2015 retrospective

A year has again come to its end and it’s time to look back what I’ve managed to write about and do some planning for the new year of 2016. This year my writing schedule was as leisurely as usual and I managed to put together of 19 articles. Which five of them are about my new post series, weekly notes. On average I managed to kept my pace of at least one post per month. Yay. Things have gone quite well overall. I’ve learned new things and got things done :)

Mobile development on the rise

I started mobile development couple of years back with Jolla and Sailfish OS and this year I continued with iOS. Starting iOS development with Swift and Xcode for Apple iPhone and iPad devices has been quite a different experience than using Qt, QML and JavaScript for Sailfish OS. Learning new concepts with Swift and how the App Store works has been great but not always as fun as they say. Especially using the Xcode’s Interface Builder for creating user interface is a task I’m not comfortable with compared to using plain code as with QML. But I got my first iOS application published for iPhone and iPad: Highkara news reader for High.fi news portal. It’s available on App Store.

Highkara news reader
Highkara news reader

Things on Sailfish OS and Jolla front has been quiet but I did a new game: Falldown. Or actually ported it from Ubuntu Touch. It was a fun experience as I needed to build Bacon2D library for Sailfish OS and package it correctly so it can be accepted on Jolla Store.

It will be interesting to see how my iOS applications attract users and will they beat my Sailfish OS user base :) At least it will be easier to get statistics from your apps from iTunes Connnect than Jolla Harbour. Over a year I have collected data manually and plotted how my five apps have users on Jolla.

Jolla Store statistics
Jolla Store statistics
Active install graph
Active install graph

Keeping up with Weekly notes

For some time I have read or in practice collected several software development related newsletters on my inbox. I like to follow what happens on the field and reading Twitter, Reddit and Hacker News is nicely complemented with some newsletters. But that’s not all there is to it. I’ve found it’s useful to make summaries what I’ve read and thus started my Weekly notes blog post series. Although next year I probably will post weekly notes bi-weekly. That’s fortnightly, once in two weeks.

Learning from others at meetups

One way of learning new things is to hear how others do things and get do ideas how to make things better. I’ve found that attending meetups and conferences are nice way to both freshen your thinking and get to know people working on the same field. This year I went to OWASP Helsinki Chapter meeting 27 and got to hear Troy Hunt’s talks of “50 Shades of AppSec” and “Hack yourself first”. It was great event, met old friends from school and the views from the sauna were magnificent.

Or is it?
Or is it?

Agile methodologies are know widely used and accepted but what’s beyond agile? That was the theme what Tampere goes Agile asked this year. It was my first time visiting the event and it was nice experience. The topics provided something to think about and not just the same agile thinking. You could clearly see the theme “Inspired beyond agile” working through different presentations and the emphasis was about changing our mindsets. In short: Agile is mindset. Culture eats agile. no management, no projects. Think small. Focus on benefit. Test & automate. Pair. Liberate.

Continuous flow of waterfall
Continuous flow of waterfall

The meetup scene in Helsinki seems to be warming up and there’s lots of events to go. I didn’t write posts from all meetups I attended like Finland AWS Meetup with Sovelto but wrote about DevOps Finlands’ meetup about ApiOps and test automation. Nice events and good talks later on.

I will certainly keep notes on interesting meetups also next year.

Books on the shelf

I like reading books but usually not the kinds which are technical and you could learn something from. But still I got my hands on “Iron-Clad Java: Building secure Web applications” book which was highly informative and you can’t read it without learning important things about security. In good and bad the book gives somewhat opinionated answers what technics and tools you can use to address security issues but overall the advice is solid and un-biased and more or less framework agnostic.

The other software related book I found myself reading was “Real World Java EE Night Hacks”. It walks through best practices and patterns used to create a Java EE 6 application and covers several important topics from architecture to performance and monitoring to testing. The book has 167 pages with source code so the topics are more about getting the idea than explaining them thoroughly.

In 2016 I will make myself study for the Java Programmer Certificate and read the OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide. That’s about 1000 pages to go through with lights on.

Software development as usual

I work as a software developer and it entails all kinds of interesting aspects of doing things. Virtualization isn’t a new thing but with tools like Vagrant you can easily automate the creation of your development environment. And for that you need a base box which you can get from 3rd party or what’s better, you can create your own Vagrant base box with veewee. This way you know what’s in the box and get to customize it for your needs. I used Vagrant for WordPress theme development and later for creating legacy Java EE 5 development environment for OC4J, Oracle 11g XE and Java 1.5 on OS X.

Installing CentOS to Vagrant Box with Veewee
Installing CentOS to Vagrant Box with Veewee

Getting to play with Vagrant and provisioning it with Ansible was maybe the most useful thing this year what comes to development environments. Also switching from Eclipse to highly praised IntelliJ IDEA was great move. Although it took some time to get familiar with IDEA’s keyboard shortcuts. IDEA is nice upgrade form Eclipse especially for JavaScript development but Eclipse has it’s perks with Java and Maven.

Developing legacy applications and using enterprise Java EE environments were still on my daily list and I got to deal with annoyances like disabling Derby in Oracle WebLogic 12c and patching Richfaces 3.3.3. for IE 11. Fortunately it looks that next year I get to leave those behind and concentrate on modern environments.

One thing I didn’t have time to write this year was about starting JavaScript development. As a full-stack developer I’ve found myself writing more JavaScript this year than Java. Mostly Backbone.js and later got my hands dirty with Angular.js. To manage our build process and JavaScript libraries I wrote about setting up bower and gulp in Windows although you could ditch Bower and go just with npm. So many new tools to use that I think next year there won’t be shortage on topics to write :)

New year, interesting things ahead

Past year was good and I got to do fun projects like my first iOS application and in overall all things went as usual. Work, training, personal projects and stuff like that. Nothing spectacular.

New year of 2016 will be interesting as I just started in new job at awesome company, Gofore. I’m looking forward to new projects and getting things done with great coworkers. I’m certain that there will be interesting articles to be written next year so stay tuned by subscribing to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter. Check also my other blog in Finnish.

Happy new year!

“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”

Weekly notes 5

Christmas holidays is soon here but before that it’s time to see what I’ve read this week. I’ve been playing with legacy Java EE 5 development and came across System Integrity Protection in OS X which prevents you of installing JDK 5. And on top of that I just wish I could run OC4J with JDK 5 on Docker as you can do for WebLogic 12.2.1. In security point of view there was startling announcement as Juniper Networks had found backdoor in their firewalls code. We also learn the basics of web accessibility and if you’re not using dotfiles and you’re on Linux or OS X, now is a good time to start.

Until next week, Happy Holidays!

Issue 5, 2015-12-23

Technical

Survey of essential tools/frameworks for the modern Java developer
Opinionated choices for modern Java developer.

Java EE Kick-off app
Java EE kickoff app is an app skeleton that demonstrates a couple of technologies:
JSF 2.1 views, CDI backing beans, JASPIC authentication, EJB services, Bean Validation, JPA models, Java EE 6 and H2 database.

What is the “System Integrity Protection” feature in El Capitan?
I was developing legacy Java EE 5 application and came across problems with installing JDK5 for OS X El Capitan. Turns out that even with root you can’t modify certain directories. It’s for your own protection. Annoying.

The Serverless Start-Up – Down With Servers
Do you need servers? Using AWS Lambda to build a startup that has no servers per se. (from Weekend reading)

The web accessibility basics
List of absolute web accessibility basics every web developer should know about and which are extremely easy to implement but matter a lot. Next time you build something, consider incorporating those few things. (from WDRL 117)

Tools

3 Disasters Which I Solved With JProfiler
Interesting article of using JProfile to solve problems caused by using JPA and Hibernate.

WebLogic 12.2.1 on Docker
Interesting article with examples of how to run WebLogic 12.2.1 on Docker as I just played with Vagrant and Ansible for creating legacy Java EE 5 development environment with OC4J. Maybe in the future legacy environments are easier to manage as you can virtualize them more easily.

Unofficial guide to dotfiles on GitHub
Good source for dotfiles with different environments and tools. I’ve found that Mathias Bynens’ OS X defaultsscript is legendary. (from Hacker News)

To think about

One Googler’s take on managing your time
If you don’t have time to read this… read it twice. The maker’s day is most effective in half-day or full-day blocks. Commit to protecting Make Time on your calendar including the time and place where you’ll be making, and ideally detail on what you’ll be making. That way, you know, it’ll actually happen.

Security

Detect and disconnect WiFi cameras in that AirBnB you’re staying in
There have been a few too many stories lately of AirBnB hosts caught spying on their guests with WiFi cameras, using DropCam cameras in particular. Here’s a quick script that will detect two popular brands of WiFi cameras during your stay and disconnect them in turn.

Researchers Solve Juniper Backdoor Mystery; Signs Point to NSA
Internal code review pays off for Juniper. This week Juniper Networks revealed in a startling announcement that it had found “unauthorized” code embedded in an operating system running on some of its firewalls, ScreenOS. As the terrific summary of the Juniper backdoor explains, it allowed attackers to take complete control of Juniper NetScreen firewalls. This is a very good showcase for why backdoors are really something governments should not have in these types of devices because at some point it will backfire when other hackers will piggyback on top of existing backdoor to build their own backdoor.

Instagram’s Million Dollar Bug
tl;dr; Security researcher finds remote code execution vulnerability in Instagram which pivots to getting all kinds of data from AWS S3 but Facebook CSO plays it down to trivial and a thing which violates the poorly worded whitehat program rules. The point of this story is that Facebook fails on their bug bounty program as their actions show that it would be better just to “sell million dollar bugs on the black market for a million dollars” and not get threaten with legal actions for just being a good guy.

Something different

20+ Cheatsheets & Infographics For Photographers
Informatic cheatsheets for photographers covering various aspects of photography. Also a good resource for fresh and new ideas.

Weekly notes 4

This week there are couple of books to read which helps you to learn functional programming, realize that you don’t know JavaScript and helps you to build Kanban board with Webpack and React. Also you can read thoughts on securing OS X, get some information about Spring Boot memory performance and read about reasonable approach to React and JSX. Happy reading.

Issue 4, 2015-12-16

Technical

Spring Boot Memory Performance
Interesting article about Spring Boot memory performance (and tools to measure it). But shouldn’t we compare it to Java EE?

Hibernate Logging Guide
Logging database queries with Hibernate is relatively easy but it’s good to recall the logging options. Like use different log categories and don’t use show_sql to log SQL queries.

Here are some of the best resources to learn about PHP 7
PHP 7 is out and it might be time to learn more about it and migrate from 5.6.X to 7.0.X. For example benchmarks of WordPress using PHP 7 are showing a 2-3x speed improvement. The only question is if the plugins are ready for PHP 7? (from WDRL 116)

Airbnb React/JSX Style Guide
“A mostly reasonable approach to React and JSX” (from Weekend Reading)

Books

Professor Frisby’s mostly adequate guide to functional programming
Book on the functional paradigm in general which uses the world’s most popular functional programming language: JavaScript. Available in ePUB, MOBI and PDF.

You Don’t Know JS (book series)
Series of books diving deep into the core mechanisms of the JavaScript language. The series is released in GitHub as drafts, free to read and you can get buy them through O’Reilly.

SurviveJS – Webpack and React
SurviveJS – Webpack and React shows you how to build a simple Kanban application based on these technologies. There’s a free online version of the book and Leanpub version with extra content.

Good to know

What the Web Can Do Today
Good list of feature sets on the web. Includes code examples.

OS X security and privacy guide
Collection of thoughts on securing a modern Apple Mac computer using OS X 10.11 “El Capitan”, as well as steps to improving online privacy. Targeted to “power users”.

Something different

Empire of Code
Empire of Code is a space game with a mix of strategy, tactics and coding.
You can play the game with or without coding skills, but knowing how to code will definitely give you an advantage. Unleash your Python and JavaScript skills.

Empire of Code

Weekly notes 3

It has been rainy week here in Finland with pre-christmas parties (again) and also our 98th independence day. Yay! This weeks articles are about JavaScript, Microservices, User experience and tutorial for ToDo app with React.js.

Issue #3, 2015-12-09

Technical

Advancing JavaScript without breaking the Web
Christian Heilmann presented earlier this year at the MunichJS meetup how the advancements in ECMAScript (aka JavaScript) are a great opportunity, but also a challenge for the web. His article with slides and video takes a look at how whilst adding new, important features we’re also running the danger of breaking backwards compatibility.

Spring Boot Microservices, Containers, and Kubernetes – How-to
Ray Tsang discusses how to create a Java-based microservice using Spring Boot, containerize it using Maven plugins, and subsequently deploy a fleet of microservices and dependent components such as Redis using Kubernetes.

Building for HTTP/2
Rebecca Murphey shares the fresh concepts of HTTP/2 and how it will affect our tool and build-chain for JavaScript applications. A few good thoughts in there that we can keep in mind to optimize the delivery of large-scale front-end applications. (from WDRL 115)

User experience

How to fix a bad user interface
Some good advice how to fix a bad user interface. tl;dr; Handle your app User Interface states. (from Hacker News)

How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name
“Apple is destroying design… revitalizing the old belief that design is only about making things look pretty.” And with recent iPhone Battery case Apple looks to have lost the spark. (from Userfocus Dec 2015)

Good to know

Using the HTML5 Fullscreen API for Phishing Attacks
I was wondering why browsers show the “annoying” message when you go into fullscreen mode but it’s there for a reason, to let people detect phishing attacks. (from WDRL 115)

Tools of the trade

Let’s Encrypt now in public Beta
Let’s Encrypt is a new Certificate Authority with the goal of helping everyone encrypt. It’s free, automated, and open. Now in Public Beta so you can give it a try by following this guide. (from Hacker News)

Must see JavaScript dev tools
A great walk through some of the greatest JavaScript developer tools that currently exist and why Eric uses them. (from JavaScript Weekly 261)

Linux Performance analysis in 60s
Netflix blog presents tools for doing Linux Performance Analysis in 60,000 Milliseconds. (from Hacker News)

Gadgets

Raspberry Pi Zero: the $5 computer
Raspberry Pi gets even smaller and cheaper with the Zero and provides almost the same processing power as the original. Unfortunately they sold out quickly and didn’t get one yet. (from Hacker News)

Getting started

How to Build a Todo App Using React, Redux, and Immutable.js.
Build a test-driven example “Todo Application” using React. So many new tools to go through. (from JavaScript Weekly 261)

An Introduction to ClojureScript tutorial
ClojureScript is a popular Clojure to JavaScript compiler. (from JavaScript Weekly 261)

Something different

Brikbook
MacBook case you can decorate with Lego bricks.

Weekly notes 2

Weekly notes are here again and I have to say that the week has passed swiftly. With all the pre-christmas parties and switching jobs, I also managed to read some articles. Here are my chosen articles for this week.

Issue #2 // Week 49, 2015

Technical

Exploring the Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer-Winning Medicare Investigation with SQL
Interesting writeup with examples how they used SQL to cover controversial practices in Medicare billing in Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer-Winning ‘Medicare Unmasked’ data investigation. (from Slashdot)

Segment’s Engineering Team’s Best Practices
There are lots of “Best Practices” you gather while working with things and Segment’s Engineering Team chose a handful of ‘pro tips’ to share that seemed most broadly applicable. They keep their engineering guidelines in Wiki page. Do you? (from Weekend reading)

Broken Performance Tools (pdf)
Good overview to performance tools and how to be cautious using them as they are broken and misleading. Trust nothing, verify everything. Observe, Profile and Visualize Everything. Benchmark Nothing. Do Active Benchmarking. (from IRC)

Tools of the trade

What Are The Best JavaScript IDEs?
Crowdsourced summaries and comparisons of 18 different IDEs and text editors used by JavaScript developers. (from JavaScript Weekly)

1Password for teams
Passwords are everywhere and 1Password for team sharing is said to be better than Meldium, OneLogin or Bitium. It has fantastic UI, works great on mobile, can share logins, WiFi, credit cards, notes and documents. (from Weekend reading)

Zube, task board for Github issues
Zube is a task board for Github issues looks crafty. (from Weekend reading)

To watch

HTTP/2 101: A 25 Minute Introduction to HTTP/2
Good talk by an engineer on the Chrome team about the second major version of the HTTP network protocol which is already supported by most major browsers.

To think about

Seriously, Don’t Use Icon Fonts
I’m not sure what’s my opinion about using icon fonts and by reading the comments the issue isn’t quite clear. SVG browser support is fine so there is no need to use icon fonts anymore as it can harm accessibility. (from Web Design Weekly)

Buffer’s Transparent salaries
Salaries seems to be a thing you don’t talk about but maybe we should. Couple of years ago Buffer shared their transparent salary formula and now they have update it and made a web app to test it. Haven’t seen similar approaches here in Finland although if I remember right Vincit has internally transparent salaries.
(from Web Development Reading List)

Chrome Extensions – AKA Total Absence of Privacy
Using extensions should be done with care as they aren’t always what they look like. Some Chrome extensions are constantly tracking you per default, making it very difficult or impossible for you to opt-out. These extensions will receive your complete browsing history, all your cookies, your secret access-tokens used for authentication (i.e., Facebook Connect) and shared links from sites such as Dropbox and Google Drive. (from Weekend reading)

Weekly notes 1

For some time I’ve been reading several newsletters to keep note what happens in the field of software development and the intention was also to share the interesting parts here. And now it’s time to move from intent to action.

In the new “Weekly notes” series I share what interesting articles I have read with short comments. The overall topic is technology but other than that they can cover all things related to software development, from web applications to mobile development and from devops to user experience. I’ll publish my reading list every week or every two weeks.

I also tweet about interesting topics so follow me on Twitter:

Issue #1 // Week 48, 2015

Technical

Ludicrously Fast Page Loads – A Guide for Full-Stack Devs
Nate Berkopec explains in detail how can you diagnose performance issues on the frontend of your site with the use of Chrome Timeline. (from CSS Weekly, #185)

The Docker Monitoring problem
Detailed look at why monitoring containers is both different and difficult for traditional tools. Also a good introduction to Linux containers. (from DevOps weekly, Issue 204)

Tools of the trade

Continuous Integration Platform using Docker Container: Jenkins, SonarQube, Nexus, GitLab
Setting up CI is easy but moving beyond that and getting value out of the CI is different matter. This article covers some of the practices to employ. (from Java Web Weekly 42)

Amazon Web Services in Plain English
Amazon’s services are everywhere but with 50 plus opaquely named services, some plain English descriptions were needed. (from Hacker News)

Modern Java – A Guide to Java 8
Java 8 brings quite a lot of new things like default interface methods, lambda expressions, method references and repeatable annotations. This tutorial guides you step by step through all new language features. (from Hacker News)

To think about

Corporations and OSS Do Not Mix
Maintaining open source projects isn’t easy and that’s not about technology.

Not once has a company said to me:
“This bug is costing us $X per day. Can we pay you $Y to focus on it and get a fix out as soon as possible?”

(from Weekend reading)

Sustainable Open Source
Continuing the previous article’s topic, good read for anyone involved in or planning a community-driven open source project. (from Weekend reading)

Edward Snowden explains how to reclaim your privacy
“Operations security (Opsec) is important even if you’re not worried about the NSA.” Snowden gives 4 quick tips: Encrypt, use password manager, use 2-factor authentication, use Tor.

Event Sourcing – Capturing all changes to an application state as a sequence of events
Application architecture is the base for everything and Martin Fowler’s reference intro to this powerful style of architecture is worth reading.

Something different

How snowmaking works
If the Mother Nature isn’t doing its job and making snow, we can do it by ourselves. Important topic as couple of Winters even here in Finland have been mild and it’s not looking good this year either. “A resort that can guarantee 5+ inches of powder every day is a license to print money.” (from Hacker News)

ApiOPS and Test Automation at DevOps Finland Meetup

Couple of weeks ago at Tampere goes Agile the question was what’s beyond agile and partial answer was DevOps. I’ve read about DevOps before and tried to introduce it to use in my daily job but new things move slowly. So, it was good time to hear more about DevOps and how others are using it at DevOps Finland meetup about ApiOPs and Test Automation. The meetup was held at GE Healthcare building in Vallila and organized by Eficode. Delicious coffee and sandwiches were from Warrior coffee. Here’s my short notes about the topics discussed.

APIOps

Jarkko Moilanen, talked about APIOps – Focus on Iterative and Collaborative Design-First driven API development. How to automate and streamline API-strategy and development process. But what’s APIOps? In short, APItalist creates strategy and APIOps troops implement it.

APIOps

The talk was more about mindset related to developing APIs than tools but Swagger was mentioned for representing your API and SoapUI for testing. For API management Moilanen talked about APInf which is an API management platform.

Test automation with Robot Framework

Eficode guys talked about Test automation with Robot Framework which is a generic test automation framework for acceptance testing and acceptance test-driven development (ATDD). It’s originally developed in Nokia Networks 2005 and open sourced in 2006. Robot Framework uses keyword-driven testing approach and it’s capabilities can be extended by test libraries implemented either with Python or Java. Robot Framework is quite big in Finland but to get the work forward and more known worldwide there’s now Robot Framework Association put together by Eficode, Omenia, Reaktor, Eliga, Knowit, Qentinel and HiQ.

Automating payment terminal testing

After some technical difficulties with projector we heard intro to Robot Framework with Selenium2Library and saw video about using it. Selenium is a suite of tools to automate web browsers and with Selenium2Library you can use it with Robot Framework to easily implement and maintain automatic browser testing of your web application. Another use case which I find interesting is for testing REST APIs.

You can use Robot Framework in many was as we saw with the demo of a machine for automating payment terminal testing which Eficode had built (slides, blog post in Finnish). It was a Shapeoko 2 CNC milling machine where Arduino parsed g-code sent over terminal bus, payment terminal was captured with Tesseract OCR and it was controlled by Robot Framework running in Raspberry Pi. They had extended Robot Framework with new libraries for communicating over serial bus and reading images from Raspberry Pi camera.

What you can do with Robot Framework is up to you as the framework doesn’t limit you.

Future of DevOps Finland

The last talk of the meetup was about the future of DevOps Finland. DevOps Finland was started in 2013 by Erno Aapa and now the load is distributed over new planning team to keep things active. Sharing is caring and so we were encouraged to share our experiences and war stories about DevOps by talking in some future meetup.

Some possible future themes for the meetup were also discussed.

  • Infrastructure Orchestration
    • e.g. Coreos, Mesos, Kubernetes, AWS tools, Rancher.
  • DevOps on Windows
    • PoweShell and Azure.
  • DevOps without computers
    • AWS lambda, heroku, dokku, aws beanstalk, Google app engine, IBM Bluemix. (DevOps as a service).
  • How to move ops work to developers?
    • Hubot, configuration management, continuous delivery.
  • Security.
  • Ops do Dev. Dev do ops.
  • How to handle corporate IT?
  • Configuration management system
    • Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Salt.
  • Continuous integration
    • Jenkins, circleCI, Travis. Alternatives for Jenkins.
  • Working with legacy systems
    • Handling existing data, migrating legacy operations to modern operations, using old hardware to create a cloud.
  • DevOps in the cloud
    • what cloud services to use? Why?, developing in the cloud, build promoting practices
  • Measuring, monitoring, logging
    • elk-stack, Kafka, sentry, newrelic, loggly, graylog, practices & different needs
  • Containers
    • Docker, LXC, Xen, VMware, Qemu

Patching RichFaces 3.3.3 AJAX.js for IE11

Couple of years ago I wrote about patching RichFaces 3.3.3 AJAX.js for IE9 and as the browser world has moved on, it’s now time to patch RichFaces 3.3.3 AJAX.js for Internet Explorer 11. Of course you could update your web application to JSF 2 and RichFaces 4 or PrimeFaces but it’s neither trivial nor free. The issue with RichFaces 3.3.3 still stands, development has moved to 4.x version and they’ve dropped support for the older versions although at least IE issues could be easily fixed. Fortunately patching RichFaces AJAX.js is relatively easy.

The problem with Internet Explorer 11 is that although you upgraded Sarissa Framework and patched RichFaces AJAX.js file for IE 9 it just isn’t enough anymore as IE 11 uses different User-agent string and disguises itself as “like Gecko”. The User-agent string in Win 8.1 for IE11 is “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko”. The issue is also discussed on JBoss Forums and on Stack Overflow.

The different User-agent string breakes the “rerender” after Ajax Request. For example using a4j:function in combination with “rerender” is not working on IE 11 and the problem is that after Ajax request the result XML can’t be correctly append to the body. Also the rerendering is abnormal for h:inputTextarea, rich:modalPanel, h:inputTextarea and rich:calendar.

Fortunately the fix is simple as RicFaces issue RF-13443 tells.

Patching RichFaces 3.3.3 AJAX.js for IE 11

Step 1: Do the “Upgrading Sarissa Framework and patching RichFaces AJAX.js file” steps in my Patching RichFaces 3.3.3 AJAX.js for IE9 article.

Step 2: Edit the AJAX_IE9fix.js file you just created and add IE 11 checking to Sarissa._SARISSA_IS_IE and Sarissa._SARISSA_IS_IE9. The changed lines should look like the following:

Sarissa._SARISSA_IS_IE = (document.all && window.ActiveXObject && navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf("msie") > -1 && navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf("opera") == -1) || (navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf("like gecko") > -1 && navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf("11.") > -1);
 
Sarissa._SARISSA_IS_IE9 = Sarissa._SARISSA_IS_IE && (parseFloat(navigator.appVersion.substring(navigator.appVersion.indexOf("MSIE")+5))) >= 9 || (navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf("like gecko") > -1 && navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf("11.") > -1);

If all fails you can try to tell IE 11 to emulate IE 10 with adding X-UA-Compatible meta tag to head.

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE10"/>

The other thing I noticed with RichFaces 3.3.3 and modern browsers is that if you use ui:fragment which contains rich:suggestionbox and rerender it, the suggestionbox doesn’t work correctly. It gives an error: SCRIPT5007: Unable to get property 'parentNode' of undefined or null reference. For now I didn’t have time to figure out the issue and just changed my page structure and function.

Although it’s 2015 using JSF 1.2 and RichFaces 3.3.3 is still working quite nicely :)

Notes from Tampere goes Agile 2015

What could be a better way to spend a beautiful Autumn Saturday than visiting Tampere goes Agile and being inspired beyong agile. Well, I can think couple of activities which beat waking up 5:30 to catch a train to Tampere but attending a conference and listening to thought provoking presentations is always refreshing. So, what did they tell about being “Inspired beyond agile” in Tampere goes Agile 2015?

Tampere goes Agile 2015

Tampere goes Agile is a free to attend event about agile and this year the theme of the conference was “inspired beyond agile”. The event was held at Sokos Hotel Ilves and there were roughly 140 attendees. Agile as a topic isn’t interesting as it’s practices are widely in use, so the event went past agile and concentrated on “being agile”. How the organizational level and our mindsets has to change to make agile work. Waterfall mindset eats your agile culture for breakfast. And that’s the problem many presentations addressed.

Juho Vepsäläinen wrote also a great blog post about afterthoughts of Tampere Goes Agile 2015. It was nice to read a recap of the sessions which were in the other room than I was.

Keynote: After Agile

Event started with a keynote by Bob Marshall who asked what’s after agile. He has introduced the concept of right shifting where the core idea is that a large amount of organizations are underperforming. We’re always more or less prisoners of our mindset and existing ways.

“It’s not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.” – W. Edwards Deming

Marshall showed his right shifting organizational effectiveness chart where mean is around 1 (0 to 5 scale) and organizations using agile sit around 1.25 to 2. So, what’s beyond that? Agile thinking isn’t getting us there. What differs the organizations in the chart is their mindset: adhoc, analytic, synergistic and finally chaordic.

The Marshall model:

The Marshall model

In order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our organizations, we’ll need to be able to imagine better ones. The question is, what does an ideal organization look like? What kind of society we would build if it was wiped out? Starting from clean slate. We should look at the organization as a whole and what Marshall suggest is to use therapy to understand organization health and changing the mindset of the organization to one that’s more conducive for high performance.

The ideal model for IT company is built around: people, relationships between people, collective mindset, cognitive function and motivation. And it’s good to remember the difference between effectiveness and efficiency: Doing the right thing or doing the thing right.

Doctor, please fix my Agile!

Ville Törmälä talked about how we have seen changes on the method level, organizations are still mostly functioning the same ways as before. Many have tried to become more agile but without much success as there’s a waterfall way of doing everything.

Törmälä presented his definition of agile: 1) Make the work better 2) Make the work work better 3) Make lives better. But waterfall mindset eats our agile culture for breakfast so it’s about time to broaden our thinking about what really constitutes a long-term success in organizations doing any kind of knowledge work. Agile gives you tools and ideas but organizations can’t change or improve by “doing agile” better. If you fail with one agile “method”, you probably fail with the rest of them. It’s a systemic problem. It’s all built deep in to the thinking and structures of the organizations. That is the challenge.

“Every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets”. We should change from “project thinking” to “stable teams thinking”. To change the power and influence structure from managing people to empowering people and further to liberating people.

One way of doing this is to use KBIs, Key Behaviour Indicators, where you write down examples of behaviour you want to see, think in what kind of environmental it’s possible or could happen and then create the environment, write down concrete actions.

“The supreme art of agile is to subdue the waterfall thinking without fighting” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In summary, we need to look beyond methods and practices. Organizations change by changing how they think and become better by understanding better how work works, how to create value and how to learn better. We’ve to work with the system, aiming to understand and affect its thinking.

Pairing is sharing

Pair programming is a core agile technical practice but many people still have reluctance to pair and Maaret Pyhäjärvi talked about the deliberate practice in building up the skill of pairing to allow pairing to take one’s skills on other activities to a new level. Pyhäjärvi shared her different stages of pairing and lessons picked up as a testing specialist.

Again, pairing is also about mindset and effective pairing is far from trivial – but it is skill that can be practiced. Pyhäjärvi talked about growth patterns from pairing with peers to pairing and mobbing with developers, from traditional style and side-by-side work to strong-style pairing and to pairing on both testing and programming activities.

Mindset: fixed <> growth

Listeners also got to test specific style of pairing, Strong-style pairing, where for an idea to go from your head to the computer it must go through someone else’s hands. You really need to think the steps through for the other to manage the given task.

One presented point about pairing was that you must unlearn ownership of ideas and contributions. Co-creation vs. collaboration.

Pyhäjärvi also told that selling pairing to team (of introvert programmers) is hard but Mob Programming has been their gateway to pair programming. It feels safer. You can read more about it from Mob Programming guide book.

Beyond Continuous Deployment: Documentation Pipeline

Before lunch there was also nice lightning talk about documentation pipeline by Antti Virtanen. He told about Lessons learnt from creating a Documentation Pipeline for Continuous Deployment with Jenkins and other open source tools. His slides are available from SlideShare.

1 ???
2 Continuous Delivery DevOps magic
3 ???
4 Profit

The DevOps magic with Jenkins was more or less standard practice and it was configured to generate documentation from database schema, JavaDocs, test coverage reports, performance test results and API specification. Reminded me of all the work I should introduce to our continuous integration.

3 standard tricks were presented:

  • Jenkins is the Swiss knife.
  • Database documentation in database metadata and generating ER-diagrams with SchemaSpy.
  • API documentation with Swagger.

When quality is just a cost: Useful approaches to testing

Testing is also important part of successful projects so Jani Grönman talked about useful approaches to testing and software quality.

“Software quality is measured by your customer success, not development project metrics and quality processes.”

Grönman approached the topic with often surprisingly common attitude towards testing and quality:

  • “Quality is just a cost and like other costs, it should be avoided or minimized.”
  • “Testing is it just another buffer in project’s budget”
  • “testers are not skilled labor, it’s enough if they can read and write.”
  • “What automation? They can quickly click trough the app can’t they?”.

And as you know this is all wrong. It’s true that testing is expensive but so is development. Can you afford not to test? You should think it as an investment. The presentation went through the reasons and motivations behind the various attitudes and explored differences in views and how to best tackle them using the right technology and approach. He also talked about the schools of testing: Analytical, Standard, Quality, Context driven, Agile.

But overall you should know that testing is skilled activity and part of the development. Testing provides information to the project and you should use mix of techniques like exploratory and automatisation. And think about what testing would be most effective now. You need to choose the right set of QA tools for the job. One size fits no-one.

DevOps: Boosting the agile way of working

DevOps has been quite the buzzword for some time, so it was interesting to hear what Timo Stordell had to say how Devops is boosting the agile way of working. In short DevOps isn’t anything revolutionary and should be seen an incremental way to improve our development practices. And talking about revolution, Stordell’s slides had nice Soviet theme.

The presentation was more or less what you would expect from a topic covering DevOps and has nice touch to it. In short: Small bangs over a big bang, requirements management meet acceptance testing, standardize development environments, monitor to understand what to develop.

Stordell had nice demo of how they perform acceptance testing using physical devices and automation. They have built a rig of CNC mill run by Raspberry Pi to test payment system.

For those interested about DevOps movement and everything around it there’s DevOps Finland meetup group. You can also download Eficode’s DevOps Quick Guide to read more about it.

Keynote: Beyond projects

Event’s final keynote was by Allan Kelly who spoke about #noprojects. Why projects are wrong and what to do instead. The main point of the keynote was that the project model doesn’t match software development and outlined an alternative to the project model and what companies need to do to achieve it. The presentation slides are available from SlideShare. Kelly has also written a book about team centric agile software developmen,: Xanpan, which combines Kanban and XP.

Going beyond projects is an interesting idea as everything we do is somewhat tied to doing things in projects. So, what’s wrong with projects? Projects are temporary whereas software is forever. Projects have end dates which in turn is against the defining feature of successful software: it doesn’t end. Software which is useful is used and demands change, stop changing it and you kill it. At worst the project metaphor leads to dead software, higher costs and missed business opportunities.

We should think projects more like a continuous flow where it’s success isn’t determined by staying on schedule, on budget, and with quality. We should concentrate on the value delivered and put value in flexibility as requirements change. This goes against the fixed nature of projects. Also after project you often break a functioning team and start all over again. We should put emphasis on teams, treat team as an unit and push work through it.

The other thing is that software is not milk. It’s cheapest in small packages, not in big cartons. Software development has not economics of scale. Big projects are risk. Think small and make regular delivery which increases ROI. Fail fast, fail cheap. Quite basic agile thinking.

So, beyond projects: waterfall 2.0, continuous flow

Continuous flow of waterfall

Now we have #noestimates, #nomanagement and #noprojects. Profit?

Summary

It was my first time visiting Tampere goes Agile and it was nice conference. The topics provided something to think about and not just the same agile thinking. You could clearly see the theme “Inspired beyond agile” working through different presentations and the emphasis was about changing our mindsets.

Going beyond agile isn’t easy as it’s more about thinking than tools. Old habits die hard and changing the waterfall way of thinking isn’t trivial. We should start with understanding our organization’s health and changing the mindset of the organization to one that’s more conducive for high performance. Switch from “project thinking” to “stable teams thinking” and change the power and influence structure from managing people to empowering people and further to liberating people.

The after party was at Ruby & Fellas but after early morning and couple of nice beers it was time to take train back home. But before that I had to visit the Moro Sky Bar with nice scenery over Tampere.

Tampere from Moro Sky Bar

Newsletters for software developers

Software development is one of the professions where you just have to keep your knowledge up to date and follow what happens in the field. But as normal information overload is easily achieved so it’s beneficial to use for example curated newsletters for the subjects which intersects the stack you’re using and topics you’re interested at. Here are my selection of newsletters for software developers covering topics like web and mobile development, user experience and design and general topics. For more newsletters for developers you can check what for example Dzone wrote.

The power of newsletter lies in the fact that it can deliver condensed and digestible content which is harder to achieve with other good news sources like feed subscriptions and Twitter. Well curated newsletter to targeted audience is a pleasure to read and even if you forgot to check your newsletter folder, you can always get back to them later :)

General

Hacker Newsletter
Weekly newsletter of the best articles in Hacker News.

Status code
A language agnostic roundup of the latest ideas, releases, trends, events and must-read articles from the programming world (think C, UNIX, algorithms, editors, protocols)

Mobile development

iOS Dev Weekly
Hand picked round up of the best iOS development links published every Friday.

This Week In Swift
List of the best Swift resources of the week.

iOS Dev nuggets
Short iOS app development nugget every Friday/Saturday. Short and usually something you can read in a few minutes and improve your skills at iOS app development.

In depth Mac and iOS articles archives

Java

Java Web Weekly by Baeldung
Once-weekly email roundup of Java Web curated news by Eugen Baeldung.

The Java Specialists’ Newsletter
A monthly newsletter exploring the intricacies and depths of Java, curated Dr. Heinz Kabutz.

Java Performance Tuning News
A monthly newsletter focusing on Java performance issues, including the latest tips, articles, and news about Java Performance. Curated by Jack Shirazi and Kirk Pepperdine.

Database

DB Weekly
A weekly round-up of database technology news and articles covering new developments, SQL, NoSQL, document databases, graph databases, and more.

HTML and CSS

HTML5Weekly
Weekly HTML5 and Web Platform technology roundup. Curated by Peter Cooper.

CSS Weekly
Roundup of css articles, tutorials, experiments and tools. Curated by Zoran Jambor.

Web development

Web Development Reading List
Weekly roundup of web development–related sources, selected by Anselm Hannemann.

Versioning
SitePoint’s daily newsletter, which features the latest web development news.

Hacking UI
Newsletter for designers, front-end developers and product managers.

Scott Hanselman
Includes interesting and useful stuff Scott has found over the last few weeks and other wonderful things.

The Modern Web Observer
Biweekly email newsletter about current issues and trends in front-end web development. It is much like a commentory on the important current news and articles related to front end development.

Web Design Weekly
Links to the best news and articles to hit the interweb during the week.

MergeLinks
Weekly email of curated links to articles, resources, freebies and inspiration for web designers and developers.

For front-end developers there’s “How to keep up to date on
Front-End Technologies”
page which lists newsletters, blogs and people to follow.

JavaScript

JavaScript Weekly
Weekly e-mail round-up of JavaScript news and articles. Curated by Peter Cooper.

A Drip of JavaScript
“One quick JavaScript tip”, delivered every other Tuesday and written by Joshua Clanton.

SuperHero.js
Collection of the best articles, videos, and presentations on creating, testing, and maintaining a JavaScript code base.

Node Weekly
Once–weekly e-mail round-up of Node.js news and articles.

User experience and design

UX weekly
Five links each week with the best UX writing, process, analysis, and critique from around the web. Its content lies at the intersection of user experience design, game design, and tech industry critique.

GoodUI
Monthly newsletter where the author will share ideas on how to improve customer conversion and ease of use.

Sidebar.io
To satisfy your web aesthetics with list of the 5 best design links of the day. The content is manually curated by a couple great editors.

Userfocus
Updates you monthly about the happenings in the UX/usability arena.

UX Design Weekly
Best user experience design links every week, published every Friday.

Ops

DevOps Weekly
Weekly slice of devops news.

Web Operations Weekly
Weekly newsletter on Web operations, infrastructure, performance, and tooling, from the browser down to the metal.

Microservice Weekly
Weekly newsletter of articles regarding microservices.