Minify Your CSS & Javascript With SquishIt

15. April 2012 06:38

API ASP.NET Web 

No one likes if their favourite site is loading up slow. Using CSS sprites instead of using individual images and minify javascript and css files is a way to minimize the request send to the server and also saves you few KBs or may be even MBs. If your site is high on using javacript and CSS then you should minimize them.

I recently used SquishIt to combine/minimize my CSS and javascript files. I found 2 major benefits, first, I am able to combine all of my CSS files into one and minimize it, and second it reduces the request sent to the server to load several .css and .js files. In a typical web application I can have one style sheet and one javascript or jQuery file, but if I am planning to use some plugins then there might be more than one style sheet and javascript files which will get loaded on every page request. Here is an example of a sample web forms application loading two css and javascript files which includes the plugin code. 

Here you can see that there are 4 requests in total to load site CSS and Javascript files. Though in this case the size of the file is less but when you have really large files then it can really affect your site performance and also save MBs in a long run. So, what happens when I use SquishIt? Install the package by firing the below command at NuGet console.

 

SquishIt is not an independent package, it has dependencies which is doing all the work of minifying and compressing CSS and JS files behind the scenes.

 

After the package is installed successfully, time to squish the files. Open the web page or the master page where you are loading CSS and JS files (in my case it is site.master) and add a reference to the SquishIt assembly on the top of that page.

<%@ Import Namespace="SquishIt.Framework" %>

In the head section of your page we can then combine all the CSS and JS files and then render them into ONE single file. There are two different methods to minimize CSS and JS files i.e. Bundle.Css() for CSS files and Bundle.JavaScript() for JS files. Here is an example:

To bundle CSS:

<%= Bundle.Css()
       .Add("Styles/adipoli.css")
       .Add("Styles/Site.css")
       .Render("Styles/squishstyle#.css")
%>

To bundle JavaScript:

<%= Bundle.JavaScript()
       .Add("Scripts/jquery-1.7.1.min.js")
       .Add("Scripts/jquery.adipoli.min.js")
       .Render("Scripts/squishjs#.js")
%>

You can go on adding all the css and javascript files using the Add() method. After all the files has been added call the Render() method. You can say that the Add()method just keep all the files in a stack and the Render() method will combine and minimize the files. If you look closely in the Render() method has a new file name with a (hash) #. The hash symbol is just generates a new unique id of the bundled script.

When you run the application and check the network call stack in your browser, you'll find that the files are not combined. The page is still loading 4 files!? To overcome this set the debug mode to false in the web.config file.

<compilation debug="false" targetFramework="4.0" />

Now if you look in the network call stack, you will find the files have been squished and minimised and compressed!!

And here are my saving statistics:

Without SquishIt:

Four requests in total!!

Name/Path Type Size Content Time Latency
adipoli.css text/css 683B 62ms
/Styles 441B 55ms
Site.css text/css 4.40KB 68ms
/Styles 4.16KB 61ms
jquery-1.7.1.min.js application/x-javascript 109.91KB 80ms
/Scripts 109.65KB 67ms
jquery.adipoli.min.js application/x-javascript 7.57KB 242ms
/Scripts 7.32KB 163ms

The Squish effect:

Two requests in total. Check out the file size and content being loaded. 

Name/Path Type Size Content Time Latency
squishstyle6788C36F832FE70161B88F2D08193F3E.css text/css 2.95KB 80ms
/Styles 2.71KB 72ms
squishjs0F44BB5917C6332E4D49DFCDA5F3556D.js application/x-javascript 98.29KB 91ms
/Scripts 98.03KB 76ms

The same can be done in MVC with this NuGet package.

Currently rated 5.0 by 1 person

BingMap.JS - Jquery Plugin For Bing Maps

10. March 2012 16:39

API Jquery Microsoft Projects 

Bing maps are out there for a long time now and is getting mature pretty fast. I have used Bing maps myself in few of my projects and I remember as a first time user I have a hard time configuring it according to my project requirement. To get myself out of the overhead I searched the web for a jquery plugin, but I can't find a single jquery plugin for Bing Maps instead I found few for Google Maps. I do have some knowledge of jquery and Bing map API, so I decided to write a jquery plugin for Bing map in my free time that will handle all necessary configurations and all the hard work for me and more importantly save my time.

How I get started and how it ended up

Initially I started writing a plugin to just set up the default configuration like setting the map with different modes, zoom level and other necessary configurations, but I ended up doing something more. Besides just the normal configurations of the map I was also able to incorporate Bing map API to search and pinpoint the address on the map. Now if you have an address and you want that to be located on the map then you just have to write in the address in the address parameter and do the other necessary configuration like if you want to show the pushpin on the map or not, or you can set the description on the balloon tip when the user hover the mouse on the pushpin. You can also change the view modes and can also set the zoom level. Plenty of stuff in the plugin and I will add more to make it more flexible and more productive. The API thing in the plugin was just the test from my side, I never thought of using the API in the plugin when I started writing it. But I am happy that I ended up making something useful for myself and I am sure enough that it will help other fellow developers out there also.

Where to get the plugin?

I have a dedicated a page for the Bing Map plugin here. There are still few changes to be made on the page so that it can have more information. In the next phase I am planning to have a demo page and provide more information on plugin.

Make sure to read about the plugin and the configurations before you get started with the plugin at Bing map plugin home page.

If you are using NuGet then you can fire up the below command to install it into the Scripts folder.

If you have doubts and have suggestions for the plugin then please do drop me a comment or e-mail.

 No Rating

Death Of Visual Studio Installer Projects After Visual Studio 2010 And NSIS & Inno Setup Installers

8. March 2012 03:36

Microsoft Visual Studio 

I came across an announcement made by Candy Chiang at MSDN Forums at ClickOnce and Setup & Deployment Projects forums.

In Visual Studio 2010, we have partnered with Flexera, makers of InstallShield, to create InstallShield Limited Edition 2010 just for Visual Studio 2010 customers. The InstallShield Limited Edition 2010 offers comparable functionality to the Visual Studio Installer projects. In addition, you can build your deployment projects using Team Foundation Server and MSBuild. For more information, see here.

With InstallShield available, the Visual Studio Installer project types will not be available in future versions of Visual Studio. To preserve existing customer investments in Visual Studio Installer projects, Microsoft will continue to support the Visual Studio Installer projects feature that shipped with Visual Studio 2010 and below as per our product life-cycle strategy. For more information, see Expanded Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy for Business & Development Products.

The question here is how we are going to create a setup within Visual Studio? How we are going to install the Windows service? How the application gets deployed in the production environment? The in-built Setup and Deployment template was extremely useful and I have no idea at the moment what is the best alternative Microsoft will come up with in Visual Studio 11 which is flexible enough to provide all what the developer needs. Well, in time we'll see but this is for sure that we are not going to have project templates for Setup and Deployment in the next release for Visual Studio. Microsoft also confirms that InstallShield will be available in the future versions of Visual Studio, but again it will be a limited edition (as what we have in Visual Studio 2010). Let's hope we are going to see more advanced version of InstallShield in next release of Visual Studio.

What are the alternatives?

With Setup and Deployment gone from Visual Studio, there is an excellent Visual Studio extension which allows you to create setup packages. This extension will let you create NSIS and Inno Setup installers for your application. At the moment this extension supports Visual Studio 2005, 2008 and 2010 and as I see excellent potential in this extension and the people behind the extension, I hope we will be able to see this extension for Visual Studio 11 soon. The current/latest version is still in beta and is only available for Visual Studio 2010.

Note: Before you start installing the add-in make sure you have few of the pre-requisites installed in your machine. Read for the pre-requisites here.

The best part about this extension is that alike traditional Setup and Deployment projects it gives you a complete wizard to create a setup package for your application. For folks who have never put their hands on NSIS, I would like to tell them that is a scriptable installer and that means that you can write your own custom scripts to get more out of the box.

Let's see what this add-in has to offer us in future. 

Related Links: 

Currently rated 5.0 by 1 person

Add Google Login Support In ASP.NET With OpenID

18. February 2012 17:12

API ASP.NET 

Few years back I blogged about adding OpenID login support in ASP.NET application. This time I am blogging about adding Google login support in ASP.NET application. A friend of mine is trying to integrate multiple third party authentication support for one of the application he is developing for his client. He is using DotNetOpenAuth for Google authentication. the code I am using here is from my friend and I am sharing it with his explicit permission.

First, download the latest version of DotNetOpenAuth and add its reference in your web application and these two namespaces.

using DotNetOpenAuth.OpenId;
using DotNetOpenAuth.OpenId.RelyingParty;

After adding the reference, add a normal button with CommandArgument to point https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id.

<asp:Button ID="btnGoogleLogin" runat="server" CommandArgument="https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id" 
        OnCommand="btnGoogleLogin_Click" Text="Sign In with Google" />

On the button click event on the server side:

protected void btnGoogleLogin_Click(object sender, CommandEventArgs e)
{
    string discoveryUri = e.CommandArgument.ToString();
    OpenIdRelyingParty openid = new OpenIdRelyingParty();
    var URIbuilder = new UriBuilder(Request.Url) { Query = "" };
    var req = openid.CreateRequest(discoveryUri, URIbuilder.Uri, URIbuilder.Uri);
    req.RedirectToProvider();
}

Now when you click the button it will take you to Google login page which look something like this.

You can see on the right side of the screen with the information of the site requesting the authentication. Once you get successfully authenticated with your entered user name and password, you will then redirect to the confirmation page:

As I am using my local development server, you will see Locahost. Once you deploy the application in the production environment it will automatically get the name of the domain. Clicking on the Sign in button you will then be redirected to the main page, but before you get to the main page you need to check whether the authentication was successful or was it cancelled by the user or was failed. To make sure use the below code on the load event of the login page:

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
    OpenIdRelyingParty rp = new OpenIdRelyingParty();
    var response = rp.GetResponse();
    if (response != null)
    {
        switch (response.Status)
        {
            case AuthenticationStatus.Authenticated:
                Session["GoogleIdentifier"] = response.ClaimedIdentifier.ToString();
                Response.Redirect("Default.aspx");
                break;
            case AuthenticationStatus.Canceled:
                Session["GoogleIdentifier"] = "Cancelled.";
                break;
            case AuthenticationStatus.Failed:
                Session["GoogleIdentifier"] = "Login Failed.";
                break;
        }
    }

}

On Default.aspx page I have set the ClaimedIdentifier:

The response/status returned from Google will be checked here and we will redirect the application to work the way accordingly. My friend sends me the above code to find out whether there is any way we can logout from the service. Well, unfortunately there isn't any specific way to log out using DotNetOpenAuth? But there is a workaround. I don't know if it is a good practice or bad but it worked out for me. To logout, I am just calling this logout URL used by Google.

http://accounts.google.com/logout

If you have some suggestions or you know a better way or approach of doing this then please drop a line in the comments sections.

Currently rated 4.2 by 9 people

HTML5 File Drag and Drop Upload With jQuery and ASP.NET

28. January 2012 12:00

ASP.NET HTML5 Jquery Web 

I came across an article on Tutorialzine which demonstrate file drag and drop upload with jQuery and PHP. As a curious reader, I downloaded the sample files and took a look and also get it running on my LINUX VM. It worked like a charm. But I am a Windows user and .NET programmer, the question is how can I do the same in ASP.NET?

If someone out there can do something in PHP then I can do that in .NET!!

Who said the above line??.....ME!!??.....oh yeah!!! So, to get myself started I used the same downloaded files that I used to check the PHP version of the file drag and drop. The only thing that we are not going to re-use out of these files is the php file. You can delete it if you wish or keep it, it's of no harm to our ASP.NET app.

Updating The jQuery Part

This example uses an awesome plugin from Weixi Yen and you can found the plugin and it's sample usage (documentation) on GitHub. The basic or I should say the default functionality provided by this plugin is to allow users to drag and drop the files from desktop to the browser. But before you actually get started with the plugin, I strongly recommend that you make yourself familiar with the parameters and configurations of the plugin.

Open the script.js file and change the URL to point to the web service or the page which will upload the posted file. Here I want you to pay attention to the javascript function named createImage. This method accepts the file as a parameter and returns the image or file data in Base64 format. This is the data which actually gets posted when the user drops a file to the upload area on the web page. This is all up to you whether you want to use a web service or a normal web page to accept the posted file/data. Here is my script.js file looks like after the changes.

$(function () {

    var dropbox = $('#dropbox'),
		message = $('.message', dropbox);

    dropbox.filedrop({
        paramname: 'pic',
        maxfiles: 5,
        maxfilesize: 100,
        //url: '/Uploader.asmx/Upload',
        url: '/Default.aspx',

        uploadFinished: function (i, file, response) {
            $.data(file).addClass('done');
        },

        error: function (err, file) {
            switch (err) {
                case 'BrowserNotSupported':
                    showMessage('Your browser does not support HTML5 file uploads!');
                    break;
                case 'TooManyFiles':
                    alert('Too many files! Please select 5 at most! (configurable)');
                    break;
                case 'FileTooLarge':
                    alert(file.name + ' is too large! Please upload files up to 2mb (configurable).');
                    break;
                default:
                    break;
            }
        },

        // Called before each upload is started
        //        beforeEach: function (file) {
        //            if (!file.type.match(/^image\//)) {
        //                alert('Only images are allowed!');

        //                // Returning false will cause the
        //                // file to be rejected
        //                return false;
        //            }
        //        },

        uploadStarted: function (i, file, len) {
            createImage(file);
        },

        progressUpdated: function (i, file, progress) {
            $.data(file).find('.progress').width(progress);
        }

    });

    var template = '<div class="preview">' +
						'<span class="imageHolder">' +
							'<img />' +
							'<span class="uploaded"></span>' +
						'</span>' +
						'<div class="progressHolder">' +
							'<div class="progress"></div>' +
						'</div>' +
					'</div>';


    function createImage(file) {

        var preview = $(template),
			image = $('img', preview);

        var reader = new FileReader();

        image.width = 100;
        image.height = 100;

        reader.onload = function (e) {

            // e.target.result holds the DataURL which
            // can be used as a source of the image:
            //alert(e.target.result);
            image.attr('src', e.target.result);
        };

        // Reading the file as a DataURL. When finished,
        // this will trigger the onload function above:
        reader.readAsDataURL(file);

        message.hide();
        preview.appendTo(dropbox);

        // Associating a preview container
        // with the file, using jQuery's $.data():

        $.data(file, preview);
    }

    function showMessage(msg) {
        message.html(msg);
    }

});

Check out line number 10 and 11. I have change the url parameter to the one where my files are going to be posted. It can be a webservice or just a normal web page. The other two parameters maxfiles and maxfilesize defines the number of file that can be uploaded asynchronously and maximum size of the file that can be uploaded in MBs respectively. Also note that the demo that you download from the original source will have a validation that the files that are being uploaded by the user should only be images. If you want to override this rule then uncomment the lines from 33-42. This is it from the jQuery/script part. Now time to move on the server side code.

The Server Side Code

To remind you again that we are posting a file to a web service or to a web page and therefore that code for our web service or on our page will look something like this:

If you are using a web service to upload the posted file:

[WebMethod]
[ScriptMethod(ResponseFormat = ResponseFormat.Json)]
public string Upload()
{
       HttpContext postedContext = HttpContext.Current;
       HttpPostedFile file = postedContext.Request.Files[0];
       string name = file.FileName;
       byte[] binaryWriteArray = new
       byte[file.InputStream.Length];
       file.InputStream.Read(binaryWriteArray, 0,
       (int)file.InputStream.Length);
       FileStream objfilestream = new FileStream(Server.MapPath("uploads//" + name), FileMode.Create, FileAccess.ReadWrite);
       objfilestream.Write(binaryWriteArray, 0,
       binaryWriteArray.Length);
       objfilestream.Close();
       string[][] JaggedArray = new string[1][];
       JaggedArray[0] = new string[] { "File was uploaded successfully" };
       JavaScriptSerializer js = new JavaScriptSerializer();
       string strJSON = js.Serialize(JaggedArray);
       return strJSON;
}

Nothing fancy or complicated in the above code. Remember, the files will send to the web service one by one and not in a collection and this is the reason I am working with one file at a time and not with file collections. In my case I have used a web service that return me JSON result which I can show it to the user, though it is not necessary, but just in case if you want to have one for your web service you need to use 2 using statements:

  • using System.Web.Script.Serialization;
  • using System.Web.Script.Services;

If you are using a web page to upload the posted file:

HttpContext postedContext = HttpContext.Current;
HttpPostedFile file = postedContext.Request.Files[0];
string name = file.FileName;
byte[] binaryWriteArray = new
byte[file.InputStream.Length];
file.InputStream.Read(binaryWriteArray, 0,
(int)file.InputStream.Length);
FileStream objfilestream = new FileStream(Server.MapPath("uploads//" + name), FileMode.Create, FileAccess.ReadWrite);
objfilestream.Write(binaryWriteArray, 0,
binaryWriteArray.Length);
objfilestream.Close();
string[][] JaggedArray = new string[1][];
JaggedArray[0] = new string[] { "File was uploaded successfully" };
JavaScriptSerializer js = new JavaScriptSerializer();
string strJSON = js.Serialize(JaggedArray);
Response.Write(strJSON);
Response.End();

Same code as I have for the web service, put the above code on the page_load event.

Caution!!

While I was working around with the above code and configuration of the plugin I came across an error that won't allow me to upload heavy files or I should say large files. The error that I received is:

System.Web.HttpException: Maximum request length exceeded

To overcome this error you have make the below configuration in your web.config file inside <system.web>

<httpRuntime maxRequestLength="102400" executionTimeout="1200" />

A word of caution here, though it will solve your problem but:

  • If the maxrequestLength is TOO BIG then you will be open to DOS attacks.
  • The default executionTimeout is 360 seconds. Change it accordingly and only if you are running on really slow connections.

This is it, if you have followed the steps above then try uploading some file. And if you haven't and lazy to put all the pieces together then download the code from the below and try it.

Download: HTML5DragNDrpFileUpload.zip (58.15 kb)

Currently rated 4.4 by 13 people