You are starting your career in IT Industry? Here are my learnings for you!

Hello Folks, Sorry I am facing challenges in keeping this blog updated. I wish can get more than 24 hours :-). I know it’s not possible. But will keep posting on this blog. Because from this blog only I got to learn lot of things. While sharing things with you. Quantity will be less compared to earlier. But quality will be same/more than earlier for sure! Because I believe in never compromising with quality!

Start-CareerMonth of May-July is the month, when every company starts on-boarding university/college pass-outs in their company. So, lot of new people start working professionally in IT Industry. So, if you are one of them — I welcome you to an IT Industry!

Now, when you start working in this Industry, You feel lot excited. But more confused as well. Because what you learnt in college, and what people do in industry is totally different, until and unless you are from Good College/University. Who encourage to have working professional as a guest lecturer.

When you start working for any company. And you got a nice mentor — Who can clear all your doubts, Help you understand what is right, what is wrong, Guide you in getting comfortable with all the tools and terminologies, Who is always there for you. But if you get one then you are lucky!

As per my view good mentor should have :

  1. Lot of patience
  2. And passion about the profession what they are in

When I started my career, I’ve been lucky at times, by having great mentors, who taught me What To Do, And How To DO. And have been super lucky to have some not so good mentors, from whom I Learnt — What Not To Do, How Not To Do, And How Not To Behave. And my big thanks to second one. Because I learnt a lot from them then the first one!

Since few year, I’ve been lucky enough to mentor — super talented and smart people. And I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them shining. Because they were Diamonds. I just got a chance to polish them and make them shine! You are also a Mentor? Then buddy you got a big responsibility on your shoulders. Because I believe Mentor has to play a role, Which Parents played during nurturing, Teacher played during School/College. So, when your mentee comes to you with small questions — Don’t lose patience, answer them politely.  Quench their thirst. And while doing so, you will learn a lot of new things — It’s a two-way process. I learnt a lot from my students. Basically if we just look around, We’ve a lot to learn from each others! — John West Sitecore CTO nicely said on Mentoring:

When a new developer joins your team or project, be friendly and let them know you are available for a two-way learning process. If an inexperienced Sitecore developer has a newbie question, instead of ignoring it or feeling frustrated, show that you care, take pride in trying to educate them on the topic, and try to provide pointers to the next few areas they could research. This works best when we all approach it the same way. Consider everyone with whom you interact to be both your mentor and your mentee. When I used to teach CMS training, I was surprised constantly by how much I learned from my students. In fact, I think each of us has something to learn from every other individual.

Source : http://www.sitecore.net/belgie/Community/Technical-Blogs/John-West-Sitecore-Blog/Posts/2013/06/My-Sitecore-Story-Mentoring.aspx

You may also like these:

While mentoring them, What I used to do, used to go back in my career and check, What Good things I learnt? — So, I can pass on to them. What Bad Things I learnt? — So, I can’t pass same to them. What I haven’t got? — So, I can get it for them.

So, each year – I meet a lot of young people joining our industry, and I make sure I share my learnings with them and help them shine! At one evening I thought, At each year — How many young folks — I will meet — 4,5,6 That’s it! — So, Why don’t I share my learning via my blog. So, who are starting your career, can focus on it. And if someone is new in mentoring and one of my learning can help them then I feel paid off!

Disclaimer : This is based on my learnings. I am not expert on this subject. But few basics which I learnt through my journey and have noted it down. Which I am sharing with you. So, if you think something might not work for you. Feel free to ignore it

Let’s go!

  1. Learn : When you start your career, Keep focusing on Learning and NOT Earning! [As Allan Border Said to Harsha Bhogle -- Take care of the runs - the dollars will take care of themselves.] An Advice I follow and give — For Initial years — Just learn as much as you can! Spend as much as time you can to learn the things, understand things. Ask questions. Do R&D
  2. Mentor : If possible find a Good Mentor and follow him/her
  3. Don’t Say No : If some new task is coming up to you. Don’t say NO — If you don’t know, tell them I will need sometime. But i will do it.  Be a Go-Getter [Quotable Quote : Richard Branson — 'If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!'] But Yes, don’t get overburdened and over commit.
  4. Give Respect : Give respect to your seniors, subordinates and even office peons!. Be a team player! And they will love to work with you!
  5. Master your Skills : Whatever skills you are in for example .NET Developer/Java Developer/QA — Master it! And to be different from crowd — Get your self certified — I did most of my Microsoft Certifications during initial years — It not only added value. But also clarified lot of my basic thoughts about programming, I came to know lot of new API — Which made my work easier, and faster. [Yes, please read Microsoft certification books before giving exam, and DON'T GIVE EXAMS BY JUST READING DUMPS]
  6. Focus on your Coding Standards : They will consider that you care for your code!
  7. Read Read Read : In the era of internet as well, disconnecting from live world and reading a book for Minimum 30 minutes Enriches you. First read as many technical books you can may it be – OOPS, Design Patterns, .NET Frameworks, 97 Things every programmer should know or talk to your colleagues and find out which book they like more. Apart from that read the books you like Fiction/Non-Fiction/Self Help — This will keep you motivated! This is so long back I wrote on World Book Day : Did you know that, today is World Book day?!Books can be really your best friend! – Who gives a lot, and asks nothing in return!, which expands your vision about life! Who helps you to stand like a rock in difficult situation! Who makes you laugh, who makes you cry!If you read technical books – your technical knowledge will get increased and if you read other books (Biography, self-help, novel etc.) – your life’s knowledge will get increased – at last you will feel enriched for sure!It’s interesting, when I talk to people and ask about reading books they say – “Where is time to read the books?” – It’s same as driving a fast running car. But you don’t have a time to fuel it!:-)In this fast pacing era, promise yourself to daily read for min. 30 minutes, it will surely change your life – it worked for me, and I’m sure it will work for you as well!So, grab a copy of a book which you was “planing” to read from a long time and start reading it “today”!Happy World Book day!
  8. Document your learnings : In your initial days you will learn new things at every footstep. Our teacher taught us, Whatever new thing you learn document it. So, your knowledge gets organized in a proper manner, it gets stored in your permanent sector. And if you can write  your blog then nothing great like that! The one blog you are reading is the best example of it! It improved my writing Skills and when people comment on blog — “You saved my day, God Bless you!” — That’s the best feeling you can ever have — Good Reads : http://pluralsight.com/training/Courses/TableOfContents/get-involved and http://www.hanselman.com/blog/YourWordsAreWasted.aspx
  9. Communication Skills : Sharpen your written and verbal skills. Because along with compilers you’ve to work with HUMANS. And when you get stuck with something. You’ve to explain it nicely to your senior, colleague, subordinate, Or In Global era to someone else sitting in U.S/U.K Or in Forum or To Support guys. And before you start working you’ve to understand requirements as well. If you can’t deliver something as committed, please communicate before hand.
  10. Develop Tools —  When you learn something new in Technology. Think of how you can use it in your day-to-day life. If not in your project then can you build a small tool for your personal use or professional use or for your company’s use? It will give two benefits — It will clarify your concepts thoroughly, and at the end of  the day, you will have a tool which simplifies someone’s task. See Tools i wrote for fun — PolyglotSkype, TimeZoneConverter or you can start your open source project on GitHub!
  11. Stand in tough time :When something is not working and the whole team is in tough time. Go and stand their. You might not be able to help. But see what you can do. At times fresh perspective might show a way to solve a problem! And you learn more in tough situations than day-to-day situations!
  12. Share Knowledge — Learnt something new? Share with someone else as soon as you can! Don’t feel insecure while sharing the knowledge. Good Read : http://prakashiyer.com/a-tale-of-two-seas/
  13. Track your progress : Periodically, take a halt and check how you are moving? What good things you did? What bad things you did? If needed talk to your Mentor/Senior and ask for an HONEST Feedback — Don’t wait for Annual Appraisal. BTW, I’m big fan of writing Journals. Give it a try, It will give you astonishing results!
  14. Usergroup meetings : If possible go for user group meeting
  15. Focus Focus Focus : Be focused, In this era of Social Media, you have no idea, how much of your time this social media mediums can eat. I’m not against in being touch with friends and family — That matters a lot! But while you are working — You are working! And When you are playing, You are playing — Then don’t work! I believe in “Work Hard, Play Hard” And you got finite number of key strokes in your life, please don’t get it wasted — http://www.hanselman.com/blog/YourWordsAreWasted.aspx Check your keys left : http://keysleft.com/ [I have only 156,038,394 keystrokes left before I die.] and “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
  16. Quality : Never Never Never compromise on quality. If you’ve to delay your software delivery by a day or deliver one feature less — In place of a quality — It’s a good deal! If you’ve to burn yourself for a quality — Just do it! Steve Jobs is the prime example of quality lovers and he nicely said “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.” Good Read : http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/steve-jobs-inspirational-quotes-im-slideshare
  17. Be Efficient  : Complete your assigned tasks on time. Do a Time management. Say No where you can Say NO.
  18. Be Responsible : If you take more responsibility you will be assigned on more and important projects — and you will be important player of your team!
  19. Basics : And one advice, I always give — “Always Stick  to your Basics” In whatever things Technical/Non Technical — Because it matters! “Back to Basic, Stick to basics, because a basic always works!”

Have I missed something? Feel free to comment

I hope this pointers, help you to shine in your career! Always Remember — “No idea works, Unless you do!”

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

And If you need any help from my side, Just give me a shout!

Have a Happy and Nice Vacation! :-) ["When Passion becomes Profession, life Becomes Vacation!"]

Good Reads:

Driving Your Career : http://www.brianhprince.com/2010/04/14/driving-your-career-series-transcripts/

Error while using Cascading DropDownList with AjaxControlToolkit

Challenge:

While Implementing Cascading drop down we faced following error:

Error: Error: Sys.WebForms.PageRequestManagerServerErrorException: Invalid postback or callback argument.  Event validation is enabled using in configuration or <%@ Page EnableEventValidation=”true” %> in a page.
For security purposes, this feature verifies that arguments to postback or callback events originate from the server control that originally rendered them.
If the data is valid and expected, use the ClientScriptManager.RegisterForEventValidation method in order to register the postback or callback data for validation.
Source File: http://OURHOSTNAME/ScriptResource.axd?d=3VKrK_7HFd3y9jouIWGfT0xsPUpPWsWH7SoDffy51nkCL04Nc90n7Ein_H4RztbD1yDGLUI-Zz15U7kAewqh2RASTjlbBKaWvjs5uaWOHUtXwDXAq22ilJZaUX8Iu9W_HK9ITwo1waG12DLEuDRxogn2m-XmlhYYCX-66L12c6NnjBet1rAqn3G588BxLbc40&t=348b0da
Line: 1534

Yes, you are right. Our DropDownLists were wrapped within Update Panel. You are also facing similar error? Then this post is for you:

Solution:

We did a quick search and found following links:

http://ajaxcontroltoolkit.codeplex.com/workitem/8103
http://forums.asp.net/t/1903036.aspx?how+to+set+EnableEventValidation+false+from+userControl+DotNetNuke

From Link what we understood is that, It is a BUG of AjaxControlToolkit and to resolve  this you’ve to try following workaround:


protected void Page_Init(object sender, EventArgs e)<br clear="none" />        {        <br clear="none" />            Page.EnableEventValidation = false;<br clear="none" />        }

So, Just use this code where you are facing this challenge. We were seeing it from one of the Sublayout. So, we kept it there and it worked!

Happy Coding! :-)

Country specific phone number validation with ASP.NET

Challenge:

Before few weeks back, I have been assigned a task, Where I need to validate a phone number. Sound simple? Yes it is! But I needed to do it country specific? Now, how it sounds?

Basically, User will have a list of countries to select. And based on his/her country selection he/she will provide phone number and we should validate based on country selection. Sounds challenging? That’s how life should be!

You are also working on such thing and looking for a way to get out of it? Then this post is for you!

Solution:

As per every software engineer’s practice, I started my research and our common friend. Google presented option of using Regex for each country. But it sounded bit complex to me. Then continued my research and found a super hero!

LibPhoneNumberIt’s a library from Google champs to validate phone number (Excerpt from their main page — Google’s common Java, C++ and Javascript library for parsing, formatting, storing and validating international phone numbers. The Java version is optimized for running on smartphones, and is used by the Android framework since 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).)

And after reading this description, It attracted me! (To you as well?). It’s good we found HERO. But how to fit him in our picture? Then after doing bit of a research found this two nice components:

  1. http://phoneformat.com/ — Javascript version of Google’s libphonenumber library
  2. http://libphonenumber.codeplex.com/ – C# port of Google’s libphonenumber

This was a Eureka moment. Just plugged both of this libraries with CustomValidator and you are done! So, here’s how CustomValidator clientside and server-side functions looks like:

Blogs
SUGIN


<asp:<span class="hiddenSpellError">TextBox ID="txtPhone"  runat="server" />
<asp:<span class="hiddenSpellError">RequiredFieldValidator ID="reqTxtPhone"
runat="server" ErrorMessage="Please enter a phone number" Text="*" ControlToValidate="txtPhone"
></asp:RequiredFieldValidator>
<asp:<span class="hiddenSpellError">CustomValidator ID="custPhoneNumber" runat="server"
OnServerValidate="PhoneNumberValidate"
ErrorMessage="Please enter valid phone number"
Text="*"
ControlToValidate="txtPhone"
ClientValidationFunction="PhoneNumberValidate"
/>

/*
This function will be used to validate
Phone Number client side by CustomValidator
*/
function PhoneNumberValidate(oSrc,args) {
// Call PhoneFormat.JS function which takes Phone Number and Country Code
// in ISO 3166-1 format
var isValidNumberOrNot = isValidNumber(txtPhone.value, ddlcountry.value);
arg.IsValid = isValidNumberOrNot;

}
/// <summary>
/// This function will be used to validate
/// Phone Number server side by CustomValidator
/// </summary>
/// <param name="source">Source</param>
/// <param name="args">Arguments</param>
protected void PhoneNumberValidate(object source, ServerValidateEventArgs args)
{

PhoneNumberUtil phoneUtil = PhoneNumberUtil.Instance;

// TODO : EXCEPTION HANDLING
string countryCode = ddlcountry.SelectedItem.Value
if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(countryCode))
{
args.IsValid = false;
}
else
{
PhoneNumber phoneNumber = phoneUtil.Parse(txtPhone.Text, countryCode);
bool isValidNumber = phoneNumber.IsValidNumber;
args.IsValid = isValidNumber;
}
}
</span></span></span>

Just a note : LibPhoneNumber accepts country code in ISO 3166-1 format. But if you’ve drop down Text and Value both in full form e.g. “India” and you need to pass it as “IN” and If it’s not possible to do any change at your DropDown value level then you can use function, Which has been submitted at — https://github.com/albeebe/phoneformat.js/issues/9 It converts CountryName to CountryCode

Happy Phone Number Validation! :-)

Bootstrap with ASP.NET Basics and learnings

Challenge:

Howdy Folks, Sorry for being away from you for so long. But was occupied with lot of other things. But now, I’m here to share my learnings with you.

Before couple of weeks back, I’ve to create one functionality to make user’s task easy. I was clear with back-end code. And to make UI intuitive, I thought to use Bootstrap (If you are new to bootstrap, then I would recommend you to take a moment and give it a read here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootstrap_%28front-end_framework%29 and http://getbootstrap.com/)

Long story short, Bootstrap is a framework for creating UI more intuitive rapidly! Developed by Twitter champs!

And If you know Bootstrap, you must be knowing that how easy it is to integrate bootstrap with your application. And yes, you are right it is. But while working on it, I found few challenges and learnt something which I thought to share with you!

Let’s go!

Solution:

If you are new to bootstrap, and looking for a way to integrate it with your ASP.NET application, then following are a good read to do so:

If you are using VS 2013 then you don’t have to worry. Because MS guys has integrated bootstrap within it.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/27/microsoft-adds-bootstrap-support-to-visual-studio-2013/

http://www.asp.net/visual-studio/overview/2013/creating-web-projects-in-visual-studio#bootstrap

But if you are using VS < 2013 then this posts will surely help you:

http://geekswithblogs.net/JeremyMorgan/archive/2012/09/18/how-to-use-twitter-bootstrap-on-an-asp.net-website.aspx

http://www.mytecbits.com/microsoft/dot-net/bootstrap-3-0-0-with-asp-net-web-forms

http://elbruno.com/2013/10/02/vs2013-howto-create-a-website-project-in-visual-studio-using-bootstrap/

So, have you tried it? Looks simple, Correct? Till this point of time, everything was simple. But Life is not as simple as it seems to be!

So here are my learnings:

  1. Dismissable alerts : When I tried to use it (http://getbootstrap.com/components/#alerts-dismissable). It didn’t worked. Then figured out that it needs Jquery reference on a page. So, If you are facing same challenge, give it a try! Or if you are going to use first time, don’t do such mistake :-)
  2. Modal : The default example of Modal given in documentation, didn’t worked for me. Then this tutorial helped me : http://www.w3resource.com/twitter-bootstrap/modals-tutorial.php
  3. Width of Modal Dialog : If you would like to change width of a modal dialog then here’s a way to do it: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/10169432/how-can-i-change-the-default-width-of-a-twitter-bootstrap-modal-box
  4. RequiredFieldValidation and Validation and State : Wanted to apply styling as shown here: http://getbootstrap.com/css/#forms-control-validation

Initially tried with RequiredFieldValidator. But due to it’s complexity avoided doing so. Then used CustomValidator, Here’s how ClientValidationFunction function looks like:

function ValidateALTText(oSrc, args) {

var isValid = false;

// label label-warning
isValid = args.Value.trim();

if (isValid) {
$("#" + oSrc.id).prev(".form-control").parent().removeClass("has-error");
}
else {
$("#" + oSrc.id).prev(".form-control").parent().addClass("has-error");
}

args.IsValid = isValid;

}
  1. Jquery Plugins : Cool, Jquey Plugins which has been designed to use with Bootstrap
    1. Wizard : Would like to create Wizard? http://vadimg.com/twitter-bootstrap-wizard-example/
    2. Confirm, Alert, Custom Dialog : If you would like to take a confirmation from user before doing postback then go for http://bootboxjs.com and if you are facing issue while showing confirmation box and doing postback then this thread will surely help you : http://stackoverflow.com/questions/20389205/bootbox-with-jquery-and-bootstrap-with-a-net-page-no-working/21433099#21433099
    3. FileStyle : Change look and feel of your file input box : http://markusslima.github.io/bootstrap-filestyle/

Found it useful? You have your own set of learnings? Why don’t you share it with all of us?

Happy Bootstraping! :-)

Good reads:

  1. Twitter Bootstrap Tutorial : http://www.w3resource.com/twitter-bootstrap/tutorial.php
  2. The original list of resources and plugins for Bootstrap : http://bootsnipp.com/resources

 

ASP.NET Application from where CultureInfo.CurrentCulture reads culture?

Challenge:

Before couple of weeks back, we spent the good amount of time figuring out from where an ASP.NET reads CultureInfo.CurrentCulture settings? Why? Because for one of our application it was English – UK and we wanted to change it to English – US.

Yes, we can modify it globally using web.config by setting [globalization culture="en-US"]. But it will apply to whole application, Yes, you are right we can apply it on page as well. But it was working fine on our live server without configuration change either on page/config. And we wanted to know why? [Sometime rather than finding a solution, It's good to find out a root cause]

We did a lot of read and finally, we fixed it and found the root cause. What, you are also searching for the same? Eager to know from where it reads? let’s go

Solution:

To reproduce the issue, you can do following test scenario:

  1. Print “System.Globalization.CultureInfo.CurrentCulture” in a command prompt application
  2. Do the same in ASP.NET page — Simple Response.Write on sample page should do. [Make sure your site is hosted under IIS and running as NETWORK SERVICE user, same as live scenario]
  3. Now run both samples and note your CultureInfo
  4. Now, from Regional Settings do change your Culture settings.
  5. Repeat step#3

Analyzed the results? Surprised? Your changes will get reflected in console application. But not in ASP.NET application. Why?

We did a quick search and following thread came up :

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9697604/from-where-cultureinfo-currentculture-reads-culture

As this thread says it reads it from System definitions

No matter what browser is in use, the definition for System.Globalization will always come from the Operating System definition

But our simple test says, it’s not true correct? Then from where it comes?

Also, did a quick search and found following thread:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/14322910/cultureinfo-values-differ-between-applications-for-the-same-culture-is-this-a-b/14323336#14323336

And it did a trick!

Jason Evans’s comment pointed me in the right direction. See the link he posted: ASP.NET application doesn’t reflect Regional settings

It turns out that regional settings are stored per user in Windows. This is something I should have been aware of. Updating the application pool to run as myself produced the same result across both applications.

To be fair, what is still confusing is how Network Service (the account the application pool was running under) came to have the incorrect value. I’m not even sure how I’d rectify that.

Edit:

If you need to update the regional settings for reserved accounts. You have two options.

  1. Control Panel > Regional Settings > Click the administrative tab and then select “Copy Settings”. On the screen that launches, ensure you check “Welcome Screen and system accounts”. Older versions of Windows are similar I believe.
  2. For the brace. Registry: HKEY_USERS > SID… > Control Panel > International. The security identifier for Network Service is: SID: S-1-5-20.

Ensure you restart the application pool for settings to take effect.

We followed approach#1, and it worked for us! [This is how it looks like!]

CultureInfo-DateTimeSettings

In summary, our ASP.NET application was running under NETWORK SERVICE user, and we were trying to change Regional settings for current logged in user and NOT Network Service user.

Happy Coding! :-)

ASP.NET Website Performance Basics – Part 2

Challenge:

Recap : In last part of ASP.NET Website performance basics, Dax shared basic methodology of troubleshooting ASP.NET Website performance challenges!

Where he shared, what all things we need to do, and why we should do it (Remember W-W-H theory?). And just pointers of How to do it! And as Dax promised, that he will help us to understand how part more [We all know, how well Dax keeps his promises! :)] and here he is.

In this post [Would also name it "ASP.NET Basics"], we will look at following things (Which are very IMP. to diagnose performance issues):

  1. When you open any website from your browser, what all happens, behind the scenes? — Not related to ASP.NET just basics, how it reaches till your ASP.NET Application
  2. Now, we’ve reached to ASP.NET Application, after that we will look at — ASP.NET Application LifeCycle — All about — HttpApplication,HttpContext,HttpRuntime, HttpModules etc.
  3. Request Queuing
  4. Major Performance killers ( Hanging Requests, Session can slowdown your application — Thread Agility Issue, Exceptions and performance co-relation, MaxConnections, High GC, Contentions, App Pool Recycle, Memory leak)

Above topics sounds similar? Very Basic? (Back to Basics, Stick to basics. Because a basic always works!) But still unknown? (During our interview sessions, we ask these questions to most of our candidate, And so less can answer it)Don’t worry, we will learn it, So, as Dax and his team!

Here we go!

Solution:

When you open any website from your browser, what all happens, behind the scenes?

You might know this question or learnt it during your college days. And If you are pretty much confident you know this you can skip it. But Dax recommends that even though you know it. It would be a good idea to brush up this stuff.

Because while working on performance stuff, you need to know about everything starting from Client’s Browser, DNS, Firewall, Switch — You no need to be expert in this subject. But when you troubleshoot it, You should know all these players very well.

My favorite — one is from MCTS 70-528 exam book – Chapter1-Lesson1 – Understanding the PlayersMajor-Players

Another good articles:

http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/121096/Web-Server-and-ASP-NET-Application-Life-Cycle-in-D

http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/73728/ASP-NET-Application-and-Page-Life-Cycle

Good to remember about M-H-P-M

http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/87316/A-walkthrough-to-Application-State

Thanks a lot to author of above articles. It clarifies everything. So, now you know what all happens — from browser till server — a request goes through a journey and then gets served!

Here you must’ve seen about HttpApplication object, this guy is very critical while serving your requests.  HttpApplication consists of HttpModules.

index

 

http://blog.andreloker.de/post/2008/05/HttpApplication-instances.aspx

HttpApplication Gotchas:

  1. ASP.NET may instantiate many instances of HttpApplication as required (. In fact, it will create an instance of the class for each request that is handled in parallel on the server.
  2. “ASP.NET maintains a pool of HttpApplication instances over the course of a Web application’s lifetime. ASP.NET automatically assigns one of these instances to process each incoming HTTP request that is received by the application. The particular HttpApplication instance assigned is responsible for managing the entire lifetime of the request and is reused only after the request has been completed. This means that user code within the HttpApplication does not need to be reentrant.”
  3. You can observe asp.net pipeline instance count in the performance counters to see how many instances of your HttpApplication class are pooled at the moment.
  4. In Integrated Application mode — HttpApplication will called once during application initialization and another during the first request
  5. When ASP.NET Creates Instance of the HttpApplication class that represents your application, instance of any odules that have been registered are created. When a Module is created, its Init method is called and the module initializes itself. — and the custom module will run for all resource handler, even though resource handler is not an ASP.NET handler
  6. If you see More number of requests [You can check it via IIS log or performance counter] and Heavy HttpApplication Instances is Normal, Because it means that current HttpApplication Pool was not enough and ASP.NET need to spawn worker processes.
  7. But if you see less number of requests, and still see heavy HttpApplication instances then it is abnormal. We need to find out slow pages/handlers etc.
  8. ASP.NET run-time keeps two pools of HttpApplication objects. First is a special pool with HttpApplication objects used for application level events (such as Application_Start, Application_End), Second pool contains instances used in requests to serve all other types of events
  9. Try this out — http://lowleveldesign.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/global-asax-in-asp-net/
  10. HttpApplication Events

HttpApplication-Events

Other good reads:

Huh! Load of things, correct? Useful? Dax says these information is really useful and it will clarify your understanding more on ASP.NET internals!

Request Queuing

It is really good to know about Request Queuing, lot of us already know about Request Queuing — Simple, a Request is queuing. Yes, my dear friend you are right. But there are different level of Queuing happens. And untill and unless you know your request is queued at which level, it won’t be easy to fix it!

Great post! — http://blog.leansentry.com/2013/07/all-about-iis-asp-net-request-queues/

Basically, Request Queuing can happen at mainly 4 levels:

  1. HTTP.SYS: Application pool queue
  2. IIS worker process: completion port
  3. ASP.NET: CLR threadpool queue
  4. ASP.NET: Integrated mode global queue
  5. [OR]ASP.NET: Classic mode application queue

Request_Timeline2 Req-Q

Source — http://fullsocrates.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/asp-net-threadstuning-thread-parameters-12-2/

To diagnose, your level of Queuing. Best thing is performance counters [Dax, is going to share more on performance counters in his upcoming posts] and once found you can use tools like FRT, Dump analysis etc. to find a main bottleneck [Yes, Yes -- Dax will post on these topics in future for you!]

Major Performance Killers

  1. Application Pool Recycle/Crash — If your application pool is crashing is or recycling [How Can I check that? You can check EventLog OR if your application got log do log entry [Just a note : Application_End will not get called, when your application crashed unexpectedly a.k.a. Crash] — see — http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2005/12/14/433194.aspx] periodically than it’s not good for your application’s health. Because when application pool gets recycled everything in memory [Session/Cache/Static/Application objects] gets lost, and your application need to server everything from Database and rebuild cache. You can solve this issue by checking EventLog and Configuring+Analyzing Crash Dump.http://kiranpatils.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/is-it-necessary-to-recycle-worker-process-periodically/ and http://kiranpatils.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/goo-to-know-on-asp-net-application-restarts/
  2. Hanging Requests — Your users are complaining that the site is loading slowly. Requests to your application are hanging. With so many possible causes of request hangs, its difficult to know where to even start. — http://mvolo.com/troubleshoot-iis-hanging-requests/
  3. Exceptions, handle them gracefully — Exceptions can slowdown your application. Because when your application throws an exception — It Creates objects — CLR needs to do object allocation — And after that GC for those allocation! [Analyze your application logs to see exceptions, and handle them gracefully] — http://blogs.msdn.com/b/tess/archive/2005/11/30/498297.aspx
  4. %Time in GC — When this time is high, your requests will get paused for a while and your end users will see slow response time during this time. If it is >=10% then you need to dig in to this issue.  Also, check for Memory Leak — http://kiranpatils.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/basics-of-memory-leak/
  5. Contentions — If your CPU is not being utilized and you still see low throughput, you may be suffering from high contention rate. Means your code has lock on shared resources, which is taking time to process, and due to this other requests are going in Queue. Simple concept in locking — “Acquire lock as late as possible, and release it as soon as possible” http://kiranpatils.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/thread-synchronization-basics/
  6. Session lock – Thread agility issue Disable session for the pages/handlers, where you don’t need them. https://github.com/angieslist/AL-Redis http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3629709/i-just-discovered-why-all-asp-net-websites-are-slow-and-i-am-trying-to-work-out
    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8068925/redis-backed-asp-net-sessionstate-provider

Good to read resources:

  1. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff647787.aspx
  2. Most recommended — https://www.leansentry.com/try#course
  3. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mcsuksoldev/archive/2011/01/19/common-performance-issues-on-asp-net-web-sites.aspx
  4. http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/23306/10-ASP-NET-Performance-and-Scalability-Secrets
  5. http://blog.leansentry.com/2013/07/the-server-logs-you-need-to-know-to-fix-any-iis-aspnet-error/
  6. http://mvolo.com/fix-the-3-high-cpu-performance-problems-for-iis-aspnet-apps/

Sorry for such a long post. But It’s good to clarify basics. Because once it is clear, you can fix any issue!

These are the common performance killers, In upcoming posts, we will see how to diagnose them! Till than Happy Performance Tunning! :-)

 

ASP.NET Website Performance Basics

Challenge:

In a small city, there lived a developer named as Dax. And his boss name was Gabe. Their main goal was to develop a faster running websites and have happy clients! (So, as you!?) And they were best in the town to deliver faster running websites!

One fine morning, they faced a challenge. And this blog post is about how they overcome that challenge.

Disclaimer — All characters in this publication are entirely fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Solution:

Read it from left to right

Basics-1 Basics-22

Gabe asked Dax to fix, their ASP.NET website performance issue and while working on it, Dax made a mistake, which most of us (Including me) make, it is fixing a performance issue by blindly guessing the things along with worse part, making code change which “they think”  it is causing slowness! But this “stab in the dark” method doesn’t work most of the time! [Just a note : I believe that don't fix any issue, until and unless you've reproduced it or understood it thoroughly, If you do it without understanding it, you never know when it will come back to you! But surely, it will!]

Y’day night Dax, sent me an e-mail and asked to share his and his team’s performance learnings with you! [You know, Jesus requested him to share his learnings with you? How honest, Dax is!]

Whatever stuff, you work on, If you follow W (What)- W (Why)- H (How) theory you can solve anything!

What are Website Performance standards?

Have seen lot of people who work on performance issues, without having a measures [Statistics and numbers are your best friends while working on performance! Because if you can't measure anything, you haven't improved it yet!]. How fast is really fast? [Carpentry quote : Measure twice, cut once!]

So, here are some numbers, which Dax came across while doing research and reading on website performance standards blogs and articles:

Before, we move on, let’s have a look at, good to know terminologies:

  1. Response time of your server : The time taken, by server to process your request, it includes time taken by Database call, File IO Operation, Time taken by .NET CLR, Request Queuing etc.
  2. TTFB : Time to load first byte, this is the time when browser requests HTML of your page, and server builds your whole page’s HTML to browser, and after that browser starts rendering of your page by requesting other resources like CSS/JS/images etc.
  3. Page Load time : This is the total time taken by your browser to completely load a page.

So, to ensure that your site is performing as per web standards, check following values for your website (Just a note : these values are standard values, it might not fit in to your environment. so, do understand your environment  before you start investigating performance issues):

  • TTFB should be <= 100 Milliseconds; Because if it is high then your users will see a white browser page, and nothing will get loaded until and unless it receives first HTML data from server.
  • Response Time should be <= 2 seconds
  • Start Render Time should be <= 2 seconds
  • Page Load time should be between 2-3 seconds

Now, you must be curious to know, how we can check these values? Going at each layer, and checking logs at each level or there is a smart way? Luckily, there is a smart way available for you! We will have a look at it in “How” section soon!

Good to read:

http://www.webperformancetoday.com/2012/02/13/non-geeky-guide-to-performance-measurement/

http://www.webperformancetoday.com/2010/06/15/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-web-performance/

Why Website Performance matters?

http://www.strangeloopnetworks.com/resources/infographics/web-performance-and-user-expectations/poster-visualizing-web-performance/

http://www.webperformancetoday.com/2012/03/21/neuroscience-page-speed-web-performance/

Above articles nicely explained everything!

In summary, just take a case, that if you got 20 Million visitors per month, and if your website is slow by just 1 second, then 20*1= 20 M seconds gets wasted, which they can spend somewhere else — with their family, friends or If you are running e-commerce, website then they might place multiple orders because of your faster running website! :)

And as per research, in this impatient era, where everyone wants everything to be done instantly  [5G!], If your site is running slow, then people will not complaint you about it. But they will go to your competitor.

How to Improve Website Performance?

Now, how to measure, these values, there are smart tools available, which you can use to know your website’s performance values, we will categorize it in two categories, Server-Side and Client-Side:

Performance problem can be divided mainly in two categories:

  1. Serve-Side : If your server is not serving requests faster, then your website is suffering from server-side/back-end performance issues. Server-Side performance issues, are really very tough to find. Because in most of the cases, you will not have a specific scenario to reproduce, You will not have Visual Studio on live server, where you can debug your code! :-). But thanks to APM tools, Performance counters, Log4Net, DebugDiag and WinDbg – these are the tools who will help you to fix your back-end issues!
  2. Client-Side : If your website is not using minify/merge than it falls in client-side/front-end performance issues, Because server has sent response rapidly. But client [Browser] is taking time to render a page, and it happens if you are not following performance best practices while building your website. It is also known as “Front-End” time. And as per stats. “80-90% time goes in front-end!”. So, If you’ve faster servers, But if your front-end is not following performance rules, then your site will never get loaded faster!

Server-Side performance testing tools:

  1. APM  Tools- APM stands for Application performance management, there is lot of APM tools available in market. You need to install their lightweight agent on your server, that’s it! It will report you everything via a nice web-based dashboard! But Dax’s favorite is, and tried one is New Relic [It's costly. But worth! -- Indeed "A web & mobile Developer’s Best Friend"]:  http://newrelic.com/
  2. Profiling – You can run profiling tool on your website, mostly in local, this tool will help you to find performance issues. It mostly helps when you’ve specific scenario to reproduce. For unknown scenarios it doesn’t help much, again Dax’s favorite is ANTS Performance Profiler from Rad Gate — http://www.red-gate.com/products/dotnet-development/ants-performance-profiler/
  3. Performance Counters – “Performance counters is your computers Google” Nice quote from Performance webinar, Just add performance counters [Which one to add, how to analyze that something we will see in upcoming posts]
  4. DebugDiag and WinDbg — Using performance counter, If you found that there is a memory leak in your application or when Request Queuing goes high your application goes slow. And now, you would like to see what is there in heap when such thing happens — then DebugDiag and WinDbg are your friends! — http://blogs.msdn.com/b/tess/archive/2008/02/04/net-debugging-demos-information-and-setup-instructions.aspx

Have Dax missed anything? Just feel free to comment!

Client-Side performance testing tools:

  1. WebPageTest.Org —  www.webpagetest.org
  2. Pingdom Toolshttp://tools.pingdom.com/
  3. Google PageSpeed Toolshttps://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/
  4. Browser based tools — YSlow, HttpWatch, Firebug

Have Dax missed anything? Just feel free to comment!

Good to read:

http://yslow.org/user-guide/

http://www.webperformancetoday.com/2010/07/09/waterfalls-101/

http://www.stevesouders.com/blog/2012/10/09/webperfdays-performance-tools/

http://blog.newrelic.com/2012/09/04/improving-site-performance-with-yslow/

Still this point of time, we’ve seen how to delve in to performance issues more and find out, where you need to focus on server-side or client-side or BOTH.

Now, let’s have a look at “How” to solve them

  1. Client-side/Front-End site performance issues are relatively easy to find and fix! Just use any tool, follow the given rules, re-test and you are done!
  2. Server-side/back-end performance issues are relatively complex to find out, and once you found it fixing them might be easy! But finding back-end issue involves following level of understanding:
    1. Basics of ASP.NET — You must be saying this guy is crazy, come on, we are ASP.NET Professional and we’ve lot of years of experience, how ASP.NET works, we’ve developed and deployed lot of websites, And you are asking us to learn ASP.NET Basics? I agree with your thoughts, and I know you guys are experts in this field. But ASP.NET is a big topic, and when we develop something we work on more abstract layer, just drag and drop control. add some code behind stuff and we are done! But to work on performance stuff, you need to know lot of ASP.Net Internals, Like How ASP.NET spawns worker threads? What is HttpApplication? What is HttpModule? What is co-relation between them? When HttpApplication instance gets created? How many requests your ASP.NET application can handle? What is Request Queuing? What is Request Queued? What is Contention? You know Thread agility issue? Lot of questions correct, bouncer? Don’t worry Dax also had same questions. But after investing sometime he learnt it, and he will share those learnings with you in upcoming posts!
    2. Basics of Performance counters – Counters are your best friends! Just do learn some basics of performance counter, introduce yourself to them and vice-versa! These guys will tell you lot of secrets! (So, as your best friend!)
    3. Basics of IIS Tools : IIS got plenty of nice tools, like FRT [Failed Request Tracing] which will help you to see what is going on?
    4. Basics of Performance Testing Tools : Before fixing anything on live server, do measure it locally, and you will need performance testing tools like JMeter,WCAT,ACT,AB.exe etc. Keep them handy!
    5. Basics of APM : As discussed earlier, good to have APM tool in your armory!
    6. Basic of Dump analysis : When no one helps you, and disappoints you. Dump is a light of hope, and it won’t disappoint you for sure!

Will expand these topics in upcoming posts! So, just keep visiting, Keep reading, And if you’ve good explanation of any topic listed here, do share with us! So, as Dax! :-)

Good to read links:

http://www.webperformancetoday.com/2013/01/31/web-performance-101-developers/

http://www.red-gate.com/products/dotnet-development/ants-performance-profiler/entrypage/avoid-find-fix-asp-problems

http://www.softdevtube.com/2013/01/15/ten-web-performance-tuning-tricks-in-60-minutes/

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4310719/asp-net-processmodel-configuration
http://www.guidanceshare.com/wiki/ASP.NET_2.0_Performance_Guidelines_-_Threading

http://www.aspnet101.com/2010/03/50-tips-to-boost-asp-net-performance-part-i/

Now, Dax and Gabe are really happy and they are enjoying their time! I’m sure they will keep sharing such things with us!

Have a happy faster running websites! :-)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 325 other followers