Task Running Windows Service in .NET

The Preface

I bought a new computer a while back. I do a lot of file moving/manipulation/cleanup on my home PC because I’m an avid Plex user. For these tasks I simply use .bat or .cmd files and the Windows task scheduler. It’s quite a simple solution and generally runs like clock work. Until it doesn’t and you can’t understand why.

First Attempt

After some internet searches I stumbled across the Tweaking.com windows repair program that offered fixes and had quite a few recommendations. With my fingers crossed I installed the app and tried it out. It did not fix my Windows task scheduler problem. But I did end up buying a license for it because it’s an amazing piece of software that does a lot of optimizations.

Coding Your Own

Time to think about rolling my own. What do I need this thing to do?

  1. Always be running
  2. Run .bat or .cmd files on an interval

So for #1 something always running, I immediately think Windows service. I’ve long used TopShelf for this sort of thing. It’s highly configurable and easy to use. For #2 I considered using Quartz.NET, but I thought it would be overkill. I just rolled my own interval and tracking code. I specifically needed to run .bat and .cmd files, for this I found a project called MedallionShell. It runs commands in threads within your application. You could use it for parallelism, but I decided not to introduce that complexity into my simple use case.


This project brought some fun learning aspects. I was able to implement builds using Cake builds for C# and also automate my builds using AppVeyor. With all of this in place it will build my code and put a release on GitHub for me. Pretty nifty! Even got some badges working on the project home page.


I learned a lot doing this simple little project and had a lot of fun doing it. I wish I knew why the Windows task scheduler doesn’t run my tasks. I guess as long as it runs all of the other important ones, I can be good with that.

Click to check the Repo out on GitHub

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Getting MEAN With TypeScript

I have been doing a lot of research into the MEAN stack as of late in hopes of possibly using in on my next project. First I wanted to see if using TypeScript was viable, because I come from a .NET background and strong types help me find problems at compile time. Then I wanted to see if I could get some sort of debugging experience. I remember the good ol’ days of Classic ASP scripting and having to debug write everything so I could get a picture of what was happening.


So many to choose from in this department. Personally I chose WebStorm because it afforded me that debugging experience I was looking for in the IDE. SublimeText and VS Code are excellent options as well, but like I said… Debugging.

Getting Lessons

My first round of searches brought me to an excellent video tutorial by Brad Traversy on MEAN Stack Front To Back. It’s a series in which you’ll use ES6 to create a MEAN stack application that does some simple authentication. It’s a great series, I highly suggest watching it and checking out the code here. It uses ES6 and like I said, I’m looking for TypeScript.

My next round of searching brought me to Brian Love’s blog where he has an article TypeScript2 + Express + Mongoose + Mocha + Chai. Whew! That’s a mouth full, and a lot of tech to learn. It’s a fantastic article about combining all those technologies to get a running MEAN stack application with testing. Check out his article here and certainly check out the code here.


My mission was to combine the two projects to make one MEAN application with a TypeScript and test driven backend and an Angular2 front end. I was able to take the lessons learned about TypeScript, Grunt, Mocha and Chai and apply it to the meanauthapp created in Brad’s videos. It makes for very easy and type-safe development with NodeJS. Big thanks to both Brian and Brad for their work!

Click to check the Repo out on GitHub

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Dead Letter Management With Azure Service Bus

Isn’t the whole point of durable, reliable messaging that we can re-queue a message for processing?

The Background

I recently got involved in a project using Azure Service Bus. The premise was simple, run service bus queue messages through a WebJob durably and reliably. For this project I ended up using the Topics feature for a publish/subscribe model. I got the project up and running fairly quickly thanks to the WebJobs SDK. By default the message will be attempted 10 times and then automatically sent to the DeadLetter queue. So to test this, I throw an exception during message processing and sure enough it goes as expected. I now have a message in the DeadLetter queue. In the Azure Management Portal I can see the message exists where it’s supposed to. As of the writing of this article the Azure Management Portal only supports changing the properties of Topics and not managing the messages in them.

Supplemental Software

What I need is a piece of software that will let me manage the messages in the queue. I could write it myself, but this seems like a task there would be a tool for.

My first round of searches dug up Service Bus Explorer. It’s a free Service Bus management tool. It looks like a great piece of well thought out management software, but I was unable to get the DeadLetter Repair and Resubmit Message to work properly for me.

Update: After a bit of digging about BrokeredMessage serialization I was able to find this article on StackOverflow explaining how to dictate how Azure Service Bus handles my message content. After implementing that Service Bus Explorer is working like a charm.

My next round of digging brought me to Azure Management Studio. This is a paid piece of management software that helps manage more than just your Service Bus. This tool was able to properly copy and re-submit the queue message back to it’s Topic of origin. Success!

Side Note

If Domain Driven Design and Message Queues are highly important to your system, you may want to check out NServiceBus. I just needed some bolt-on queues for middleware which is why I decided to just tackle queueing on my own.

Happy coding!

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