Metric decimal system of measurement

In metric, one milliliter of water occupies one cubic centimeter, weighs one gram, and requires one calorie of energy to heat up by one degree centigrade—which is one percent of the difference between its freezing point and its boiling point. An amount of hydrogen weighing the same amount has exactly one mole of atoms in it.

from Wild Thing: A Novel by Josh Bazell

Explaining object-oriented programming

Here, in an excerpt from a 1994 Rolling Stone interview, Jobs explains what object-oriented programming is.

Jeff Goodell: Would you explain, in simple terms, exactly what object-oriented software is?
Steve Jobs: Objects are like people. They’re living, breathing things that have knowledge inside them about how to do things and have memory inside them so they can remember things. And rather than interacting with them at a very low level, you interact with them at a very high level of abstraction, like we’re doing right here.
Here’s an example: If I’m your laundry object, you can give me your dirty clothes and send me a message that says, “Can you get my clothes laundered, please.” I happen to know where the best laundry place in San Francisco is. And I speak English, and I have dollars in my pockets. So I go out and hail a taxicab and tell the driver to take me to this place in San Francisco. I go get your clothes laundered, I jump back in the cab, I get back here. I give you your clean clothes and say, “Here are your clean clothes.”
You have no idea how I did that. You have no knowledge of the laundry place. Maybe you speak French, and you can’t even hail a taxi. You can’t pay for one, you don’t have dollars in your pocket. Yet I knew how to do all of that. And you didn’t have to know any of it. All that complexity was hidden inside of me, and we were able to interact at a very high level of abstraction. That’s what objects are. They encapsulate complexity, and the interfaces to that complexity are high level.

The whole interview here

Cloud Compute uptime

disconnect

I have been hearing some criticism on Azure reliability lately. So, I decided to check out if anything I hear has any base by trying to compare Azure VM’s against other IAAS’s and I was quite surprised instability of Azure when putting side-by-side with its competitors.

Even though I don’t use Google Compute Engine personally. I decided to compare it together with EC2 and Azure VM’s since it is among one of the most popular ones.

I think Azure is very nice platform, I use it daily (Office 365 and VisualStudio.com) but they’ve effectively priced me out every time I need to get a server up quickly. Then I always end up to EC2 (Which I like also) but I would like to run some servers on VM’s. Just to get first hand experience how is it to operate real stuff on their beautifully designed Azure Admin.

Disclaimer: I have not used in-depth research on the topic. This is just what I found out by looking numbers from CloudHarmony. If you have more in-depth knowledge on the topic. Please comment the post. I would love to hear it.  

Here are the numbers from CloudHarmony

1 Year Global Uptime

You can see that average downtime has been 3.3 hours per region where as EC2 had 14 minutes. But if you are running IAAS on here it makes much more sense to look about the uptime of the regions (datacenter). As a sample I put up Europe here to see same numbers from 1 year on Europe data centers.

1 Year Europe Uptime

This is actually looking worse for Azure and Google where as very good for Amazon.

If however you are planning to run IAAS on some of these cloud services, do your own research and include the specific services your VM’s are running. I recommend also paying close attention to the monthly/quarterly uptime trend in addition to aggregate uptime numbers.  I would also recommend building your application/infrastructure  cloud agnostic so you are not married to them (yeah, easy to say…).

 

Install Subversion in Yosemite

SubversionI had some problem with Subversion repository because the repo is using version 1.8 but the SVN version that ships with xCode is version 1.7.

To update SVN on MacOS 10.10 you need to first uninstall old version. You can do that just by deleting the binary.

Type in console:

which svn

Then remove it

sudo rm /usr/bin/svn

Use then Homebrew to install new version.

brew install svn

It takes few minutes to install.

I also had to link SVN again on homebrew (maybe i had some old references)

brew link --overwrite subversion

… and it’s done.

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 16.02.17

 

Rethinking cloud-based ECM

I work these days with Adobe Experience Manager which is part of the integrated suite of products known as the Adobe Marketing Cloud, the Adobe Experience Manager connects with Adobe’s analytics, social media, targeting and optimization modules to create a holistic solution and Sitecore Experience Platform that connects the Web Content Management system with the Digital Marketing System to link together channels, engagement automation and analytics with third party tools. Both of these Experience platforms turns my focus on “CMS as platform“. CMS as platform has born due the lack of CRM solutions that integrates and understands web and social media. This hole has left room for CMS to fill this problem. Although, Adobe and Sitecore are both have been built on top of traditional CM to support cloud and therefore I am not sure if these platforms will solve Cloud -part on real Enterprise Content Management Systems.

So what would be the real Cloud CMS?

cloud

If we forget current CMS’s and think from the technology perspective Cloud and Enterprise Content Management one rather interesting concept is to rethinking use of data and presentation to completely different level. Since the Internet is big API of data. I have been playing with the thought where data does not need to be centrally stored but instead it can be loaded from many sources using open API’s or simply scrapped using crawlers. Then on CM side using advanced caching mechanism to stored into central package that can be handled with workflows. Just image a web page where the server that is serving a page is only having information about the presentation, cached content but the data can come from anywhere from the Internet. I could use SkyDrive over Office365 as data storage or Google Drive for generic content. I can host comments from Facebook and video’s from Youtube. If I were having social content I could stream content from a site like Wikipedia. All in the same stream. The CMS on this case would be playing role of brand manager with simple CM functionality that backtracks the changes and workflows and provides editors very easy mashups for social media  Internet snippets and content. The role of the CM editor would be more of an Author who through workflows controls the content produced in any media and social media site. Regular editors could use already familiar tools on the Internet to produce content and use CMS just to low level editing,  construct and page design from the Internet media. This would optimise management of web and social content in the same stream without loosing control of the processes.

OK, I admit this would be rather brave change for some that require full control but nothing that cannot be solved with today’s technology. I also think rethinking data out of “CMS” would free CMS more to evolution of marketing and experience control.

Multi-factor authentication for Sitecore

Untitled Document - New Page-We have worked a lot on secure login in recent months including integration with NemLoginPingFederate and AD FS and after having headaches with SAML assertions. We decided to create a simple module that hardens default Sitecore login with SMS token. It extends normal Sitecore login with extra step that asks you to give random code that is sent to your mobile phone. Mobile phone number is stored to your user profile. When you give right username and password the server will send unique key in SMS to your phone. This increases security on logins because no longer bad guys can guess your username+password and this way access to Sitecore. If you are using AD integration on your Sitecore instance you still can use this module (taken we can read your phone number).

Authentication workflow in Sitecore login

Step 1: Write your username and password

step1

Step 2: Read SMS token from your phone

Step 3: Write SMS Code to Login Screen

step2

Step 4: Login Notice that since I already know who user is after step 2 I can extend this very easily by choosing to scope User Interfaces, for example normally regular editors only use Page Editor and IMHO it is just confusing even show them anything else.

Costs

There will be a fee on the module and you will also need to have access to SMS gateway since SMS’s are not free. If you are not a developer we can install this for your Sitecore as long as you are running any version of Sitecore 7 or 6.  For the SMS gateway we are right now supporting Twilio (REST) and generic SMS gateways (GET). If you like to get hint on the pricing take a look Twilio pricing. So far I have noticed that Twilio is slightly more expensive that others that I have seen but their API and Support (SLA) is good so you know what you are paying for. For more info on licensing contact me at @jpkeisala or call Addition +45 33 69 04 02.

Road map

Custom Login Page
If you have even looked login screen of Sitecore you may have noticed it is not very customizable but fortunately we can replace it. We are changing login screen of Sitecore to “normal web page”, default look looks like Sitecore normal login screen. However, UI is customizable and uses Twitter Bootstrap.

 

What is Multi-factor authentication?

Multi-factor authentication (also MFA, two-factor authenticationtwo-step verification, TFA, T-FA or 2FA) is an approach to authentication which requires the presentation of two or more of the three authentication factors: aknowledge factor (“something only the user knows“), a possession factor (“something only the user has“), and an inherence factor (“something only the user is”). After presentation, each factor must be validated by the other party for authentication to occur. More about the concept in wikipedia.

 

Customising Rich Text Editor on Sitecore

Pasting from Word

StripFormattingOnPaste Property

Gets or sets the value indicating how the editor should clear the HTML formatting when the user pastes data into the content area.

Member Description
None Doesn’t strip anything, asks a question when MS Word formatting was detected.
NoneSupressCleanMessage Doesn’t strip anything and does not ask a question.
MSWord Strips only MSWord related attributes and tags.
MSWordNoFonts Strips the MSWord related attributes and tags and font tags.
MSWordRemoveAll Strips MSWord related attributes and tags, font tags and font size attributes.
Css Removes style attributes.
Font Removes Font tags.
Span Clears Span tags.
All Remove all HTML formatting.

 

Note: In Gecko-based browsers you will see the mandatory dialog box where you need to paste the content.

 

HTML Forms Autocomplete Naming Convension

When designing forms I have found out that it is good strategy to embrace autocomplete instead of disable it (autocomplete=off). This is especially relevant in order to give nice user experience for non-keyboard devices. However, I have not really find out any good documentation on what are the best practices to use Auto Complete on forms.

AutoComplete is enabled by default in all browsers and provides the following advantages:

  • Information is stored on the user’s computer.
  • User experience is simplified by helping the user fill out forms.
  • User information remains secure. While users can see their private information on a Web site, a Web site cannot see the list of personal information until one of the stored values is selected and the field is filled in.

How to name forms to have working autocomplete
Browser seems to collect information from the forms based on how they are named. Some developers use internal naming which makes it difficult but it seems to me that the most common format is vCard format. By looking vCard-naming conventions this patterns should be working on most of the cases.

Cellular
Company
Department

DisplayName
Email
FirstName

Gender
Home.City
Home.Country

Home.Fax
Home.Phone
Home.State

Home.StreetAddress
Home.Zipcode
Homepage

JobTitle
LastName
MiddleName

Notes
Office
Pager

Business.City
Business.Country
Business.Fax

Business.Phone
Business.State
Business.StreetAddress

Business.URL
Business.Zipcode

 

Please, let me know if you have more info on this topic.