Saturday, March 31, 2012

Configuring Bundles in MVC 4

We write a lot of JavaScript.

Thus the bundling, compression, and minification of JavaScript is important to the speed and performance of modern websites. This is why I love and have been a big advocate of tools like Combres, and also why I was so excited to hear that such features were (finally) coming built in to ASP.NET MVC 4.

Introducing MvcBundleConfig

MvcBundleConfig is a very simple minimalist project I wrote to add configuration and debugging features to MVC 4's bundling framework, and achieves all 6 six of the goals listed below. It requires only MVC4 to run, and you need only add one config file to your project, one line of code to your application start, and you are off and running.

NuGet Package:

Source on GitHub:

Before we get to the demonstration at the bottom, let's review the needs and wants of a good minification framework.

What I NEED in a minification tool:

  1. Compress resources into single files.
    • Multiple request take time and resources, neither of which are things that any of us have to spare. By compressing resources into single requests and can limit the overhead and load time on both our clients and our servers.
  2. Minify JavaScript and CSS content.
    • Minification removes as many unnecessary white spaces and characters as possible from your resource files, reducing file size by up to 80% on average. When then compounded with gzip, we can reduce the file size another 50%. This means that our web applications can be brought down to clients 90% faster.
  3. Make use of both client and server side caching.
    • Making 90% less requests is nice, and making those requests 90% smaller is even better, but only ever having to request or serve them once is the key to true performance. Unfortunately client and server caching can be a bit complex due to quirks of different technologies and browsers. A good minification framework should abstract these concerns away from us.
  4. Ability to turn off during debugging.
    • As fantastic as everything that we have listed about is for a production website, it is a nightmare for a development website. Debugging JavaScript is no less complicated or time consuming than debugging C#, and we need to be able to use a debuggers and other client side tools that are inhibited by minification. A good minification framework must expose a debugging mode that skips compression pipeline.

What I WANT in a minification tool:

  1. Simple and dynamic configuration.
    • I hate hardcoded configuration. It bloats my code, and it requires bin drops to deploy. Meanwhile I really like the ability to add simple configuration files to my site as often as I can. Config files are explicit, abstract, and can be updated at any time. Win.
  2. Take a few dependencies as possible.
    • I mentioned above that I like Combres and it has a reasonably sized code base, unfortunately the fact that it's NuGet package pulls down half a dozen additional dependencies makes it feel quite heavy. The fewer dependencies a framework takes the better.

MvcBundleConfig Examples


<?xml version="1.0"?>
<bundleConfig ignoreIfDebug="true" ignoreIfLocal="true">
    <add bundlePath="~/css/shared">
        <add directoryPath="~/content/" searchPattern="*.css" />
    <add bundlePath="~/js/shared" minify="false">
        <add filePath="~/scripts/jscript1.js" />
        <add filePath="~/scripts/jscript2.js" />


protected void Application_Start()
    // Only code required for MvcBundleConfig wire up


<!DOCTYPE html>
        <meta charset="utf-8" />
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width" />
        @* Call bundle helpers from MvcBundleConfig *@

In the Browser

NuGet Package:

Source on GitHub:

kick it on


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Converting SNES Soundtracks to MP3

Do you like video game soundtracks from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System? Do all of your media devices use the MP3 format? Well then you are in luck!

You can download any SNES sound track and convert all of it's tracks to MP3 for free.

Step 1: Setup the Tools

Step 2: Go get some music is a very nearly complete archive of all SNES soundtracks. Go there, find something you like, and download the RSN file. These RSN files are actually archives contains all of the individual tracks in SPC format.

Open the RSN file using WinRAR and extract the SPCs. If you have properly installed the foo_gep component, you should now be able to open and play these files in Foobar.

(Having a hard time deciding what to get? Check out VGMuseum's top SNES Soundtracks.)

Step 3: Convert to MP3

Create a playlist in Foobar of all the tracks that you wish to convert. Select them, right click, and select convert.

Set the output format to "MP3 Lame". Update your destination settings, I recommend specifying an output folder, and setting a multi-track file pattern of "%album%\%album% - %title%". There is no need to update the processing or other settings unless you wish to.

Click convert and the program will ask you to specify the file path of the LAME MP3 Encoder that you downloaded in step 1. Just put in the path and select lame.exe

Step 4: Rock out!

Foobar should now be converting your SPC files to MP3s. :)


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