Finding My Mac Mini On The Network


Often when I reboot my Mac Mini or it has been off for a long while, I find myself not being able to figure out which IP it has, when it is up and running again. I need this IP to connect to it through VNC from my Windows PC when I want to do stuff on it.

Now the Xamarin integration into Visual Studio (VS) can see the Mac. However, I really don’t want to spin up VS just to figure out the IP of my Mac. So question is… How does VS find my Mac? Easy! Using something called Bonjour. A lot of modern devices and Mac’s use Bonjour to advertise themselves on the network, along with the services they provide. In the Mac case this is often used by iTunes, AirPlay and other services to find devices to play to and from.

So by utilizing Bonjour I can find my Mac easily. For this I’ve created a little LinqPad script to help me.

I am using the Zeroconf NuGet by Oren Novotny to get a nice and easy to use client for discovering devices.

So first thing I do is to enumerate all the devices and their services on the network, which is done simply with.

private async Task<IReadOnlyList<IZeroconfHost>> EnumerateAllServicesFromAllHosts()
    // get all domains
    var domains = await ZeroconfResolver.BrowseDomainsAsync();

    // get all hosts
    return await ZeroconfResolver.ResolveAsync(domains.Select(g => g.Key));

Going through these I can simply look for a Host with the DisplayName of my Mac. Mine is called macmini-tomasz.

var services = await EnumerateAllServicesFromAllHosts();
var host = services.FirstOrDefault(s => s.DisplayName == "macmini-tomasz");

Now that I have the actual host it has a property IPAddress which I can use for my VNC client!

Voila! With these simple steps you can find your device on the network, which broadcasts using Bonjour.

Restore NuGets From Private Feed With Cake


I have just been wrestling with Cake, NuGet and the private feed I have for some of the stuff part of a build I am working on. When restoring stuff from private feeds with NuGet there are a couple of things you need to know about and put into consideration.

So there are basically two places where NuGet is used in Cake.

  1. When running the build script it restores NuGet packages for Tools and AddIns
  2. When you restore NuGet packages for a Solution or Project

For NuGet.exe to figure out how to contact a private feed you need to provide a configuration. It would usually look something in the lines of:

        <add key="PrivateRepo" value="https://some.url" />

For the private package sources you would additionally have a section with credentials or API keys like:

        <add key="Username" value="cheesebaron" />
        <add key="ClearTextPassword" value="super_secret_passw0rd" />

You can read more about the schema and each section in the official NuGet documentation for the NuGet.config.

1. Restoring NuGet packages for Tools and AddIns in Cake

So a couple of things to think about when restoring NuGets for tools and AddIns in Cake, is how you specify them.

Usually you simply add something like the following in the top of your cake script:

#tool nuget:?package=MyPackage

This will tell NuGet to look in all configured sources for MyPackage latest stable version.

You can control which source to look explicitly in by specifying the source before the ? like so:

#tool nuget:https://some.url?package=MyPackage

When you explicitly set the source, NuGet.exe will only look for packages in this source. Meaning, if your package has other dependencies, lets say it depends on System.IO.Compression from NuGet and your private repository does not contain this package or does not proxy it. NuGet will not be able to restore this dependency and fail!

As for credentials and sources specified in the nuget.config, Cake will automatically pick this up, if the nuget.config is next to your bootstrap build.ps1 file. Previously I had mine in .nuget/nuget.config and nothing seemed to work, moving it helped.

2. Restoring NuGet packages for solutions and projects

After moving the nuget.config to where the build script executes from, it seems like this is applied too for restoring packages when using the NuGetRestore tool Cake provides out of the box.

This can always be overridden by another configuration if desired, by providing NuGetRestoreSettings:

var nugetRestoreSettings = new NuGetRestoreSettings {
    ConfigFile = new FilePath("/path/to/nuget.config")

NuGetRestore(sln, nugetRestoreSettings);

Cake In Process NuGet Client

Now as of Cake 0.22.0 there is something called In Process NuGet Client, which you can enable by adding:


To your build.ps1 or by using the --nuget_useinprocessclient=true argument. Read more about configuring it in the Cake docs for Default Configuration Values.

All the above seems to also apply to the In Process Client.

Modifying XML nodes with Cake


I am using Cake everywhere I can for my builds. It is such a nice way to define your builds in a C# DSL and run them on any environment.

Recently I had the need to patch a bunch of attributes in some XML files. Of course Cake has a tool for that! This is called XmlPoke. This tool along with a little bit of XPath knowledge and you are ready to update your XML files!

Lets say you want to update your AndroidManifest.xml with the newest versions for your App. This is usually done in the root element of the manifest, funnily enough called manifest:


The two attributes android:versionCode and android:versionName are the ones you want to update.

So first thing needed to be done is to load the namespaces. Even if you have a namespace looking like xmlns="" it needs to be loaded and used in the XPath. To load these XmlPoke has a XmlPokeSettings class:

var settings = new XmlPokeSettings
    Namespaces = new Dictionary<string, string> 
        {"android", ""}

In the case of the Android Manifest, we only have the android namespace. In the Namespaces dictionary, you would otherwise load all the namespaces that you need for your XPath queries. In the case of a naked xmlns you would also name it something, it could be called root.

With the settings in place we are ready to modify the Android Manifest with the XmlPoke alias. The XPath for the two attributes would be, /manifest/@android:versionCode and /manifest/@android:versionName. Usage in Cake would be as follows:

XmlPoke(manifestFilePath, "/manifest/@android:versionCode",
    versionCode, settings);

XmlPoke(manifestFilePath, "/manifest/@android:versionName",
    versionName, settings);

Tying all this information together in a Cake Task:

    .Does(() => 
    var versionCode = "2";
    var versionName = "1.2.4";

    var settings = new XmlPokeSettings
        Namespaces = new Dictionary<string, string> 
            {"android", ""}

    XmlPoke(manifestFilePath, "/manifest/@android:versionCode", 
        versionCode, settings);
    XmlPoke(manifestFilePath, "/manifest/@android:versionName", 
        versionName, settings);

For versionCode and versionName I like to use GitVersion to calculate these, but you could load these from somewhere else, or they could be arguments to your Cake script, it doesn’t really matter as long as they are strings.

Lets take a look at how this looks when you have a naked xmlns declaration. Here is what the root looks like for a Azure Service Fabric ApplicationManifest.xml file:


In this case we still need some namespace declarations:

var settings = new XmlPokeSettings
    Namespaces = new Dictionary<string, string> 
        {"sf", ""}

xsi and xsd are not super important, unless you are going to query nodes using these later on. But to update the ApplicationTypeVersion we need the naked namespace.

The query in this case would look like /sf:ApplicationManifest/@ApplicationTypeVersion. These Service Fabric Application Manifests also have some ServiceManifestRef nodes with ServiceManifestVersion for each of the services you have in your app.

<ApplicationManifest ApplicationTypeVersion="1.2.3"
        <Parameter />
        <Parameter />
        <Parameter />

        <ServiceManifestRef ServiceManifestVersion="1.2.3">

        <ServiceManifestRef ServiceManifestVersion="1.2.3">


For the scenario here with multiple attributes XPath can also help you. The query for the ServiceManifestVersion would look like //sf:ServiceManifestRef/@ServiceManifestVersion. Notice the two slashes //. In XPath this means select multiple nodes.

Hopefully this gave you a good idea about the usage of XmlPoke in Cake!

Moving The Blog To Jekyll


Ever since 3rd July 2012 this blog has been running on the platform. However, I’ve grown tired of how things are managed in the blogger CMS and how blog posts are written. Especially when adding code blocks it is a huge pain. Since, this blog contains so much code and is mainly about code, I’ve been looking for a better way of writing.

Enter GitHub Pages and Jekyll! Now this blog is static, content is managed on GitHub and posts and pages are written in markdown, which I am used to with documentation for MvvmCross and issues and pull requests on GitHub. If I need to change something, I can install some of the many Jekyll plugins or just quickly change some HTML or CSS, test it locally and push the changes to GitHub, using git which I use all the time for code anyways!

This workflow suits me much better and hopefully this means more focus on writing blog posts for you to read! Also hope you like the makeover of the blog!

Cake build issue reporting with PRCA

I have covered Cake build in one of my talks I did for a local user group I participate in Copenhagen. However, most of that just explained what Cake build is. If you are reading this and have no idea what Cake build is, I highly recommend looking at the Cake homepage and also watching this introduction by Gary Ewan Park, which explains very well what is great about Cake.

Once you have set up your Cake build, you may wonder how to process all the warnings and issues that MSBuild throws at you. You may also be running the ReSharper command line analysis tool which finds issues with your code. How do you combine all these results and report them or go through them to figure out what is going on?

Pascal Berger has written some great add-ins for Cake, which helps you with this, called Pull Request Code Analysis (PRCA). Let's try set it up for both MSBuild and ReSharper code Analysis.

Add-ins and tools

In your build script you need to add a couple of tools and addins.

In the snippet above, we start by adding the ReSharper CommandLineTools, for analyzing with either the default ReSharper rules or one or more rule sets that you have defined for your solution.
We also add MSBuild Extension Pack, which allows us to use an XML file format that PRCA knows how to parse. The default logging format does not work.

Then we add the relevant PRCA addins. In this case I am only interested in catching issues with my code. However, PRCA also supports reporting the issues it finds into TFS/VSTS pull requests.


Having added the required add-ins and tools for all this to work. Let's add some settings to our MSBuild, such that it can log the build in the format PRCA understands.

Here the important parts is the call to WithLogger, which sets up file logging to XML. The rest is up to you to figure out. I like to pass along the configuration as arguments in my scripts, which is where the configuration and platform variables come from. In this case we are logging to msbuildLogPath which is up to you to decide where is. It could for instance be in an artifacts folder.

ReShaper Inspect Code

Now let's add some static analysis into the mix and lets get some results from the ReSharper CLI tools. A ReShaper license is not required to use the CLI tool, so there is basically no reason not to use it if you want to improve your code.

The CLI tool just like the plugin for Visual Studio also supports extensions, which is great for adding additional analysis. This can help you catch spelling mistakes and other cool additions through the extensions.

We pass along similar MSBuild properties as we did in our build. The Profile property here is the ReSharper settings file. You can configure multiple layers of settings here, similarly to what ReShaper allows you in the VS extension.
I have chosen not to throw exceptions when finding violations, so I can report them at the end of a build if the rest of it succeeds. You can see I added a couple of extensions in the Extensions property. One for checking spelling and ensuring async suffix on async methods.
An important note here is the contents of ArgumentCustomization. On my environment, the CLI tool seems confused about which MSBuild version to use. Even though the documentation claims to always use the latest version, it still picked up an old version. Hence, I had to specify --toolset=15.0 myself to make it work.
The InspectCode tool takes a little while to run. In my case here it dumps the results in a log file at inspectReportFilePath. Just like with MSBuild, you could put that in artifacts or where ever you like.

Reading issues

Now to tie this blog post up, we now need to read the issues logged from both the build and the ReSharper code inspection. This is what PRCA excels at.

Here I simply check existence of the msbuild log and the code inspection report and run the ReadIssues tool. From this I get a IEnumerable<ICodeAnalysisIssue> which gives you the path to the file where the issue is in, the line, the message, which rule it violates and url to the rule documentation. From this you can get a very good idea about how to resolve the issue being reported.

There are plans on adding tools to create reports in various formats from this enumerable, currently you need to do something about the issues yourself, which highly depends on the environment you use to report issues, make pull requests etc.
If you are using TFS/VSTS there are built in methods to report these. More information can be found in the PRCA docs.

When you run the PRCA tool it will look something like this in your cake output.
As you see this project I've run it on has a lot of issues 😢