Author Archives: Leigh

Some handy Eclipse plugins (2)

This is an updated version of http://blog.simpleigh.com/2013/06/some-handy-eclipse-plugins/ for Eclipse Mars. One of the most exciting features of Eclipse is the plugin ecosystem. Eclipse has been around for ages, and there are plenty of fantastic plugins adding additional programming languages and features. Here’s a list of some I’ve found useful: Geppetto Puppet is a great way […]

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Myjson Crawler

What is myjson.com Myjson describes itself as “a simple JSON store for your web or mobile app”. You can save JSON data using an interface on the site itself  (example) or programmatically via an API  (example). Each saved piece of JSON can be accessed via a randomly-generated URL, but unfortunately the random part of the URL is […]

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AWS CloudFront via CloudFormation

Amazon Web Services‘ CloudFormation is a great way to define stacks of related resources. I don’t tend to find myself making more than one version of each stack, but have still seen some big advantages: I no longer have to configure resources through the AWS management console, saving a heap of time. Stack configuration is […]

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Downgrading VMWare Tools

I’ve run into an amusing issue with the tools that come packaged with VMware Player. If I removed content from the middle of a file on the host, this change wasn’t replicated on the guest. Here the file would be reduced in size, but by removing bytes from the end rather than the middle, which […]

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AWS Architecture Diagrams

AWS release amazing architecture diagrams. The best of these must surely be the diagram of the architecture used to host the Obama for America campaign. The diagrams look great, but aren’t accessible to others as there’s no publicly downloadable set of icons… until now. Someone has created their own for download: http://blog.domenech.org/2013/04/aws-diagrams-adobe-illustrator-object-collection-first-release.html.

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Eclipse Memory Limits

Update: I’ve had some instability issues since installing this fix, and have now reverted. As I use Eclipse more and more, I’ve occasionally run into memory and garbage-collector limits when working on large projects or files. This page provides the solution: bump up the limits in eclipse.ini (found in the Eclipse programme directory): Apart from […]

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Service Testing

Here’s a collection of services, and ways to go about testing them: 25: SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. Test with telnet: Check it responds: Try sending a message to a local user: Try logging in: Exit: You can test STARTTLS (where a secure channel is negotiated for an existing connection) functionality using OpenSSL‘s s_client: 80: […]

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Undocumented Features

I was amused to discover grumbling around the Internet about Google’s weather API, and their decision to remove it. This describes what happened: Last month, Google announced plans to shutter iGoogle, among a bunch of other services. Many developers and users were (and still are) outraged, but at least they have some time to breathe: […]

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Some handy eclipse plugins

Update: this is currently tested for Eclipse Juno, although I hope to update this for Kepler in the near future. I’ve been making more use of Eclipse recently as an IDE. I’ve been using Aptana (which is based on Eclipse) for a few years now, but I’m spending less time coding in PHP so it […]

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ReST Syntax Highlighting

I’ve talked before about writing documentation using Sphinx. Sphinx uses ReST (ReStructured Text) which is great, but sometimes a pain to edit without any form of syntax highlighting. Luckily it was pretty easy to track down an Eclipse plugin to do this. First add a new software source URL like this: Then tick the box […]

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MongoDB

I’ve recently started working with MongoDB at work: it forms a core part of our tracking and reporting infrastructure, and all events that we track are slotted tidily into a Mongo database. Mongo has been getting some criticism of late, and while most of this has been largely misdirected (not using the right tool for […]

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AWS Summit

I’ve just been to this year’s AWS Summit in London. I arrived at the event to find a suspiciously large density of suit-wearing managers. After shaking off the initial fear that I might be at the wrong event, I forged on… The Business Design Centre is an agreeable sort of place for a conference. There’s […]

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ssh-agent

On Linux systems it’s common to use ssh-agent (manpage) to store SSH keys. When you run the agent its output can be used to configure it within your shell. The variables defined allow ssh and ssh-add to find the agent once it’s started. I use an Ubuntu VM, and regularly log in using PuTTY. It’s […]

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Creating a VM to mimic EC2

I spend a lot of time working with Amazon’s EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) virtual servers. Configuring a new server takes up a surprisingly large amount of time when done manually, and so I use Puppet to automate the process. This works pretty well, but after creating lots of new configuration code I always think it’s worth […]

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Exotic Data Structures

I came across this recent comment on Hacker News today, and thought the data structures therein worth advertising further: Smushed list Size O(1). The smushed list is a list of variables (of the same type), stored in a single variable of that type. To produce the smushed list, simply XOR all the elements of the list together, […]

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PHP documentation and Sphinx

Documentation is important, but commonly forgotten. Writing any code requires filling your brain with information – what the language is doing – what the API you’re calling is doing – what you want the code to do – and most of this information will fall out again a few days later. A month later a bug […]

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Developing in a Linux Virtual Machine on Windows (3)

This post is part of a series about my development stack – I use an Ubuntu Server VM running on Windows. Part 1 showed how to set up the VM Part 2 demonstrated how we could share code on the host system with the guest in order to execute it in a Linux environment There’s some […]

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Developing in a Linux Virtual Machine on Windows (2)

This is the continuation of a previous post where we set up an Ubuntu virtual machine in VMWare Player on a Windows host. To recap, what we’ve got so far is: An easily-accessible Ubuntu server. Folders on the host shared with the guest. We can edit code on the host machine and then test the changes in […]

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Database design 101: Is your field big enough?

When designing a database schema, it’s worth trying to choose sensible sizes for each column. It’s obviously crucial to make sure that your field gives enough space to accommodate the data you want to store in it, but it’s good to keep the sizes down as far as possible in order to improve performance. Increasing […]

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Virtualisation and web hosting – update

I wrote recently about my efforts to find a cheap VPS host. Recently I’ve come across http://www.cloudorado.com/ which aims to make this process easier. It looks pretty good, but doesn’t seem to help much with the really small case – there’s no AWS Micro EC2 instances, for example.

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