Update SEQ with Powershell DSC

We user Powershell Desired State Configuration (DSC) to install everything. A new installation could be done to a clean machine or by removing existing software prior to installing it. Below is part of the script we use.

configuration DscWebServer {    
 Import-DscResource -ModuleName PSDesiredStateConfiguration  
 Node $AllNodes.NodeName {

  Script seq {
   GetScript  = { return @{} }
   TestScript = {
    # test for existing service seq
    $service = Get-Service -Name seq -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
    if($service) { return $true }
    else { return $false }
   SetScript  = {   
    $arguments = '/i ' + $using:Node.DeployLocation + '\Seq-4.2.1113.msi /qn /norestart /log ' + $using:Node.DeployLocation + '\seq.install.log'
    # msi install with logging to seq.install.log file
    Start-Process msiexec -ArgumentList $arguments -Wait
    # post install configuration to run as a windows service ...


Now we want to upgrade an existing installation to preserve the data it contains.
Note: this means the installation files must support updating of existing versions. The application SEQ in this example handles updates by replacing the application and converting the data.

With the script below we can upgrade Seq version 4 to version 5.
For this we edited the installation (Script seq) to use the new msi; if the software doesn’t exist then install the newest version right away.
We also added an UpgradeSeq that depends on seq being present; there we check the version and upgrade if needed.

configuration DscWebServer {    
 Import-DscResource -ModuleName PSDesiredStateConfiguration  
 Node $AllNodes.NodeName {

  Script seq {
   GetScript  = { return @{} }
   TestScript = {
    # test for existing service seq
    $service = Get-Service -Name seq -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
    if($service) { return $true }
    else { return $false }
   SetScript  = {   
    $arguments = '/i ' + $using:Node.DeployLocation + '\Seq-5.1.3364.msi /qn /norestart /log ' + $using:Node.DeployLocation + '\seq.install.log'
    # msi install with logging to seq.install.log file
    Start-Process msiexec -ArgumentList $arguments -Wait
    # post install configuration to run as a windows service ...

  Script UpgradeSeq {
   DependsOn  = "[Script]seq"
   GetScript  = { return @{} }
   TestScript = {
    push-location 'c:\program files\seq'
    $version = seq.exe version
    if($version -eq '5.1.3364') { return $true }
    else { return $false }
   SetScript  = {   
    # inplace upgrade
    $arguments = '/i ' + $using:Node.DeployLocation + '\Seq-5.1.3364.msi /qn /norestart /log ' + $using:Node.DeployLocation + '\seq.install.log'
    # msi install with logging to seq.install.log file
    Start-Process msiexec -ArgumentList $arguments -Wait
    # restart service to complete upgrade
    Get-Service -Name seq | Restart-Service


The next version of Seq will be simple, just edit the versions in the msi and upgradeseq test in the script above. (find-and-replace 5.1.3364)

We are confident this way of working can be applied to all our upgrades, like the dotnetcore framework.

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Transcend Jetdrive lite review (after a year)

My MacBook Pro Mid 2015 has SSD. That is very fast and helps me to be productie. Back in the day 🙄 this kind of storage was expensive so I limited it to 256 Gb. With my Photos, Music and Downloads that space was filling up fast. Here is where the Transcend Jetdrive comes in. Specsheet on transcend-info.com

Note: my MacBook has a SD card slot.

Transcend Jetdrive lite image

I bought the 256 Gb Transcend Jetdrive in October 2018 after some months of internet searching for experiences, youtube watching and reading customer reviews on webshops. This memory card would hold my precious files and it must be solid (no pun intended) Prices have dropped since 2018. I paid €150. Still one of the best purchases I’ve made.


After installation I moved my Photos library by following the support article on apple.com. The deletion of the old library was scary. All photos are synced with the iCloud photos option with originals downloaded to my MacBook. Backup was in place.

Since the location of the photos library changed the ‘upload’ started again. On apple’s discussion forum it is explained as normal. Just had to wait a day for all checksums to be validated.


Now my music library has to be moved. Again on apple discussion someone has the answer to my questions. Moved the library, opened iTunes (old version of Music) with option key pressed and selected the new music library. Last month downloaded my complete library from iTunes Match because I want a backup of the license free files.


Last step was to move my downloads and the default download location. Now a stackexchange thread has the answer.


The end result is a lot of free space on the fast SSD and a backup of all my slow files on the Jetdrive.

No problems after more than a year of usage. Highly recommended!

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Visual Studio Code naming convention

I’ve been using the Visual Studio 2017 naming convention to generate code the way I like. Now I want to apply this behaviour to Visual Studio Code on my MacBook. Private fields should start with underscore:
code suggestion without underscore

First install EditorConfig from the marketplace. This will add the “generate editorconfig” to the Explorer sidebar’s context menu. You can create the file by hand, but this is easier.

Create the .editorconfig file in the root of your project from the context menu in the Explorer sidebar.

Now add the following lines to the .editorconfig file you’ve just created (source: https://stackoverflow.com/a/49428349)

dotnet_naming_rule.private_members_with_underscore.symbols  = private_fields
dotnet_naming_rule.private_members_with_underscore.style    = prefix_underscore
dotnet_naming_rule.private_members_with_underscore.severity = suggestion

dotnet_naming_symbols.private_fields.applicable_kinds           = field
dotnet_naming_symbols.private_fields.applicable_accessibilities = private

dotnet_naming_style.prefix_underscore.capitalization = camel_case
dotnet_naming_style.prefix_underscore.required_prefix = _

Restart Visual Studio Code.

code suggestion with underscore - naming convention applied

As you can see the naming convention is applied to the code suggestion. Now I’m more productive :mrgreen:

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My 2019 developer and power user tools

toolbox by vectorolie / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Below a list of tools I use today. If you’re like me, you check them out and add the ones you like to your own toolbox.

Image courtesy of vectorolie / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


DropBox, file share/sync between computers and the internet
Powershell, the automation solution from microsoft
Microsoft Todo, task list on every platform (replaces Wunderlist)
IFTTT, automate the internet
Pocket, my preferred read later list, available on all platforms
Evernote, remember everything. I use it for my GTD technique called The secret weapon.
1Password, my password is ⌘ + \
Autohotkey, run macro’s on keyboard shortcuts like CTRL+ALT+5 types €


Visual Studio 2017, the best IDE out there
Chrome, best browser today
NuGet, source of all the good in the world
Visual Studio Gallery, extend visual studio
Ghostdoc, CTRL+SHIFT+D to comment your code, that simple
Specflow, cucumber for .net for behavior driven development (BDD)
Just Decompile, see the code of .net assemblies
Fiddler, log http calls via this proxy
Wireshark, deep logging of network traffice
Notepad++, notepad on steroids
Pester, test and mock framework for PowerShell.
Seq, structured logging solution with GUI
SonarQube, we use it to automate our code reviews


ZoomIt, I use this in all my demos to zoom
Docker Desktop, host applications, just download and run, don’t install
Code Notes, A simple code snippet manager for developers


Cyberduck, connect to anything
DaisyDisk, see what is hogging your hard disk space
Type2phone, make my mac a Bluetooth keyboard for iPad or AppleTV
Handbrake, convert movies
Little snitch, monitor network traffic coming from your mac
HyperDock, preview windows from the dock
Alfred, spotlight replacement with lots of options
Parallels, the virtualisation solution for mac
Sublime Text, very complete text editor for code
Visual Studio Code, code editor for any platform
Gimp, freeware photo editor with all the bells and whistles you’ll need
Amphetamine, keep your mac awake


Tweetbot, easy twitter client with pocket integration
Spark, handles my e-mail and offers tasks like send to evernote or pocket
Pocket, I do my reading mostly on iPhone or iPad
Duet, use your iPad as an extra screen
Lightningtalktimer, timer app that changes appearance with time passed

Some of the tools cost money, some are free, some offer paid options. If it saves you time or improves your work, why not support the developer that made it possible?

Also see My 2018 developer and power user tools post.


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EF codefirst migrations and Cloud Foundry

We’re using the hosted Cloud Foundry solution for development at http://run.pivotal.io.

octocat logo from githubSo everybody can hit the floor running I’ve created a template for using Entity Framework Codefirst migrations in a dotnet core web application hosted on Cloud Foundry.
The key aspects are:

  • database is linked service (attached resource in 12-factors)
  • migration in task (admin one-off process in 12-factors)

Image from press kit on github.com

Complete documentation with code on my EF-codefirst-migration repository on github.com


https://12factor.net The twelve-factor app

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