Everything you need to know about ASP.NET 5 Project Template

Its been a quite while that ASP.NET 5 is out there. Idea of this post is to help migrate to the new project template that comes with Visual Studio 2015. Lets get started.

OK, first things first.. lets get started with a new project. In the Visual Studio 2015 just >

New Project Template Dialog

In this dialog box make sure you have select ASP.NET Web Application and fill in the details.

Name : MyFirstASPNET5
Location: Where your project files gonna store
Solution name: MyFirstASPNET5

And click OK.

In the New ASP.NET Project dialog box select Web Application under ASP.NET 5 Preview Templates option. (NOTE: ASP.NET 5 is still on its preview stage.).

New Project Dialog

For the moment we are not going to create any test projects for this tutorial. After selecting Web Application under ASP.NET 5 Preview Templates click OK button. Visual Studio might ask you to create a Azure Website using this project template. If you do not wish to create a Azure Website just click Cancel in the next dialog box. Now wait for few seconds till Visual Studio create the base template for you. This base template is a starting point for your ASP.NET 5 Web Application. And its a fully working start point for you. By just pressing you can go through this base template.

This is how it looks like
Base Template

Press for a quick preview of this template up and running. (ASP.NET5 running on Microsoft Edge)
ASP.NET 5 on Edge

OK, so far everything is working fine and lets close the browser and go through the Solution Explorer. By default you should see the Solution Explorer is in the right hand side of your Visual Studio 2015 window. If not click View > Solution Explorer or just press CTRL + ALT + L 

View Solution Explorer

The Solution Explorer

The Solution ExplorerASP.NET project template will look like this. It might not change a much when the full release is available. As you remember a total new way of keeping the configurations and the folder structures.

You have a Solution Items folder that holds the global configurations for the solution. Yep you are correct its a JSON file. Also you get these References for your project as usual. And a whole new wwwroot section to hold the static files. Again as usual Controllers, Models and Views. And a Dependencies for your project dependencies.

And code first Migrations are enabled by default and it got is on folder in the root level. And all other JSON configuration files.

Finally a whole new folder for the Services you use, such as sending emails from you web application.

global.json

This file contains mainly two parts. The detail of the project and the sdk used by the whole solution.

Source FolderThe projects property has values to tell where your source code is stored. By default it stores under a folder named src . All your source is stored under this folder. Yes you can change this name without any problems. This will help all the build artifacts to store in the different folder named artifcats  and can be easily omit from the source controlling. Can keep your code much more organised by default. Cool isn’t it.

And sdk will store the version of the DNX (.Net Execution Environment) which Visual Studio will use it when you load the solution. Yes you can store different SDK values in the project.json file for different projects that use different versions of SDKs in the same solution.

wwwroot section

wwwroot SectionThis sections stores all your content files. As you see it has css, images, all your javascript files and the different libraries you use to make your development much more easier.

In the previous versions of ASP.NET the web root was the project root of the solution. It allowed to access all the static files as well as the configuration files such as web.config and global.asax. For protecting these configuration files you had to write specifically to protect these files. Also known as blacklisting.

But creating a separate section for all these static files in this new template and make it your root of the site. You do not need any extra effort for protecting. wwwroot just contains all the static files and other content that needs to start off your website.

Apart from the security this separation will simplify the minification and bundling of your static files such as css and javascript files.

Dependencies

Client side dependencies The Dependencies section will hold all he client side stuff that your project will depend on. It has two folders, Bower and NPM. These folders hold two package managers (like NuGet) with corresponding names. These two will pull all the dependencies as per seen in the image.

The bower dependencies are controlled by the bower.json file.

As you see each dependency can be controlled separately within this file. Also indicating how it should be deployed to the wwwroot folder when the bower task is executed.

NOTE: All the server side dependencies are controlled under References section. 

config.json

ASP.NET 5 no longer stores its application wide configuration settings using XML. Previously this file is known as web.config. All these settings are stored under config.json using JSON format. By default the file should look like this (at final release the content might change).

Again there is nothing fancy or you must have this file for your configurations. Not like ever growing web.config file you can have separate configuration files in a project. This main file by default accessed using Startup.cs in your root folder.

As you can see in the Startup method the builder variable collects all the configuration files you have in your project. So you can keep all your configurations in separate files for easy access and for maintainability and for the readability.

Summary

ASP.NET 5 introduces a few concepts that didn’t exist in previous versions of ASP.NET. Rather than working with web.config, packages.config, and a variety of project properties stored in the .csproj/.vbproj file. And developers can work these separate folders and files for maintainability and for security. Yes there will be a learning curve and its worth it !!!

Running ASP.NET 5 and Visual Studio Code for MAC

Visual Studio Code

ASP.NET 5 is around the corner for few months now.  A big excitement is how to run ASP.NET 5 in a MAC Box or under a Linux flavor. In this post I am focusing on running ASP.NET 5 application in a MAC Box. In a Linux Box like Ubuntu should be the same.

What you need?

  1. Install ASP.NET 5  and DNX in your MAC
  2. Visual Studio Code for MAC (Yes it true you have a Visual Studio version for your MAC Now)
  3. YeoMan for MAC (This is a web scaffolding tool that runs in a shell. You need this to create the base ASP.NET 5 project template)

OK, Lets get started

1. Install ASP.NET 5 and DNX in your MAC

We require a package manager called Homebrew. Open your terminal app and using this shell command install Homebrew. 

Wait a few seconds and follow the install instructions, you have Homebrew installed.

Open your terminal application and execute these commands to install ASP.NET 5 to your MAC.

Now you need to set some environment variables to get things smooth. Use your favourite editor to do this. I used vi to edit my .bash_profile file.

and add these lines and save the file.

vi

now do an upgrade (a good practice if anything updated to the binaries).

2. Installing Visual Studio Code for MAC

From the above link visit Visual Studio web site. And you will a blue box to the left and click the download link to download and install Visual Studio Code for MAC OSX. After installing and running for the first time Visual Studio Code will look like this.

Visual Studio CodeNow lets get focus on installing YeoMan for MAC. This is not a must requirement, but its recommended you have this. Using this nice little tool you can scaffold the project template for ASP.NET 5. Yep there is a small catch to do this, there are few little things to be setup before installing YeoMan. To install YeoMan you will need NPM and to install NPM you need NODE. NPM is the package manager for NODE like you use NuGET on Visual Studio Projects.

Installing NODE and NPM

Now its time to install NODE and NPM. In your terminal window run this shell command.

Wait and relax a few seconds (may be few minutes depending on your connection) , NODE and NPM are installed for you. To check all are fine just run these two commands in the terminal window.

If you see these two outputs in your terminal, YAY !!! you have NODE and NPM installed and you are ready to rock.

Terminal, NODE and NPM

3. Installing YEOMAN for MAC

Let us install YEOMAN now and few tools required along with it. Again in your terminal window, execute this shell command.

OK cool, we are almost there to create our first ASP.NET 5 project on MAC OSX. Lets check YOMEN installed. Just execute this simple command in your terminal window and see the output.

YO Terminal

OK, you see Aspnet in the list. This because I have already installed ASP.NET generator. You might not see it in the first installation. To install ASP.NET generator, execute this command in your terminal window.

This will get you ASP.NET 5 project template scaffolding to YOMEN by OmniSharp. Now you will get the same menu as above screenshot when you execute the command “yo”.  To create base template for ASP.NET 5, execute this command in the terminal.

In the menu select an option to create the base template. Select Web Application and press

ASPNET 5 Template

If there is no ASCII art  in the command shell, you don’t get the true feeling of the shell 😀

Answer the project creation questions along the process. After a successful flow your folder should look like this.

LS on ASPNET folder

Now you have a base project templates. But you need one more thing to get this run. Lets get update all the NUGET packages and dependencies. In the terminal inside your project folder execute this command.

Now we are done with creating the base project template for ASP.NET 5. Lets get switch to Visual Studio Code for MAC and open the folder under Explore icon. After that click on the blue Open Folder button.

Visual Studio Code - Open Folder

Lets just browse through the files, see all the beautiful syntax highlighting and code completion built in for Visual Studio Code for MAC.

Code Completion

Now lets start the WEB SERVER  that will execute the ASP.NET 5 code. Click View > Command Pallet or press [APPLE KEY] + P and start typing “dnx: kestrel” and Visual Studio Code will complete the command for you and press . This will start the kestrel server for you to run the ASP.NET 5 project.

APPLE + P

Server is Started

Server Started

Now open up your favourite browser and in the address bar just type

If everything goes fine and you have followed the instructions correctly you must see this screen.

ASP.NET 5 on Safari for MAC

CONGRATULATIONS !!! YOU SIMPLY ROCK !!!

Wait a minute, What if you see this screen (OH! NO WHAT WENT WRONG !!!)

OH!! No

Don’t worry its a known bug in Mono. This command in the terminal will help you to fix it.

Now start the server again and you are good to go !!!