Jul 21

During this series of posts I’m going to share with you how I work with WebApi. I’m going to share the steps with you so you understand exactly what is going on and the choices made. There of course is a GitHub repo you can folk and use in your own projects.

Being a consultant I have to create REST API’s (or as I like to say ‘RESTish API’s’*) a lot, I’m going to show you how I do it. When you create your WebApi project your first instinct might be to select the WebApi project template, I would resist doing it like that.

Not because there is anything wrong with using the templates, because there ins’t I’ve used both the WebApi and MVC templates as learning tools as well as for quick hacks. That said that’s what you should use them for – here are my reasons for saying that:

  • So much of the config is done for you that it can be difficult to understand what’s going on, what if you need to change the config or had a deployment issue would you be confident in making changes?
  • So many extra packages are added that you probably don’t need.
  • It’s not Owin backed.

Getting Started

For IIS
Add new project in Visual Studio 2013: File -> New -> Project -> ASP.NET Web Application -> Empty Template

Then install the following NuGet packages:


PM> Install-Package Microsoft.AspNet.WebApi.Owin


PM> Install-Package Microsoft.Owin.Host.SystemWeb

Adding Microsoft.Owin.Host.SystemWeb allows you to use the Owin interface with System.Web i.e. IIS. If you wanted to Self Host just create your containing project (console app, Azure etc) and only install the Microsoft.AspNet.WebApi.OwinSelfHost NuGet package.

If using IIS (Microsoft.Owin.Host.SystemWeb) you want to remove the ugly IIS error pages. To do this in your web.config <system.webServer> add <httpErrors errorMode=”Custom” existingResponse=”PassThrough” /> so your web.config looks like:

<system.webServer>
<httpErrors errorMode="Custom" existingResponse="PassThrough" /> <!-- This forces errors to the Owin pipeline -->
</system.webServer>

Add a class to the root of the project called Startup.cs and add the following code:

That’s it add an ApiController and action, and you’re good to go.

Why use OWIN and vNext

I was going to do a write on why we should use Owin, but this stackoverflow question has a great answer. All I would add is that although not exactly the same the concepts of Middleware transfer well to vNext take a look at IApplicationBuilder.

*Most API’s I’m asked to create are not truly RESTful if I was to be academic about it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HATEOAS for example). So I call them RESTish, they are RESTful enough to be useful without going over the top implementing the whole REST spec for vanity.

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May 19

Last week I posted about creating a PushWoosh SDK using DalSoft.RestClient. Today I’m setting a SDK challenge! On a first come first served basis, and if you are able to help me promote the DalSoft.RestClient project, I will create your C# SDK for you. That’s right get your SDK for your REST API developed for free.

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May 14

Earlier this year I posted about a pet project I’ve been working on DalSoft.RestClient which is a dynamic C# rest client.

I’ve now used it on a number of projects, and it works really for fluently accessing rest api’s (if I do say so myself). So I thought I’d do a quick post on a real life scenario. For a client of mine I’ve recently needed to integrate PushWoosh, so I thought I’d share some code to show how easy it would be to create a PushWoosh SDK with DalSoft.RestClient.

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Jan 26

Whenever I’ve wanted to create a SDK for my WebApi’s I’m surprised by the amount of bolierplate code you end up with. HttpClient made things easier for us, but you still end up wrapping HttpClient and passing generics around.

I wanted something between Simple.Data and angular’s $http service, the main driver was to make my tests as readable as possible. I’ve messed around with .NET 4 dynamic objects before, so I set about creating a dynamic wrapper around HttpClient and a fluent API I could re-use. It’s passed the rule of 3 as I’ve used it for multiple clients. A side note is that it should be trivial to generate DalSoft.RestClient code examples in your WebApi docs.

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Dec 05

While working at OnTrees I was introduced to brunch by @_grayham and have used it on a couple of my own projects (more recently exploregiving.com). Brunch is an alternative front-end build system to Grunt or Gulp.

You can achieve the same thing with any of these front-end build systems. I’ve just found the brunch conventions and workflow very simple to work with. What closed it for me was how easy it was to add brunch to our continuous deployment pipeline.

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