Lets Encrypt - Wildcard SSL Support

I started using Lets Encrypt for free SSL in 2016. Since then I have used it in an excessive of 21 projects. I have loved it. But as a developer working on SaaS applications (predominantly sub-domain type) I have always wished that they provide wildcard SSL support. That is exactly what is going to happen.

According to their FAQ wildcard SSL were expected to be available by February 27, 2018. But their engineering teams had to work on a different issue for 2 weeks.

This would likely push back the feature by at least 2 weeks.

I am particularly interested in wildcard SSL because of a personal SaaS application that I am working on.

Free Real Estate Websites for Agencies

Are you a real-estate agent or an agency? A well built website can increase engagement with your customers and increase business. But such a website will cost you a fortune. Thats where I can be of help.

I am happy to provide you with a fully featured property website for free. This is possible with a SaaS (software as a service) kind of web-app that I am building.

The exact features of the website will remain secret at the moment. But I can tell you its feature sets will even make agencies with established websites think about joining the movement.

I am expecting to make the initial release available by April 14th. If you are interested to be part of the first release, feel free to drop me a message at ziyan@jdeen.com.

Windows WSL - Thoughts from a Rails Developer

I have love Linux and use to live in it for 6 years. Few months back I got a laptop for personal use, a HP Envy. It came with Windows with a 128 SSD. It was not enough for me to facilitate dual-boot. So I thought of giving Windows a try. For my personal projects I thought of utilizing WSL. This is what I think after many days of coding.

Its a good start

I never thought I would use Windows, ever. But here I am today giving it a chance. I can finally with little worry run and develop Rails apps in Windows. Its a great and I am excited.

WSL for the first time gives developers access to Linux and Windows in the same machine. I find this attractive as I now have access to Lightroom + Photoshop while been able to work on my Rails projects.

App compatibility

I found out most of my apps work in WSL with few exceptions like PostgreSQL database. This was not a deal breaker. I install PG in Windows and the libpq-dev package on Ubuntu. This allowed me to use the PostgreSQL database from WSL.

You will have to make sure to configure Git to leave out stupid \r used by Windows. Also when running Rails apps, Ruby warnings will show about the stupid \r.

Efficiency

I have mixed feelings about efficiency.

Battery Usage

Before WSL I used Vagrant + Virtual Box for development. I found that I would get about 2 hours or less of time with a full charge. With WSL this has never been an issue. The estimate was well over 5 hours. Its power efficient. Good if you are on the move and have no access to a wall outlet.

Memory

Unlike running a VM, you don’t have a huge memory penalty. In fact I think the penalty is a matter of few megabytes. This is a clear win for WSL over a virtual machine (ex: Virtual Box).

Speed

While battery usage and memory are a huge plusses for WSL. How ever speed is not in its favor. A simple rails s would take over 15 seconds to load. I also found changes to ruby rails not getting applied in Rails and needing me to restart.

I tracked this issue down to an issue regarding caching. I am sure the developers are trying hard to improve the product, but at the moment it sucks donkey balls.

Conclusion

WSL is a good first step. It needs a lot of improvements. I quite frankly believe Microsoft should ditch Windows and start a Windows shell for Linux.

I am barely hanging in there. I don’t mind its occasional hiccups because it is my personal laptop and I use it on my personal projects. How ever I must say, I might jump ship any time.

Fix Windows WSL Ubuntu/Bash Not Opening

We live in an interesting age. As the CEO of GivingFire told, who thought we would live in a time where we would download Ubuntu (Bash) from the Windows store!

How ever last night when I booted my Windows laptop to make some changes to my pet project “Home” I noticed that Ubuntu Bash was not opening. There were no errors. It just hung there without any output indefinitely.

After some reading this morning I found out a solution. Here are the steps. In summary what you need to do is to set a custom page size (ex: 800).

  • Windows + R
  • SystemPropertiesAdvanced
  • Select “Settings” in the “Performance” tab
  • Deselect “Automatically manage page size for all drives”
  • Select a custom size (800 ~ 1024 - I guess)
  • Apply changes (would require a system restart)

Try it out and yours might work.

This is not the only reason why it would fail. But this fixed the issue for me.

As one developer said “I tried Linux, and it works”. WSL is really slow. I am a Rails developer and I find it take up to 15 seconds to start Rails. Not only that I changes in controllers etc will require restart. Its hell to work there. But if you really have to, its much more battery efficient than using some thing like Vagrant with Virtual Box.

Hope this solved for you.

BOC Changes Internet Banking System

BOC, the oldest and largest bank in Sri Lanka, makes updates to its Internet and Mobile Banking System. The old system had its fair share of issues.

Online is the way to go

I used to visit the bank quite often. 2 years ago, things changed. I stopped (to a great extent) using cash and transit to an almost all digital economy. I paid my bills online. I used debit/credit cards for purchases. Rarely would I cash money to use.

Online banking issues

I found the BOC online payment system very well featured. But I found it not very reliable. I didn’t make any errors, but the service is often un available.

One day I transferred money from my savings to my current account and wrote 2 cheques. Later that day I went to Keels to buy some goods and dang I didn’t have funds. I checked my phone and my balance was just a couple thousand rupees. The transaction had happened “offline”. But fortunately before the cheques were cashed, the transaction went through.

This is not isolated. There are many times that I couldn’t even access the web portal.

Oracle Banking or Shitty Banking!

It appears as though the BOC has invested in Oracle. I thought it was a great idea, until I used the app for the first time.

All my hopes melted away when I opened the new portal in my browser. It was ugly at best and not responsive (for mobile use) at all. I know, I am a high end web application developer using cutting if not bleeding edge tech. My expectations are high. But I have been building responsive applications for 7+ years now.

Then it was time to change the password. I quite literally cursed the mother of the idiot who coded it.

The password is set to be between 8-10 characters. This is 2000 standard. Current day passwords need to be longer. Some of my passwords go to 20+ characters.

There is a password strength meter that will give show how good your password is. The funny thing is, at its character limit of 10, it never goes beyond ‘medium’.

If the idiot who made the form was under my supervision, he would have lost his job!

Overall

In an overall fashion, I can’t say it is an improvement. I hope this is work in progress and that they will make improvements in the coming months.

If not, then this could be the next scandal to rock the papers.