James Crisp

Software dev, tech, mind hacks and the occasional personal bit

Category: Design / Architecture (Page 1 of 2)

Talk: Winning at HTTPS

For the first time in a little while, I’ll be giving a talk at the Sydney ALT.NET user group:

HTTPS is ever more pervasive, with few sites still using plain HTTP. Want to be the guy or girl on the team who actually understands HTTPS, can set up certificates and fix issues that come up? Sometimes this is left to an ops team, but there are benefits and impacts that cannot be ignored in development.

James has migrated several sites from HTTP to HTTPS and has tips and tricks to share.

Tues 25 October from 6pm at ThoughtWorks Sydney office, Lvl8 51 Pitt St, Sydney.
RSVP on Meetup (for pizza and beer!)

You can find the slides from the night here.

Talk: Add a billion row data warehouse to your App.. with Redshift, sql and duct tape!

Come along to Sydney ALT.NET for a BIG data night.

I’ll be giving a talk on Redshift:

Started to hit the point where your transactional database is not the right place for running reporting queries and experimental data science? Keen to chuck in more data from web logs, CRMs, facebook, etc so you can start learning more about your users? Come along to Sydney ALT.NET on June 24th to see an easy way to do it with AWS Redshift, mapping SQL and some simple scripting duct tape.

We also have a co-presented talk on Azure’s Hadoop implementation, HD Insights and Power BI: The Power of the Elephant in the Microsoft Cloud given by Jibin Johnson and Simon Waight from the Azure User Group.

From 6pm at ThoughtWorks Sydney office Lvl8 51 Pitt St, 24 June 14.
Remember to get your free ticket. See you there!

nRake Microsoft Case Study

nRake is now the subject of a Microsoft case study. Check it out here:

UPDATE: Now on the Microsoft Case Study site.

ACS Alm Talk: Presentation Wrap Up & Slides

Thanks everyone who came along last night. It was a fun session, with a lot of lively discussion, especially around project management and software design. As mentioned during the talk, you might want to check out nRake for .NET builds and psDeploy for Powershell deployments. Here are the slides from the talk. If you have any more questions or areas to discuss, please feel free to drop me a line.

ACS Talk: The Ultimate ALM Environment (circa 2010)

I’ll be giving a presentation at an Australian Computer Society Special Interest Group on Wed 2 June, 6:30pm. More details here.

The abstract is:

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) covers the whole software development lifecycle and associated processes including project management, business analysis, testing, build and deploy and development. Based on experiences in the field on projects with ThoughtWorks and consulting with other teams, I will describe what I consider to be the ultimate ALM environment, using an agile approach and techniques. This talk will cover goals, assessment criteria, practices, tools, and physical workspace design.

Hope to see you there!

Podcast from ALM Conference

At the ALM Conference, Richard interviewed me for a podcast on the Ultimate ALM Environment circa 2010 as well as a little on build and deployment automation. Check out the podcast on Talking Shop!

Australian ALM Conference, and slides from ‘The Ultimate ALM Environment circa 2010’

The inaugural Australian ALM Conference has been an interesting 2 days. The first day had a number of insightful talks, especially interesting to hear Sam Guckenheimer on how Microsoft has been reshaping their internal development practices into a more agile model. Today, I enjoyed Richard‘s agile adoption talk (hear hear!) and the other highlight was the last presentation of the day, explaining what’s gone into the design of the new Windows 7 Mobile OS (though some things still seem under wraps). Also a pleasure to catch up with some old friends at the conference.

Conference organisation was very good (thanks to Anthony Borton and his team). The focus was very Microsoft centric, but next year, the plans are for a much wider variety of content. Lunar Park was a cosy conference venue and fun to go outside during the breaks and see kids screaming on rides and the sun shining on the bridge and harbour.

My presentation was 8.30am this morning (aargh!) but despite the early hour, there was a reasonable turn out and quite a few interested people asking questions. The plan was to co-present with Jason Yip, but he was called away to Perth so I presented solo. Unlike most other presentations at the conference, Visual Studio and TFS were barely mentioned. Instead I focused on current problems in each area of ALM, coming up with a criteria to assess this area, and what we usually do on projects to meet this criteria – eg, story walls, story maps, automated build and deploy etc. You can find the Powerpoint slides here. The slides are promises for a conversation (ie, mainly images with some notes), so don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to chat.

Also, thanks Richard for this photo from the presentation:

James Crisp presenting ‘The Ultimate ALM Environment circa 2010′

Talk: The ultimate (circa 2010) ALM environment

Jason Yip and I will be presenting on “The ultimate (circa 2010) ALM environment” at the Australian ALM Conference on 14 April. We’ll be talking about using agile methods and tools for ALM, rather than a vendor suite.

Here’s the blurb:

Based on our experiences in the field on projects and consulting with other teams, we will describe what we consider to be the ultimate development environment (which is not just about vendor tools). This session will discuss principles, practices, tools, and physical workspace design.

Hope to see you there!

nRake – Rake builds for .NET

Fed up with XML based builds that are hard to maintain, refactor and extend? Rather than trying to fix this with more xml and community tasks, or re-invent the wheel, let’s use Rake. Rake is a mature build system developed by the ruby community which can be applied equally well in the .NET world.

To help you get started quickly, I’ve put together nRake. nRake provides a template C# .NET solution with a nice directory structure (src, tools, lib, etc), a Rake build, NUnit tests, templated app and web configs for different environments (eg, dev, uat, prod, etc) and Continuous Integration server sample config files. It comes with everything you need – no additional libraries or downloads required, and all the plumbing work has been done for you.

How to use

  • Git clone or Download nRake as a Zip
  • Rename PlaceHolder app and tests to reflect your project
  • Run rake in the root of the project. This will clean, compile, template config files and run unit tests.
  • Start developing your app! How easy was that 🙂
  • Note: nRake currently uses Ruby 1.9 since IronRuby start up time was prohibitively slow. Hopefully IronRuby will get faster, and then nRake can make use of it. Also nRake uses the Albacore Gem for .NET build tasks. Documentation on Albacore tasks here.

    Also check out the IronRuby update!

Adding WWW to domains, and Apache Rewrite Rules (mod_rewrite)

Browse to http://google.com. Then look at the address bar. You’re not really at http://google.com. You’ve been redirected to http://www.google.com. Try the same on w3c, Facebook, Sydney Morning Herald etc.

Why WWW?
Why do all these sites redirect you to a www form? Well, the main reason is because it is advantageous to have a canonical URL, and, if your have to choose one URL, you might as well go with what people seem to expect, which is to include a ‘www’.

What’s so great about having one canonical URL?

  • Cookies: if your users can access the site at www.domain.com and domain.com, you can end up with some horrible cookie and session problems depending on the browser and web framework (behaviour is different between Firefox and IE). Stay tuned for another post with more details on this.
  • Certificates for HTTPS: certificates are usually for a single domain. If your site is available with and without ‘www’, your site will need a certificate for each or a multi-domain certificate (ie, more money and config).
  • Caching: if you have two URLS, any HTTP caching will only be half as effective
  • SEO: your page rank may be split between links to both possible URLs (though Google Webmaster tools seems to let you combine it)

Right so, now you’re probably just hoping there is an easy way to implement this forced ‘www’ business! Well the good news is that it’s quite easy if you’re using Apache with mod_rewrite. I googled around to try and find some good rules, but the ones I found were tied to a single hard coded domain (no good for me where I have multiple domains pointing to the same server for different countries). See below for what I came up with. It seems to work quite well. You can put it in your virtual host configuration file or even .htaccess file.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^([a-z.]+)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^/(.*)$ http://www.%1/$1 [R=301,L]

Line 1: Are you coming to the site without www. at the start of the host? [NC] means ignore case.

Line 2: Does your domain comprise of letters and dots (this means that going to the IP address will not fire the rewrite rule). Grab the domain in a capture group.

Line 3: Rewrite the URL with a www at the front, and keep the hostname from the previous condition (%1) and the path after the domain ($1). Use a status code 301, to tell the client that this is a permanent redirect.

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