Windows Server Essentials being difficult again…

The other day I realised that my home server hadn’t sent me it’s daily “Health Report” email. Having done the usual simple test of “is the server up?” and “what happens if I reboot it?”, I ended up digging through the Event Log and Google to work out what was wrong. In case this happens to me again, or happens to you, here’s what I found: Continue reading

Be careful when you secure your HTTPS ciphers

One of the big things in IT security in recent times has been the successful attacks black-hats have launched against the infrastructure of cryptography. As we all come to rely on encrypted communications more and more, the vulnerabilities in old ciphers have become more of a problem to us developers and administrators. Vulnerabilities like Drown and Poodle are just two examples of a trend which means we all now have to worry about how our crypto is configured before we allow the internet to see a server.

But whenever you tie down security more tightly you risk causing problems when software relies on the thing you’ve just disabled…

I spent some time recently investigating why certain aspects of the Coveo for Sitecore search framework were broken on a client’s server, and the answer ended up being directly related to crypto security. Here’s what happened: Continue reading

(Re)Discovering Visual Studio Snippets

I’ve been using the built-in code snippets in Visual Studio for years, but for some reason until last week it had never crossed my mind to work out how to create my own. After getting bored writing the same chunk of code too often, I was reminded of the old saying “You should automate any task you have to do more than once”. So I decided to have a go at some snippets. Turns out it’s both a useful trick to know, and not hard to do: Continue reading

Tests that cope gracefully with Airplane Mode

Have you ever needed to write code that detects if the current computer has an internet connection or not? Having recently tried this, it turns out it’s not quite as easy as I expected it would be. So since I’ve banged my head against the challenge, here’s one approach to solving the problem that you might find useful: Continue reading

The brave new world of Azure PaaS

With the release of Sitecore 8.2 Update 1 last week, we finally have support for running our Sitecore solutions as Azure Web App Services without the need for the Sitecore Azure Module. As someone who had never tried a PaaS deployment with the old module, this brings a load of interesting benefits, but also has a few challenges to get your head around. I’ve spent a bit of time experimenting, and discovered a few things that you might want to read up on before you dive in.
[Now updated with a couple of extra links in the text below – And Sitecore’s official documentation is appearing too!]
Continue reading

Putting your Windows user data on a different drive

The other week I mentioned I’d suffered a hard drive failure on my laptop. Other than the git issues I wrote about last time, I had another issue that seemed worth writing up: How to get all of the user data for the rebuilt install on a separate drive to the programs and operating system. If that’s something you might want to do with a Windows install then read on… Continue reading