In this edition: The first in a series of posts about changes in .NET 4.6; introduction of ASP.NET Core; the best way to apologize for being late; when to eat a frog; 25 common passwords of 2015; and a video about architectural reversibility.

Sharpen the Saw is a somewhat delayed repost of a weekly newsletter of information I publish for the professional development of software developers. While targeted primarily at developers working with the Microsoft technology stack, content will cover a wider range of topics.

To subscribe, send me an email and I’ll put you on the list. Membership is moderated.


Best practices for private config data and connection strings in configuration in ASP.NET and Azure

There are some secrets that our applications need to keep safe. Usernames, passwords, encryption keys, database connection strings and third-party api authority keys should all be safeguarded. Scott Hanselman’s post on current good practice for ASP.NET is much more widely applicable.

Software and Updates

What’s New with .NET Framework 4.6, Part 1: API Updates

The first in a series of articles about the latest release of .NET, this article looks at the new implementations of IReadOnlyCollection, Stack and Queue.

ASP.NET 5 is dead - Introducing ASP.NET Core 1.0 and .NET Core 1.0

The future of the .NET framework is modular, cross-patform and constantly improving. To reflect this major change in approach, the components of the new .NET Framework have just been rebadged.

Anyone working with web technologies in .NET - especially anyone doing server side programming - these are the projects to follow closely.

Importantly, .NET 4.6 is not going away - it remains fully supported and many components are still being actively developed, including the WPF framework for rich client UX.

Being Professional

The Best Way to Apologize for Being Late

The key is not to give an excuse but to acknowledge and apologise for the impact you’ve had on the other person.

The Case for “Eating the Frog” Later in the Day

Perhaps tackling the hardest job first isn’t always the best approach. Sometimes it makes sense to score a few quick wins to build some momentum before diving into the difficult things.

Staying Secure

The list of the 25 most common passwords of 2015 now available

Having a secure password isn’t sufficient in itself, but a weak password is a recipe for disaster. This list of the most common passwords shows that many people put no effort at all into their security.

Entries #4, #15 and #22 are interesting because they show that physical patterns (like keyboard layouts) don’t lead to unusual passwords.

Here’s one approach

  • Don’t use a password, use a passphrase
  • Make the phrase up yourself
  • When your password expires, create a completely new one
  • Use a mix of characters, including digits and punctuation

Video of the week

Continuous Design and Architectural Reversibility - Jeremy Miller

Noted blogger and speaker gave this very interesting talk in late 2012 at the Agile Vancouver conference, talking about how important it is to retain the ability to change architectural decisions even late in a project.

Video (note audio quality issues):

Blog post:


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March 2016