Deploying LESS changes to a Windows Azure Website via Git

In developing vacashare.com, I am using LESS to generate my CSS as I have found the technology to be a developer-friendly way of generating clean, flexible CSS. The Web Essentials extension for Visual Studio 2012 automatically compiles my LESS files into a .css and .min.css files ready for production use. The automated CSS generation combined with .NET Bundling allows for clean CSS for development and debugging purposes and a minified version for my production site. Having Web Essentials generate my .css file(s) doesn’t work, though, if the .less file is modified outside of Visual Studio.

Git publishing has been set up to the Azure website but any modifications to the LESS files are not compiled into a new CSS file until the project is opened in Visual Studio and Web Essentials does its thing. Any CSS changes made can be deployed by the Git publish but the changes will be overwritten when the .less file is modified in Visual Studio and the .css files are generated anew.

We are testing out MSBuild tasks that will allow the LESS files to be compiled into CSS files at compile time so that styling changes can be made without requiring Visual Studio (or even a Windows PC) and can be deployed via a Git Push. Installing .Less Msbuild Tasks into the Visual Studio project exposes a new build action “DotLess”. Look through the entire list of possible actions as the list is not in alphabetical order and may appear to be missing at first glance.

Build Action - DotLess

Once the tasks are installed into your project and the DotLess build action is set for the .less files, you can test things by making a change to the .less file and compiling the solution directly by command line using Msbuild.

The next test is to checkout our Git repository on non-Windows PC (in this case, Mac OSX Mavericks), making a modification to the .less file, kicking off a new build of the site using Git Publishing, and confirming that the site reflects the new styles.

So what if Windows 8 has no start button?

I like Windows 8…that alone should earn me some hate.

Windows 8 is a testament to exactly how much people hate change. Look at Facebook, each time there’s a major change to their layout you people creating new page “bring back the old look”

When Windows 8 was released in 2012, the loudest grumbles were around the missing start button.

When Windows 95 was released, the loudest grumbles were around the new start button. People initially couldn’t imagine a Windows experience without the beloved Program Manager.

What I don’t understand is how the critics that say they want the start menu back over look an entire screen. Windows 8 boots you into what is essentially a full screen view of the start menu.

I’ll be attending Microsoft’s Build 2014 conference in April when they’ll probably be talking about Windows 8.1 Update 1 (so Windows 8.2?). I’ll be writing more about the Windows 8 related changes as they are announced closer to the conference.

Migrating your iPhone contacts to your Android phone

I recently moved from an iPhone to an Android phone.  My immediate concern was how to move my contacts over between the two devices. iCloud backup of my contacts really came in handy for this.

First, make sure to have your contacts backed up to iCloud.

Log in to iCloud at https://www.icloud.com/ using your Apple ID and proceed to the contacts page. Select all of the contacts (CTRL+A for Windows, COMMAND+A for Mac), click the gear on the bottom left, and select export as vCard.

Now log in to your Google Contacts using your Google account. Click import and select the vCard file you just exported.

Upon completing the import, make sure to review your contacts and merge any duplicate contacts that may have resulted from the import. This is the perfect opportunity to clean up your contacts before syncing them with your phone.