Allen Conway's .NET Weblog

Exploring all things .NET and beyond...

NuGet Package Source Blank After VS.NET Update

I recently updated VS.NET 2015 to Update 2 which was just released, but hit a snag with NuGet. Upon opening VS.NET and trying to download NuGet packages, I kept getting errors that the package didn't exist. I noticed the "Package source" dropdown was blank and had no selectable values. Even if I went to the VS.NET options for NuGet, I could no longer see the default package source configured. Something must of went awry during the VS.NET update.

Thanks to a nudge from this Connect report, the recommendation was to update the NuGet package manager from the 'Extension and Updates' menu. Sure enough there was an update, and after installing and restarting VS.NET, the "Package source' values were once again populated with and I could download packages.

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Why is the tsconfig.json file not copying my TypeScript files to wwwroot?

If you've been looking into ASP.NET 5 (eventually .NET Core 1.0) and working with TypeScript you'll notice things are very different than when using older versions of ASP.NET. Specifically the need to configure your TyoeScript virtual project using a tsconfig.json file.

Within the file you'll need to add a line such as the following to indicate where the transpiled .js files will be copied in wwwroot:

"outDir": "../wwwroot/appScripts",

The source directory has a documented convention though (at least at the time of this entry) that could be easily overlooked. I found the information on this GitHub thread. The tsconfig.json file will only check for TypeScript files in the scripts folder. Therefore you must have your tsconfig.json file within the /scripts folder in order for the outdir value and ultimately copying of files to work.

Fixing a npm Package That Will Not Reinstall

Recently when working on an Angular 2 app in VS.NET 2015 using an ASP.NET 5 template I began to see build errors that Angular 2 was missing. 

I was having trouble getting Angular to reinstall no matter which version I selected in my package.json file. It didn't matter if I deleted the local files or npm cache as nothing would work.

Upon inspecting the output I noticed the following errors:

npm ERR! error rolling back  errno: 10,
npm ERR! error rolling back  code: 'EBUSY',

Upon further research and some nudging from the problem on this GitHub link, it appeared a file was locked. The answer -> reboot the Windows machine. This does appear to be a Windows issue with file locking of some file(s) within the npm package and causing the error.

Upon reboot, I right-clicked 'Dependencies' and selected, 'Restore Packages.' Sure enough the Angular 2 npm package reinstalled successfully. Previously the angular2 folder existed but there was nothing inside of it. If you ever have any issues getting a npm package to install, always make sure to read the output in the VS.NET console to shed light on any issues.

Is Aurelia going to a realistic competitor?

The quick and legitimate answer to the title of this post is, "I don't know." However I wanted to do a little digging to see the potential for this relative newbie to the JS Framework arena that is already so competitive and overflowing. Just see this: 100+ JavaScript Frameworks For Web Developers

To provide some context, here is a visual from Google trends based on some of the major competing frameworks (note: no matter which combination of 'aurelia' I used the results were all the same). Even if this metric isn't perfect, it still provides some level of comparison for popularity:

This GitHub thread has some interesting comments from Rob Eisenberg over this past year on Aurelia. With all the talk of it being a competitor to JavaScript frameworks like React and Angular, I was curious about its backing and support. With those frameworks you have Facebook and Google respectively behind them. I was curious if Aurelia was just a bunch of devs revolting with a new framework out of angst for what happened with the lack of use for Durandal and the ill advised direction Angular 2.0 was going according to Rob, or in the long run would this be a serious contender.

It's no secret JS frameworks and libraries seem to come and go as do the seasons, and investing heavily in one is an important decision. Durandal seemed to have lost a flame quickly in this JS framework battle, so I'm curious how Aurelia will fare.

Here are some quotes from that link from Rob:
"From a business perspective, Aurelia is backed by Durandal, Inc. Durandal is a company that is dedicated to providing open, free and commercial tools/services for developers and businesses that create software using web technologies."
As a private company it is tough to see the backing or possible angel investors involved with Durandal. However for OSS with a passionate community this could be a moot point.

He does go on to mention:
"Durandal is positioned to begin raising Series A venture capital this month. That isn't to support the open source Aurelia project. That project does not need funding. Rather, it is to support Durandal Inc. which intends to offer a much richer set of tooling and services for those who want to leverage Aurelia and the web. We are building out a serious business and our entire platform will be built with Aurelia and for Aurelia. Our potential investors are very excited about our plans and we expect to have some cool stuff to show in the future"
So that could add some potential to Durandal Inc. to keep this thing moving forward. He continues on about the horsepower behind it's actual creation and continued development:
"Aurelia itself is solid due to the fact that it currently has a 12 person development team distributed throughout the world and a large active community, especially considering it was only announced a couple of months ago"
...a bit later he quotes:
"We have 17 members on our core team currently which contribute daily"
Well hopefully those 12-17 people remain passionate :D

I think the conservative decision today is to go with ReactJS or AngularJS with Aurelia being the bold one. I'm not thinking it's going to fade away anytime soon, but with so many competing frameworks it's important for it to catch some mainstream traction or the OSS community might loose steam working for a lost cause.

I for one hope it does succeed and becomes a bit more mainstream. When comparing the syntax for ReactJS, Angular 2.0, and Aurelia, I believe I'd choose Aurelia. Unfortunately for me I'm one in the camp that actually likes Angular 1.x and it's implementation so I don't really have any gripes to it currently for switching to something different. However its shortcomings in performance and implementation are certainly going to be addressed by the radically different 2.0 which still needs to grow on me a bit.

Time will tell and the community not I will answer this question by adoption (or lack thereof) of this framework and others in the upcoming months and years.

Git Ignore to Untrack TypeScript Auto Generated Files

When using TypeScript you really don't want the transpiled output files created from the source .ts file to be committed to the repository. This is because the output could be looked at analogous to the /bin generated files which we all know are not to be committed. The TypeScript auto-generated files (.js and will be built independently for each user's source, and only the single .ts file should be committed. 

The only exception I see to this process is if there is a restriction on TypeScript compiling on the server (i.e. CI build server) in which case the actual .js file might have to be committed. As long as the TypeScript compiler is present for compilation, only the .ts file should be committed.

To ignore the auto-generated .js and files for a new project the process is quite simple. Just add some rules to the .gitignore file at the root of your project like below and these files will not be tracked.

# Typescript Auto-generated files
# Note: all files must be TS files in this directory or ordinary JS files could be removed
# Modify as needed to preserve files and be more explicit

The above still needs to be done for existing projects, but if you see tracked changes already showing up for your repository, you are going to have to manually remove them from being tracked since they are already a part of the repository. From the Git docs:
If you already have a file checked in, and you want to ignore it, Git will not ignore the file if you add a rule later. In those cases, you must untrack the file first.
The easiest way to do this is to run the following command against the applicable files using Git Bash commands. I find opening the Git Bash command prompt directly from the directories makes this process easiest.

git rm --cached myfile.js
git rm --cached *.js
git rm --cached *

You may prefer instead of using wildcards (like above) to manually address each file individually applying the command. It's a 1 time deal to remove the tracking, so it might be best to be explicit as I did it below:

Note, once successfully removed, you can't run the command again or you will get an error message similar to the following:
fatal: pathpec 'myfile.js' did not match any files
This is because the file has already been removed from the repositories tracking so there isn't any command to preform against it.

If using VS.NET, you should see after refreshing that these files are now shown as being deleted from the repository. 

I do recommend that you commit from the Git Bash command line when removing these files. I had mixed results when jumping over to VS.NET to commit, as the deleted files were not shown as changes to the master to be synced to the server. Only once I committed from Git Bash did it actually apply and commit successfully:

After committing and on subsequent updates, the changes to the TypeScript auto-generated files should no longer be tracked and shown as 'Included Changes'

Which Version of TypeScript is Installed and Which Version is Visual Studio Using?

My rating of TypeScript on a scale of 1-10... a solid 10

My rating of finding out which version of TypeScript is installed and being used currently... a 2. 

Sometimes the simplest of things are missed and I think this is one of the cases. There is a lot of playing detective and resulting confusion that will come about trying to figure out which versions of TypeScript are actually installed and subsequently, which is targeted for VS.NET to compile against. I'm here to clear up this confusion and shed some light on this for TypeScript users.

The TypeScript compiler (tsc.exe) is installed through the installation of VS.NET 2013 Update 2 (or later versions), VS.NET 2015, or via the TypeScript tools extensions available through the VisualStudio Gallery. VS.NET users of one of the aforementioned versions are in a good place because TypeScript having been created by Microsoft integrates well into VS.NET. Regardless of installation method, the tooling and compilers are available at the following location:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript

As can be seen from the screenshot below, I have folders for versions 1.0 and 1.5:

Now before moving further, the way you've probably found to find out which version of TypeScript is installed is to send the -v option to the compiler which will "Print the compiler's version." You can do this from any location using the command prompt. Doing so on a default installation of say VS.NET 2013 with the 1.0 SDK folder present will yield the following:

Notice we have a SDK folder for version 1.0 however the compiler version is This is because what really matters is not the folder, but rather the actual version of the compiler within the folder. In this case the 1.0 folder contains version 1.3 of the TypeScript compiler.

As mentioned, you can run the -v option against the compiler from anywhere. If you run this command against the directory that physically contains the TypeScript compiler (tsc.exe), then the resulting version output will be that of the compiler in the SDK directory targeted.

Running the version command against the 1.0 directory:

Running the version command against the 1.5 directory:

OK great, we can run version commands in different spots and find out about versions of the compiler. However which one are VS.NET and my project using, and where is that compiler version coming from when I run the -v option in a non-TypeScript SDK directory?

Let's address the global version question 1st. You can run the where tsc command from any command line which will tell you the TypeScript compiler location the version is returned from using the version option:

OK so I have SDK tools version 1.0 (compiler version 1.3 as we know) and 1.5 installed. Why is it returning only the tsc.exe information from the 1.0 SDK folder? It turns out that this information is actually a part of the PATH environmental variable in Windows. There is no magic or real installation assessment going on here. It simply reads the directory value embedded within the path variable for TypeScript and finds the tsc.exe version within that specified directory. Here is what was within my Windows PATH variable for TypeScript:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript\1.0\

Before we get much further it turns out all these versioning commands, PATH variable values, and the like, they have absolutely no bearing at all on which version of TypeScript VS.NET is using and compiling against. I'll get to that in a minute. 

However every Google search for, "which TypeScript version do I have installed" yields a bunch of results saying, "run tsc -v" which ultimately reads that value in the PATH variable and confuses the heck out of people. They get concerned that VS.NET is not targeting their newer version of TypeScript installed. 

The matter of fact is that TypeScript can have multiple side-by-side installations and it's all about the project's targeted value and none of what's in the PATH variable is important. You would think if the TypeScript team wanted to use the PATH variable they would update it to the newest version upon installing a newer TypeScript version. Not so. It remains stagnant at the old version which then shows the older TypeScript compiler version thus leaving everyone confused.  I found this comment on the following GitHub thread which confirms, folks will have to update the PATH variable manually for the time being:

Before manually changing the PATH variable to point to the newer TypeScript SDK version, lets look at what VS.NET reads to know which compiler to target. Unfortunately it is not available as a nice dropdown in the TypeScript properties for the project (hence adding to my rating of '2' for the version fun with TypeScript). Instead it is in the project's properties configuration within the .csproj or .vbproj file. I particularly like the EditProj Visual Studio Extension which adds a nice 'Edit Project File' to the context menu when right-clicking a project within VS.NET. Doing this will bring up the project's configuration, and I can see the TypeScript version targeted and used by the project inside the tag:

Now VS.NET will append this value to the C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript\ path to get the compiler used for the project. In this case we know from above the 1.3 version of the TypeScript compiler is in that directory. 

Let's do a test and write some TypeScript using the spread operator that's not fully supported until ES6 or version 1.5 of TypeScript which can compile to ES5 JavaScript. Technically version 1.3 of TypeScript can still compile the following to JS but it will complain in the IDE which is what we'd expect:

Notice how we get the red squiggly under the spread operator usage (three dots ...) and a notice that this is a TypeScript 1.5 feature.

Now we can prove the tsc -v output and resulting PATH variable value are not what's being used by VS.NET (it's the Tools Version I showed above). If we change the PATH variable TypeScript directory value from:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript\1.0\


C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\TypeScript\1.5\ the System variables (the TypeScript directory is embedded within the Path variable, so copy out to Notepad to locate and modify):

...and open a new command window we can see now the tsc -v command reads the updated PATH variable and outputs the resulting 1.5.0 version. 

So cool right? VS.NET should now reflect version 1.5 of TypeScript being used and our warning should go away. Nope. Save your TypeScript file, rebuild, reopen VS.NET, do whatever you feel, and you will still see the warning above. That's because what matters to VS.NET is what version is in it's own project configuration and not what the PATH variable returns via the version command.

What we need to do is manually update the project's configuration to point to the 1.5 SDK tools version (remember this should be the value of the folder that VS.NET appends to the SDK directory and not the actual compiler version). Using the 'Edit Project' tool I mentioned previously, I can change the 1.0 tools version to 1.5:

If I go back to my TypeScript file, immediately I notice the spread command is understood and accepted as we are pointing to version 1.5 of the TypeScript compiler:

So that's TypeScript versioning as of today. If you want to target a newer (or older) version of TypeScript, or just want to see which version your project is currently using, you'll need to take a look in the project's configuration for the  value.

As an aside, VS.NET will warn you if you have a newer version of the TypeScript tools installed, but your project is targeting an older version. It will ask if you would like to upgrade your project:

I can say I've had mixed results saying  'Yes' to this dialog including while writing this post. It did not update the version to 1.5 in my project's properties. I still had to manually modify the version.

To this end, I've made a recommendation on Microsoft Connect that the TypeScript tools version (and corresponding compiler version), be selectable from within the IDE on the 'TypeScript Build' tab within the project's properties. You can read and vote for this if you would like here: Allow switching TypeScript configured version from Project Properties IDE