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v4.1.5: Calculated Properties and Delegate Expressions

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is in the release notes and is available to those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

Breaking changes

Tuple support for delegates

tl;dr: Applications might have to include the System.Tuple NuGet package in some assemblies.

This release adds an overload for creating delegate expressions that returns a Tuple (object, bool). This improvement allows applications to more easily specify a lambda that returns a value and a flag indicating whether the value is valid.

There are several overloads available for creating a DelegateExpression. The simplest of these assumes that a value can be calculated and is appropriate for constant values or values whose calculation does not depend on the IExpressionContext passed to the expression.

However, many (if not most) delegates should indicate whether a value can be calculated by returning true or false and setting an out object value parameter instead. This is still the standard API, but 4.1.5 introduces an overload that supports tuples, which makes it easier to call.

In 4.1.4, an application had the following two choices for using the "tryGetValue" variant of the API.

Elements.Classes.A.AddCalculatedProperty("FullText", f => f.CreateDelegate(GetFullText));

private object GetFullText(IExpressionContext context, out object value)
{
  var obj = context.GetInstance<IMetaObject>();
  if (obj != null)
  {
    value = obj.ToString();
		 
    return true;
  }

  value = null;
	
  return false;
}

If the application wanted to inline the lambda, the types have to be explicitly specified:

Elements.Classes.A.AddCalculatedProperty("FullText", f => f.CreateDelegate((IExpressionContext context, out object value) => {
  var obj = context.GetInstance<IMetaObject>();
  if (obj != null)
  {
    value = obj.ToString();
		 
    return true;
  }

  value = null;
	
  return false;
}));

The overload that expects a tuple makes this a bit simpler:

Elements.Classes.A.AddCalculatedProperty("FullText", f => f.CreateDelegate(context => {
  var obj = context.GetInstance<IMetaObject>();
	 
  return obj != null ? (obj.ToString(), true) : (null, false);
}));

Empty Expression Contexts

Previously, a DelegateExpression would always return false for a call to TryGetValue() made with an empty context. This has been changed so that the DelegateExpression no longer has any logic of its own. This means, though, that an application must be a little more careful to properly return false when it is missing the information that it needs to calculate the value of an expression.

All but the lowest-level overloads and helper methods are unaffected by this change. An application that uses factory.CreateDelegate<T>() will not be affected. Only calls to new DelegateExpression() need to be examined on upgrade. It is strongly urged to convert direct calls to the construct to use the IMetaExpressionFactory instead.

Imagine if an application used a delegate for a calculated expression as shown below.

Elements.Classes.Person.AddCalculatedProperty("ActiveUserCount", MetaType.Boolean, new DelegateExpression(GetActiveUserCount));

// ...

private object GetActiveUserCount(IExpression context)
{
  return context.GetInstance<Person>().Company.ActiveUsers;
}

When Quino processes the model during startup, expression are evaluated in order to determine whether they can be executed without a context (caching, optimization, etc.). This application was safe in 4.1.4 because Quino automatically ignored an empty context and never called this code.

However, as of 4.1.5, an application that calls this low-level version will have to handle the case of an or insufficient context on its own.

It is highly recommended to move to using the expression factory and typed arguments instead, as shown below:

Elements.Classes.Person.AddCalculatedProperty<Person>("ActiveUserCount", MetaType.Boolean, f => f.CreateDelegate(GetActiveUserCount));

// ...

private object GetActiveUserCount(Person person)
{
  return person.Company.ActiveUsers;
}

If you just want to add your own handling for empty contexts, you can do the following (note that you have to change the signature of GetActiveUserCount):

Elements.Classes.Person.AddCalculatedProperty("ActiveUserCount", MetaType.Boolean, new DelegateExpression(GetActiveUserCount));

// ...

private bool GetActiveUserCount(IExpression context, out object value)
{
  var person = context.GetInstanceOrDefault<Person>();
  if (person == null)
  {
    value = null;
    return false;
  }

  value = person.Company.ActiveUsers;

  return true;
}
v4.1.4: Search-detail fixes and calculated properties

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is in the release notes and is available to those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

Breaking changes

  • None
v4.1: Layouts, captions, multiple requests-per-connection

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is in the release notes and is available to those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

Breaking changes

  • Usages of {{RunWinform}} should be updated to {{RunMetaWinform}}. The method {{RunWinform}} is now defined with a function parameter that expects an {{IApplication}} parameter instead of an {{IDataSession}} parameter. The change was made to allow applications more flexibility in configuring startup for applications with multiple main forms (QNO-4922) while still re-using as much shared code in Quino as possible. {{RunMetaWinform}} extends the {{RunWinform}} support to create and configure an {{IDataSession}} per form.
v4.1.3: Fixes for search layouts, languages, reconnects, descendant relations

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is in the release notes and is available to those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

  • Fixed reconnect for ADO database connections (QNO-5776)
  • Fixed occasional startup crash when generating data (QNO-5768)
  • Improved search-layout / search-class generation (QNO-5767)
  • Restored support / example for toggling data languages in the UI (QNO-5764)
  • Fixed save for relations with descendant endpoints (QNO-5753)

Breaking changes

  • None
Quino Release Notes

The following is a complete list of all Quino release notes, from newest to oldest. See the roadmap for future releases.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

At Encodo, we're much more cautious about installing massive Windows updates. Since a couple of us (including me) have started experiencing memory leaks in the previous version, we installed it on select machines.

Memory Leak fixed?

The memory leak we were experiencing was only on a couple of machines. It manifested as Task Manager reporting a very high RAM-usage percentage and, occasionally, Windows popping up a message box asking to close applications. Also, Win + S no longer responded on the first try (i.e. the Windows shell became only partially responsive).

Investigating with the RAMMap tool from Microsoft revealed a large amount (8GB) of "Process Private" RAM that couldn't all be accounted for in Task Manager or the Resource Monitor.

Initial results are better and seem to indicate normal behavior: if an application that uses a lot of RAM (e.g. Visual Studio) is closed, the reported RAM usage drops correspondingly.

NB; this is not at all a scientific conclusion. We applied the update and memory management on a previously misbehaving machine is better. That's all.

Task Manager

The Task Manager has two immediately obvious improvements:

  • All of an application's related processes are now collected under that application's node in the Task Manager. This is most obvious for web browsers, for which a much more realistic -- and, possibly, scary -- RAM-usage figure is shown. Other applications, like Visual Studio and even iTunes (as shown in the screenshot below, benefit). This gives the user a much clearer picture of which applications are actually using resources, even if they have been split into multiple processes.
  • % GPU usage is now a default column. You can now see that your web browsers are making good use of all hardware, where appropriate.

One drawback, though, is that you can no longer see which solution is open in which instance of Visual Studio.

Aero Shake

Microsoft, as usual, has re-enabled settings that you may have turned off. They did this with the mind-boggling feature called "Aero Shake": when you grab a Window title and shake it with the mouse, all other Windows are minimized. At first, just the feature was bizarre; now, it's Microsoft's fixation with re-enabling this feature that is truly worrying.

We've disabled it in the group policies on our domain controller so our users never have to suffer again.

Conclusion

We have not found any drawbacks to this update with our software and development tools and will roll it out to the rest of our users immediately.

v4.1.2: Expressions and code-generation

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is in the release notes and is available to those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

  • Fix code-generation for modules with no classes (QNO-5722)
  • Restore ExpressionConstants.Now (QNO-5720)
  • Improve backwards-compatibility for wrappers (QNO-5744)

Breaking changes

  • None
2017 Migration from ESXi 5.5 to Proxmox 5.0

Here at Encodo, we host our services in our own infrastructure which, after 12 years, has grown quite large. But this article is about our migration away from VMWare.

So, here's how we proceeded:

We set up a test environment as close as possible to the new one before buying the new server, to test everything. This is the first time we had contact with software raids and it's monitoring capabilities.

Install the Hypervisor

Installation time, here it goes:

  • Install latest Proxmox1: This is very straight forward, I won't go into that part.
  • After the installation is done, log in via ssh and check the syslog for errors (we had some NTP issues, so I fixed that before doing anything else).

Check Disks

We have our 3 Disks for our Raid5. We do not have a lot of files to store, so we use 1TB which should be still OK (see Why RAID 5 stops working in 2009 as to why you shouldn't do RAID5 anymore).

We set up Proxmox on a 256GB SSD. Our production server will have 4x 1TB SSD's, one of which is a spare. Note down the serial number of all your disks. I don't care how you do it -- make pictures or whatever -- but if you ever care which slot contains which disk or if the failing disk is actually in that slot, having solid documentation really helps a ton.

You should check your disks for errors beforehand! Do a full smartctl check. Find out which disks are which. This is key, we even took pictures prior to inserting them into the server (and put them in our wiki) so we have the SN available for each slot.

See which disk is which:

for x in {a..e}; do smartctl -a /dev/sd$x | grep 'Serial' | xargs echo "/dev/sd$x: "; done

Start a long test for each disk:

for x in {a..e}; do smartctl -t long /dev/sd$x; done

See SMART tests with smartctl for more detailed information.

Disk Layout & Building the RAID

We'll assume the following hard disk layout:

/dev/sda = System Disk (Proxmox installation)
/dev/sdb = RAID 5, 1
/dev/sdc = RAID 5, 2
/dev/sdd = RAID 5, 3
/dev/sde = RAID 5 Spare disk
/dev/sdf = RAID 1, 1
/dev/sdg = RAID 1, 2
/dev/sdh = Temporary disk for migration

When the check is done (usually a few hours), you can verify the test result with

smartctl -a /dev/sdX

Now that we know our disks are OK, we can proceed creating the software RAID. Make sure you get the correct disks:

mdadm --create --verbose /dev/md0 --level=5 --raid-devices=3 /dev/sdb /dev/sdc /dev/sdd

The RAID5 will start building immediately but you can also start using it right away. Since I had other things on my hand, I waited for it to finish.

Add the spare disk (if you have one) and export the configuration to the config:

mdadm --add /dev/md0 /dev/sde
mdadm --detail --scan >> /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf

Configure Monitoring

Edit the email address in /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf to a valid mail address within your network and test it via

mdadm --monitor --scan --test -1

Once you know that your monitoring mails come through, add active monitoring for the raid device:

mdadm --monitor --daemonise --mail=valid@domain.com --delay=1800 /dev/md0

To finish up monitoring, it's important to read the mismatch_cnt from /sys/block/md0/md/mismatch_cnt periodically to make sure the Hardware is OK. We use our very old Nagios installation for this and got a working script for the check from Mdadm checkarray by Thomas Krenn

Creating and Mounting Volumes

Back to building! We now need to make the created storage available to Proxmox. To do this, we create a PV, VG and an LV-Thin-Pool. We use 90% of the storage since we need to migrate other devices as well, and 10% is enough for us to migrate 2 VM's at a time. We format it with XFS:

pvcreate /dev/md0 storage
vgcreate raid5vg /dev/md0
lvcreate -l 90%FREE -T raid5vg
lvcreate -n migrationlv -l +100%FREE raid5vg
mkfs.xfs /dev/mapper/raid5vg-migrationlv

Mount the formatted migration logical volume (if you want to reboot, add it to fstab obviously):

mkdir /mnt/migration
mount /dev/mapper/raid5vg-migrationlv /mnt/migration

If you don't have the disk space to migrate the VM's like this, add an additional disk (/dev/sdh in our case). Create a new partition on it with

fdisk /dev/sdh
n

Accept all the defaults for max size. Then format the partition with xfs and mount it:

mkfs.xfs /dev/sdh1
mkdir /mnt/largemigration
mount /dev/sdh1 /mnt/largemigration

Now you can go to your Proxmox installation and add the thin pool (and your largemigration partition if you have it) in the Datacenter -> Storage -> Add. Give it an ID (I called it raid5 because I'm very creative), Volume Group: raid5vg, Thin Pool: raid5lv.

Extra: Upgrade Proxmox

At this time, we'd bought our Proxmox license and did a dist upgrade from 4.4 to 5.0 which had just released. To do that, follow the upgrade document from the Proxmox wiki. Or install 5.0 right away.

Migrating VMs

Now that the storage is in place, we are all set to create our VM's and do the migration. Here's the process we were doing - there are probably more elegant and efficient ways to do that, but this way works for both our Ubuntu installations and our Windows VM's:

  1. In ESXi: Shut down the VM to migrate
  2. Download the vmdk file from vmware from the storage or activate ssh on ESXi and scp the vmdk including the flat file (important) directly to /mnt/migration (or largemigration respectively).
  3. Shrink the vmdk if you actually downloaded it locally (use the non-flat file as input if the flat doesn't work):2
     vdiskmanager-windows.exe -r vmname.vmdk -t 0 vmname-pve.vmdk
  4. Copy the new file (vmname-pve.vmdk) to proxmox via scp into the migration directory /mnt/migration (or largemigration respectively)
  5. Ssh into your proxmox installation and convert the disk to qcow2:
     qemu-img convert -f vmdk /mnt/migration/vmname-pve.vmdk -O qcow2 /mnt/migration/vmname-pve.qcow2
  6. In the meantime you can create a new VM:
    1. In general: give it the same resources as it had in the old hypervisor
    2. Do not attach a cd/dvd
    3. Set the disk to at least the size of the vmdk image
    4. Make sure the image is in the "migration" storage
    5. Note the ID of the vm, you're gonna need it in the next step
  7. Once the conversion to qcow2 is done, override the existing image with the converted one. Make sure you get the correct ID and that the target .qcow2 file exists. Override with no remorse:
     mv /mnt/migration/vmname-pve.qcow2 /mnt/migration/images/<vm-id>/vm-<vm-id>-disk-1.qcow2
  8. When this is done, boot the image and test if it comes up and runs
  9. If it does, go to promox and move the disk to the RAID5:
    1. Select the VM you just started
    2. Go to Hardware
    3. Click on Hard Disk
    4. Click on Move Disk
    5. Select the Raid5 Storage and check the checkbox Delete Source
    6. This will happen live

That's it. Now repeat these last steps for all the VMs - in our case around 20, which is just barely manageable without any automation. If you have more VMs you could automate more things, like copying the VMs directly from ESXi to Proxmox via scp and do the initial conversion there.


  1. We initially installed Proxmox 4.4, then upgraded to 5.0 during the migration.

  2. You can get the vdiskmanager from Repairing a virtual disk in Fusion 3.1 and Workstation 7.1 (1023856) under "Attachments"

v4.0: New modeling API, expanded UI support and data improvements

The summary below describes major new features, items of note and breaking changes. The full list of issues is in the release notes below and is available to those with access to the Encodo issue tracker.

Highlights

Metadata & Modeling

Most of the existing metadata-building API has been deprecrated and replaced with a fluent API that is consistent and highly extensible.

UI

Data

Code-generation

  • Improve compatibility of generated code with StyleCop/best practices (QNO-5252, QNO-5584, QNO-5515)
  • Add support for integrating interfaces into generated code (QNO-5585)
  • Finalize support for including generated code in a separate assembly. Generated code can now be in a separate assembly from the modeling code.
  • Removed WinformDx code generator (QNO-5324)

General

  • Improve debugging with Quino sources and Nuget packages (QNO-5473)
  • Improve directory-services integration (QNO-5421)
  • Reworked the plugins system (QNO-2525)
  • Improve assembly-loading in tests and tools (QNO-5538, QNO-5571)
  • Improve registration API for external loggers; integrate Serilog (QNO-5591)
  • Improve schema-migration logging (QNO-5586)
  • Allow customization of exception and message formatting (QNO-5551, QNO-5550)

Breaking changes

Metadata & Modeling

  • The Encodo.Quino.Builders.Extensions namespace has been removed. All members were moved to Encodo.Quino.Meta or Encodo.Quino.Builders instead.
  • The assembly Quino.Meta.Standard no longer exists and may have to be removed manually if Nuget does not remove it for you.
  • Added default CreateModel() to MetaBuilderBasedModelBuilderBase
  • Added empty constructor to MetaBuilderBasedModelBuilderBase
  • GetSubModules() and GetModules() now returns IMetaModule instead of IModuleAspect
  • Even deprecated versions of AddSort(), AddSortOrderProperty(), AddEnumeratedClass(), AddValueListProperty() all expect a parameter of type IMetaExpressionFactory or IExpressionConstants now.

Data

  • The IDataSessionAwareList is used instead of IMetaAwareList
  • Two constructors of DataList have been made private
  • GenericObject.DoSetDedicatedSession() is no longer called or overridable
  • None of the classes derived from AuthenticatorBase accept an IApplication as constructor parameters anymore. Instead, use the Application or Session to create the authenticator with GetInstance<TService>(). E.g. if before you created a TokenAuthenticator with this call, new TokenAuthenticator(Application), you should now create the TokenAuthenticator with Application.GetInstance<TokenAuthenticator>(). You are free also to call the new constructor directly, but construction using the IOC is strongly recommended.
  • The constructor for DataSession has changed; this shouldn't cause too many problems as applications should be using the IDataSessionFactory to construct instances anyway.
  • DataGenerators have changed considerably. Implement the IDataGenerator interface instead of using the DataGenerator base class.
  • The names of ISchemaDifference have changed, so the output of a migration plan will also be different. Software that depended on scraping the plan to determine outcomes may no longer work.
  • Default values are no longer implicitly set. A default value for a required property will only be supplied if one is set in the model. Otherwise, a NULL-constraint violation will be thrown by the database. Existing applications will have to be updated: either set a default value in the metadata or set the property value before saving objects.

Code-generation

  • The generated filename for builders has changed from "Extensions.cs to "Builders.cs". When you regenerate code for the V2 format, you will have include the new files and remove the old ones from your project.
  • Data-language-specific properties are no longer generated by default because there is no guarantee that languages are available in a given application, You can still enable code-generation by calling SetCodeGenerated() on the multi-language or value-list property
  • The generated MetaModelBuilder classes are no longer generated. QNO-5515

General

  • LanguageTools.GetCaption() no longer defaults to GetDescription() because this is hardly ever what you wanted to happen.
  • CaptionExtensions are now in CaptionTools and are no longer extension methods on object.
  • ReflectionExtensions are now in ReflectionTools and are also no longer extension methods on object.

Expressions

  • Redeclared Operation<> with new method signature

Windows-specific

Some Windows-specific functionality has been moved to new assemblies. These assemblies are automatically included for Winform and WPF applications (as before). Applications that want to use the Windows-specific functionality will have to reference the following packages:

  • For WindowsIdentity-based code, use the Encodo.Connections.Windows package and call UseWindowsConnectionServices()
  • For ApplicationSettingsBase support, use the Encodo.Application.Windows package and call UseWindowsApplication()
  • For Directory Services support, use the Encodo.Security.Windows package and call UseWindowsSecurityServices().