Configuration for NLog

When I am writing an application it is so important to make sure you record and log information correctly, there are a number of free loggers you can use

I have come to use NLog, by Jaroslaw Kowalski, it’s so easy to use and get up and running, which is what you really need if you are using a logger of any type.

But what is the best practice when using a log in a live environment?

Or more importantly what and how do you configure you configuration file to make sure you are logging all your information?

The way I see it is, capture your logging to the Event Log and a Database for information and tracing.

When it comes to Errors and Fatal logging then, write it to as many places as you can, an Error file, the Event Log, a Database Log, and perhaps a special Exception Database Log, because if something has failed, you’ll want to shout about it, and you want to record it in as many places as possible.

Here is an example of an NLog configuration

NLog.config (2.63 kb)

To setup the database use the following creation creation script

NLogDatabase.sql (1.16 kb)

Make sure within the SQL Database you have a user “nloguser”, with a password of “nlogpassword”, these are both defined in the NLog configuration file, and can be changed if need be.

That is it, all you have to do now is wait for your live application to log some information.

I am sure there are a few other configuration options available and I welcome anyones comments on how to improve this configuration file.



Arrive on Friday night, preferably at city airport and head east to Brick lane for a curry. After dinner have drinks at the Vibe bar or 93 feet east. If you are feeling super energetic see what is going on at Sosho, Cargo or Electricity showrooms before getting a good night of sleep.

Saturday morning, get up early and have breakfast at Patisserie Valerie in Knightsbridge. Have a wander around Harrods for an hour or two making sure that you check out the food hall. Jump on the tube and head over to Camden. You may enjoy the market – I don’t – but if the chaos isn’t for you get off at Chalk Farm station rather than Camden to avoid it all. Grab lunch at Thanh Binh one of the best cheap Vietnamese restaurants in London, I recommend the Pho.

After lunch, walk to the top of Primrose hill for one of the best views of the whole city. On the way back to the tube, stop for a pint or two outside The engineer or The queens.

I’d suggest a rest at this point so you can make the most of your evening. For dinner book Latium and have cocktails before/after at the Sanderson.

You are on your own for the evening. I don’t really do clubbing any more, but the one piece of advice I give is don’t just wander to Leicester square and choose a venue, there are some absolute hovels. If you are just after a few more drinks after dinner I like the bar at the Charlotte street hotel.

Sunday morning, make sure you enjoy a full English breakfast to start your day. Your hotel probably serves one and to be honest there isn’t any particular culinary skill involved in making one so it is hardly worth hunting down an ‘authentic greasy spoon’ cafe.

Get a tube to Westminster and walk over the bridge enjoying the uber tourist views of Big ben and the houses of parliament. Get a boat from Waterloo pier next to the London eye to Bankside pier, browse Tate modern for a while then cross the river using the millennium foot bridge, head up to St. Pauls Cathedral and check out thewhispering gallery.

Make sure you use the Thames Clippers commuter boats. The tourist boats are over priced and very slow.

Back on the boat to Greenwich, from Blackfriars pier. Walk through the grounds of the naval college and into the park, up to the observatory for another view over London. If you have time check out the three markets in Greenwich.

Finish your trip with a late Sunday roast and a beer at the Plume of feathers (you’ll need to book a sitting at 2 or 4pm). Get on the DLR and head back to city airport!

That is just one of many ways of spending a weekend in London. I missed out Fish and Chips, some great markets and many of my favourite pubs simply because of time constraints. I also tried to leave plenty of spare time between my recommendations so you can wander off the beaten track and discover your own London – in my experience, just wandering is one of the true joys of travel.

My final tip, here is what  to avoid. Leicester Square, Theatre Land, The London eye, Buckingham palace. Some Londoners may passionately disagree, but I think you’d be wasting valuable time.

So, if you are reading this and thinking of visiting, enjoy my city. Arguably the greatest on earth.


Caching from a non Web applications

Okay you are developing a WinForm application and you are looking at performance, one area is Caching of information, but wait a minute I’ve been using caching in my web applications for sometime, but how do you do it from a WinForm application as you don’t have a host to store your cache.

Would you know it you can use the web cache too, just you have to take a few extra steps to retain your cache, either in memory or in temporary files.

You can use the HttpRequest to store the System.Web.Cache objects in your application, and this works well.

I also came across any Blog, providing another method to Caching, however I have a little concern over this method of caching in files as you are likely to get file locking.

Using System.Web.Caching From The Console Or Windows Forms

I’ve written my own simple VB.NET application to show it working and just holding the Cache in memory for the life of the application. (17.73 kb)

Of course you could run a Windows Service which holds all the Cache information, this way it will be available to all your WinForm applications should you require it.

StructureMap Example

After using StructureMap for a while I thought it would be nice to generate a simple example of how it all works, so I’ve built in Visual Studio 2008, both C# and a VB.NET version.

StructreMap (4.47 kb) (9.41 kb)

For more information on StructureMap please go to their main website

If you need to know more about IoC’s then it’s worth making a look at the following links:

Inversion of Control

List of .NET Dependency Injection Containers (IOC)

IoC Benchmarks

MVC Storefront: Dependency Injection


Small free and replacement for Notepad

Do you still use Notepad that ships with Windows?

I did, until I found NotePad2, it’s fast, it’s easy to use, and more to the point it works.

I’ve been using it for the past 2 months, and I have not got any clue to the features, but what I like about it is it just works and is a very good replacement for the standard Windows Notepad. 

Here are the features, cribbed from the NotePad2 Website:

Customizable syntax highlighting: 

  • HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, VBScript, ASP, PHP, CSS, Perl/CGI
  • C/C++, C#, Java, VB, Pascal, Assembler, SQL, Python, NSIS
  • Drag & drop text editing inside and outside Notepad2
  • Basic regular expression search and replace
  • Useful word, line and block editing shortcuts
  • Rectangular selection (Alt+Mouse)
  • Brace matching, auto indent, long line marker, zoom functions
  • Support for Unicode, UTF-8, Unix and Mac text files
  • Open shell links
  • Mostly adjustable
  • Auto indentation
  • Bracket matching
  • Encoding conversion between ASCII, UTF-8 and UTF-16 formats
  • Multiple undo/redo; rectangular block selection
  • Newline conversion, between DOS (CR/LF), Unix (LF) and Mac (CR) formats 

How to Replace notepad with notepad2 in Vista?

  1. First you need to download notepad2 from here
  2. First you need to Rename Notepad2.exe to notepad.exe.
  3. Find c:\windows\notepad.exe and c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe and set the owner to ‘Administrators’, and grant Administrators full control.
  4. Using Windows Explorer, drag and drop the renamed notepad2.exe to c:\windows and c:\windows\system32.
  5. Optional replace the permissions on the new notepad.exe to Read & Execute and Read.
Another one to look at is Notepad++, it has a lovely set of plugins such as XML have a look at Tim Almonds post on the XML plugin

HTML Editor

I’ve been doing a little research on the use of an HTML Editor for development of internal project, using ASP.NET

Aloha Editor (

This HTML editor is the bees knees, take a look at the website and check it out, it fantastic (11.30 mb)

FCKeditor (

The editor is distributed under the GPL, LGPL and MPL open source licenses. This triple licensing model avoids incompatibility with other open source licenses, making it possible to integrate FCKeditor whenever you want.

FreeTextBox (

FreeTextBox is the most-used HTML editor for ASP.NET. It is compatible with IE on the PC, and Mozilla and Firefox on all platforms. It is used in major Open Source projects such as Community Server and DotNetNuke as well as excellent packages like Smarter Mail.
Buy FreeTextBox
To purchase a FreeTextBox Professional license or Distribution License with Source code, please click on one of the “Purchase” buttons below. Currently, PayPal is our payment provider. Once you click a “buy” you will be redirected to paypal where you can pay using your PayPal account or a credit card.
Professional License – $49.99
The Professional License allows FreeTextBox to be used in all applications you or your company creates on as many servers as you host, but the license does not include rights to re-distribute FreeTextBox 3.0 Professional features in applications you or your company sell. If you sell or distribute products with FreeTextBox 3.0 Professional features, you must purchase a Distribution license (see below). Upon purchase, you will receive a unique FreeTextBox.lic file which will unlock the Professional features of FreeTextBox 3.0. Professional License Agreement

TinyMCE (

Open Source under LGPL

CuteEditor (
This can be purchased from

RadEditor (

RadEditor for ASP.NET AJAX is the leading WYSIWYG web editor. It can replace any TextBox with an intuitive Word®-like editor, which enables even non-technical users to visually manage HTML content. Also available for SharePoint 2007 (MOSS) and DotNetNuke.
Cost $999

On my research I could not find a BSD licensed HTML Editor.

The ones I have used before are
    RadEditor, very good, also very good support and backup.
    TinyMCE, very rich in features and easy to use.
    FCKeditor, little harder to use, and now with extra licences to allow for more general use

Using as a General Purpose Content Management System

So I keep running into the same problem – I am building a small website for somebody and I need to provide them with a way to update the content of their site so I don’t have to. Basically, I need a lightweight and flexible content management system that is easy to use.

If The Shoe Fits…

When I first thought of a lightweight CMS, I thought of graffiti. It sounds like exactly what I need. So I downloaded the express edition and started evaluating it. It seemed like a nice product and all is not free for commercial use ($399 is the cheapest commercial licence) and I can’t afford that price tag when building small websites.

Enter My favorite blogging platform. There, I said it.  Well, I use it to run my blog and I am constantly tinkering around with the site all of the time because I enjoy using so much.

I thought that has all of the key pieces I needed for my lightweight CMS:

  1. A WYSIWYG Editor
  2. A Metaweblog interface
  3. Tons of extensibility

Basic Idea

I decided to base my CMS implementation on the concept of pages. Most blog engines have two distinct types of content: pages and posts. Posts are the typical type of content that becomes part of your blogs feed whereas pages are usually static content which can be anything outside of a blog post (for example an ‘About Me’ page). already has everything I need to get the content of page created and persisted in a data store (it supports xml and sql server out of the box). I decided to write a web control which I can place on any webpage and include the contents of a given page from the data store.

I made a control called PageViewer which you can place on the page like this:

<blog:PageViewer ID=“view” runat=“server” DisplayTitle=“false” PageId=“167eb7f3-135b-4f90-9756-be25ec10f14c” />

This control basically just looks up the page using the given id (this functionality is all provided by the existing BlogEngine.Core library) and displays its content. Here is the rendering logic

if (PageId != Guid.Empty)	
page = BlogEngine.Core.Page.GetPage(PageId);if (page != null){	ServingEventArgs arg = new ServingEventArgs(page.Content,ServingLocation.SinglePage);BlogEngine.Core.Page.OnServing(page, arg);	if (arg.Cancel)	Page.Response.Redirect("error404/", true);	
if (DisplayTitle)	{		writer.Write("<h1>");		writer.Write(page.Title);		writer.Write("</h1>");	}	
writer.Write("<div>");	writer.Write(arg.Body);	writer.Write("</div>");}

This code is pretty straight forward – all it does is get an instance of the page and then display its title in <h1> a tag and its body in <div> tag. This logic is actually straight from the existing page retrieval code that already exists in This web control is pretty much the only new code I had to write. The rest of the project mostly involves moving files around and removing parts of the framework that I don’t need.

Armed with this control, we are ready to start converting the static pages from the old version of the website to be pages which can be stored and retrieved using the BlogEngine.Core classes.


It’s also worth noting that there are many themes available for BlogEngine