Chris Roberts


Welcome to my blog.


Mercurial: skipping unreadable ignore file

On a particularly busy day recently (these things never happen on a quiet day), the project I was working on stopped building on my local machine.

Our build server, and my colleagues, were all able to build the repository - it was just me. It didn't take long to track the problem down to a step in the build process which extracts revision information from Mercurial. This was failing with the following error message:

Learning to Fly

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated with flight. It probably started with visits to the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford with my Dad when I was young. Over the years I've flown radio controlled gliders and helicopters, and still do when I make the time. When I was a teenager I had a few gliding lessons until I grew too tall for the club's gliders. I also had a few lessons flying a Cessna 152 at Staverton Flying School, but it wasn't long before the funds available to me at the time dried up and I had to stop taking lessons.

In summer 2015 I had to make some difficult decisions which fundamentally affected my family's livelihood. This gave me an opportunity to take a look at life - and in particular the fact that my work / life balance had for too long been skewed rather heavily towards work. It came as quite a shock when I realised that over 15 years had passed since my last flying lesson.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Well - here we are again. About 19 months have passed since my last post and I find myself launching a new blog.

Whilst the previous incarnation was based on a platform of my own devising (an excuse to learn the then-new ASP.NET MVC platform), this latest incarnation is based on the Umbraco content management system (CMS).

Clearing the Umbraco ImageGen Cache

Alternative Title: How to recursively delete sub-folders of a given name (and their contents) from the Windows command line.

ImageGen, the popular image resizing and manipulation component for Umbraco creates a folder called 'Cached' in each media item's folder. This contains an XML file detailing the contents of the cache, along with the cached images themselves.

Microsoft Surface: Keyboard Function Lock

The Microsoft Surface is (in my opinion) a great piece of hardware. I was an avid user of the original Surface RT, and now I'm trying out the Pro 2. I'm attempting to use this as a full-time desktop replacement. As such, and as a regular user of keyboard shortcuts, easy access to function keys is really important to me.

Unfortunately, the Type Cover keyboard relegates the function keys (F1-F12) to secondary keys, requiring the 'Fn' key to be pressed simultaneously.

Using RenderTemplate for On-Page Widgets in Umbraco

Much has been written about creating 'widgets' or sidebar panels in Umbraco.

In a recent project, we decided to implement our on-page widgets as 'pages' in the Umbraco content tree. This has a number of advantages. Users can be provided with a number of different templates and edit the content with familiar tools. It also means that we can create a central 'pool' of widgets which can then be added to pages using a content picker.