175 Articles


1 month Ago

Adventures in .NET Standard 2.0-preview1

Published by marco on

.NET Standard 2.0 is finally publicly available as a preview release. I couldn’t help myself and took a crack at converting parts of Quino to .NET Standard just to see where we stand. To keep me honest, I did all of my investigations on my MacBook Pro in MacOS.

IDEs and Tools

I installed Visual Studio for Mac, the latest JetBrains Rider EAP and .NET Standard 2.0-preview1. I already had Visual Studio Code with the C#/OmniSharp extensions installed. Everything installed easily and quickly and I... [More]

2 months Ago

C# Handbook 7.0

Published by marco on

 I announced almost exactly one year ago that I was rewriting the Encodo C# Handbook. The original was published almost exactly nine years ago. There were a few more releases as well as a few unpublished chapters.

I finally finished a version that I think I can once again recommend to my employees at Encodo. The major changes are:

  • The entire book is now a Git Repository (GitHub). All content is now in Markdown. Pull requests are welcome.
  • I’ve rewritten pretty much everything. I removed a lot of... [More]

4 months Ago

The weird world of type-compatibility in TypeScript

Published by marco on

I recently fixed a bug in some TypeScript code that compiled just fine—but it looked for all the world like it shouldn’t have.

tl;dr: there is no TypeScript compiler bug, but my faith in the TypeScript language’s type model is badly shaken.

A simple example

The following code compiles—and well it should.

interface IB {
  name: string;

interface IA {
  f(action: (p: IB) => void): IA;

class A implements IA {
  f = (action: (p: IB) => void): IA => {
    return this;

Some... [More]

My Impressions and Notes from VoxxedDays 2017

Published by marco on

Encodo presented a short talk at Voxxed Days 2017 this year, called The truth about code reviews. Sebastian and I also attended the rest of the conference. The following is a list of notes and reactions to the talks.

Engineering You

Martin ThompsonVideo

The keynote was about our place in the history of software engineering. Martin described us more as alchemists than engineers right now, a sentiment with which I can only agree. There is too little precision, too little... [More]

5 months Ago

The evolving Swift string API and implementation

Published by marco on

As Microsoft did a couple of years ago, Apple’s language designers are also designing the next version of Swift in public.[1] One example of the new design is the discussion of String Processing For Swift 4 (GitHub). If you read through the relatively long document, you can at least see that they’re giving the API design a tremendous amount of thought.

API Considerations for Strings

There are so many factors to weigh when building the API, especially for a low-level construct like String.

  • As they state... [More]

A tuple-inference bug in the Swift 3.0.1 compiler

Published by marco on

I encountered some curious behavior while writing a service-locator interface (_protocol_) in Swift. I’ve reproduced the issue in a stripped-down playground[1] and am almost certain I’ve found a bug in the Swift 3.0.1 compiler included in XCode 8.2.1.

Update: At the suggestion of a reader, I searched and found Apple’s Jira for Swift[2] and reported this issue as A possible tuple-inference/parameter-resolution bug in Swift 3.0.1

A Simple, Generic Function

We’ll start off with a very basic example,... [More]

Programming-language Features: How much is too much?

Published by marco on

The article Dark Path by Robert C. Martin was an interesting analysis of a recent “stricter” trend in programming languages, as evidenced by Swift and Kotlin. I think TypeScript is also taking some steps along this path, as well as Rust, which I have a read a lot about, but haven’t had much occasion to use.

Correct vs. Expressive

The point Martin makes is that all of these languages seem to be heedlessly improving correctness at the possible cost of expressiveness and maintainability. That is, as types are... [More]

6 months Ago

Set up JetBrains DataGrip with local SQL Server Express

Published by marco on

The article Connecting DataGrip to MS SQL Server by Maksim Sobolevskiy on June 21, 2016 (JetBrains Blog) covers all of the points well, with screen shots but I just wanted to record my steps, collected into a tight list. Screenshots for most of these steps are available in the blog linked above.

If you don’t have a license for DataGrip, you can download a 30-day trial or you can download the JetBrains Rider EAP, which bundles it. Once Rider is released, you’ll have to have a license for it, but—for now—you can use it for free.

  • Open SQL Server... [More]

7 months Ago

A Surfeit of C#/.NET IDEs

Published by marco on

For many years, the C#/.NET world has been dominated by a single main IDE: Visual Studio. MonoDevelop has also been available for a while, as an alternative for users on other platforms. Lately, though, there have been a few new contenders in the .NET IDE arena.

Visual Studio for Mac

We’ll get this one out of the way first: this is basically Xamarin Studio for Mac, rebranded as Visual Studio for Mac. This IDE is pretty and extremely well-integrated into MacOS, with a lot of animated editor... [More]

1 year Ago

ABD: Improving the Aspect-modeling API for Quino

Published by marco on


We discussed ABD in a recent article ABD: Refactoring and refining an API. To cite from that article,

“[…] the most important part of code is to think about how you’re writing it and what you’re building. You shouldn’t write a single line without thinking of the myriad ways in which it must fit into existing code and the established patterns and practices.”

With that in mind, I saw another teaching opportunity this week and wrote up my experience designing an improvement to an... [More]

ABD: Refactoring and refining an API

Published by marco on

We’ve been doing more internal training at Encodo lately and one topic that we’ve started to tackle is design for architecture/APIs. Even if you’re not officially a software architect—designing and building entire systems from scratch—every developer designs code, on some level.


There are broad guidelines about how to format and style code, about how many lines to put in a method, about how many parameters to use, and so on. We strive for Clean Code™.

But the... [More]

v2.2: Winform fixes and Query Improvements

Published by marco on

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is also available for those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.


Quino Retrospective and Roadmap

Published by marco on


Before taking a look at the roadmap, let’s quickly recap how far we’ve come. An overview of the release schedule shows a steady accretion of features over the years, as driven by customer or project needs.


The list below includes more detail on the releases highlighted in the graphic.[1]

  • 0.1: Proof of concept with metadata, PostgreSql (data and schema-migration) and Winforms UI
  • 1.0: First customer product with PostgreSql, DevExpress Winforms UI and Reporting
  • 1.0.5: MS-SQL driver... [More]

Quino v3.0: Metadata builders and code-generation improvements

Published by marco on

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is also available for those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.


C# Handbook Rewrite

Published by marco on

Encodo published its first C# Handbook and published it to its web site in 2008. At the time, we also published to several other standard places and got some good, positive feedback. Over the next year, I made some more changes and published new versions. The latest version is 1.5.2 and is available from Encodo’s web site. Since then, though I’ve made a few extra notes and corrected a few errors, but never published an official version again.

This is not because Encodo hasn’t improved or... [More]

API Design: The Road Not Taken

Published by marco on

“Unwritten code requires no maintenance and introduces no cognitive load.”

As I was working on another part of Quino the other day, I noticed that the oft-discussed registration and configuration methods[1] were a bit clunkier than I’d have liked. To whit, the methods that I tended to use together for configuration had different return types and didn’t allow me to freely mix calls fluently.

The difference between Register and Use

The return type for Register methods is IServiceRegistrationHandler... [More]

v2.2: Winform fixes and Query Improvements

Published by marco on

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is also available for those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.


Voxxed Zürich 2016: Notes

Published by marco on

This article was originally published on the Encodo Blogs.

This first-ever Voxxed Zürich was hosted at the cinema in the SihlCity shopping center in Zürich on March 3rd. All presentations were in English. The conference was relatively small—333 participants—and largely vendor-free. The overal technical level of the presentations and participants was quite high. I had a really nice time and enjoyed a lot of the presentations.

There was a nice common thread running through all of the... [More]

Finovate 2016: Bank2Things

Published by marco on

At the beginning of the year, we worked on an interesting project that dipped into IOT (Internet of Things). The project was to create use cases for Crealogix’s banking APIs in the real world. Concretely, we wanted to show how a customer could use these APIs in their own workflows. The use cases were to provide proof of the promise of flexibility and integrability offered by well-designed APIs.

Watch 7–minute video of the presentation

The Use Cases

Football Club Treasurer

 Activity Stream in the AppThe first use... [More]

Mini-applications and utilities with Quino

Published by marco on

In several articles last year[1], I went into a lot of detail about the configuration and startup for Quino applications. Those posts discuss a lot about what led to the architecture Quino has for loading up an application.

 Some of you might be wondering: what if I want to start up and run an application that doesn’t use Quino? Can I build applications that don’t use any fancy metadata because they’re super-simple and don’t even need to store any data? Those are the kind of utility applications... [More]

2 years Ago

Verity Stob Teaches Functional Programming

Published by marco on

The article Learn you Func Prog on five minute quick! by Verity Stob (The Register) provides a typically twisted and unhelpful overview of the state of functional programming in this 21st-century renaissance—heralded decades ago by Lisp programmers. It includes an honest overview of the major players, including Scala, for which the “pro” and “con” are the same (a “[c]lose relationship with Java […]”) and ending with JavaScript, for which the “pro” is “It’s what you’ll end up using.”

The discussion continues with rules:... [More]

Profiling: that critical 3% (Part II)

Published by marco on

 In part I of this series, we discussed some core concepts of profiling. In that article, we not only discussed the problem at hand, but also how to think about not only fixing performance problems, but reducing the likelihood that they get out of hand in the first place.

In this second part, we’ll go into detail and try to fix the problem.

Reëvaluating the Requirements

Since we have new requirements for an existing component, it’s time to reconsider the requirements for all stakeholders. In... [More]

Profiling: that critical 3% (Part I)

Published by marco on

An oft-quoted bit of software-development sagacity is

“Premature optimization is the root of all evil.”
Donald Knuth

As is so often the case with quotes—especially those on the Internet[1]—this one has a slightly different meaning in context. The snippet above invites developers to overlook the word “premature” and interpret the received wisdom as “you don’t ever need to optimize.”

Instead, Knuth’s full quote actually tells you how much of your code is likely to be affected by performance issues that... [More]

Quino v2.1: API-smoothing and performance

Published by marco on

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is also available for those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.


Quino 2 is finally ready and will go out the door with a 2.1 rather than a 2.0 version number. The reason being that we released 2.0 internally and tested the hell out of it. 2.1 is the result of that testing. It includes a lot of bug fixes as well as API tweaks to make things easier for developers.

Quino v2.0: Logging, Dependencies, New Assemblies & Nuget

Published by marco on

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is also available for those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.


In the beta1 and beta2 release notes, we read about changes to configuration, dependency reduction, the data driver architecture, DDL commands, security and access control in web applications and a new code-generation format.

In 2.0 final—which was actually released internally on November 13th, 2015 (a... [More]

Improving NUnit integration with testing harnesses

Published by marco on

 These days nobody who’s anybody in the software-development world is writing software without tests. Just writing them doesn’t help make the software better, though. You also need to be able to execute tests—reliably and quickly and repeatably.

That said, you’ll have to get yourself a test runner, which is a different tool from the compiler or the runtime. That is, just because your tests compile (satisfy all of the language rules) and could be executed doesn’t mean that you’re done writing... [More]

Quino 2: Starting up an application, in detail

Published by marco on

As part of the final release process for Quino 2, we’ve upgraded 5 solutions[1] from Quino 1.13 to the latest API in order to shake out any remaining API inconsistencies or even just inelegant or clumsy calls or constructs. A lot of questions came up during these conversions, so I wrote the following blog to provide detail on the exact workings and execution order of a Quino application.

I’ve discussed the design of Quino’s configuration before, most recently in API Design: Running an Application... [More]

IServer: converting hierarchy to composition

Published by marco on

Quino has long included support for connecting to an application server instead of connecting directly to databases or other sources. The application server uses the same model as the client and provides modeled services (application-specific) as well as CRUD for non-modeled data interactions.

We wrote the first version of the server in 2008. Since then, it’s acquired better authentication and authorization capabilities as well as routing and state-handling. We’ve always based it on the .NET HttpListener... [More]

Iterating with NDepend to remove cyclic dependencies (Part II)

Published by marco on

In the previous article, we discussed the task of Splitting up assemblies in Quino using NDepend. In this article, I’ll discuss both the high-level and low-level workflows I used with NDepend to efficiently clear up these cycles.

Please note that what follows is a description of how I have used the tool—so far—to get my very specific tasks accomplished. If you’re looking to solve other problems or want to solve the same problems more efficiently, you should take a look at the official... [More]

Splitting up assemblies in Quino using NDepend (Part I)

Published by marco on

 A lot of work has been put into Quino 2.0[1], with almost no stone left unturned. Almost every subsystem has been refactored and simplified, including but not limited to the data driver, the schema migration, generated code and metadata, model-building, security and authentication, service-application support and, of course, configuration and execution.

Two of the finishing touches before releasing 2.0 are to reorganize all of the code into a more coherent namespace structure and to reduce the... [More]