Registering / Installing a Windows Service

After you have written your Windows Service in Visual Studio you might want to run this to test and use the service.

You can run your service with a few simple steps: I used a service called ServiceName in the following examples.

First start a command prompt: cmd (as admin)

Install a service is done using sc create, syntax:
sc create ServiceName binPath=”pathto.exe”. If the command was successfull it will report SUCCESS.
Example:

Install a service is done using sc create, syntax:
sc create ServiceName binPath=”pathto.exe”.

If the command was successfull it will report SUCCESS. Example:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>sc create ServiceName binPath=”C:\repos\ServiceMonitor\ServiceName\bin\Debug\ServiceName.exe”
[SC] CreateService SUCCESS

To start the service use the command net start, syntax:
net start ServiceName

C:\WINDOWS\system32>net start ServiceName
The ServiceName service is starting.
The ServiceName service was started successfully.

To stop the service use the command net stop, syntax:
net stop ServiceName
Example:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>net stop ServiceName
The ServiceName service is stopping.
The ServiceName service was stopped successfully.

To delete / uninstall the service use sc delete, syntax:
sc delete ServiceName
Example:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>sc delete servicename
[SC] DeleteService SUCCESS

UPDATE 28-2-2019: New post, I added a installer in the executable. This enables the service to install running the executable. Read on in this follow up article: http://kannekens.nl/registering-installing-a-windows-service-part-2/

Git Branching – Branches in a Nutshell

https://git-scm.com/book/en/v2/Git-Branching-Branches-in-a-Nutshell

3.1 Git Branching – Branches in a Nutshell

Nearly every VCS has some form of branching support. Branching means you diverge from the main line of development and continue to do work without messing with that main line. In many VCS tools, this is a somewhat expensive process, often requiring you to create a new copy of your source code directory, which can take a long time for large projects.

Some people refer to Git’s branching model as its “killer feature,” and it certainly sets Git apart in the VCS community. Why is it so special? The way Git branches is incredibly lightweight, making branching operations nearly instantaneous, and switching back and forth between branches generally just as fast. Unlike many other VCSs, Git encourages workflows that branch and merge often, even multiple times in a day. Understanding and mastering this feature gives you a powerful and unique tool and can entirely change the way that you develop.

Branches in a Nutshell

To really understand the way Git does branching, we need to take a step back and examine how Git stores its data.

As you may remember from Getting Started, Git doesn’t store data as a series of changesets or differences, but instead as a series of snapshots.

When you make a commit, Git stores a commit object that contains a pointer to the snapshot of the content you staged. This object also contains the author’s name and email address, the message that you typed, and pointers to the commit or commits that directly came before this commit (its parent or parents): zero parents for the initial commit, one parent for a normal commit, and multiple parents for a commit that results from a merge of two or more branches.

To visualize this, let’s assume that you have a directory containing three files, and you stage them all and commit. Staging the files computes a checksum for each one (the SHA-1 hash we mentioned in Getting Started), stores that version of the file in the Git repository (Git refers to them as blobs), and adds that checksum to the staging area:

$ git add README test.rb LICENSE

$ git commit -m ‘The initial commit of my project’

When you create the commit by running git commit, Git checksums each subdirectory (in this case, just the root project directory) and stores those tree objects in the Git repository. Git then creates a commit object that has the metadata and a pointer to the root project tree so it can re-create that snapshot when needed.

Your Git repository now contains five objects: three blobs (each representing the contents of one of the three files), one tree that lists the contents of the directory and specifies which file names are stored as which blobs, and one commit with the pointer to that root tree and all the commit metadata.

Figure 9. A commit and its tree

If you make some changes and commit again, the next commit stores a pointer to the commit that came immediately before it.

Figure 10. Commits and their parents

A branch in Git is simply a lightweight movable pointer to one of these commits. The default branch name in Git is master. As you start making commits, you’re given a master branch that points to the last commit you made. Every time you commit, the master branch pointer moves forward automatically.

Note The “master” branch in Git is not a special branch. It is exactly like any other branch. The only reason nearly every repository has one is that the git init command creates it by default and most people don’t bother to change it.

Figure 11. A branch and its commit history

Creating a New Branch

What happens when you create a new branch? Well, doing so creates a new pointer for you to move around. Let’s say you want to create a new branch called testing. You do this with the git branch command:

$ git branch testing

This creates a new pointer to the same commit you’re currently on.

Figure 12. Two branches pointing into the same series of commits

How does Git know what branch you’re currently on? It keeps a special pointer called HEAD. Note that this is a lot different than the concept of HEAD in other VCSs you may be used to, such as Subversion or CVS. In Git, this is a pointer to the local branch you’re currently on. In this case, you’re still on master. The git branch command only created a new branch — it didn’t switch to that branch.

Figure 13. HEAD pointing to a branch

You can easily see this by running a simple git log command that shows you where the branch pointers are pointing. This option is called –decorate.

$ git log –oneline –decorate

f30ab (HEAD -> master, testing) add feature #32 – ability to add new formats to the central interface

34ac2 Fixed bug #1328 – stack overflow under certain conditions

98ca9 The initial commit of my project

You can see the “master” and “testing” branches that are right there next to the f30ab commit.

Switching Branches

To switch to an existing branch, you run the git checkout command. Let’s switch to the new testing branch:

$ git checkout testing

This moves HEAD to point to the testing branch.

Figure 14. HEAD points to the current branch

What is the significance of that? Well, let’s do another commit:

$ vim test.rb

$ git commit -a -m ‘made a change’

Figure 15. The HEAD branch moves forward when a commit is made

This is interesting, because now your testing branch has moved forward, but your master branch still points to the commit you were on when you ran git checkout to switch branches. Let’s switch back to the master branch:

$ git checkout master

Figure 16. HEAD moves when you checkout

That command did two things. It moved the HEAD pointer back to point to the master branch, and it reverted the files in your working directory back to the snapshot that master points to. This also means the changes you make from this point forward will diverge from an older version of the project. It essentially rewinds the work you’ve done in your testing branch so you can go in a different direction.

Note Switching branches changes files in your working directory It’s important to note that when you switch branches in Git, files in your working directory will change. If you switch to an older branch, your working directory will be reverted to look like it did the last time you committed on that branch. If Git cannot do it cleanly, it will not let you switch at all.

Let’s make a few changes and commit again:

$ vim test.rb

$ git commit -a -m ‘made other changes’

Now your project history has diverged (see Divergent history). You created and switched to a branch, did some work on it, and then switched back to your main branch and did other work. Both of those changes are isolated in separate branches: you can switch back and forth between the branches and merge them together when you’re ready. And you did all that with simple branch, checkout, and commit commands.

Figure 17. Divergent history

You can also see this easily with the git log command. If you run git log –oneline –decorate –graph –all it will print out the history of your commits, showing where your branch pointers are and how your history has diverged.

$ git log –oneline –decorate –graph –all

* c2b9e (HEAD, master) made other changes

| * 87ab2 (testing) made a change

|/

* f30ab add feature #32 – ability to add new formats to the

* 34ac2 fixed bug #1328 – stack overflow under certain conditions

* 98ca9 initial commit of my project

Because a branch in Git is actually a simple file that contains the 40 character SHA-1 checksum of the commit it points to, branches are cheap to create and destroy. Creating a new branch is as quick and simple as writing 41 bytes to a file (40 characters and a newline).

This is in sharp contrast to the way most older VCS tools branch, which involves copying all of the project’s files into a second directory. This can take several seconds or even minutes, depending on the size of the project, whereas in Git the process is always instantaneous. Also, because we’re recording the parents when we commit, finding a proper merge base for merging is automatically done for us and is generally very easy to do. These features help encourage developers to create and use branches often. R

A successful Git branching model

By Vincent Driessen
on Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Check out my latest post: An Intro to Decoders

In this post I present the development model that I’ve introduced for some of my projects (both at work and private) about a year ago, and which has turned out to be very successful. I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while now, but I’ve never really found the time to do so thoroughly, until now. I won’t talk about any of the projects’ details, merely about the branching strategy and release management.

Why git?

For a thorough discussion on the pros and cons of Git compared to centralized source code control systems, see the web. There are plenty of flame wars going on there. As a developer, I prefer Git above all other tools around today. Git really changed the way developers think of merging and branching. From the classic CVS/Subversion world I came from, merging/branching has always been considered a bit scary (“beware of merge conflicts, they bite you!”) and something you only do every once in a while.

But with Git, these actions are extremely cheap and simple, and they are considered one of the core parts of your daily workflow, really. For example, in CVS/Subversion books, branching and merging is first discussed in the later chapters (for advanced users), while in every Git book, it’s already covered in chapter 3 (basics).

As a consequence of its simplicity and repetitive nature, branching and merging are no longer something to be afraid of. Version control tools are supposed to assist in branching/merging more than anything else.

Enough about the tools, let’s head onto the development model. The model that I’m going to present here is essentially no more than a set of procedures that every team member has to follow in order to come to a managed software development process.

Decentralized but centralized

The repository setup that we use and that works well with this branching model, is that with a central “truth” repo. Note that this repo is only considered to be the central one (since Git is a DVCS, there is no such thing as a central repo at a technical level). We will refer to this repo as origin, since this name is familiar to all Git users.

Each developer pulls and pushes to origin. But besides the centralized push-pull relationships, each developer may also pull changes from other peers to form sub teams. For example, this might be useful to work together with two or more developers on a big new feature, before pushing the work in progress to origin prematurely. In the figure above, there are subteams of Alice and Bob, Alice and David, and Clair and David.

Technically, this means nothing more than that Alice has defined a Git remote, named bob, pointing to Bob’s repository, and vice versa.

The main branches

At the core, the development model is greatly inspired by existing models out there. The central repo holds two main branches with an infinite lifetime:

  • master
  • develop

The master branch at origin should be familiar to every Git user. Parallel to the master branch, another branch exists called develop.

We consider origin/master to be the main branch where the source code of HEAD always reflects a production-ready state.

We consider origin/develop to be the main branch where the source code of HEAD always reflects a state with the latest delivered development changes for the next release. Some would call this the “integration branch”. This is where any automatic nightly builds are built from.

When the source code in the develop branch reaches a stable point and is ready to be released, all of the changes should be merged back into master somehow and then tagged with a release number. How this is done in detail will be discussed further on.

Therefore, each time when changes are merged back into master, this is a new production release by definition. We tend to be very strict at this, so that theoretically, we could use a Git hook script to automatically build and roll-out our software to our production servers everytime there was a commit on master.

Supporting branches

Next to the main branches master and develop, our development model uses a variety of supporting branches to aid parallel development between team members, ease tracking of features, prepare for production releases and to assist in quickly fixing live production problems. Unlike the main branches, these branches always have a limited life time, since they will be removed eventually.

The different types of branches we may use are:

  • Feature branches
  • Release branches
  • Hotfix branches

Each of these branches have a specific purpose and are bound to strict rules as to which branches may be their originating branch and which branches must be their merge targets. We will walk through them in a minute.

By no means are these branches “special” from a technical perspective. The branch types are categorized by how we use them. They are of course plain old Git branches.

Feature branches

May branch off from:
develop
Must merge back into:
develop
Branch naming convention:
anything except master, develop, release-*, or hotfix-*

Feature branches (or sometimes called topic branches) are used to develop new features for the upcoming or a distant future release. When starting development of a feature, the target release in which this feature will be incorporated may well be unknown at that point. The essence of a feature branch is that it exists as long as the feature is in development, but will eventually be merged back into develop (to definitely add the new feature to the upcoming release) or discarded (in case of a disappointing experiment).

Feature branches typically exist in developer repos only, not in origin.

Creating a feature branch

When starting work on a new feature, branch off from the develop branch.

$ git checkout -b myfeature develop
Switched to a new branch "myfeature"

Incorporating a finished feature on develop

Finished features may be merged into the develop branch to definitely add them to the upcoming release:

$ git checkout develop
Switched to branch 'develop'
$ git merge --no-ff myfeature
Updating ea1b82a..05e9557
(Summary of changes)
$ git branch -d myfeature
Deleted branch myfeature (was 05e9557).
$ git push origin develop

The --no-ff flag causes the merge to always create a new commit object, even if the merge could be performed with a fast-forward. This avoids losing information about the historical existence of a feature branch and groups together all commits that together added the feature. Compare:

In the latter case, it is impossible to see from the Git history which of the commit objects together have implemented a feature—you would have to manually read all the log messages. Reverting a whole feature (i.e. a group of commits), is a true headache in the latter situation, whereas it is easily done if the --no-ff flag was used.

Yes, it will create a few more (empty) commit objects, but the gain is much bigger than the cost.

Release branches

May branch off from:
develop
Must merge back into:
develop and master
Branch naming convention:
release-*

Release branches support preparation of a new production release. They allow for last-minute dotting of i’s and crossing t’s. Furthermore, they allow for minor bug fixes and preparing meta-data for a release (version number, build dates, etc.). By doing all of this work on a release branch, the develop branch is cleared to receive features for the next big release.

The key moment to branch off a new release branch from develop is when develop (almost) reflects the desired state of the new release. At least all features that are targeted for the release-to-be-built must be merged in to develop at this point in time. All features targeted at future releases may not—they must wait until after the release branch is branched off.

It is exactly at the start of a release branch that the upcoming release gets assigned a version number—not any earlier. Up until that moment, the develop branch reflected changes for the “next release”, but it is unclear whether that “next release” will eventually become 0.3 or 1.0, until the release branch is started. That decision is made on the start of the release branch and is carried out by the project’s rules on version number bumping.

Creating a release branch

Release branches are created from the develop branch. For example, say version 1.1.5 is the current production release and we have a big release coming up. The state of develop is ready for the “next release” and we have decided that this will become version 1.2 (rather than 1.1.6 or 2.0). So we branch off and give the release branch a name reflecting the new version number:

$ git checkout -b release-1.2 develop
Switched to a new branch "release-1.2"
$ ./bump-version.sh 1.2
Files modified successfully, version bumped to 1.2.
$ git commit -a -m "Bumped version number to 1.2"
[release-1.2 74d9424] Bumped version number to 1.2
1 files changed, 1 insertions(+), 1 deletions(-)

After creating a new branch and switching to it, we bump the version number. Here, bump-version.sh is a fictional shell script that changes some files in the working copy to reflect the new version. (This can of course be a manual change—the point being that some files change.) Then, the bumped version number is committed.

This new branch may exist there for a while, until the release may be rolled out definitely. During that time, bug fixes may be applied in this branch (rather than on the develop branch). Adding large new features here is strictly prohibited. They must be merged into develop, and therefore, wait for the next big release.

Finishing a release branch

When the state of the release branch is ready to become a real release, some actions need to be carried out. First, the release branch is merged into master (since every commit on master is a new release by definition, remember). Next, that commit on master must be tagged for easy future reference to this historical version. Finally, the changes made on the release branch need to be merged back into develop, so that future releases also contain these bug fixes.

The first two steps in Git:

$ git checkout master
Switched to branch 'master'
$ git merge --no-ff release-1.2
Merge made by recursive.
(Summary of changes)
$ git tag -a 1.2

The release is now done, and tagged for future reference.

Edit: You might as well want to use the -s or -u <key> flags to sign your tag cryptographically.

To keep the changes made in the release branch, we need to merge those back into develop, though. In Git:

$ git checkout develop
Switched to branch 'develop'
$ git merge --no-ff release-1.2
Merge made by recursive.
(Summary of changes)

This step may well lead to a merge conflict (probably even, since we have changed the version number). If so, fix it and commit.

Now we are really done and the release branch may be removed, since we don’t need it anymore:

$ git branch -d release-1.2
Deleted branch release-1.2 (was ff452fe).

Hotfix branches

May branch off from:
master
Must merge back into:
develop and master
Branch naming convention:
hotfix-*

Hotfix branches are very much like release branches in that they are also meant to prepare for a new production release, albeit unplanned. They arise from the necessity to act immediately upon an undesired state of a live production version. When a critical bug in a production version must be resolved immediately, a hotfix branch may be branched off from the corresponding tag on the master branch that marks the production version.

The essence is that work of team members (on the develop branch) can continue, while another person is preparing a quick production fix.

Creating the hotfix branch

Hotfix branches are created from the master branch. For example, say version 1.2 is the current production release running live and causing troubles due to a severe bug. But changes on develop are yet unstable. We may then branch off a hotfix branch and start fixing the problem:

$ git checkout -b hotfix-1.2.1 master
Switched to a new branch "hotfix-1.2.1"
$ ./bump-version.sh 1.2.1
Files modified successfully, version bumped to 1.2.1.
$ git commit -a -m "Bumped version number to 1.2.1"
[hotfix-1.2.1 41e61bb] Bumped version number to 1.2.1
1 files changed, 1 insertions(+), 1 deletions(-)

Don’t forget to bump the version number after branching off!

Then, fix the bug and commit the fix in one or more separate commits.

$ git commit -m "Fixed severe production problem"
[hotfix-1.2.1 abbe5d6] Fixed severe production problem
5 files changed, 32 insertions(+), 17 deletions(-)

Finishing a hotfix branch

When finished, the bugfix needs to be merged back into master, but also needs to be merged back into develop, in order to safeguard that the bugfix is included in the next release as well. This is completely similar to how release branches are finished.

First, update master and tag the release.

$ git checkout master
Switched to branch 'master'
$ git merge --no-ff hotfix-1.2.1
Merge made by recursive.
(Summary of changes)
$ git tag -a 1.2.1

Edit: You might as well want to use the -s or -u <key> flags to sign your tag cryptographically.

Next, include the bugfix in develop, too:

$ git checkout develop
Switched to branch 'develop'
$ git merge --no-ff hotfix-1.2.1
Merge made by recursive.
(Summary of changes)

The one exception to the rule here is that, when a release branch currently exists, the hotfix changes need to be merged into that release branch, instead of develop. Back-merging the bugfix into the release branch will eventually result in the bugfix being merged into develop too, when the release branch is finished. (If work in develop immediately requires this bugfix and cannot wait for the release branch to be finished, you may safely merge the bugfix into develop now already as well.)

Finally, remove the temporary branch:

$ git branch -d hotfix-1.2.1
Deleted branch hotfix-1.2.1 (was abbe5d6).

Summary

While there is nothing really shocking new to this branching model, the “big picture” figure that this post began with has turned out to be tremendously useful in our projects. It forms an elegant mental model that is easy to comprehend and allows team members to develop a shared understanding of the branching and releasing processes.

A high-quality PDF version of the figure is provided here. Go ahead and hang it on the wall for quick reference at any time.

Update: And for anyone who requested it: here’s the gitflow-model.src.key of the main diagram image (Apple Keynote).


Git-branching-model.pdf

Git-branching-model

If you want to get in touch, I’m @nvie on Twitter.

How to use an SQL query with parameters in Excel

1 Intro

2 Set up the query to run as a stored procedure

3 Prepare Excel

4 Make ODBC connection to database in SQL

5 Prepare “Microsoft query”

6 Link fields to query parameters

Simple example query:

declare @StartDate datetime set @StartDate = ‘2018-01-01’

declare @EndDate datetime set @EndDate = ‘2018-01-31’

select * from tblOrder where orderdate <= @StartDate and orderdate >= @EndDate

Create and run a script that creates a stored procedure:

CREATE PROCEDURE spSelectOrder

— Add the parameters for the stored procedure here

@StartDate As DateTime,

@EndDate As DateTime

AS

BEGIN

— SET NOCOUNT ON added to prevent extra result sets from

— interfering with SELECT statements.

SET NOCOUNT ON;

— Insert statements for procedure here

select * from tblOrder where orderdate <= @StartDate and

orderdate >= @EndDate

END

GO

This stored procedure can be run in Excel using Microsoft query. To run this query, prepare a worksheet with the parameters filled. These parameters will be used as input for the query later.

Next step is to add the data source to the worksheet. Start Data, “From Other Sources” “From Microsoft Query”. This will start a wizard to create a data connection:

1 Select or create a Data Source

2 The next step in the wizard is Choose Columns. Cancel the wizard on this screen and a question will pop up asking you if you want to continue editing this query. Click Yes.

3 MS Query will be started and a dialog to select tables will be presented. Close this dialog.

4 Click SQL button in button bar or in menu choose View, SQL.

5 Type “call” followed by the stored procedure name and question marks for the parameter input between parentheses. Place this in between curly bracets. These curly bracets are required to avoid syntax check errors.

{call spMassBalans (?, ?)}

6 Press OK and you will be prompted to input values for the required parameters.

The results will be retrieved in a query result window. After the result is presented go to File and click “Return Data to Microsoft Excel”.

Microsoft query will be closed and you will return to Excel with a dialog to import the data. Choose cell A4 in the work sheet.

Again you will be prompted to input values for the parameters. This time you are able to select the cells B1 and B2 as input. Check the checkbox in the dialog to use the reference for future use. If you want you can also check to refresh the data when the cell value changes.

If you want to manually refresh the data you can right-click anywhere in the datagrid and select “refresh”.