development - Dave's Blog


Windows.Web.UI.Interop.WebViewControl localhost access

2018 Jul 25, 5:34

If you're developing with the new Windows.Web.UI.Interop.WebViewControl you may have noticed you cannot navigate to localhost HTTP servers. This is because the WebViewControl's WebView process is a UWP process. All UWP processes by default cannot use the loopback adapter as a security precaution. For development purposes you can allow localhost access using the checknetisolation command line tool on the WebViewControl's package just as you can for any other UWP app. The command should be the following:

checknetisolation loopbackexempt -a -n=Microsoft.Win32WebViewHost_cw5n1h2txyewy

As a warning checknetisolation is not good on errors. If you attempt to add a package but get its package family name wrong, checknetisolation just says OK:

C:\Users\davris>checknetisolation LoopbackExempt -a -n=Microsoft.BingWeather_4.21.2492.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe
And if you then list the result of the add with the bad name you'll see the following:
[1] -----------------------------------------------------------------
Name: AppContainer NOT FOUND
SID: S-1-15-...

There's also a UI tool for modifying loopback exemption for packages available on GitHub and also one available with Fiddler.

As an additional note, I mentioned above you can try this for development. Do not do this in shipping products as this turns off the security protection for any consumer of the WebViewControl.

PermalinkCommentschecknetisolation loopback security uwp webview win32webview

JavaScript Types and WinRT Types

2016 Jan 21, 5:35PermalinkCommentschakra development javascript winrt

Retweet of chockenberry

2015 Mar 9, 11:56
More about the attack on the developer tools: …

Tweet from David_Risney

2015 Mar 3, 4:06
How do you conditionally sprite/concat/shard based on http version? …

Cloud Share - New App

2014 May 23, 4:06

I've put a new app on the Windows Store: Cloud Share. It connects the web to your Windows 8 share charm.

I did the development on GitHub and quite enjoyed myself. I wasn't sure I liked the game-ification of development in GitHub's dashboard showing you your longest development streak in days. However I realized that it encourages me to do work on my personal project and anything that aids in holding my attention on and helping me finish these projects is a good thing.

PermalinkCommentsdevelopment github javascript JS technical windows

Debugging anecdote - the color transparent black breaks accessibility

2014 May 22, 10:36

Some time back while I was working on getting the Javascript Windows Store app platform running on Windows Phone (now available on the last Windows Phone release!) I had an interesting bug that in retrospect is amusing.

I had just finished a work item to get accessibility working for JS WinPhone apps when I got a new bug: With some set of JS apps, accessibility appeared to be totally broken. At that time in development the only mechanism we had to test accessibility was a test tool that runs on the PC, connects to the phone, and dumps out the accessibility tree of whatever app is running on the phone. In this bug, the tool would spin for a while and then timeout with an error and no accessibility information.

My first thought was this was an issue in my new accessibility code. However, debugging with breakpoints on my code I could see none of my code was run nor the code that should call it. The code that called that code was a more generic messaging system that hit my breakpoints constantly.

Rather than trying to work backward from the failure point, I decided to try and narrow down the repro and work forwards from there. One thing all the apps with the bug had in common was their usage of WinJS, but not all WinJS apps demonstrated the issue. Using a binary search approach on one such app I removed unrelated app code until all that was left was the app's usage of the WinJS AppBar and the bug still occurred. I replaced the WinJS AppBar usage with direct usage of the underlying AppBar WinRT APIs and continued.

Only some calls to the AppBar WinRT object produced the issue:

        var appBar = Windows.UI.WebUI.Core.WebUICommandBar.getForCurrentView(); 
// appBar.opacity = 1;
// appBar.closeDisplayMode = Windows.UI.WebUI.Core.WebUICommandBarClosedDisplayMode.default;
appBar.backgroundColor = Windows.UI.Colors.white; // Bug!
Just setting the background color appeared to cause the issue and I didn't even have to display the AppBar. Through additional trial and error I was blown away to discover that some colors I would set caused the issue and other colors did not. Black wouldn't cause the issue but transparent black would. So would aqua but not white.

I eventually realized that predefined WinRT color values like Windows.UI.Colors.aqua would cause the issue while JS literal based colors didn't cause the issue (Windows.UI.Color is a WinRT struct which projects in JS as a JS literal object with the struct members as JS object properties so its easy to write something like {r: 0, g: 0, b: 0, a: 0} to make a color) and I had been mixing both in my tests without realizing there would be a difference. I debugged into the backgroundColor property setter that consumed the WinRT color struct to see what was different between and {a: 1, r: 0, g: 0, b: 0} and found the two structs to be byte wise exactly the same.

On a hunch I tried my test app with only a reference to the color and otherwise no interaction with the AppBar and not doing anything with the actual reference to the color:;. This too caused the issue. I knew that the implementation for these WinRT const values live in a DLL and guessed that something in the code to create these predefined colors was causing the issue. I debugged in and no luck. Now I also have experienced crusty code that would do exciting things in its DllMain, the function that's called when a DLL is loaded into the process so I tried modifying my C++ code to simply LoadLibrary the DLL containing the WinRT color definition, windows.ui.xaml.dll and found the bug still occurred! A short lived moment of relief as the world seemed to make sense again.

Debugging into DllMain nothing interesting happened. There were interesting calls in there to be sure, but all of them behind conditions that were false. I was again stumped. On another hunch I tried renaming the DLL and only LoadLibrary'ing it and the bug went away. I took a different DLL renamed it windows.ui.xaml.dll and tried LoadLibrary'ing that and the bug came back. Just the name of the DLL was causing the issue.

I searched for the DLL name in our source code index and found hits in the accessibility tool. Grinning I opened the source to find that the accessibility tool's phone side service was trying to determine if a process belonged to a XAML app or not because XAML apps had a different accessibility contract. It did this by checking to see if windows.ui.xaml.dll was loaded in the target process.

At this point I got to fix my main issue and open several new bugs for the variety of problems I had just run into. This is a how to on writing software that is difficult to debug.

PermalinkCommentsbug debug javascript JS technical windows winrt

C++ constructor member initializers run in member declaration order

2013 Jul 18, 3:29PermalinkCommentsc++ development programming technical

Percent Clcok Windows Store App Development Notes

2013 Jul 11, 1:00

My third completed Windows Store app is Percent Clock which displays portions of a time span like the time of the day or time until your next birthday, as a percentage. This was a small project I had previously started as a webpage and converted and finished as an HTML JavaScript Windows Store app.

The only somewhat interesting aspect of this app is that its the first app for which I tried charging. I picked the minimum amount for price 1.49 USD as it is a simple app and unsurprisingly it has sold very poorly. I'm considering releasing new instances of the app for specific scenarios:

  • Death Clock: viewing your current age with respect to your life expectancy as a percentage.
  • New Year Countdown: percentage of the year until New Years.
PermalinkCommentsdevelopment javascript technical windows windows-store

WinRT PropertySet Changed Event Danger

2013 Jul 8, 1:46

The Windows Runtime API Windows.Foundation.Collections.PropertySet class​ is a nice string name to object value map that has a changed event that fires when the contents of the map is modified. Be careful with this event because it fires synchronously from the thread on which the PropertySet was modified. If modified from the UI thread, the UI thread will then wait as it synchronously dispatches the changed event to all listeners which could lead to performance issues or especially from the UI thread deadlock. For instance, deadlock if you have two threads both trying to tell each other about changed events for different PropertySets.

PermalinkCommentsdeadlock development propertyset windows windows-runtime winrt

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

MSVC++ 64bit Enums

2013 Jul 1, 1:00

If you want to represent a value larger than 32bits in an enum in MSVC++ you can use C++0x style syntax to tell the compiler exactly what kind of integral type to store the enum values. Unfortunately by default an enum is always 32bits, and additionally while you can specify constants larger than 32bits for the enum values, they are silently truncated to 32bits.

For instance the following doesn't compile because Lorem::a and Lorem::b have the same value of '1':

enum Lorem {
a = 0x1,
b = 0x100000001
} val;

switch (val) {
case Lorem::a:
case Lorem::b:

Unfortunately it is not an error to have b's constant truncated, and the previous without the switch statement does compile just fine:

enum Lorem {
a = 0x1,
b = 0x100000001
} val;

But you can explicitly specify that the enum should be represented by a 64bit value and get expected compiling behavior with the following:

enum Lorem : UINT64 {
a = 0x1,
b = 0x100000001
} val;

switch (val) {
case Lorem::a:
case Lorem::b:
PermalinkComments64bit c++ development enum msvc++ technical

Shout Text Windows 8 App Development Notes

2013 Jun 27, 1:00

My first app for Windows 8 was Shout Text. You type into Shout Text, and your text is scaled up as large as possible while still fitting on the screen, as you type. It is the closest thing to a Hello World app as you'll find on the Windows Store that doesn't contain that phrase (by default) and I approached it as the simplest app I could make to learn about Windows modern app development and Windows Store app submission.

I rely on WinJS's default layout to use CSS transforms to scale up the user's text as they type. And they are typing into a simple content editable div.

The app was too simple for me to even consider using ads or charging for it which I learned more about in future apps.

The first interesting issue I ran into was that copying from and then pasting into the content editable div resulted in duplicates of the containing div with copied CSS appearing recursively inside of the content editable div. To fix this I had to catch the paste operation and remove the HTML data from the clipboard to ensure only the plain text data is pasted:

        function onPaste() {
var text;

if (window.clipboardData) {
text = window.clipboardData.getData("Text").toString();
window.clipboardData.setData("Text", util.normalizeContentEditableText(text));
shoutText.addEventListener("beforepaste", function () { return false; }, false);
shoutText.addEventListener("paste", onPaste, false);

I additionally found an issue in IE in which applying a CSS transform to a content editable div that has focus doesn't move the screen position of the user input caret - the text is scaled up or down but the caret remains the same size and in the same place on the screen. To fix this I made the following hack to reapply the current cursor position and text selection which resets the screen position of the user input caret.

        function resetCaret() {
setTimeout(function () {
var cursorPos = document.selection.createRange().duplicate();;
}, 200);

shoutText.attachEvent("onresize", function () { resetCaret(); }, true);
PermalinkCommentsdevelopment html javascript shout-text technical windows windows-store

Windows Store on Windows 8 Fun For Independent Developers

2013 Jun 24, 1:00
Having worked on Windows 8 I'm not in a neutral position to review aspects of it, however I'll say from a high level I love taking the following various positives from smart phone apps and app stores and applying it to the desktop:
  • Independent developers can easily publish apps.
  • One trusted place for a user to find apps.
  • User can trust apps are limited to a declared set of capabilities.
  • One common and easy way for users to buy and try apps.
  • Easy mechanism for independent developers to collect revenue.
Relieving the independent developer of software development overhead, in this case Windows taking care of distribution and sales infrastructure is wonderful for me with my third party developer hat on. This combined with my new found fun of developing in JavaScript and the new Windows Runtime APIs means I've been implementing and finishing various ideas I've had - some for fun and some for productivity on my Surface. Development notes to follow.
PermalinkCommentsstore technical windows windows-store

laughingsquid: Arrested Development Season 4 Trailer Brings...

2013 May 13, 2:47


Arrested Development Season 4 Trailer Brings Back the Dysfunctional Bluth Family

Come on!

PermalinkCommentshumor trailer arrested-development awesome

Will Arnett Explains the Origins of His Arrested Development Chicken Dance

2013 May 8, 11:26


To decide what Gob’s bad impression of a chicken might be, Arnett consulted on set in 2003 with series executive producers Mitch Hurwitz and James Vallely. They all tried out different versions for each other. “Jimmy started doing a little bit, then Mitch got up and did some, and then I began trying things,” remembers Arnett. “Picture three grown men hopping around, working out what it would be … They were pitching this really taunting dance, but I wanted to give it this very sharp, almost roosterlike, chest-sticking-out mannerism, like a real macho bravado dance.” And how did clapping get introduced to the move? “Because I wanted it to be only sort of threatening.”

Read More | Vulture

PermalinkCommentshumor chicken chicken-dance arrested-development

thebluthcompany: Hey, guys, remember this? Please don’t forget...

2012 Nov 7, 6:06


Hey, guys, remember this?

Please don’t forget to go out and vote! Find you polling place here.

Voting complete. Now we get more Arrested Development.

PermalinkCommentshumor vote election obama arrested-development

The Lucille Bluth/Mitt Romney Tumblr confirms that saying awful rich person things is all about context

2012 Sep 24, 7:33

Mitt Romney quotes on screen shots of Lucille from Arrested Development works surprisingly well.

PermalinkCommentshumor arrested-development mitt-Romney politics

Say goodbye to these!

2012 Aug 24, 1:52

Say goodbye to these!

PermalinkCommentshumor politics arrested-development

Getting closer to the day I resume my Netflix...

2012 Jul 3, 2:47

Getting closer to the day I resume my Netflix subscription…

PermalinkCommentsron-howard arrested-development

So Listen Carefully To That Song Of The Modem | Best Of MetaFilter

2012 Jun 3, 12:43

A thread about the sounds dial-up modems used to make prompted member Devonian to recall being a fly on the wall during the development of modem speed standards

PermalinkCommentstechnical standards modem
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