Setting up Ubuntu 17.10 for .NET Core Development (including SQL Server, Visual Studio Code, PowerShell and SQL Operations Studio)

In this post I will show you how to set up an Ubuntu desktop that you can use for .NET Core Development.

Why?

Maybe because you want to do Microsoft development on older hardware or because you think Windows is too bloated.

Install the OS

In this example I use the latest Ubuntu version. Mind you, in April another LTS version will be out but I can’t wait and will probably update this article.

Update and essentials

Once installed, open up your terminal and enter:

sudo apt-get update -y
sudo apt-get upgrade -y

sudo apt-get install -y wget curl git gitk \ 
vim build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r) zsh 

This the essentials you will want, build tools and zsh.

Oh My Zsh

I prefer the zsh and Oh My Zsh over Bash because of its auto complete features and eye candy.


wget https://github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/raw/master/tools/install.sh -O - | zsh

And the Powerline fonts for a lovely prompt:

cd ~/Downloads
git clone https://github.com/powerline/fonts.git
cd fonts
./install.sh

Set the default shell to zsh:

chsh -s `which zsh`

Now log out and log back in.
You can then set your favorite theme by editing ~/.zshrc.

Node.js

Next we will install Node.js and fix npm so we can run it without sudo:

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_8.x | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
mkdir ~/npm-global -p
sudo chown -R $USER:$USER ~/npm-global
npm config set prefix '~/npm-global'

#add to path:
echo "export PATH=~/npm-global/bin:$PATH" >> ~/.zshrc

Trust the Microsoft sources

curl https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc | gpg --dearmor > microsoft.gpg
sudo mv microsoft.gpg /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/microsoft.gpg

Add the repo’s for the .Net Core SDK, Powershell, Visual Studio Code, SQL Server at once


sudo sh -c 'echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://packages.microsoft.com/repos/microsoft-ubuntu-artful-prod artful main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/dotnetdev.list'

curl https://packages.microsoft.com/config/ubuntu/17.04/prod.list | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/microsoft.list

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://packages.microsoft.com/repos/vscode stable main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/vscode.list'

sudo add-apt-repository "$(wget -qO- https://packages.microsoft.com/config/ubuntu/16.04/mssql-server-2017.list)"

sudo add-apt-repository "$(wget -qO- https://packages.microsoft.com/config/ubuntu/16.04/prod.list)"

Now install the software:

sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install dotnet-sdk-2.1.3 powershell code mssql-server mssql-tools unixodbc-dev

Configure Sql Server

You will need to run setup to choose the correct Sql Server version and to set the SA password.

sudo /opt/mssql/bin/mssql-conf setup
# Verify
systemctl status mssql-server

Install Sql Server Tools

Next we need to instal sqlcmd:

wget http://download.microsoft.com/download/B/2/0/B20D3C84-C82A-4638-8E8C-164E09B96F71/sqlops-linux-0.25.4.deb
sudo dpkg -i sqlops-linux-0.25.4.deb

# Now login:
sqlcmd -S localhost -U SA -P ''

And we’re done

We now have an Ubuntu desktop for .NET Core development, including Sql Server. Now go ahead and do

dotnet new webapi

Next, install the Entity Framework Core package, create a full fledged backend and enjoy the fact that Microsoft has gone out of its way to make this all possible!

Script

For your convenience: here is a Gist that contains this script.

Links

https://github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell/blob/master/docs/installation/linux.md
https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/setup/linux
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/sql-operations-studio/download
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/linux/quickstart-install-connect-ubuntu


Polybase installation on SQL Server 2017 part I- Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64-bit) or higher is required

Fresh new year, so a good time to check out the newest SQL Server! So far the installing process itself in SQL server 2017 brings no big new surprises. Just like the SQL Server 2016, you have to optionally download and install the SSMS via the Microsoft website, the link will be provided once the installation has finished.

SQL Server 2017

Next the install en configuration starts. I’ll highlight the one pain in the ass I encountered this time.

I already talked about the Polybase feature related to the content in a podcast early 2016, but this time an install and setup walkthrough, plus a warning for all the people bravely installing oracles newest version of java.

When you select the Polybase to be installed and you payed close attention, or already used it in 2016 edition, you know that you need the oracle SE Java Runtime Environment.Polybase Oracle JRE

If this is not already installed on you’re computer, the installation will fail, resulting in this message :

---------------------------
 Rule Check Result
 ---------------------------
 Rule "Oracle JRE 7 Update 51 (64-bit) or higher is required for Polybase" failed.

This computer does not have the Oracle Java SE Runtime Environment Version 7 Update 51 (64-bit) or higher installed. The Oracle Java SE Runtime Environment is software provided by a third party. Microsoft grants you no rights for such third-party software. You are responsible for and must separately locate, read and accept applicable third-party license terms. To continue, download the Oracle SE Java Runtime Environment from https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=526030.
 ---------------------------
 OK
 ---------------------------

 

You need to head over to oracle.com and install a 7.51 or higher version, currently 9.0.1 is the highest, so seems legit to install this one.

Java install

 

 

 

 

 

Once you downloaded the correct product, In my case I choose the Windows Offline. Now run the Java install and return to your SQL Server setup for a re-run.

Wait what? Same message! “Requires JRE 7 update 51 or higher”. I just installed the latest JRE version, did a restart and java is up and running.

So, this it the moment you ask yourself, do I really really want the polybase feature that bad? The anwser is Yes! To start the troubleshoot, I decided, to do some backward compatibility, the oldest version available from site, without using my oracle client registration is 8.151, and guess what…This did the trick!

So stay away from the newest 9 version for as long as possible.

Next post will be the setup and configuration of the polybase

 

 


How to use Fusion Tables in your Android app

This tutorial explains how to make a database available in an Android app with google Fusion Tables.

Fusion tables is an experimental data visualization web application to gather, visualize, and share data tables.

Create a new project on the google developers console. Now search for “Fusion Tables” in the list of API’s, click on it and enable the tables.

 

 

It ask for credentials, the next step is to create a service account associated with the project.

This service account is for troubleshooting and editing data by multiple users.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now the service account is set up, you can resolve a key you need in order to use the tables in your project, in my case i’m using App Inventor. From the API Manager Credentials page select the service account and click ‘Create Credentials’.

Now we need to connect the fusion tables to our project.

Look up the Fushi0n tables in the API.

 

 

 

 

Now you can either create a fusion table, use available public data or import a data file and the fusion table is ready to be used.

My next step is to integrate the fusion tables into an android app.  As i said before I’m using app inventor for this project, since it’s very user friendly.

 

 

 

 

With the inventor blocks I retrieve the fusion data into my app with an initialize and get statement.


Edit files quickly with Vim on Windows

Vim has always been my favorite text editor on Mac and Linux. But since I spend quite some time on Windows lately I figured it’s time to see how things are now with Vim in the Windows Department.

But first, why Vim? For me the most important reason is that I get to edit files quickly without leaving the terminal.
And that’s a big win. Besides, it’s easy on the eyes too!

Install Vim and ConEmu with Chocolatey

Choco, what else!
We need a decent terminal emulator for PowerShell so let’s install ConEmu as well.

choco install conemu -y
choco install vim -y

Now we can start vim with the vim command. But of course plain vim is ultimately boring, so let’s start configuring it.

Where are the config files

In ConEmu, open a Powershell shell and enter vim. This wil start Vim.
Then type

:version

Vim looks for configuration in a ‘vimrc’ file.
Now we get to see the environment settings of Vim so we know where to put our config.

system vimrc file: "$VIM\vimrc"
user vimrc file: "$HOME\_vimrc"
2nd user vimrc file: "$HOME\vimfiles\vimrc"
3rd user vimrc file: "$VIM\_vimrc"
user exrc file: "$HOME\_exrc"
2nd user exrc file: "$VIM\_exrc"
defaults file: "$VIMRUNTIME\defaults.vim"

Let’s continue using the second entry and create the vimrc file:
Exit Vim by typing

:q

And in your Powershell prompt enter:

echo $null >> ~/_vimrc

Next let’s add some plugins and modifications to our vimrc file.

Install Pathogen

With Pathogen installing Vim plugins is a breeze.

At the PowerShell prompt type:

mkdir ~/vimfiles/bundle;mkdir ~/vimfiles/autoload
Invoke-WebRequest https://tpo.pe/pathogen.vim -OutFile ~\vimfiles\autoload\pathogen.vim

Then install some plugins by cloning them to the bundle folder you just created:

cd ~\vimfiles\bundle
git clone https://github.com/scrooloose/nerdtree.git
git clone https://github.com/Valloric/MatchTagAlways.git
git clone https://github.com/vim-airline/vim-airline
git clone https://github.com/vim-airline/vim-airline-themes
git clone https://github.com/lukaszb/vim-web-indent.git
git clone https://github.com/altercation/vim-colors-solarized.git

Create your vimrc

Copy and paste this into your vimrc:

set laststatus=2
set number
set wrap
set linebreak
set expandtab
set shiftwidth=2
set softtabstop=2
set clipboard=unnamedplus
set paste
syntax on

execute pathogen#infect()

filetype plugin indent on

map  mzgg=G`z


let NERDTreeShowHidden=1
autocmd bufenter * if (winnr("$") == 1 && exists("b:NERDTreeType") && b:NERDTreeType == "primary") | q | endif
autocmd vimenter * if !argc() | NERDTree | endif
map  :NERDTreeToggle

set t_Co=256
set background=dark
let g:airline_theme='solarized'
colorscheme solarized
set fillchars=""

The first section is self explanatory I think. Then this config:
– loads Pathogen
– maps the function key F7 to a command sequence that aligns the code.
– configures the NERDTree to load if you start Vim without a filename.
– The last section is to set the color theme to Solarized and the configure the Airline status bar.

Run Vim!


My Productivity System or How I Get Things Done

One could say: your productivity system can’t be that good because you haven’t written a blog post in ages. True, and here is why: I deliberately put some activities on hold the last 6 months. These ‘activities on hold’ happened to be the public ones: speaking, organizing meetups and blogging.

Why did I do that? Because I switched jobs AND I made a career switch. From an infrastructure architect, I decided to take the plunge and join a company that develops back-ends (API’s) and links and integrates them with all sort of systems. So I needed all my energy to be able to make this switch and in the same time add value to customers. Which is why all extra curricular activities where put on hold.

In the meantime I finally developed a GTD system which fits my needs and works for me. So let me to share that with you.

Why a productivity system?
Because in this day and age there is so much a person has to process and remember. At home there is taxes, bookkeeping, laundry, sports, shopping and so on. At work the customers, the team and the MT should be kept happy (and vice versa, obviously). On top of that I want to spend time with my SO as much as possible, to study and write code and blogs for fun.

With all this stuff going on one could easily become overwhelmed, lose control and end up having a burn-out. So I need to plan. I want to be able to concentrate to the tasks at hand and I want to improve my system over time. And obviously I need an app to help me remember and organise.

Turns out there is no single app that fits my needs do I have to combine three: Omnifocus, Harvest and Focus:

My personal system

So here it is. My personal system is like a funnel: I start collecting and organising all tasks, then I track time for a collection of tasks and I need to focus on a single task (‘deep work’).

This is how it works:

1. Note every single task item you can think of down.
2. Finish every task that will take only 2 minutes.
3. Put the remaining tasks into categories. E.g.: work, client x, sports, study.
4. Assign the tasks a start date or a due date..
5. Focus on your tasks for today and nothing else.
6. Track Time for these tasks
7. For the task at hand that requires deep thinking and concentration use the Pomodoro technique
8. Once a week: review the week and see when and where you were less efficient.

OmniFocus (only for Mac and IOS) fits well for this workflow. It helps you to focus only on the tasks you want (or can) do today, or place or when some condition is true.
This is a screenshot of the forecasting functionality of OmniFocus. For a given day you only get to see the tasks that you will be working on that day. And it has nice calendar integration a well.

OmniFocus does not a good job with time tracking, so in comes Harvest. Harvest is a very cool Time Tracking tool, which helps you see how productive you were on a day, a week and a month.

But Harvest does not let you focus. This is where I use the Pomodoro Technique. So in comes an app called Focus, which let me focus on the task at hand for 25 minutes.

The reason why I picked Focus is because of its integration with OmniFocus.

Mac only and Expensive?
Mac Only? Yes, unfortunately so (except for Harvest). I would love to OmniFocus going cross-platform, but it’s not going to happen.

Expensive? That depends. If you buy Asana or Todoist then you need to pay a monthly subscription to get at least similar functionality as OmniFocus. For the OmniFocus Pro version (and you are going to want that) you pay a whopping $79.99. So OmniFocus might be cheaper in the end. I use the free version of Harvest, and Focus costs around $7,99.

Take Aways
Developing a good productivity system that fits your needs can take months or even years. And in my case there was no single app that supported my needs. So I needed three. But I’m quite happy now. And I can see where I was less productive and why. And improve myself.

A big thank you for Asian Efficieny by the way. Their podcast is awesome and inspiring. Have a listen!