So you've come to a point where you want to build nice CLIs. There's a few different options for building CLI's. My two favorites are oclif and commander.js. I tend toward leaning to commander, unless I know I'm building a super big app. However, I've really enjoyed building smaller CLIs with commander recently.
So, I previously blogged about how we hosted CraftCMS on Heroku. When we built the marketing site for Quala the twig templates were built for maximum authoring flexibility at the cost of some TTFB problems. We knew this going into the project. In an ideal world we would use GatsbyJS to build the frontend, but we very limited in time. When we went live, we saw a dramatic improvement to First Contentful paint, but a huge decrease to Time To First Byte, averaging at 1.3 seconds.
I blog about my general pains building software.
Why Terrible Dev?
Honestly, I was a network engineer, and I worked with many developers. They'd often blame bugs on the network, or the database. I heard a lot of it works on my machine. I started the TerribleDev twitter handle where I posted some things developers said. Then when I became a developer, I figured I'd just make it my handle. These days, I'm now blaming the network 🤣.
So I've been using monorepos for some time, and recently I've gotten a lot of questions about how to host them on Heroku. I figured I'd give you the simple guide. There are two basic scenarios. The root of your git repo has your yarn/npm workspace, or you have a folder inside of a gitrepo you wish to use.
So, like most early startups, Quala (where I currently work) bought into a Wordpress site to sell our product, probably before it really existed. Flash forward, we have customers, and we're on a path to building a platform to change the game on customer management. The Wordpress site was terrible for performance, and core web vitals. None of us know Wordpress, and barely know any php. We had huge drive to rebrand ourselves, but to do that we needed to edit the Wordpress theme 😬 or use something else.
Turborepo is a tool that came across my virtual desk recently. Monorepo develoment has been around for a long time. This is a strategy where all of your code remains in one repository regardless of services. A lot of people use monorepo's even for microservices. The huge upside is to keep everything in one place, which allows for development efficiency, such as grepping an entire codebase for specific keywords. A quick example would be a top level directory which has child directories that each contain an npm package, unlike publishing these packages, you access them locally as though they were published.
For many of us a JS workspace is the simplest way to structure code for future growth while providing very quick iterations. Incase you are unfamiliar, several technologies exist such as
npm workspaces, etc. That can seamlessly stitch npm packages on disk as though they were published to a private NPM registry. This allows for fast iteration inside of a single git repo, while allowing a future where these dependencies could be abstracted.
I've been getting back into building scrappy little web apps for my friends. On top of this, I recently joined a startup and getting away from Enterprise class software has made me make a huge mind-shift. In the recent past when I wanted to build apps I was thinking Kubernetes, Helm Charts, etc. However, in small app, and startup land reducing the barriers to ship is very important.
I've been working at CarGurus.com for the last 2 years or so. One of the biggest journeys we've been undertaking is to take accessibility far more seriously. However with an engineering team way into the triple digits it gets harder and harder to scale accessibility knowledge.
As more and more of the world is getting online, a larger part of the internet community is using the internet on lower powered devices. Making websites fast is becoming paramount. Here are 5 tips to improving you web page's performance
So many people know me as a very performance focused engineer, and as someone that cares about perf I've always been a bit embarrassed about this blog. In actual fact this blog as it sits now is fast by most people's standards. I got a new job in July, and well I work with an absolute mad lad that is making me feel pretty embarrassed with his 900ms page load times. So I've decided to build my own blog engine, and compete against him.
Back in August of this year Microsoft announced static websites for azure blob storage. So this is the same feature AWS' S3 has had for years. Essentially make a blob storage folder public, and redirect
/ paths to
/index.html internally. Also, register 404 pages. Before we had this we use to deploy our files to
App Service or do some weirdness with functions to rewrite urls. For static pages this can really bring costs down in the cloud
So incase you havn't been following me. I joined Cargurus in July. At cargurus we're currently working on our mobile web experience written in react, redux and reselect. As our implementation grew so did our time to first paint.
Here we are, its 2017 dotnet core is out, and finally dotnet has a proper cli. In a previous post we explored the new cli. In short you can use the dotnet cli to build, test, package, and publish projects. However sometimes just using the cli is not enough. Sometimes, you land in a place where you have many projects to compile, test, and package.
Recently I had heard live.asp.net had started to precompile the razor views. I figured I'd dig in and quickly figure out how to do it.
Now that dotnet core tools have been released I thought it would be good to look into the dotnet cli. This is a new command line interface to build, manage, compile and run
dotnet core based applications
Today marks the release of Visual Studio 2017, and with it the final release of the tools for dotnet core. This means as of today you can build, test, and deploy an application completely supported by microsoft. Not just the runtimes, but the tooling as well. The CLI for dotnet core has been finalized, and its awesome. The csproj system has been revitalized. New csproj's can be created, and are fully compatible with the old. Visual studio 2017 has finally released. This is probably the greatest version of visual studio ever created. Finally VS has gone from a slow, archaic editor, to a fast moving IDE. An IDE with a DevOps-First Cloud-First mentality. An IDE ready to tackle today's modern challenges.
Recently I wanted to make myself a short url host. Really, I made this not to make short urls, but to make memorable urls for myself.
tl;dr click here
When we talk about capturing metrics in applications. One server/service that constantly is in all conversations monitoring, is statsd. Incase you have never heard of it, statsd is a udp/tcp server that you send your in-code metrics to. These metrics get aggregated by statsd, and are forwarded to various backends. Some backends are services like librato or sumologic. Other times you are sending metrics to time series databases such as graphite or god forbid influxdb.
This boils down to in code you can say "log whenever this block of code is hit" or say "measure how long this function takes to execute". These stories come together to form pretty graphs, and rich alerts. All of this enabled by statsd.
tl;dr view this gist
So its 2016, and we are still making console apps/cli's. In fact I would say there has been a surge in popularity of these types of tools. I think we have come to the realization that buttons on forms are not automatable, and that the command line doesn't have to be scary.
I recently started writing an app in dotnet core, which is the new runtime for dotnet. In the past I have often used command line parser, but as of this writing it does not support core.
I was really lost trying to find an arguments parsing library when I realized the dotnet cli was open sourced.
After much struggle, failing to bingle. I started ripping through the Entity Framework, and dotnet cli's code hoping to find a gem. Thats when I stumbled across a diamond. You see many dotnet projects use Microsft.Extension.CommandLineUtils to do cli parsing.
So now that Windows server 2016 is generally avalible for the first time ever windows users can now use containers. Ok, so what exactly are containers? Well more or less they are virtual operating systems that share the same kernel as the host OS. In regular VM's the hardware is shared between machines, but containers go a step further and share the kernel of the OS. Why does this matter? Well because you are sharing an existing kernel that is already running, your startup times are instantanious. To put this in perspective, this is virtualization at the OS level.
On Linux, containers have been a thing for a long time. This technology is called LXC. Docker itself is a layer ontop of various container platforms embedded in operating systems.
dotnet CLI is currently in RC2, and while the train is fast approaching RTM, most tools are still catching up. dotnet seems to have a documented cli based install for every platform except the good ol windows. That being said getting a windows based install/build is possible.
So if you are like one of my co-wokers whom are newer to
.net land you probably thought
"hey it would be good just to update all my nuget packages".
Then you quickly ran into issues.
So recently I have had the (some would say unfortuate) time learning wix. Specifically I am trying to better understand windows installers, mostly to install webapps into IIS with MSI's. This is mostly due to the unfortunate situation where I constantly do work for windows things. I would recommend reading the docs on the wixtoolset website, but if you are still having a trouble understanding how the tools come together, you can read this.
Windows Installer Xml toolset or Wix for short, has been around since the early 2000's. The toolset is one of the great mechanisms to create MSI's. A while back I blogged about how to use them to install ssl certs in IIS. Until recently when I fit the tools together in my head, I couldn't figure out how they work. So here is the tl;dr
If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know I am a fan of Azure. I thought about using github pages with hexo, but github pages only supports 1 doman name. I could start 301 redirecting my other domains, but I really didn't want to do that.
In case you havn't been paying attention, recently it was announced that helios was no longer a thing. Helios was the loader for ASP.NET 5 in IIS. Instead they are using the http Platform Handler to proxy the connections to kestrel.
I have used Linode for quite a long time now. My blog was hosted on linode, as was my StarBound server. My linode was the CentOS Pet I always wanted. Full of manual Fail2Ban configs, I make sure I fed my VPS every day. I even used cowsay to give me a cool message from my pet every login.
The major reason I moved my things away from Linode, was not the devops story itself. I could have stuck with linode, and used chef or something to manage my former friend. I decided to host everything in Azure Web apps. Now before I give you my long ramblings why I like azure; I must tell you. I put everything in azure, because my MSDN gave me free credits. There was no huge scientific analysis behind this. The simple fact that I got free money in Azure was the only reason why I started using it.
Where I work .NET rules supreme. Personally I really don't care that much about the technology so long as it supports really good workflows. One of my major issues with nuget is that is very opinionated.
So I was quite confused about hosting Nancyfx on OWIN under IIS. Parts of the Nancy wiki led me slightly astray.
Here is the simple guide.
Make sure you Install the following nuget packages (if you havn't already).
In the old days, when programming in .NET you were signing yourself up to a lifetime of windows server, however things have changed.
The one problem I have always had with these tools is they dont go above and beyond to help you understand your code at a higher level.
LinqPad is an interactive C#/F#/VB.NET scratchpad that lets you run arbitrary C#/F#/VB.NET code, and also lets you query databases with linq.
Interested in Interstital ads, but not banner? Thats ok, but I recommend your read my first post about banner ads. The first steps, installing Google Play Services, altering your permissions, adding to your manifests files, and reviewing my github demo are located in that tutorial.
This will be a brief overview on how to get admob working with Xamarin.
I highly suggest you run this on a real phone. I'm not sure if the virtual phones can load content on the internet. I always develop on a real phone.
Sample code located in a repo at github
I know, I know the very first question you ask is going to be why do you have two phones, the answer being One is for work, the other is for my personal life. Now that we are done with that subject, we can get on with the review...
I had some problems with Xamarin. Somethings are ugly, but with plastic surgery almost anything can become beautiful.
Xamarin has its own software packages available for download. I tried a lot of them out, some were good others not so much. One of my biggest gripes was that Google Play Services currently has a bug that makes builds really slow. Other packages were either genius, or were simply unimpressive. The components have their own package manager, and it does do a decent job of keeping them in order. I have to admit though Xamarin has its own set of componants that do in-app billing, and access phone data without having to lift much of a finger.
A real put down is that only some of the components have adequate documentation. For instance for me to get admob working with play services; I had to look at the Java documentation, and try to figure out how its supposed to be done on Xamarin. This wasn't to difficult, but admob is well used. I would have assumed the documentation would have covered it, but couldn't find anything.
Visual Studio Designer
The Visual studio designer for Android at first seemed like the best thing since sliced bread! I was able to get a UI up and running in no time. Making my app work for tablets, and mobile phones alike was simple. However, once in a while it would be stubborn, and stop working. I'm not sure if it was something I was doing, but I felt like it would bomb out and I would have to restore the XAML file to continue.
The editor really isn't great for designing ListViews, working with fragments, or making something that will scale easily. Often it made things exact pixel widths instead of using dots per inch. To keep it short, I still had to do plenty of editing of the source manually (which was not too bad). Making the theme stick on the default view was a pain, until I realized that I could ignore the editor, and decorate my MainActivity with the theme I wanted to use.
[Activity(Label = "Label", MainLauncher = true, Icon = "@drawable/Icon", Theme = "@android:style/Theme.Holo.Light")]
This will be a series of blog entries where I discuss the Xamarin platform for Android.
When I heard about Xamarin I naturally, wanted to give it a shot. Having tried Eclipse, and Android Studio for android development I was no idiot when it came to the platform. So I got a license, and did nothing with it for six months, until a few weeks ago. After only 3 days I created Ultimate Gravatar Sync. An app that sync's your contacts gravatar images to their picture in your phone.
C# with no compromise
The Xamarin platform uses mono, and some kind of voodoo bindings to the Java libraries to make it work. I wont go in depth, but the native features of the C# language are there to use. I never felt like my hands had been tied, that all of a sudden I couldn't use a library that is normally part of the GAC (Global Assembly Cache). When I needed multi-threading, System.Threading was there, and when I needed to use C# Generics I had no issues implementing them.
Manage Android Manifest files
One of the things that blew me away about the platform, was that I never had to add anything to my manifest file. For those of you whom don't know, Android requires an XML config detailing the permissions you require, and the classes you have in your application.
Simple decoration such as:
[Activity(Label = "Label", MainLauncher = true, Icon = "@drawable/Icon")]
Will Generate in your manifest file as:
<pre> <activity android:label="Label" android:name=".logoActivity" > <intent-filter> <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" /> <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" /> </intent-filter> </activity> </pre>
Adding permissions is also easy:
Using Java Libraries
Xamarin provides some kind of crazy visual studio project, that will essentially provide c# bindings to Java libraries you require. To bind Simply create a Java Binding project, adding the .Jar files, and then build. Watch the magic happen. They do note that you sometimes need to do some configuration for certain libraries, however I had no issues with the one I tried. On top of that if you really needed to, you could access the Java Native Interface for even more power.