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Git Cheat Sheet

Below are git commands I find myself using over and over.

clone repository

git clone https://github.com/tinymce/tinymce-dist.git

Add existing git files to remote git repo

cd /path/to/my/repo
git remote add origin https://lostinkali@bitbucket.org/lostinkali/flightstats.git
git push -u origin --all # pushes up the repo and its refs for the first time
git push -u origin --tags # pushes up any tags

Create a repository in existing folder

git init
git add .
# Adds the files in the local repository and stages them for commit
git commit -m "Initial commit"

Change current branch to master

git checkout better_branch
git merge --strategy=ours master # keep the content of this branch, but record a merge
git checkout master
git merge better_branch

Delete Branch

git branch -D bugfix

Revert to previous commit

git checkout master
git reset --hard e3f1e37
git push --force origin master
# Then to prove it (it won't print any diff)
git diff master..origin/master

adds the file to git.

git add [filename]

kills off the untracked files since the more recent commit in the log.

git clean -fd

commits the added files to git.

git commit -m "enter message here"

Remove the file git. Use -f to force the file to removed even when there are changes.

git rm file1.txt

Tagging a specific point in time.

git tag -a v1.4 -m 'my version 1.4'

Conditional Sql parameters with nHibernate

The problem is a the nHibernate’s CreateSqlQuery needs a complete sql string to be created, but you can’t create a string until you’ve evaluated the parameters. The only work around is to evaluate the conditional parameters to create the sql string to create the nHibernate session and then revaluate the parameters again to add them to the nHibernate query object. The problem with this, is the same evaluation logic is written twice. What is needed is a simple fluent api that will do everything for you and spit out the ISQLQuery when it’s done.

Before

public IList<AppointmentScheduleSummary> FillQuantityOld(DateTime? fromDate, DateTime? toDate, string CompanyID)
{
    string sql = "select VA.Userid as ID, E.FirstName + ' ' + E.LastName as Name,VA.Userid,count(*) as Total, getdate() as Date  from V_AppointmentScheduleStat VA, Appointment A, Employee E, Office O where";

    if (fromDate.HasValue)
    {
        sql += "  VA.Date >= '" + fromDate.Value.ToShortDateString() + "' and";

    }

    if (toDate.HasValue)
    {
        sql += "  VA.Date <= '" + toDate.Value.AddDays(1).ToShortDateString() + "' and";
    }

    sql += "  VA.date = A.date  and VA.UserId = E.UserId and O.OfficeNum = A.OfficeNum ";
    sql += " and A.appttypeid is not null";
    sql += " and O.CompanyID='" + CompanyID + "'";
    sql += " group by E.FirstName + ' ' + E.LastName ,VA.Userid  ";

    ISQLQuery query = _NHibernateSessionManager.GetSession().CreateSQLQuery(sql)
     .AddEntity("K", typeof(AppointmentScheduleSummary));
    return query.List<AppointmentScheduleSummary>();
}

After

public IList<AppointmentScheduleSummary> FillQuantity(DateTime? fromDate, DateTime? toDate,string CompanyID)
{
   var query = _NHibernateSessionManager.GetSession()
        .SQLQuery("select VA.Userid as ID, E.FirstName + ' ' + E.LastName as Name,VA.Userid,count(*) as Total, getdate() as Date  from V_AppointmentScheduleStat VA, Appointment A, Employee E, Office O where")

        .If(fromDate.HasValue, "VA.Date >= :fromDate and", parameters =>
        {
            parameters.SetParameter("fromDate", fromDate.Value.ToShortDateString());
        })

        .If(toDate.HasValue, "VA.Date <=:toDate and ", parameters =>
        {
            parameters.SetParameter("toDate", toDate.Value.AddDays(1).ToShortDateString());
            parameters.SetParameterList("", new[] {2, 3, 4,});

        })

        .Sql(" VA.date = A.date and VA.UserId = E.UserId and O.OfficeNum = A.OfficeNum and A.appttypeid is not null and O.CompanyID = :companyId" +
             " group by E.FirstName + ' ' + E.LastName ,VA.Userid")
            .SetParameter("companyId", CompanyID)
        .ToQuery();

     query.AddEntity("K", typeof(AppointmentScheduleSummary));
     return query.List<AppointmentScheduleSummary>();
}

SqlStringBuilder

using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text;
using NHibernate;

namespace IT2.DataAccess.Extensions
{
    public class SqlStringBuilder
    {
        private readonly ISession _session;
        private readonly Action<string> _logging;
        readonly StringBuilder _builder = new StringBuilder();
        readonly ParameterBuilder _parameterBuilder;

        /// <summary>
        /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="SqlStringBuilder" /> class.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="session">The session.</param>
        /// <param name="sql">The SQL.</param>
        /// <param name="logging"></param>
        public SqlStringBuilder(ISession session, string sql, Action<string> logging)
        {
            _session = session;
            _logging = logging;
            _builder.Append(sql);
            Parameters = new Dictionary<string, object>();
            ParameterList = new Dictionary<string, IEnumerable>();
            _parameterBuilder = new ParameterBuilder(this);
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Gets or sets the parameters.
        /// </summary>
        /// <value>The parameters.</value>
        public IDictionary<string, object> Parameters { get; set; }

        /// <summary>
        /// Gets or sets the parameters.
        /// </summary>
        /// <value>The parameters.</value>
        public IDictionary<string, IEnumerable> ParameterList { get; set; }

        /// <summary>
        /// To the query.
        /// </summary>
        /// <returns>IQuery.</returns>
        public ISQLQuery ToSqlQuery() 
        {
            string sql = _builder.ToString();

            if (_logging != null)
            {
                _logging(sql);
            }

            var query = _session.CreateSQLQuery(sql);

            foreach (var parameter in Parameters)
            {
                query.SetParameter(parameter.Key, parameter.Value);
            }

            foreach (var parameter in ParameterList)
            {
                query.SetParameterList(parameter.Key, parameter.Value);
            }

            return query;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// To the query.
        /// </summary>
        /// <returns>IQuery.</returns>
        public IQuery ToQuery()
        {
            string sql = _builder.ToString();

            if (_logging != null)
            {
                _logging(sql);
            }

            var query = _session.CreateQuery(sql);

            foreach (var parameter in Parameters)
            {
                query.SetParameter(parameter.Key, parameter.Value);
            }

            foreach (var parameter in ParameterList)
            {
                query.SetParameterList(parameter.Key, parameter.Value);
            }

            return query;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Ifs the specified evaluation.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="evaluation">if set to <c>true</c> [evaluation].</param>
        /// <param name="sql">The SQL.</param>
        /// <returns>ParameterBuilder.</returns>
        public ParameterBuilder If(bool evaluation, string sql)
        {
            return If(evaluation, sql, null);
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Conditionals the specified evaluation.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="evaluation">if set to <c>true</c> [evaluation].</param>
        /// <param name="sql">The SQL.</param>
        /// <param name="parameters">The parameters.</param>
        /// <returns>SqlStringBuilder.</returns>
        public ParameterBuilder If(bool evaluation, string sql, Action<ParameterBuilder> parameters)
        {
            if (evaluation)
            {
                _builder.Append(string.Format(" {0} ", sql));

                if (parameters != null)
                {
                    parameters(_parameterBuilder);
                }
            }

            return _parameterBuilder;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Sets the parameters.
        /// </summary>
        /// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
        /// <param name="key">The key.</param>
        /// <param name="value">The value.</param>
        /// <returns>ParameterBuilder.</returns>
        public ParameterBuilder SetParameter<T>(string key, T value)
        {
            _parameterBuilder.SetParameter(key, value);
            return _parameterBuilder;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Sets the parameter list.
        /// </summary>
        /// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
        /// <param name="key">The key.</param>
        /// <param name="value">The value.</param>
        /// <returns>ParameterBuilder.</returns>
        public ParameterBuilder SetParameterList<T>(string key, T value) where T : IEnumerable
        {
            _parameterBuilder.SetParameterList(key, value);
            return _parameterBuilder;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// SQLs the specified SQL.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="sql">The SQL.</param>
        /// <returns>IT2.DataAccess.SqlStringBuilder.</returns>
        public SqlStringBuilder Sql(string sql)
        {
            _builder.Append(string.Format(" {0} ", sql));
            return this;
        }
    }

    public class ParameterBuilder
    {
        private readonly SqlStringBuilder _builder;

        /// <summary>
        /// Initializes a new instance of the <see cref="ParameterBuilder" /> class.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="builder">The builder.</param>
        public ParameterBuilder(SqlStringBuilder builder)
        {
            _builder = builder;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Parameters the specified key.
        /// </summary>
        /// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
        /// <param name="key">The key.</param>
        /// <param name="value">The value.</param>
        /// <returns>ParameterBuilder.</returns>
        public ParameterBuilder SetParameter<T>(string key, T value)
        {
            _builder.Parameters.Add(key, value);
            return this;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Parameters the specified key.
        /// </summary>
        /// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
        /// <param name="key">The key.</param>
        /// <param name="value">The value.</param>
        /// <returns>ParameterBuilder.</returns>
        public ParameterBuilder SetParameterList<T>(string key, T value) where T : IEnumerable
        {
            _builder.ParameterList.Add(key, value);
            return this;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Ifs the specified evaluation.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="evaluation">if set to <c>true</c> [evaluation].</param>
        /// <param name="sql">The SQL.</param>
        /// <returns>ParameterBuilder.</returns>
        public ParameterBuilder If(bool evaluation, string sql)
        {
            return _builder.If(evaluation, sql);
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// Conditions the specified evaluation.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="evaluation">if set to <c>true</c> [evaluation].</param>
        /// <param name="sql">The SQL.</param>
        /// <param name="parameters">The parameters.</param>
        /// <returns>ParameterBuilder.</returns>
        public ParameterBuilder If(bool evaluation, string sql, Action<ParameterBuilder> parameters)
        {
            return _builder.If(evaluation, sql, parameters);
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// SQLs the specified SQL.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="sql">The SQL.</param>
        /// <returns>SqlStringBuilder.</returns>
        public SqlStringBuilder Sql(string sql)
        {
            _builder.Sql(sql);
            return _builder;
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// To the query.
        /// </summary>
        /// <returns>ISQLQuery.</returns>
        public IQuery ToQuery()
        {
            return _builder.ToQuery();
        }

        /// <summary>
        /// To the query.
        /// </summary>
        /// <returns>ISQLQuery.</returns>
        public ISQLQuery ToSqlQuery()
        {
            return _builder.ToSqlQuery();
        }
    }
}

A Simple Guide to Finding Your Next Job

It’s time to look for the next job, eh? I feel for you. Finding a job sucks. It’s one of those things that everyone must do at some point. I equate it to looking for love. Every aspect of “you” is on display. When someone passes on you, it’s hard not to take it personally. Chin up my friend; we’ll get through this.

Who am I? Good question. I’m a software consultant, I’ve had three jobs, on average, each year for the last four years. I’ve been on both sides of the table in hundreds of interviews. I’ve learned what works and what does not.

1. Your Resume

Before you start applying for jobs a good resume is a must. A resume speaks to who you are and what value you offer an employer. Your resume is your ticket to an interview. In fact, the sole purpose of a resume is to get an interview.

This is so important; I need to repeat it: “The sole purpose of a resume is to get an interview.”

Resume Tips
There is always an urge to fib a little, who will know, right? Don’t lie on your resume. I’ve interviewed candidates who padded their resume with skills without knowing how to explain or perform these skills. I’ll add a caveat and say that your resume needs to be a simple read. If you held a position called System Analyst III, which had the responsibilities of a Senior Software Engineer then change the title to Senior Software Engineer otherwise, a prospective employer would decipher your job titles instead of checking your qualifications.

Compare your resume to the job description. Make sure your resume is a good fit for the position. Sometimes this might require moving some items around on your resume to highlight the desired skills for the position.

A little statistic: On average, a hiring manager will look at your resume somewhere between 3 and 15 seconds. Make that time count!

Keep Your Resume Updated
Even when not looking for a job, it’s good to update your resume. When the time comes to hand out your resume, you won’t be left trying to remember your accomplishments.

Your Resume’s Presentation

Chefs know presentation. A meal that looks unappetizing, regardless of taste, goes uneaten.

Make you resume visually appealing. It needs to be clean, consistent and well structured. It might behoove you to hire a designer. You want your resume to standout from the rest. Be mindful of the audience. A graphic designer’s resume looks entirely different than a database engineer’s resume.

2. Getting an Interview

Your resume is polished. It’s time to start applying for positions.

I start with the following sites:

Dice
This is my go-to site for technology-related positions. Recruiters or companies will see your resume. The downside to a large job site like Dice is recruiters will inquire about positions outside your geographic area or they will inquire about positions not matching your skill-set.

Careers Stackoverflow
This is the cream of the crop. Companies posting positions on Careers are looking for the best and the brightest. I’d pay close attention to these companies.

Craigslist
This is a hit or miss. Some of the postings are good; others are not. It’s still worth a look. You might find a great opportunity.

Indeed.com
Indeed searches many companies and job sites. They discover jobs not usually found on other popular job sites.

Linkedin
If you are not a member, sign up now! It’s the Facebook of the professional world. There is a search that will return positions not found on the other sites.

Friends and Family
Put the word out with your friends. You’ll have more credibility if you are recommended by someone the hiring manager already knows. I put a signature at the bottom of my emails stating what I do and how to contact me.

Cold Calling Companies
I’ve never done this, but if you have time on your hands why not?

Recruiters
Companies tend to hire agencies to find upper-level management or highly technical candidates. It’s good to check with a recruiter if possible build a relationship with a couple of them.

Finding the right job takes time. It’s not uncommon for the search to take a couple of months or even a year. Don’t get discouraged. Take a temporary position if you must, and do your best to keep your skills sharp while you keep looking for a permanent position in your field.

Recruiters are sales people. Their job is to convince you to take the position. Recruiters will try to talk your rate down. It’s their job! Be ready for it.

Know Your Value
Know your value, go to salary.com or glassdoor.com to find the rate of compensation in your area. I have friends who make over 200k a year. When the market says, they should be making 100k a year. How do they do it? They know their value and stick to their guns when pressured. On the downside, occasionally a position is lost. Someone who needs a position might not want to risk losing an opportunity. Taking a lower rate might be the best thing for your situation. This is something only you can determine.

Know What Positions You’ve Applied To
Track where you have applied, it can benefit you in two ways. First, applying to a position twice gives the appearance of an unorganized person and second, you can follow up with companies where you’ve applied.

3. The Interview

Congratulations! You have an interview!

The interview is the most important part of the job hiring process. It’s also the most nerve-racking. To have a successful interview, confidently articulating your ideas is a must. This is, of course, easier said than done. Being prepared will help immensely. This starts with knowing your resume inside and out. Expect questions on every aspect of your resume. If you are nervous in interviews, practice interviewing in front of a mirror or with a friend.

When responding to questions, make your answers concise. If you don’t know the answer, don’t waste time talking about something you don’t know. An interviewer can spot this a mile away. Instead, simply say “I don’t know”. Sometimes you may have an educated guess, share this with the interviewer.

Interviewing is a two-way street. The company is evaluating you. Use this time to do the same. Always put together a list of questions to ask during the interview. The list should include questions on their development process, the position’s responsibilities, the project, the work environment and the company policies (i.e. hours, telecommuting, etc.). The aim is to walk away from the interview with an understanding of the company, the position’s expectations and the goals of the project.

Unfortunately, sometimes your best just is not enough, there are candidates out there that are better qualified (i.e. more education, more experience…, etc. ). There is nothing wrong with this. It happens. Don’t let it get you down.

Following Up
Most companies will give feedback within a couple of days. If you don’t hear from them within a week, reach out to your contact and inquire about the status of the position.

In Closing
Searching for a job is challenging. It may take many interviews to land the right position.
When you do not see the results you expect, don’t be afraid to change up your strategy. Most importantly, stay positive. This can be hard at times, especially when you receive rejection letter after rejection letter. When you do finally land the position, it will be worth it.

Crystal Reports 13 Maximum Report Processing Limit Reached Workaround

In the Visual Studio 2012 version of Crystal Reports 13 there is a threshold that throttles concurrent reports, this also includes subreports, to 75 reports across a machine. This means if there are 5 web applications on a given server all opened reports across all 5 web applications counts toward the 75 report limit.

The error manifests itself in different ways and may result in the following errors “Not enough memory for operation.” or “The maximum report processing jobs limit configured by your system administrator has been reached”.

The problem is the reports are not disposed and they continue accumulate until the 75 limit is hit. To fix this issue, the reports have to be disposed of at the earliest possible time. This sounds simple, but is not as straightforward as it seems. Depending how the reports are generated there are two scenarios: First is generating PDF’s or Excel spreadsheets and the second is using the Crystal Report Viewer. Each scenario has a different lifetime, which we need to take into account when crafting our solution.

Solution

There are two reports lifetimes we have to manage: generated reports: PDF, Excel Spreadsheet and the Crystal Report viewer.

PDF’s and Excel Spreadsheets are generated during the request. They can be disposed on the Page Unload event. The Crystal Report viewer is a bit different. It needs to span requests and is stored in session. This makes disposing the viewer reports a bit challenging, but not impossible.

Disposing the Viewer on the Page Unload event won’t work. The Viewer has paging functionality which requests each new page from the server. To get around this issue we implemented a report reference counter. Each time a report is created, it is stored in a concurrent dictionary. When a report is disposed the report is removed from the dictionary. Upon opening a type of a report we check that the user does not already have this report open, if they do, we simply dispose the existing report and open a new one in it’s place. Other opportunities to dispose the report is on Session End (the user signs out), on Application End and when navigating away from report page.

Our internal QA team tested a non fixed version of Crystal Reports. Crystal Reports fell over at around 100 concurrent connections. After applying the fix our QA team ran a load against the servers at 750 concurrent connections without any issues.

On a side note, we have encountered latency when disposing reports with multiple sub reports.

public static class ReportFactory
{
static readonly ConcurrentDictionary<string, ConcurrentDictionary<string, UserReport>> _sessions = new ConcurrentDictionary<string, ConcurrentDictionary<string, UserReport>>();

/// <summary>
/// Creates the report dispose on unload.
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
/// <param name="page">The page.</param>
/// <returns>``0.</returns>
public static T CreateReportDisposeOnUnload<T>(this Page page) where T : IDisposable, new()
{
    var report = new T();
    DisposeOnUnload(page, report);
    return report;
}

/// <summary>
/// Disposes on page unload.
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
/// <param name="page">The page.</param>
/// <param name="instance">The instance.</param>
private static void DisposeOnUnload<T>(this Page page, T instance) where T : IDisposable
{
    page.Unload += (s, o) =>
    {
        if (instance != null)
        {
            CloseAndDispose(instance);
        }
    };
}

/// <summary>
/// Unloads the report when user navigates away from report.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="page">The page.</param>
public static void UnloadReportWhenUserNavigatesAwayFromPage(this Page page)
{
    var sessionId = page.Session.SessionID;
    var pageName = Path.GetFileName(page.Request.Url.AbsolutePath);

    var contains = _sessions.ContainsKey(sessionId);

    if (contains)
    {
        var reports = _sessions[sessionId];
        var report = reports.Where(r => r.Value.PageName != pageName).ToList();

        foreach (var userReport in report)
        {
            UserReport instance;

            bool removed = reports.TryRemove(userReport.Key, out instance);

            if (removed)
            {
                CloseAndDispose(instance.Report);
            }
        }
    }
}

/// <summary>
/// Gets the report.
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
/// <returns>ReportClass.</returns>
public static T CreateReportForCrystalReportViewer<T>(this Page page) where T : IDisposable, new()
{
    var report = CreateReport<T>(page);
    return report;
}

/// <summary>
/// Creates the report.
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
/// <param name="page">The page.</param>
/// <returns>``0.</returns>
private static T CreateReport<T>(Page page) where T : IDisposable, new()
{
    MoreThan70ReportsFoundRemoveOldestReport();

    var sessionId = page.Session.SessionID;

    bool containsKey = _sessions.ContainsKey(sessionId);
    var reportKey = typeof(T).FullName;
    var newReport = GetUserReport<T>(page);

    if (containsKey)
    {
        //Get user by session id
        var reports = _sessions[sessionId];

        //check for the report, remove it and dispose it if it exists in the collection
        RemoveReportWhenMatchingTypeFound<T>(reports);

        //add the report to the collection

        reports.TryAdd(reportKey, newReport);

        //add the reports to the user key in the concurrent dictionary
        _sessions[sessionId] = reports;
    }
    else //key does not exist in the collection
    {
        var newDictionary = new ConcurrentDictionary<string, UserReport>();
        newDictionary.TryAdd(reportKey, newReport);

        _sessions[sessionId] = newDictionary;

    }

    return (T)newReport.Report;
}

/// <summary>
/// Ifs the more than 70 reports remove the oldest report.
/// </summary>
private static void MoreThan70ReportsFoundRemoveOldestReport()
{
    var reports = _sessions.SelectMany(r => r.Value).ToList();

    if (reports.Count() > 70)
    {
        //order the reports with the oldest on top.
        var sorted = reports.OrderByDescending(r => r.Value.TimeAdded);

        //remove the oldest
        var first = sorted.FirstOrDefault();
        var key = first.Key;
        var sessionKey = first.Value.SessionId;

        if (first.Value != null)
        {
            //close and depose of the first report
            CloseAndDispose(first.Value.Report);

            var dictionary = _sessions[sessionKey];
            var containsKey = dictionary.ContainsKey(key);

            if (containsKey)
            {
                //remove the disposed report from the collection
                UserReport report;
                dictionary.TryRemove(key, out report);
            }
        }

    }
}

/// <summary>
/// Removes the report if there is a report with a match type.
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
/// <param name="reports">The reports.</param>
private static void RemoveReportWhenMatchingTypeFound<T>(ConcurrentDictionary<string, UserReport> reports) where T : IDisposable, new()
{
    var key = typeof(T).FullName;
    var containsKey = reports.ContainsKey(key);

    if (containsKey)
    {
        UserReport instance;

        bool removed = reports.TryRemove(key, out instance);

        if (removed)
        {
            CloseAndDispose(instance.Report);
        }

    }
}

/// <summary>
/// Removes the reports for session.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="sessionId">The session identifier.</param>
public static void RemoveReportsForSession(string sessionId)
{
    var containsKey = _sessions.ContainsKey(sessionId);

    if (containsKey)
    {
        ConcurrentDictionary<string, UserReport> session;

        var removed = _sessions.TryRemove(sessionId, out session);

        if (removed)
        {
            foreach (var report in session.Where(r => r.Value.Report != null))
            {
                CloseAndDispose(report.Value.Report);
            }
        }
    }
}

/// <summary>
/// Closes the and dispose.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="report">The report.</param>
private static void CloseAndDispose(IDisposable report)
{
    report.Dispose();
}

/// <summary>
/// Gets the user report.
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam>
/// <returns>UserReport.</returns>
private static UserReport GetUserReport<T>(Page page) where T : IDisposable, new()
{
    string onlyPageName = Path.GetFileName(page.Request.Url.AbsolutePath);

    var report = new T();
    var userReport = new UserReport { PageName = onlyPageName, TimeAdded = DateTime.UtcNow, Report = report, SessionId = page.Session.SessionID };

    return userReport;
}

/// <summary>
/// Removes all reports.
/// </summary>
public static void RemoveAllReports()
{
    foreach (var session in _sessions)
    {
        foreach (var report in session.Value)
        {
            if (report.Value.Report != null)
            {
                CloseAndDispose(report.Value.Report);
            }
        }

        //remove all the disposed reports
        session.Value.Clear();
    }

    //empty the collection
    _sessions.Clear();
}

private class UserReport
{
    /// <summary>
    /// Gets or sets the time added.
    /// </summary>
    /// <value>The time added.</value>
    public DateTime TimeAdded { get; set; }

    /// <summary>
    /// Gets or sets the report.
    /// </summary>
    /// <value>The report.</value>
    public IDisposable Report { get; set; }

    /// <summary>
    /// Gets or sets the session identifier.
    /// </summary>
    /// <value>The session identifier.</value>
    public string SessionId { get; set; }

    /// <summary>
    /// Gets or sets the name of the page.
    /// </summary>
    /// <value>The name of the page.</value>
    public string PageName { get; set; }
}
}

Considerations When Throwing Exceptions

A co-worker sent an email with some code he’s struggling with. He’s trying to avoid using try/catches to drive business logic.

The problem is not the try/catches it’s simply a symptom of the problem. Can you spot the problem? You’ll have to make some assumption, but I have faith you’ll come to the same conclusion I came too.

The code is below; I changed it to protect the innocent:

private Customer GetOrCreateCustomer(long customerTelephoneNumberOrCustomerId)
        {
           Customer customer;
            try
            {
                customer = this.DoMagic(customerMasterTelephoneNumberOrCustomerId);
            }
            catch (DataException)
            {
                try
                {
                    //TODO: I know this isn't ideal. Still thinking of a better way to do this. 
                    customer = this. GetCustomer(customerMasterTelephoneNumberOrCustomerId);
                }
                catch (DataException)
                {
                    customer = this.GetCustomerFromExternal(customerMasterTelephoneNumberOrCustomerId);
                    customer.CustomerId = this.CreateCustomer(customer);
                }
            }

            return customer;
        }

There is an underlining philosophy in this system that nulls are bad. In most cases where a null can be generated an exception is thrown. At first I did not see a problem with this. I saw it as an architecture decision, an aesthetic, but as I interface with the code, it’s apparent to me it’s an architectural mistake.

You might ask, why is throwing an exception in the case of nulls bad?

Below are some guidelines when considering throwing an exception:

  1. The fact that you have to check for the null to throw the exception should be a hint that it is not needed. It an expected outcome, thus not an exception.

  2. Throwing an exception is a resource intensive operation, one of the most resource intensive operations that can be done in .Net.

  3. An exception is just that, an exception. It’s an exception to the assumptions made in the code – when these assumptions are broken, the system must terminate, it cannot move on because the system is in an unknown state (i.e. the database is no longer available) this could also be an attack vector.

  4. Throwing an exception means you have to wrap the upstream call in a try/catch block to enforce business rules. A null value is a business opportunity to control the flow of the application. The action upon the null value should be done at the point in which a business decision must take place. For example, a customer variable is null, at the UI layer a message is shown to the user stating the customer with id ‘1234’ cannot be found.

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