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Jarrett's Tech Blog - For July 2008

  1. WCF Adds Root Node on IXmlSerializable Object

    Has anybody else had trouble with WCF adding a root node on their objects that implement IXmlSerializable?

    Here is the setup:

    • Create a class that implements IXmlSerializable
    public class Entry : IXmlSerializable
      public XElement Xml { get; set; }
      public void ReadXml(XmlReader reader)
        Xml = XElement.Load(reader, LoadOptions.SetBaseUri);
      public void WriteXml(XmlWriter writer)
    • Create a WCF service that returns the object.
    public interface IService
      [WebGet(BodyStyle = WebMessageBodyStyle.Bare, UriTemplate = "{a}/{b}/{c}")]
      Entry RetrieveEntry(string a, string b, string c);
    public class Service: IService
      public Entry RetrieveEntry(string a, string b, string c)
        return new Entry
          Xml = new XElement("test", a + "/" + b + "/" + c);
    When hitting the service located at http://localhost/EntryService.svc/one/two/three, I expect to get the following xml:
    Instead, I always get the above xml wrapped in a root node as shown below:
    <Entry xmlns="http://schemas.datacontract.org/2004/07/EntryTest">
    1. I've set the BodyStyle to Bare
    2. I've set the [XmlSerializerFormat] attribute
    3. I've tried putting [XmlRoot(null)] on the Entry class
    The only thing that seems to work is changing the return type to XElement. This is really odd behavior of WCF. I can't find anything in the documentation as to why it is doing this.

    Update (7/27): It appears you must use the XmlRootAttribute to accomplish this. Your WriteXml(XmlWriter writer) method can check to see if the root node was already added by the serializer, and if not add it:

    public void WriteXml(XmlWriter writer)
        //only start document if needed
        bool start = false;
        if (writer.WriteState == WriteState.Start)
            start = true;
            writer.WriteStartElement("root", "http://example.com");
        //TODO: custom serialization here
        if (start)
    This allows the WriteXml to be usable even when the object isn't being serialized by the WCF serializer.
    Posted by Jarrett on July 26 at 10:27 PM

  2. BlogSvc - New Blogging Service for .NET 3.5

    Update: BlogService now has it’s own website, see http://blogsvc.net

    I've started a new project on CodePlex called BlogService.  Eventually, it will have it's own website at blogsvc.net.  The point of this project is to provide a robust back-end for a blog site.  It uses the provider model design pattern for abstracting the data layer similar to ASP.NET providers.  I've uploaded a design diagram of the major classes. It also contains a WCF service that will expose multiple endpoints (soap, rest, json).

    To kick things off, I created a community preview release that includes the following functionality:

    1. BlogProvider
    2. XmlBlogProvider
    3. Business (Blog, BlogSite, BlogComment, etc.)
    4. Configuration
    5. Unit Tests
    6. WCF Service
    7. Multi-site support

    This release provides most of the functionality needed to support a front-end blogging site. It does not include web pages yet.

    BlogSvc Release 0.1

    Posted by Jarrett on July 21 at 11:15 PM

  3. Team System Quick Start Links

    Here are some great links to jump-start your learning about VSTS.

    Visual Studio 2008 Product Comparison - Use this to figure out which version you or your team members will need.

    Patterns & Practices: Team Development with TFS Guide - Great guide for understanding best practices around TFS.  This is a must read.

    Rob Carbon's Blog : Provides Links to Team System Resources

    TFS Times Monthly Newsletter

    TFS Build Configurations

    TFS Event Subscriptions - Tool to create nice customized email subscriptions to TFS events.

    Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server Power Tools - Build notification, process template editor, custom check-in policy pack, and more.

    Team System Rocks: Provides Tutorial Videos and Other Info

    Open Source Addins on CodePlex - Large amount of community support projects with plugins and customizations for Team System.

    Vertigo Software Blog: Visual Studio Team System: tips, tricks, and techniques - A good blog that contains common error messages and tips for customizing or extending the usage of team system.  It also has a good comparison between the different editions of team system (for 2005 version but still relevant for 2008).

    When and how does my solution go "offline"? - This blog helps explain how and why a solution will go offline.  I particularly found the the registry setting useful when I could not bind my solution / projects to the server.  Team Explorer thought the server was offline when it really wasn't.

    Posted by Jarrett on July 17 at 10:52 AM

  4. Comments Security Hole in BlogEngine.NET 1.4

    I found a hole in BlogEngine.NET that allows anyone to delete and approve comments.

    UPDATE 7/11: Fixed in

    Verify the Hole

    • Add a test comment to your blog
    • Refresh the blog posting to retrieve latest source
    • View source of blog posting
    • Find guid of comment to delete (see line 103 below)
    <div id="id_9c2b8578-1dde-421e-94ff-5ea7e0d82012" class="comment">
      <p class="date">7/10/2008 4:13:35 PM</p>
      <p class="gravatar"><img src="http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/b642b4217b34b1e8d3bd915fc65c4452.jpg?s=80&amp;d=..." alt="Test3" /></p>
      <p class="content">asfasdfafdasd sa afsdfdsaas </p>
      <p class="author">
        <img src="/blogengine/pics/flags/us.png" class="flag" alt="us" />
    • Request a POST to BlogPostUrl.aspx?deletecomment=guid
    • Refresh the page and notice comment is deleted

    Patch the Hole

    You can patch the hole by updating the Page_Load event in the CommentView.ascx.cs file by checking for an authenticated user (lines 117,118, & 127)

    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
      if (Post == null)
      if (!Page.IsPostBack && !Page.IsCallback)
        if (Page.User.Identity.IsAuthenticated)
          if (Request.QueryString["deletecomment"] != null)
          if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(Request.QueryString["approvecomment"]))
          if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(Request.QueryString["approveallcomments"]))
      string path = Utils.RelativeWebRoot + "themes/" + BlogSettings.Instance.Theme + "/CommentView.ascx";

    Repeat the steps given above to verify that the hole has been patched.

    In the process of adding OpenID support to the comment system in BlogEngine.NET I found myself deep in a rabbit hole of refactoring. This comment security issue is just one of the things I've found during my journey. I've reported the issue on the BlogEngine.NET Issue Tracker.  I think it is important to point out that the patch above is just a quick fix.  The proper solution is to put authorization checks in the business layer (the BlogEngine.Core.Post business object in this case).

    Posted by Jarrett on July 10 at 5:06 PM

  5. Blog Comments

    Notifications Ajax Preview coComments Captcha FlagImage? CheckAuthorName BbCode Impersonation
    Posted by Jarrett on July 10 at 4:28 PM

  6. Add OpenID to BlogEngine.NET 1.4 Part 1

    Update : there is no Part 2 as I switched to AtomSite for my blog engine.

    Here is a guide on how to add OpenID support to BlogEngine.NET 1.4. This first blog post will detail how to use an OpenID account to login as an existing blog user via impersonation.  I've used Andrew's blog post How to add OpenID support to BlogEngine.NET as a starting place. 


    • Quick, minimum changes required
    • Retains support of blogging tools (such as Live Writer)
    • Easy to understand and backwards compatible


    • Not "true" OpenID integration
    • Accounts are maintained separately
    • Impersonation file is required

    Step 1: Download latest release of dotnetopenid library

    Step 2: Place DotNetOpenId.dll into Bin folder (if compiling BlogEngine.Web then add reference to project)

    Step 3: Update Login.aspx page

    • Add
    <%@ Register Assembly="DotNetOpenId" Namespace="DotNetOpenId.RelyingParty" TagPrefix="RP" %>
    • Replace
    <asp:Login ID="Login1" runat="server" class="loginbox" />


    <RP:OpenIdLogin ID="OpenIdLogin1" runat="server" onloggedin="OpenIdLogin1_LoggedIn" />

    Step 4: Update Login.aspx.cs code behind file

    • Replace
    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e) 
      if (Page.User.Identity.IsAuthenticated) 
        changepassword1.Visible = true; 
        changepassword1.ContinueButtonClick += new EventHandler(changepassword1_ContinueButtonClick); 
        lsLogout.Visible = true; 
        Login1.Visible = false; 
        Page.Title += Resources.labels.changePassword; 
        Login1.LoggedIn += new EventHandler(Login1_LoggedIn); 


    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e) 
      if (Page.User.Identity.IsAuthenticated) 
        changepassword1.Visible = true; 
        changepassword1.ContinueButtonClick += new EventHandler(changepassword1_ContinueButtonClick); 
        lsLogout.Visible = true; 
        OpenIdLogin1.Visible = false; 
        Page.Title += Resources.labels.changePassword; 
    • Replace
    void Login1_LoggedIn(object sender, EventArgs e) 
      if (!Roles.IsUserInRole(Login1.UserName, BlogEngine.Core.BlogSettings.Instance.AdministratorRole)) 
        Response.Redirect(BlogEngine.Core.Utils.RelativeWebRoot, true); 


    protected void OpenIdLogin1_LoggedIn(object sender, DotNetOpenId.RelyingParty.OpenIdEventArgs e) 
      //don't allow login control to login, we will do that manually 
      e.Cancel = true; 
      //get impersonated user 
      string user = Impersonation.Impersonate(e.ClaimedIdentifier); 
      if (!Roles.IsUserInRole(user, BlogEngine.Core.BlogSettings.Instance.AdministratorRole)) 
        Response.Redirect(BlogEngine.Core.Utils.RelativeWebRoot, true); 
        FormsAuthentication.RedirectFromLoginPage(user, OpenIdLogin1.RememberMe); 

    Step 5: Add Impersonation.xml file to App_Data folder


    Step 6: Add Impersonation.cs to BlogEngineCore project and compile

    using System;
    using System.Linq;
    using System.Xml.Linq;
    using System.Web;
    using System.Web.Hosting;
    namespace BlogEngine.Core
        public class Impersonation
            public static string Impersonate(string id)
                string user = id;
                string path = BlogSettings.Instance.StorageLocation + "impersonation.xml";
                if (!VirtualPathUtility.IsAppRelative(path))
                    throw new ArgumentException("xmlFileName must be app-relative");
                string fullyQualifiedPath = VirtualPathUtility.Combine
                    (HttpRuntime.AppDomainAppVirtualPath), path);
                string actualPath = HostingEnvironment.MapPath(fullyQualifiedPath);
                XDocument xDoc = XDocument.Load(actualPath);
                user = xDoc.Element("impersonation").Elements("impersonate")
                    .Where(x => x.Element("id").Value == id).Select(x => x.Element("user")).Single().Value;
                return user;

    Step 7: Deploy following changed files

    • Login.aspx
    • Login.aspx.cs
    • \Bin\BlogEngine.Core.dll
    • \Bin\DotNetOpenId.dll
    • \App_Data\Impersonation.xml


    In the next part, I will add OpenID support to the comment system.

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    Posted by Jarrett on July 05 at 8:26 PM

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