Resources for addressing the Heartbleed zero-day OpenSSL bug

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Heartbleed is a zero-day bug in many OpenSSL implementations, and effects a huge swatch of servers on the Internet. Here’s a list of resources I’ve been referencing:

I am thankful today for SaaS platforms and virtual hosting environments, as they’ve meant I’ve had to do a minimal amount of work on my end to patch the applications I maintain.

Happy 21st Birthday, Ruby!

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Ruby wasn’t the first development language I fell in love with, and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s beautiful and fun and it’s my favorite tool in my toolbox at the moment. It turns 21 today. If you haven’t already, give it a try!

Some useful Bash shortcuts for Ruby on Rails commands

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Read an updated article on my Rails shortcuts: Bash shortcuts to run Rails commands through Spring, Bundler, or ye olde scripts

Like any developer, I spend a lot of time in the terminal typing out commands. Anything I can do to cut down on keystrokes is a daily win, which is why I’ve got over 50 bash alias entries.

I frequently have to work on a several different Rails projects at a time, ranging in versions from 2.3 – 4.0. Hammering out commands for console, server or generate can get pretty tedious by the end of the day, so I came up with a couple shortcuts that I’m particularly fond of:

What I like most about the cons, srv and gen commands is that they eliminate the mental overhead of context switching when going from the old 1.x and 2.x projects where each command is a separate bin file versus the newer 3.x+ project where they are just arguments to the rails command – It’s the same alias for every project.

Using dig to view, backup and verify DNS zone records on OS X

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I was recently asked by a client to consolidate all of their DNS zone records and domain name registrations from 2 separate services to a single provider. The FAQ page of the current DNS service recommended using the named-xfer shell command, but that utility isn’t available on OS X. I googled around and learned that dig is a suitable alternative.

Finding the nameservers

Dig can be used to find nameserver information for a given domain:

Viewing and Backing up DNS Records

Backing these up just requires you to send that output to a file: dig @ns1.nameserver.com yourdomain.com IN ANY >> dns-backup-yourdomain.com-ns1.nameserver.com

Once you’ve updated the nameservers for a domain you can verify if they’ve changed using the dig yourdomain.com NS +short command.

Other useful dig commands

Integration Tests for a Custom PayPal Express Checkout Integration

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Paypal Express Checkout is a great way to add or extend the checkout capabilities of an e-commerce store. Most e-commerce software bundles have support for this baked in, but when you’re working with a custom-built shopping cart and have to roll your own Express Checkout integration it can be a real bear. The PayPal developer documentation is fragmented and often contradictory, and it’s never entirely clear about what steps are required to setup a developer account. They also often refer to their services using different names. And their support system is slow and cumbersome.

Because of this, when I recently worked on an Express Checkout integration for a Panoptic Development client, it took us a lot longer than we expected. A lot of that additional time came from trying to workout a proper integration test suite that would exercise our custom integration points without actually needing to hit the PayPal servers with valid requests every time. It took a lot of trial and error, but in the end I was able to get these tests working by mocking some service calls and stubbing out methods from the PayPal SDK libraries we were using.

For anyone stuck in the same spot, I documented my efforts at StackOverflow: “How to configure integration test for PayPal Express Checkout using TestUnit in a Rails 2.3 app“. My current set of tests differ slightly from what is show there and I ended up refactoring quite a bit as I added new tests, but that question and answer should be a good starting point.

UPDATE

I’ve posted a gist of all of the moving parts of my current implementation of this:

Integration tests for PayPal Express Checkout using TestUnit in Rails 2.3

 

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