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October 07, 2010  |  WebMatrix Beta 2 tip: why can't I use helpers?  |  89290 hit(s)

Here's the first of a couple of tips that are gleaned from the WebMatrix/ASP.NET Razor Beta 2 readme file. But who reads the readme? :-)

Tip: Helpers don't work in Beta 2 until you install them. Helpers like Twitter and Video and so on were broken out into a separate library (package) that you have to explicitly install before you can use them.[1] To do that you use the new package manager in Beta 2.

Say you try to run this code, which seems to be everyone's example of basic helpers:

@Twitter.Search("#WebMatrix", caption: "#WebMatrix", width: 740, height: 150)

Wham! You see something like this:

IOW, you see a "The name xxxx does not exist in the current context" error, where xxxx is the helper you're after.

Here's the process. Create a simple cshtml page (blank is ok). Inside WebMatrix, run it by clicking Run. This starts IIS Express and runs the page under localhost:8080, like this:

In the URL, remove the name of the file and substitute _Admin:

This invokes the package manager, which asks you to create a password:

Do that, and you'll get to the actual manager. There, click the Install button for microsoft-web-helpers 1.0:

When the install finishes, the helpers are installed and you're good to go.

Note that the assembly is installed in the bin folder of the current site, so it's not a global installation. You'll need to do this again in other sites. The package installs aother stuff too, primarily in the App_Data folder, plus a config file:

Hope this helps. More tips coming.

[1] I'm not actually 100% clear on why we did this. If I find out, I'll post about it.

Update Ok, got it. The idea is that by putting the helpers into a separate package, then can rev them outside the normal product release cycle much more easily. Makes sense, I guess.

Alan   07 Oct 10 - 4:33 PM

Just curious - will this be handled by NuPack in the future? Seems like a fit at first glance.

Erik Porter   08 Oct 10 - 10:41 AM

Alan, the UI we have in Beta 2 of ASP.NET Web Pages that Mike is showing here is just a layer on top of NuPack. So what you're seeing IS NuPack. :)