Chris Gomez

Development topics for the indie programmer

SignalR Lightning Round

Thanks for attending Philly.Net’s 15 minutes of Fame with our fast paced topical talks in fifteen minutes each.

If you’re looking for links to materials for SignalR, here they are!

Chatter Demo

[View on GitHub]
Demonstrates SignalR basics.
Also includes Windows 8 Store version to demonstrate cross-platform capabilities of SignalR as your backend.

Stock Ticker Demo

[View on GitHub]
Demonstrates IHubContext so you can make calls to clients from outside a SignalR Hub.
Demonstrates how you can avoid putting your business or simulation logic in SignalR Hubs.

Videos to watch

Building Real-time Web Apps with ASP.NET SignalR (Build 2012)

Scaling the Real-time Web with ASP.NET SignalR (Build 2013)

Under the covers with ASP.NET SignalR (NDC 2013)

dotNetConf 2014 SignalR

Getting Started With Publishing Games

I created a few videos that can help you get started with publishing games on Windows.  I’m going to continue making videos and blogging about them.  The videos are a way for you to see in bite-sized increments how to get started publishing games.

First, I decided to use the Unity game engine ( because you can get started for free, and you can publish to the Windows Store, Windows Phone store, Android, and iOS right away.

There’s no question the web site is a little misleading about this, so I will be making more videos where I introduce basic concepts but I’d also like to go through the last mile of platform specific content that will get your game approved.

To start, you can get the complete free Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows (to make Windows Store apps) and the free Unity engine download, and these videos show you how:

The Real Time Web presented at First State .Net User Group

Thanks to everyone for attending my presentation about SignalR, OWIN, and the Real Time Web at First State .Net User Group.


Building Real-time Web Apps at Build 2012 (good overview, but getting outdated. SignalR 1.x)

Scaling the Real Time Web at Build 2013

SignalR under the covers (Create a SignalR “lite” on stage)

OWIN and Katana

The ASP.NET SignalR Getting Started Site:

Cross Platform Chat Sample on GitHub:

SignalR in action: A “board game” sample:

Forza 5 crashing – Should you go wireless?

(For YouTube videos of the crashing issues, where I demonstrate corrupt downloads of Forza Motorsport 5, and a full history of my troubleshooting of the Xbox One and Forza 5, see here: Forza 5 crashes on specific track every time, broken since launch)

I know what you are thinking.  How can this possibly be related?  I don’t know.  But for three people with three different Xbox One consoles, it seems to be working to switch from wired to wireless and redownloading.  Want the details?  Read on…

I had given up on Forza 5 and, truth be told, looked into returning my Xbox One.  My retailer return period expires in a week or so, and I was kind of done with being the troubleshooter over this.

Then I made some connections on Twitter and YouTube.  People had seen my blog posts, forum posts, and videos and said “I have the same problem!”

To make a long story short, one of these people (@tiwahu on Twitter) thought there might be an issue with using the Wired connection on Xbox One with our crappy Verizon supplied Fios 10/100 routers.

What is interesting about this is your natural inclination is “wired is better.”  I was asked by support a few times if I was connected wired into the router, and asked to provide more details about that. They preferred wired.  Who wouldn’t?


Forza 5 crashes on specific track every time, broken since launch.

The following is an email I sent to a support email and also posted on the Forza Motorsport forums.  I needed to post it here because the folks at @XboxSupport have been the only ones to be truly responsive to my issues.  However, I can not keep describing the whole issue 140 characters at a time since each new day I encounter a new person who needs me to start over with them.
I keep the whole twitter thread link saved here:
Anyone reading this for the first time, please review that thread and the youtube video I discuss.  I have also extensively explained the issues in the linked forum posts.
What is very clear is that every time I install the game, the install appears to not completely work and at least one track will never load for me (no matter the game type, car, or user profile).  That track (so far it has been one per download but it doesn’t have to be.  Other Forza Motorsport forum users report problems with more than one) will crash forever, on any race type, mode, or user profile until i delete and redownload the game.
The problem is I can not get a clean download where I can prove every track works.  Each time, it may be a different track that is corrupt.  I still think it is possible for more than one to be corrupt.
So far no one appears to be able to help me.  I have had this problem since launch, although it took awhile to figure it out, and since Dec 8th I have been keeping meticulous notes about it.
We are almost at a month since launch and it is getting really annoying when you think about the hard earned money you've spent on a console and a game and the vendor of that game will either censor or refuse to respond to your pleas to help them troubleshoot the game.
They have the money already so perhaps that explains that...

Philly.NET Code Camp 2013.2 - SignalR

Thanks to everyone who attended my talk about using SignalR “in the real world.”  Besides being an introduction to SignalR for everyone who’s curious about this technology, we talked about some more advanced scenarios I have experience with, including using the IHubContext interface to broadcast from outside a SignalR Hub and the exciting “cross platform” scenario that is enabled by the several SignalR clients out there.

I wanted to start getting all the code we looked at up on github.  I will continue to update this post until all the samples we saw are ready for you to try. – This is the repository holding the chat web app and windows store app.  They should work together.

I did develop these projects in Visual Studio 2013, which has built in Git support and it is a lot easier to clone the projects directly from GitHub and begin working.  If you have a need for Visual Studio 2012 support, please let me know.

Up next, I need to get the StockTicker sample (modifying an existing service) up and finally the “game board” sample where you could move game tokens around a sample grid.

Coming soon are my tutorial writeups for those who didn’t make the code camp talk!

SignalR 2.0 brings us closer to OWIN

So I got tripped up at Central Penn.NET’s Code Camp with SignalR 2.0.  I realized there are a lot of blog posts that need to happen to explain some of the changes.

One of the great things about NuGet and the building of a .NET ecosystem around NuGet packages is that installing components you want to make your application go has never been easier.  It’s never been easier to stay up to date.  It’s never been easier to adopt new versions.

But there is such a thing as breaking changes…

In my talk yesterday about using SignalR in the real world, I got tripped up when doing the Stock Ticker that updates as stock prices change.  I know now that a breaking change in SignalR 2.0 obsoleted the common MVC era extension method for setup that many modules use.

In SignalR, you would go into your Application_Start method in Global.asax and add:


Many components add an extension method to allow you to add routes with simple syntax, but it becomes custom syntax.  That does violate the spirit of OWIN a bit, and I think the SignalR team is definitely very supportive of OWIN.

So when you create an MVC project and use SignalR 2.0, you now following the OWIN standard and create a Startup class that has any startup logic you need.  In this case, it’s mapping our hubs:

This also means we say goodbye to the Microsoft.AspNet.SignalR.Owin NuGet package since this implementation doesn’t need the setup being provided by that package anymore.  More info on that in the SignalR faq.

So for now, here is a link to download the completed Stock Ticker sample.  I’m going to investigate now whether a different version of SignalR is automagically downloaded to you when you create your first SignalR Hub class via tooling or whether you go with NuGet.

I know that you can install specific versions of packages using NuGet, but I think most people don’t do this when they hit File > New Project.  It might be something I do from now on in presentations just to make sure something hasn’t changed, even in the last few days!

StockTicker Sample Download

Hands On with SignalR - Philly.NET

Thanks to everyone who came to see Nick Berardi and I introduce SignalR development to you.

A reminder that the link to the materials for tonight are here: Hands-On Materials

I have placed the "extended" Word document in the zip, but left the project in it's original state.  

How many people would like to see the architecture fleshed out?  I mentioned in the talk that I held off separating the StockTicker and the HubContext because I thought it would detract from learning about SignalR, but I firmly believe you can keep your current systems decoupled as long as they have a way to subscribe or notify others of pertinent changes.  I might work on that just to have a solid reference for how you use this technology in the real business world.  Too many people start thinking SignalR couples too tightly to your logic, but it doesn't have to be this way!

OWIN–What? Where? Why? – Philly.NET

“15 Minutes of Fame” nights at user groups are fun.  It’s challenging to provide value to your fellow developers in 15 minutes.  Thanks to everyone who saw my little piece of a series of great talks.

Lately, I’ve been working with SignalR and WebAPI, but self-hosted in my own application (not deployed to IIS).  The application is a thick client that other clients communicate with using standard web protocols (thanks to the self-hosting!).  This makes it awfully easy to deploy your app and NOT have to worry about whether your customers’ firewalls will allow the traffic or if they set up your server correctly.  The client IS the server!

What’s OWIN good for?  In short, you can use it to make your application portable between servers (at this time, this is likely saying “portable between IIS and self-hosted in your own app”). 

You can also use it to only take the frameworks or pipelines you want.  If you are using ASP.NET Web API, do you REALLY need the whole IIS pipeline and ASP.NET page cycle?  You might not.  Do you hate that to get simple membership you have to take all of System.Web?  As more frameworks and middleware support the OWIN specification, you’ll pick just what you want.  As Scott Hanselman would say: “The Lego pieces are the right size.”

Resources for you to learn more about OWIN:

This is still in prerelease, but you can learn a lot about the idea of separating frameworks from hosts and servers so that your applications are more portable and flexible.  Why be limited to IIS or even Windows for that matter?

The Katana Project - OWIN for ASP.NET – Video

An Overview of Project Katana – An overview of the need for OWIN and walks you through some simple examples.

How I am using OWIN – Damian Hickey shows you how his web applications are testable because OWIN eliminated the dependency on a network/http stack just to test.

OWIN, Katana, and getting started – Another short explanation, with some great visuals.  Also a simple getting started sample.