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URI functions in Windows Store Applications

2013 Jul 25, 1:00

Summary

The Modern SDK contains some URI related functionality as do libraries available in particular projection languages. Unfortunately, collectively these APIs do not cover all scenarios in all languages. Specifically, JavaScript and C++ have no URI building APIs, and C++ additionally has no percent-encoding/decoding APIs.
WinRT (JS and C++)
JS Only
C++ Only
.NET Only
Parse
Build
Normalize
Equality
Relative resolution
Encode data for including in URI property
Decode data extracted from URI property
Build Query
Parse Query
The Windows.Foudnation.Uri type is not projected into .NET modern applications. Instead those applications use System.Uri and the platform ensures that it is correctly converted back and forth between Windows.Foundation.Uri as appropriate. Accordingly the column marked WinRT above is applicable to JS and C++ modern applications but not .NET modern applications. The only entries above applicable to .NET are the .NET Only column and the WwwFormUrlDecoder in the bottom left which is available to .NET.

Scenarios

Parse

This functionality is provided by the WinRT API Windows.Foundation.Uri in C++ and JS, and by System.Uri in .NET.
Parsing a URI pulls it apart into its basic components without decoding or otherwise modifying the contents.
var uri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("http://example.com/path%20segment1/path%20segment2?key1=value1&key2=value2");
console.log(uri.path);// /path%20segment1/path%20segment2

WsDecodeUrl (C++)

WsDecodeUrl is not suitable for general purpose URI parsing. Use Windows.Foundation.Uri instead.

Build (C#)

URI building is only available in C# via System.UriBuilder.
URI building is the inverse of URI parsing: URI building allows the developer to specify the value of basic components of a URI and the API assembles them into a URI.
To work around the lack of a URI building API developers will likely concatenate strings to form their URIs. This can lead to injection bugs if they don’t validate or encode their input properly, but if based on trusted or known input is unlikely to have issues.
����������� Uri originalUri = new Uri("http://example.com/path1/?query");
����������� UriBuilder uriBuilder = new UriBuilder(originalUri);
����������� uriBuilder.Path = "/path2/";
����������� Uri newUri = uriBuilder.Uri; // http://example.com/path2/?query

WsEncodeUrl (C++)

WsEncodeUrl, in addition to building a URI from components also does some encoding. It encodes non-US-ASCII characters as UTF8, the percent, and a subset of gen-delims based on the URI property: all :/?#[]@ are percent-encoded except :/@ in the path and :/?@ in query and fragment.
Accordingly, WsEncodeUrl is not suitable for general purpose URI building. It is acceptable to use in the following cases:
- You’re building a URI out of non-encoded URI properties and don’t care about the difference between encoded and decoded characters. For instance you’re the only one consuming the URI and you uniformly decode URI properties when consuming – for instance using WsDecodeUrl to consume the URI.
- You’re building a URI with URI properties that don’t contain any of the characters that WsEncodeUrl encodes.

Normalize

This functionality is provided by the WinRT API Windows.Foundation.Uri in C++ and JS and by System.Uri in .NET. Normalization is applied during construction of the Uri object.
URI normalization is the application of URI normalization rules (including DNS normalization, IDN normalization, percent-encoding normalization, etc.) to the input URI.
������� var normalizedUri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("HTTP://EXAMPLE.COM/p%61th foo/");
������� console.log(normalizedUri.absoluteUri); // http://example.com/path%20foo/
This is modulo Win8 812823 in which the Windows.Foundation.Uri.AbsoluteUri property returns a normalized IRI not a normalized URI. This bug does not affect System.Uri.AbsoluteUri which returns a normalized URI.

Equality

This functionality is provided by the WinRT API Windows.Foundation.Uri in C++ and JS and by System.Uri in .NET.
URI equality determines if two URIs are equal or not necessarily equal.
����������� var uri1 = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("HTTP://EXAMPLE.COM/p%61th foo/"),
��������������� uri2 = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("http://example.com/path%20foo/");
����������� console.log(uri1.equals(uri2)); // true

Relative resolution

This functionality is provided by the WinRT API Windows.Foundation.Uri in C++ and JS and by System.Uri in .NET
Relative resolution is a function that given an absolute URI A and a relative URI B, produces a new absolute URI C. C is the combination of A and B in which the basic components specified in B override or combine with those in A under rules specified in RFC 3986.
������� var baseUri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("http://example.com/index.html"),
��� ��������relativeUri = "/path?query#fragment",
��� ��������absoluteUri = baseUri.combineUri(relativeUri);
������� console.log(baseUri.absoluteUri);������ // http://example.com/index.html
������� console.log(absoluteUri.absoluteUri);�� // http://example.com/path?query#fragment

Encode data for including in URI property

This functionality is available in JavaScript via encodeURIComponent and in C# via System.Uri.EscapeDataString. Although the two methods mentioned above will suffice for this purpose, they do not perform exactly the same operation.
Additionally we now have Windows.Foundation.Uri.EscapeComponent in WinRT, which is available in JavaScript and C++ (not C# since it doesn’t have access to Windows.Foundation.Uri). This is also slightly different from the previously mentioned mechanisms but works best for this purpose.
Encoding data for inclusion in a URI property is necessary when constructing a URI from data. In all the above cases the developer is dealing with a URI or substrings of a URI and so the strings are all encoded as appropriate. For instance, in the parsing example the path contains “path%20segment1” and not “path segment1”. To construct a URI one must first construct the basic components of the URI which involves encoding the data. For example, if one wanted to include “path segment / example” in the path of a URI, one must percent-encode the ‘ ‘ since it is not allowed in a URI, as well as the ‘/’ since although it is allowed, it is a delimiter and won’t be interpreted as data unless encoded.
If a developer does not have this API provided they can write it themselves. Percent-encoding methods appear simple to write, but the difficult part is getting the set of characters to encode correct, as well as handling non-US-ASCII characters.
������� var uri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("http://example.com" +
����������� "/" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent("path segment / example") +
����������� "?key=" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent("=&?#"));
������� console.log(uri.absoluteUri); // http://example.com/path%20segment%20%2F%20example?key=%3D%26%3F%23

WsEncodeUrl (C++)

In addition to building a URI from components, WsEncodeUrl also percent-encodes some characters. However the API is not recommend for this scenario given the particular set of characters that are encoded and the convoluted nature in which a developer would have to use this API in order to use it for this purpose.
There are no general purpose scenarios for which the characters WsEncodeUrl encodes make sense: encode the %, encode a subset of gen-delims but not also encode the sub-delims. For instance this could not replace encodeURIComponent in a C++ version of the following code snippet since if ‘value’ contained ‘&’ or ‘=’ (both sub-delims) they wouldn’t be encoded and would be confused for delimiters in the name value pairs in the query:
"http://example.com/?key=" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent(value)
Since WsEncodeUrl produces a string URI, to obtain the property they want to encode they’d need to parse the resulting URI. WsDecodeUrl won’t work because it decodes the property but Windows.Foundation.Uri doesn’t decode. Accordingly the developer could run their string through WsEncodeUrl then Windows.Foundation.Uri to extract the property.

Decode data extracted from URI property

This functionality is available in JavaScript via decodeURIComponent and in C# via System.Uri.UnescapeDataString. Although the two methods mentioned above will suffice for this purpose, they do not perform exactly the same operation.
Additionally we now also have Windows.Foundation.Uri.UnescapeComponent in WinRT, which is available in JavaScript and C++ (not C# since it doesn’t have access to Windows.Foundation.Uri). This is also slightly different from the previously mentioned mechanisms but works best for this purpose.
Decoding is necessary when extracting data from a parsed URI property. For example, if a URI query contains a series of name and value pairs delimited by ‘=’ between names and values, and by ‘&’ between pairs, one must first parse the query into name and value entries and then decode the values. It is necessary to make this an extra step separate from parsing the URI property so that sub-delimiters (in this case ‘&’ and ‘=’) that are encoded will be interpreted as data, and those that are decoded will be interpreted as delimiters.
If a developer does not have this API provided they can write it themselves. Percent-decoding methods appear simple to write, but have some tricky parts including correctly handling non-US-ASCII, and remembering not to decode .
In the following example, note that if unescapeComponent were called first, the encoded ‘&’ and ‘=’ would be decoded and interfere with the parsing of the name value pairs in the query.
����������� var uri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("http://example.com/?foo=bar&array=%5B%27%E3%84%93%27%2C%27%26%27%2C%27%3D%27%2C%27%23%27%5D");
����������� uri.query.substr(1).split("&").forEach(
��������������� function (keyValueString) {
������������������� var keyValue = keyValueString.split("=");
������������������� console.log(Windows.Foundation.Uri.unescapeComponent(keyValue[0]) + ": " + Windows.Foundation.Uri.unescapeComponent(keyValue[1]));
������������������� // foo: bar
������������������� // array: ['','&','=','#']
��������������� });

WsDecodeUrl (C++)

Since WsDecodeUrl decodes all percent-encoded octets it could be used for general purpose percent-decoding but it takes a URI so would require the dev to construct a stub URI around the string they want to decode. For example they could prefix “http:///#” to their string, run it through WsDecodeUrl and then extract the fragment property. It is convoluted but will work correctly.

Parse Query

The query of a URI is often encoded as application/x-www-form-urlencoded which is percent-encoded name value pairs delimited by ‘&’ between pairs and ‘=’ between corresponding names and values.
In WinRT we have a class to parse this form of encoding using Windows.Foundation.WwwFormUrlDecoder. The queryParsed property on the Windows.Foundation.Uri class is of this type and created with the query of its Uri:
��� var uri = Windows.Foundation.Uri("http://example.com/?foo=bar&array=%5B%27%E3%84%93%27%2C%27%26%27%2C%27%3D%27%2C%27%23%27%5D");
��� uri.queryParsed.forEach(
������� function (pair) {
����������� console.log("name: " + pair.name + ", value: " + pair.value);
����������� // name: foo, value: bar
����������� // name: array, value: ['','&','=','#']
������� });
��� console.log(uri.queryParsed.getFirstValueByName("array")); // ['','&','=','#']
The QueryParsed property is only on Windows.Foundation.Uri and not System.Uri and accordingly is not available in .NET. However the Windows.Foundation.WwwFormUrlDecoder class is available in C# and can be used manually:
����������� Uri uri = new Uri("http://example.com/?foo=bar&array=%5B%27%E3%84%93%27%2C%27%26%27%2C%27%3D%27%2C%27%23%27%5D");
����������� WwwFormUrlDecoder decoder = new WwwFormUrlDecoder(uri.Query);
���� �������foreach (IWwwFormUrlDecoderEntry entry in decoder)
����������� {
��������������� System.Diagnostics.Debug.WriteLine("name: " + entry.Name + ", value: " + entry.Value);
��������������� // name: foo, value: bar
��������������� // name: array, value: ['','&','=','#']
����������� }

Build Query

To build a query of name value pairs encoded as application/x-www-form-urlencoded there is no WinRT API to do this directly. Instead a developer must do this manually making use of the code described in “Encode data for including in URI property”.
In terms of public releases, this property is only in the RC and later builds.
For example in JavaScript a developer may write:
������� ����var uri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("http://example.com/"),
��������������� query = "?" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent("array") + "=" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent("['','&','=','#']");
����������� console.log(uri.combine(new Windows.Foundation.Uri(query)).absoluteUri); // http://example.com/?array=%5B'%E3%84%93'%2C'%26'%2C'%3D'%2C'%23'%5D
PermalinkCommentsc# c++ javascript technical uri windows windows-runtime windows-store

Words with Hints Windows 8 App Development Notes

2013 Jul 4, 1:00

My second completed app for the Windows Store was Words with Hints a companion to Words with Friends or other Scrabble like games that gives you *ahem* hints. You provide your tiles and optionally letters placed in a line on the board and Words with Hints gives you word options.

I wrote this the first time by building a regular expression to check against my dictionary of words which made for a slow app on the Surface. In subsequent release of the app I now spawn four web workers (one for each of the Surface's cores) each with its own fourth of my dictionary. Each fourth of the dictionary is a trie which makes it easy for me to discard whole chunks of possible combinations of Scrabble letters as I walk the tree of possibilities.

The dictionaries are large and takes a noticeable amount of time to load on the Surface. The best performing mechanism I found to load them is as JavaScript source files that simply define their portion of the dictionary on the global object and synchronously (only on the worker so not blocking the UI thread). Putting them into .js files means they take advantage of bytecode caching making them load faster. However because the data is mostly strings and not code there is a dramatic size increase when the app is installed. The total size of the four dictionary .js files is about 44Mb. The bytecode cache for the dictionary files is about double that 88Mb meaning the dictionary plus the bytecode cache is 132Mb.

To handle the bother of postMessage communication and web workers this was the first app in which I used my promise MessagePort project which I'll discuss more in the future.

This is the first app in which I used the Microsoft Ad SDK. It was difficult to find the install for the SDK and difficult to use their website, but once setup, the Ad SDK was easy to import into VS and easy to use in my app.

PermalinkCommentsdevelopment technical windows windows-store words-with-hints

Command line for finding missing URLACTIONs

2011 May 28, 11:00

I wanted to ensure that my switch statement in my implementation of IInternetSecurityManager::ProcessURLAction had a case for every possible documented URLACTION. I wrote the following short command line sequence to see the list of all URLACTIONs in the SDK header file not found in my source file:

grep URLACTION urlmon.idl | sed 's/.*\(URLACTION[a-zA-Z0-9_]*\).*/\1/g;' | sort | uniq > allURLACTIONs.txt
grep URLACTION MySecurityManager.cpp | sed 's/.*\(URLACTION[a-zA-Z0-9_]*\).*/\1/g;' | sort | uniq > myURLACTIONs.txt
comm -23 allURLACTIONs.txt myURLACTIONs.txt
I'm not a sed expert so I had to read the sed documentation, and I heard about comm from Kris Kowal's blog which happilly was in the Win32 GNU tools pack I already run.

But in my effort to learn and use PowerShell I found the following similar command line:

diff 
(more urlmon.idl | %{ if ($_ -cmatch "URLACTION[a-zA-Z0-9_]*") { $matches[0] } } | sort -uniq)
(more MySecurityManager.cpp | %{ if ($_ -cmatch "URLACTION[a-zA-Z0-9_]*") { $matches[0] } } | sort -uniq)
In the PowerShell version I can skip the temporary files which is nice. 'diff' is mapped to 'compare-object' which seems similar to comm but with no parameters to filter out the different streams (although this could be done more verbosely with the ?{ } filter syntax). In PowerShell uniq functionality is built into sort. The builtin -cmatch operator (c is for case sensitive) to do regexp is nice plus the side effect of generating the $matches variable with the regexp results.
PermalinkCommentspowershell tool cli technical command line

Tao Effect Blog » Blog Archive » Steve Jobs’ response on Section 3.3.1

2010 Apr 11, 2:16Lots of links, info, and thoughts on Apple's change to the iPhone SDK terms of service that now state "Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript..." Means no other languages or third party platforms...PermalinkCommentssteve-jobs apple sdk api tos legal law iphone ipod ipad technical

iPhone Dev Center: iPhone Application Programming Guide: The Core Application Design

2010 Mar 11, 4:26The iPhone application lifecycle.PermalinkCommentsiphone apple development technical sdk reference

Waooooooow, Ample SDK - <Glazblog/>

2009 Dec 1, 5:55A cross browser javascript implementation of SVG, XUL, portions of HTML5 and more. Check out their demos. "Ample SDK, a must-see: cross-browser (Gecko, Webkit, Opera, Chrome, and even IE 5.5+ !!), XInclude 1.0, XML Events 1.0, XML Schema, SMIL 3.0, REX 1.0, XBL 2.0 (!), SVG, XUL (cross-browser !), HTML5, XForms, ..., superb demos (SVG-based @shepazu in IE, wow...), dual MIT/GPL licensing terms, open-source"PermalinkCommentstechnical browser svg xul webkit opera ie javascript web html5

Testing Tools

2008 Oct 31, 2:37"The Microsoft Active Accessibility SDK provides several utilities that can be used by both clients and servers as testing tools."PermalinkCommentsmsdn microsoft accessibility tool free download

Chumby will be cool, despite its name

2008 Feb 19, 1:51

Bedside ChumbyI signed up for the pre-release beta and purchased a Chumby last year. Chumby looks like a cousin to a GPS unit. Its similar in size with a touch screen, but has WiFi, accelerometers, and is pillow like on the sides that aren't a screen. In practice its like an Internet alarm clock that shows you photos and videos off the Web. Its hackable in that Chumby Industries tells you about the various ways to run your own stuff on the Chumby, modifying the boot sequence (it runs Linux), turning on sshd, etc, etc. The Chumby forum too has lots of info from folks who have found interesting hacks for the device.

When you turn on the Chumby it downloads and runs the latest version of the Chumby software which lets you set alarms, play music, and display Flash widgets. The Chumby website lets anyone upload their own Flash widgets to share with the community. I tried my hand at creating one using Adobe's free Flash creation SDK but I don't know Flash and didn't have the patience to learn.

Currently my Chumby is set to wake me up at 8am on weekdays with music from ShoutCast and then displays traffic and weather. At 10am everyday it switches to showing me a slide-show of LolCats. At 11pm it switches to night mode where it displays the time in dark grey text on a black background at a reduced light level so as not to disturb me while I sleep.

I like the Chumby but I have two complaints. The first is that it forces me to learn flash in order to create anything cool rather than having a built-in Web browser or depending on a more Web friendly technology. The second complaint is about its name. At first I thought the name was stupid in a kind of silly way, but now that I'm used to the name it sounds vaguely dirty.

PermalinkCommentschumby review flash linux

Chicken Roundup

2007 Jul 11, 3:52I realized that I have short list of chicken related things I find humorous and they're all available for the linking to via youtube.

Chicken: The Powerpoint Presentation. This is a power point presentation of a research paper written in the language chicken. (video)

Bluth Family Chicken Dances. From the show Arrested Development many Bluth family members had their own chicken dance. (video)

Peter Fights the Giant Chicken. A man sized chicken fights Peter from Family Guy for multiple minutes in several episodes mimicking famous action sequences. I must admire the writers dedication to the gag. (video1, video2)

PermalinkCommentsroundup video personal chicken humor nontechnical
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