Of Code and Me

Somewhere to write down all the stuff I'm going to forget and then need

Phone number code puzzle November 4, 2011

Filed under: Coding,Scala — Rupert Bates @ 1:53 pm

Once upon a time I was presented with the following test in an interview:

Given a mapping of digits to an array of characters, ie.


Print out all the string permutations a given input of digits maps to.
So for instance the string “23” should return:

Another way to think of this is a function that returns all the possible combinations of letters the digits could represent if they were keypresses on a standard phone keypad.

I did a pretty bad job at this when I was asked it, partly because it was quite late at night, and partly because it’s not the sort of thing you find yourself doing that often, but today I found myself with a little bit of spare time on my hands and thought I’d give it another go.

I chose to do it in Scala rather than in Java which I had used last time and of course this led to the solution being much more elegant and succinct. If fact this is exactly the sort of problem that demonstrates the value of functional programming.

import collection.immutable.{List, Map}
import java.lang.String

object PhoneNumbers extends App {
  val input = "1234"
  val data = Map(
    0 -> List("0"),
    1 -> List("1"),
    2 -> List("a", "b", "c"),
    3 -> List("d", "e", "f"),
    4 -> List("g", "h", "i"),
    5 -> List("j", "k", "l"),
    6 -> List("m", "n", "o"),
    7 -> List("p", "q", "r", "s"),
    8 -> List("t", "u", "v"),
    9 -> List("w", "x", "y", "z")
  getCombinations(input.substring(0, 1), input.substring(1))
    .foreach(f => Console.println(f))

  def getCombinations(current: String, remaining: String): List[String] = {
    val vals = data(Integer.parseInt(current));
    if (remaining.length() == 0)
      return vals

    val restOfString = getCombinations(remaining.substring(0, 1), remaining.substring(1))

      .map(f => restOfString.map(f2 => f + f2))


How to save the position of a ScrollView when the orientation changes in Android July 28, 2011

Filed under: Android,Coding — Rupert Bates @ 2:29 pm

To save and restore the scroll position of a ScrollView when the phone orientation changes you can do the following:
Save the current position in the onSaveInstanceState method:

    protected void onSaveInstanceState(Bundle outState) {
                new int[]{ mScrollView.getScrollX(), mScrollView.getScrollY()});

Then restore the position in the onRestoreInstanceState method, note that we need to post a runnable to the ScrollView to get this to work:

    protected void onRestoreInstanceState(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        final int[] position = savedInstanceState.getIntArray("ARTICLE_SCROLL_POSITION");
        if(position != null)
            mScrollView.post(new Runnable() {
                public void run() {
                    mScrollView.scrollTo(position[0], position[1]);

Great error message from Castle Windsor March 30, 2010

Filed under: C#,Coding — Rupert Bates @ 8:19 pm

This is a great exception from the Castle Windsor IOC container:

Looks like you forgot to register the http module Castle.MicroKernel.Lifestyle.PerWebRequestLifestyleModule
Add '<add name="PerRequestLifestyle" type="Castle.MicroKernel.Lifestyle.PerWebRequestLifestyleModule, Castle.MicroKernel" />' to the <httpModules> section on your web.config

It tells you exactly what you need to do to fix the problem. If only more developers took the time to throw such helpful exceptions!

Looks like you forgot to register the http module Castle.MicroKernel.Lifestyle.PerWebRequestLifestyleModule
Add ‘<add name=”PerRequestLifestyle” type=”Castle.MicroKernel.Lifestyle.PerWebRequestLifestyleModule, Castle.MicroKernel” />’ to the <httpModules> section on your web.config


Format a string in RFC 2822 format for use with Http headers in c# March 17, 2010

Filed under: Asp.Net,C#,Coding,Web — Rupert Bates @ 11:45 am
var lastModified = AppStart.ToString("ddd, dd MMM yyyy hh:mm:ss ") + "GMT"; //note the hard coded GMT, there doesn't seem to be any other way to get this

Custom Date and Time Format Strings on MSDN
Standard Date and Time Format Strings on MSDN


Call an extension method on IEnumerable using reflection February 17, 2010

Filed under: C#,Coding — Rupert Bates @ 6:27 pm

I recently needed to invoke the Cast extension method on a List via reflection, and found it was a bit different to what I was used to
I tried:

var cast = typeof (List<string>).GetMethod("Cast");

but this returned null, then after a bit of digging around I realised that because Cast is an extension method, I needed to get it from the class it is defined in which is System.Linq.Enumerable. This code gets us the MethodInfo for Cast:

var cast = typeof (Enumerable).GetMethod("Cast");

Then because Cast is a generic method we need to provide it with the TResult type parameter as follows:

var constructedCast = cast.MakeGenericMethod(ListType);

Then we can invoke it:

var castVals = constructedCast.Invoke(null, new[]{ theList});

notice that the first parameter to Invoke is null because extension methods are static, and also that we pass in the List we want to invoke the method on, which then becomes the ‘this’ parameter of the extension method.

The result of Cast is a CastIterator and I wanted a List so I can then call ToList in the same way and I end up with a List cast to the type I am interested in.

//The result of Cast<TResult> is a a CastIterator so we need to call ToList on this
var toList = typeof (Enumerable).GetMethod("ToList");
var constructedToList = toList.MakeGenericMethod(ListType);
var castList = constructedToList.Invoke(null, new [] {castVals});

Ruby’s ‘times()’ function in C# January 24, 2010

Filed under: C#,Coding,Uncategorized — Rupert Bates @ 10:20 pm

I’ve seen a lot of people enthuse about Ruby’s times() function which allows you to write code like:

5.times { |i| puts i }

which prints out:
It is a really nice syntax and it struck me that you could use similar syntax in C# by defining the following extension method on int:

public static class IntExtensions
	public static void Times(this int i, Action<int> func)
		for(int j = 0; j < i; j++)

Which then lets you write:

5.Times(i => Console.Write(i));

with the same results


Create an Asp.Net MVC HtmlHelper for use in unit tests November 17, 2009

Filed under: Asp.Net,C#,Coding,MVC,Web — Rupert Bates @ 5:47 pm

Here’s a utility factory class to create an HtmlHelper instance so that you can unit test extension methods written on it. It will take a controller and a model for methods which rely on those. I adapted it from this post, and changed it to work with Asp.Net version 1.0 and to accept a model.

using System;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.Mvc;
using System.Web.Routing;
using KableDirect.Web.FrontEnd.Controllers;

namespace KableDirect.UnitTests
    class HtmlHelperFactory
        public static HtmlHelper CreateInstance(RouteData route)
            return CreateInstance(route, new HomeController());
        public static HtmlHelper CreateInstance(RouteData route, Controller controller)
            return CreateInstance(route, controller, null);
        public static HtmlHelper CreateInstance(RouteData route, Controller controller, object model)
            HttpContextBase httpContext = new HttpContextDummy();

            var cc = new ControllerContext(httpContext, route, controller);
            var vd = new ViewDataDictionary(model);
            ViewContext vc = new ViewContext(cc, new ViewDummy(), vd, new TempDataDictionary());
            return new HtmlHelper(vc, new ViewDataContainerDummy(vd), new RouteCollection());

        // Dummy classes needed to be able to create HtmlHelper

        private class HttpRequestDummy : HttpRequestBase
            public override string ApplicationPath
                get { return ""; }

            public override string AppRelativeCurrentExecutionFilePath
                // Any shorter string here gives exception:
                // index larger than length of string
                get { return "~/"; }

            public override string PathInfo
                get { return ""; }

        private class HttpResponseDummy : HttpResponseBase
            public override string ApplyAppPathModifier(string virtualPath)
                return virtualPath;

        private class HttpContextDummy : HttpContextBase
            public override HttpRequestBase Request
                get { return new HttpRequestDummy(); }

            public override HttpResponseBase Response
                get { return new HttpResponseDummy(); }

        private class ViewDummy : IView
            public void Render(ViewContext viewContext, System.IO.TextWriter writer)
                throw new NotImplementedException();

        private class ViewDataContainerDummy : IViewDataContainer
            public ViewDataContainerDummy()

            public ViewDataContainerDummy(ViewDataDictionary dataDictionary)
                _data = dataDictionary;

            private ViewDataDictionary _data;
            public ViewDataDictionary ViewData
                get { return _data; }
                set { _data = value; }