VisualStudio

Introduction to NDepend : Static Code Analysis Tool

June 16, 2018 .NET, .NET Core, .NET Framework, ASP.NET, Best Practices, C#.NET, Code Analysis, Code Quality, Dynamic Analysis, Emerging Technologies, Help Articles, Microsoft, Static Analysis, Tech-Trends, Tools, Tools, Visual Studio 2017, VisualStudio, Windows No comments , , , , , ,

As a developer, you always have to take the pain of getting adapted to the best practices and coding guidelines to be followed as per the organizational or industrial standards.  Easy way to ensure your coding style follows certain standard is to manually analyze your code or use a static code analyzer like FxCop, StyleCop etc. Earlier days I have been a fan of FxCop as it was free and it provides me all necessary general guidelines in terms  of improving my solution.

In this modern world of programming everything needs to be automated, as it saves time and money in terms of automating repetitive tasks and improves efficiency. This is where static code analysers coming effective.

What is Static Code Analysis?

Static program analysis is the analysis of computer software that is performed without actually executing programs, on some version of the program source code, and in the other cases, some form of the object code or intermediate compiled code .

Sophistication of static program analysis increases is based on how deep they analyze in terms of behavior of individual statements and declarations, to analyzing the entire source code.

PS: Analysis performed on executing programs is known as dynamic analysis.

In this article I will give you an overview of one such premier static code analysis tool that can be used for your daily development routine plus use it for CI integration for DevOps efficiency.

NDepend:

NDepend is a static analysis tool for .NET, specifically for managed code:  NDepdend supports a large number of code metrics, allowing to visualize dependencies using directed graphs and dependency matrix. It also performs code base snapshots comparisons, and validation of architectural and quality rules.

The important capabilities of NDepend are:

  • Dependency Visualization through dependency matrix and graphs.
  • Analyse and generate software quality metrics – as per the documentation it supports 82 quality metrices.
  • Declarative rule support through LINQ queries, and it is called CQLinq and comes with a large number of predefined CQLinq rules.
  • Integration support for Cruise Control.Net, SonarCube, am City. Code rules can be configured to be checked automatically in Visual Studio or during continuous integration(CI).

License: NDepend is a commercial tool with licensing options as below:

  1. Developer seats – $477 approx. / per seat.
  2. Build Machine seats  – $955 approx. / per seat.

** You could get volume discount if you bulk procure your licenses.

Installation: 

Once you obtained license you will able to download NDepend_2018.1.1.9041.zip, is latest version available while I write this article. Extract the zip file into your local folder, you could see the different packages/executables within the package.

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1.) NDepend.Console    – Command line program to execute NDepend analysis.  You would be mostly using this component on CI Build server Help

2.) NDepend.PowerTools –  Helps write your own static analyzer based on NDepend.API, or tweak existing open-source Power Tools. Help

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3.) NDepend.VisualStudioExtension.Installer – To install NDepend extension as part of Visual studio

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4.) VisualNDepend – Independent visual environment for managing your NDepend tasks.

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Visual Tool gives you different options to choose from:

  • You can analyse a Visual Studio Solution or project.
  • Analyse .NET assemblies in a folder.

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For the demo purpose our analysis target would be one of the starter project from github –  ContosoUniversity by @alimon808.

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Demo: Summary Report

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Demo: Application Metrics

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Demo: Dependency Dashboard:

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Demo: Interactive Graph

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Demo: Code Matrix View

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Demo: Quality Gates Summary

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Demo: Rules Summary

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Conclusion:

NDepend is one of the best enterprise grade commercial static analyser seen so far.  There are Visual Studio Code Analysis, FxCop and Stylecop Analyzer tools available but they do not provide extensive level of analysis reports NDepend provides. Being a commercial tool it gives value for money for customers by what they need.  In terms of a day to day developer  or devops lifecycle, you can integrate NDepend in your build process, which could be simple as executing the NDepend Console and reviewing the output. With NDepend’s API it is easy to develop your own custom analysis tools based on CQLinq and NDepend.PowerTools(which is open source). You could find all the detailed help in NDepend documentation.

References:

CosmosDb – Programatically Connect to a preferred location using the SQL API

May 29, 2018 .NET, Azure, CosmosDB, Microsoft, VisualStudio, Windows, Windows Azure Development No comments ,

Cosmos Db is a multi-region scallable, globally-distributed database solution as part of Microsoft Azure Platform.  With a button click, Azure Cosmos DB enables you to elastically and independently scale throughput and storage across any number of Azure’s geographic regions. It offers throughput, latency, availability, and consistency guarantees with comprehensive service level agreements (SLAs),  that no other database service can offer. [REF]

What is multi-region scalability or global distribution ?

What it means is that once you select this option, and underlying platform will ensure that your main database is replicated across other global regions you have defined.

So when a customer/application requests the data from a certain geo location:

  1. Cosmos Db will serve the data from nearest available regional copy to provide low latency in accessing the database.  Inorder to achieve it is recommended to deploy both the application and Azure Cosmos DB in the regions that correspond.
  2. Incase that nearest available region is not defined, it would serve from nearest available or main copy. This could be East US or West US depending on your deployment decisions.
  3. As BCDR(Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery) plan, Incase main copy is not available, it would faillover to serve the requests from any backup region.  

Benefits?

  • Ensured AVAILABILITY @ 99.99% – Azure Cosmos DB offers low latency reads and writes at the 99th percentile worldwide.
  • Faster READS: It ensures that all reads are served from the closest (local) region.  To serve a read request, the quorum local to the region in which the read is issued is used.
  • Reliable WRITES: The same applies to writes. A write is acknowledged only after a majority of replicas have durably committed the write locally but without being gated on remote replicas to acknowledge the writes.

PS: The replication protocol of Azure Cosmos DB operates under the assumption that the read and write quorums are always local to the region where the request has been issued.

How to turn on – Cosmos Db and multi-region replication?

In CosmosDb instance settings select Replicate data globally page, then select the regions to add or remove by clicking regions in the map.

Azure Cosmos DB enables you to configure the regions (associated with the database) for “read”, “write” or “read/write” regions.

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Then configure Manual/Automatic failover options as well. image I would cover this in later articles.

All that said, you are in good hands of Azure Platform as a  Cosmos Db customer or user. 

NB: For the purpose of this article, I have configured my instance to run different regions with write region as East US and read region as West Europe,North Europe and West US.

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Programatically Connect to a preferred location using the SQL API:

Now coming to the context of this blog, as a application developer some times you would like to programatically control the access to these regions while using Cosmos Db .NET SQL API. 

In CosmosDb.NET SDK version 1.8 and later, there is the ConnectionPolicy parameter for the DocumentClient constructor has a property called Microsoft.Azure.Documents.ConnectionPolicy.PreferredLocations

  • All reads will be sent to the first available region in the PreferredLocations list. If the request fails, the client will fail down the list to the next region, and so on.
  • SDK will automatically send all writes to the current write region.
  • SDK will only attempt to read from the regions specified in PreferredLocations.
  • For example: If you have 4 read regions defined in your cosmos Db instance and you only have 2 regions defined in PreferredLocations in connectionPolicy, requests from other two regions would never be served from SDK.

NB: The client application can verify the current write endpoint and read endpoint chosen by the SDK by checking two properties, WriteEndpoint and ReadEndpoint. **SDK version 1.8+.

Following code snippet would make it easiter to implement:

 
   //Setting read region selection preference. 
   connectionPolicy.PreferredLocations.Add(LocationNames.EastUS); // applications first preference
   connectionPolicy.PreferredLocations.Add(LocationNames.WestEurope); // applications second preference

Full Source Code: https://github.com/AzureContrib/CosmosDB-DotNet-Quickstart-Preferred-Location 

References:

CosmosDb – Connection Policy – Setting Connection Mode and Connection Protocol

May 13, 2018 .NET, Azure, CosmosDB, Microsoft, PaaS, VisualStudio, Windows, Windows Azure Development No comments , , ,

Recently I have been trying multiple ways to optimize CosmosDb SQL.NET SDK integration calls from my web application that sits within a VNET.

After carefully analyzing different options available within Cosmos Db SQL API’s have realized there are different aspects we could optimize in achieving minimal turn around time. In this article I am going to discuss about one such useful find, that is to use Cosmos Db SQL SDK connection policy to use diferent networking options to improve the latency between web application and cosmos db API calls.

Connection Policy:

Performance of an client application has important implication based on – how SQL .NET SDK  connects to Azure Cosmos DB , because of expected client-side latency due to networking conditions. There are two key configuration settings available for configuring client Connection Policy – the connection mode and the connection protocol.

There are two connection mode options provides by Cosmos Db SQL.NET SDK:

  • Gateway Mode(which is default): This mode is the default option being used and works with all Cosmos DB SDK versions.  Since it is only accessible over HTTPS/TCP, it is more secure and best choice for applications that run on a constrained secure corporate network. If you are using the .NET Framework version of the CosmosDb SQL.NET SDK, then proably this is the only connection mode that would work for you. 

  • Connection Protocol – TCP:  443 is the CosmosDb port, 10255 is the MongoDB API port.   
  • Connection Protocol – HTTPS: Default 443
  • Direct Mode:  This is a new mode which will work only on .NET Standard 2.0 onwards. It provides you an ability to choose between TCP or HTTPS more efficiently.  Only caveat is that you would need .NET Standard 2.0 as target framework for your client application.
    • Connection Protocol – TCP: TCP would be more faster when client and db are in same VNET.  Since TCP within the same network would be more faster, you would be amazed by the latency improvements by your client application. It would respond faster to you cosmos Db requests.  NB In TCP mode apart from 443 and 10255 mentioned in Gateway more, we also need to ensure  port range between 10000 and 20000 is open in your firewall configuration,  because Azure Cosmos DB uses dynamic TCP ports.
    • Connection Protocol – HTTPS: Since client application and cosmosDb are in same network limits, you could see that HTTPS option is also a reliable, secure and faster access channel for you, but not highly performing as TCP.

    A simplified diagram below :

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    Sample Code:

     string cosmosDbEndpoint = new Uri("https://mycosmosDbinstance.documents.net");
     string authKey ="cosmosDb-apiKey";
     DocumentClient client = new DocumentClient(cosmosDbEndpoint, authKey,
     new ConnectionPolicy
     {
        ConnectionMode = ConnectionMode.Direct,
        ConnectionProtocol = Protocol.Tcp
     });
     

    Refer more :

    You can find the completed sample here: AzureContrib/CosmosDB-DotNet-Quickstart-With-ConnectionPolicy

    General Availability of Azure Database Services for MYSQL and PostgreSQL

    March 23, 2018 Azure, Cloud Computing, Cloud Services, Data Services, Emerging Technologies, Microsoft, Tech Newz, VisualStudio, VS2017 No comments

    It has been a while I have written something on my blog. I thought of getting started again with a good news that Microsoft Azure team has announced the general availability of Azure Database Services for MySQL and PostgreSQL. In my earlier posts, I have provided some oversight into Preview Availability of these services as part of the Azure cloud. Now that it is generally available, customers should be able to utilize these services for their general purpose or enterprise level database requirements in Azure Cloud.

    You may read about it more on Microsoft announcement blog Announcing general availability of Azure database services for MySQL and PostgreSQL  by Tobias Ternstrom Principal Group Program Manager, Azure Data

    Getting Started local development with Azure Cosmos DB services – Part 2

    May 29, 2017 .NET, .NET Core 1.0, .NET Core 1.0.1, .NET Framework, ASP.NET, Azure, Azure SDK Tools, Azure Tools, Cloud Computing, CodeSnippets, CosmosDB, Document DB, Microsoft, PaaS, SaaS, Visual Studio 2015, Visual Studio 2015 Update 3, Visual Studio 2017, VisualStudio, VS2015, VS2017, Windows, Windows 10, Windows Azure Development, Windowz Azure No comments

    In my previous article we discussed about setting local development environment using Cosmos DB Emulator for Windows. With this part 2 of the article, we will cover developing, debugging and integration related aspects of using Cosmos DB Emulator.

    Developing with Cosmos DB Emulator

    Once you have Cosmos DB emulator installed and running on your machine, you can use any supported Cosmos DB SDK or Cosmos DB REST API to interact with emulator. This process is same as you are using a Cosmos DB cloud service.

    Cosmos DB Emulator also provides a build-in visual explorer through which you can view,create and edit collections and documents.

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    Before you integrate Cosmos DB SDK or Cosmos DB REST API you would need to generate master key for authentication. Unlike cloud service, Cosmos DB emulator only support single fixed account and master key.  You would not be able to communicate with Emulator without this master key.

    Default Master Key:

    Account name: localhost:<port>

    Account key: C2y6yDjf5/R+ob0N8A7Cgv30VRDJIWEHLM+4QDU5DE2nQ9nDuVTqobD4b8mGGyPMbIZnqyMsEcaGQy67XIw/Jw==

    PS: This key is only to be used in Emulator. You cannot use the same key for Production(Cosmos DB Cloud Service).

    Furthermore, if you want to set your own key. You can go to command line references and run DocumentDB.Emulator.exe with sufficient command switch to set your own key. Remember it should meet the key security requirements. See command-line tool reference for more information.

    The Azure Cosmos DB Emulator is installed by default to the C:\Program Files\Azure Cosmos DB Emulator  or C:\Program Files\DocumentDB Emulator  directory.

    Once you have account name and key, you are good to go with development and debugging using Azure Cosmos DB emulator.

    Let us start looking at how to use CosmosDB SDK. Once you add Cosmos DB SDK for .NET from NUGET sources. You would need to import the following namespaces to reference necessary classes.

     using Microsoft.Azure.Documents;
       
     using Microsoft.Azure.Documents.Client;
       
     using Microsoft.Azure.Documents.Linq;
    

    Simple code to establish connection:

    // Connect to the Azure Cosmos DB Emulator running locally use DocumentClient class in : 
    DocumentClient client = new DocumentClient(
        new Uri("https://localhost:8081"), 
        "C2y6yDjf5/R+ob0N8A7Cgv30VRDJIWEHLM+4QDU5DE2nQ9nDuVTqobD4b8mGGyPMbIZnqyMsEcaGQy67XIw/Jw==");
    

    In the above code block we are directly embedding endpoint, key in the source code.But as a suggested approch keeping in mind to easily point to production service would be maintain the key in Web.config appSettings.

       <add value="https://localhost:8081/" key="endpoint"/>
        <add value="C2y6yDjf5/R+ob0N8A7Cgv30VRDJIWEHLM+4QDU5DE2nQ9nDuVTqobD4b8mGGyPMbIZnqyMsEcaGQy67XIw/Jw==" key="authKey"/>
     

    Add NuGet reference to Microsoft.Azure.DocumentDB  (always use the latest version of the library)

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    For the ease of this article, I am going to use the existing ToDoList sample from DocumentDB Samples provided by Microsoft. You can originally find the same source from C:\Program Files\DocumentDB Emulator\Packages\DataExplorer\quickstart.

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    Copy and Unzip DocumentDB-Quickstart-DotNet.zip and open todo.sln in Visual Studio 2017 and your solution structure will look like below:

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    Now run the application in your Visual Studio.

    1. You will see an initial screen:

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    2. Click on Create New:

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    3. New record will be added to your Azure Cosmos DB Emulator:

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    4. To verify in Cosmos DB emulator now open Cosmos DB explorer, click on Collections and Select ToDoList

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    5.Expand Documents and select item with id:da305da3-c1dc-4e34-94d9-fd7f82d26c58

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    Hope this article was helpful for you with initial development.  Share your feedback through comments and share this to your friends and colleagues.

    Useful Links:

    Getting Started local development with Azure Cosmos DB services – Part 1

    May 20, 2017 .NET, Azure, Azure SDK, Azure SDK Tools, Azure Tools, Cloud Computing, Computing, CosmosDB, Data Services, Document DB, Emerging Technologies, KnowledgeBase, Microsoft, PaaS, Visual Studio 2013, Visual Studio 2015, Visual Studio 2017, VS2013, VS2015, VS2017, Windows 10, Windows Azure Development, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windowz Azure 1 comment , ,

    Azure Cosmos DB is a multi-API, multi-model highly scalable NoSQL database services from Microsoft Azure platform. In order to develop an application consuming Azure Cosmos DB requires an azure live subscription or emulator in your local machine.

    The Azure Cosmos DB Emulator provides a local development/test environment for Azure Cosmos DB development purposes. Using Azure Cosmos DB Emulator, you can develop and test your application locally, without needing an azure subscription or without subscription costs.

    With this article I am going to take you through necessary steps and requirements to set up your local environment.

    1. Pre-Requisites:

    Azure Cosmos DB emulator has the following software and hardware requirements:

    • Software requirements
      • Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, or Windows 10
    • Minimum Hardware requirements
      • 2 GB RAM
      • 10 GB available hard disk space

    2. Installation:

    • Download Azure Cosmos DB Emulator   (DocumentDb.Install.msi)   ** do not get confused by the name. Azure Cosmos DB is a super set of Document DB, and the DocumentDb emulator they tweaked a bit to support Cosmos Db.
    • Install DocumentDb.Install.msi

    Additionally Azure CosmosDB emulator can be run on Docker for Windows. After installing Docker for Windows, you can pull the Emulator image from Docker Hub.

    docker pull microsoft/azure-documentdb-emulator

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    3. Start/Launch Azure Cosmos DB Emulator:

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    After some time you can see the emulator started. When the Azure Cosmos DB emulator launches it will automatically open the Azure Cosmos DB Data Explorer in your browser.

    The address will appear as https://localhost:8081/_explorer/index.html

    Incase you have closed browser and later would like to open the explorer again, you can open the Data Explorer by right clicking on the taskbar menu.

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    Now you can write some sample app to try it, or download already created sample applications from Microsoft depending on the preferred platform of your choice.

    4. Limitation of Azure Cosmos DB Emulator: (or Differences between Azure Cosmos DB Emulator vs Real Cosmos DB Cloud Service)

    Since the Azure Cosmos DB Emulator provides an emulated environment running on a local developer workstation, there are some fundamental differences between the emulator and an Azure Cosmos DB account in the cloud:

    The following table is also helpful in determining when to use Cosmos DB Emulator and when direct cloud service. Depending on the choice of requirement, you would need to use associated services efficiently.


    Cosmos DB Emulator Cosmos DB Cloud Service
    Supports only a single fixed account and a well-known master key. Key regeneration is not possible. Supports multiple accounts and different master keys. You can regenerate keys any time from Azure Portal.
    Non scalable Highly scalable
    Does not support larger data sets Support for large data sets
    Does not simulate consistency levels Different Consistency levels available
    Does not simulate multi-region replication Configurable as part of the platform, as needed basis.
    Does not support quota override feature Supports document size limit increases, increased partitioned collection storage etc.
    Might not support most recent changes to Cosmos Db platform Most recent platform update will be available.

    Hope this article was helpful for your initial start. If you would need to understand further on Azure Cosmos DB development follow the links. I will be writing further insights in later sessions.