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Afternoon Tea – 11th June 2013 – Open Source Projects I Like: Glimpse

Posted by on 11 Jun 2013 | Tagged as: .NET, Afternoon Tea, ASP.NET, C#, Community, Development, Morning Brew

A couple of weeks ago I watched the dotNetConf Open Source .NET Panel’ discussion which brought together a number of people from the .NET Open Source communities to discuss the state of Open Source in our community. The discussion was a good one, well worth watching and made me start to think about some of the Open Source projects I like – one of which features in this post.


Glimpse provides the answer for server side code that the likes of Firebug and Chrome Developer Tools provide for the client side developer. The project was originally conceived by Anthony van der Hoorn and Nik Molnar back in early 2011, and launched at Mix11’s Open Source Fest.

Glimpse did the usual Open Source project dance through many <1.0 releases, and mid last year became a project supported by Red Gate. Since then things have rapidly accelerated, and the community team have blasted beyond the 1.0 release threshold.

Today sees the announcement of Glimpse 1.4, along with a significant new look and feel introducing a Heads Up Display to make the most significant and useful information always available when Glimpse is enabled. Check out the announcement post over on the Glimpse Blog for the full lowdown, including a short video which gives a real impression of how the new Heads Up Display actually works.

More Heads Up

Get Your Head Up!

I love that adding Glimpse to a project while working is as simple as adding a NuGet package

Install-Package Glimpse.MVC4

Once installed, build and run your solution, and then hit up the Glimpse Handler to see what’s installed and to enable the tool


So far all as expected. Now head back to your web application, and you will be greeted by the new look Heads Up Display at the bottom of the page, in all its Metro’esque glory.

Glimpse Heads Up Display

The Heads Up Display appears across the bottom of all pages when enabled, providing at a glance key metrics about the page:

  • Key Overall Timing Metrics
    • Overall Time
    • Time spent network communicating
    • Time Spent processing Server Side Code
    • Time until DOM Ready
  • Server Side Processing Breakdown
    • In the MVC case identifying the Controller
    • The Action processing time
    • The View processing time
    • The Time taken by Database queries triggered by the page
  • Realtime updating view of the Ajax Requests

Hovering the mouse over each of these sections gives further information about the metrics in a concise and clear, yet information dense way:
Heads Up Display Detail

More new UI awaits you on clicking the ‘g’ logo in the corner, the traditional way to summon Glimpse’s detailed FireBug like UI to the foreground, which has also had the Metro style make over. If you’ve ever used Glimpse before you will be familiar with the range of information available in here, including the very useful (and even prettier now) Timeline view:

Glimpse Detail View - Timeline

Why Glimpse Works for me

  1. Very, very easy to get up and running
    The ‘Pit Of Success’ is easy to get into, install the package, enable via a URL, and you are reaping the rewards.
  2. Tells me useful information
    Glimpse has the useful metrics, configuration and information readily available – other than enabling it there is nothing more that needs to be done
  3. Friendly and far reaching community
    Nik and Anthony are nice chaps and have fostered a good community round Glimpse, and care about engagement in the open source community. The community is growing with with ever increasing numbers of contributors and extensions for all kinds of things ranging from pure ADO to SignalR – I’ve found the SignalR one useful on a number of occasions
  4. Easy Extension
    It’s pretty simple to start adding your monitoring for your own functionality to a custom Glimpse tab (so easy I’ve managed it!)

I’ve found having the metrics Glimpse provides to be invaluable on a countless occasions, and I encourage you to try it out, or even better, get involved with the project itself.

Full Disclosure – Anthony & Nik gave me a preview of the new Head Up Display functionality a few days ago, which prompted me to tell you how much I’ve liked Glimpse for quite some time – No money exchanged hands, but I might let them buy me a drink when I finally get to meet them both 😉

Afternoon Tea – Sunday 10th June 2012

Posted by on 10 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: .NET, Afternoon Tea, ASP.NET, C#, COM Interop, Community, Database, Development, Links, Morning Brew, SysAdmin, Talks / Presentations

It’s been quite a while since the last ‘Afternoon Tea’ post, and there have been quite a lot of significant announcements in the past few weeks, coupled with my being busy at work which has resulted in me building up quite a backlog of links which I really wanted to include in a Morning Brew. This post is my attempt to ‘clear the decks’ and get caught up again, and also provides the perfect excuse to do a link roundup of DDD South West which I had the pleasure of presenting at at the end of last month.


  • Introducing jQuery++ – Justin B Meyer and the folsk over at Bitovi announce the release of jQuery++, a collection of DOM helpers which complement and extend jQuery
  • Bundler.NET – Bundler.NET brings the CSS and JavaScript minification and combining features of .NET 4.5 to earlier versions of .NET. The installation is simple via a NuGet package and the API reflects the .NET 4.5 implementation.
  • bddify is moved to GitHub and is renamed to TestStack.BDDfy – Mehdi Khalili gives an update on TestStack.BDDfy, the project formerly known as bddify, discussing the name change, and change to the projects hosting, along with looking at the structure of the NuGet packages which amke up TestStack.BDDfy.
  • #mvvmlight V4 for Windows 8 RP is available – Laurent Bugnion announces the release of version 4 of his MVVMLight framework for Windows 8 Release Preview
  • Get latest CSS 3 support in Visual Studio 2010 – Mads Kristensen discusses how you can get the latest version of the CSS3 support into your Visual Studio 2010 installation providing a link to the schema files required and giving instructions on getting it setup and installed in Visual Studio 2010
  • Tree Surgeon – Alive and Kicking or Dead and Buried? – Bil Simser gives an update on an old tool that I used to make considerable use of in the past. Tree Surgeon was a tool to create a standardized format of Development Source Tree structure. In this post Bil discusses how the landscape of .NET development has changed in the 4 years since its last release with improvements in T4 Templating and NuGet, and questions if there is a future for the project.
  • Introducing RabbitBus – Derek Greer introduces RabbitBus, a .NET client API implementation for working with RabbitMQ, aiming to provide constructs which are not provided in the standard RabbitMQ .NET client. The library is open source with code available on GitHub, and the installation is available in NuGet package format.


DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper South-West 4.0

Afternoon Tea – Monday 8th August

Posted by on 08 Aug 2011 | Tagged as: .NET, Afternoon Tea, Community

Those who follow me on Twitter may recall a few weeks back I mused over doing a daily follow up to the main Morning Brew posting in the afternoon with some of the links that didn’t quite make it into the main Morning Brew. This is where the concept of ‘Afternoon Tea’ came about – and for now I will be occasionally producing these posts to complement The Morning Brew, probably with a more relaxed and varied format than the daily Morning Brew posts. With that introduction out of the way, here is what I have in store today:

Competition – Win a place at the SkillsMatter / London .NET Usergroup Progressive .NET Tutorials

The kind folks at Skills Matter have allowed me 2 tickets to give away for the Progressive .NET Tutorials event being held in London next month. The event is a commercial training opportunity, running over three days (Monday 5th to Wednesday 7th September) and is organised in conjunction with the London .NET UserGroup. Each day features two tracks, with two in-depth sessions / Workshops on each of the tracks from great speakers (many of them with articles which have been featured in The Morning Brew) talking on their areas of authority.

Full details of the event can be found on Skills Matter’s site and you can get 50 off the regular registration fee of 425 using PromoCode PROGNET50 when registering.

As mentioned earlier, I have 2 tickets to give away to lucky readers, so to be in with a chance of winning, let me know what your drink of choice is when you read The Morning Brew by tweeting:


‘Reading @calcock’s #TheMorningBrew with a (cup|mug) of <InsertDrinkHere>


at some point before I publish Friday’s Morning Brew when I will pick (at random, or as close as I can manage) the two lucky winners.

Community Events and News

There are plenty of great Community conferences and community events coming up over the next few months:

If you are involved in running a conference or similar community event either here in the UK, or further afield that you think Morning Brew readers may be interested in then please drop me a note.

Link Overflow

Quite a few people have been emailing me links to articles they have written or found intersting recently – some have made their way into the normal Morning Brew posts, but I’ve also been overrun with good content recently so not as many as I would like have made the transition. If you email me a link that is of Brew interest I generally subscribe to the RSS feed of the blog so I will see future posts when preparing the Morning Brew – and I always welcome link suggestions – if you’ve found something interested, or written something you think the rest of the world needs to see please drop me a note.

So, without further ado, here are a few links which slipped through the cracks:

F# Presentation – Slides and Demos

Posted by on 18 May 2008 | Tagged as: .NET, Community, Development, Talks / Presentations

Last Thursday (15th May) I presented at the Liverpool Users of .NET monthly meeting on F#, the Microsoft Research Language demonstrating that the CLR is a good basis for Functional Programming. My talk was mainly a language overview, with the intention to give the audience a grounding upon which they could get started with the language and functional programming in general.

The code samples from the presentation, including one or two I skipped out can be found here:
F# Presentation – Demo Code

My thanks to the audience – you made giving the talk very easy, and enjoyable and especially to Hakim Cassimally for the nice write up of the talk over on his blog.

Getting a good nights sleep – ORM with NHibernate

Posted by on 28 Sep 2007 | Tagged as: .NET, Community, Database, Development, Links, SQL, Talks / Presentations

Getting a good nights sleep - ORM with NHibernate

Last night I gave a presentation to the Liverpool Geekup group about NHibernate, thanks to everyone who came along – you were all a very nice audience. The slides from the presentation entitled Getting a Good Nights Sleep – ORM with NHibernate are available as a PDF, here. There are a number of links in the slides, but here is a more comprehensive list of links that people may find useful or interesting

Yahoo HackDay – Flickr Face Ball

Posted by on 17 Jun 2007 | Tagged as: .NET, C#, Community, Photography, Software

OK, the time has come to unveil my Hack for Yahoo Hack Day.  Face Ball is the ‘Crazy new game at Flickr HQ‘, and images have been popping up all over flickr as other join in.  Well now, you too can join in the fun, and just like Thom Shannon, make your own Face Ball images without risk of injury or special equipment.

Flickr Face Ball is a .NET 2 Windows Forms application that allows you to select images from you Flickr photo stream by tagging them as ‘ToFaceBall’, and add one of three different face ball images to the original photo, uploading the results to your Flickr account.


So, how do you get involved in this craze:

  1. Ensure you are running Windows with the .NET 2 framework – sorry Mac guys – this one probably isn’t for you.
  2. Download the Zip File
  3. Tag a few suitable images on your Flickr photo stream with the tag ‘ToFaceBall’
  4. Extract the .zip and run FlickrFaceBall.exe
  5. Enter your Flickr user account name into the box provided and click ‘Fetch From Flickr’
  6. Wait patiently while it loads the images.
  7. Choose an Image from the thumbnail strip at the bottom of the screen, choose a ball from the pallet on the left, and click on the image to position it.
    Face Ball picks on the BT Internet Van in the carpark
  8. When you have achieved the look you want, click save, enter a title and description, followed by Authenticate.
  9. When prompted in your browser, please allow the application to upload the images.
  10. Finally, click upload, and (hopefully) your creation will be be uploaded to your flickr stream.


FlickrFaceBall uses the Flickr.NET API Implementation – I have only good things to say about this library – it just works 😉

Thom Shannon for providing the inspiration for the Hack, and also providing the PSD of face ball images.

Finally, to the original source of the Face Ball images – photo1 and photo2

Please Note: This program is hack quality code – It’s not been tested much, and if it breaks your computer, flickr account, or anything else, its your own responsibility.


HackDay London – Day2

Posted by on 17 Jun 2007 | Tagged as: Community, Development

Day 1 was certainly eventful, and now with <2 hours sleep (and one completed Hack) under my belt, I’m ready and raring to go for Day 2.  The Music in the West Hall went off at about 6:30, about the same time I woke up, and now all that remains is the subdued noise of people waking up (and a few who must be attempting not to fall asleep in their laptops.

The count down clock on the big screen reads a little more that 6 hours hacking time remain, and I’m beginning to wonder if its time I went to try to wake the other members of the team.


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Hack Day, London – 16/17 June

Posted by on 24 May 2007 | Tagged as: Community, Development

Hack Day: London, June 16/17 2007

My Hack Day invite arrived today (thanks Derek), so I need to put my thinking cap on and attempt to come up with a few interesting ideas we could produce. If you are going to be there and fancy collaborating, drop me a line.