Sunday, June 26, 2016

MP3 Playlist for Chromecast

Come to find out, I am a very retro guy when it comes to music. I have these old things that I like to use to play music, you may not have heard of them, they are called MP3s. They are kind of like 8-track tapes, but digital, not in the cloud, and not old enough to be cool yet.

How do you play MP3s via Chromecast?

The official answer is to use Google Play, but that implies that you want to both pay for that service and upload your files to the cloud. The unofficial answer is to drag and drop your MP3s into a Chrome tab and cast that tab, however this does not allow you to create a playlist.

Introducing Playlist for Chromecast

I have created a simple single page HTML 5 application that will act as a playlist for MP3s on your computer. Just download the project and open up release/playlist.html in Chrome, then drag and drop MP3s on to the page.


I had a lot of fun making this, and I'm not done. I intend to use this project as a case study to talk about VSCode, TypeScript, SASS, HTML5 Audio, NPM, and unit testing. For now, I just wanted to start by getting this initial post up, but expect more to follow.

What's next?

  • Update project documentation.
  • Create unit tests.
  • Add theme support.
  • Write blog posts about development.
  • Maybe host it on a domain.
  • Maybe submit it as a Chrome application.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Client Side Caching for jQuery

Updates: 6/26/16

  • Fixed bug where triple equals null check would miss.
  • Added support for data driven cache key.
  • Removed let and const statements (some minifiers were having a hard time with them)


There is great question on Stack Overflow about caching a jquery ajax response in javascript/browser. Unfortunately, even thought it was a good solution, it did not do quite what I needed it to.

The application I was trying to optimize sometimes made redundant parallel requests, and I needed my caching solution to include a queuing system to prevent duplicate fetches.

Below is a simple solution that uses jQuery.ajaxPrefilter to check a local cache prior to making GET requests. Additionally, it will queue the callback if the request is already in flight. The cache stores the queue in both memory and local storage, ensuring that the cache will persist across page loads.


(function ($) {
  "use strict";
  var timeout = 60000;
  var cache = {};
  function onPrefilter(options, originalOptions) {
    if (options.cache !== true) {
    var callback = originalOptions.complete || $.noop;
    var cacheKey = getCacheKey(originalOptions);
    options.cache = false;
    options.beforeSend = onBeforeSend;
    options.complete = onComplete;
    function onBeforeSend() {
      var cachedItem = tryGet(cacheKey);
      if (!!cachedItem) {
        if ( === null) {
        } else {
          setTimeout(onCacheHit, 0);
        return false;
      cachedItem = createCachedItem();
      setCache(cacheKey, cachedItem);
      return true;
      function onCacheHit() {
        invoke(callback, cachedItem);
    function onComplete(data, textStatus) {
      var cachedItem = tryGet(cacheKey);
      if (!!cachedItem) { = data;
        cachedItem.status = textStatus;
        setCache(cacheKey, cachedItem);
        var queuedCallback;
        while (!!(queuedCallback = cachedItem.queue.pop())) {
          invoke(queuedCallback, cachedItem);
      cachedItem = createCachedItem(data, textStatus);
      setCache(cacheKey, cachedItem);
      invoke(callback, cachedItem);
  function tryGet(cacheKey) {
    var cachedItem = cache[cacheKey];
    if (!!cachedItem) {
      var diff = new Date().getTime() - cachedItem.created;
      if (diff < timeout) {
        return cachedItem;
    var item = localStorage.getItem(cacheKey);
    if (!!item) {
      cachedItem = JSON.parse(item);
      var diff = new Date().getTime() - cachedItem.created;
      if (diff < timeout) {
        return cachedItem;
    return null;
  function setCache(cacheKey, cachedItem) {
    cache[cacheKey] = cachedItem;
    var clone = createCachedItem(, cachedItem.status, cachedItem.created);
    var json = JSON.stringify(clone);
    localStorage.setItem(cacheKey, json);
  function createCachedItem(data, status, created) {
    return {
      data: data || null,
      status: status,
      created: created || new Date().getTime(),
      queue: []
  function invoke(callback, cachedItem) {
    if ($.isFunction(callback)) {
      callback(, cachedItem.status);
  function getCacheKey(originalOptions) {
    if (!! {
      return originalOptions.url + "?" + JSON.stringify(;
    return originalOptions.url;


Friday, May 27, 2016

Word Boundaries Regex


This is the second time this week where I have had to ask myself "how did I not know about this?"

There is a regex character to identify word boundaries: \b This is a zero length match, similar to the caret and dollar sign. It finds the boundaries between words, allowing you to search for a whole word match.

Below is a sample extension method that uses this to replace words in a string.


public static class StringExtensions
    private static readonly Regex WordRegex = new Regex(@"\b\w+\b", RegexOptions.Compiled);
    public static string ReplaceWords(
        this string input,
        string find,
        string replace,
        StringComparison comparison = StringComparison.InvariantCulture)
        return WordRegex.Replace(input, m => m.Value.Equals(find, comparison)
            ? replace
            : m.Value);

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Common Logging Extensions with Caller Information

Update: Added the BreakParameter.

I have made it an (arguably bad) habit of manually adding the class and method name as a prefix to all my log lines. It is not that I enjoy typing out the same strings over and over, it's that I do not always trust things like the NLog callsite. Using the stack frame to identify a calling method always requires a bit of cleverness on the part of the author, as you never can be totally sure when you are dealing with a wrapper class or an async call stack.

I was recently introduced to the Caller Information attributes in C# 5, and now I think I am in love.

Disclaimer: I have not used this very much yet, but I intend to start! I think that these attributes are absolutely brilliant in their simplicity: a compiler trick to insert debug information directly into your code. That is freak'n sweet, and it's performant! I am not sure how this flew under my radar, but now that I know about it....

Below is a little T4 template that I wrote up to generate overloads for Common Logging that will include caller information. To customize this for your needs, just update the the GetFormat method at the bottom of the template.

Unit Tests

   1:  using System;
   2:  using System.Collections.Generic;
   3:  using Common.Logging.Simple;
   4:  using Xunit;
   6:  namespace Common.Logging.Tests
   7:  {
   8:      /// <summary>
   9:      /// Tests for Common Logging extensions that use Caller Information
  10:      ///
  11:      /// </summary>
  12:      public class LogCallTests
  13:      {
  14:          [Fact]
  15:          public void LogFromMethod()
  16:          {
  17:              var log = new QueueSimpleLogger();
  18:              var ex = new Exception("Boom");
  20:              log.Debug("Hello");
  21:              log.Debug("World", ex);
  23:              log.DebugCall("Hello");
  24:              log.DebugCall("World", ex);
  26:              log.WarnFormat("Hello - {0}", "Zero");
  27:              log.WarnFormat("World - {0}", ex, "Zero");
  29:              log.WarnFormatCall("Hello - {0}", "Zero");
  30:              log.WarnFormatCall("World - {0}", ex, "Zero");
  32:              Assert.Equal(8, log.Queue.Count);
  34:              Assert.Equal("Hello", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  35:              Assert.Equal("World - Ex: Boom", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  37:              Assert.Equal("LogCallTests.LogFromMethod(23) - Hello", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  38:              Assert.Equal("LogCallTests.LogFromMethod(24) - World - Ex: Boom", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  40:              Assert.Equal("Hello - Zero", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  41:              Assert.Equal("World - Zero - Ex: Boom", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  43:              Assert.Equal("LogCallTests.LogFromMethod(29) - Hello - Zero", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  44:              Assert.Equal("LogCallTests.LogFromMethod(30) - World - Zero - Ex: Boom", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  45:          }
  47:          [Fact]
  48:          public void LogFromAction()
  49:          {
  50:              var log = new QueueSimpleLogger();
  51:              var ex = new Exception("Boom");
  52:              Action action = () =>
  53:              {
  54:                  log.Debug("Hello");
  55:                  log.Debug("World", ex);
  57:                  log.DebugCall("Hello");
  58:                  log.DebugCall("World", ex);
  60:                  log.WarnFormat("Hello - {0}", "Zero");
  61:                  log.WarnFormat("World - {0}", ex, "Zero");
  63:                  log.WarnFormatCall("Hello - {0}", "Zero");
  64:                  log.WarnFormatCall("World - {0}", ex, "Zero");
  65:              };
  67:              action();
  69:              Assert.Equal(8, log.Queue.Count);
  71:              Assert.Equal("Hello", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  72:              Assert.Equal("World - Ex: Boom", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  74:              Assert.Equal("LogCallTests.LogFromAction(57) - Hello", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  75:              Assert.Equal("LogCallTests.LogFromAction(58) - World - Ex: Boom", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  77:              Assert.Equal("Hello - Zero", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  78:              Assert.Equal("World - Zero - Ex: Boom", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  80:              Assert.Equal("LogCallTests.LogFromAction(63) - Hello - Zero", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  81:              Assert.Equal("LogCallTests.LogFromAction(64) - World - Zero - Ex: Boom", log.Queue.Dequeue());
  82:          }
  84:          private class QueueSimpleLogger : AbstractSimpleLogger
  85:          {
  86:              public readonly Queue<string> Queue = new Queue<string>(); 
  88:              public QueueSimpleLogger()
  89:                  : base(string.Empty, LogLevel.All, true, true, true, string.Empty)
  90:              {
  91:              }
  93:              protected override void WriteInternal(LogLevel level, object message, Exception exception)
  94:              {
  95:                  var s = message.ToString();
  96:                  if (exception != null) s += " - Ex: " + exception.Message;
  97:                  Queue.Enqueue(s);
  98:              }
  99:          }
 100:      }
 101:  }

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IResourceLoader: Balancing Semaphores

Recently I need to get balance getting resources from a restricted number of sources. So, for example...

I am getting resource R, and I have factories A, B and C creating those Rs. Each of those factories has a very limited capacity for creating those resources, and can only create two Rs at a time. It is easy to put the factories behind a semaphore and limit how many threads can be requesting resources from each factory at a time.

The challenge is evenly balancing the workload between all three factories. Also, please note that you can't just round robin the semaphores because there is no way to ensure that each operation will complete in the same amount of time.

To do this I created a generic IResourceLoader interface, and made two implementations: one to wrap a semaphore, and the other to wrap and balance a collection of IResourceLoaders. Below is the implementation, complete with unit tests; let's take a look!


public interface IResourceLoader<T>
    int Available { get; }
    int Count { get; }
    int MaxConcurrency { get; }
    Task<T> GetAsync(CancellationToken cancelToken = default(CancellationToken));
    bool TryGet(out Task<T> resource, CancellationToken cancelToken = default(CancellationToken));

Sunday, April 24, 2016

How to Order xUnit Tests and Collections

xUnit is an extremely extensible unit testing framework!

If you need to control the order of your unit tests, then all you have to do is implement an ITestCaseOrderer. Once implemented, you just add a TestCaseOrdererAttribute to the top of your test class to use it. Below we use a custom OrderAttribute to order the tests.

To control the order of the test collections you can do a very similar trick by implementing an ITestCollectionOrderer. However, an ITestCollection is not neccessarily associated with a specific class, so to to use attributes to order them you need to use a little reflection. Check out the sample below for details.


/// <summary>
/// Used by CustomOrderer
/// </summary>
public class OrderAttribute : Attribute
    public int I { get; }
    public OrderAttribute(int i)
        I = i;
/// <summary>
/// Custom xUnit test collection orderer that uses the OrderAttribute
/// </summary>
public class CustomTestCollectionOrderer : ITestCollectionOrderer
    public const string TypeName = "xUnitCustom.CustomTestCollectionOrderer";
    public const string AssembyName = "xUnitCustom";
    public IEnumerable<ITestCollection> OrderTestCollections(
        IEnumerable<ITestCollection> testCollections)
        return testCollections.OrderBy(GetOrder);
    /// <summary>
    /// Test collections are not bound to a specific class, however they
    /// are named by default with the type name as a suffix. We try to
    /// get the class name from the DisplayName and then use reflection to
    /// find the class and OrderAttribute.
    /// </summary>
    private static int GetOrder(
        ITestCollection testCollection)
        var i = testCollection.DisplayName.LastIndexOf(' ');
        if (i <= -1)
            return 0;
        var className = testCollection.DisplayName.Substring(i + 1);
        var type = Type.GetType(className);
        if (type == null)
            return 0;
        var attr = type.GetCustomAttribute<OrderAttribute>();
        return attr?.I ?? 0;

Sunday, April 10, 2016

RangeSet for .NET

Update 4/13 - Added support for single value ranges.

What data structure do you use when you need to efficiently check if a number is within a large set of ranges?

If you require that the ranges do not overlap, then it is simple to keep a balanced binary tree of the ranges. Finding if a number is within one of those ranges should only take O(log n) to find. Below is an implementation of a RangedSet that uses a standard .NET SortedSet to store the ranges.

IRangeSet Interface

public interface IRangeSet<in T> where T : IComparable
    void AddRange(T min, T max);
    bool Contains(T findValue);
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