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Packer, Ansible and Docker

11 months ago | Rocky Jaiswal: Still Learning

A little while back we looked at an operational setup that can get us up and running with any simple application by using Docker and capistrano. What was missing was the setup of the machine itself, we do not want to ...

Timeless Programming Tools

11 months ago | Daniel Higginbotham: Flying Machine Studios

I've been programming professionally for a dozen years. Some of what I've learned is best forgotten (oh god, Cold Fusion), but there have been many tools, techniques, and concepts that continue to be useful every day. Here are mine; I'd love to hear what yours are so I can experience both the joy of discovery and regret for not learning about the tool earlier. Relational Algebra / SQL I feel lucky that, during my fourteenth summer, I apparently had no friends and so had nothing better to do than try and slog through a book on MySQL and the now-defunct mSQL. You can see from the reviews that the book "is sketchy, incomplete, and almost totally useless." But, it did introduce me to SQL and databases. Soon after, I learned relational algebra (the theory underlying RDBMSs) and that investment has been one of the best of my life. I can't count the number of times a LEFT OUTER JOIN has saved my bacon. Friends be damned! Learning relational algebra provided the foundation I needed to move easily from MySQL to Oracle and MS SQL Server when I joined EnterpriseCo, and in general knowing how to interact with databases without a framework or ORM helped me quickly advance career-wise. It's why, at 20, I was able to land a contract building a custom site for the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, instead of just cobbling together Wordpress and Drupal plugins. If you come from Rails or some other framework that handles all the database interaction for you, one of the best things you can do for your career is to learn relational theory and SQL. Read a book by C. J. Date. The Unix Process Model Understanding Unix processes helped me understand what's actually happening when I run a program. It's also helped me understand what exactly a web server is and what I'm doing when I write a web application. The book Advanced Linux Programming has a chapter on processes for free online. Actually, the whole book is free. When you don't know about processes, programming is much harder and more mysterious. It's harder to understand performance, and it's harder to understand how programs interact with each other. If you ever feel a vague sense that you don't really get what's going when you run the apps you write, learning the process model will go a long way toward clearing things up. Regular Expressions Yeah, yeah, we've all heard the joke: "something something regular expressions, then you have two problems." Personally, I don't get it, because regular expressions are seriously badass. I remember going through O'Reilly's big fat regex book while I worked from 11pm till 7am as a night auditor at a hotel when I was 18, and being blown away at how powerful they are. To say that we programmers deal with text all the time is so obvious, it's not even worth saying. Regular expressions are an essential tool, and here's where you can learn to use them. Finite State Machines Regular expressions are built as finite state machines. Here's a great tutorial on FSMs showing how to actually build a regular expression. It's extremely cool! I think FSMs are covered in computer science 101, but since I only went to college for a year and even then I studied works written a couple millennia before before the computer revolution, I didn't actually learn about them until about six years ago. My colleagues and I were having trouble with a mobile app - we needed the initialization process to happen in a particular way, and the logic for ensuring that was getting pretty tangled. Once we took the time to learn about FSMs, though, it was easy to express the process as a series of states and transitions. I've since found that most tricky UI code can be improved this way. Just a couple months ago I was having trouble building a typeahead element from scratch with hoplon. Once I identified that the difficulty was in keeping track of all the possible states, it only took a few minutes drawing a state machine diagram and I was back on track. Emotion Management In my personal life I'm constantly learning about and practicing ways to manage emotions. This stems from both my personal aspiration to improve the lives of others and from the completely selfish reason that it helps me do good work. Emotion management is probably the most important meta-skill you can develop. I mean, emotions are at the core of who you are as a human being. The book Non-Violent Communication is an excellent resource for dealing with emotions. Also, my friend Alex Harms recently wrote a book specifically for technical people. Those are my programming power tools - I hope you find them useful!

Cannot alter the login 'sa', because it does not exist or you do not have permission.

11 months ago | Sumit Bajaj: Sumit Bajaj's Blogs

Working on projects, it can happen that 'sa' account gets locked. If it is on local machine OR development boxes, onus would be on you to fix it. If scripts and SQL steps are not working, this might help you fixing the issue.Steps to unlock 'sa' account and resetting the password.1. Open SQL Server Configuration Manager2. Select SQL Server Services -> 'SQL Server' service.3. Right click on 'SQL Server' service and click on "Startup Parameters". For 2008, server "Startup Parameters" are inside Advanced tab. 4. Add '-m' in startup parameters as shown above and click on 'Add'. This will put SQL server into 'Single User Mode' and local admin will have 'Super User' rights. For 2008, server you have to add ':-m' in the last of the existing query.5. Save the settings and Restart the service.6. Now open the SQL Server Management Studio and connect to database using 'Windows Authentication'.7. Goto Security -> sa -> Right click and open properties.8. Unlock the 'sa' account and reset the password.YOU ARE DONE!!**Important: Now to switch back to 'Mixed User Mode' where you can access the database using 'sa' account, remove the '-m' from 'Startup Parameters' which we added in above steps.

Brave Clojure: Become a Better Programmer

11 months ago | Daniel Higginbotham: Flying Machine Studios

Next week week I'm re-launching www.braveclojure.com as Brave Clojure. The site will continue featuring Clojure for the Brave and True, but I'm expanding its scope a bit. Instead of just housing the book, the purpose of the site will be to help you and the people you cherish become better programmers. Like many other Clojurists, I fell in love with the language because learning it made me a better programmer. I started learning it because I was a bit bored and burnt out on the languages and tools I had been using. Ruby, Javascript, Objective-C weren't radically different from each other, and after using them for many years I felt like I was stagnating. But Clojure, with its radically different approach to computation (and those exotic parentheses) drew me out of my programming funk and made it fun to code again. It gave me new tools for thinking about software, and a concomitant feeling that I had an unfair advantage over my colleagues. So of course the subtitle of Clojure for the Brave and True is learn the ultimate language and become a better programmer. And, four years since I first encountered Rich Hickey's fractal hair, I still find Clojure to be an exceptional tool for becoming a better programmer. This is because Clojure is a fantastic tool for exploring programming concepts, and the talented community has created exceptional libraries for such diverse approaches as forward-chaining rules engines and constraint programming and logic programming, just to name a few. By learning a variety of programming concepts, you become a better programmer because you're better able to recognize what kind of problem you're working on and apply the right tools. To give just one example: when I'm working on complex UI widgets my work is always made easier if I model the widget using a finite state machine (FSM) - but I had to actually spend time learning what FSMs are and how to use them (those of you with comp sci degrees are probably chuckling at this). You may have started learning Clojure because you heard that functional programming, Lisp, and immutability can make your life easier, but the fun doesn't stop there! At Brave Clojure, I hope you'll continue using the ultimate language to explore the vast and infinitely fascinating world of computer programming with me. The first topic we'll explore is parallel programming. Here's the beginning of an ebook on the topic that I'm nearly finished with: Yes, it would be fair for you to describe my startup as the Google of palm reading. I don't know if you know this, but the fortune telling industry has no quality control standards. There is no Six Sigma of fortune telling. Sometimes it seems like these people are just making things up! We can do better. Did I say we? Yes! I want to you to embark on this startup journey with me. Lucky you! My - our - plan is to disrupt the field with an app that lets a user position their phone so that the camera faces their palm and takes a picture, then predicts the future. I call it: iFacePalm. And, uh, there's parallel programming in it. While I plan on spending most of my time helping you and all of your closest friends, enemies, and even frenemies become better programmers by writing about these big ideas, I'm also going to spend time covering practical Clojure topics like deployment and debugging. To make this happen, I'm working a (great) job only two days a week and spending the rest of the time on Brave Clojure, so I'll need to find a way to derive income from the site. I'm not sure yet what will be free and what won't. My dream is to make all the content available online for free. That's what gives me joy, and I think it's the best way to have a positive impact. Ideally, I would be supported in this endeavor through monthly donations, but I'll likely try different approaches over time. Finally, I've been putting together two sites to help you up your game: Open Source Clojure Projects, a directory of active projects, and Clojure Work, the first Clojure-only job board. The latter is still in beta, and I'm going to officially release it and move it to https://jobs.braveclojure.com next week. The best way to get better at Clojure is to actually write Clojure, and working on real projects (and even getting paid to do so) is a great way to do that. Companies who buy job board ads will also be supporting me in making more content - hooray! If you get excited about learning more programming ideas, or learning to develop Clojure programs better, or getting paid cold hard cash to write your favorite language, then I cordially invite you to consider signing up for my newsletter, where I'll announce every release: Writing Clojure for the Brave and True was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life in large part because I got to interact with so many kind, thoughtful, intelligent people. I look forward to your company as I embark on this new chapter of my journey!

A Directory of Open Source Clojure Projects

11 months ago | Daniel Higginbotham: Flying Machine Studios

Every now and again I'll come across a post where someone asks about getting involved in open source clojure projects. Because every question deserves a single-page app dedicated to its answer, I made Open Source Clojure Projects, a directory of active projects welcoming new contributors. Each project has (or should have) clear instructions on: Developing the project locally Running tests if there are tests Contributing code (pull request? tests required?) Contacting other devs - slack, mailing list, IRC, etc Also, there's a "beginner-friendly" flag so that new Clojurists can easily find projects with tasks that are appropriate for their skill level. So far, 22 projects have been added, which is awesome. A random sampling: milestones, which generates the best possible schedule from a set of tasks reverie, a CMS for power users Scheje, a little Scheme on Top of Clojure (!!!) system, a friendly layer on top of Stuart Sierra's component library If you have an open source project and want people to contribute, please add it! The Stack A few folks have asked me about what tools I used to create the site. I'll explain more below but briefly: The backend is a weird, unholy mess of fantastic classic libraries and sideshow code that I keep transplanting from one project to another so that I can answer the question what kind of abomination will this morph into this time?. The backend uses Github as a database, though, and that's pretty neat. The frontend uses re-frame and includes some form handling code that I'm proud of and that's actually worth stealing. Finally, there's also some code for deploying with Ansible that's worth stealing. In the time-honored fashion of technical blog posts everywhere, I'll now "dive in" and elaborate on each of those bullet points. Backend For the backend, the site uses ring, compojure, liberator, http-kit, and the weird set of tools that have accreted in my projects over the years. Even though the code footprint for the backend is pretty small, it's pretty idiosyncratic, containing handfuls of half-formed ideas I keep noodling around with. Hopefully someday soon I'll be able to really nail down my approach to backend dev and share it, because it does allow me to write apps quickly. One cool part of the site is that it uses a Github repo, Open Source Projects, as its database. Browse the projects directory and you can see every project that's listed on the site stored as an EDN file. When the backend starts up it reads from Github, and whenever someone posts or edits a listing it writes the EDN file using Github's API. The nice thing about this approach is that I didn't have to worry about standing up a server or keeping backups. And it was just fun to code. Here's the source for using Github as a db - I definitely see potential in reusing this approach for similar lightweight directory sites. Frontend re-frame has a delightful README that gracefully introduces you to reactive programming. If you haven't read it then stop reading this article and read that instead; I am 100% confident that it's a better use of your time. re-frame is a joy to use, and it's become my go-to tool for frontend projects. I've written a fair amount of code for working with forms and submitting values. This code forms a kind of nano-framework on top of re-frame, and it's allowed me to speed up the development process from project to project. Here's an example form which uses the form helpers. If you'd like for me to write a detailed explanation of this code, please leave a comment letting me know :) Boot deserves a special mention because it makes it so easy to develop ClojureScript apps. With Boot you get live reload (every time you change your frontend files, the changes are automatically injected into the browser), giving you a near-instantaneous feedback cycle that makes development much more enjoyable. It's also easy to incorporate Sass compilation - and your Sass files also get the live reload treatment. If you're not using Boot to build your ClojureScript app then chances are you're causing yourself undue suffering. And hey, maybe you're into that? No judgment. But if you're not, then take the time to learn it - it's a great investment in yourself as a Clojure developer. Deployment The infrastructure directory contains scripts for provisioning and deploying to a server with Ansible. It also has a Vagrantfile so that you can stand up a test server locally; just run vagrant up to both create the virtual machine and provision it. To deploy, cd into the infrastructure directory and run ./build.sh && ./deploy-dev.sh. Those two shell scripts are extemely simple, so take a look at them to see what's involved in deployment. The Ansible configuration is almost completely reusable. You can check it out in infrastructure/ansible. The roles directory in particular has Ansible tasks for creating an nginx server that can run Clojure app. It also includes an Upstart script for controlling startup/shutdown of your Clojure app (assuming you use Ubuntu). The Future Eventually, I'd like to add more tools for project discovery and for showing project stats. @yogthos, for example, suggested incorporating a project's stats from github so that users can see how active and popular each project is, information that can help them decide which project to contribute to. Also, I'm in the process of revamping braveclojure.com to include more resources for Clojure programmers. The site hovers around 3rd or 4th Google result for "Clojure", just below clojure.org and the Wikipedia entry. So, it's kind of popular I guess. My hope is that by featuring Open Source Clojure Projects, I'll help more new developers get involved and also help project maintainers squash some tickets.

hapi.js, JWT and CORS

11 months ago | Rocky Jaiswal: Still Learning

In the last post we setup a React based authentication workflow for a sample application. In this short post we will look at a hapi.js backend that can handle authentication using http://jw ...

Authentication workflow with React

12 months ago | Rocky Jaiswal: Still Learning

Having worked with a few frontend frameworks, I definitely find React to be a very good choice. For me, it delivers on the promise of creating clean frontend components that can be used across projects while being easily extensible and flexible. On t ...

Not a Superpredator

12 months ago | Daniel Higginbotham: Flying Machine Studios

I'm the son of a Vietnamese emigrant. I grew up in the South, where I experienced and witnessed racism. I have black step-siblings and my wife is black (naturally, so are my in-laws). As such, I try to educate myself about race issues in America. I don't share my thoughts much publicly but do want to write more on the subject. In the mean time, here's a (slight edited) exchange I had with a friend on Facebook about a recent event, Ashley Williams's protest during a Hillary Clinton speech. Me: A room full of white people at a $500/person Hillary Clinton event tells young black woman she's being rude and inappropriate for demanding Hillary Clinton explain why she supported the system that destroyed countless black and latino lives. I think that accurately sums up the prevailing attitude toward race in America: black people, please don't cause me mild discomfort by bringing my attention to our society's racial caste system. It's impolite. Friend: Wow. This thing seems like... a really, really huge distortion. She [Hillary] actually said: "You’re the first person to do that, **and I’m happy to address it."** She offered to talk about it. But the demonstrator wasn't there to talk, and wasn't in listening mode. Second, what she said, 20 years ago, is that she thought 'SuperPredators' exist and should be dealt with. It was a popular idea at the time. She did not say that they were one color or another: just that they exist and should be contained. WTF ??? It's indisputable that America needs to deal with the legacy of excessive force and excessive incarceration against people of color. But if we make it sound like any talk about incarcerating anybody, ever, must be inherently racist... we've already lost the battle to have serious conversations about what non-racially-biased policing would look like. Me: Hey man! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Here are more of mine, and I hope they don't come across as combative - I really appreciate getting to talk about this stuff with someone as thoughtful as you. I wasn't actually commenting on Hillary's reaction, but the reactions of those in the (almost entirely white) room with her: people hissing at her and telling her she's being rude and inappropriate. That's what I'm referring to when I say the video reflects the prevailing attitude toward race. To me, it's as if the message toward the BLM activist [note: I've since learned she actually isn't with Black Lives Matter] is, "Excuse me, but you're interrupting the event we paid $500 to see. Please take your complaints about the racial caste system, which doesn't negatively affect me, elsewhere." And it is always "rude" or "inappropriate" or "inconvenient" for those topics to be discussed. When Beyonce dances at the Super Bowl, people lose their minds: they're just trying to enjoy football, they don't want to have to think about the lives of people who aren't like them! When another black man or woman gets murdered by police and people take to the streets demanding change, they're somehow offensive and ungrateful for criticizing law enforcement. Most often, the reaction is to denounce the method and ignore the message. Last year, Bernie Sanders visited Liberty University, and David Nasser, a university VP, got some of the biggest applause of the event for saying that the problem with the criminal justice system is a "sin issue, not a skin issue" - meaning that it was not a political issue, but one better addressed by encouraging people to be better or something. Same message: stop speaking up, black people. So that's what I was meaning to communicate originally. Here are my thoughts on Hillary. I'm not sure if you're familiar with "dog-whistle" politics, using coded language to court the racist vote. At the time, the Democratic party was trying to win back the vote of poor, Southern whites who'd switched to the Republican party thanks to the republicans' Southern Strategy, an effort to win those votes by appealing to racist fears and biases. Anyway, Democrats had the idea, "hey maybe if we also play on those racial fears, we'll get those votes back!" And that's what they did. When Hillary and other political/media figures talked about "superpredators", it was generally understood to mean "urban" people, and that was generally understood to mean black people. So when the demonstrator brings this up, she's not saying that "any talk about incarcerating anybody, ever" is inherently racist. She had reasons for singling out that phrase and using it to call attention to Hillary's record. Some might disagree, but I think her reasons were good ones. And even if "superpredator" wasn't meant that way, the result was still the crushingly unjust system we have today - and Hillary's support helped build that system. Using terms like "superpredator" and "bring them to heel" to accidentally perpetuate a racial caste system might even be worse. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, writes about it persuasively. The New Jim Crow goes into even greater detail about how mass incarceration and the criminal justice system are tools for racial control, even if many of the actors in the system (police, lawyers) aren't racist. I'm a Bernie fan, and I don't have rabid Hillary hatred. If it comes down to Hillary versus whichever clown the Republican party decides on, I will vote for Hillary. I respect her vast experience and think she would do a decent job at pushing for progress. When it comes to racial justice, though, I think Bernie has a much better record. Most of all, I'm an Ashley Williams fan. It takes courage to do what she did. Maybe she wasn't in listening mode (it's hard for me to really articulate my thoughts on this. She did give a good pause so that HC could speak. And anyway the power was so asymetrical that I don't know how to think about it. How do you really try to talk when you're being carted off by security?). But I'm glad she did it - it brought attention to an under-reported problem, and Hillary did in fact end up apologizing. And no damage was done, except perhaps to the sense of propriety of a few stuffy rich people.