Oct 19, 2013

Unicode characters in Python console

Recently I've have had a look at a Python language. A played a bit with it, but found that I feel uncomfortable with it without a proper introduction. I've decided to go with Learn Python the Hard Way, even though it's biasied towards unexpirienced programmers, but the book name intrigued me and I've actually heard that book name for some time with positive recommendations. So, somethere around Lesson 1, there you print to a console, I've decided to try out printing in non-English language, Russian in particular, just to see how it goes. It didn't worked. So I headed to Stack Overflow. But even there I've spend a lot (relatively) of time to find solution that actually worked for me.

During this search I also found Python Unicode handling as confusing to say the least. I guess it's a matter of some time of studying the subject, but that is really annoying since string is the thing that you usually work a lot with. Because of that I find that Python feels like a JavaScript mixed with a C.

P.S. I also think Python Tools for Visual Studio is probably the best IDE to learn (and work) with Python on Windows, especially if you are a long time Visual Studio user, you will feel right at home.

Sep 26, 2013

How to POST (upload) a file in a Visual Studio web test

So, I've came up with a task of performing a basic load test of a web service. For that purpose I've chosen the WebTest of Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Test Project. For the most part as long as only GET requests were performed everything was pretty straightforward.

But there was one POST request that requred a file upload. A little googling led to this blog entry which describes the situation in detail. The only problem was that recording of the file upload didn't work. It didn't record anything at all, to be more correct. I guess that's because I'm in the end of 2013 and using Windows 8 and IE 10, and this breaks it somehow (you know, Windows 8 breaks a lot of things).

So basically situation is pretty dumb: you can't add "Form Post Parameters" to your POST request with a right click menu. Why (it's a rhetorical for Microsoft, I know)? And the only semi-official solution doesn't work, and it's pretty dumb solution, I might add.

The solution is quite simple however. A .webtest file is a XML, which utilises a http://microsoft.com/schemas/VisualStudio/TeamTest/2010 schema, which is located at %VsInstallDir%\Xml\Schemas\vstst.xsd. Using that schema it wasn't hard to find required tags. To create "Form Post Parameters" create a new POST request ("Add Web-Service Request"), save, and reopen .webtest as XML file. In the tag <Request> insert child elements:

<FormPostParameter Name="dummy" Value="test1" RecordedValue="" CorrelationBinding="" UrlEncode="True" />

save and close. Now you can reopen webtest with it's standard editor, and voila, you have the parameters, you can now right click on it and two new options apper in menu, inluding "Add File Upload Parameter" which is that we need. Everything else is already described in blog entry mentioned above.

Sep 11, 2013

Visual Studio 'Run' button is disabled, or problems with build

Sometime very strange things happens with Visual Studio. The one have happened to me maybe three times for all time, and each time I already forgot that I need to do to fix it! So basically your simptoms can be any of the like:

1) Your Run (F5) button is disabled;
2) Your program is not recompiled and hitting Run causes running old version of the 'exe' that lies in the Debug folder;
3) Then hitting F5 you receive error messages like "Visual Studio cannot start debugging because the debug target 'C:\your\path\bin\Debug\Project.exe' is missing. Please build the project and retry, or set the OutputPath and AssemblyName properties appropriately to point at the correct location for the target assembly.'

That usually that happens absolutely sporadically with you doing nothnig with the project or solution preferences, which confuses a lot. Now, in 99% of the cases the solution is to go to the Build->Configuration Manager... and check that Build checkbox is checked for required projects, see picture:

What makes them suddenly unchecked is still a mistery to me.

Microsoft CRM 2011, import CSV file with entity references (lookups)

While most of the time you probably could use a LookupMaps to set up an entity references in you import maps, you may come to situation there you want put actual ID's (references) in your CSV file. So, the tricky part here is the format. To create EntityReference you need entity type name and it's GUID. How would you put that into CSV string? The answer is like this:


Note that surrounding quotes are required, because of the comma.

Aug 7, 2013

Kickstarter, more analysis

I've already mentioned UnSubject blog on the Kickstarter topic, yet again I found more and more good articles on the subject in this blog.

Well, while I don't think that Kickstarter idea is not good, actually I think it's good, but pragmatic analysis is that is missing. Every baker should read that blog, to have clear view of that Kickstarter really is. More projects on Kickstarter will fail though, and they deserve that. I guess any honest developer will benefit from reading it too.

Microsoft CRM 2011, hide system Save menu

Recently we were asked if it is possible to disable a standard 'Save' menu of Microsoft CRM 2011, since all data on forms is read-only anyway. So, after some searching I've found sample code how to do this. The key was to use "top" property which is containing parent frame which is necessary, since our code (called in "OnLoad" form event) is executing in inner frame. With some modifications this is what finally worked out for me:

var disableSaveMenu = function() {
    // your entities names
    var entities = ["account", "contact" /* add as necessary */];

    var i;
    for(i = 0; i < entities.length; i++) {
        var ent = entities[i];
        var save = top.document.getElementById(ent + "|NoRelationship|Form|Mscrm.Form." + ent + ".MainTab.Save");
        if(save != null) {
            save.style.display = 'none';
    // hide 'File' menu, additional 'Save' is also located there
    var jewel = top.document.getElementById("jewelcontainer");
    if(jewel != null) {
        jewel.style.display = 'none';

Aug 6, 2013

Microsoft CRM 2011, automatically load all subgrids

Microsoft CRM 2011 doesn't load by default data in all of the subgrids if they count exceed 4, displaying 'To load ... records, click here' message. It's actually extremely annoying.

It's not possible to change this behaviour with standard tools (i.e. via control preferences). So I've found how to do it using JavaScript function call on form OnLoad event. Unfortunatelly it did't worked in my case. For some reason the moment then OnLoad event was fired, the from subgrids were, apparently, not initialized on the form. I've decided then to call the function with a little delay:

var autoLoadSubgrids = function() {
    var maxAuto = 4;
    var loadDelay = 1000;

    var subgrids = Xrm.Page.ui.controls.get(function (control, index) {
        return control.getControlType() == "subgrid";
    if (subgrids.length > maxAuto) {
        var subCall = function() {
            var i;
            for (i = maxAuto; i < subgrids.length; i++) {
                var grid = subgrids[i];
                if(grid != null) {

        window.setTimeout(subCall, loadDelay);

And it worked! Not the solution I would like, but I guess that's all I can do now and it also would'n do any harm if something goes wrong.