codeBrane Blog

Software development and philosophical musings

Connecting to SQL Server From Node.js

I’ve been hearing some good things about Node.js recently so I thought I’d give it a go. Not on something easy like a quickie server but on something much more gnarly. Getting it to talk to MSSQL via ODBC.

First things first, you need to install the ODBC/FreeTDS infrastructure and I’ve already blogged about that here.

The Four Levels of Software Testing

I was recently having a blether with a colleague about testing and how we should thrash out a shared understanding of the different types. There are so many ways to test software, all with their own advocates, terminology and fluff that we just had to write down what we meant when we said ‘the software is tested’. The whiteboard is your friend in cases like this.

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Developing With Tmux

Many years I used to work almost exclusively in two development environments. Visual Studio and SoftICE, the latter making me a bit of a digital hermit which I wrote about a few years ago. Back then I’d realised the eremitic connotations of software development and they’ve hovered like a presence in the background throughout my softare development career.

Since leaving the driver days behind, that hermit’s cave of SoftICE has been replaced, in turn, by multiple Windows command prompt windows all crammed into a tiny monitor, fighting for space not only on the screen but in my brain’s limited short term memory banks. Where’s the apache window? I need those applicationg logs, now where did I put them?

Adding Authentication to Spring Controller Methods With AspectJ

The latest integration project I’m working on is to wire up the Blackboard VLE to the SITS student records system, mainly to synchronise courses and users. The first version I did was a couple of years ago, using the Blackboard SIS framework but as it’s a sysadmin thingy, file based and incapable of reporting errors programmatically, for this new version I decided to develop a building block with a nice REST interface.

Book Review : Backbone Marionette a Gentle Introduction by David Sulc

To set the scene for this review, I must explain something. I’m a middleware developer in the main, although I like to code side projects for iOS and Android but for the most part, I work with backend data and systems. Plumbing applications together with COM, REST, SOAP and all that jazz. ERB templates in Rails are fine but the client side of things has largely been a ‘here be dragons’ type of thing.

All that HTML/CSS/Javascript malarkey, browser (in)compatibility and getting data in and out of the server. It’s always been a bit of a mystery and every time I’ve looked into it, it’s been a maelstrom of opinions, spaghetti code and framework overload.

Protocols, domain models on the wire, obscure APIs from the land of integration. Not a problem but I’ve always admired elegant browser based apps and wondered how on earth do they do that? Wondered that is, until now.

Ruby and SOAP From an Integrator’s Perspective

I do lots of integration. I mean, lots, so I’ve seen a lot of different systems, APIs and integration methods and the one rule that always stands is, ‘Know Thy System’. In theory that’s what you should do. In practice it’s always appended with ‘to varying degrees!’. This is almost always down to API documentation or the level of (or lack of) system knowledge of the people who look after it. The politics of integration is another matter entirely and prolly worth a book. Maybe I’ll write one!

Hello World in Commodore 64 Assembly

I’ve been rebooting my interest in the Commodore 64 recently, after a layoff of around 20 years! The last time I used a 64 was back in 1992 when I wrote a BASIC word processor on which I typed my honours thesis and printed out on an MPS printer, if I remember the model correctly.

Commodore 64 and Raspberry Pi

I still have the old machine, printer, tape drive etc but I’ve been relearning everything on VICE before I get round to powering them up again. So this is a wee tutorial on how to display a simple Hello World message in C64 assembler. It won’t be ‘type and run’ sort of thing as I’ll show how to add a BASIC header so you can compile the object code and run it as a normal program from BASIC. So, let’s crack on.

Developing a Simple Sliding Navigation iOS App

I’m working on an iOS app that lets me identify mountains based on my location and bearing but one of the first things I wanted to tackle was the navigation. How to get from screen to screen. Initially I tried a tabbed app layout but that seems so ‘yesterday’ these days and instead I plumped for a sliding navigation model, ala Facebook app. It’s not as complicated as it sounds once you’ve got your head round iOS development so this post takes you through constructing an app with three coloured views. Red, green and blue with a central controller handling the swiping to navigate among them.

Migrating Wordpress Post Links to Octopress Post Links

So I’ve migrated the blog to Octopress, got FTP deployment working, and deployed via FTP so what’s left I hear you say? Well exitwp doesn’t change the internal post links. In the Wordpress post, an internal link to another post, for my blog setup is:

http://codebrane.com/blog/?p=2899

while the link to the same post in the Octopress version of the blog is:

http://codebrane.com/blogocto/blog/2013/02/07/coffee-break-shibboleth-idp-install-with-custom-certificate-login-page-and-ldap/

clearly some ruby is required.