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.
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 its no secret I'm a docker fan. In-fact, I've been a fan of docker since the early betas. I work in an office, with a high amount of people running some form of windows, and I hear this quote quite a lot.
Docker for windows only supports windows 10, you can't use docker on windows 7, 8, etc.
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
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 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
I spend much of my time at Vistaprint just being a normal developer. In fact its over 75% of what I do. I am a Web Developer, however with my background in ops I have spent more and more time at Vistaprint doing configuration management, and coaching other teams how to approach the subject.
Just got a new phone last week, and its one of the new Nexus phones
I recently bought a Nexus 5x from our favorite search engine, Google. Incase you didn't know I am an Android fanboy, to really specify I am an apple hater. Outside of iPhones my options are *droid or Windows Phone. Every time I have used someone else's windows phone I am honestly stricken at how great it is, but I stuck with what I know and love, which is android.
As you all are aware there are a large number of Android devices in the ecosystem that is android. The flagship phones of this year seem to be the Galaxy S6, LG G4, and various other phones that are not
Nexus phones. The competitor to these phones in the Nexus line would have to be the Nexus 6p; Which is larger, and more powerful than the 5x.
My huge gripe about non nexus phones, is that they are not really Android. Well they are, but they usually come with a ton of weird apps, and a non-stock UI. The UI that google ships for Android stock is fantastic. The OS looks crisp, clean, and somewhat futuristic without being tacky. Other UI's such as TouchWiz cannot even compete, and yet these manufacturers insist on adding this experience to their phones.
Updates and security
There is no doubt that Nexus phones get updates much faster than non-nexus phones. Incase you were not aware, Nexus phones get their updates pushed directly from google. These phones often receive more updates than non-nexus phones, which have to get updated though the manufacturer, working in tandem with the carrier. Google around yourself, and find out which phones got updated to Lollipop, or even Marshmallow. Most of the nexus phones have been kept up to date.
The updates are not just about features. Updates contain security fixes. At the end of the day a Smartphone is really just a computer that can place phone calls. Like any other computer, smartphones are susceptible to hacks and can be compromised. Updates can often contain security enhancements to reduce the surface area of attack to these phones, allowing your personal information to be stored safely.
Ok so I should actually review the phone right?
The Nexus 5x is the sequel to a phone (Nexus 5) that was a cheap phone that really competed with phones twice its price. The 5x fails to live up to that a little as the specs are at best what a good phone was last year. That being said this phone is extraordinary in both performance, size, and quality.
The 5x is about as fast as most Android phones. The camera is a 12 MP camera that takes pretty solid pictures. The battery life seems to last roughly 24 hours for me just doing daily activities on the phone. The fingerprint scanner can wake the phone from sleep, and is located in the centre on the back. This is a very convenient place that is usually where my index finger lands. This Nexus phone gets GPS locks every time, and never seems to stop performing beautify. Other phones such as the 6p would probably out perform it if you sat them side by side, but day to day you wouldn't notice any slowness in the 5x. Overall I'd say its a good buy for the value.
I'd really love to see a day when manufacturers would stop putting custom UI's ontop of Android. I'd love to see a day where all Android phones get updates direct from google. Until that time we must live with what we have, which is a weird market place in Android land. iOS users do not have to worry about such things, and I believe the same needs to happen for Android.
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.
Over the last 8 years the demand to scale has ever increased.
We have gone from curating machines like your favorite pets, and started spinning up, and destroying VM's at an ever increasing pace.
As engineers the Unix like platforms, have always been easier to work with. Personally I enjoy linux, I love package managers, I love ssh, and configurations are much easier. That being said, lately I have been interacting a lot with Windows servers.
This tutorial is about using SSL certs with WiX for IIS websites. For those of you whom didn't know, WiX is an MSI generator. You can even deploy IIS applications with WiX's MSI's.
So a while back I made a website that uses the Excel interop (long story). Since I made it a while ago, the IIS configuration is not automated, and must be done artisanally.
Recently I have been working on moving it to a new server. I installed Excel, and the website.
Up until the last few years the only devices on the market were all full operating system work horses. However the majority of us would easily sacrifice functionality for portability. This statement has been backed up by the increase of market demand for tablets and ultrabooks over the years.