Look for your address

For the most part of the websites I am owner of, I normally use Visual Studio to code and test locally, then I publish them to the FTP folder provided from my hosting company.

When I first set that publish up I was asked for the obvious few information needed to complete the process: the FTP address, username and password for login and the publish folder (as it is normal fro the hosting company to use shared resources for low-cost hoisting, they normally use a common FTP with the customers isolated through the use of folders normally named after the domain name).
After starting the publish procedure, I was reminded by Visual Studio that my credentials were transmitted insecurely over the net in plain text.

Of course this rang a warning bell in my head, so I cancel the procedure and thought for a while.
I realized during the setup process I was not asked what authentication method I wanted to use: I normally use FTP Secure protocol when available and, if not available, I think twice about commit myself to a company who is not offering it.

I doubled checked the Visual Studio configuration and I was more than surprised not finding any options for this; a search on Google also proved to be inconclusive.
Then I tried the simplest solution of all that, not surprisingly, worked properly: simply add the ftps: scheme name at the beginning of the address to let Visual Studio to automatically switch to secure connection.

So, to make the long story short, simply replace the connection string that will look like

ftp.yoursite.com/yoursite.com

with

ftps://ftp.yoursite.com/yoursite.com

and Visual Studio will automatically use TLS encryption to connect.
At the first publish attempt, the digital certificate is shown so you can validate the authenticity of the site and you have the option to remember that certificate as valid for that moment on.

At the end of the day I was a little surprised this option was not clearly shown in Visual Studio as it could fool a programmer not familiar enough with security or simply too distracted to notice the lack of it with the standard settings.

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Just a TEMPorary issue

Since a few days, my Visual Studio 2013 is behaving strangely: a few apparently random error here and there, but nothing really serious and not solvable by the usual save-the-day restart.

Of course I promised myself to eventually have a closer look at the issue and I was force to do so this morning when VS stopped to work properly.
I first noticed the left margin where line numbers and “+” sign for the code collapsing was missing, a strange error was shown at startup and finally, worse of all, the Reference Manager refused to work properly crashing the entire Environment trying to load the lists.

After a brief internet search i found a useful post on the usual StackOverflow with a link to this MSDN documentation.
It seemed a good idea to have a look at my temp folder located – for Windows NT-like operating systems – at

%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Temp

in fact I found a huge number of TMP files together with thousands of other files and hundred of folders

The need for a temporary storage is evident to any programmer and to any serious computer worker, but it appears the vast majority of applications treat this place as unlimited space with no rules and with the assumption someone else is going to periodically clear it.

I started by deleting files with command line in order to speed up the process, then I tried to clean up folders. Some of them were in use and so not removeable. So I had a look at the locking process using the excellent tool LockHunter: this way I had the chance to learn a little bit more about the misbehaving applications and to release temporary files by cycling close and open the interested application.

Lessons for today: for the developers, follow your parents’ advice to clean up your own mess, now including your own application’s mess!
When your application creates temporary files, try to clean them up, inform the user and document what the application is doing.
For the (power) users, the suggestion is to keep a closer look to this folder and clean it when the number of folders and file clearly became unreasonable.