Deploy your ASP.NET Web API application to Windows Azure in 3 minutes

Over the past months I have been blogging about ASP.NET Web API a lot. One question that I haven’t really addressed, is how to send this beast to production – because it’s one thing to develop something, and completely different to have it up and running in live environment.

While so many members of the community have really enjoyed Windows Azure since it has been unveiled in the new shape recently, a lot of people are still uncertain how to work with it – because, well, “cloud” has always sounded a little enterprise-like. I thought it might help people to have a quick step-by-step guide on how you could really easily deploy your app to Azure (using Git!).

More after the jump.

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Run your favorite unit testing GUI directly from Visual Studio

If you are working a lot with unit tests and somehow are allergic to command line testing (I, for one, am) there is an easy way to configure your test project’s build to start your favorite’s library GUI automatically and load the test assembly into it.

This is very convenient and, as a bonus, allows you to set breakpoints in the test code, without having to attach to any processes.

Let’s have a quick look at how you can do that for xUnit and nUnit.

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Using NLog to provide custom tracing for your ASP.NET Web API

One of the things I love most about MVC3, and now ASP.NET Web API, is that pretty much any functionality or service that is used by your application, can be replaced with a custom one. One of these is the entire tracing mechanism that Web API uses.

Let’s have a look today at how you can build a simple System.Web.Http.Tracing.ITraceWriter implementation to provide support for a custom logging framework in your Web API – in our case it will be NLog.

More after the jump.

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Using controllers from an external assembly in ASP.NET Web API

In general, in my day-to-day job, I am working with large enterprise web applications, where clean projects, noise reduction and test driven development are holy. Therefore I have always been a big fan of placing MVC controllers outside the actual web application project, in a separate class library (or libraries).

With MVC it was very simple, but recently I faced this challenge in Web API, and turns out neither passing the assembly name through MapHttpRoute (not supported) or using something like ControllerBuilder.Current.DefaultNamespaces is not a viable option. So I turned to Henrik Nielsen for advice, and sure enough, he helped immediately. Let’s explore the solution.

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Drag and drop files to WPF application and asynchronously upload to ASP.NET Web API

A while ago, I wrote a post on uploading files to ASP.NET Web API by dragging and dropping them to the browser. Today I will continue with the same topic, but instead, let’s build a WPF application to which you can drag and drop files, and they’ll get uploaded to ASP.NET Web API.

The important thing, is that we will use the *exact* same Web API upload controller as before, meaning the same controller will be handling uploads from the browser and from the client (WPF) application. The client will use the new HttpClient and it’s client-side DelegatingHandlers.

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ASP.NET Web API integration testing with in-memory hosting

In-memory hosting is one of the hidden gems of ASP.NET Web API. While the community, forums, bloggers have been buzzing about web-host and self-host capabilities of Web API, aside from the terrific post by Pedro Felix, very little has been said about in memory hosting.

Let me show you an example today, how a lightweight Web API server can be temporarily established in memory (without elevated priviliges, or cannibalizing ports like self host) and used to perform integration testing, allowing you to test almost the entire pipeline, from the request to the response.

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Control the execution order of your filters in ASP.NET Web API

One of the few minor annoyances in ASP.NET Web API is that you lack the ability to control the order in which the attributes/filters are executed. If you have several of those applied to one action, they will not run in the order they have been declared in the code, and that sometimes may cause a lot of problems.

In fact, as a member of the ASP.NET Web API Advisory Group I already brought that up during our meetings, not to mention it has already been submitted as an issue to the ASP.NET team on Codeplex. In the meantime, let’s tackle this problem and see how you can easily regain control over the execution order of the attributes.

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Extending your ASP.NET Web API responses with useful metadata

If you ever worked with any API, which, in this day of age, you must have, you surely noticed that in most situations the API response isn’t just the result (requested data), but also a set of helpful metadata, like “total Results”, “timestamp”, “status” and so on.

In Web API, by default, you just serialize your models (or DTO) and such information are not present. Let’s build something which will solve this problem and help you decorate your response with hepful information. This would make it very easy for the client to implement paging, auto-loading scenarios, caching (if you return last modified information) and a lot more.

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Using Ninject with the latest ASP.NET Web API source

After ASP.NET Web API was beta-released in February, a number of blog posts came out explaining how to plug Ninject (and other IoC-s, for that matter) to your application through the use of the IDependencyResolver adapter. There was even a NuGet Ninject extension for that (here).

However, these approaches don’t work anymore if you are using the latest ASP.NET Web API (and release candidate) – either from Codeplex source or nightly build packages.

Let’s explore why is that and what you need to do now to be able to use Ninject with ASP.NET Web API.

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Attribute based routing in ASP.NET Web API

Routing is the key aspect of every MVC application – after all, it’s how people get to your application, and how search engines see it. As flexible as routing in ASP.NET MVC has been, one would often end up in frustrating situations where more flexibility was needed (or you simply started getting lost in a maze of routes). One of the finest extensions to ASP.NET MVC I have ever worked with is the excellent library AttributeRouting by Tim McCall.

Last month, through the great work of Kamran Ayub, the library has been extended to support ASP.NET Web API, and is now available on NuGet. Let’s have a look at how it can immediately make your life easier and drastically improve the way you handle your routes.

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