NPOI 2.0 - Support for right-to-left languages

This is the 5th post of a series of posts about NPOI 2.0.

This time we’re gonna see how easy it is to enable support for right to left languages in a spreadsheet.

Here’s a Microsoft page that describes Office’s right-to-left language features.

NPOI has got you covered too. The flag first appeared in NPOI 2.0 Alpha:

g. Support isRightToLeft and setRightToLeft on the common spreadsheet Sheet interface, as per existing HSSF support (poi-developers)

Let’s jump directly to the code with no further ado…

using NPOI.SS.UserModel;
using NPOI.XSSF.UserModel;
using System.IO;

namespace NPOI.Examples.XSSF.SetIsRightToLeftInXlsx
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            IWorkbook workbook = new XSSFWorkbook();

            ISheet sheet1 = workbook.CreateSheet("Sheet1");
            // Setting support for Right To Left
            sheet1.IsRightToLeft = true;

            sheet1.CreateRow(0).CreateCell(0).SetCellValue("This is a Sample");

            int x = 1;

            for(int i = 1; i <= 15; i++)
                IRow row = sheet1.CreateRow(i);

                for(int j = 0; j < 15; j++)

            FileStream sw = File.Create("test.xlsx");



You can find the above code in the SetIsRightToLeftInXlsx sample project. I sent a pull request to Tony Qu so that this sample project gets added to NPOI’s GitHub repository.

Hope it helps!

Using MsDeploy publish profile .pubxml to create an empty folder structure on IIS and skip deleting it with MsDeploySkipRules

I’m going to share here a pretty nice deployment automation solution for when you need to have a defined set of folders in place when first deploying an app to IIS. On subsequent re-deployments the folder structure will be kept intact with any files users may have added to them.

Let’s work with a simple example: given an ASP.NET MVC app, we need a folder called Files and inside this folder there will be some pre-defined folders named: Folder 1, Folder 2 and Folder 3 with a child folder called Test. Something like this:

App root
   ---Folder 1
   ---Folder 2
   ---Folder 3

When deploying for the 1st time these folders are empty but the folder structure is mandatory let’s say because I’m using a file manager like elFinder.Net that expects that these folders exist on the server. Why? Because the ASP.NET MVC app has links pointing to these folders in some views. The folders should be ready to store files when the app is released. What also comes to my mind is the case where we need an existing Downloads/Uploads folder.

What’s more? We also want all this to happen while using Publish Web command from within Visual Studio and still keeping the option Remove additional files at destination checked:

Figure 1 - Visual Studio Publish Web with File Publish Options => Remove additional files at destinationFigure 1 - Visual Studio Publish Web with File Publish Options => Remove additional files at destination

This setting is nice because when you update jQuery NuGet package for example (jquery-2.1.1.js) it will send the new files to IIS server and will remove the old version (jquery-2.1.0.js) that exists there. This is really important so that the app keeps working as expected and don’t load the wrong version/duplicate files. If we don’t check that option we have to go to the server and delete the old files manually. What a cumbersome and error prone task!

What to do in this case where we want the deployment task do the work “automagically” for us with no human intervention? It’s seems like a lot of requirements and a task not so simple as “it appears to be”… Yep, it requires a little bit of MsDeploy codez.

Here’s what is working for me at the moment after finding some code pieces from here and there:

Given a  publish profile named Local.pubxml that sits here:

Let’s add the code blocks necessary to make all the requirements come to life:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
This file is used by the publish/package process of your Web project. You can customize the behavior of this process
by editing this MSBuild file. In order to learn more about this please visit 
<Project ToolsVersion="4.0" xmlns="">
    <LastUsedPlatform>Any CPU</LastUsedPlatform>
    <SiteUrlToLaunchAfterPublish />
    <RemoteSitePhysicalPath />
<MSDeployPublishMethod>WMSVC</MSDeployPublishMethod> <AllowUntrustedCertificate>True</AllowUntrustedCertificate>
<EnableMSDeployBackup>False</EnableMSDeployBackup> <UserName /> <_SavePWD>False</_SavePWD> <LaunchSiteAfterPublish>True</LaunchSiteAfterPublish> </PropertyGroup> <PropertyGroup> <UseMsDeployExe>true</UseMsDeployExe> </PropertyGroup> <Target Name="CreateEmptyFolders"> <Message Text="Adding empty folders to Files" /> <MakeDir Directories="$(_MSDeployDirPath_FullPath)\Files\Folder 1" /> <MakeDir Directories="$(_MSDeployDirPath_FullPath)\Files\Folder 2" /> <MakeDir Directories="$(_MSDeployDirPath_FullPath)\Files\Folder 3\Test"/> </Target> <Target Name="AddCustomSkipRules" DependsOnTargets="CreateEmptyFolders"> <Message Text="Adding Custom Skip Rules" /> <ItemGroup>
      <MsDeploySkipRules Include="SkipFilesInFilesFolder">

      <MsDeploySkipRules Include="SkipFoldersInFilesFolders">

Target> </Project>

This is self explanatory. Pay attention to the highlighted parts as they are the glue that make all the requirements happen during the publish action.

What is going on?

The property


calls the target

<Target Name="AddCustomSkipRules"
that in turn depends on the other task
<Target Name="CreateEmptyFolders">

CreateEmptyFolders take care of adding/creating the folder structure on the server if it doen’t exist yet.

AddCustomSkipRules contains two  <MsDeploySkipRules...>. One is to prevent deleting Files and the other prevents deleting the child folders.

Check the targets’ logic. They’re pretty easy to understand…

Note: make sure you don’t forget the


otherwise you may see this error during deployment:

Error    4    Web deployment task failed. (Unrecognized skip directive 'skipaction'. Must be one of the following: "objectName," "keyAttribute," "absolutePath," "xPath," "attributes.<name>.")        0    0    Company.ProjectName.Web

Simple as pie after we see it working. Isn’t it? Winking smile

Hope it helps!

As an interesting point, see the command executed by msdeploy.exe that gets written to the output window in Visual Studio:

C:\Program Files (x86)\IIS\Microsoft Web Deploy V3\msdeploy.exe -source:manifest='C:\Company\Company.ProjectName\Company.ProjectName.Web\obj\
Local\Package\Company.ProjectName.Web.SourceManifest.xml' -dest:auto,IncludeAcls='False',AuthType='NTLM' -verb:sync -disableLink:AppPoolExtension -disableLink:ContentExtension -disableLink:CertificateExtension -
skip:skipaction='Delete',objectname='filePath',absolutepath='\\Files\\.*' -skip:objectname='dirPath',absolutepath='\\Files\\.*\\*' -setParamFile:"C:\Company\Company.ProjectName\Company.ProjectName.Web\obj\Local\ Package\Company.ProjectName.Web.Parameters.xml" -retryAttempts=2 -userAgent="VS12.0:PublishDialog:WTE2.3.50425.0"

Checkout Git remote origin/branch (not master) to a local branch

Today I sent a small pull-request to the awesome Font-Awesome project at GitHub. To do that I had to learn some bits along the way that diverted from the common path when working with GitHub.

Font-Awesome has a separate branch called gh-pages which hosts the GitHub Pages (site) for Font-Awesome. The change I was about to do should go inside that branch and not on the common master branch.

Generally when cloning a forked repo from GitHub it will bring/checkout only the master branch.

Problem: how can I do work on that gh-pages branch?

This is the solution that worked just fine in my case…

Take a look at the following screenshot:

Figure 1 - Checkout remote branch (not master) named gh-pages to a local branch with upstream trackingFigure 1 - Checkout remote branch (not master) named gh-pages to a local branch with upstream tracking

Above I have Git bash (you can get it here)  opened in the cloned repo folder. I used GitHub for Windows to clone the repo I forked from Font-Awesome.

When you open Git bash it has the (master) branch already checked out as you see in “yellow” above.

Executing the command:

git remote show origin

we see that the repo has 3 Remote branches, namely:


however only the master branch is configured for git pull and git push on my local computer. That’s ok if I would do some work on the master branch. If that was the case I already had everything correctly setup but remember that I need to do work on the gh-pages branch. To do so, the following command must be executed:

git checkout –b gh-pages –-track origin/gh-pages

What this command does is:

With git checkout we create a new local branch called gh-pages and immediately switch to it with the –b parameter. See that the branch name matches the one from the remote origin, in this case, gh-pages.

The –-track parameter means that this new local branch has its upstream set to a remote branch, in this case origin/gh-pages.

This is the result I wanted.

As a visual clue, in the following screenshot you see that the branch now shows in Visual Studio 2013 Team Explorer window as the selected one. This means it made it to my local computer. Now I can work on it and when done I can click on that Changes link and push my changes to the remote origin.

Figure 2 - gh-pages branch appears in Published Branches in Visual Studio 2013 Team Explorer windowFigure 2 - gh-pages branch appears in Published Branches in Visual Studio 2013 Team Explorer window

By the way, here’s the official doc reference for the checkout command. It depicts exactly what I wanted  to do but had no idea how to do it Don't tell anyone smile :

git checkout <branch>

To prepare for working on <branch>, switch to it by updating the index and the files in the working tree, and by pointing HEAD at the branch. Local modifications to the files in the working tree are kept, so that they can be committed to the <branch>.

If <branch> is not found but there does exist a tracking branch in exactly one remote (call it <remote>) with a matching name, treat as equivalent to

$ git checkout -b <branch> --track <remote>/<branch>

You could omit <branch>, in which case the command degenerates to "check out the current branch", which is a glorified no-op with a rather expensive side-effects to show only the tracking information, if exists, for the current branch.

Hope it helps!


Ops… hehehe. Just know I read the guideline to contribute to Font-Awesome… too late!

I should have submitted the pull request against the 4.1.0-wip branch where wip means (work in progress).

OK… I went further and did all the process again (a brand new pull request) but this time targeting the correct branch. I even learned a new thing using Git Gui (installed with Git tools):

Figure 3 - Creating a tracking branch with Git Gui with the same name [ 4.1.0-wip ] as defined in originFigure 3 - Creating a tracking branch with Git Gui with the same name [ 4.1.0-wip ] as defined in origin

To get to Git Gui, right click the repo folder on the disk and select Git Gui in the context menu.

To create a new branch, click the Branch menu then Create…

See that I selected Match Tracking Branch Name and made Tracking Branch point to origin/4.1.0-wip. Then clicked the Create button.

What this does is the same thing achieved with that previous Git checkout command executed above. The only difference is that now it’s all visual.

It’s real nice to have options to get the job done.