just that and write about how smooth the whole process actually is. Here are some links for those who are interested. The official mono homepage The mono project compatability The mono migration analyzer MoMA Design apps for your iPhone or iPad using monoTouch Design apps for your android device using mono for android I hope you found something of interest.  Until next time.. ~/Buddy James   kick it on  

.NET Enumerated Types Explained

  My codeproject article on .NET enumerated types. Introduction The purpose of this article is to provide an introduction to .NET enumerated types. Background Code readability is a big factor when considering the quality of source code. The easier code is to understand, the easier it is to maintain. Have you ever found yourself using numbers to represent a range of variable values? For example:  Collapse | Copy Code Dim CalculationOperation As Integer = 0 CalculationOperation = _ GetOperation () Select Case CalculationOperation Case 1 ’ Addition _PerformAddition() Case 2 ‘ Subtraction _PerformSubtraction() Case 3 ‘ Multiplication _PerformMultiplication() End Select This requires you as well as any other developers that might touch your code to remember all of the possible numeric values that represents colors. This can be a maintenance nightmare! To solve this problem, VB.NET has enumerated types. Reasons to Use Enumerated Types Readability From Wikipedia: "In computer programming, an enumerated type (also called enumeration or enum) is a data type consisting of a set of named values called elements, members or enumerators of the type. The enumerator names are usually identifiers that behave as constants in the language." Enumerated types allow you to give an English description to a range of integer values. Perhaps an example will explain this.  Collapse | Copy Code Public Type CalculatorOperations Addition = 1 Subtraction = 2 Multiplication = 3 End Type Dim Operation As CalculatorOperations Operation = _ GetOperation () Select Case Operation Case CalculatorOperations.Addition _PerformAddition() Case CalculatorOperations.Subtraction _PerformSubtraction() Case CalculatorOperations.Multiplication _PerformMultiplication() End Select     This routine is easier to read. When coding a routine, be sure to consider numeric literals that represent a value other than the number itself as a possible reason to create an enumerated type. Enums as Routine Parameters Enumerated types are great as routine parameters. Consider the following example. Bad Example  Collapse | Copy Code Dim ApplicationState as Integer = 5 ‘lets say five stands for Fatal Crash! Sub _SetApplicationState(ByVal State As Integer) Good Example  Collapse | Copy Code Dim ApplicationState As AppState = AppState.FatalCrash Sub _SetApplicationState(ByVal State As AppState) If you are using Visual Studio, then you no doubt have noticed the benefit of using enumerated types as function parameters. While you are writing the code to call the routine, intellisense will show you all available members of the enumerated type. Compiler Type Checking Using enumerated types also provides type checking by the compiler. Consider the following block of code:  Collapse | Copy Code ‘Valid color values are 0 – 9 Dim CurrentColor As Integer CurrentColor = 12 ‘invalid color This is impossible with enumerated types. Enumerated types can make powerful return values. Consider the following code:  Collapse | Copy Code Dim LoginResult As Boolean = false LoginResult = _AttemptLogin() If LoginResult = True Then _Authenticateuser() End If If LoginResult = False Then _InitiateLogin() End If As you can see, true and false allow for two conditions:  Collapse | Copy Code Dim LoginResult As AuthResult LoginResult = _AttemptLogin() If LoginResult = AuthResult.Authenticated Then _Authenticateuser() End If If LoginResult = AuthResult.Failed Then _InitiateLogin() End If If LoginResult = AuthResult.Suspended Then _AlertSuspended() End If If LoginResult = AuthResult.AuthenticatedChangePassword Then _InitiatePasswordChange() _AuthenticateUser() End If Do you see the possibilities? Define the First and Last Entry as Loop Limits You may find yourself in a situation where you need to iterate through each member of your enumerated type. One suggested practice is to reserve the first and last element as loop limits.  Collapse | Copy Code Public Type RGBValue RGB_FirstValue = 0 RGB_Red = 0 RGB_Green = 1 RGB_Blue = 2 RGB_LastValue = 2 End Type Dim RGBVal As RGBValue For RGBVal = RGBValue.RGB_FirstValue To RGBValue.RGB_LastValue ‘process here Next Here is an example of iterating through an enum. 'Imagine if you had an enum for EmployeeTypes and you 'wanted to iterate over 'each employee type and perform an 'action. 'For instance Public Type EmployeeType  Cashier = 0  Supervisor = 1  Manager = 2  Executive = 3 End Type Dim employeeType As EmployeeType For employeeType = EmployeeType.Cashier To EmployeeType.Executive  CalculateRaise(employeeType) Next Conclusion Well, I hope I’ve illustrated some of the benefits of using enumerated types. All of your feedback is welcome.   kick it on  

Design and Document your Code using PDL (Programming Design Language)

Introduction Many of us underestimate the importance of proper code documentation through comments. Comments, when used correctly, can greatly increase the maintainability of your functions and routines, especially if there is any chance that another developer will ever need to look at your code. It's hard enough for you to remember what your intentions were for a routine you wrote 5 years ago. Imagine what it's like for someone that has no clue what you meant to do in the first place. Background While reading "Code Complete" (every developer, regardless of skill level, age, or programming language should own this book), I discovered a method used to comment your routines that provides so much more than just code comments. Using the Code This method is called PDL (Programming Design Language). The basic idea behind PDL is that you write all of the comments for your method before writing any code. Once the comments are finished, you then fill in the blanks with the implementation. Here is an example: Public Function CanUserBuyAlchohol(ByVal Age As Integer, ByVal HasLicense As Boolean) As Boolean      'If the user is of the legal drinking age          If Age > 21 Then          'If the user has a drivers license                  If HasLicense Then                  'Return success to the caller                          Return True                  'Otherwise the user does not have a drivers license                   Else                     'Return Failure to the caller                          Return False         End If       'Otherwise the user is too young          Else               'Return Failure to the caller                  Return False       End If  End Function     A few things to note here: All of the comments are formatted logically (indentation) When using this method, you write the comments first in a high level format (plain English) This allows you to design the routine at a high level of abstraction The requirements are in English so the routine is designed such that it can be ported to any language very easily All of the thinking work is done up front All that's left is to fill in the code under each comment The comments written in English explain exactly what you need, so implementation is a breeze Since comments are written first, you can be rest assured that all of your methods will be well documented If another developer is reading through your code, he can simply read your high level comments until he finds the code he needs. Points of Interest So as you can see, using PDL has several advantages: Assures code is always documented Allows for high level design of routine that does not rely on a specific programming language implementation (remember the comments are plain English) Once the comments are complete, coding is a snap because the logic has already been documented in plain English in the comments. I hope you find PDL as beneficial to learn as I have. Don't forget to buy Code Complete! Until next time.   kick it on  

About the author

My name is Buddy James.  I'm a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer from the Nashville, TN area.  I'm a Software Engineer, an author, a blogger (, a mentor, a thought leader, a technologist, a data scientist, and a husband.  I enjoy working with design patterns, data mining, c#, WPF, Silverlight, WinRT, XAML, ASP.NET, python, CouchDB, RavenDB, Hadoop, Android(MonoDroid), iOS (MonoTouch), and Machine Learning. I love technology and I love to develop software, collect data, analyze the data, and learn from the data.  When I'm not coding,  I'm determined to make a difference in the world by using data and machine learning techniques. (follow me at @budbjames).  

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