Showing posts from 2017

Sync Gmail Contacts Between Accounts

For the last few years I've needed a way to easily sync contacts between gmail accounts. The only method previously supported by Google is to export to csv then re-import the contact list.

This may work for some, but clearly there is a desire for something else.

I finally found some time to dig into the Google Contact APIs and created a site to perform this sync operation easily, without needed to install any software:

Steps to sync:

 1. Authorize your gmail account
 2. Link an second gmail account (up to 5 currently)
 3. Compare two accounts to see which email addresses and phone numbers will be created.
 4. Click the Sync Accounts button to initiate the sync! It's that easy!

Hope this helps,

Hide Main Menu for Visual Studio 2017

To improve my development experience, I disable as many windows and toolbars in Visual Studio as possible. The one toolbar that you can not disable via the IDE itself is the "main menu" toolbar (File, Edit, View, etc.).

There is an extension that I've used in previous versions of Visual Studio that hides this menu until the user presses the `alt` key. Here is a link to that extension in the gallery:

old -- -- old

For whatever reason, that extension does not appear available in 2017, so I've published my own extension to complete the same task:

I will gladly take mine down if Matthew Johnson ever updates his extension.

Hope this helps!

git - protect local master branch, prevent commit and push

If you've worked with a remote git hosting service like github, you're likely familiar with the concept of protecting a branch. Other remote git hosting services (vsts, bitbucket, gitlab, etc) also support the concept. It's a good idea to protect your remote in this way, but why stop there? You can also protect your local dev environment from human error by using git hooks.

A new git repo (`git init`) comes with various hook examples in the `.git/hooks/` directory. We can tie into two of those hooks, `pre-commit` and `pre-push`, to prevent commits to your local master branch, and to prevent attempting to push to the remote master branch (even from a local feature branch).

Place the two files found in the gist linked below in your repo's .git/hooks directory to prevent the two actions described above:

Hope this helps,

Search iPhone Text Messages with SQLite SQL Query

In my experience, the iPhone text message search functionality is usually pretty awful. Especially if you're trying to find a text from a few years go. Luckily, if you backup your iPhone using iTunes, your text messages are exported/stored in a SQLite database, and it is fairly easy to query.

Here are the steps to SQL Query your Text Messages.

  1. Backup your iPhone using iTunes.

  2. Find the SQLite file that contains your text messages.
    - in ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/* with a filename of 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28

  3. Ensure you have a SQLite Query tool (SQLiteBrowser is pretty good).

  4. Open your SQLite Text Message DB File using your favorite SQLite query tool.

  5. Execute this query to see all your messages.

Disclaimer, I had to guess at the table structure, therefore I can not confirm that the joins in this query are 100% correct. My quick spot checks seemed to check out, and I was able to query the message.text field to find old …

Azure Kudu Deployment with Version Number

I recently blogged about generating a version.txt file on every build via Visual Studio. This solution is fine if you are building from you local machine and using Web Deploy to deploy to Azure, but if you have a github webhook and are using kudu, the VS Post Build Events are not executed.

The easiest way I found to generate a version.txt file for every deployment is to add a post deployment action to your Web App/App Service.

Create a file within the /site/deployments/tools/PostDeploymentActions/ folder of your App Service (you may need to create that folder). You can name the file whatever you'd like, I chose `generategitversionfile.cmd`. The file should contain at least the following line:

git rev-parse HEAD > "..\wwwroot\version.txt"

This command will be executed within the context of the `/site/repository` directory, that's why we need a more fully qualified path for where to write the file.

Now, after every kudu deploy, a new version.txt file will be created …

Stop Azure WebJob from Azure WebSite

I recently had the need to toggle the status of an Azure WebJob from the WebSite in the same Azure App Service. I found a couple half-complete answers online, but I thought I'd put together this simple guide to have a complete example all in one place.

To accomplish this, we'll be using the kudu REST API for WebJobs.

(note: I also looked into toggling the WEBJOBS_STOPPED environment variable from the WebSite, however I was not able to verify that solution was going to work. I confirmed I was able to set the environment variable from the website, however the value did not update in the "Application Settings" section of the Azure Portal and I was concerned the WebJobs may read a separate environment variable than the WebSite [process scoped vs machine envar for example])

The first thing you'll need to do is download the PublishSettings file (aka "Publish Profile") associated with the App Service (you need the username/password from this file to satisfy th…

Version your Visual Studio Builds by Git Commit Hash

Semantic versioning is great, but more often than not, when I'm looking at a folder of deployed binaries, I want to know the git commithash of the source code that was used to generate them (a versioned container might be better in some cases, but that's not applicable in every situation at the moment).

A simple way to accomplish this is to generate a "version.txt" file at build time that will eventually be deployed with the code. Visual Studio makes it pretty easy to automatically generate this version.txt file with it's built in "build events". Simply add the following line to the "Post-build event command line:" textbox, and a version.txt file will appear in your build output directory with the current commit hash after a successful build.

"C:\Program Files\Git\bin\git.exe" rev-parse HEAD > "$(ProjectDir)$(OutDir)version.txt"

Hope this helps!

Replace Azure Scheduler with Azure Functions

I have written before about the shortcomings of the Azure Scheduler (doesn't integrate with classic [non-RM] Azure Storage accounts, message body pushed to Azure Storage Queue is wrapped in XML, costs $15/mo for basic scheduling tasks...) but the good news is, now with Azure Functions, your Scheduler Tasks can mostly be replaced with Functions.

Here are a couple tables to break down the differences in Triggers and Actions.
Scheduler Triggers compared to Function Input Bindings

Scheduler Functions Manual X X Timer X X Http
X Storage Queue QuickFacts Data Set

To create a visualization for I had to compile census information from the census.govQuickFacts tool. As for as I could tell, they don't provide an easy way to automatically download all the data, so I manually downloaded each state then used a simple node script to merge them together.

Data set available here:

Hope this helps,

Azure Functions and AWS Lambdas

I'm working on a new talk about Azure Functions and AWS Lambdas. I'm writing this blog post to compile a list of links to more information for people that attended the talk.

Presentation Slides:

Azure Function Intro Source Code:

Azure Intro Web App Source Code:

Azure Function Tools for Visual Studio:

AWS Lambda C# in Visual Studio:

I'll add more links and update the slides as I continue to build out the talk.

Hope this helps,