April 16, 2018

Read web.config file outside the application folder in C#

I have a web application running on my server. And I needed to develop a small utility application which has to do some work in database, and I don't want to write same database credentials or connection strings(and some other additional app-settings) in this new console application, I want it to read settings from same web.config file. But the problem I was facing when I tried this code:

 string filePath = @"D:\MyProject\Web.config";
 Configuration c1 = ConfigurationManager.OpenExeConfiguration(filePath);
 var value1 = c1.AppSettings.Settings["Key1"].Value;

It was not giving any error if it was failed to load the given file path, but also was not wokring as per my expectations. The Configuration object c1 was loaded fine but when I tried to read ApSettings, it was empty. There was no key/value pairs loaded in this collection object. So trying to read value for Key1 was giving me error as:

 Object reference not set to an instance of an object. 

After wasting much time thinking and searcing on this issue, I found this solution. It worked fine and allowed me read config file from another application.

 string filePath = @"D:\MyProject\Web.config";
 var fileMap = new ExeConfigurationFileMap { ExeConfigFilename = filePath };
 var configuration = ConfigurationManager.OpenMappedExeConfiguration(fileMap, ConfigurationUserLevel.None);
 var value = configuration.AppSettings.Settings["Key1"].Value;

Here I get proper value of Key1, in variable value.

March 31, 2018

Running PHP script from the command line

I was need to call my php script from command prompt in Windows. This is what I found:

Let's say, we have PHP file myscript.php in Test folder inside htdocs folder of XAMPP installation (this is not mandatory, you can place your php file anywhere on your local hard drive), and I want to call it from command prompt.

We need to write it this way:

 php "D:\xampp\htdocs\Test\myscript.php"

It is assumed that your php.exe file path is set in environment PATH variable. If it is not included in environment PATH variable then you may need to write full path for php.exe. In my case, it is like this:

 "D:\xampp\php\php.exe" "D:\xampp\htdocs\Test\myscript.php"

March 17, 2018

XAMPP - PHP - Connect with MS SQL Server 2008 R2 in Laravel

Few days back I got stuck in this situation, I was developing PHP web application with Laravel 5.6 framework, the problems comes when I tried to connect with MS SQL Server rather than MySQL or MariaDB (that comes as default in XAMPP package), It started giving me error like driver not found. Here is how I solved this problem.

First you need to download Microsoft Drivers 4.3 for PHP for SQL Server, then extract the files to some folder. Copy the file php_pdo_sqlsrv_71_ts_x86.dll to php/ext folder (from XAMPP installation's root folder). Now we have to instruct PHP to use this extension.

Open php/php.ini file and move the cursor to extensions section. Add following new line of extension which directs PHP to use SQL Server driver's dll.


We have successfully set-up our PHP environment with MS SQL Server Driver.

Don't forget to restart your server afterwards.

Now you should be able to successfully connect with SQL Server from PHP.

Here comes the Laravel part. You have to specify connection string parameters in .env file of Laravel root folder.


Or alternative way is to define connection parameters in config/database.php file.

'sqlsrv' => [
            'driver' => 'sqlsrv',
            'host' => 'MY-PC\MYSQL2008R2',
            'port' => '1433',
            'database' => 'ITEMMASTER',
            'username' => 'myuser',
            'password' => 'mypassword',
            'charset' => 'utf8',
            'prefix' => '',

Now Laravel website should be able to connect with SQL Server database.

I hope you found this post helpful. Do you agree? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

February 24, 2018

C# - Set DateTime required format for each request in ASP.NET MVC

I was being asked this question by one of my colleague, if we can set a DateTime format at some global level so that if we need to display/process date at multiple controllers or views, we should not be worried about a specific format. I came up with this solution, I am sharing here, and welcome your suggestion or comments for any improvements or alternative solutions.

Lets say we need to display and save date in yyyy/MM/dd format. Since our server default format is set to dd/MM/yyyy, and we could not change it because some other applications might get affected, so we decided to set the required format at request level in our ASP.Net MVC application. For this we have to set the date format for current culture for each request, i.e. inside Global.asax.cs, in Application_BeginRequest() event.

Here is the real code which will set the format for current culture with the required one.

protected void Application_BeginRequest(Object sender, EventArgs e) 
 CultureInfo newCultureInfo = (CultureInfo)System.Threading.Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture.Clone();
        newCultureInfo.DateTimeFormat.ShortDatePattern = "yyyy/MM/dd";
        //newCultureInfo.DateTimeFormat.LongDatePattern = "yyyy/MM/dd";
        //newCultureInfo.DateTimeFormat.FullDateTimePattern = "yyyy/MM/dd";
        newCultureInfo.DateTimeFormat.DateSeparator = "/";
        Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = newCultureInfo;

Here I am setting the DateTimeFormatInfo object's ShortDatePattern property to "yyyy/MM/dd", in CurrentCulture. Similarly you can set other required properties like LongDatePattern, FullDateTimePattern, ShortTimePattern or LongTimePattern etc. In this way you don't have to set the required date pattern in multiple places.

January 17, 2018

How to validate only numbers in string variable in C#?

There are multiple ways to validate user input string in order to allow only numbers. Lets say we have a string in variable myInput, following are some tips you can use to check if the input string is only contains numbers.

Check for numbers while entering data

If you are using Winforms and want to validate user input, then you can use TextBox's KeyPress event.

private void txtNumber_KeyPress(object sender, KeyPressEventArgs e)
  if (!char.IsControl(e.KeyChar) && !char.IsDigit(e.KeyChar) && e.KeyChar != '.')
    e.Handled = true;

You can set e.Handled property to true if the character entered is not the desired one, it will suppress that key. You can use similar technique in JavaScript if you are working with ASP.NET.

Check for numbers if you have a string variable

In many cases, if you are not using Winforms application or you may need to inspect the string variable other than the KeyPress event, then you can use one of following methods.

If the string variable contains a value within valid integer range, then you can use int.TryParse() function to check if it has valid integer value.

private bool ValidateNumber(string myInput)
    int val;
    if (int.TryParse(myInput, out val))
       return true;
        return false;

Note: This method has limitation that the input is being checked only for valid integers, which can have a maximum value of 2,147,483,647. For example, if you need to verify a string of 15 digits, then this method may not give you the desired result.

In order to validate a string with numbers having more digits, we can use the following options:

Char.IsDigit can be used to check if the character at any specified position in string is a digit, and here we are using Linq function All to our string, which will call Char.IsDigit function for each character in the string, and hence can get the required output.


A more formal method can be used, i.e. Regular Expressions, which can give you more control in different scenarios. Here we are using Regular Expression "^[0-9]*$" to match for numbers in input string.

 System.Text.RegularExpressions.Regex.IsMatch(myInput, "^[0-9]*$")

I hope you find this post helpful, I welcome your comments or suggestions if you may find any more alternative(s) to validate numeric figures in a string.