I had an odd issue where SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 2008 R2 would start up, display the following error message, then exit:

Package 'Microsoft SQL Management Studio Package' failed to load

Using SysInternals Process Monitor tool to monitor SSMS.exe it seemed that it was looking for the following registry key but not finding it:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools

By renaming a parent key (rather than delete it - just in case it didn't fix the issue) solved the issue for me. The key I renamed was:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server

Running SSMS again recreated the \100\Tools sub keys and all was well again. I hope it works for you too.


Here's an ASP.NET MVC HTML Helper that helps in the following scenario. Let's say you have a partial that can be included a number of times in a view but has a bit of common code that need only be included once. Typically that bit of common code would be some script.

In ASP.NET such a scenario is addressed by RegisterClientScriptBlock. In the Spark View Engine it's taken care of by the once attribute.

So, inspired by Phil Haack's Templated Razor Delegates post from earlier this year I knew you could write helper functions for Razor that could take arbitrary markup. The key to it is taking a Func argument that returns a HelperResult.

To use it you invoke it like so:

@Html.Once("some unique key", @<div>arbitrary markup that gets rendered just once</div>)

More typically, for including script, e.g.:

@Html.Once("TABLE_SORTER_INIT_SCRIPT", @<script type="text/javascript">
    $(function() {
        $('table.sortable th').each(function(){
            // . . .

Here's the implementation that adds the Once extension method to HtmlHelper:

using System;
using System.Web.Mvc;
using System.Web.WebPages;

namespace Foo
    public static class HtmlUtils
        public static HelperResult Once(this HtmlHelper html, string key, Func<object, HelperResult> template)
            var httpContextItems = html.ViewContext.HttpContext.Items;
            var contextKey = "HtmlUtils.Once." + key;
            if (!httpContextItems.Contains(contextKey))
                // Render and record the fact in HttpContext.Items
                httpContextItems.Add(contextKey, null);
                return template(null);
                // Do nothing, already rendered something with that key
                return new HelperResult(writer => { /*no-op*/ });

Hope that helps!


When presenting on JavaScript or jQuery I'll typically spend a lot of time in the Chrome Developer Tools window at the console. The problem is that, depending on the projection facilities and the resolution the fonts can be too small to read.

The Chrome devtools themselves are built out of HTML and CSS so I started digging for how I could edit the stylesheet. You can view the default devtool stylesheet by navigating to chrome-devtools://devtools/devTools.css. You can't easily edit this though (it's probably buried as a resource within Chrome), but you can override its styles using the standard custom user stylesheet Custom.css!

Custom.css lives at:

  • Windows: C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\User StyleSheets
  • Mac OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/User Stylesheets/

The style(s) to add and override in Custom.css are:

body.platform-mac .monospace, body.platform-mac .source-code {
    font-family: Monaco, monospace;

/* Keep .platform-mac to make the rule more specific than the general one above. */
body.platform-mac.platform-mac-snowleopard .monospace,
body.platform-mac.platform-mac-snowleopard .source-code {
    font-size: 11px !important;
    font-family: Menlo, monospace;

body.platform-windows .monospace, body.platform-windows .source-code {
    font-size: 12px !important;
    font-family: Consolas, Lucida Console, monospace;

body.platform-linux .monospace, body.platform-linux .source-code {
    font-size: 11px !important;
    font-family: dejavu sans mono, monospace;

A nice touch is that the styles update automatically as you save Custom.css so you can tweak it on the fly to get the right font-size for your audience.

Chrome DevTools with a larger font-size

Hope that helps!


As documented in recent posts, I've been tinkering getting the LESS and CoffeeScript compilers running on Windows Script Host. I've now got round to wrapping these up as ASP.NET HTTP Handlers so you can easily use them in ASP.NET-based websites. You simply reference the *.less and *.coffee files and they get served up as CSS and JavaScript directly. For example:

<link href="content/style.less" rel="stylesheet">
<script src="content/site.coffee"></script>

No need to install add-ins into Visual Studio or add build steps to your project. The main downside is that it won't run on non-Windows platforms under Mono (although I'm tempted adapt it to use Mozilla's SpiderMonkey JavaScript Shell).

If you're running Visual Studio 2010 then simply use the LessCoffee NuGet package.

PM> Install-Package LessCoffee

If you're using Visual Studio 2008 you'll need follow these manual steps:

  • Copy LessCoffee.dll to your web application's /bin directory
  • Add the following entries to your web.config file:
            <add path="*.coffee" type="DotSmart.CoffeeScriptHandler, LessCoffee" verb="*" validate="false"/>
            <add path="*.less" type="DotSmart.LessCssHandler, LessCoffee" verb="*" validate="false"/>

    <!-- IIS 7 -->
        <validation validateIntegratedModeConfiguration="false"/>
            <add path="*.coffee" type="DotSmart.CoffeeScriptHandler, LessCoffee" verb="*" name="DotSmart.CoffeeScriptHandler"/>
            <add path="*.less" type="DotSmart.LessCssHandler, LessCoffee" verb="*" name="DotSmart.LessCssHandler"/>

If you're using Windows 2003/IIS 6 then you will need to map the file extensions *.less and *.coffee to aspnet_isapi.dll.

The source is on GitHub, obv: https://github.com/duncansmart/LessCoffee

tl;dr: You can compile CoffeeScript on Windows with zero third-party dependencies.

A while back I did a post on running the LESS.js compiler on Windows using the venerable and ubiquitous Window Script Host (WSH: providing JavaScript console scripting since Windows 98... when John Resig was still in 8th grade). At the time I tried something similar to generate JavaScript from the wonderful CoffeeScript language, but I couldn't get it working due to what I assumed were shortcomings in WSH's JScript engine. There are plenty of other options out there for compiling CoffeeScript, but incur various third-party dependencies as detailed in this StackOverflow question.

But on a whim the other day I revisited it and thankfully now it does work on plain old WSH without any coaxing (not sure what changed, or what I was doing wrong last time). I took the full browser-based coffee-script.js and wrapped it with a simple *.wsf and batch file to handle command-line options.


It's on github, natch: https://github.com/duncansmart/coffeescript-windows


To use it, invoke coffee.cmd like so:

coffee input.coffee output.js

You can also pipe to and from it if you are so inclined via stdin/out. Errors are written to stderr.

In the test directory there's a version of the standard CoffeeScript tests which can be kicked off using test.cmd. Note that the test just attempts to compile the standard set of  *.coffee test files but doesn't execute them.

Hope it helps; comments appreciated!