Azure Store Table Connection Refused

I’m trying to separate out my Azure environments for local development vs. Dev, Test, Staging, and Production.

For local development I’m using the Azure SDK local storage emulator.  To do that you have some connection strings that look like this:

  <add key="StorageConnectionString" value="UseDevelopmentStorage=true"/> 
  <add name="AzureWebJobsDashboard" connectionString="UseDevelopmentStorage=true" />
  <add name="AzureWebJobsStorage" connectionString="UseDevelopmentStorage=true" />

But today I ran into a non-obvious error:

No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it

And found this cool post with the solution in the comment.  Basically, the storage emulator turns off after some period of disuse.  There’s a handy little batch script in there to clear out the storage and restart it.


I keep running into this issue about once a month.  I build and deploy my app to my Android device, and at the end of deployment I get the ambiguous error:


This thread in the Xamarin forums gives a variety of different solutions, but I wanted to document it for myself and others in a nice clear list of things to try, in the order of easy-to-do first:

  1. Uninstall whatever version of your app is on the device and try to deploy again.
  2. Install the app store version of your app, uninstall it, and try to deploy again.
  3. In the system Settings/Device/Applications/App Manager on the All tab, find the


    Select it, uninstall it, and then try to deploy again.

This third one is sure-fire way, so you might start with that and skip the trial and error.

Remote Debugging in Azure

I have an app service (API, actually) published in Azure.  Lately I’ve run into some strange problems where the service apparently just crashes with no exception handling.  I have logging all over the place, and it just stops in its tracks when the code makes a specific service call, with no evidence of what’s going on.  All of my unit testing and automated integration tests work fine.  So, I’m breaking down and learning remote debugging of a Microsoft Azure process.

The obvious place to start is the Azure tutorial, here:

I followed the instructions, but had to make a few adjustments.

  • Remote debugging reportedly blocks the rest of the website, so you definitely don’t want to do it in production.
  • I use deployment slots, and have on called “dev” just for the purpose of development testing (and now remote debugging).
  • You have to enable remote debugging in the deployment slot, not the main website.
  • When you attach to the process, you have to use the right userid in the form of <website_uid>__<slotname>.  That’s with two underscores.  E.g. “MySitePublishingId__dev”.  I found this specific ID in the publishing profile that you can download for each site and slot.

Through all of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that the thread is probably not crashing, but rather hanging due to async call returns (deadlock).  But however I work that out will be another post.

.NET Configuration Transformations

I’m playing around with XML transformations today and needed a refresher.  This is a pretty good explanation straight from the horse’s mouth.

I’m deploying to an Azure website, in which case there are ways to keep connection strings and app settings unique to each slot of your website.

However, the setting I need to tweak for production isn’t an “app setting”, but rather a servicemodel client endpoint, which apparently has to be done the hard way. 🙁

Mac Power User

Found this tool today to help tweak the notoriously hard to customize Mac OS.

“Access Denied” exception in self hosted Owin application

HTTP Tests not running on my virtual machine.  Access denied was returned from the Owin Serverfactory. The answer is to run this from the admin CMD console (not PowerShell).

netsh http> add urlacl url=http://locahost:<port#>/ user=Everyone

Source: “Access Denied” exception in self hosted Owin application

Xamarin iOS Certificate Issues

Several times now I’ve encountered issues where Xamarin doesn’t let me deploy an app under development to an iOS device.  In some cases, I’ve found the answer here, but I’m going to lay out the full solution for all cases.

  1. Register your unique device ID (UDID) at Apple Developer Device List.  You won’t have to start here every time.  In fact, if you’ve been developing/deploying to your device for a while and Xamarin suddenly stops deploying to the device, this is not the problem. But if you’ve never used the device for development before, this is where you have to start. You can search for instructions on getting your UDID, but it seems the easiest way is to connect your device and view it in iTunes.
  2. Xcode Certificates.pngRun Xcode and refresh your certificates.  Often times, an Xcode update will require user intervention to accept the Terms of Use, etc. or enter a password to complete installation of the update.  That may be all you have to do.  But if your certificate has expired or you’ve updated the device list in step 1, you’ll have to download the cert again. In Xcode v7 (it has changed over time and probably will again) choose the menu options: Xcode > Preferences > Accounts > [Team Name] > View Details > Download All.  
  3. In Xamarin Studio v5, go to the context menu for your iOS project and select: Options > iOS Bundle Signing. You may have to twiddle with the Signing Identity and the Provisioning Profile.  In my case, they were both set to Automatic after a XS update, but to get it to work I had to change the Provisioning Profile to iOS Team Provisioning Profile.  iOS Bundle Signing

Time to Start Blogging Again

passing-time-2-51854c91a8333I know blogs are passé and no one really follows/reads them anymore.  However, I’ve been doing a lot of development in Xamarin lately and running into new (to me) problems every day, so I’m going to document them here and help the SEO world to find the answers again in the future.

And, I’ll try to remember to throw in some stuff about the books I’ve been reading and other interests now and then.

Dallas TechFest 2014

Dallas TechFest is back! It’s organized by my friend and colleague, Tim Rayburn. This year you can expect excellent content focused on Bleeding-Edge Development, Wicked UX and Next-Gen Mobile Technologies. (including iOS, Windows Phone, NodejS, ASP.NET vNext and Xamarin), plus interesting insights on UX and Mobility from Jared Spool, CEO & Founding Principal of UIE. The ticket price includes the full conference and lunch. Consider attending and please feel free to pass this information on to others you think might benefit from it

2014 Dallas TechFest

Visual Studio 2013 Quality Tools

I’ve delivered a talk a couple of times recently covering the Quality Tools in Visual Studio 2013 and Microsoft Test Manager.  Specifically, this talk covers:Visual_Studio_2013_Logo_svg

  • Unit testing
  • TDD
  • Automatic Test Runner
  • Manual Testing in MTM
  • Recorded Manual Tests
  • Converting Test Recordings in Coded UI Tests (CUIT)
  • Recording CUIT directly in VS
  • Build automation with Tests
  • CUIT Test Automation

I’m uploading my Visual Studio 2013 Quality Tools presentation here, even though it’s not that useful without the product demos to go with it.  I guess it’s primarily reference materials for those who have actually seen the presentation.  Maybe I’ll do screen-shots later and embed them to make it more stand-alone.