Sunday, January 8, 2012

Windows Azure Storage Table Names

While writing a unit test for a class that created a Windows Azure Storage table, I named the test table “Test_Function_Date” where Function and Date where replaced with meaningful test information. The underscores in the table name were also there.


Azure CloudTableClient.CreateTableIfNotExist Exception

While running the test, my call to CloudTableClient.CreateTableIfNotExist(TableName) threw an exception.




Illegal Table Name Exception Details

The outer exception is Exception of type 'Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageClient.StorageClientException' was thrown. The inner exception is "An error occurred while processing this request." Buried in the inner exception XML is a status code of OutOfRangeInput, with a message of “One of the request inputs is out of range.” Since this was a single unit test with not much prep work, I figured out it was the table name.


Azure Table Name Rules

The rules for table naming allow:

  • alphanumerics
  • do not begin with a numeric
  • case insensitive
  • length from 3 to 63

Regular Expression for Azure Table Name Rules

The regular expression (provided by Neil Mackenzie) is:



So in the example table name of “Test_Function_Date”, the underscores were the problem.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Code Faster Review and Favorite Tips

This review covers “Coding Faster: Getting More Productive with Microsoft Visual Studio: Covers Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, 2008, and 2010” by Zain Naboulsi and Sara Ford.


Why I Ordered the Book

I ordered this book with the hopes of getting some quick and easy speed improvements to my coding style. If you are looking for just such a shortcut key primer, the poster address for all languages is available.  [Alternative link to posters] This book covers a bit more and takes a little more time to digest. That’s not bad.


Who should Buy this Book

As a huge, feature-rich product with numerous versions, mastering Visual Studio is a challenge in itself. I must admit I tend to focus more on the language and SDKs of the current project, and less on the IDE. Sitting down with the book gave me time to correct that. If you have any desire to master your Visual Studio coding environment, buy this book.


Book Layout

The book is organized with seven chapters:

1. Getting Started

2. Projects and Items

3. Getting to Know the Environment

4. Working with Documents

5. Finding Things

6. Writing Code

7. Debugging


There is a bonus at the back of the book covering extensions found at the Visual Studio Gallery.


Favorite Tips


There were plenty of gems for speed improvement in there. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • 02.14 Roll Your Own Project Template with the Export Template Wizard Alt+F, E
  • 03.03 Cycle through Your Open Tool Windows Alt+F6
  • 06.02 Zoom In & Out of Text in Editor Ctrl+Shift+Mouse Wheel
  • 06.04 Make IntelliSense Transparent Press and hold Ctrl
  • 06.15 Select everything in the braces Ctrl+Shift+}
  • 07.08 Code Definition Window Ctrl+\,D

Favorite Extension

There are plenty of spelling extensions but oddly developers don’t general look for or install them. Here is a free extension that will correct your spelling. If you generate API documentation from code files, you must have a spell checker.